Neighborhood voters say cheers to Sunset Bistro’s request for expanded Sunday liquor sales

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The folks at Sunset Bistro were celebrating election night as early returns showed that the west side eatery had easily won a liquor option for Sunday sales. Owner Prudy Brott, her staff, and customers will still have to wait before they can toast expanded liquor sales with a glass of champagne during Sunday brunch. Brott said that she’s heard it takes from 30 days to three months for the Ohio Liquor Control Board to approve an application for Sunday sales. Tuesday voters in precinct 110 gave the bistro their approval, voting 545-114. Sunset Bistro has only been able to serve beer and a lower alcohol sparkling wine on Sundays. “I’m excited,” Brott said Tuesday night. “And we are too,” chimed in customer Ellen Sharp, who said she’d helped collect signatures to get the option on the ballot. Brott said that it will be good to be able to offer a glass of wine or cocktail on Sunday. She expects that will boost her Sunday business. New Year’s Eve was a dramatic display of the impact the limited alcohol options had on her business. People would call to inquire about reservations and be told the limited alcohol options, then go to celebrate at another establishment, she said. That happens on other Sundays, as well. Sharp, a loyal customer, said she’s been in the same position. Some Sundays when they’ve had guest they’d opt to go somewhere else where they could have a mimosa or a glass of wine. That’s why Sharp helped with the campaign, and being a resident of precinct 110, voted in favor of it. The support from the neighborhood is “quite humbling,” Brott said. She people in the neighborhood as well as the staff got behind the campaign. Brott said she had lawyers tell her that usually restaurants fail in their first attempts to get Sunday sales. So she was very pleased that her request was approved overwhelmingly on the first try….

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Ken Rieman: “A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development”

A vote for the Bowling Green school bond issue is a vote for community improvement and economic development.  It’s a vote to provide the best possible learning environment for our most precious resource–the children of our community. Families consider school reputation and facilities when deciding where to live. Up to date school facilities reflect the importance the community places on families and families are the life of every community. If we want our children and grandchildren to stay local we need to provide the best learning environment for them now and when they become parents. It is not just about attracting new people. It is about making the Bowling Green school district the place our children and grandchildren will raise their families. They will have a choice and if we don’t make it attractive they will go elsewhere. The facilities proposed by the school board are not extravagant. They have considered options carefully and have come up with a plan that provides an equal and improved education system for all students,more efficient operational costs and greater security.  The benefits far outweigh trying to extend the life of old facilities. The cost savings that will occur will reduce operating costs. Balancing class size and eliminating bussing some kids to a school across town as has been done for too many years is only possible with a central location. Segregating groups by grade level  will maintain the small school atmosphere and allow grade level teachers to work together.   The school system has been a good steward of community resources and has extended the life of the current  facilities as long as possible. Like an old previously dependable car there comes a time when upkeep exceeds the cost of a new vehicle. More efficient vehicles with better safety features are available and you know you waited longer than you should have to replace it. That is where we are at now with our school buildings. You can try to fix up an…

Melissa Shaffer: Smaller schools provide the best learning environment

I am in support of quality education for our children but oppose the school levy to build one new consolidated elementary school.  My reason has nothing to do with money nor taxes. My reason has everything to do with the best learning environment for young children. I arrived to this opinion after 30+ years of teaching in a variety of states, communities and facilities. I was born and raised in Bowling Green, recently moved back after a long career as an educator. I attended Kenwood, Conneaut, middle school and high school in Bowling Green. My father taught chemistry at the high school. Children learn best in environments where everyone knows their name, knows who you are. And if they don’t know you, they know your sibling and if they don’t know your sibling, they know your parents. And if they don’t know your parents, they know someone who knows your parents. No one is invisible. In a small neighborhood school, students have less risk of falling through the cracks. If a student is failing math, isn’t hearing, skips class, quietly crying, etc. Someone will notice and approach the student to help. Individual attention is easily offered. When I was a student at Conneaut, someone noticed early I wasn’t hearing well. When I was silently tearful during a math test, someone noticed. When I skipped class, someone noticed. As a student, I didn’t always want individual attention but it was what I needed at the time. As a child, I knew all of my classmates and teachers, inside the classroom as well as outside, and felt accountable and confident. Distractions were limited. In a large building with a large population, it’s much too easy for an individual student to be overlooked and invisible. As a young child enters through the front door of a huge multi-winged or multi-level building, he will feel intimidated and overwhelmed not knowing who everyone is, not knowing all the teachers, not knowing where his classroom is…

