Community

Solar project faces more questions from county

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Commissioners threw some shade on Bowling Green’s plans Thursday to build a solar array to help power the city and other communities. Work was to begin on the largest solar field in Ohio in a couple days. But that is unlikely now since the county has not yet approved the 30-year tax abatement requested for the $43 million project. The commissioners continued to question the rushed timeline of the project, which would build a 20 MW solar array on city acreage northeast of the city. “How necessary is this aggressive timeline?” Commissioner Joel Kuhlman asked. “Critical,” responded Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city. “There can be no delay.” If the county does not approve the tax exemption, the solar project will be unaffordable for NextEra Energy and AMP, which are working on the project, according to O’Connell. “It is likely that this project will be canceled due to the increased costs,” he said. “This project is bigger than just a Bowling Green site,” O’Connell said. There are 26 proposed sites in AMP member communities across five states. Six of those sites, including Bowling Green’s, are planned to be completed by the end of 2016. “It is difficult to make solar generation projects cost effective without utilizing all of the tax advantages available,” O’Connell said. So the state is allowing projects like this to be exempt from property taxes as long as they meet criteria. If the city were to own the solar power generating system, it would not pay property taxes, it was noted. But Kuhlman pointed out that the tax breaks will be benefiting a private company – not the city in this case. “This is a private entity that is going to be operating the solar field,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking these questions.” “We are talking about a private entity that is asking for a substantial tax break, that is trying to make money,” Kuhlman said. The city could have constructed its own solar field, but it would not have been nearly as large nor would it have provided as much energy savings, explained Megan Newlove, president of the city’s Board of Public Utilities. The county has granted tax breaks to private companies before. But this request is different in its size and duration, granting an exemption of $7.3 million over the first 15 years. Most tax abatements are based on the number of jobs created by a business. But this request differs there as well, since there will be no jobs beyond the construction period. Construction of the solar field will employ about 85 people from now to Dec. 31. And 80 percent of those people are required to be Ohio residents – but there is no requirement that they come from Wood County. Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards pointed out that the project would benefit people well beyond the city, with 30 percent of Wood County’s population served by the utilities. He also noted that the building of Ohio’s largest solar field will reinforce the city’s reputation for green energy started years ago with the wind turbines west of the city. “Clearly Bowling Green’s continuing pattern of growing sustainability will greatly benefit all of BG’s utility customers including its rapidly…


Charters Gavarone to fill Statehouse seat, vacate BG Council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Theresa Charters Gavarone has been selected by a Statehouse screening panel to take the state representative seat vacated by the resignation of Tim Brown. That means the statehouse will gain a member and Bowling Green City Council will lose a member. Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, announced this evening that the screening panel for the 3rd House District seat unanimously recommended Charters Gavarone for the appointment. She will fill out the remainder of Brown’s term through the end of this year. Other Wood County Republicans who were screened for the seat were Haraz Ghanbari, of Perrysburg, and Ed Schimmel, of Northwood. “I believe Theresa Charters Gavarone is an incredibly solid choice to represent the citizens of Wood County in the Ohio House of Representatives,” said Brown, who is leaving the Statehouse for the top job at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. “As a member of city council, she has already established herself as someone capable of working in a bipartisan manner for the benefit of Wood County’s citizens.  Her experience as a small business owner, an attorney, and an elected official will enable her to represent the people of Wood County extremely well.” The screening panel decision is the first step toward filling the seat. The Ohio House Republican Caucus will vote on the screening panel’s recommendation and swear in the new member on Aug. 2. The Wood County Republican Party’s Central Committee is meeting this Thursday evening in Bowling Green to pick the name to appear on the November ballot in place of Brown’s. Bob Mack, head of the Central Committee, expects that person to be Charters Gavarone. “That would make the most sense,” he said Wednesday evening. In cases like this, the other candidates not selected often “show solidarity” and back out of the race, Mack said. Brown agreed. “I would expect that the committee will replace my name with hers.” And that means Charters Gavarone would have to give up her seat on city council once she is appointed on Aug. 2. According to City Solicitor Mike Marsh, Bowling Green City Council will have 30 days to appoint a replacement. If they fail to do so, the mayor will appoint a new member representing the Fourth Ward. The replacement does not need to be a Republican, Marsh said. “I would guess it wouldn’t be,” he added, considering the current makeup of city council. With Charters Gavarone’s appointment to the Statehouse, council will be left with one Republican member, Bob McOmber. After being selected by the screening panel Wednesday, Charters Gavarone said she is looking forward to the challenge. “I’m very thankful,” she said, adding that she is ready to begin campaigning. “I’m feeling really excited. I really can’t wait.” The appointment of Charters Gavarone will make her the second woman to serve Wood County as a state representative. The first was Myrna Hanna, an ancestor of the Hanna brothers who practice law in Bowling Green. She served as representative from 1929 to 1932. Charters Gavarone said she is interested in mental health issues, drug addiction, education and economic development. As an attorney for 22 years, Charters Gavarone said she has first hand experience with the justice system. “The impact of mental illness and…


