Community

BG mayor honors those who make community better

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green recognized a roomful of people who have made life better for others – whether it be families with autism, people seeking fair housing, or a woman who put her all into a small business for four decades. The council chamber was overflowing Monday evening with people who were being honored for contributing to their community. Mayor Dick Edwards recognized Barbara Rothrock for her constant dedication to small business in Bowling Green. Rothrock is retiring as owner of the “much loved and respected” Calico Sage and Thyme store. Rothrock was praised for leading by example, with 40 years of “grit, grin and outright perseverance.” When called up to the podium, Rothrock continued her push for local businesses. “Small business is important,” she said. “Support the businesses you love.” Edwards also recognized April as Autism Awareness Month and honored local families who are “living with the realities of autism and who are helping ever so many others deal with autism.” The mayor called to the podium Mary Murray, a “trailblazer” in the area of autism at Bowling Green State University, and the John Titus family. With his arm around young Ian Titus, who would one day like to be mayor himself, Edwards read a proclamation for autism awareness. Edwards also recognized Fair Housing Month in Bowling Green, calling up members of the Human Relations Commission. “Apart from its symbolic value, it is an important reminder about the basic provisions of the Fair Housing Act of 1968,” he said. Also at Monday’s meeting, city council: Learned from Utilities Director Brian O’Connell that plans…


BG Council backs 2-mill park levy, but some worry about asking voters to pass more millage

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council took a unified stance Monday on the parks and recreation levy planned for the fall ballot – but only after an hour of debate. Some wanted a more cautious approach, while others believed Bowling Green voters could be counted on to pass additional millage. No one on council questioned the need for a 2-mill levy for parks and recreation, but at least two members wanted the millage split into two levies that add up to 2 mills. Their concern was the devastating effect if voters didn’t pass the additional millage. Both Bob McOmber and Bruce Jeffers spoke in favor of two smaller levies. “I think it has a very good chance of passing that way,” Jeffers said. But when a motion was put forth to accept the parks and recreation board’s recommendation for one 2-mill levy, both McOmber and Jeffers supported the motion. “I don’t want anyone to use a split vote on the levy as ammunition,” McOmber said. McOmber said he was aware his stance would be “unpopular,” however, his fear is that voters will easily pass a renewal but may balk at the additional millage. By offering two levies, the parks could at least count on the existing levy amount continuing. “If the renewal dollars go away, they are facing a disaster,” McOmber said. Park levies in Bowling Green have traditionally been well supported, but they have also normally been on spring ballots. McOmber pointed out that since the present levy ran out in 2015, there is no wiggle room if this levy fails. There will…


BGSU student metals and jewelry on display at Wood County library

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Student Metal Arts Council from Bowling Green State University’s School of Art is “Forging Ahead” with an exhibit at the Wood County Public Library. The “Forging Ahead” exhibit features about two dozen works of jewelry and metal art in the library’s display window. The exhibit opened Saturday and continues through April 15.                   The exhibit is part of the effort to teach students in the arts professional skills, said Andrew Kuebeck, the faculty advisor for the council. Those efforts include an entrepreneurship class specifically for visual artists taught by Gene Poor. The exhibit was organized by the council’s treasurer Michaela Monterosso. For her the library was a natural venue for the show. Back in her hometown of Terryville, Connecticut, she would place her work in the local library. “I’d put my piece there and there was so much traffic going in and out of the public library that I got a lot of commissions, so I decided it would be a good opportunity for the Student Metal Arts Council.” The show was open to all who submitted work. “It’s meant to be an encouraging event,” she said. Monterosso wanted to give her fellow students a no-stress chance to display their work. “It’s good for their resumes,” she said, “and good for mine.” The council awarded first prize in the show to Katelyn Turner’s “Mother of Pearl” and second place to Diana Bibler’s “The Hero.” It promotes the council and the work being done on campus by jewelers and metalsmiths. Monterosso was attracted to BGSU by…


Downtown businesses to be surveyed for green certification

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s downtown businesses will soon have a chance to prove how green they really are. For two years now, Lucas County has had a sustainability program in place for businesses, according to Holly Myers, environmental and sustainability professor at Bowling Green State University. Myers and her students would like to bring that “green business” program to downtown Bowling Green. Last week, Myers and three students presented their ideas to the City-University Relations Commission, which endorsed their concept. To start the process, the businesses will be surveyed. To qualify as a green business, an operation must adhere to the values of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability and quality of life, Myers explained. The survey covers the following topics: Waste reduction and recycling, with points for recycling items, electronic billing and printing double-sided copies. Green purchasing, with credit given for buying products in bulk, buying from local vendors and using recycled items. Energy conservation and efficiency, with points for using energy efficient lights, shutting down computers not in use, and participating in the city’s Efficiency Smart Energy Conservation Program. Alternative transportation for planning delivery routes, using hybrid fuels or employee ride sharing. Water conservation and pollution prevention for planting drought-resistant plants, using low-flow toilets or tankless water heater. Staff training and public awareness for offering customers green service options, or asking customers if they want a bag (to promote use of fewer bags). Community involvement by participating in local charitable events, offering volunteer opportunities to employees, or making annual donations to charity. Certifications or awards for safety or other efforts. Businesses that do well…


