Courts

BG plant was also targeted for pipe bomb, according to U.S. District Court

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Toledo woman arrested for planning a terrorist attack at a Toledo bar was reportedly also plotting an attack at a Bowling Green manufacturing plant. Elizabeth Lecron, 23, was arrested Monday and charged in federal court after she purchased black powder and screws that she believed were going to be used to make a bomb as part of a terrorist attack. She was charged with one count of transportation of explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming others and property. While much of the initial publicity focused on her alleged plans to use a pipe bomb in an unidentified Toledo bar, the arrest warrant from the U.S. District Court revealed that Lecron also planned some type of an attack at her workplace in Bowling Green. The warrant stated that Lecron worked the second shift at an automotive parts manufacturing plant in Bowling Green. Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso said this morning that BGPD detectives were contacted last week by the FBI about the upcoming press conference that was held Monday. However, the police division was not notified about the possible threat of a bomb attack. “We weren’t actually consulted,” Mancuso said. FBI spokesperson Vicki Anderson said this morning that she could not be more specific about the Bowling Green location mentioned in the arrest warrant. “In our documents we didn’t reveal where she worked,” Anderson said. Anderson explained that oftentimes local law enforcement officials are not contacted, since that’s when information leaks occur. She also said that undercover FBI agents were working closely with Lecron and were aware of the progress of her plans. “We did not feel the public was in danger,” Anderson said. When Lecron actually purchased bomb-making items, she was arrested. “Once she bought the items, that’s when we needed to move,” Anderson said. The arrest of Lecron made national news on Monday. “This defendant bought black powder and hundreds of screws that she expected would be used to make a bomb,” said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Through her words and actions, she demonstrated that she was committed to seeing death and destruction in order to advance hate. This case demonstrates terrorism comes in many guises and we will remain vigilant to protect all Americans.” According to an affidavit filed in the case, Lecron came to the attention of…

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Wood County healthy, but facing some challenges

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s finances are strong – but they are facing some heavy lifting in the next few years. The county is staring down a potential $4.2 million bill for new voting machines, $6 million to renovate the booking area of the county jail, and more than it can afford to fix its road and bridge repairs. But the county commissioners assured their audience at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s State of the County Address on Tuesday that Wood County government is quite healthy. The combination of conservative spending and the highest ever sales tax revenue of $21.7 million last year has positioned the county on solid ground, Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. Business looking bright Wood County businesses are thriving, with many upping production and updating machinery, Commissioner Craig LaHote said. The issue now is the shortage of employees to fill new positions. “That’s a good problem to have,” he said. LaHote specifically mentioned growth at First Solar in Perrysburg Township, and a $16 million expansion promising 100 jobs at Continental Structural Plastics in North Baltimore – a company that was considered close to failing a few years ago. The numbers at county building inspection reached a record high, Wood Haven Health Care has seen major renovations, glass recycling was reinstated last year, and permanent satellite recycling stations will be opened this summer. Efforts are underway to establish the Toledo Area Water Authority, which would regionalize the Toledo system and potentially serve the northern part of Wood County. “As commissioners, we believe a cooperative approach is best,” LaHote said. However, if Toledo fails to approve the project, Wood County has other options, he added. Expenses on the horizon All electronic voting machines in Ohio must be replaced by the 2020 election. That comes with a hefty price tag of $4.2 million. The commissioners are working with state legislators to find state funding to help with the expense. The county is also facing a $6 million renovation project enlarging the booking area of the Wood County Justice Center. The current booking area is not large enough to safely meet the demands. Another expense will be the expansion of the Wood County Landfill, west of Bowling Green. The existing landfill cell has just six years of space remaining. With the expansion permit, the life of the facility will be extended to 125 years. (A…


Landlords sue city for limiting renters per house

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 23 Bowling Green landlords and three student renters against the city of Bowling Green and its code enforcement officer. The landlords and the students object to a city ordinance that limits the number of unrelated people who can live in a rental property. The landlords reportedly own more than 161 homes that cannot be rented out to more than three unrelated people – even though the homes have four or more bedrooms and ample parking. The three students who signed onto the lawsuit were reportedly threatened with eviction. Leading the lawsuit is Maurice Thompson, of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus. Thompson recently represented rural Wood County residents who did not want Utopia pipeline running through their land. He won against the pipeline company. In this lawsuit, Thompson said the city’s ordinance violates the Ohio Constitution by suppressing private property rights and equal protection and imposing vague standards and excessive fines of $500 per day. Thompson is one of the landlords affected by the city ordinance. And the three students are his tenants at his rental property on East Merry Street. Bowling Green City Attorney Mike Marsh said the renter limit has been in place as long as the city zoning – and was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1974. “He’s claiming the limit is arbitrary,” that it doesn’t take into account the size of the home and the parking space available, Marsh said. That’s true, he agreed. The purpose of the law is to help maintain the density of single-family neighborhoods. “These are traditional single-family homes converted into rental housing,” Marsh said. A handful of other college towns in Ohio have similar ordinances, Thompson said. “Bowling Green is by no means the only city that has this,” he said from his Columbus office on Monday. “But one thing that makes Bowling Green’s unique is that the city claims it is to control population density, yet there are all kinds of exemptions.” Many properties are “grandfathered in,” but which properties qualify is unclear, Thompson said. Marsh disagreed. “I think we have a pretty good handle on those grandfathered in,” which include rentals predating zoning. According to Thompson, Bowling Green is more aggressive than other communities – ordering that extra renters be “thrown out” within 10 days of the violation notice….


BG man linked to crimes by stolen panties and DNA on pizza crust

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Hundreds of bras and panties, DNA from a pizza crust and intricate handwritten notes have allegedly helped link a Bowling Green man to at least seven burglaries committed in the city over the last five years. Bradley Feasel, 33, of 236 S. Grove St., was indicted last week on 11 counts of burglary and one count of breaking and entering. Police believe there will likely be more charges as they continue to go through the evidence found at Feasel’s home. “It’s pretty alarming,” said Bowling Green Police Major Justin White. Police reportedly found a folder of handwritten notes at Feasel’s home, listing dates with names of females. Under the names were notes indicating the items that were taken and the method of entry into the residences. In one note under “Manville House,” it reportedly reads “all rooms masturbated.” At a home on Byall Avenue, a bullet point mentioned “red panties.” In some cases, women were sleeping at the homes when Feasel allegedly entered. On a few incidents when Feasel was seen by the residents, he was barefooted. Many of the victims reported to police that they believed their homes had been entered multiple times. Many were college students, who shared clothing with their roommates, so the disappearance of underwear was not initially noticed. Police said they also found a Google pin map, with handwritten notes on it. One notation reported said “65 enters.” After gaining search warrants for all of Feasel’s electronic devices, police found that Feasel had allegedly made Google searches for several of his victims. He also reportedly searched for them on Facebook, Pinterest, Linked In and MySpace. It also appears from the police reports that Feasel frequented a downtown bar where one of the victims was employed and other victims told police they often visited. This is not the first time for Feasel to face charges of illegally entering homes and taking women’s underwear. He served six months in 2004 after being found with several women’s bras and panties that he had stolen from a Bowling Green apartment. This time around, the search of Feasel’s residence in 2017 reportedly turned up “several containers” full of women’s bras, panties and clothing stored in the loft area of the garage. In addition to bras and panties (seemingly preferring Victoria Secret items), Feasel allegedly took hair extensions, vibrators, headphones, photos, and one…


Vivitrol helps jump start recovery for opiate addicts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Travis Williams knows that without Vivitrol, opiate addicts who just went through detox are likely to start using again as soon as their buddies pick them up at jail. “They overdose before they ever leave the parking lot,” Williams said. But he also knows that using Vivitrol can take away the cravings and the highs that cause many opiate addicts to relapse an average of seven times. “You might as well take a tic-tac,” since it will provide the same high as opiates do while on Vivitrol, Williams said during a meeting last week in Wood County about recovering from opiates. Attending the meeting were those who deal with the local addicts in the courts, law enforcement, public health and social services. In June of 2016, Vivitrol shots were started in Wood County Justice Center for opiate addicts who want to quit. Since then, 34 inmates have received their first shots in jail, which were then followed up with monthly shots and counseling on the outside. Northwest Community Corrections Center has a similar program. “We are working on a definition of success, but as of June of 2017 we have 21 people who we feel are still compliant with the program,” said Doug Cubberley, chief probation officer and court administrator at Bowling Green Municipal Court. “Only two people have gone out and reoffended by committing new crimes.” Cubberley remembers the day a man came to his court probation office begging to go to jail. “We had one young man come to our office who said, ‘If I don’t go to jail, I’m going to die.’” The man was addicted to opiates and knew it was only a matter of time till he overdosed, Cubberley said last year. Probation workers in Wood County began noticing in 2014 that something was killing their clients. “They were dying at alarming rates,” Cubberley said. So the conversation started about opiates and their growing grasp on people of all ages and backgrounds. “We all wanted to think it was only in Cleveland or Toledo,” he said. But it was clearly here, too. So leaders in the police, court and drug treatment professions started looking for a solution. Community meetings on the opiate epidemic were held in Bowling Green, Perrysburg and North Baltimore. Statistics show the highest rate of accidental overdose occurs when an addict leaves jail or…


