election

Pipeline petition passes signature test …. but more obstacles remain

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The petition to get a pipeline issue on Bowling Green’s November ballot cleared its first hurdle Friday – just barely. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. But two other hurdles remain. The second hurdle involves timing. There is some question if the pipeline petition was filed too late. There are different deadlines depending on the type of petition, so that issue will likely be decided by the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office. The third hurdle involves content. It’s possible the petition won’t make the November ballot because it asks for powers that the city may not have the authority to give. Under Ohio House Bill 463, passed last year, the petition may not be within the purview of the city and may create constitutional conflicts. It will be up to the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office to also determine whether or not the charter amendment meets H.B. 463 requirements. “We’re going to take all this to them as we go through the process,” explained Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. Since the house bill is so new, it may take time to get an answer. But Burton said he is anxious to get a decision on the matter. “I just want to set my ballots,” he said. Burton said the 515 invalid signatures on the petitions were a combination of duplicate signatures, illegible signatures, incomplete addresses, printed signatures, and signatures from people outside the city. He said board of…

Read More

Levy renewal sought for child and adult protective services

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 30 years, the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services has relied on voters to provide funds to protect local children and seniors. This year will be no different. There have been times when expenses and needs are lower, that the voters have been given a break and the levy has gone uncollected for a year. But that is unlikely to occur again anytime soon considering the most recent increase in abuse and neglect reports. “They are on a record pace for child abuse and neglect complaints,” said Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. It doesn’t help that Ohio is “dead last” among the states for funding of child protective services, according to Dave Wigent, director of Wood County Department of Job and Family Services. Even if Ohio were to double its spending for child services, the state will still be last, he said. “We’re forced to support with levy funding from the local level,” Wigent said. “We’re in an embarrassing situation for child welfare support,” he said. Also not helping is the uncertainty of the federal budget. If the cuts were to proceed as proposed by President Donald Trump, child abuse and neglect funding would be slashed further. “It would have a devastating effect on us here,” Wigent said. Wigent presented his request to put the renewal 1.3-mill levy on the November ballot this year to the Wood County Commissioners. The commissioners gave the levy request their verbal blessing, and will have staff prepare a resolution to get it on the ballot, Kalmar said. The millage, to be collected for…


New voting machines come with hefty price tags

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Wood County got its first touchscreen voting machines, many people feared they were too old-fashioned to keep up with the new voting technology. But now, after 11 years of elections, it’s the voting machines themselves that are considered obsolete. Across Ohio, county boards of elections are facing the challenge of replacing their aging voting machines with newer, expensive technology. The price tag to replace Wood County’s touchscreen voting stations is between $3.8 and $4.2 million. Counties and election boards have been working with the state legislature and secretary of state to get help footing the bill. “This is a great need across the state,” said Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. “The implications statewide and nationally are incredible.” Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton presented the news to the county commissioners on Tuesday. “He told us the end is in sight and we need to prepare,” Kalmar said. The first touchscreen voting machines were purchased as part of the Help America Vote Act after the infamous “hanging chad” drama in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. The electronic touchscreen systems were purchased to prevent the uncertainty of punchcard voting. The initial touchscreen units cost $1.2 million – with federal funds paying for at least 80 percent of the price, Kalmar said. Kalmar is banking on the legislature helping this time around. The topic has been before the state for a while. “That has been the discussion for the last two years,” Burton said. Heavy duty lobbying is underway to get some money out of the state’s next budget cycle, he…


Gubernatorial hopeful Jon Husted stomps at Spots

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Secretary of State Jon Husted is a great believer in technology. That’s what allowed him to cut the cost of operating his office at a time when state spending was on the rise. That’s what allowed him cut the state’s incorporation fee from $125 to $99. That’s what let him to cut the workforce in his office by a third – through early retirement and attrition, he explained. His 7-year-old daughter will not have to learn to drive, he said, because she’ll come of age in a time of self-operating vehicles. And Husted wants to be in the driver’s seat in Ohio as it enters the age of driverless cars. The Republican candidate for governor was in Bowling Green Monday morning at a meet and greet with citizens at Mr. Spot’s, hosted by Ohio Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and her husband, Jim Gavarone Theresa Gavarone used the occasion to formally announce her endorsement of Husted. She said she’s backing Husted to replace Republican John Kasich because in her tough fight to win her seat last fall, he stepped in and helped her. She also said she appreciated his cutting filing fees for new businesses and reducing the cost of running his office by $14.5 million. Husted said that people may not like change but it is coming. “We want to make sure every generation of people who graduate from Bowling Green have opportunities in Ohio. “The states that get this right are going to be the ones that are going to win, and the states that don’t are going to fall behind,” he…


