Community

BG Council approves plan for largest solar field in Ohio

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The future is looking pretty bright for Bowling Green’s solar field project, with city council voting unanimously Monday evening to approve plans to install the largest solar field in Ohio. Concerns were expressed by a neighbor of the site about the loss of prime farmland. But her concerns were not enough to throw shade on the project. “This looks like a really good addition to the Bowling Green energy portfolio,” said council member Bob McOmber. “I don’t see any minuses with this.” The solar project had been stalled since last summer. Now, if all goes as planned, an estimated 2,900 homes in the city will be powered by sunlight starting next year. “I appreciate the project moving forward. Environmentally, it’s a good thing,” council member Bruce Jeffers said. “I’m really happy to see this happen.” The solar field is expected to produce more power than originally planned. The initial plan called for 110 acres to be used on the city’s 317 acres located at the southeast corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of the city limits. The city was in line to get 10.5 megawatts from the solar field, according to Brian O’Connell, director of utilities for BG. However, instead of fixed mounted panels, the new plan calls for single axis tracker panels, which will rotate and follow the path of the sun as it moves through the sky. The rotating panels will take up 35 more acres and cost more to install, but they will increase power production, he said. The solar field will generate 20 megawatts, with Bowling Green getting 13.74 megawatts of the power for its customers. With the addition of the solar power to the existing wind and hydro sources already used by the city, Bowling Green will get close to 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources starting in 2017, O’Connell said. “It certainly is a good thing for the city,” council president Mike Aspacher said. The solar field was initially planned for the western section of the city’s farm acreage. However, to reduce disruption and concerns for neighbors, the solar panels will be constructed in the middle of the acreage, with farmland left on both the east and west ends. However, neighboring farmer Carol Riker expressed concerns about the loss of quality farmland, the route of the transmission lines, noise, lighting and drainage. “We’re…


BG named among top 10 best cities for families

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green has been named one of the 10 Best Cities for Families in 2016. The rating was given by Livability.com, which ranks America’s cities on scales for golf, foodies, college towns, most accessible and more. Mayor Dick Edwards announced the ranking Monday evening during a council meeting. “That bodes well for us,” he said, listing the parks, schools and safety services as some of the reasons for the city’s high rating. “I’m going to start using that tomorrow,” said council member Sandy Rowland, who is a Realtor. Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said the city did not apply for the award – the website selected it. “It communicates what kind of community we have,” Fawcett said of the award. Livability.com used specific criteria to select the cities considered best for families. “The communities we choose to live in as we raise children are arguably the most important, as they tend to be some of the places we live the longest,” Livability.com stated. So the website created this 10-best list to offer examples of cities that are good places to raise children. “Many of the key reasons Americans move revolve around doing what’s best for their families. We move at certain key stages – as we get married, as we have kids, as our kids become old enough for school, and as our kids head off to college,” the website said. The rankings are based on several criteria. “We crunched the data. We looked at the quality of the schools, the crime rate, and measures of the quality of healthcare and economy. We gave points to communities that are walkable, diverse, have lots of parks and active children’s sections in their libraries. We favored communities with shorter commute times (so working parents can be home more and on the road less) and larger populations of other kids to play with.” Bowling Green was also given high marks for affordability and accessibility. The city is “surprisingly affordable.” The average cost of a house is a little more than $129,000, compared to the national average of $188,900, according to Livability.com. The city’s cost of living is also lower than the national average. Bowling Green’s unemployment rate is 2 percent lower than the national rate, and job growth is on the upswing, the website stated. The city also has one of the shortest average commutes of the cities…


