election

At BGSU, Clarence Page reflects on Middletown & “Hillbilly Elegy”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clarence Page is a story teller. That’s what all good journalists are, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner said. On Thursday at Bowling Green State University, though, he reflected on someone else’s story, J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Vance’s book has been selected as the university’s Common Read. Page was invited to BGSU to discuss Vance’s book. Meant to bring everyone together to read the same book and spark discussion, this year’s selection has done the trick. Social media is full of commentary on the book, and even its appropriateness as the Common Read. “Hillbilly Elegy” arrived at the same time as Donald Trump was elected to office, and many reviewers touted it as the book to read if you wanted to understand Trump voters. Vance takes a hard look at his people, who feel displaced in America and are plagued by dysfunctional families and unemployment. This demographic is the most pessimistic of any in the country.  Poor whites are more pessimistic than poor blacks. “Maybe because we’re used to it.” Page, who like Vance comes from Middletown, Ohio, said the book gave him a look at…


Callecods: BG charter amendment “ill-conceived”

We consider ourselves to be avid environmentalists and share the concerns of many citizens of Wood County about the potential negative environmental impacts of the several proposed pipelines through the area, particularly the Nexus project which will run under the Maumee River near Bowling Green’s water intake and distribution plant.   A local activist group succeeded in getting sufficient signatures on a petition to place an amendment to the Bowling Green City Charter on the November 7 ballot.  The petition was touted as an action to protect the city’s water by banning the pipeline project. However, the actual language of the amendment goes far beyond the issue of pipelines:  It states that “The people…and the natural communities and ecosystems…possess the right to a healthy environment and livable climate.”  No problem with that, other than how does one define “healthy” environment and “livable” climate? But the scary part comes next: “If the City…or court fails to enforce or defend this amendment…ANY person may enforce these rights through non-violent direct action…(and)…law enforcement, and cooperating agencies…shall have no lawful authority to surveil, detain, arrest, or otherwise  impede persons enforcing these rights.” Power to the people is an admirable objective.  Citizens of Bowling Green are free to, and often have demonstrated openly on issues,…


BG will not regret funding new school: Adrian and Margo Smith

This past summer my wife and I decided on our new adventure. After 35 years in BG raising five children and teaching in the BG district, we uprooted and landed in Southern Ohio, Brown County, about an hour east of Cincinnati. Mostly rural and not wealthy by any means, there is one thing that stands out to Margo and I from our day trips – the local schools. From Georgetown to Ripley to West Union, Mt Orab, Wilmington, Hillsboro, Blanchester, Peebles, Winchester, Aberdeen, etc ALL of the school buildings are new and almost all are campuses. Most, unlike BG ,received extensive state funding due to the economics down here, but, more heartwarming are the local attitudes to their schools. There seems to be a special community pride for them and more often than not the schools are a hub for local activity. Now I know it is said by some that new buildings don’t insure better education but I can tell you from empirical observation that they have greatly helped the state of education down here. We continue to wish you and all of our friends a hopeful positive levy vote – the community will not regret it. Adrian and…


BG council candidates try to win BGSU student votes

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council candidates wooed student voters Monday evening with promises to work on decent housing, better job opportunities and more renewable energy. Ten of the 13 candidates running for City Council spent two hours answering questions during a forum at Bowling Green State University. Third Ward candidate Mike Aspacher is running unopposed, so was present but did not participate. At-large candidate Carolyn Kawecka and Second Ward candidate Kent Ramsey were no-shows. The candidates were asked about three local topics by the moderators – rental housing, environmental safety, and the city-university relationship. They were asked how the city could hold landlords more accountable for the condition of rental properties. The question specifically referenced the “power over the city” held by landlords like the Newlove, Maurer and Green families. William Herald (Republican for Fourth Ward) said efforts have been made by the city to improve housing through such proposals as the master plan update. The city has worked on improving the appearance of neighborhoods, but “those efforts need to be continued,” he said. Scott Seeliger (Democrat for Fourth Ward) agreed that housing is a problem. “We certainly have an issue in housing.”…


Les & Sue Barber: Daniel Gordon is “a consistent, reliable voice on Council for progressive and humane values”

We write to urge our neighbors in Bowling Green’s First Ward 1 to vote for Daniel Gordon in the up-coming City Council election.  Daniel has been a consistent, reliable voice on Council for progressive and humane values, as well as for nuts and bolts issues important to our Ward, during the six years he has already served.  We believe that in his next term of office he will continue to be an active supporter of proposals to reestablish the integrity and well being of older neighborhoods, like ours, in Bowling Green.  Thus, his continued presence on City Council is vital to fulfilling the wishes and needs of citizens in our Ward.  Please vote for Daniel Gordon on Election Day in November.   Les and Sue Barber Bowling Green 


