Creation Care Celebration to be held on Sunday

The Black Swamp Green Team’s second Creation Care Celebration will take place Sunday, April 23 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Peace Lutheran Church, 1201 Martindale Rd at W. Wooster in Bowling Green. The event celebrates local efforts, organizations and leaders practicing good stewardship by increasing awareness and practices for sustainable renewable energy use and healthy living. Lunch will be included, as will music by the Peace Band. Keynote presentation and panel will be on the topic of sustainable and regenerative agriculture by Don Schooner of Schooner Farms, Alan Sundermeier from the Ohio State University Extension Office, and Paul Herringshaw of Bowling Green. There will be recognitions, displays, and electric car test drives. A tour of Schooner Farms will immediately follow the event at 3:30 pm. The Black Swamp Green Team is a collaboration of faith communities, advocacy groups, non-profit entities, and individuals engaged in promoting and practicing good creation care among itself and its constituents so as to: implement energy efficiency; the use of renewable energy; the production and delivery of local renewable energy; and, thereby, improve its overall stewardship of creation.

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Farmers warned they need to do more to stop algae

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A hundred or so farmers listened to the grim reality last week that they need to do more to prevent algal blooms in Lake Erie. A panel discussion hosted by the Ohio Farmers Union at Otsego High School stressed that while some farmers are voluntarily reducing the phosphorus that creates the harmful algae, their efforts are not likely to be enough to meet the federal goal of a 40 percent reduction. And that means if farmers don’t make the necessary reductions on their own, they may be forced to do so. “We know that farmers need to do more,” said Joe Logan, president of the Ohio Farmers Union. “Farmers need to stand up. They always have before, and I believe they will again.” The alternative is that the Environmental Protection Agency will get involved and set stricter requirements. “If we don’t achieve that, there will be additional regulation,” Logan said. “Farmers need to up their game in terms of the environmental repercussions.” Jeffery Reutter, retired director of the Ohio State Stone Lab, said the 40 percent reduction is only possible if extensive changes are made, and if problem fields are identified. But he also predicted that one-third of farmers are not likely to take needed action without “more aggressive encouragement.” When asked by moderator Jack Lessenberry about the best ways to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie, the panel had varied answers. Meindert Vandenhengel, who owns a 5,000-head hog farm in Van Wert County, said the only problem is distribution of manure. There is plenty of farmland to handle all the manure, it…

BG planning pipeline panel to clear up questions

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials want to dig deeper into the Nexus pipeline proposed near the city water treatment plant. On Monday evening, Mayor Dick Edwards talked about his continued efforts to contact people with geological expertise about the project. And he supported a suggestion by council member Daniel Gordon to host a public forum with experts on the topic. Gordon noted the different perspectives presented to city council by various geologists, and the need to find facts. “We will proceed on that basis to look at the science and the facts,” Edwards said to city council. “There are a bunch of unknowns out there.” No date or location has been set yet for a pipeline panel discussion. Council member Bruce Jeffers asked if Nexus officials might attend the meeting. Edwards said the pipeline company has had ample opportunity to make its pitch for the natural gas line. He added that “it’s been frustrating,” getting information from the company. “They’ve had every opportunity to make their case in Washington,” the mayor said, adding that the purpose of the panel discussion will be to sharpen the focus on facts. “They’ve had every opportunity to come in and share information.” Council member Bob McOmber echoed that inclination. “I’m not particularly inclined to want them” at a panel discussion, he said. The public event is not intended to be a debate between advocates of opposing sides, but a panel discussion to get to the facts, McOmber said. Edwards suggested that an impartial moderator be used for the discussion. “I think we need to be open and objective,”…