Lisa Hanasono honored statewide & at BGSU for her work promoting diversity

From BG OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Lisa Hanasono’s work is founded in the integration of research and teaching and lived out in her commitment to the community. In recognition of her engagement of students with such important issues as promoting unity, diversity and inclusion, Hanasono, an assistant professor of communication, received a 2016 David Hoch Memorial Award for Excellence in Service. The award was presented by Ohio Campus Compact, a nonprofit membership organization of 41 Ohio colleges and universities working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education. The Hoch award honors the outstanding work in service-learning and/or civic engagement by a faculty or staff member at an Ohio Campus Compact member institution. In addition to the Hoch award, Hanasono has also been selected to receive the College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Award for 2016, again in recognition of her putting into practice her research and pedagogical interests in diversity and inclusivity. Collectively, Hanasono’s teaching, research and service activities work together to strategically develop, deliver and evaluate the effectiveness of community engagement projects and initiatives that advance diversity at BGSU and beyond. Drawing from her research expertise on discrimination, advocacy and social support, she worked with community partners and students to design, launch and assess BG4Unity, a community-based service-learning project. BG4Unity encourages people to use social media responsibly to advocate against hate and engage in community building. Undergraduate students enrolled in Hanasono’s Persuasion courses partnered with local organizations and applied course concepts to raise community members’ awareness about the prevalence and danger of cyberbullying and online discrimination, motivate people to join BG4Unity to demonstrate their solidarity against hate, and inspire people to use social media to spread messages of hope and support to those coping with discrimination. She and her students used Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to encourage BGSU and community members to use social media to promote diversity and challenge stereotypes. Over the past year, Hanasono and her students partnered with BGSU and community organizations such as the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE), Not in Our Town (NIOT), the Graduate Student Senate and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Recognizing the importance of combining social media advocacy with face-to-face community outreach initiatives, they attended several key events to spread the word and invite people to get involved with BG4Unity, such as the Black Issues Conference, the 19th State of the State Conference on…


Cinco de Mayo is a loud & proud celebration of Mexican heritage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Gloria Pizana and her family didn’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo when they grew up in Pemberville. Their celebrations of the Mexican heritage were private – birthdays, holidays, all had their own Latin twist. Now Pizana, as a member of Bowling Green’s Human Relations Commission, organizes the Cinco de Mayo celebration which was held Sunday. As she spoke the sound of Mexican music echoed through the corridors of the Woodland Mall. “I never had this,” she said. “Having grown up in Northwest Ohio you think you’re the only one. You have a few cousins. No one ever talks about your culture, who you are. You’re isolated, and the history books never mention it.” That’s why she feels it’s so important that Bowling Green has held this celebration for 24 years. It started, Pizana said, when then Mayor Wes Hoffman approached Marsha Oliveraz about what the city could do to recognize Latino culture. The result was the Cinco de Mayo celebration. That’s a bit ironic because, as Pizana notes, the holiday that celebrates the Mexican repulsion of a French invasion in 1862, isn’t really celebrated much in Mexico. Still this became a time for area Hispanics to celebrate their roots and culture. That’s important, Pizana said. “I say it’s the most important history. To know who your ancestors are is to know who you are today because of what they went through. It’s showing respect and appreciation for your ancestors. You need to take pride in who you are. The more you know about your family the more there’s that self-pride. That’s why we do this. I want my grandchildren to know, I want everyone to know.” Everyone should celebrate their ethnic heritage, and she’d like to see Bowling Green host powwows and events to celebrate other ethnic groups. Her great-grandparents were from Mexico. Her parents traveled back and forth between Northwest Ohio and Texas to harvest crops for many years before settling here in 1954. The display tables included her family tree among those of several other families. That included the Estrada family. Jacob Estrada led the band that opened up the festivities with a variety of Mexican pop tunes. Pizana’s brother Juan Enriquez had organized the tables, about half of which were devoted to Latinos, including himself and his brothers, who had served in the military. He is on a mission to celebrate winners…


City office building bursting at its ill-fitting seams

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The city administration building is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. No, it’s more like several square pegs trying to squeeze into that circular space. The building, at 304 N. Church St., started its life more than a century ago as a school, then was molded into a library, and in 1976 became the city administration building. So while its age poses some problems, the bigger issue is that the building was designed for educating children, not for administering city services. The result is a 17,000 square foot building with cramped offices, maze-like spaces and cobbled together technology. For years now, city leaders have discussed the possibility of a different municipal building, with the debate continuing on whether it should be a new building or a renovated existing site. Most seem to favor the offices staying downtown. But one conclusion that doesn’t get much debate is the need for different space. First, there’s the age issue. About 20 noisy air handlers are crammed between the original ceilings and the drop ceilings. Ultraviolet lights and air purifiers are used to reduce the mold problem. “It’s good mold, but mold none the less,” said Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said. Workers often find a powdery white coating from the drop ceilings on their desks, according to Public Works Director Brian Craft. “I thought it was snowing in my office the other day,” Fawcett said. Across the hall in the personnel and clerk of council office, sloping floors cause a problem. One employee couldn’t use a plastic sheet under her office chair because of the uneven floor. “She’d roll backward” and had to constantly pull herself back to her desk, said Personnel Director Barb Ford. And power access is less than ideal, with masses of cords plugged into inconvenient locations. The old construction is not energy efficient, with the south side sweltering in the afternoon sun while the north side of the building is freezing, Craft said. “There are literally days when the air conditioning is running when the boiler is on,” he said. And speaking of the boiler, “Big Bertha,” as she is nicknamed, is “horribly inefficient,” Craft said. He likened the 60-year-old boiler to a Model T car. And like other areas of the city building, officials are reluctant to invest money in updates if the building will be…