Ben Otley: Charter amendment “promotes anarchy … is deeply flawed”

On November 7, you will be asked to vote on an Amendment to Bowling Green’s City Charter.   Even if you are against pipelines, I urge you to vote no on the proposed Amendment.  The type of language contained in this Amendment will keep new businesses from locating in Bowling Green and will drive existing businesses out.  Simply put, it promotes anarchy.  It will also cause the city great expense to defend because its constitutionality is certain to be challenged.   Let me be clear that I do not question the sincerity of the local group of activists pushing this initiative.  I believe the local organizers genuinely wish to ensure a healthy environment for future generations.  Unfortunately, the initiative they are pushing is deeply flawed, and I do not believe it was authored by the local organizers.  The proposed Amendment goes way beyond its stated purpose of banning pipelines, lacks basic definitions, is vague, confusing and leaves me wondering if the author has a hidden agenda.  For example, it extends rights to “natural communities” and “ecosystems”, then goes on to state “the right shall include the right to be free from new infrastructure for fossil fuel”, but is completely open ended…



J. Scott Stewart: Sandy Rowland is involved and available to citizens

Please join me in supporting Sandy Rowland for City Council.  Sandy is more involved in our community than any other candidate running for an At-Large seat on City Council. She has served on City Council for 6 years and has been deeply involved as a volunteer for everything from The Black Swamp Arts Festival, Parks & Recreation to La Conexion and Not In Our Town.  Sandy is available and approachable to residents and business because she is in the community. As a realtor in Bowling Green Sandy understands how forward progress on the Community Action Plan, support of our public schools and active inclusiveness are the necessary components of a vibrant city that can attract new industry, small business in the downtown and new families that are vital in the growth of our city. Some of the other candidates have suggested that a vote for Sandy Rowland is a wasted vote because “she will win anyway”, but your vote will only count if you cast it. Please make your vote count. Join me in voting for Sandy Rowland for City Council At-Large. Let’s keep Bowling Green moving forward!   Dr. J Scott Stewart Bowling Green


Renewal levy targets child and elder abuse, neglect

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County is on its way to setting a grim record for 2017, as the numbers of child abuse and neglect cases continue to grow. That makes passage of the 1.3-mill renewal levy for Human Services even more critical, according to those trying to meet the needs. “Without it we would have to reduce staff which would be catastrophic because we are seeing record numbers,” said Dave Wigent, director of the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services. Since 1987, the Children’s Services and Adult Protective Services portions of the agency have relied on the 1.3 mills to support their work. The 10-year levy generates $3.7 million a year, and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $36 a year. The funding provides for child abuse and neglect investigations and, if needed, placement of children in foster homes or other settings. The levy also supports elder services, such as home health aides, homemaker services and investigations of elder abuse and neglect. Since the levy was last passed 10 years ago, Wood County has seen six deaths of children under 3 years old due to abuse. Five suffered from head trauma,…


Accusations fly at council meeting over charter amendment

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Supporters of the Bowling Green Charter Amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot accused their opponents Monday evening of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” But one of several Bowling Green City Council members opposed to the charter amendment called the proposal “an attempt to legalize anarchy.” The charter amendment proponents spoke first at Monday’s City Council meeting. Lisa Kochheiser said the amendment purpose is “expanding rights of people to protect their families and community” against environmental harm. She spoke of the Nexus pipeline route that is proposed near the city’s water treatment plant, and said that a second pipeline by the same company is in the works. Wood County is “caught in the crosshairs” of many pipelines since it is located on the natural gas route from southeast Ohio to Canada. Kochheiser accused city leaders of knowing two years in advance about the Nexus project, but not telling the public. She asked when the city was going to inform the public about the second proposed pipeline. Though city council denied an easement for the pipeline, that was the only action taken to stop the project, she said. City council “refused”…