County prosecutor sets up opiate response team

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County has its first employees assigned specifically to battle the opiate crisis. Sixteen people died of opiate overdoses in the county last year, according to the Wood County Coroner’s Office. In response to a survey of local first responders, 16 departments said they responded to 83 opiate overdoses last year, and administered the life-saving drug Naloxone 60 times. And in an 18-month period, the county prosecutor’s office saw about 130 drug cases. Getting addicts in treatment, and getting them back after relapses are important, Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson said during a meeting with the county commissioners. The average person experiences seven relapses during their three to five years of trying to get free of opiates. On Tuesday, Dobson and Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn announced the implementation of a new program in the prosecutor’s office to battle the opiate and drug epidemic. The program has been named the Addiction Response Collaborative, or ARC. Earlier this year, Dobson – who lost a stepson to opiate addiction – introduced his four-tiered plan for dealing with the opiate epidemic in Wood County. The plan called for the creation of a quick response team, a pre-trial diversion program in the prosecutor’s office, an intervention in lieu of sentencing program in the courts, and the establishment of a drug docket in the courts. The program team includes a Drug Addiction and Abuse Response Coordinator hired by the prosecutor’s office through funding from the Wood County Commissioners, the Wood County ADAMHS Board, and the Wood County Health District. Filling the position is Luckey resident Belinda Brooks, who knows from experience the horrors of opiate addictions and the hopes for recovery. Brooks, whose daughter battled opiates for several years, formed SOLACE of Northwest Ohio, a group that provides services for family members of addicts. Her daughter, now 25, was first prescribed percocets after a serious ATV accident seven years ago. It wasn’t long till she was addicted. Brooks, who knew nothing about opiates, believed it couldn’t be that bad since it was a prescribed medication. She soon saw how horrible it could be. Brooks learned that by hiding the addiction and helping her daughter clean up money problems, she was fueling her daughter’s addiction. “It was three years of complete hell,” Brooks said. “Your lives change forever. You have to change your parenting.” Her daughter’s rock…


Nexus pipeline offers BG $80,000 to cross city land

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Earlier this month, Nexus pipeline officials filed a lawsuit against all holdout property owners. Bowling Green was one of those communities that had refused to grant the pipeline an easement to cross its land. This time around, the pipeline company was armed with eminent domain. On Oct. 11, Bowling Green agreed to a magistrate’s order to join in settlement discussions. And on Friday, the city received an offer of nearly $80,000 from Nexus to cross city-owned land in Middleton Township. “They were granted eminent domain powers. Now they’re exercising it,” said Bowling Green City Attorney Mike Marsh. But local pipeline protesters see it differently. They see it as the city selling out. “This morning we checked court records and found that on October 11 Mike Marsh silently signed away the city’s easement rights to Nexus pipeline,” Lisa Kochheiser stated. “The city has betrayed citizens’ trust and has scandalously kept it to themselves.” Last December, Bowling Green City Council voted unanimously to not grant as easement for the Nexus pipeline. Concerns were expressed about the pipeline route running just 700 feet from the city’s reservoir at the water treatment plant. “They have failed to inform the public that they aren’t willing to stand up for the will of the people,” Kochheiser continued. But Marsh said the city and other holdout landowners across the state have lost to eminent domain. All that remains to be determined is the dollar amount that will be paid. “We’re all under orders to try to negotiate settlements by Nov. 3,” he said. City officials have yet to discuss the $80,000 offer. “The real issue now is compensation.” However, Kochheiser and attorney Terry Lodge pointed out that the village of Waterville continues to refuse compliance with the Nexus lawsuit. “The Village of Waterville has denied compliance with the Nexus lawsuit and is standing up for the rights of residents who passed their charter amendment prohibiting pipelines last year,” Kochheiser stated. Waterville legal director Phil Dombey instead filed a reply, claiming that the village’s local charter amendment forbids the community from consenting. Marsh said Waterville isn’t allowed to enter into negotiations because of its charter amendment. Marsh added that Bowling Green did not give in on granting an easement. “There’s been no grant of an easement,” he said. But since the pipeline has been given eminent domain powers, the city…