Community

BG police change uniform style after 40 years

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Police Division had probable cause for junking their old style uniforms. Their motive – give the officers something more functional and durable on the job. Police Chief Tony Hetrick explained to city council Monday evening that the department had not updated its uniforms for 40 years. And the French blue pants and old style navy or white shirts were just not functional, and needed to be retired, he said. To show the changes, Sgt. Paul Tyson and Officer Ryan Rosacrans modeled the new navy blue uniforms for council. “It’s a lot more functional uniform,” Hetrick said, noting that reflective portions of the uniform were an added safety feature. And unlike the current uniform rules, which require the sergeants to wear white shirts, the new uniforms will be all navy for all members of the department. White is just too hard to keep clean while patrolling the streets, the chief said. The new uniforms will no longer have the same type of gold buttons, that have to be removed from the shirt after wear, and replaced on a new shirt. That process can take 20 minutes, the chief said. The design was the creation of input by several in the police division. “We wanted something that looked more modern,” Hetrick said. The new uniforms will hit the streets on all police officers by the end of May. Also at Monday’s meeting, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter announced that “Coffee with a Cop” is being hosted by the Not In Our Town organization on March 23, from 8 to 10 a.m., at Tim Horton’s in Bowling Green.      


BG needs input from bicyclists before peddling Complete Streets plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Before Bowling Green peddles out its Complete Streets proposal, officials want to hear from those who pedal the most through the city. Complete Streets is the name given to a national effort to make streets safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. “They consider all modes of transportation,” explained councilman John Zanfardino. “They are created with not just cars in mind.” But the difficulty in cities like Bowling Green is that the streets were planned and constructed with motorists in mind. So retrofitting the streets for all modes of transportation will mean some extra costs for the city and some compromises for motorists. Council chambers was full Monday evening of citizens who had questions about how to make city streets more friendly to all users. The streets committee presented an example of a “Complete Streets Network” that mapped out routes to various destinations in the city. The network covered sections of such streets as Clough, Court, Campbell Hill, Manville, Thurstin, North College, Pearl, Wintergarden, Conneaut, Lafayette, Poe, Maple, Fairview, Van Camp and Newton. But city officials need to know from bicyclists if this network includes the best streets for the plan. “We really do need to come up with a map,” Zanfardino said. “I think bicyclists should have a lot of communication with the city about what they need,” said council member Sandy Rowland. The lack of a plan not only leaves bicyclists without better routes around the city, but it also leaves the city’s engineering department in limbo. City Engineer Jason Sisco said most “Complete Streets” language used across the nation includes vague generalities. There are no specific standards, “which is what we live by in the engineering world,” he said. Some cities, such as Piqua, have plans that consider 25 mph streets as safe for cars and bikes to co-mingle. By that standard, several streets in Bowling Green then already qualify. And that means when the city repaves South Church Street this year, it does not need to make any special accommodations, Sisco said. “So we may think that is a Complete Street. But what we think and what you’re thinking might be two different things,” he said. And city officials don’t want to repave a street one year to find out the next that it should have been modified for…


Scruci likes Samoas, Mazey prefers Toffee-tastics….local celebrities name their favorite Girl Scout cookies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   To get the scoop on what type of Girl Scout cookies are most likely to be found hiding in the desk drawers, glove compartments or lockers of local celebrities, several were asked to confess their weaknesses for the annual treats. Samoas are a solid favorite, ranking at the top for Bowling Green School Superintendent Francis Scruci, BGSU Hockey Coach Chris Bergeron and Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick is also most likely to stash away some Samoas, commenting, “They look like tiny donuts and taste fantastic.” Clint Corpe, host of Radio 88.1 FM, struggled making a selection. “I never met a Girl Scout cookie I didn’t like,” he said. But when asked what he would choose if stranded on an island with only one box, Corpe got serious, kind of. “Samoas – they are like a party in your mouth.” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards and his wife, Nadine, are firmly split on the subject. The mayor stands by Samoas, while his wife voted for Thin Mints. State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, jumped on the same cookie bandwagon as the mayor. “I’m a Samoas fan. Crunchy, chewy, coconut with dark chocolate to make it a healthy option, right?” State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, tried to play it safe asking, “What do the polls say the people like?” But pressed for an answer, Gardner revealed his favorite to be the traditional shortbread cookies, called Trefoils. Also on the Trefoils team are Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson and Wood County Auditor Mike Sibbersen. Wood County District Public Library Director Michael Penrod couldn’t make up his mind, straddling the fence between Samoas and Tagalongs. The new Toffee-tastic cookies are the favorite of BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey because they are gluten-free. A call to the city offices started an inner office debate, with Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter backing Tagalongs, Assistant Administrator Joe Fawcett supporting Samoas, and Administrative Secretary Jackie Dubler preferring Thin Mints. Tagalongs were the top choice for Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson. “I am a peanut butter and chocolate junkie, so Tagalongs are my walk away favorite, then Thin Mints,” said Dobson. “Great. Now I’m hungry for Girl Scout cookies.” The lone vote for the peanut butter sandwich cookie, called Do-Si-Dos, came from Wood County Administrator Andrew…