Trail sealant to last longer, seal faster, be less slippery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Slippery Elm Trail will soon be sealed with a product that promises to last longer, seal faster, and be well, despite the trail’s name, less slippery. The Wood County Park District Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay $119,552 to seal the 13-mile trail from Bowling Green to North Baltimore. The price includes striping of the trail at intersections along the route. The product being used this time is called Onyx, by Strawser Construction in Columbus. Ned Fairbanks, the park district maintenance specialist, said the product has a proven record of creating a stronger surface that will last longer. The sealing product also remains black since it does not fade in the sun like other sealants used in the past. That will help with melting the snow, since the district does not salt or plow the Slippery Elm Trail. The Onyx also has a quick setting time, meaning less time that the trail would have to be closed to users, Fairbanks said. “Within a matter of hours, it’s usable,” he said. That’s a real plus, said Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger. “As soon as they sealcoat it, we’ve got people chomping at the bit to use it,” he said. And unlike some other sealants, the Onyx provides a non-slick surface. “We wanted to make sure we weren’t using something that if someone is rollerblading and it’s wet, that they’re down,” said Jeff Baney, assistant director of the county park district. The sealant also comes with a one-year warranty. Baney said sealants used in the past on the 12-foot wide…

Falcon Cam update: One egg visible

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS At least one more falcon is getting ready to call Bowling Green home, as a new peregrine falcon egg has made its appearance on the Falcon Cam, www.bgsu.edu/falconcam. One egg is visible on the camera, which is provided by a partnership between the Wood County Commissioners and Bowling Green State University. Last year, three eggs hatched in the Wood County Courthouse tower. “It is great to see people get excited about our falcon family,” said Andrew Kalmar, Wood County administrator. “This is the seventh year we’ve gotten to watch the falcons grow their family – I know many people will be anxiously awaiting the hatching a month from now.” The peregrine falcon is BGSU’s official mascot. A pair of the raptors took refuge in the clock tower — just two blocks west of campus —seven years ago. “We’re happy they’ve made a habit of calling Bowling Green home,” said Dave Kielmeyer, chief marketing and communications officer of BGSU. “It’s fitting that the falcons have bonded with the town and University.” Peregrine falcon eggs typically have a 33-day gestation period, so the eggs are expected to hatch in mid-April.

Efforts underway to find leaking septic systems

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though sewer lines are inching their way across Wood County, there are still an estimated 14,000 homes that continue to rely on septic systems. An estimated half of those are failing and leaking raw sewage. By later this year, all 26 municipalities in Wood County will have public sewers. But many homes in rural areas don’t have that option.  And many may not be aware their septic systems are failing. “’Working fine’ is they flush the toilet and it goes away,” said Lana Glore, Wood County Health District environmental division director. But the question is – where does the sewage go? Since the average life expectancy of a septic system is 30 years, Glore said it’s possible that as many as 7,000 septic systems are sending sewage into public waterways. “In an ideal world, we’d have everybody sewered,” she said. Because aging and failing septic systems are a problem statewide, the Ohio Department of Health wants local health departments to examine every system. The Wood County Health Division already has a septic system operation and maintenance plan, but it is on a much smaller level, Glore said. Inspections of systems are complaint-driven or prompted by real estate sales. Since many older septic systems were installed without permits, they have likely never been inspected. “The first step is going to be playing catch up,” Glore said. “Where are our critical areas?” The health district consults with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District to see if plans exist to extend sewer services to problem areas. The health district works with the county building inspection…

Spring Into Action event set for April 19 in honor of Earth Day

From the PERRYSBURG AREA DEMOCRATIC CLUB Perrysburg Area Democratic Club has announced a special evening of guest speakers, live music and inspiration in honor of Earth Day, focused on what it will take to save Lake Erie.   The event, named “Spring Into Action,” will be held Wednesday, April 19, 2017 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.at Carranor Hunt & Polo Club (502 East 2nd Street, Perrysburg).   The speakers will include: Rick Rettig, Perrysburg City Council; Laura Schetter, Local Clean Water Advocate, Teacher and Traveler and Dr. Robert Michael McKay, BGSU Professor of Biology. Music will be performed by local up-and-coming musician Anthony Beck. Tickets are $40 per person for grazing stations and cash bar. Tickets may be purchased online (https://tinyurl.com/SpringIntoAction2017PADC) or at Gathering Volumes (196 E South Boundary St., Perrysburg). No tickets will be available at the door. Tickets must be purchased by April 16, 2017. “We are looking forward to welcoming many new faces as well as longtime Club members at this exciting new event!” stated Rachel Zickar, President, Perrysburg Area Democratic Club. “A special thank-you to our members who are volunteering to put this together. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than among friends who are also looking to make a difference.” For more information, please visit www.perrysburgareademocraticclub.org.