BG police uniforms stolen from dry cleaners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division is asking for the public’s help in solving who stole police uniforms from a local dry cleaning business. “We have no suspects at this point,” Police Chief Tony Hetrick said this morning about the two Bowling Green police uniforms which were stolen Friday night during a breaking and entering at Long’s Dry Cleaners, 345 N. Maple Street, Bowling Green. Multiple items were stolen including two different styles of uniforms worn by officers of the Bowling Green Police Division. Other city uniforms were also at the dry cleaners since the city contracts with that business to clean employees’ uniforms. But the police uniforms were the only ones stolen, Hetrick said. “It would make me believe they knew what they were after,” Hetrick said this morning. “We’re quite concerned about this,” the chief said. “Why would you take uniforms unless you are planning on impersonating an officer.” Two uniforms were taken, one the current style with navy shirt and french blue pants, and the other being the new style with navy shirt and pants. The stolen uniforms have police patches on the arms, however, they did not contain a badge or name plate. So the police division is advising that anyone interacting with someone in a Bowling Green police uniform should make sure the person is wearing a badge, which depicts the BGPD building on it, and the officer’s name plate. All officers are required to carry division identification as well. Hetrick also said most uniformed officers use marked patrol cars. Anyone who may have information related to this crime…


Little girl makes waves saving rare dolphins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Standing on a step stool to reach the podium, the 9-year-old told how she has taken on a nation’s prime minister and a local corporation to try to save dolphins on the other side of the globe. Calista Wilkins, a fourth grader at Otsego, has been working two years to preserve Maui dolphins, the smallest of its species, that live off the coast of New Zealand. On Thursday, Calista shared her story with the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. The serious little girl with long blond hair is not intimidated by leaders whose words praise the preservation of the dolphins, but whose actions do the opposite. Her efforts have earned her a grant from Jane Goodall’s organization to continue her dolphin-saving work. Calista was also at ease speaking to the group of Kiwanians, trying to engage them in the presentation. She showed slides of New Zealand, where the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was filmed, and asked if anyone was familiar with the small statured characters called hobbits. “The Maui dolphins are sort of like that,” she said. Though Calista has never been to New Zealand, and has never seen the Maui dolphins, she confidently explained their plight. The rare dolphins number only about 50, and risk becoming extinct by 2030 if nothing changes to reverse their fate. The black, white and gray dolphins have rounded noses, dorsal fins shaped like Mickey Mouse ears, and like to swim in groups close to the shores of the northern portion of New Zealand. Calista showed photographs of the small dolphins, including one called “Scratchy,” named…


National Walking Day on April 6

American Heart Association Walking Day is Wednesday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the BGSU Perry Field House. Celebrate National Walking Day with BGSU, Wood County Hospital, the City of Bowling Green, and Wood County employees. Lace up your sneakers and improve your odds of living a longer, healthier life by joining us for a Poker Walk! Enjoy a healthful bout of exercise with your colleagues, healthy snacks, raffle prizes, and giveaways. POKER WALK – No prior knowledge of poker is needed to participate. Rather than winning based on skill or speed, the top individuals who collect the best poker hand while walking at the Perry Field House track win great prizes, such as a Fitbit®! The Golden Sneaker Award will be awarded to the employer with the highest percentage of walkers. SPIRIT CONTEST- The participating individual or group (office, colleagues, friends, etc) demonstrating the most enthusiasm and spirit wins a free chair massage (up to one hour) for their office or work area walkers. CELEBRITY WALKERS – Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, President, Bowling Green State University; Mayor Richard Edwards, City of Bowling Green Mayor; Dr. Sidney Childs, Interim Vice-President, Division of Student Affairs; Dr. Nicholas Espinoza, Director, Falcon Health Center; Dr. Marie Huff, Dean, College of Health and Human Services; Craig LaHote, Doris I. Herringshaw and Joel M. Kuhlman, Wood County Commissioners; Andrew Kalmar, County Administrator; Stan Korducki President, Wood County Hospital; Lori Tretter, Municipal Administrator; Monica Moll, BGSU Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety; Viva McCarver, Chief Human Resources Officer.


