election

Addiction and mental health safety nets depend on levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After Carol Beckley’s life turned dark, she tried to end her life five or six times. After Kyle Snyder started stealing from his dad’s medicine cabinet, he ended up overdosing on opiates multiple times. Their lives have few similarities – except Beckley and Snyder were both saved by the safety net stretched out by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. So on Monday, the two told their stories at the kickoff for the WCADAMHS levy which will appear on the November ballot. “Nothing speaks as clearly as to hear somebody’s personal story of their recovery,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of WCADAMHS. Beckley, who grew up in Wood County, started having problems 26 years ago. “My life as I knew it fell apart,” she said. She grew detached from things that were important to her, and started cutting herself. Beckley said she attempted suicide five or six times. Over the next five years, she was hospitalized about 20 times. “It was a revolving door for me,” she said. At that point, Beckley moved back to Wood County, where she found the safety net of services for people with mental health and addiction problems. Through Behavioral Connections, she was assigned a psychiatrist, therapist and case manager. She started hanging out at the Connections Center, where people cared how she was doing. “It was a place I could go on a daily basis,” Beckley said. “It got me out of my house. I started to crawl back to some sense of normalcy.” Without the levy funding for local mental health services, Beckley would not have been standing at a podium Monday telling her story. “Without the funding, without the help, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “Life as I know it is not the life I planned – but it is very rich.” Snyder was helped by a different safety net – one for addicts. As a child, Snyder watched as his father struggled as he waited for a kidney transplant. He remembered the burden and pain he felt as a child. “I remember at 10 years old I didn’t want to be alive,” he said. As a teenager, Snyder searched for ways to escape his world. “Anything to alter my reality,” he said. When alcohol was no longer enough, Snyder began taking his dad’s prescribed morphine from…


State Issue 1 drug law proposal faces strong opposition

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Drug offenders in Ohio currently encounter the carrot and the stick. If they participate in treatment and comply with the courts’ orders, they can often avoid jail time. State Issue 1 would only offer the carrot – and take away the stick. That just won’t work, according to local judges, the county prosecutor, sheriffs and state legislators. On Thursday, some of that local opposition to Issue 1 gathered in the Wood County Courthouse atrium. On the surface, Issue 1 may look harmless. It downgrades the vast majority of drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. And it promises to move money saved by not incarcerating drug offenders into drug treatment programs. Proponents of the issue, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot, are massively outspending opposition, according to State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green. As of a month ago, Issue 1 had raised $4.1 million, with much of that being money from outside Ohio, he said. Meanwhile, there was no organized opposition to the issue. Issue 1 – which would change the state constitution – was not getting much attention until recently, Gardner said. So Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, asked local law enforcement and court officials to join them Thursday to express their concerns. “Our courts are on the front lines for this,” Gavarone said. As officials took their turn at the podium, they were unanimous in their opposition to Issue 1. Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson talked about the newly created ARC program, which is currently working with 70 opiate addicts in the county. The program is having such success because it is able to offer addicts intervention in lieu of jail time. If jail time was not an option, it is unlikely that many of those addicts would go through the difficult treatment process. “Almost all of those efforts will be negated by State Issue 1,” Dobson said. Issue 1 would remove drug offenses from the criminal justice process, to be treated solely by the behavioral health process. It’s a mistake to not include both processes for drug addicts, he said. Dobson has heard from many addicts who seek treatment only because a judge has told them it’s either treatment or jail. Gardner said he has heard the same stories from addicts who don’t seek treatment until they hit rock bottom – which is the…


GOP state auditor candidate Keith Faber wants government to work better for Bob & Betty Buckeye