Girl Scouts make cookies irresistible

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They peddle their sweet goods with high-pitched little voices, dressed in their Girl Scout sashes laden with badges and pins. They aren’t high-pressure hucksters – just incredibly cute and committed. And how could anyone resist the temptation to stock up on this year’s Girl Scout cookies and please the young peddlers at the same time? “These girls could sell anything,” said Julieanna Armstrong as she picked up her seasonal cookie quota from the Brownies brokering their goods in front of Ace Hardware in downtown Bowling Green on Friday. The next sale went to John Carty, of Bowling Green. “I was sent up here specifically to get the lemon ones,” and a box of the newest gluten-free cookies called Toffee-tastic. He limited his purchase to just two boxes, though he confessed, “I’ve got more boxes coming from other people.” As the Brownies hawked the cookies, parent Jennifer Codding explained the secret to cookie sales. “Girl Scout cookies are one of those historic things. People look forward to them every year,” said Codding, of Bowling Green Troop 10320. “They sell themselves.” Codding said their troop traditionally sells about $1,000 in cookies, which is then used for camping activities. The cookies can be addictive for some buyers, who look forward to feeding their need each year when the Brownies and Girl Scouts hit the streets. “They wait for them. It’s the known relationship,” Codding said. The most popular of the cookies nationwide are the Thin Mints, she said. Other cookies being peddled this year are Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, Trefoils, Savannah Smiles, Rah Rah Raisins and Toffee-tastics. Down the street a bit Friday afternoon was another group of scouts trying to broker their sweet treats in front of Grounds for Thought. Brownie Jessie Bohaczenko, from Perrysburg Troop 10507, revealed her secret for snaring sales. “I kind of say, in a cute voice, ‘Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?’” You could almost taste the sugar in her high-pitched appeal. Her mother, Rhonda Bohaczenko, said some buyers get impatient to make their cookie connections each year. To ensure they have enough to get through the off-season, some order mass quantities. The biggest buyer so far this year purchased two cases – 24 boxes. “They do stock up,” she said. The cookies are so good that sometimes it doesn’t even require the young scouts to make…


No time like the present for making a time capsule

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Talk about planning ahead. The Wood County Historical Center wants to get a spot on local citizens’ calendars, so it is sending out “Save the Date” cards – for 2075. That is when the historical center’s time capsule from this year will be opened. The museum is asking local residents to submit items or ideas of what exactly should be placed in the time capsule. “We’ve put a call out for people to make suggestions and provide content,” said Dana Nemeth, director of the historical center. The capsule will be filled this summer when the elevator at the museum is completed and the grand reopening is held. To people thinking about what items they would like to share with future generations, the historical center is also offering people a chance to make their own time capsules. Nemeth suggested the best items to enclose in the capsule may be family photos, children’s letters to themselves, predictions about people, videos, information about pets and grandparents. “The more personal the better,” she said. Items to avoid would be favorite foods – even if they are canned since they can explode. Nemeth suggested food labels instead, such as favorite candy wrappers. And don’t bother with general historic information such as who is president right now. That information can be found anywhere – make your time capsule personal. “Reflect on your everyday life,” she said. During a recent visit to the historical museum, George Stossel and Vicki Knauerhase, of Bowling Green, joked about items they might put in their own time capsule. “I could put a thumb drive in and see if they could read it,” Stossel said. “By then, they’ll have computer bits buried in their heads,” Knauerhase said. And what might make a safe, airtight container? Stossel suggested Tupperware. “The everyman’s time capsule,” Knauerhase joked. Following are some suggestions for time capsules from the historical center: Burying time capsules can be risky. The best place may be in a closet in your house. It should be a location with a stable temperature and humidity. Aluminum or stainless steel containers will be the most stable, but can be expensive. A photo storage box made of acid-free paper materials would be less costly. Keep a record of when the capsule should be opened and label the box. Avoid rubber, wood, and fabrics made of wool, silk and…


