Environment

County cool to solar field request for tax break – commissioners want more information

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The prospect of Bowling Green having the largest solar field in Ohio appeals to county officials – but they don’t like to be kept in the dark about tax abatement details. So on Tuesday, company officials involved in building and operating the solar field northeast of the city were asked to explain their request for a 30-year tax break for the $43 million project. Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw noted the confusion on the part of NextEra Energy officials about needing to outline their request. But she explained that the commissioners have a policy of meeting in person with any company that wants tax breaks. “We certainly feel it’s something we need to know as much as we can about,” Herringshaw explained to representatives of NextEra Energy and AMP Ohio. The tax abatement request for the solar field is unlike those that normally come before the commissioners. First, the amount is massive, giving a tax break of $10 million over just the first 15 years. Second, the duration is proposed at 30 years, compared to the customary 10 to 15 years. Third, there is no ongoing employment, which is the basis for most tax breaks. Construction of the solar field will employ about 85 people from July 18 to Dec. 31. And 80 percent of those people are required to be Ohio residents – but there is no requirement that they come from Wood County. Fourth, regular tax abatements require that school districts be “made whole” by the business getting the tax break, but this agreement does not. The company will pay some money to local taxing authorities “in lieu of” the tax breaks, but not the entire amount. One other concern is that the solar array will be built using panels from Hanwha – not Wood County’s First Solar company.  Jared Haines, of NextEra Energy, said his company has an ongoing relationship with Hanwha, which produces solar panels that have a “less toxic influence” when they are removed at the end of their usefulness. But Wood County Commissioner Craig LaHote said he believes First Solar handles the disposal of its products. LaHote asked the NextEra Energy representatives what would happen if the commissioners don’t approve the tax abatement. Janet Ward replied that the cost of the…


County park district plans programs in July

Following is a list of programs planned by the Wood County Park District  this month: Perrysburg Bicentennial Celebration Nature Hikes, Saturday, July 2, 2 – 4:30 p.m. WW Knight Nature Preserve and Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg and 26940 Lime City Road, Perrysburg Celebrate the Bicentennial by hiking two Wood County parks in Perrysburg. Walk woods, wetlands, and prairie then carpool to our newest park for nature and an exceptional quarry view. Leader: Jim Witter   Stargazing, Saturday, July 2, 9:30 p.m. Beaver Creek Preserve 23028 Long Judson Road, Grand Rapids See nebula, planets and stars with the Toledo Astronomical Association and the Wood County Park District.   Slippery Elm Slow Roll, Thursdays, July 7 and July 21, and Aug. 11, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Black Swamp Preserve 1014 South Maple Street, BG Get into action with Wood County Parks and Wood County District Public Library on this family-friendly ride down the Slippery Elm Trail. Freshen up on bike safety before the trip, learn about the trail and the unique surroundings during the trip, and connect with your community, parks, and library. Leader: Ranger Department   Evening Bat Hike, Friday, July 8, 8:30 – 10 p.m. William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Avenue, Pemberville Discover facts, myths, local species, and conservation challenges of bats. Hike with bat-detecting sonar to search for our only truly flying mammals! Leader: Jim Witter   Focus on Water: Storm Water Management and Effects on Water Quality, Wednesday, July 13, 7 – 8 p.m. Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, BG How is storm water managed and why is it necessary? The County Engineer’s Office presents, answers questions, and identifies ways that Wood County citizens can help maintain this valuable resource. Leader: Jim Witter   Fire by the River, Friday, July 15, 6 – 9 p.m. Otsego Park 20000 West River Road, BG Enjoy a night around the fire with yard games, dutch oven cooking, good company and a great view of the mighty Maumee River. Bring a chair and come and go anytime from 6 to 9. Leader: Stewardship Department    