Students to clean up reputations and neighborhoods at same time

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BGSU students often get trashed for not being good neighbors to full-time city residents. In an effort to clean up their reputations and their neighborhoods at the same time, an Adopt a Block program is being started with the help of the City-University Relations Commission. Danielle Parker, vice president of the Undergraduate Student Government at Bowling Green State University, said the program will help students connect with the community. “This is a new and exciting way for students to give back, besides dropping off some canned goods and walking away,” Parker said. The program will work somewhat like the larger scale “Adopt a Highway” effort. Ten “blocks” have been established by the City-University Relations Commission. Student groups will be asked to adopt an area then head out once a month and pick up trash in the medians. The trash will then be disposed of in the dumpsters behind the city fire station and electric division on Thurstin and Court streets. The 10 “blocks” up for adoption are: North Enterprise from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Summit from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. North Prospect from East Wooster to Frazee Avenue. East Court Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Pike Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Ridge Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Merry Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Reed Street from North Prospect to Thurstin Avenue. Area bordered by Wooster, Biddle, Clough and South College. Area bordered by Wooster, South Enterprise, Clough and South Prospect. “Students will go out and take care of that block,” Parker…


Scooby Doo, Chief Wiggum, Professor Snape get votes for Wood County sheriff

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some people take voting very seriously. Others, not so much. Some apparently see it as an opportunity to show their creative side. In the primary election earlier this month, Wood County residents voting on the Democratic ballot were given the chance to fill in a write-in candidate for sheriff. Retired deputy Ruth Babel-Smith was running as a write-in candidate, but many voters were thinking way outside the box. Some voters at least stuck with people with law enforcement experience – however questionable it might be. Getting one vote each were Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy from Mayberry RFD; Chief Wiggum, the lazy incompetent police chief in The Simpsons, and Roscoe P. Coltrane, the corrupt sheriff from the Dukes of Hazzard. “I was just disappointed Boss Hogg didn’t get it,” said Mike Zickar, of the Wood County Board of Elections. A few cartoon type characters garnered single votes like Alfred E. Newman, of Mad magazine covers; Fred Flintstone, of the prehistoric town of Bedrock; and Scooby Doo, the canine with the mystery solving gang of meddling kids. Mickey Mouse got 4 votes – 5 if you count the voter who just wrote “Mickey.” Garnering one vote was Disney’s Sheriff Callie, an animated cat who rides a blue pony enforcing the “Cowpoke Code” in the Old West. Some voters went big, writing national political figures like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Some preferred to stay local, casting votes for Chip Myles, of Myles Pizza; Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman; and Jim Weinandy, a local attorney. A few voters put their confidence…


Gloria Gajewicz honored for home grown science teaching skills

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green teacher Gloria Gajewicz was inspired through her career by her own teachers, and further by her mother’s pursuit of education. So it is fitting that she should receive an award named for the late Neil Pohlmann, an educator and BGSU professor who left his mark on science education. Earlier this month Gajewicz won the first Neil Pohlman Award given by Bowling Green State University at the spring conference of the Northwest Ohio School Boards Association meeting. Patrick Pauken, director of the School of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy, said the award “is given in recognition of valuable contribution to Educational Administration and Leadership Studies at BGSU.” Gajewicz is working on her doctorate in the program. The award carries a scholarship. Pauken wrote: “The faculty selected Gloria for the award because of her endless dedication to teaching, learning, and leading in our schools. She is an excellent graduate student, as well, inspiring her classmates with her professional stories of student success. Our classrooms and schools are special places, indeed, with teachers and leaders like Gloria Gajewicz.” Gajewicz has taught science for 20 years, the last 16 at her alma mater, Bowling Green High School where she teaches biology and honors physical science. Finishing her second semester of what she expects will be a four-year process, Gajewicz’s goal is to become a curriculum specialist with her particular interest in science. She said she was inspired to pursue science by the many great science teachers she had in the Bowling Green system. That included Roger Mazzarella, “the wizard of Mazz,” in seventh grade and Bob Rex in…


Calico, Sage & Thyme turns over new leaf as founder retires, new owner steps in

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Customers of the retail institution Calico, Sage & Thyme will have plenty to celebrate in April. They’ll be able to wish proprietor Barbara Rothrock a happy retirement after 41 years operating the store. And they’ll enjoy a sale marking her retirement. Customers will also be able to welcome a new owner for the shop, Lisa Palmer, who is buying the business. The business, on the corner of South Main and Clay streets in downtown Bowling Green, had been slated to close when Rothrock’s previous efforts to find a buyer fell through. Palmer will take over as of April 29. She said she plans both to maintain the venerable business’ character, and add her own touches, including selling more arts and crafts on consignment. “I want to leave as much the same as possible,” Palmer said. “She has such a great following for the cards, children’s books, jewelry, teas and spices. All of that I plan to keep.” Palmer has been considering opening a shop for a couple years, and when she found that Calico, Sage & Thyme was still for sale, she decided to make an offer. She has worked in her husband’s business, Jim Palmer Excavating. Her only experience in retail goes back to working at Kmart when she was in high school. That’s no deterrent to success. All she has to do is look to Rothrock. She had little retail experience when she opened the shop in 1975. It grew from her love of herbs and necessity. She was a secondary school teacher when she moved to Bowling Green with her…


