Community

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….


BG wants citizen input on park and rec plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents will soon have a chance to talk about trails, chat about children’s activities, and gab about green spaces. The city’s parks and recreation department wants to hear what people want from their parks. “I’m actually kind of excited about this,” said Kristin Otley, director of the department. “We want to hear from the community.” The comments will then become part of the park and recreation department’s five-year master plan update. To get citizen input, five focus groups will be held – with each one targeting a specific topic. The comments will be restricted to the topics for each forum, which are: April 6: Youth programs. April 13: Natural area parks (Wintergarden and Simpson.) April 20: Fitness, aquatics and events. May 11: Active parks (City Park, Carter Park, etc.) May 18: Future directions. All the meetings will be held at the Bowling Green Community Center, beginning at 7 p.m. Free child care will be available. Anyone interested in a particular topic, who is unable to make it to that meeting may email comments to the focus group moderator, Shannon Orr, from Bowling Green State University at skorr@bgsu.edu. The last master plan for the parks and recreation department was a 10-year plan adopted in 2005. Otley said the board decided a five-year plan was more reasonable. “We think it makes more sense in this day and age.” Also at last week’s park and recreation board meeting, it was announced that the…


Common Good benefit celebrates diversity within community

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Common Good of the UCF is what those it serves make of it. The house at 113 Crim St. is the vortex of activities aimed at bettering the lives of people, and the community they live in. That can involve picking up the exterior spaces with neighborhood cleanups, or it can mean the clearing of interior spaces through meditation. That can mean growing sustenance for the body at two community gardens and a food pantry, or providing sustenance for the mind through discussions about spirituality and current event. And at dinner dialogues those two missions meet. The Common Good of the UCF embraces this broad mission because that’s what people have told them their needs are. The organization’s own needs are simple, but real. On Thursday, April 7, at 6:30 p.m. the Common Good will present “Expressions of Arthenticity,” at the Clazel, 127 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $25 and $15 with a student identification. One beverage and a dessert bar come with admission. The show includes a fashion show, live jazz and an auction. Tickets are available at Common Good and Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., or by calling 513-314-4489. Caroline Dawson, the financial developer for Common Good, said that the fashion show, which will start at 7:30p.m., will feature clothing from local boutiques and hair and makeup by local salons. The models will be of all ages, body types and ethnicities. That reflects the philosophy of the…


Health district may get Narcan for local law enforcement

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Efforts are being made to get Narcan into the hands of those who are often the first on the scene of an overdose – local law enforcement. Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey told the county commissioners Thursday that the health district is looking into getting Ohio Department of Health funding for Narcan, the drug that can reverse the effects of heroin and opiate overdoses. “We can probably get it to law enforcement agencies,” Batey said. And that could potentially help save lives since in rural areas of Wood County, sheriff’s deputies often arrive at scenes of overdoses before medical assistance. Most EMS and fire departments now carry Narcan, “but sometimes the sheriff is the first person in the door,” he said. The nursing staff at the health department could train law enforcement how to properly use the Narcan, which has to be injected into the muscle of the overdosing person’s arm, leg or buttocks. Batey said he has gotten requests for information on Narcan from the sheriff’s office, North Baltimore Police Department and the Wood County Park District. “We will open this up to everyone across the county,” he said. “Let’s start this conversation.” Narcan has the remarkable ability to bring a patient out of an overdose, Batey explained. “It almost immediately strips the opiates out of the system. It brings people back to life,” he said. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn agreed that in many rural areas of the county,…