Water & sewer district wants to know how it’s doing

From NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT The Northwestern Water & Sewer District recently launched a digital survey to its customers, contractors, vendors, and other organizations it deals with to gauge satisfaction levels and the quality of the work the District does. According to Jerry Greiner, President of Northwestern Water Sewer District, “We need feedback so we can see how we are doing, and just as importantly, find out what we could do better.” Greiner continues “Primarily we are focusing on our customers, but we also want feedback from organizations we do business with such as our contractors, other government agencies, and even media organizations.” The survey strives to create a baseline or current snapshot of satisfaction and quality, and then will proceed with a comprehensive analysis of the data and information. According to Gavin Smith, Director of GIS and IT at the District “We are going to intently study the results and communicate the results in a way that illustrates our current position across many measured factors, but then we will use this as a starting point to help us keep our strengths impactful while identifying and correcting weaknesses.” Additionally, the District plans follow up surveys, and maybe even focus groups, on a consistent long term schedule to create a constant feedback loop. Freelance marketer and public relations guru Tom Konecny, who helps the District with these types of tasks adds “Evaluation and continuous improvement is critical. For example, a laborer in a factory, a teller at a bank, or even a nurse at a hospital are continually evaluated so that current performance is measured and future performance is enhanced- certainly organizations should do this as well!” The District asks that its customers and all the other organizations associated with them take a brief five minutes to complete this survey. The survey is readily available on the District website. www.nwwwsd.org. The survey is also available on the NWWSD Facebook Page and Twitter feed.


Camping out close to home in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While some people want to be pampered on vacations, others prefer sleeping bags to luxury accommodations and lightning bugs to chandeliers. They want little more than a body of water where they can cast a line, and a fire pit where they can roast marshmallows. For these folks, Wood County does have a few spots where people can pitch their tents or park their campers. True, there are no geysers, great mountain peaks or grand herds of bison, but the local campgrounds give people a taste of a nature without the travel time. The three campgrounds are at Mary Jane Thurston State Park on the edge of Grand Rapids; Fire Lake just south of Bowling Green; and Buttonwood in Perrysburg Township. “People in Wood County don’t even know this park is here,” Al Alvord, campground host, said about Mary Jane Thurston that sits on the banks of the Maumee River. But Alvord is hoping that recent work at the campground will put it on the map for local residents. “We’ve just made vast improvements,” he said, including adding showers at the marina and putting in electricity to 22 of the 37 campsites. “It has finally happened.” In addition to beautiful views along the river and plenty of fishing spots, the site also features concessions and a day use lodge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The campground is a stopping point for people traveling through on bicycles, and for local people looking for a mini-vacation from home. “We have people who come here from Weston,” Alvord said. “They come out and enjoy the peace and quiet and solitude.” Some hike trails, some walk the towpath to Grand Rapids, some launch their boats from the marina, and some dip a line in the river. Just the other day, a camper caught a 48-inch flathead catfish, Alvord said. Some campers make the short drive from Bowling Green. “They get away from it all. I’d much rather be in the park.” According to Alvord, who has been host at Mary Jane Thurston for 15 years and who operates Weenie Dog Concessions there, the campground is a “great place to wake up.” “It’s Wood County’s best kept secret,” he said of the only state park in the county. “People are missing…


Wood County Landfill running out of room

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Landfill is running out of room even faster than predicted. When 2016 rolled around, it looked as if the existing permitted space at the landfill would last another 11 years. By Tuesday, that remaining lifespan had shortened to eight to 10 years. The news was presented to the county commissioners on Tuesday by landfill staff and consultants. The reason for the faster filling is three-fold. First, the Henry County landfill closed, resulting in much of the garbage from that neighboring county coming to Wood County. Second, as the economy rebounds, the increase in new construction creates more debris, and people tend to buy new items and throw out the old, rather than stretching out their usefulness. And third, improvements at Wood County Landfill are making it more attractive to waste haulers, said Ken Vollmar, landfill manager. The Wood County Landfill received 38,000 tons of trash in 2014, which jumped to 49,000 tons last year. At the current rate, this year’s tonnage may top off over 60,000 tons. The landfill area covers more than 100 acres, with 43 of those in the current footprint approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for dumping. The site has about 60 more usable acres – and depending on the tonnage, the landfill has between 50 and 75 more good years, according to Shawn McGee, of Hull and Associates, consultants to the county. But McGee warned that while the lifespan of the current permitted area is eight to 10 years, the county needs to get working on the expansion now. It takes three to four years for the EPA to review an expansion plan, plus time to do more borings and install new monitoring wells. “We’re getting to a crunch time,” Vollmar said. After the permit is granted, a lot of preparation work needs to be done at the landfill, he said. Vollmar reminded the commissioners of the landfill coming close to running out of permitted space in the early 1990s. The first phase of the proposed expansion would “piggyback” on top of a section already being used. The landfill is allowed to reach a height just over 100 feet. The commissioners were also presented with some costly equipment requests at the landfill adding up to more than $1…