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A few phrases roll quickly off the tongue of State Rep. Keith Faber, a candidate for state auditor. The Celina resident sees one of the state auditor’s duties as catching those “lying, stealing, and cheating.” And when talking about how government should run the operative phrases are “better faster cheaper” and “efficient, effective, and transparent.” “The auditor’s office is not a partisan office,” he said. “You wear the uniform of the umpire. My background shows I don’t show favor. … You elect an auditor to represent Bob and Betty Buckeye and to make sure government works for them, not itself.” That background includes 17 years in the State Legislature, first in the House, then Senate where he served as president from 2013 to 2016, and now is back in the House representing the 84th district. Faber is running against Democrat Zack Space. He includes ECOT, the private charter school now being sued by the state, in the category of those who have misused state money. He defends how his Republican predecessor Dave Yost, now a candidate for attorney general and the Republican controlled legislature, handled the controversy. Some have charged they let the problem fester too long. Faber said he has also supported effort to draw both state legislative and later congressional districts in a non-partisan way. The auditor will sit on the commissions that draw those districts. He backs the goal of keeping political subdivisions together with “a heavy emphasis keeping things compact.” He said “that should allow people to be represented by people who share their values.” Having a hand in shaping these new districts, though, is not why he’s seeking the state auditor’s office, he said. The auditor’s office, he said, is about on one hand providing “service and support to Ohio’s local governments.” One issue he’s focused on is the cost of audits. Sometimes for small commissions or townships, what’s charged by the state for audits is a disproportionately large share of their budgets, sometimes as much as half. “I’d like to empower the office to make them less expensive and ask the legislature to help subsidize them.” Then there’s the compliance side. If someone is caught “lying, stealing, and cheating, there’s a place for them – in jail.” However, Faber added, he would take a more lenient tact if someone makes a mistake through lack of knowledge or experience…


County voters to face two levies on fall ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will have two county-wide issues to decide in the November election. Neither are asking the voters for more millage – which was very important to the county commissioners as they deliberated the tax levy requests earlier this year. One levy is a reduced renewal levy, dropped from the current 2.95-mills to 2.45 mills for Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The duration of that levy is five years. The other is a replacement 1-mill levy for 10 years for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. During a presentation by Wood Lane officials earlier this year, Superintendent Brent Baer talked about the “dynamic growth in services” that the board is seeing. And Martha Woelke, of the board, said great deliberation went into the levy request. “We did everything we can to maximize state and federal money,” she told the commissioners. The board has been able to reduce its levy collections some years, but feels that 2.45 mills is the lowest it can go for the renewal. When people with developmental disabilities waive their right to institutional care, they are picked up by community based services – like Wood Lane. That agency then identifies their needs and develops plans to meet them, Baer said. The waivers allow for federal funding, but the community agency must still pick up 40 percent of the costs, said finance officer Steve Foster. “Our commitments are for the life of an individual,” Baer said. Demands are growing as the population here is increasing. “Wood County is one of the few counties in Ohio that’s growing,” Baer said. About five years ago, there were 226 consumers on waivers. Now there are 425. Baer expects that number to double again in the next five years. The board may need to be back in five years, asking for a greater levy, but this should do for now, Baer said. The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board started out asking for an increase in levy dollars, from the current 1-mill to 1.3 mills. But the Wood County Commissioners – who have to certify the need for levies before they are placed on the ballot – asked the ADAMHS board to consider other options for the November ballot issue. The current 1-mill levy generates about $2.9 million. The levy replacement plus addition of 0.3…


BG School Board takes back seat to citizen task forces

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Board of Education handed the car keys over to the community Monday evening. After two failed attempts to pass a $72 million school bond issue for buildings, the board has now put the community in the driver’s seat. Approximately 150 citizens met in the school’s performing arts center to listen to where the district goes from here. Board President Jill Carr invited citizens to sign up for one or both of two task forces being formed – one to study school facilities and the other to study finances. The task forces will set their own meeting schedules, decide what information they need, and report back to the board. “This will be a community-driven process,” Carr said. “The board will step back.” Though the administration and board will make requested information available to the task forces, they will take a back seat in the process, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. The goal is to come up with a “solution that the community can support,” Scruci said. “Regardless of which side you stood on in November and May.” The district is at a “critical juncture,” the superintendent said, urging the community to work together, and refrain from name calling and personal attacks. “We need to rise above for the good of all,” Scruci said. The process of putting the community in charge of building projects and funding is quite unusual, according to David Conley, an expert in school finance hired by the district earlier this year. But it has been done by about 10 of Ohio’s 600 school districts, Conley said. In those 10 cases, most of the districts ended up winning at the ballot, he added. The task forces will identify the needs of the district, then decide how to pay for those improvements. Conley will act as facilitator for the finance task force. The facilitator for the facilities group has not yet been selected. “You’re being given the power to make the decisions for the district,” he said to the audience. Conley cautioned that anyone joining a task force should make a commitment of at least six months, with one or two meetings each month. He also warned that those unwilling to work on the project have no right to complain later. “Don’t criticize the result of the work of the committees after the fact,” he said. “Don’t sit at home…