BG closer to greenlight on green space site use

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Endless study of the green space on West Wooster Street could lead to “paralysis by analysis,” according to one council member ready to proceed with plans for the site. Robert McOmber posed the question at the city’s strategic planning meeting Monday evening of who makes the ultimate decision with the property. “The final say really rests with council,” Mayor Dick Edwards said. The city put together a team of citizens last year to come up with a plan for the site that formerly housed the junior high school at the corner of West Wooster and Church streets. Several public meetings were held, and the decision was made to leave the space green, while adding some features to create a town square. But earlier this year, a decision was made to hire Poggemeyer Design Group to study the possibility of the town square sharing the space with a new city office building. The mayor said Monday evening that he remains committed to the space being just a town square. “I’m trying to be of an open mind. I just think that space over there is too tight,” he said. “I just hate to see something shoe-horned in there.” Edwards said he has heard from a lot of citizens who agree, and has visited a lot of communities that have vital town squares. However, he agreed that one final study, to see if both could share the site, was a good idea. “We would be remiss” otherwise, he said. Council member Bruce Jeffers admitted to slowing down the green space implementation. “I think I’m one of the roadblocks to the project,” he said. “A building could make it a much better space. A building enhances the space.” Jeffers said it isn’t often that he shows obstinance. “This struck me as something I needed to dig my heels in on.” It is worth the time and study to make sure the city is proceeding properly with the site, he said. Council member Daniel Gordon said citizens are questioning the conflicting plans for the property. “If there’s confusion among us, there must be some confusion among citizens,” Gordon said. Council president Mike Aspacher assured that as soon as the study is back from Poggemeyer, council will act on plans for the site. Mayor Dick Edwards reiterated that he is “100 percent” for keeping the city office…


Fire Chief Wants Fewer False Alarms at BGSU, More Inspections

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Fire Chief Tom Sanderson would like his firefighters spending less time responding to false alarms at BGSU and more time making fire inspections in the city. During Monday evening’s strategic planning meeting, Sanderson reported on two long-range goals for his department. First, he would like the university to somehow assist in the response to fire calls on campus, which account for 20 percent of the fire calls in Bowling Green. Of the more than 3,300 fire calls last year, 686 were to BGSU – and one third of those were false alarms to residence halls. “We’re committing resources there so often,” Sanderson said. The chief suggested that BGSU could help lessen the load either by providing a direct subsidy or possibly by providing first responders who could arrive at the source of the calls to ascertain their validity. Second, Sanderson said the city has a fire code requiring business inspections, but has not been implementing it. “We have not been enforcing fire code for a number of years,” he said. Businesses should be inspected regularly for fire codes, as is done in Perrysburg and Perrysburg Township. “We really need to be doing that.” Sanderson estimated that fewer than 5 percent of businesses in Bowling Green are inspected each year. “I know there are businesses that haven’t been inspected for many years,” he said. Council member Theresa Charters Gavarone asked about fire code. Mr. Spots, a business owned by Gavarone and her husband, was recently damaged when a fire started at a neighboring business, the Corner Grill. She said while the newer Mr. Spots site has sprinklers, many older businesses don’t. Sanderson said businesses have to meet the code requirements that were in place when they opened. As long as the use of the building has not changed, businesses are grandfathered in, the chief said.  