PathStone paves way to success for young adults

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Amber Wild arrived in Bowling Green last year. Pregnant with no place to go, she headed east from Washington State to stay with a friend. She didn’t have a permanent place to live, had a juvenile record and was pregnant. She was “couch surfing.” Then Wild contacted PathStone in Bowling Green. The private social service and employment agency helped her get a place to live, she said. They helped her find an obstetrician. Helped her find a fast food job and set her up with training to become a State Tested Nursing Assistant. Helped her sign up to get food assistance. PathStone helped with the day-to-day needs as well, providing her with mattresses and dishes. All that she needs, Wild said, “so I can raise my kid correctly.” “They’re definitely more laid back,” Wild said. “They tried to help with everything you might need help with. They don’t limit themselves. I think that’s a good thing. They helped put me on the right path, so I could do what I wanted to do.” PathStone, which is part of a national non-for-profit human services and community development organization with headquarters in Rochester, New York, opened up shop in Bowling Green in January. At first the office was open part time and shared space behind Panera Bread with the Children’s Resource Center. As of Sunday, PathStone has taken over the lease and is open full time, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. off the parking lot behind 143 S. Main St. Operating with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, PathStone aims to provide a range of services for Bowling Green residents age 14 through 24. Niki Schroeder, regional administrator, said residency extends to university students, teens in foster care and inmates incarcerated at the Wood County Justice Center or Juvenile Detention Center. PathStone now has 54 participants, she said. It has funding for 125 through the end of December, when the program hopes to get renewed funding for another two years. For those 17 and under, she said, the emphasis is on education. That could mean help completing high school. The center provides correspondence courses through the Wood County Educational Services Center for students who need to make up courses they failed. Computers are available onsite, so students can work on the online courses that Bowling Green and Otsego offer for…


Plant exchange helps gardeners blossom

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The tables lined with plants were like a smorgasbord for people hungry to start their spring planting. The fifth annual Wood County Plant Exchange this morning at the county fairgrounds offered gardeners a chance to trade plantings that may have overgrown in their yards, and pick up new plants to try. There were trees, shrubs, herbs, vegetables, berries, seeds, bulbs, ground covers, grass, daylilies, hostas and vines. There were plants that are fast spreading, and those that thrive in shade and sun. “I’m very excited. This is really cool,” said Pat Snyder, of Grand Rapids, who was stocking up on canna lilies and a spider plant. “And my daughter is dragging something around.” Some of the plants weren’t much to look at. But people with green thumbs were able to look beyond the scraggly appearance to see the potential of the plants. “I had no idea it was this big of a deal, and it had this many kinds of plants,” said Jan Lyon, of Bowling Green.  She brought hostas that she traded for myrtle. “I’ve been giving them away to everyone I can think of,” she said of the hostas. Lyon said she would definitely return next spring for more. “I’ll build up my muscles for next year.” With her arms, bags and boxes full of plants, Yvonne Martinez, of Bowling Green, had her day cut out for her. “My husband’s getting started already. He’s digging holes,” Martinez said as she finished rounding up the blackeyed susans, lilies, cactus, marigold seeds and much more. She traded in several cannus plants, which her husband grew tired of, and enlisted the help of her sister and mom for planting her exchanges. Lyn Long, of Bowling Green, came to the exchange looking for dahlias. She didn’t find any, so she settled on some daisies, blackeyed susans, a tomato plant, and three different kinds of pepper plants. “When they start producing, I’ll figure out what they are,” Long said, smiling. David Ingmire, of Wood County Master Gardeners, said the plant exchange gives people an opportunity to share their extra plants and find something new for their yards. It’s also a chance for budding gardeners to learn from experts on which plants and live peacefully together and which ones fight for space. They also heard from experts on topics such as fairy gardens, terrariums, succulents and…


Water and sewer lines stretched to most of county….now challenge is maintaining them