Democrat Zack Space says as auditor he’d look to limit the role of money in politics

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Donald Trump got one thing right, Democrat Zack Space believes. Space, who is running for state auditor, said the president’s assertion during the campaign that the political system “was rigged” resonated with many voters. Space doesn’t agree with Trump on much but he agrees with him on that. Space is running against Republican Keith Faber. “The system has been rigged by money and political greed,” Space said during a recent campaign stop in Bowling Green. “The money manifests itself by political contributions, all of which are legal, and improper influence on policy. And political greed manifests itself through gerrymandering. Politicians drawing their own lines.” That allows politicians to select their voters, instead of voters selecting their candidates. As auditor he’ll have a say in addressing that. The auditor will have a place on the panel that will redraw state legislative districts, and possibly on the one that redraws congressional districts. Space, though, has mixed feelings about Issue 1, the constitutional amendment calling for the redrawing of congressional districts, which passed in May. While it is a step in the right direction, he said, it still will allow for gerrymandering by the Republican state legislature. All they have to do is lure a third of Democrats with “extremely safe” seats, and the status quo is maintained. “So the potential for gerrymandering still exists.” This kind of political chicanery “causes people to lose in politics and the institution of government and in democracy itself,” Space said. “When they lose faith in democracy they naturally turn to authoritarianism.” The influence of money in politics is seen in the two controversies roiling state government – for-profit charter schools and pay-day lending. The current a state auditor Republican Dave Yost, who is running for attorney general, could have brought the ECOT scandal to a head by declaring the books unauditable. Then it would be up to a judge to decide whether that was a proper use of public funds. Instead the Democrat said, the charter school company continued to received state money, costing local school district millions of dollars. Earlier this month Space, who served two terms in Congress before losing a bid for re-election, announced schools on his first day as auditor he would create a commission to investigate malfeasance in for-profit charter. The legislature, Space added, only addressed the pay day lending industry after the controversy boiled…


Voters to decide 2 county levies in fall – though 1 is still in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will decide the fate of two county-wide levies this fall. The county commissioners heard from both groups last week. One levy is a reduced renewal levy – dropped from the current 2.95-mills to 2.45 mills for Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The other is still a mystery. A request had been made for an increase from a 1-mill to a 1.3-mill levy for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. The commissioners seem to be on board with the Wood Lane request. But they have expressed reservations about the increased levy request from ADAMHS. During the presentation by Wood Lane officials, Superintendent Brent Baer talked about the “dynamic growth in services” that the board is seeing. And Martha Woelke, of the board, said great deliberation went into the levy request. “We did everything we can to maximize state and federal money,” she told the commissioners. The board has been able to reduce its levy collections some years, but feels that 2.45 mills is the lowest it can go for the renewal. When people with developmental disabilities waive their right to institutional care, they are picked up by community based services – like Wood Lane. That agency then identifies their needs and develops plans to meet them, Baer said. The waivers allow for federal funding, but the community agency must still pick up 40 percent of the costs, said finance officer Steve Foster. “Our commitments are for the life of an individual,” Baer said. Demands are growing as the population here is increasing. “Wood County is one of the few counties in Ohio that’s growing,” Baer said. About five years ago, there were 226 consumers on waivers. Now there are 425. Baer expects that number to double again in the next five years. The board may need to be back in five years, asking for a greater levy, but this should do for now, Baer said. It’s not often that a county board approaches the county commissioners about lowering a levy request. “I’ve never had to do one with a reduction,” said Sandy Long, the clerk of the board of commissioners. The commissioners like the idea of asking taxpayers for less for Wood Lane. But they aren’t completely sold on asking taxpayers for more for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board. The…