Bowling Green Beer Works Draws Steady Following

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is the closest that Bowling Green gets to a speakeasy. The establishment sits tucked away in a cluster of old garages at 322 North Grove St. On weekends – Friday, 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m., customers slip in through a back door. A newcomer can be forgiven for suspecting a secret word may be required to gain entry. Inside a couple dozen people hang out, all with pint canning jars of beer in front of them. Some of the beer is golden, some the color of caramel, others dark as chocolate. Not a “lite” beer in sight. Welcome to Bowling Green Beer Works. Here the beer is consumed within a few feet of where it is brewed. In the cooler in the corner rests the beer they’ll be sipping next week. Consumption takes its rightful place as the last step in the brewing process. The micro brewery’s owner Justin Marx presides over the scene. He makes suggestions, describes his product, accepts comments, most of them compliments. These Friday and Saturday tastings culminate his week of work making the up to 10 varieties that he offers on any given night. “I love my clientele,” Marx said. “We like to have a neighborhood feel. I can’t believe the tremendous amount of support we’ve gotten.” He first applied for his permit back in September, 2014, and finally secured all his federal, state and local paperwork, so he could open the tasting room, in September, 2015. His love of beer making dates back further than that. Back, Marx, 42, said, to before he was legally of age to consume his product. That was in the State of Oregon, then the epicenter of the craft brewing movement. In the late 1980s, Marx said, the business model was pairing the beer with burgers. But when the market contracted in the late 1990s, the brewers shed the beef and put all the emphasis on their beer. Craft breweries have sprung up across the nation. Ohio now has close to 150, Marx said. A 2012 change in Ohio regulations that cut the price for a tasting license from $4,000 to $1,000 also helped. He doesn’t view these other operators as rivals. Small brewers are more like a fraternity. “It’s an all-ships-rising mentality,” he said. At this point craft brewers represent 9 to 11 percent of all…


BG Prepares For Tough Talks on Trash, Housing and Other Touchy Topics

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent Media   Bowling Green is in line for some tough talks – and maybe even some tough love on its housing, its trash collection, its cemetery, its senior center, and the money it takes to deal with all the above issues. “We’re going to have to have a real conversation,” Council President Mike Aspacher said, referencing the revenue issue. “It’s going to be time to have these tough conversations.” Those talks will have to include elected officials, city administrators and citizens. During a three-hour strategic planning meeting Monday evening, city officials began the conversations and plotted possible courses for the city’s future. Many of the goals remain the same: East Wooster corridor improvements, East Side revitalization, and finding the right use for the West Wooster-Church Street property. But newer topics were also touched upon: Possibility of privatizing trash collection, the decline in housing sale prices, the filling up of cemetery plots, and the touchy subject of just who is responsible for maintaining the Wood County Senior Center. Following is an overview of some of the strategic planning discussion. The city will look at different options for handling trash collection. According to Brian Craft, public works director, Bowling Green is one of few cities in the region to continue providing the service. The city has no fee earmarked for trash collection, but Craft pointed out that the new automated trucks costs $250,000 each. He warned the public may not be fond of the idea. “They like picking up the phone and we respond.” The year-end report for real estate sales in the region showed that the average sale price for homes in the Bowling Green zip code area dropped in 2015 by 1 percent to $164,314. “We want the prices to go up,” council member Sandy Rowland said. Most areas of the region posted increases. “I would really like to see housing become our number one priority in BG. We don’t want to see those figures go down again two years in a row.” Rowland also said homes in Bowling Green took 13 percent longer to sell in 2015. She added that only four condominiums –the hottest homes selling in the region – were currently on the market in the city. “We need more housing. We need better housing. We need to work with what we’ve got.” Major structural repairs are needed at the Wood…


Long Road From Otsego to Afghanistan for Medal of Honor Recipient

  By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Cheryl Jones gets goosebumps just thinking about her former student in hand-to-hand combat with the Taliban and rescuing an American hostage. And there he was this morning, Navy SEAL Edward C. Byers Jr., receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroic efforts. “Eddie. We just called him Eddie,” recalled Jones, the health and physical education teacher at Otsego High School where Byers graduated in 1997. “He was really a kind kid. He was very respectful, very polite, very quiet.” All the Otsego High School students were called to the auditorium this morning to watch Byers receive his award at the White House. They sat in respectful silence as the alumnus of their school was bestowed the honor by President Barack Obama. Byers, 36, who grew up in Grand Rapids, talked often in school of wanting to join the elite Navy rank. “He always wanted to be a SEAL. He would talk about it endlessly,” said Tom Ferdig, who was a year behind Byers in school. Few doubted his commitment, but at the time it seemed a pretty lofty goal for a small town boy, said Ferdig, who now teaches history at Otsego High School. Long before he was hiking on missions across Afghanistan, Byers was camping and learning outdoor skills with Boy Scout Troop 325 in Grand Rapids. “He was just a nice kid, who was always willing to do things,” said Pam Heyman, a library media specialist at Otsego, whose son was in the troop with Byers. “I wasn’t surprised. He always said he was going to be in the military,” Heyman said. “The students are excited that somebody from this little community could go on and do great things.” In a recent story in Stars and Stripes, Byers described the night in 2012, when his unit rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph from the Taliban deep in the remote mountains of eastern Afghanistan. The hostage, who was in Afghanistan to establish medical facilities, was told “the Americans are not coming for you,” Obama said. “They were wrong.” After walking four hours in the freezing night to reach the Taliban camp, Byers was the second SEAL through the door of a tiny, one-room building where Joseph was held hostage. Byers killed two armed Taliban fighters before identifying Joseph and shielding him from harm. As bullets flew across the room, Byers leaped on…