Park district’s historic farm looking to grow

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Deer and raccoons have long been residents of the Wood County Park District. But chickens and goats? “Welcome to the farm,” Tim Gaddie, historic farm specialist with the park district, said to the park district board members Tuesday as they held their monthly meeting at Carter Historic Farm. The farm, located on Carter Road north of Bowling Green, is unlike any other park site in the district. The site is intended to take visitors back to the 1930s, when area farms were on the verge of big changes. “It was a big transition from hand powered and animal powered farming to machine-based,” Gaddie said. The historic farm programs focus on skills that families of the era relied on for survival – food preservation, vegetable and herb gardening, rug making and woodworking. Family campfire programs are also offered. This week, a group of kids aged 7 and 8 are attending farm camp there. Next week, 9- and 10-year-old kids will be learning at the farm. But Gaddie would like to do more to make Carter Historic Farm a working farm. Last year, chickens were added to the farm, with many of the eggs being used for programming. Soon, he would like to add some goats, then gradually work his way up to sheep, dairy cows, a draft horse and mules. Gaddie can picture a time when the sheep on the farm will be sheared to create yarn that will then be used for weaving. To accomplish these goals, Gaddie is trying to grow farm volunteers. “We’re working on building the volunteer base to do that,” he said. The farm currently benefits from help from inmates of the Northwest Community Correction Center, and may soon be offering a place for juvenile offenders to volunteer. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without volunteers,” Gaddie said. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger complimented the progress at the farm site. “I can’t say enough for the work Tim has done,” Munger said. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park board approved the last of the pay increases that will bring park district employees up to the minimum level as determined by an outside compensation consultant. The raises range from 16 cents to $1.47 per hour. “This takes everyone up to the minimum for their positions,” Munger explained. The board also approved the park district’s 2017 statutory budget. The budget, with estimated resources of $7.14 million, set aside $1 million for capital improvements to parks and $715,000 for land acquisition. Board member John Calderonello noted the amount set aside for land acquisition, and questioned if there is a limit to how much land the park district resources can adequately maintain. Munger said before property is purchased or accepted through donations, the district evaluates the maintenance costs. “Everything has a cost,” he said. The $715,000 is the same amount the district budgeted last year for land acquisition, and most of it was carried over to this year. But Munger said the park district wants to be prepared to purchase property when available. “It might be a one-time opportunity to preserve these areas,” he said. Also at the meeting, the board approved spending $3,400 to purchase a large tent to replace a structure at Buttonwood Park located…


Chamber seeking applicants for Leadership BG

From BG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Applications are available to participate in the 2016-2017 Leadership BG Program, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. Leadership BG is a fantastic opportunity to be immersed into different components of the BG community, meet decision makers, participate in mini seminars on leadership/communication/team building, develop life-long connections with classmates, and give back to the community via a class project. Since its inception in 1992, 507 graduates have completed the program! A 1-day per month commitment for 9 months is required. Program components include city and county governments, health care industry, social services, municipal and county judicial systems, manufacturing, and education. Leadership BG also gives participants an opportunity to take part in a community service project (uniquely designed by the class), enabling the group to work together toward a common goal while administering their leadership style. After completion of the class, participants become a part of the Leadership BG Alumni Association. The LBGAA continues the education/leadership process by providing networking and coalition building and supports philanthropic endeavors through fundraisers. To apply for this beneficial advancement opportunity, download application and cover sheet at www.bgchamber.net or obtain a copy from the Chamber Office, 130 S. Main St. Applications are due by August 19th, 2016. Prompt return of applications is highly advisable as the class size is limited. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is a professional network that creates relationships between businesses, customers and community. We support our investors by offering value-added benefits, discounts on health insurance, business improvement seminars, networking programs, legislative updates, and educational opportunities through scholarships and grants. For more information contact the BG Chamber at (419) 353-7945 or visit www.bgchamber.net.