Group opposed to school levy turns in campaign finances

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The citizens group opposed to the Bowling Green City Schools levy in May has filed its campaign finance report with the Wood County Board of Elections. The filing deadline for campaign finance information from the May primary election was Friday at 4 p.m. The reports list those who contributed to election efforts, and how that money was spent. The group supporting the school levy made the deadline, but group opposed to the levy did not. However, when the board of elections arrived to work this morning, the report had been emailed in. The group opposed the levy – Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax, with Grant Chamberlain as treasurer – reported receiving $7,267.62 since the first filing.  Following are the contributions listed to the anti-levy campaign: Irene Hinesman, $50 Douglas Seiple, $1,000 SLD Rentals, $300 David Apple, $1,000 Dudley Dauterman, $1,000 Gregory W. Bils, $400 Dan Hoffmann, $100 Robert Strow, $100 Sonja Chamberlain, $250 Thomas Carpenter, $250 Harold Moore, $500 Tad Yarger, $100 John H. Herringshaw, $200 Fine Vines LLC, $1,500 Gary Herringshaw, $200 Stephen C. Bateson, $200 Eric T. Lause, $50 Grant Chamberlain, $67.62 The group in favor of the school levy – Citizens in Support of Our Schools, with Andy Newlove as treasurer – reported receiving $3,600 in contributions since the April filing.  Following is a list of the donations to the pro-levy campaign: Becca Ferguson, $100 David Codding, $2,500 Control Systems of Ohio, $1,000 According to the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook, if a required report is filed late, then the county board of elections or the secretary of state must refer the PAC to the Ohio Elections Commission. The commission determines if a fine should be imposed. Both pro and anti school levy groups filed the initial required campaign finance reports at the end of April. Those reports showed the contributions and expenditures through the period up to 20 days before the election. The post election reports due last Friday showed the money taken in and spent following the first report filed in April. In the initial reports, the anti-levy group had raised $10,866 from nine donors. The pro-levy group had raised $14,175 from 32 donors. 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…


Group against BG school levy fails to file finance report

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The citizens group opposed to the Bowling Green City Schools levy in May has failed to file its campaign finance report with the Wood County Board of Elections. Friday at 4 p.m. was the statewide deadline for political action committees to file reports listing those who contributed to election efforts, and how that money was spent. The group that supported the school levy – Citizens in Support of Our Schools, with Andy Newlove as treasurer – filed its report on Friday morning. The group against the levy – Wood County Citizens Against Higher Property Tax, with Grant Chamberlain as treasurer – did not submit its report by the deadline. It is unusual for a PAC to not comply with the Ohio Revised Code requirement, said Carol DeJong, director at the Wood County Board of Elections. “I have not had this experience with a PAC that didn’t file,” especially on such a high-profile election issue, DeJong said on Friday after the deadline passed. The penalty for not filing can be up to $100 a day, she added. According to the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook, if a required report is filed late, then the county board of elections or the secretary of state must refer the PAC to the Ohio Elections Commission. The commission determines if a fine should be imposed. Both pro and anti school levy groups filed the initial required campaign finance reports at the end of April. Those reports showed the contributions and expenditures through the period up to 20 days before the election. The post election reports due Friday are to show the money taken in and spent following the first report filed in April. In their initial reports, the anti-levy group had raised $10,866 from nine donors. The pro-levy group had raised $14,175 from 32 donors. In the campaign finance report filed Friday by the Citizens in Support of Our Schools, three contributions were recorded: Becca Ferguson, $100; David Codding, $2,500; and Control Systems of Ohio, $1,000. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton explained in April 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. The school levy was a highly controversial issue, and failed for the…