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years now, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District has stretched water and sewer lines to the last communities to get services in Wood County. Now, the problem is maintaining all those miles of underground lines. This year, the water and sewer district has identified $8.5 million in water projects and $17 million in sewer projects that need work. Most of those costs for sewers are for maintaining existing lines and pump stations. And much of the water costs are for increasing water quality by looping lines and putting in aeration, according to district engineer Tom Stalter, who gave a report Thursday to the Wood County Commissioners. “They don’t bring us anymore customers,” but the improvements strengthen services, Stalter said of the maintenance projects. The district is currently working on extending Bowling Green water to Bloomdale, in the southeastern corner of the county. “So we can abandon that decrepit water plant,” Stalter said of the aging Bloomdale plant. The village is plagued with very high sulfur, he said. Recently, a water line break occurred while Stalter was in Bloomdale. “You could smell where the water break was.” The waterline is currently under construction, and will make Bowling Green water available to people along the route. “We’ll reach out to all the folks along the line to see if they want to connect,” Stalter said. With the increasing concerns about water quality, the district is also planning to add more bulk water stations in the county, in places like Middleton Township and near the Chrysler plant in Perrysburg Township. “We sell a lot of water that way,” Stalter said. One of the major waterline maintenance projects this year involves the aging East Broadway line in northern Wood County. The problem area is 13 miles of concrete waterline in Perrysburg Township and Rossford. The concrete line is about 40 years old, “and it does start to rot and corrode.” Stalter said a lot of leaks are occurring along the line. “This could be a large liability for us if it failed.” The plan is to insert a hardening liner inside the concrete line to keep it from leaking. Overall the district is experiencing a 20 percent water loss from its lines, so a program is being set up to address the problems. Since the district doesn’t have its own water treatment system, but buys…


Nominations sought for bicycle ‘spokes’person

The Bowling Green Bicycle Safety Commission is sponsoring the 16th annual Bicycle Spokesperson of the Year award. Nomination forms for this annual award are now available at the City Administration Building, Community Center, Simpson Building and the City’s website. Any Bowling Green citizen can be nominated who exemplifies the spirit of bicycling through involvement in biking, bike safety or bike-related activities. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, May 13. For questions or more information call the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department at (419) 354-6225.


Giving the gift of music to unlock memories

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Music is being used to unlock the memories of some senior citizens in Bowling Green. And with the help of some young college students, many more of the seniors will soon be listening to jazz, gospel, classical, or whatever they please. “For those who have dementia, sometimes they have a hard time communicating,” said Brooke Harrison, administrator at Bowling Green Manor. But music can be the magic that allows them to grasp some of those missing memories. “There are a lot of memories tied to music,” said Andrea Daley, resident service coordinator at BG Manor. “You can actually notice an immediate change” in some seniors when they put on headphones and listen to tunes. A Human Development and Family Studies class at Bowling Green State University focused on adult development and aging this past semester. With professor Laura Landry Meyer, the class learned about music and memory, and heard about an innovative therapy approach at BG Manor which used music. The students were moved by the program and wanted to help it grow. So they collected iPods, headphones and monetary donations with the original goal of raising $250. They far exceeded their goal – collecting $713, nine iPods and 10 headphones for the senior facility. Erica Rybak, a student in the class, explained that she and her classmates were so moved by a video they watched of a man with dementia whose memory was unlocked by music from his past. “This man totally lit up. He was so happy. He had tears streaming down his face,” Rybak said. “It was very special.” Though non-communicative for years, the music allowed him to talk about those he cared about. “He spoke about his family,” she said. “That was the inspiration behind all this.” Meyer said using music in such a way can allow seniors to reach back and find long lost memories. “It increases the quality of life for residents,” she said. Meyer explained that Alzheimer’s Disease eats away at connections in the brain, and somehow music can bridge those gaps. “Music jumps over dead pockets to reconnect places in the brain,” she said. The gift of music to BG Manor residents on Thursday also included a performance by some members of the BGSU Marching Band led by classmate Tiffany Payne.