Korducki Sentenced for Accident Killing 4 People

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With his eyes squeezed shut and his voice shaking, Nicholas Korducki faced the family of the four people killed in a car accident last year when he crossed the center line. “I’ve searched for the words I would like to use,” the 17-year-old said to the Jacobs family. “I can’t seem to find them. I’m very sorry about all of this.” More than a year after causing the accident, Korducki, was sentenced Thursday. He will spend seven days in juvenile detention, have his license suspended for two years, be on probation, complete a remedial driving course and do 100 hours of community service. Korducki’s testimony came after three members of the Jacobs family told about the deep loss felt by the deaths of Harley Jacobs, 88; Donna Jacobs, 85; Diane Jacobs, 64; and Kenneth Johnston, 71, all from Luckey. The four died as a result of the accident on Ohio 25, between Newton and Bishop roads, just north of Bowling Green on Feb. 5, 2015. “These people sounded like really upstanding people, good as gold, and that makes this all the worse for me,” Korducki said. “I hope you all can find it within yourselves to forgive me,” the Bowling Green teen said to the 30 members of the Jacobs family filling the Wood County Juvenile Court. “I’m so very sorry.” The attorneys for Korducki had filed a request that no media be allowed in the court, but visiting Judge Michael Bumb from Fulton County, denied that motion. As part of a negotiated plea, the prosecutor’s office asked that four charges of vehicular homicide be dismissed, that Korducki plead to vehicular manslaughter, and that no detention time be ordered. “This is a tragedy that brings us here today. It’s a tragedy for all who are here,” said Tim Atkins, chief assistant in the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office’s juvenile division. The tragedy extends to the Korducki family, Atkins said. “This was an accident.” But the difference is “Nick’s parents can give him a hug at night and tell him that they love him.” The Jacobs family cannot. Three members of the Jacobs family spoke to the court of their loved ones lost, of hoping for closure and looking for accountability. All spoke of the concern for their family and for the Korducki family. Beth Barton, the granddaughter of Harley and Donna Jacobs, and…


BG Eyes $4 Million in Water, Wastewater Projects

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly $4 million in utility projects for this year were approved Monday evening by the Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities. The projects will keep clean water pumping to customers, and improve wastewater treatment once customers flush their used water away. The biggest project, estimated at $1.25 million, is the construction of a new pump station on Conneaut Avenue and force main improvements. The current pump station is undersized and cannot keep up with demand. The board approved applying for a low-interest loan from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Water Development Authority for the funding. The city is also expecting to get some funding this year for road paving on Conneaut Avenue from Grove Street to Mitchell Road. So Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for Bowling Green, suggested the pump station work take place prior to the paving. “Obviously, we don’t want to pave a road then tear it up,” O’Connell said. The board also approved the city going after $1 million in grant funding for upgrades to the sand filter system at the water treatment plant. O’Connell explained that the city is a good candidate for a zero interest loan since the upgrades will improve efforts to limit algae problems in water. The original estimate for the work was $400,000. However, it was decided to expand the scope of the project and create a longer term solution to the algae problem. The expanded project could save some money in another area since it could reduce the work at the backwash pumping station, O’Connell said. The board of utilities also approved the following projects go to bid for: $200,000 to replace the six-inch waterline with eight-inch lines on Troup Avenue between East Wooster and Scott Hamilton streets. The wider lines should increase the water pressure and improve fire protection. $400,000 for new valves on a 20-inch transmission main. $1,010,000 to improve sewer lines that are in poor condition or require regular maintenance. Those lines are on an alley from Pearl to Oak streets; West Wooster Street; Wolfly Avenue; Manitoba Drive; Dunbridge Road sewer manhole; and South Main Street pump station corrosion and odor control. $120,000 in chemical costs at water treatment plant. Several vehicles for the electric, water treatment, water distribution and water pollution control divisions, with a total estimated cost of $440,000.  