Voter purge instructions expected from the state

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The strict voter purging process used in Ohio was given the stamp of approval by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week. The Wood County Board of Elections – like the rest of the state – has been on hold since the legitimacy of the voter purging has been debated in the courts. But soon, people will again be dropped from the voter rolls if they don’t meet state requirements. The local board of elections will be charged with making the cuts. Carol DeJong, one of the directors at the Wood County Board of Elections, said her opinion on the court ruling was irrelevant. “We are Switzerland here at the board of elections,” she said on Wednesday. “We will of course have to wait till we get instructions from the state,” DeJong said. But since the process of reviewing voting rolls is customary in January and February, she didn’t expect any voters would be purged prior to the general election this fall. The National Voter Registration Act prohibits dropping voters too close to an election, she said. “I don’t expect that we will hear anything new until the beginning of 2019,” she said. The last time Wood County did any purging of voter names was in 2015. That year more than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls following a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. However, in 2016 a federal appeals court found that Ohio’s process for maintaining its voter rolls violated federal law. A judge ruled that Ohio voters who were improperly removed from registration lists could cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. But since those names had already been purged, the ruling meant if a person showed up at the polls and was not on the official list, they would be allowed to vote by a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is a paper ballot that is held in a sealed envelope with the voter’s identification. If the identification information was verified by the elections board staff, the provisional ballot was counted. Wood County Board of Elections did not encounter any citizens purged from the list, who wished to vote, Director Terry Burton said. “Those people had been through an eight-year process,” of not voting and not responding to notices, he said. But those who send back the stamped envelope…


County worried about taxpayer fatigue impact on levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Concern about taxpayer fatigue has led to a request that the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board reconsider its proposed levy. The Wood County Commissioners have asked the board to consider other options for its November ballot issue. “We just want to make sure that what they put on the ballot, people will be in favor of,” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said on Wednesday. “Our concern is – what if it doesn’t pass?” The ADAMHS board had asked that a 1.3-mill replacement levy be place on the ballot. In order for the issue to appear before the voters, the county commissioners have to certify the need for the levy millage. Last month, Tom Clemons, the executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, made his pitch to the county commissioners for the agency’s levy request. At that point, Herringshaw said that the commissioners had to discuss the levy request. “We want to make sure it is the right fit for Wood County and for the ADAMHS board,” Herringshaw said. The current 1-mill levy generates about $2.9 million. The levy replacement plus addition of 0.3 mills would bring in an additional $1.3 million. According to a letter from Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar to Clemons, the commissioners aren’t rejecting the request for the 1.3-mill levy. However, they would like the ADAMHS Board to consider other options. Those options, according to the letter, plus the original request are: 1.3-mill replacement levy for 10 years, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 approximately $45.50 a year. 1-mill replacement levy for 10 years, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $35 a year. Replacement levy at an amount between 1 mill and 1.3 mills for 10 years. Two separate levies, with one being a 1-mill replacement levy for 10 years, plus a new levy of 0.3 mills for five years. That lower levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $10.50 annually. If the opiate crisis is still creating a big demand for services after five years, the ADAMHS Board can put that small levy back on the ballot, the letter stated. Clemons said the additional funding is needed to keep up with growing needs for services. Some of the biggest issues include dealing with…


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.    


Voters reject BG School’s bond issue for buildings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Board of Education was left bruised and battered Tuesday evening – from both a bitter levy campaign and a biting defeat at the polls. The district’s second attempt to pass a 5.7-mill bond issue for 37 years went down by a bigger margin than its first loss. The unofficial total on Tuesday night was 2,845 (40 percent) to 4,218 (60 percent). That compares to November’s vote of 3,471 (46 percent) to 4,021 (54 percent). “We are very disappointed,” school board President Jill Carr said late Tuesday evening. “We’re so committed to getting our facilities back to the high quality they were,” Carr said of the $72 million plan to consolidate the three elementaries, plus renovate and add onto the high school. “We wanted the best for students, teachers and community as a whole.” But many did not like the plan – either because of its effect on their pocketbooks or because it meant the end to “neighborhood” schools. Steve Bateson, one of those leading the opposition to the levy, issued a statement after the election results were in. “The voters joined together and spoke, defeating the bond issue for a variety of reasons. Some voters believe neighborhood schools are important, others felt that the additional tax was unfair,” he wrote. “This bond issue has been defeated twice and we hope the school board respects the decision of the voters and moves forward with a new plan that all members of our school district family can support for the success of our students and community,” Bateson stated. But finding a plan that all members of the district can support may be difficult. The school board brought in a school taxation expert who said the board’s request for a property tax was the best decision for the majority of the district residents. Principals at the schools offered Saturday tours to the public so show the poor condition of the buildings. But it wasn’t enough to convince the majority of the voters. “We are just going to have to step back and try to figure out what the next steps are,” board Vice President Ginny Stewart said. “Obviously the community wants something different.” The board will continue to work with school taxation expert David Conley to find a funding solution for the district. Critics of the bond issue has suggested that the…