Black Swamp Arts Festival art show taking shape

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News The final touches are being applied to the visual art shows at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The shows, both the Juried Art Show on Main Street in downtown Bowling Green and the Wood County Invitational in the lot at the corner of Clough and South Main streets, will feature a mix of new and familiar artists. The festival gets underway Sept. 9 at 5 p.m. with music on the Main Stage. The art shows run during the day Sept. 10 and 11. About 20 percent of the 108 artists in the juried show are new this year, said Brenda Baker, who chairs the festival’s visual arts committee. That’s down a bit from previous years, she said. Notably some regular vendors missed the April 1 application deadline. This year 245 artists applied for the juried show which has space for 108 artists. Since award winners from the previous year are automatically accepted, that means they are vying for 100 spots. The majority of the applicants “heard about the festival through word of mouth,” Baker said. “That shows we have a strong reputation in the artistic community.” While artists often rave about how they are treated in Bowling Green, the key element to attracting them to the festival is sales. They want to be assured there’s a market for their wares. Those sales at the Black Swamp fest have rebounded to about $2,600 since the depths of the recession. That’s good enough for the festival to place 67th in Sunshine Artist magazine’s ranking of fine arts and crafts shows in the country. While other area shows dropped off the list in the lean years, the Black Swamp fest has help steady. Bringing in new artists is important, Baker said, because it gives something fresh for festivalgoers to buy. “People appreciate new things to buy for Christmas,” said Linda Lentz, a member of the visual arts committee. Also, Baker noted, many artists on the art fair circuit are getting older. A number of them have already retired from other careers. Now they are doing fewer shows or dropping off the circuit all together. “We’re starting to see younger people coming to the festival,” she said. “Some have come in and been award winners.” That includes Kentucky-based woodcut printmaker Chris Plummer and area jeweler Amy Beeler, from Oregon. Plummer won Best of Show honors last year and in 2013. Beeler won the top award in 2014. The festival hands out more than $5,300 in juried prizes. Having returning artists is also important, Baker said. Often people will start by buying lower priced items from an artist, and as they develop a relationship, buy more expensive pieces. Those returning artists develop a strong rapport with their customers, she said. The Wood Count Invitational Art Show is open to exhibitors living within 30 miles of Bowling Green. This year, 68 artists applied for the 50 spots, said Andrew McPherson, who coordinates the show. “We have a large number of return applications,” he said, “so we’ll have the crowd favorites.” But, McPherson added, “we’re looking to mix in some new people, too.” He said that given all the visitors coming in from out of town, it’s important to give local artists exposure. “It wouldn’t be the same without local representation.”…


Public bugged by Zika invited to program tonight

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 20 Ohioans have been diagnosed with Zika Virus this year. But local residents need not worry about mosquitoes in their backyards or area parks spreading the virus. Local residents with concerns about Zika are invited to a presentation tonight at 7, in the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. The program will be hosted by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, and presented by Wood County Health District epidemiologist Connor Rittwage and health educator Jennifer Campos. “It’s for anybody curious about it,” Rittwage said. “We’ll take as many questions as we can.” But Zika Virus is nothing for local residents to be stressed about, he added. “Our level of worry has not changed too much. It’s something to definitely watch. But the chances of it developing in Wood County are very low.” Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, and has spread through much of the Caribbean, Central America and South America. So far, there have been no reported cases of Zika virus transmitted by mosquito bites in the U.S. In fact, there is no evidence anywhere in the continental U.S. of the type of mosquitoes known to transmit Zika, Rittwage said. However, 934 cases have been reported in travelers returning to the U.S. from Zika affected countries – including 22 cases in Ohio. And 13 cases have been reported to have been sexually transmitted in the U.S., with one in Ohio. “Travel is still a huge component,” Rittwage said. Before traveling to another country, Rittwage advised checking with the Centers for Disease Control map. “It’s always important to check if there are any advisories.” The Centers for Disease Control has determined the Zika Virus is much more concerning than initially believed. It is the first time a mosquito bite can cause serious brain injuries to babies, including microcephaly, a birth defect which causes the infant’s head to be small and the brain to not develop properly. So far in the U.S., seven infants have been born with defects associated with Zika. “If you’re going to travel to one of these countries and you can’t postpone it,” Rittwage suggested the following precautions: Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Sleeping under a mosquito bed net if outside and not able to protect against mosquito bites. Wearing EPA registered insect repellents.  All EPA registered insect repellents have been evaluated for effectiveness. Always follow the product label instructions. Reapply repellent as instructed. Do not spray insect repellent underneath clothing. Apply sunscreen to skin first, then insect repellent. Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age. Treating clothing and gear with permethrin or purchasing permethrin-treated items.  Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings. Avoiding mosquito exposure for three weeks after return from travel. Dumping standing water every 3-5 days . For those people returning to Ohio from countries where Zika is transmitted, Rittwage advised them to minimize exposure to mosquitoes here for about three weeks to avoid transferring the illness. Men are also cautioned to use condoms to not transmit the disease sexually. In some adults, the virus has been linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare disease that can cause temporary paralysis, sometimes leading…