7 drug canines do sweep during lockdown at BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green High School went on lockdown Thursday morning as seven drug-sniffing dogs searched the school. At 8:15 a.m., teachers were instructed to put all student book bags in the hallway, according to Superintendent Francis Scruci. The canines then did a drug sweep of all the bags, the lockers, and all the vehicles in the parking lot. The drug sweep inside lasted about 90 minutes. The dogs “hit on” 20 lockers and 20 book bags, but no illegal substances were found. “Nothing was found internally in the school,” Scruci said. The dogs also “hit on” 15 cars in the parking lot, all belonging to students.  Those students were brought out to their vehicles, then school administration and law enforcement searched inside the cars. Marijuana was found in one car. All cars in the lot, including employees’ vehicles, were part of the sweep, the superintendent said. Scruci said no one at the high school knew about the drug sweep until 8 a.m.  – even the administration. The superintendent said the search was not the result of a reported problem, but because he believes it is a good way to promote smart choices for students. “I’ve always done it as a practice,” at the previous school districts where he served as superintendent, Scruci said. “We’re going to continue to try to educate kids on the dangers of drugs,” he said. “We want to make sure they are making the right decisions.” Bowling Green Police…


Lionface one acts find comedy & drama close to home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News That coffee shop could be in Bowling Green. That comic convention could be in Columbus. The Lionface Productions one-act plays – all three written for the troupe – have a sense of familiarity viewed through a different lens. The Lionface production of one acts opens tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the rehearsal hall behind the Performing Arts Center in the middle school. The show continues Friday and Saturday. Guests should enter through door M, near the patio area to the south of the Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $7 and $5 for students. Two of the plays were presented at a Wednesday night dress rehearsal. (The third “The Amazing Red Diamond” written by Jesse Koza got an early run through because of a scheduling conflict.) “Every Seven Years or So,” written by J. Benjamin and directed by Christina Hoekstra, traces the arc of the friendship between Eric (Cole Stiriz) and Fiona (Kathryn Gonda) from being artistically inclined and insecure high school students into young adults when the issues that first drew them together still resonate. We meet them mid-conversation as Eric is telling Fiona how his father, the high school art teacher, caught him in flagrante with another boy in the ceramics studio. The story sets up the relationship between Eric and Fiona as friends with no romantic interest. It also helps introduce the character of the father, as a fellow dreamer, who is never seen, but casts a shadow on the action. Stiriz…


BG schools did not sanction gun raffle…club cancels fundraiser

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Student groups do all kinds of activities to raise funds – sell candy bars, wash cars, sit in dunking booths. But raffling off guns? Not in Bowling Green, says Superintendent Francis Scruci. Scruci sent out an email to district parents late Wednesday afternoon explaining that a raffle was being promoted by the Bowling Green Wrestling Club. The prize was two firearms, with one being an assault rifle, he said. As of Thursday afternoon, the raffle had been canceled. The superintendent explained he did not sanction the raffle and was not aware it was being conducted. He had been alerted by a parent earlier Wednesday. “The Bowling Green City Schools does not promote guns and is not affiliated with this type of raffle,” Scruci wrote in the email. “I can assure you that if the proper procedure had been followed the raffle would have been denied for distribution through the district.” The email continued to say the Bowling Green Wrestling Club is an outside organization raising funds for wrestlers from youth to university age and exists outside of school parameters. “It’s technically not affiliated with the school,” Scruci said when reached Wednesday evening. No flyers were sent out with students, but the high school wrestling coach did send out an email about the raffle to school staff, the superintendent said. “I knew nothing about it,” Scruci said. “They did not submit anything, nor did we distribute it.” But the superintendent decided to be proactive…