Parks to Try for Larger Levy

  By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 16 years, the levy supporting parks and recreation in Bowling Green has been static. Meanwhile, the park facilities and programs have been anything but. So Tuesday evening, the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board approved a request to put a new, higher millage levy on the fall ballot. The park and recreation department has been operating with a 1.4-mill levy, which generated $638,500 annually for 16 years. The new levy would be 2 mills for five years, bringing in $915,000 annually. The reason for the increase is simple, according to the levy committee which recommended the millage. The department has continued to expand its facilities and programs to meet the needs of its citizens. “And the public expects this quality to be maintained,” said Jeff Crawford, a member of the park board and levy committee. “It’s overdue,” said board member Cheryl Windisch, noting that costs for everything else have increased in that 16-year period. Park board president Kent Strange said it was a “great feat” for the department to get by on the same millage for 16 years while offering quality services. “This will go a long way to continuing with that.” The levy recommendation will now go to city council for approval to be put on the November ballot. Park and recreation levies in Bowling Green traditionally enjoy at passage rate of about 60 percent at the polls, according to Kristin Otley, director of the city’s park and recreation department. She is hoping for similar results this time around. “The need is real and we feel we can communicate the need to folks,” Otley said. The additional millage will not be much of a difference to individual landowners in the city, but it will add up to a substantial amount for the parks and recreation programs, she said. “It’s obviously critically important to us,” she said, noting the care that is taken to spend the money wisely. “We are mindful of the tax dollars we get.” Much has changed with the city park and recreation services since the existing levy went into effect 16 years ago. Otley listed additions like the community center, Simpson Building and garden park, the skate park, new acreage at Ridge Park, the soccer fields on Dunbridge Road, and the new aquatic complex. Until recently, the levy accounted for 33 percent of the park and…


Electric over-charges to go back to customers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green electric customers will get a boost in their bills the rest of this year. Over-collected electric charges will be reimbursed to city customers – to the tune of $2,325,049 from last year, the city’s Board of Public Utilities heard Monday evening. “The money has got to go back to the customers,” said Brian O’Connell, director of utilities for the city of Bowling Green. The city adopted an accounting standard in 2009 that allows deferral of unrecovered power supply costs that otherwise would have caused a default of the city’s bond agreement. The city often over-collects to ensure that it has enough to cover its bond payments. If there is money left over, it then goes back to local residents. “At the end of the year, we have to account for our power supply costs,” O’Connell said. About 10 percent of the $2,325,049 will be refunded each of the 10 months of March through December. After Monday’s meeting, O’Connell said the over-collected amount was actually running higher, but decreased when power costs were lowered and kilowatt hours dropped. A story will follow later this week on the water and wastewater projects approved by the board of public utilities for this year.


BGSU students advocate for solar array on campus

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS A hill created by construction debris goes mostly unoccupied during the year. Except that is on Independence Day when people gather there to watch the fireworks being launched from the stadium to the southeast. A group of Bowling Green State University students have a different vision for the site – they’d like to see an array of solar panels erected there. Recently the Environmental Action Group and Environmental Service Club drafted a letter and had it signed by a couple dozen other student leaders urging the university to take the city up on its offer to put solar panels on the site. The city’s main solar array will be located on Carter Road, but it offered to also place some on campus. No site was designated. City officials confirmed Monday night that the offer was made, but they’ve yet to hear a response from BGSU. Lily Murnen, president of the Environmental Service Group, said the university hasn’t taken enough action to fulfill its climate action plan that resulted from president Mary Ellen Mazey joining other higher education executives in signing a Climate Commitment calling for campuses to become neutral in their greenhouse gas emissions. That plan, filed in November, 2014, sets out “a vision of the institution as a sustainable campus in the 21st century, operating economically and efficiently, and producing net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This is a vision to be realized by the year 2040.” The solar project would provide “great visibility for the university showing how we are taking some steps to realize our goals,” Murnen said. Matthew Cunningham, the president of the Environmental Action Group, said, the solar panels could also provide students with hands-on learning experiences. As much as the lack of action, Dan Myers, public relations officer for the Environmental Action Group, said the students were concerned that the administration is not communicating with students. “We’re pretty significant stakeholders in the university.” Cunningham said he did see Mazey at a Presidents Day event, and that she said she would be sending a response to the letter to student government. That the activists said would not be enough. Undergraduate Student Government leaders, Cunningham said, have too much on their plate. Murnen said that this issue also shows a need for more student engagement. “Maybe students need to take a more active role.” Students on other campuses are advocating for a variety…