Veterans hit the trail on Warrior Hike seeking peace

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A Bowling Green native has embarked on a long-haul hike intended to help military veterans walk off the war. Marine veteran Martin Strange, 32, started his Warrior Expedition last week. With hiking partner, Army veteran Sterling Deck, Strange will circumnavigate the state of Ohio, taking about three months to cover the 1,444 miles. Warrior Expeditions was started about four years ago by Sean Gobin. After deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Gobin set out to walk the 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Strange said Gobin gained so much from the experience he founded Warrior Expeditions to offer the same experience to other veterans. There are options for hiking, paddling and bicycling. In trekking the Appalachian Trail, he was following the footsteps of a veteran of an older generation. Coming home from World War II, Earl Shaffer became the first person to hike the length of the trail. Strange served four years in the U.S. Marines as a machine gunner. The Bowling Green High graduate enlisted at 21. “I felt life had my back to the wall,” he said. This was his way “to push back and jump off a cliff and see what happens. That’s what the Marine Corps infantry was to me.” Strange was deployed twice to Iraq. When he was discharged in 2009, he went on and served as security for the State Department, working in Kabul, Afghanistan. “I’m a completely different person from when I joined up,” Strange said. “And grown since I got out.” Strange, son of former BG residents Carney and Dorothyann Strange, went on to study wildlife management at Hocking College, but that lost its appeal after a few years. He was drawn to the Warrior Hike by his love of outdoors. Even before starting the long hike, he’d spent three months sleeping in his hammock, homeless by choice, he said. “Certainly not destitute.” Gobin interviewed Strange over Skype to see if he was right for the adventure. He and Deck were paired up. They’d never met before starting out. The program provides the participants with all the gear they need, food to start out and a stipend to purchase more along the trail. Some areas are remote, but generally the trail in never more than a few miles from a town. Strange said that a conservative estimate on the cost of the trip would be well over $3,000. Strange and Deck headed north out of Cincinnati, moving clockwise around Ohio. They are the first Warrior Hikers to take this Ohio route. “We’re Guinea pigs.” The schedule calls for them to be in Bowling Green on July 30, but that could vary. Carrying about 30 pounds, they expect to hike 10 to 17 miles a day. But there’s some flexibility so they may take a day off while in Bowling Green, he said. The hike, Strange said, “helps get an outside perspective.” After being out for a few years he’s started to adjust to civilian life and realizing “I don’t have to be in a Marine mindset 24-7.” “I’m still working on that,” Strange said. The hike will “give me the time to sit back and think, and that’s what a lot of guys don’t get a chance to do. We get out and we’re going 100 miles…