Health survey: More Wood County residents have insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Many Wood County residents need to exercise more and eat fewer unhealthy foods. On the bright side, more of them have health insurance now to cover their medical needs. Every three years, Wood County has its overall health tested by the health district. Data was collected last year from health surveys mailed to a random sample of Wood County adults and students. A total of 513 adults and 489 adolescents responded to the surveys. The surveys showed some good and bad trends. “We did get a little better among adults,” but a little worse for adolescents with obesity and weight issues, according to Connor Rittwage, epidemiologist with the Wood County Health District. So reducing obesity is one of the priorities set in the new Community Health Improvement Plan. “It’s not going to be solved overnight,” Rittwage said. “It’s going to take decades.” Last year’s assessment also showed that more local adults have never smoked, and fewer youth are smoking. Some “major spikes” were seen in mental health issues among youth, with larger numbers purposefully hurting themselves and contemplating suicide. “Those are areas definitely to pay attention to,” Rittwage said. But a good trend was seen with health insurance. “A lot of people ended up having health care coverage,” compared to previous surveys, Rittwage said. Based on the survey results, Wood County agency partners set priorities as: Decreasing obesity. Increasing mental health services. Decreasing violence and bullying among youth. Increasing health care access and utilization. “Those are areas where we as partners can work together to make an impact on,” Rittwage said. Some…


Amidst green water woes, BG water gets gold star

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The recent Waterkeeper conference on the health of Lake Erie spread plenty of blame around for the conditions that turn the water green and make it unsafe to consume – much of it directed toward the continued practice of spreading too much manure on farm fields. But one entity got a gold star from a member of the Lake Erie Waterkeeper board – Bowling Green’s water treatment plant. It isn’t that the water going into the plant is pristine – quite to the contrary. What’s notable is the treated water that the plant sends out to its water customers. Dr. Earl Campbell was presenting data on some very technical contaminants, when he happened to mention that in the last two years, Bowling Green’s reservoir water repeatedly had very high levels of the microcystin, from blue-green algae. The difference between how Toledo and Bowling Green handled the contaminant was major. “It just happened that Bowling Green tested it,” Campbell said. “The person running that plant stood between the people and disaster.” At that point, no standard orders were in place in Ohio to test for the microcystins. “A lot of people were paying absolutely no attention to this,” Campbell said. But Bowling Green officials, with their static reservoir water drawn from the Maumee River, tested and treated the water. “It was their own initiative.” Campbell said there are 146 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations in the region, which each having either cows numbering 1,000 or more, and pigs numbering 2,500 or more. “There is more shit than the land to put it on,” he…


Gas line hit during water line project

Some homes on the east side of Bowling Green had to be evacuated this morning when a gas line break occurred. As of 1 p.m., the break was repaired by Columbia Gas. A saw was being used to cut the asphalt on Clough Street to start trench work for excavation work for waterline work. According to Brian O’Connell, city utilities director, the gas line was fairly shallow in the area, and the saw cut into it. Just one person actually had to be evacuated, O’Connell said. During the repair work, some streets were closed, including Clough between South  Prospect and South Enterprise, and South Summit between Wooster and Lincoln. According to O’Connell, the waterline contractor continued work at the other end of the waterline project, so no delay are expected on that work.


BG church plants seeds for new ‘giving garden’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There is something magical about digging in the dirt, planting a seed, watching it grow, then savoring the result of all the work. The magic goes a step further when the harvest is given away to those in need. For that reason, First Presbyterian Church is starting its own “giving garden.” It will be the third community garden at Bowling Green churches, with the other two already in place at Peace Lutheran and First United Methodist. Though some community garden models operate with families given plats to grow their own vegetables, the First Presbyterian site will be a giving garden, according to Lyn Long, a church member who planted the seed for the new effort. The community and church members will be invited to plan, plant, water, weed, harvest, and feast on the produce. “I just thought, there’s a huge lot over there and we only use it once or twice a year,” Long said. “It just didn’t seem like good stewardship.” Long is being assisted by Megan Sutherland, executive director of the Common Good organization which has worked with the other two church community gardens for years. “I think gardening teaches you a lot of lessons, some are short term and some are long term,” Sutherland said. “There’s something special about working with people in the sunshine, in the dirt. Even picking weeds. It becomes really meditative.” Gardening teaches all ages about community building, healthy eating and delayed gratification, Sutherland said. Long is also hoping to find some expertise and hands-on help from area master gardeners and FFA students. A meeting…