County parks levy takes a hike with levy victory

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As voters where casting their ballots, the Wood County Park District board was holding its monthly meeting in the Bradner Preserve. It was a perfect day to be in a park. Sun was shining. Trees were budding. The park board was hoping that feeling would continue into the evening when the votes were counted. “I’m cautiously optimistic,” said park board president Denny Parish. There was no need for caution, since the voters showed that they supported the county park district’s mission by approving the 1-mill renewal levy by 74 percent. The unofficial count was 14,462 to 5,207. The park board was worried of other financial competition on Tuesday’s ballot. “We were concerned there would be several financial issues on the ballot,” Parish said. “But it’s obvious tonight that people who support the parks, support the parks.” The key to such overwhelming support could have been that the park district stuck with its 1-mill levy, rather than increasing its millage. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. Or it could have been all the park district offers for residents. The county park district has grown to 20 different parks, with 1,125 acres, open 365 days a year. “I think it’s just the good work that the people I work with everyday do for the parks,” said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. The park district may have also won such support by showing voters that it listens to their suggestions. Based on resident requests, new programming has been added – both educational and adventure activities, Munger said. “Everybody likes what we’ve been doing,” he said. “We’ll keep listening to the public to see what they want to see for their parks.” Park district adventure activities include archery, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, geo-caching, hunting, rock rappelling, bicycling and bouldering. Programs are offered throughout the year, including classes on wildlife, bird migration, nature photography, stream studies, fire building, seed cleaning, beekeeping, trees, yoga, tai chi and camping. There are also full moon walks, senior nature hikes, wildflower walks, and summer nature camps. The park district also shares its wealth, with small community parks in the county. The district awards $100,000 a year to local parks for such items as playground…


Election result update

10:09 Issue 1 that calls for redrawing U.S. Congressional Districts was winning easily in Wood County with 75 percent of the vote,  mirroring results statewide. That won’t happen before the November election though when incumbent Republican Bob Latta will be challenged by Democrat Michael Galbraith, both of whom won handily in their primary races. There were no surprises in other statewide races with Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine set to face off for givernor, and Republican Jim Renacci set to face off against Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, who was unopposed in the primary.   9:50 Bowling Green School bond levy loses, 2845-4218, 40-60 percent. Wood County Park levy winning handily with 73 percent of the vote, 13,020-4,812, with 87 of 99 precincts reporting. Sunset Bistro’s liquor ordinance passed easily, 545-114.     9:08 With 20 of 29 precincts reporting, school bond issue is down 1,461-2,287.   9:04 In District 5 Democratic primary, Politico is reporting Michael Galbraith leading James Neu, with  69.6 percent, 4,986-2,174, and 24 percent of the precincts reporting. At this point, the Democratic total votes are running just ahead of the total votes for the two GOP challengers, Kreienkamp and Wolfrum.   8:53 School bond issue failing badly, 746-1356 with 9 of 29 precincts reporting. 8:42 Park levy cruising with 72 percent in favor. 8:38 With four of 29 precincts reporting, BG school bond levy is losing 669-890 8:20 With just over 8,400 5th District votes in, Politico is calling Bob Latta a winner over  Todd Wolfrum and Robert Kreienkamp  with 72 percent of the vote. 8:15 With 141 votes in, people in the neighborhood of Sunset Bistro are saying they want the restaurant to expand its alcohol offerings on Sunday. The liquor option is winning 115-26. 7:58 Initial votes from county. BG school bond: For – 568 45.12 percent; against – 691 votes, 54.88 percent. Park district levy: For – 1852, 74.3 percent, against, 639, 25.65 percent   7:56 p.m. No results yet from Wood County, but Politico is reporting Bob Latta has 70,1 percent of the initial vote with 3,885. Todd Wolfrum has, 1,189,24 percent and Robert Kreienkamp, 467, 8.4 percent, 467.