BG strong and ready to take on challenges of 2016

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is making great strides in sustainable energy, has seen consistent job growth, and is making progress on some of the stickier issues in the community, Mayor Dick Edwards told the audience at the annual State of the City held this morning. And though some difficult issues await the city this year, the community is up to the challenge. “I often find myself reflecting why the mechanisms and processes of government in Bowling Green seem to work so well over the years,” Edwards said at the chamber sponsored event in the county library. “In my view, and one that is commonly held, it is the continuing ability to work together, to find solutions to perceived needs that seem to work and to think ahead, to anticipate needs.” The mayor praised the economic health of Bowling Green. “Our job growth continues to be one of the most robust of any city in the region and is integrally related to the city’s fiscal health,” Edwards said. He spoke of progress in the city’s effort to use renewable energy, saying the city will soon have “the largest solar field of any city in Ohio.” But challenges lie ahead. “We have a very full plate these days and some special challenges.” Those include: The “absolute must” passage of the park levy. The East Wooster Street corridor plan. Housing and neighborhood revitalization. Vehicular and pedestrian safety and the “new face” for the city at the new Interstate 75 interchange. Maintenance of a vibrant downtown. Finding a new home for municipal government offices in the downtown. Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter talked about the safety and quality of life in the city – much of it funded through the city income tax. The 2 percent income tax, which supports the general fund and the sewer and water capital fund, has grown from $15.6 million in 2011 to $19.2 million this year. “Bowling Green businesses are doing well and employment is robust,” Tretter said. But the increase in the income tax revenue has been countered by the decrease in Local Government Funds and the elimination of estate taxes. Tretter asked City Finance Director Brian Bushong to characterize the health of the city finances, to which he replied, “the outlook is stable with cautious optimism.” The city has several projects planned for 2016, including utility improvements and other infrastructure work….


Never too young to start fighting off effects of old age

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Age may only be a number, but as one ages, a number of things start breaking down.  Bones get more brittle, memories may start fading and mobility may lessen. But rather than giving up to the effects of aging, seniors in Bowling Green were invited Wednesday to “Your Highway to Health, 50-plus Health and Wellness Expo” at the Community Center. “We want to encourage people to be as active as they can be,” Andrea Miller, an intern with the Parks and Recreation Department, said as she checked in registrants. The more active and involved people are, the more they experience a better quality of life and a longer life, Miller said. Some of the exhibitors at the expo offered items to help keep people in their homes as they age, such as walk-in bath tubs and hand bars for bathrooms. There were booths that encouraged seniors to continue full lives, like the library exhibit with books on walking and hiking, and the County Parks exhibit that touted the health benefits of being outside in nature. There were stations that checked up on medical issues, such as blood pressure and nutrition. And there was information on fitness activities offered through City Parks and Rec, like the “Silver Sneakers” program, pickleball, yoga and Zumba. “It’s a good time to get started,” for any age senior, said Ivan Kovacevic, Recreation Coordinator with the City Parks and Recreation Department. The expo also looked at other needs for seniors, such as social and emotional. Rita Betz, of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said services are offered to keep seniors involved in life. “We’re always providing programs that keep people mentally active, physically active and socially active,” Betz said. “Isolation is what kills people.” The Committee on Aging also assists seniors who want to remain independent in their own homes. “We provide resources for them to stay home, which is where they want to be,” she said. Christen Giblin, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, talked about the emotional needs of seniors. “Depression can happen at any age. Substance abuse can happen at any age. Suicide can happen at any age,” Giblin said. In fact, suicide rates in men over age 40 are seeing an increase, she said. People should be aware that depression is not a side effect of aging, and it should not be…


Meeting special needs of children in BG schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Children with learning disabilities used to be removed from regular classrooms, away from regular curriculum, away from regular kids. When Lorraine Flick started teaching 30 years ago, children with special needs were tucked away from her classroom. “They went away to some other teacher. I never saw them.” That is no longer the case. Those children are taught in the “least restrictive environment.” So many of those students with special needs are now in regular classrooms. “Over the years, we have found that students who are segregated or separated from their peers,” can learn in regular classrooms if given a little extra support, said Flick, a former elementary principal who is now director of children’s services at Wood Lane. How Bowling Green schools meet the needs of these children was discussed Monday evening during a panel discussion on special education for the League of Women Voters. Schools are legally bound to offer education in the “least restrictive environment,” said Bob Yenrick, executive director of pupil services for Bowling Green City Schools. If a child can “access the curriculum” with the extra help of being paired with a “para-professional” in the classroom, then that child does not need to be put in a different class. “We need to make sure we are honoring that least restrictive environment at all times,” Yenrick said. That change has consequences for schools, and challenges for teachers as well as for the children. But those challenges are worth confronting, according to the panel. Schools still have special education teachers, but now they are referred to with the politically correct name of “intervention specialists,” according to Christie Walendzak, special education coordinator with Bowling Green City Schools. The specialists look at every student to make sure they are keeping up with curriculum, and identify the areas a child may need extra help. They try to intervene early so children never qualify for special education services. Those who qualify for special education services are give Individualized Education Plans, addressing their specific needs, Walendzak said. Approximately 535 students in the Bowling Green school system have IEPs. Some families choose to send those students to private schools, which Bowling Green schools then have to fund. Bowling Green tries to reach children early who might need extra help. That means getting to kids before they start kindergarten. “We start when children are 2 ½,”…