Wood County jail may start housing Toledo inmates

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Justice Center may have the key to Toledo’s inmate issues. That means the county jail in Bowling Green may soon be housing up to 25 people a day arrested in Toledo for misdemeanors. According to Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, Toledo officials turned south to this county after an ongoing feud over charges to the city from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio near Stryker. “They were looking at their options,” Wasylyshyn said on Saturday. The sheriff said the Wood County jail could house at least 25 misdemeanor inmates for $65 a day, plus an initial booking fee. That is the same amount charged for overflow inmates from other neighboring counties. “I told them I could easily handle 25,” Wasylyshyn said. “I didn’t want to over-count – so we have room for our inmates.” However, the sheriff said that number from Toledo could possibly grow since the recently completed expansion of minimum security housing at the Wood County Justice Center has created the room for 224 inmates overall at the jail. As of last Friday, the county jail had 142 inmates. Based on the low estimate of 25 inmates from Toledo a day, the county jail could bring in an extra $600,000 a year, Wasylyshyn said. “It’s good for Wood County,” he said. “We have the bed space, so it’s a great thing for Wood County to get some of the money back that was spent on the expansion.” Prior to the expansion, which was estimated at around $3 million and which included more than the inmate housing areas, the jail had 149 beds. The deal with Wood County Justice Center may work for Toledo for a variety of reasons. First, the county jail on East Gypsy Lane Road in Bowling Green, is quite a bit closer to Toledo than Stryker, and costs less per day per inmate. Second, the city is in the midst of a dispute with the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio and Lucas County over jail costs. The city of Toledo reportedly missed a July 1 deadline to pay a $1.3 million quarterly bill for its share of beds at the jail. By intentionally failing to pay the bill for 228 of the facility’s 638 beds, the city may be setting the scene to withdraw from using the regional jail. The jail agreement reportedly states that entities that default on payments longer than 60 days will not be able to house inmates there. Wasylyshyn said Toledo’s failure to pay the bill at Stryker does not worry him. “No not at all,” he said, adding that Toledo will be required to pay monthly, rather than quarterly as at Stryker. “I’m not concerned about that.” This latest move by Toledo officials came after the city won the most recent round in an ongoing battle against Lucas County over incarceration costs. Last month, a judge upheld the city’s charging policy that holds the county responsible for jail costs of defendants arrested by Toledo police. The costs of individuals charged under state law with misdemeanors in Maumee, Oregon, and Sylvania municipal courts — but not Toledo Municipal Court — are reportedly already paid by Lucas County. Once an agreement between Toledo and the Wood County Justice Center is drawn up, it must…


Zoning change allows The Beat to go on

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With some fancy footwork, Bowling Green Planning Commission tweaked the city’s zoning code to allow a dance studio to build a new facility in the Bellard Business Park. Bowling Green Economic Development Executive Director Sue Clark asked that the M-3 zoning classification be expanded to allow for a dance studio. Clark explained to the planning commission Wednesday evening that The Beat dance program has been asked to leave its current location at 1060 N. Main St., in order to make room for another tenant. Clark said she looked at several possible sites with the client, but could not find a suitable home for the business which has about 200 students and needs parking for 30 to 35 vehicles at a time. So the owner, Colleen Murphy, has decided to build instead. “We have done an extensive search for appropriate properties to build on and this location keeps surfacing as the best fit,” Clark said in a letter to the city planning office. “I showed her a lot of places,” Clark said Wednesday evening. “She kept coming back to Bellard.” Several of the dance students live in Perrysburg, according to Clark. “She really wanted to stay on the north end of town.” The business purchased the northernmost two acres of the business park near the corner of Newton and Brim roads, and is planning to build a facility of about 7,300 square feet. “We think this will be compatible,” with the area, Clark said. But under the current zoning code, it is not permitted. The zoning code allowed indoor sports training facilities, defined as for baseball, basketball, batting cages, boxing, cheerleading, gymnastics, martial arts, soccer and volleyball courts. The language specifically rules out ice and roller skating rinks, bowling alleys, racquet and tennis clubs, paintball arenas, billiard halls, archery and shooting ranges. Dance and yoga classes, as well as health and fitness clubs were previously on the list of not permitted activities, but were moved to the permitted list with the planning commission action Wednesday evening. Also at the meeting, Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler reported the city has issued 172 zoning permits so far this year, compared to 189 for the same period last year. The city has approved 19 single-family homes, compared to 16 last year. Permits for two commercial projects and one institutional project have also been issued this year.


Recent killings, by police, of police, show system in critical condition, criminal justice scholar says