Phoenix Technologies gets 1 out of every 20 plastic bottles recycled in US

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bob Deardurff loves the scene in “The Graduate” when a character shares the secret of success with Dustin Hoffman. Just one word – plastics. That one word has proved to be Deardurff’s success at Phoenix Technologies in Bowling Green, which was named Wood County Corporate Citizen of the Year on Wednesday evening. In fact, the company has had so much success that one out of every 20 plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. comes to the Bowling Green company, Deardurff said. Phoenix Technology takes plastics full circle by using items from the recycling center on North College Avenue, washing the items at its plant on East Poe Road, then converting the plastic into pellets at its plant on Fairview Avenue. “We have an opportunity in Wood County and Bowling Green, so we can close the loop,” all within a half mile, Deardurff said. The recycled plastic is then returned to items for packaging food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, shampoo, soap and detergents. When introducing the Corporate Citizen of the Year, Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw noted the company’s beginnings in 1985 in Toledo. “The business flourished,” she said, and by 1991 was manufacturing bottles for Palmolive dishwashing detergent. In 1992, the company opened in Bowling Green, and by 1993, the company had one manufacturing line and eight employees. Before long, they added two more lines. Then in 1999, they patented the technology to be able to serve larger markets. “All the while they were…


Coffee and conversation with BG cops

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Tim Horton’s coffee shop was probably the safest place to be in Bowling Green Wednesday morning … as long as you weren’t cracking any jokes about cops and doughnuts. The first “Coffee with a Cop” event packed the place with police and citizens wanting a chance to chat. “We want people to be comfortable talking with us,” said BG Police Chief Tony Hetrick. The chief was getting a variety of input from citizens, some with concerns about neighborhood issues like loud parties and littering, and some just wanting to say “thank you” to the police. “It was a mix of a lot of different things,” Hetrick said. Sitting at one table were Lt. Brad Biller and Lt. Dan Mancuso, talking with citizens as they stopped to chat. “It’s been very positive,” Mancuso said. “People are saying things are going in a good direction,” Biller said. Some citizens had specific concerns, such as the woman who was recently widowed and was worried about personal security at her home. Others came with praise for specific officers, like Pam Leid, who wanted the chief to know about a particular patrolman who has been very helpful. “This patrolman has done a superb job and the chief needs to hear that,” she said. Mike Crawford came to show his support for local officers. He served 16 years on the force, and his son is currently with the department. But Crawford said the current climate makes it very…


State of Wood County – steady and solid

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s annual checkup showed a healthy region with more jobs being created, more teamwork being touted, and more tax revenues coming in to support services. The state of the county address, held this morning in the courthouse atrium, painted a rosy picture of the past year and the one ahead. “The past year was one of progress and change in Wood County,” said Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw, who presented the program with fellow commissioners Joel Kuhlman and Craig LaHote. Finances are staying steady. “Throughout the recession, Wood County remained fiscally strong,” Herringshaw said. Increases in revenue from property tax, sales tax and the casino tax are helping to compensate for loss in revenue from Local Government Funds and investment income. The commissioners recently approved a budget with annual appropriations totaling $40,628,105 – nearly $900,000 more than the previous year’s appropriations. Those solid finances have allowed the county to pay cash for some capital projects, such as the $2.9 million jail expansion and $1 million updates at Wood Haven Health Care. It has also allowed the county to retain its good bond rating, Herringshaw said. The commissioners have made wise use of the casino tax revenue, she said, by using it to fund bridge designs. This year, the revenue will pay for seven bridge projects throughout the county. Kuhlman listed off successes at several businesses in the county, with many new jobs being created. Those included First Solar which is adding…


Beloved Alvie gets atrium named after him

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Gail Perkins has no doubt her late husband, Alvie, was planning ahead when he sketched out the atrium design for the Wood County Courthouse Complex. “That’s why he put in the skylights, so he could look down and see what’s going on,” she said, pointing up to the glass sections. And she knows Alvie would have been so proud to have the atrium dedicated in his honor Wednesday morning during the annual State of the County address. As the longest serving county commissioner in Wood County history, Perkins would often talk about the atrium at home, his wife said. That and roadwork, and pump stations and flooding ditches after heavy rains. “Our evenings out were to drive around looking at the ditches,” Gail Perkins recalled, smiling. Such is the life of a public servant and his spouse. As the atrium was officially dedicated in his honor, Commissioner Doris Herringshaw referred to Alvie Perkins as a “forefather,” serving 25 years as commissioner and passing away in January. “We believe it’s appropriate to name this atrium for him,” she said. The stories vary a bit, but no one disputes the fact that Perkins came up with the idea for the enclosed atrium that links the courthouse, county office building and old jail which is currently the law library and records center. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar tells it this way. “He sketched it on the back of something he pulled from the recycling bin.”…