2015: A year in review in BG – Your tax dollars at work

(From the City of Bowling Green) For the City of Bowling Green, 2015 wasn’t unlike other years. Provide excellent services to the citizens of Bowling Green in the most cost effective manner possible. Below is a review of significant 2015 projects and a view of how your tax dollars are utilized in the community. Coordinating the replacement and repair of sidewalks was a significant accomplishment of the Public Works Department in 2015. The City’s 50/50 sidewalk program, which is a cost sharing program between the City and property owners, resulted in the replacement or repair of sidewalks on 26 properties in the City. In addition, as the impact of the Columbia Gas natural gas line replacement repairs were realized, the Public Works Department quickly swung into action to monitor the work and advocate for citizens in the construction area. As a result, 30 properties received new sidewalks. All the sidewalk work added up to roughly one mile of sidewalk replacement in 2015. A major responsibility of the Public Works Department is road maintenance. In that area, a significant project was conducted on Poe Road, between Mitchell and North Grove. Improvements included 1.89 miles of paving. Working with state and federal resources, the City contributed $298,000 of the $1.14 million total project cost. Numerous other infrastructure projects were completed in 2015 by the Utilities Department. The Electric Division completed street lighting upgrades to energy efficient LED fixtures on two major corridors – Mercer Road from East Wooster to East Poe Road and West Poe Road from North Main Street to Haskins Road. LED lighting is becoming the standard as older, less efficient High Pressure Sodium lighting is replaced. The Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection Division completed five sewer relining projects. These included certain sewers on Hillcrest, Buttonwood, and Main Street as well as in City Park and City Parking Lot #2. The relining of sewers and manholes is done to prevent infiltration of groundwater into the system and reinforce the strength of the sewer structure that may be damaged by roots, age, or corrosion. Existing combined sewers were replaced on North Grove, between Wooster and West Evers, and on West Evers, between North Grove and Fairview. A major aim of the city is diversification of electric power sources to remain flexible and cost effective. Part of this strategy is utilizing various forms of renewable energy. To that end, the Utilities Department…


New BG soccer fields moving ahead

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Efforts to provide more soccer space in Bowling Green have scored a goal with funds now available to erect a fence between the fields and Haskins Road. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board approved field use policies Tuesday evening, and learned that a fence will be constructed to separate the fields from the nearby road. Four of the 20 acres just south of the community center have been turned into “pristine game fields,” said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. Those fields were planted with grass last year, so the grass should be hearty enough for play this fall. “We do expect them to be in good shape for fall use,” said Tim Stubbs, park facilities coordinator. Stubbs said the original plan for the athletic fields did not include funding for a fence along Haskins Road. However, there is money in the budget this year for a fence, he said. “That’s basically to keep kids from running out into the road and keep balls from bouncing out into the road,” he said. Otley said the fence is necessary. “I totally agree,” she said. “I will personally sleep better tonight knowing that fence is there.” The fence will be vinyl covered black chain link – the same type that surrounds the swimming pool in City Park. A sign reading, “Bowling Green Athletic Fields” will be posted on the fence, Otley said. One issue remains, and that is the city code which limits fences close to roadways to four-feet in height. Stubbs said he plans to take the issue to the zoning board of appeals and ask for a variance. The policies approved by the board for use of the fields state that the space is designed for sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer and volleyball. The site will be used primarily as a game field site for various sport leagues and tournaments. Upon approval of the parks and recreation department, the fields may also be used for sports camps or clinics. The policies document gives the parks and recreation department the first priority for scheduling and usage of the fields. Groups that partner with the department will have top priority, followed by sanctioned clubs/organizations with a non-profit status, and then for profit organizations. The fields may only be used with approval from the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department….