Navins: A yes vote on bond issue is a yes for the future of city’s children

“We can’t afford the proposed school levy”.  How many times have you heard this opinion voiced at the school board meetings and seen it in multiple ads in the Sentinel Tribune, two large billboards at the entrances to the city, multiple signs on rental properties in the city and a school district wide professional mailing sent to all residents. Doesn’t it make you wonder WHY these individuals are SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY (‘estimates of over $10,000) on their opposition to the proposed levy? .They voice a very strong “no” from reasons that range from too much money, to too long a time, to favoring neighborhood schools that are deteriorating but are being touted by the opponents as the “good bones” of our aging school buildings. The group of individuals funding the opposition to the levy own large amounts of property in the school district either farm acreage or rental properties.  The levy would, they feel, tax them disproportionally. Perhaps they don’t realize that a poor educational system will damage their labor pool (no one capable of performing the needed jobs) and decrease their property values. Bowling Green will  become a less desirable place to live as the quality of our educational system deteriorates. Professionals have testified that the levy plan is comprehensive and long-term cost saving to the district.  It will also provide a learning environment for the children of the district to meet the challenges they will be facing in a totally different and changing world.  Consultants have testified that this type of tax is the fairest to all the taxpayers in the school district. Citizens of Bowling Green, it’s time for us to think for ourselves.  Don’t let yourselves be swayed by individuals who have forgotten that the purpose of taxation through Ohio school levies is to promote a fair and high quality education for our children. This applies to both the professionals who work with our children and the quality of the facilities in which they learn….

GOP challengers come at 5th District incumbent from both sides

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Latta was not available for an interview for this story. In response to a request by BG Independent News, his campaign spokesman Drew Griffin wrote: “We’re not going to be able to do an interview on the primary.” That Latta again was not available explains in large part why on May 8, he’s facing a primary challenges from two fellow Republicans, Robert Kreienkamp, a retired engineer, from Wayne, and Todd Wolfrum, an attorney and county commissioner, Middle Point. In interviews both referred to his lack of responsiveness. Latta is able to “hide from every debate, from every argument,” Wolfrum said. This approach is possible because conservatives have given up hope that Latta can be beaten. Kreienkamp contrasted Latta’s lack of accessibility to how accessible the representative’s father, Del Latta, who represented the district for 30 years, was. Kreienkamp recalls going to see the elder Latta about his concerns about the inheritance tax that was causing some families to sell their farms to settle up with the government. Kreienkamp, who still lives on his family farm, said Latta was straightforward in telling him that he agreed, but that a solution was unlikely at the time. Kreienkamp appreciated his candor. In contrast, he sent a letter to Bob Latta with his concerns about President Trump’s plan to build a border wall. In response he got a two-page letter filled with facts and figures. But “I didn’t have a clue if he supported it.” “People want a change,” said Wolfrum who has knocked on more than 20,000 doors. Todd Wolfrum Wolfrum said he and a lot of conservatives are tired of politicians telling them what they want to hear when campaigning and “then go to Washington and act like liberals.” He said his biggest issue is conservative representatives go to Washington to cut spending and limit government. But though the Republicans have controlled Congress for four years, government has grown and the spending…

Opposing sides sink money into BG school levy issue

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With just a week to convince voters to cast their ballots for or against the Bowling Green City Schools levy, both sides are putting money into their messages. The anti-levy group – Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax – has erected billboards on the outskirts of the city urging people to reject the levy to build a new consolidated elementary, plus renovate and add onto the high school. The group has purchased more than $4,000 in newspaper ads showing young students questioning the need for new schools. And they have sent out mailers accusing the school board of not telling the truth about the levy. The pro-levy group – called Citizens in Support of Our Schools – has spent the bulk of its contributions on mailers and postage. Yard signs are popping up on both sides of the issue. As of last week’s filing deadline for campaign finance reports for the May 8 election, the anti-levy group had raised $10,866 from nine donors. The pro-levy group had raised $14,175 from 32 donors. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton said Monday that campaign finance law requires any Political Action Committee to report its finances. The reports must include where the money comes from – both in financial contributions and in-kind donations which are products or services that benefit the cause. An individual does not need to report money spent on his or her own, Burton said. “They retain their First Amendment rights of free speech.” However, that changes if individuals work together, he said. “If two or more people get together and coordinate in any way,” they must file a report on where the finances came from, and how they were spent, Burton said. Last Thursday was the deadline for the first round of finance reporting for the May 8 election. The pre-election report covers all the revenue and expenses up to 20 days prior to the election. The post-election…

BG Chamber: Issue 1 is “sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process”

The Board of Directors of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is joining the bipartisan coalition that is supporting State Issue 1.  It is our belief, the same as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the League of Women Voters, that State Issue 1 would establish a new process for how Ohio handles congressional redistricting.  Under the current system, a simple majority of the General Assembly determines the new congressional districts by passing a bill that the governor then signs into law. State Issue 1 would replace the existing process by providing bi-partisan approval of a map; requiring compact districts; restricting the current division of counties into several districts; ensure a transparent process by allowing the public to submit a map; and requires lawmakers to host public hearings. Although state lawmakers will continue to control the map-making process under the new proposal, it will require a bipartisan supermajority and includes other checks and balances that guard against partisan gerrymandering. Vote Yes on State Issue 1.  It is a sensible, fair and positive state-wide change to the redistricting process allowing voters to choose their legislators, not legislators choosing their voters.   Earlene Kilpatrick, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce