Marissa Garrett: Gordon “is an authentic, strong leader who has fought proactively for change in our community”

I am writing to encourage those in the 1st Ward to re-elect Councilman Daniel Gordon to City Council. I will be voting to re-elect Councilman Gordon for numerous reasons. Daniel is an authentic, strong leader who has fought proactively for change in our community. Daniel truly wants the best for our Bowling Green community, and has fought to defend our city against budget cuts that would have taken our resident’s hard-earned money elsewhere. He has created more jobs that pay a living wage so that people of all ages and backgrounds can comfortably live in Bowling Green. Councilman Gordon is a consistent advocate for shopping local, and promotes our local businesses that make our downtown what it is today. Daniel cares about our city and wants to make sure that it is a safe and pleasant place to live, not only for permanent residents, but for student residents as well. Councilman Gordon makes sure that our neighborhoods are safe places to live by working to create safer routes to school for children, installing bicycle lanes, and improving our sidewalks. Daniel also led the creation of Ridge Park, which is the 1st Ward, or Northeast Bowling Green’s first park. Daniel works hard for all of us, no matter who we are, or what our views are. He is a consistent, hard-working leader that if re-elected, will continue to make great improvements to Bowling Green. Daniel listens to ideas and suggestions, and has made serious changes to Bowling Green during his six years on City Council so far. Once again, I will encourage you to join me in voting to re-elect Councilman Gordon on November 7th, or by voting early.   Marissa Garrett Bowling Green

BG Chamber: Charter amendment will scare off businesses

As a representative of the business community, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce believes it is important for citizens to thoroughly read the proposed City Charter Amendment. If passed, there are real unintended consequences to our community. A portion of the actual ballot language reads “If the City of Bowling Green fails to enforce or defend this Amendment, or, a court fails to uphold this Amendment, any person may enforce this Amendment” and “City of Bowling Green law enforcement, and cooperating agencies acting within the jurisdiction of the City of Bowling Green, shall have no lawful authority to surveil, detain, arrest, or otherwise impede persons enforcing these rights.” The BGCC finds this specific language very disturbing. It implies anyone acting on behalf of this amendment, can break laws without consequences; our local law enforcement agencies are restricted from safeguarding our community from potential harmful activities ‘protected’ under this amendment; and even our court system is belittled. This proposed amendment would directly obstruct or stop any business/industry interested in locating or currently operating in Bowling Green who is affiliated with fossil fuel (whether used by residents or businesses). Passage essentially puts a sign on the city limits proclaiming “Bowling Green is closed for business.” Also, this amendment impacts our city treasury. The cost to enforce and the first time it attempts to enforce, there will be a lawsuit challenging the amendment. And yet, individuals who claim to be so concerned about the welfare of Bowling Green residents have no qualms about taking funds out of the public treasury… funds potentially earmarked towards projects that maintain our quality of life and make Bowling Green a ‘Best Hometown’. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and its Board of Directors encourages citizens to vote NO. This proposed amendment is neither community nor business friendly, it drains the public coffers, and prohibits our law enforcement and judicial systems to protect Bowling Green from potential harmful activities. If these concerns are not enough, then read sections…

Hannah Lanfear: Gordon has worked to make BG an inclusive city

I am writing to encourage other members of my Bowling Green community to vote to re-elect Daniel Gordon for City Council. Daniel has served on City Council for six years and has shown that he is authentic, has a strong work ethic and practices good judgement. He has an incredible track record of fighting for policies and projects that make Bowling Green an inclusive city, where all people, of all backgrounds can feel safe. He has authored legislation aimed at  protecting all citizens from discrimination and hate crimes. Additionally, Daniel has been working and would like to continue working hard with neighborhood revitalization. He has been a part of raising housing stock and property values, especially on the east side, and would like to strengthen the Community Action Plan to continue these efforts, if re-elected, with an overall goal of having housing in Bowling Green that is safe, affordable, and of good quality. Finally, Daniel represents BGSU students, as well as permanent residents. He has made much effort to bridge the gap between the students and permanent residents and will continue doing so, if re-elected. He strives to support local businesses and bring more jobs to Bowling Green that pay a living wage. He would also like to add bike lanes to make it safer for students and families to get to class and travel through the city. With all of this said, I highly encourage Bowling Green residents to vote early or on November 7 in support of Daniel Gordon so we can continue making Bowling Green a fun, safe and inclusive city for all residents.   Hannah Lanfear Bowling Green