Interfaith gathering calls for peace in face of terror

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Just hours after terrorists struck Belgium killing at least 30 this morning, people of different faiths gathered together in Bowling Green. The peace they wanted to promote seemed so fragile in the wake of the attacks. “Today, of course, we woke up to the terrible news of another terrorist attack in Europe,” said Phil Dickinson, who practices Buddhism. “How can we compete with bombs and bullets?” The answer – with hospitality that leads to peace. True hospitality that is offered to more than friends and family. The same can be said for dealing with hate speech that is currently dividing this nation politically. “Fear and terror seem to be everywhere these days,” Dickinson said. Dickinson was one of the speakers of many faiths who shared at the second annual Community Interfaith Breakfast in Bowling Green Tuesday morning. The program included speakers representing Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Protestant Christianity, Islam, and Roman Catholic Christianity. They broke bread, ate fruit and drank coffee together as a community united by their respect for each other. “We see the diversity of people in our community as a gift, not as a problem,” said Rev. Gary Saunders, co-chair of the Not In Our Town group which helped organize the breakfast. Imam Talal Eid, of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, said different faiths must build bridges. “We need to be together to learn how to live together,” he said. “We need to learn a common language. That is…


Park levy need not questioned, but more millage may pose problems

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BG officials did not question the need for a new parks and recreation levy Monday evening. They did, however, question the chances of the millage increase passing on the November ballot. City council’s finance committee listened to BG Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley as she made the pitch for a 2-mill property tax levy lasting five years. Since the proposed levy is an increased amount from the current 1.4-mill levy, the council committee felt the need to scrutinize the request. Otley explained that the parks and rec program has not seen a levy increase in 16 years. In the meantime, the program has grown in acreage, facilities and programming. “We’ve added so much in 16 years,” Otley said. “The things we added were all things the community was asking for and wanted to see.” Also during that 16-year period, several maintenance projects were deferred. “A lot of things have been put off,” Otley said. For example, the Veterans Building in City Park is in great need of repairs. The parking lot at Simpson Garden Park has serious pothole problems. The park land has grown to 333 acres, including the new Ridge Park. And the 10-year-old community center is in need of maintenance. The three members of the finance committee, Robert McOmber, Michael Aspacher and Theresa Charters Gavarone, did not dispute the need for the additional millage. But they expressed concern that if voters don’t support the levy, that the department will…


Every home in BG to be part of housing survey

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Now might be a good time to touch up that peeling paint, tuckpoint that chimney, and firm up that sagging front porch. Starting in April, a housing inspector from the Wood County Health District will be making the rounds in Bowling Green, checking out residences – all 5,524 or more. It’s time for the housing exterior survey which the city contracts for every five year from the county health district. The contract is a “unique arrangement,” according to Lana Glore, of the environmental division of the health district. In most cases, health districts respond on a complaint basis. “You’re kind of putting fires out,” she said. But in Bowling Green, the city tries to keep those fires from ever starting by having the surveys done every five years. “To me, it looks like it works,” Glore said. The inspector will go from home to home, April through August, looking at exteriors that can be viewed from public property. “Every house is looked at,” Glore said. The data collected will be compiled in September through November. Then the results will be reported to council in December. Each home will be surveyed for 14 primary categories: Roofs, siding conditions, stairs and railings, windows, foundations, driveways, public walkways, chimneys, porches, doors, accessory structures, soffits and roof edging, private walks and exterior sanitation. They will also be surveyed for 10 non-primary categories: Paint, attached garage, grading and drainage, yard maintenance, siding type, gutters and downspouts, garage…