Middleton Twp. asks voters to support levy for new fire station

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Middleton Township has outgrown its fire stations. Fire equipment has steadily gotten larger, and the aging stations are bursting at the seams. “We literally have a couple inches,” between pieces of equipment, Middleton Township Fire Chief Steve Asmus said. “I always say we have to grease them to get in,” Middleton Township Trustee Penny Getz said. So the township is asking its voters to approve a 3-mill levy for 15 years, to build a new centrally located fire station for fire and EMS. The levy would generate about $456,480 a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $150 a year. The township’s fire and EMS equipment is now divided between four buildings – the fire station in Haskins, the fire station in Dunbridge, the EMS station near the intersection of Ohio 25 and Ohio 582, and the new township administration building on Route 25. The Haskins and Dunbridge stations were both built in the 1950s. “We have equipment spread out all over,” Asmus said. “We would like to have it in one location. We have no place to put the equipment right now.” Township officials would like to have…


“Mike Olmstead believes he is above the law”

Voters in the upcoming Perrysburg mayoral race have been exposed to baseless attacks by incumbent Mike Olmstead against his opponent Tom Mackin. Mr. Mackin has not stooped to Mike Olmstead’s low level by responding in kind, which speaks to the dignity and respect with which Mr. Mackin will treat the Office of Mayor if elected. Mr. Mackin has served honorably on the Perrysburg City Council, the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Government, the YMCA Board, and in numerous volunteer capacities in Perrysburg. Unfortunately, this means that a serious issue in the race has not been raised: Mayor Olmstead’s unpaid back taxes. The Perrysburg Messenger Journal has failed in its responsibility to report on this issue, despite repeating Olmstead’s attacks on Mackin. Mike Olmstead has treated the citizens of Perrysburg with great disrespect. Mayor Olmstead owes unpaid taxes to the IRS, the State of Ohio, and Perrysburg. He could use his personal holdings to pay off his debt. Instead, the IRS has liens against Mayor Olmstead and the state is garnishing his mayoral salary. Put simply, Perrysburg taxpayers are unwittingly paying off Mike Olmstead’s unpaid tax debt. Not paying Perrysburg Schools taxes, not to mention those owed to the state and…


“It’s clear that now is the time to invest in new school buildings”

Voters will be asked on November 7 to support a bond request to construct a new consolidated elementary school, as well as to significantly renovate the high school.  Much thought and study by our school leaders, as well as considerable citizen input, have gone into this request, and it is not being made without good cause.  Although a cursory drive-by of our current elementary and high school buildings might suggest that they are in acceptable shape, a closer examination – even a brief walk through any of the buildings, for example – will demonstrate that this is far from the case.  The buildings have long outlived their usefulness, and in their current condition are not conducive to teaching and learning.  Our teachers and students have done a good job of making due with patch worked buildings for several years now, but we have reached the point of diminishing returns.  The current buildings have become like that old car many of us have kept a little too long – in dire need of repair after repair, with no end in sight.  And just as we know when it’s time to trade in that old clunker that is nickel and diming us…


Park district takes step toward renewal levy next spring

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District will be going back on the ballot next year – but the board won’t be asking for any additional funds. The county park board voted Tuesday afternoon to start the levy process by asking the Wood County Auditor to certify the current valuation for the park district. The board then plans to place a renewal of its 1-mill, 10-year levy on next year’s spring ballot. “I believe that will suffice to serve our financial needs for another decade,” Board President Denny Parish said. Wood County voters have a history of supporting their parks, and will appreciate the district’s decision to not ask for more money, Parish said. The current levy brings in a “pretty steady” amount of approximately $2.8 million a year. “I believe we can operate for another 10 years on the same millage,” Parish stressed. Board member John Calderonello mentioned that some voters may still be stinging from issues on this November’s ballot. But Parish said the park district can choose between spring and fall of 2018. “We can’t wait till 2019,” he said. And board member Bob Dorn reminded that if the park levy…


Sandy Rowland “consistently expresses her support and caring for all residents of Bowling Green”

I submit this letter to express my support for the re-election of Sandy Rowland to an at-large seat on the Bowling Green City Council. It is my opinion that Sandy has the qualifications, the experience, and the dedication to continue to be an outstanding councilperson. During her first term she has been highly visible and involved throughout the community. I have full faith that she will continue in this manner during her second term. The following are specific examples of Sandy’s hard work and efforts that have me planning to cast my vote for her on November 7. First, Sandy consistently expresses her support and caring for all residents of Bowling Green. Her opinions on issues are developed on input from residents, not solely on her personal beliefs or opinions. She understands the diversity of our citizens and seeks to understand the ways council decisions will impact a wide variety of individuals. When she casts a vote, she is well informed and well versed on community reaction and opinion.  Second, Sandy understands and demonstrates how important it is for a council member to be visible within the community. She attends a wide range of meetings and events going on in the community….