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Phil Stinson, Bowling Green State University professor in criminal justice, was in Washington D.C. working on a confidential project for the U.S. Justice Department. A leading expert in policing he spent his days in a windowless room. Still the news about two more killings of black men by police officers penetrated the meeting room. And then late Thursday, the news broke of five Dallas police officers gunned down by a sniper. The incident, which occurred at the conclusion of a peaceful protest, ended with the gunman dead after a standoff with the police. Was Stinson shocked by this? “Everything is business as usual,” he said. And that’s not good. “Everything’s the same. We’re in a powder keg situation. … It’s a mess and the hot summer doesn’t help.” With the advent of social media “we’ve reached a tipping point,” Stinson said. That was clear with the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in Ferguson, Missouri. It continued with a steady stream of incidents, including the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Monday, and then the killing of Philando Castile in a Minneapolis suburb. While videos may document these incidents, Stinson said, they don’t provide a solution. “I honestly think the police in many parts of the country, especially urban areas … are engaged in combat policing,” he said. “They’ve come to think over time that they are dealing with people who are the enemy. They certainly treat black males as if they were the enemy. That’s a huge problem. Not only is there a fear of crime, but there’s a fear of black people.” These officers come into a traffic stop like the one in Minneapolis or the encounter like the one in Baton Rouge, “all amped up.” The way Alton Sterling was body-slammed shows that. “They wouldn’t do that to you or me. It’s just nuts.” Stinson added: “You can’t shoot police officers. We can’t have that.” He saw that in a Facebook post from a former student now in law enforcement in Texas. “He was posting this vile stuff,” Stinson said. “He should not go to work. He’s all fired up and angry. That’s not good when we already have people on edge thinking they’re going to be blown away.” Stinson also senses a lack of leadership in the civil rights movement, and the need for the kind of creative non-violence used in the 1960s. Violence is only going to deflect attention from the root causes, he said. Part of the problem has been the lack of reliable numbers about how many people are killed by police every year. Stinson said that he’s cobbled together numbers from the Center for Disease Control and the Justice Department, and for the past 18 months the Washington Post has been collecting a database of such deaths. The news organization’s findings are “consistent with what I always thought,” he said. “People are killed by police about 1,000 times a year.” Stinson continued: “That’s 2.7 a day. That’s a lot of people. … It may well be as prosecutors and  investigators say that almost every one is legally justified, but there’s something wrong in this country when police are killing a 1,000 people a year. I’m not…


Applebee’s pulls zoning variance request in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For Bowling Green residents hungry for an Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar in the city, this may not be good news. Applebee’s filed for a zoning variance in June to allow for more parking spots at a potential location on South Main Street. But that request for a variance has been pulled, according to Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler. “It was out of the blue,” Sayler said, adding that she was not told why the engineering firm, Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., withdrew the request. Calls by BG Independent News to the engineering firm in Chicago were not returned. But Sayler said she has gotten mixed messages from the engineering firm, with the city planning office being told to “keep on hold” the request filed for a zoning permit for the restaurant. “I wish I knew more, but I don’t,” Sayler said on Friday. The withdrawal of the variance request was on the agenda of the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals’ meeting on July 13. The casual dining restaurant had requested a variance to allow more parking spots than now permitted at a site at 1175 S. Main St., near Home Depot on the south edge of the city. The request sought a variance to allow 11 parking spaces that would have encroached 5 feet into the required 5-foot setback to the north and east. “The city has definitely been in communication” with representatives of Applebee’s, Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said last month. Sayler had been working with an Applebee’s representative to find a location for the restaurant, he said. “They definitely have been showing interest,” the mayor said of Applebee’s. “They were looking at different sites,” specifically along East Wooster Street near Interstate 75, Edwards said. But the restaurant chain seemed more interested in the South Main Street location, closer to U.S. 6 traffic.  