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 what was happening on the white side of town. Page noted he started out as “colored,” and has been a Negro, black, African-American, before now being a person of color. His family, he said, was “po’” because, according to his father, they were too poor to afford the “or.” But, he added, “ we were rich in spirit.” Page, 70, said he’s told Vance that save for the difference in age and race, it could be his story. But there were differences. Unlike Vance who chronicles a difficult family life, Page said his family was boring, a quality he’s come to appreciate as he’s gotten older. Like Vance’s grandfather, Page’s family moved north from the south to work in northern industry. Page’s people were part of the Great Migration that…

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, have packed City Council meetings to voice their concerns, and most importantly, voted for candidates who share their views on those issues. For the health and safety of its citizens and the environment, the city has zoning laws, codified ordinances and policies; and we have highly trained and qualified safety officials and judges to enforce those laws and procedures.  The concept of an individual or group of individuals to be able to act with impunity against a corporation or agency (or their neighbor, for that matter) because their interpretation of a “healthy environment” has been violated is what we would  refer to as anarchy. This amendment is well-intentioned (we hope), but ill-conceived.  The language is too vague and undefined to be meaningful but broad enough to be used to the detriment of the city, corporations…

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 Margo Smith

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.” He suggested that zoning changes would be the best way to make improvements. “We have to work with the owners. We have to work with the students.” John Zanfardino (Democrat for Second Ward) said the current programs in place for correcting substandard housing are insufficient. “I have grave concerns about the rental properties in Bowling Green.” Other communities, like Oxford, require that landlords have rental properties inspected prior to leasing. “You know that’s not happening here,” he said. “We kick the can down the road on this issue. We need to start hearing from students.” Hunter Sluss (Republican for First Ward) said his hometown of Sandusky hands out “pride awards” for homeowners that take care of their properties. The city also offers grants to help owners remodel homes. Such programs…

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 as to what other rights it extends.  The language allows any citizen enforcement rights using “non-violent direct action” with direct action defined as “any activities carried out to directly enforce . . . this Amendment.”  It further states that “City of Bowling Green law enforcement . . . shall have no lawful authority . . .” to intervene.  Please take time to read the Amendment which can be found at www.co.wood.oh.us/BOE/ under Questions and Issues List.  Then vote no on this poorly written Amendment.     Ben Otley, President Bowling Green Economic Development

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, and one was smothered. The needs of the protective services at both ends of the age spectrum continue to increase. Following are the statistics for 2016: 894 child abuse investigations. 260 elder abuse investigations. 212 of the child abuse investigations involved drugs. 142 of the investigations were child sexual abuse investigations. 59 children were placed in substitute care such as foster care or group homes. And the numbers look even worse for 2017. The reasons may be two-fold, according to Sandi Carsey, administrator of Children’s Services. In recent years, the opiate crisis has led to more cases, and there has been a real push for the public to report abuse and neglect concerns. “Last year in September, we had 35 children in foster care. This year we have 50,” Carsey…

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” to take formal action against the pipeline, did not pass an ordinance against the project, and would not file complaints about the proposal. “The city refuses to support the rights of the people,” she said. Kochheiser was also critical of multiple council members who have stated that the issue does not belong in the city charter – that it would “sully the pristine charter.” “Seriously people. Who are you protecting?” she asked. Kochheiser accused the opponents of “spreading hysterical rumors” and of engaging in “smear politics to sway the vote.” Next to speak was Brad Holmes, who said the charter amendment proponents were forced to petition for the change because city council would not act. He said the document allows citizens to “peacefully demonstrate” against pipelines and other environmental threats…

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 a centralized location that has room for the equipment including six truck bays, space for training, an area for decontamination, and a system to rid the building of exhaust emissions. The proposed station, which would sit just to the south of the new Middleton Township administration building at 21745 N. Dixie Highway, would cost an estimated $6 million. Since township officials believe it’s only a matter of time before 24/7 fire coverage is needed, the new fire station would include living quarters. Plus, they realize the current stations will not comply with new fire rules and regulations. “We’re trying to be proactive,” Getz said. The site next to the new administration building was selected because of its centralized location and the fact that the township already purchased the land years…

“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 federal governments, sends a loud and clear message: Mike Olmstead believes he is above the law and the rules that apply to us don’t apply to him. We expect more of our elected officials. Neil Englehart Perrysburg