Overall voter turnout 11.2% for local primary election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voter turnout in Wood County for Tuesday’s primary election was a weak 11.2 percent. That means nearly 90 percent of the registered voters left the fate of the Bowling Green City School’s income tax renewal and the city council candidate race up to the few people who showed up at the polls. Of the 38,424 registered voters in the areas of Wood County with items on the ballot, just 4,302 voted. The low turnout means that two Green Party candidates made it into the November election by getting just 41 and 31 votes. It’s not that voters didn’t have opportunities to cast their ballots. Early voting was offered 30 days prior to Tuesday’s election. The Wood County Board of Elections was open every weekday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The week prior to the election, the hours were extended to 7 p.m., and the office was open last Saturday and Sunday for voters. The exact voter turnout in Bowling Green is not calculated by the board of elections, since the primary election had issues in Bowling Green, the Bowling Green school district area, Henry Township, Jerry City, Tontogany, and Rossford school district. But it is known that overall, the turnout was 11.2 percent. “That’s a pretty low percentage,” even for a primary election, said Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. The turnout in some ways is disappointing to Burton. “The democracy side of me says I wish people participated in the process,” he said. “We go through the same process, no matter how many vote.” The last…


BG at-large council primary puts 4 women in race

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green voters narrowed down the field of at-large council candidates in Tuesday’s primary election – leaving four women in the race. Winning a place on the general election ballot were Democrats Holly Cipriani and Sandy Rowland, and Green Party candidates BeverlyAnn Elwazani and Carolyn S. Kawecka. A total of 10 candidates had filed for the two open at-large council seats. Running for the seats were four Democrats, four Green Party members, one Republican and one Independent. Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections, said this is the first time the Green Party has had enough candidates to warrant a primary ballot in Bowling Green. None of the ward seats were contested in the primary election. The primary election whittled down the at-large race to a maximum of two candidates from each party. Following are the unofficial vote counts for the Democratic at-large candidates: Holly Cipriani: 423 Mark Hollenbaugh: 412 Robert Piasecki: 266 Sandy Rowland: 1,001 Following are the unofficial vote counts for the Green Party at-large candidates: Helen Kay Dukes: 29 BeverlyAnn Elwazani: 41 Carolyn S. Kawecka: 31 Rosamond L. McCallister: 20 Voters will elect two at-large candidates in the November election from the choices of Democrats Cipriani and Rowland, Green Party Elwazani and Kawecka, Republican Greg Robinette and Independent Nathan Eberly. One council member from each of the city’s four wards will also be elected in November. Following are the Democratic and Republican candidates who have filed for those seats. No Green candidates filed for the ward seats. First Ward: Democrat Daniel J. Gordon, Republican Ryan A….


BG Schools income tax renewal passes by wide margin

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters easily passed a 0.5 percent income tax renewal for Bowling Green City School current expenses for five years on Tuesday. The unofficial vote was 1,937 to 647 – giving the district a victory with 75 percent. “I’m very humbled and appreciative of the community support,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said after the votes were tallied. “I think it speaks volumes about how our community looks at our schools and what we do. This will allow us to do what we do in the classroom.” But Scruci said Tuesday’s solid support should not be taken for granted. It cannot be translated as support for the school district’s next venture at the polls for new or renovated buildings, he said. The income tax for the district began in January of 1993 and has been renewed every five years since. It makes up 11 percent of the district’s general fund revenue, generating $3.34 million annually. The issue was the first on the ballot since Scruci became Bowling Green’s superintendent nearly two years ago. Though any election victory is a good victory, Scruci said he was very pleased with the margin of the votes. “I think it really does speak to the amount of support we have in the community,” he said. “And at the day’s end, the winners are the kids.” However, Scruci cautioned that Tuesday’s victory does not mean the district can count on voters passing a levy for new or renovated school buildings. “I don’t think you can compare the two,” he said of the renewal levy and a new tax issue. “I…