Glass mosaic would add sparkle & shade to Community Center lobby

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Gail Christofferson’s community mosaics are made from thousands of bits of glass, and by thousands of hours of work by hundreds of community members. Some will trim and sort thumbnail-size bits of glass. Some will glue those down in preordained patterns. And some to create those designs. When all is done, Christofferson hopes to have as many as 50 20-inch-by-20-inch glass mosaic panels. Those panels will provide an artistic solution to a problem at the Bowling Green Community Center’s lobby. Now, explains Kristen Otley, the director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, at certain times of day in certain seasons, the staff members working at the main desk are blinded by the sunshine.  That makes it difficult for those trying to serve the public during those times. Right now there are shades up. But Otley envisioned something else. She knew Christofferson from the workshops the artist has presented for Parks and Recreation. In 2011 and 2012 Christofferson facilitated the creation of a mural at the new Otsego Elementary school. Since then she’s turned to glass work full time and worked on about more 10 mosaic projects, as well as smaller work notably her mosaic guitars. Otley said they talked about it for a couple years. It always came down to where the money would come from. They decided to team up with the Kiwanis Club, and working with Alisha Nenadovich, they requested funds from the Bowling Green Community Foundation. It’s the kind of project the foundation likes, Otley said. Something that involves the whole community. The mosaic project was awarded a $5,000 grant. That’s enough for 20 panels, Christofferson said. “Visually my ideal is 50 squares.” She hopes to find donors to sponsor a square or two or several. The price is for $250 a single square with the price per square declining to five squares for $1,000. She plans to send out a fundraising appeal in the fall. After the summer, she’ll be able further gauge how far along the project is. Those sponsoring the panels, can design them, subject to approval of Otley and the artist. (Logos are not permitted.) They can also help put them together. The assembly is a community endeavor. That part of the project was kicked off at Art in the Park in June. The design began earlier. Christofferson worked with high school art students to design some panels.  Several designs had to be rejected because they made explicit references to companies, and a few were too complicated to execute in a community setting. But a number will find their way into the project. Christofferson then transfers the designs to plates of tempered glass. She marks out the areas and what color glass will go in that area. Much of the glass is scrap acquired from Bigelow Glass in Findlay. That the project has this element of recycling and reuse makes it all the more fitting for the city, she said. The Conneaut Art Club helped with sorting the pieces of glasses and nipping them to the proper size. That’s a job that needs a lot of hands to accomplish. “If I did all that, my hands would probably fall off.” Then when it comes time to assemble, she applies an adhesive, and people patch together jigsaw…


‘We run, we get shot. We stay still, we get shot.’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As well intentioned white people sat around the table expressing varying degrees of outrage over the latest shootings of black men by white law enforcement officers, Ana Brown had to interject. “As the only black person in the room,” Brown wanted them to know how she felt. “I’m tired. As black people, we are so tired. We are tired of black people being hashtags.” During Thursday’s meeting of the Bowling Green Not In Our Town organization, Brown shared the story of a black student who was recently pulled over because of a clerical error. The student was surrounded by police with guns drawn, then handcuffed. “That would not happen to me,” said Cindy Baum, who is white. “We run, we get shot. We stay still, we get shot,” Brown said. The Not In Our Town meeting gave people a chance to discuss the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota this week, and to ask local law enforcement how things can go so horribly wrong. “This is the place we talk about this stuff,” said Rev. Gary Saunders, of NIOT. The shootings brought a couple new people to the meeting this week. One was seeking answers. “After the recent events, I can’t sit back anymore,” Baum said. “It is pretty remarkable how much of this is happening over and over and over again. Something has to change.” Others said the issue isn’t new, just the proliferation of videos from cell phones. “Thank goodness,” Baum said. Despite their frustration, there was a realization that the public only sees fragments from video footage. “Right now we don’t know all the facts,” said Lt. Dan Mancuso, of the Bowling Green Police Division. “We’re getting bits and pieces reported from the media.” “There’s more to the story,” agreed Bowling Green State University Police Chief Monica Moll. But Moll also said it’s hard to deny that a problem exists. “It’s tough when you see a group of incidents, when you know there is something wrong,” she said. Moll said she believes the problems are fed by irrational biases on both sides of the issue. “They are motivated out of fear rather than hate.” Because of past experiences, many blacks are suspicious of police, and many police approach blacks with their own biases. “It takes a second,” for something to go wrong, Moll said. But she did add that when things go wrong, “Police bear the brunt of the responsibility. They are the ones with the power.” As a white person, NIOT member Julie Broadwell said she has never feared for her safety when stopped by police. “I have never had to worry about being shot,” she said. Because she doesn’t have a history of being treated poorly, Broadwell probably acts differently when stopped by police, Moll surmised. But black people who have had bad experiences with police naturally react differently. “Many officers interpret that as resistance,” Moll said. Baum questioned the need for the levels of force used by police in such instances as the most recent shootings. Can’t police just shoot someone in the leg if they feel threatened, she asked. No, Mancuso said. “One, it’s not easy. And two, it doesn’t stop the threat,” he explained. “You are trained to stop the threat,” by shooting in…


Community invited to discuss school buildings

The Bowling Green Board of Education will hold a special meeting on Thursday, July 14, at 7 p.m. at the Middle School Library, 1079 Fairview Ave., Bowling Green.  This is a Community Focus Workshop of the Board, with the purpose of the meeting to provide an update and solicit feedback about the Ohio Facilities Construction Committee (OFCC) Master Plan report. No action is expected to be taken.