Hard work comes naturally to BG teenager

BY JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   While other high school students are still snug in their beds on most summer mornings, Nick Breen has been out working in the woods for hours. “He’s full of energy and we put that energy to good use,” said Cinda Stutzman, natural resources specialist with the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. “He’ll just show up some times and say, ‘I think the trails need trimmed.’” Breen, a junior at Bowling Green High School, has been volunteering with the parks since sixth grade. “Ever since his mom started dropping him off,” Stutzman said. Breen now pedals his bicycle to Wintergarden Park in the mornings to see what work needs to be done. “I wake up too early for my own good,” he said, adding that he does take time to have fun like other teens in the summer. “I do mope around, but I’ve got too much time. I’m here whenever I don’t have other things to do.” As Breen ages, the projects he takes on get bigger. A couple weeks ago, he was given the job of clearing the way for a flagstone walkway in front of the Rotary Nature Center. He dug out the path, and placed the pieces of stone, which had been salvaged from old sidewalks in the city. The project took him three days. Breen spends quite a bit of time ridding Wintergarden Park of invasive plant species. Earlier this month, he also dug 100 holes in the hard clay soil so milkweed could be planted. He even built a fence around the observation platform in the prairie area of Wintergarden Park. Breen has a soft spot for nature, planted by his parents, Dave Breen and Cindy Marso. “I’ve been hiking for a long time. My parents got me hiking since before I can remember.” The teen prefers working in the less developed city parks. “I’ve always like the more natural parks.” Breen hopes to turn that love for nature into a profession, possibly studying for a career in biology or conservation. “I’m not going to decide that yet,” he said. The teen may not enjoy every job he is given, but that doesn’t mean he refuses to do the work. “There are lots of things I hate doing,” especially if it…


Pratt farm defies development, donated to park district

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For nearly two centuries, the farm settled by William Pratt in Perrysburg Township has stayed in the family’s care. Descendants Doug and Mary Ellen Pratt could not bear to have their beloved farm split up and turned into housing developments, so on Tuesday they did something their community-minded ancestors might have appreciated. They gave their land to the people of Wood County for generations to come. “We express our gratitude to the park district,” Doug Pratt said as he and his wife handed their homestead over to the Wood County Park District. “Our only regret is we won’t be here to see it.” The Pratts asked that the park district dedicate about 40 acres for sports fields, then use the remaining 120 acres for trails, trees, a pond, cross country skiing and picnic areas. “What you did is very generous,” said Denny Parish, of the park district board. “I find it ironic that you would thank us.” “The citizens of Wood County thank you,” said Bob Dorn, of the park district board. The 160 acres of fields and farm homestead are split by Hull Prairie Road, just north of Roachton Road. The farmland is almost completely surrounded by housing developments, and will soon be neighbor to the newest Perrysburg school. “We don’t want it in housing,” Doug Pratt said of his farm. Neil Munger, director of the park district, assured the Pratts that the farm would be in good hands. “What a wonderful, wonderful thought on their part to preserve their property,” Munger said. “It will be a natural space for future generations.” Mary Ellen Pratt shared the story of the farm’s beginning nearly 200 years ago. William Pratt, of the New York Militia, was charged with delivering supplies to Fort Meigs during the War of 1812. Something about the region – with its heavy woods, swampy land, and Native Americans – convinced him to settle in the Perrysburg area. In 1819, William Pratt brought his family to the area. He died in 1824, but his family carried on. The oldest farm documentation the Pratts have found is a land patent sent from Washington, D.C., signed by John Quincy Adams. William Pratt served as the first treasurer of Wood County and as a common pleas judge. Fred…


BG ready for algae season in river water

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s that time of year, when the recipe for algal blooms starts cooking in the Maumee River. Spring rains run nutrients from soil into waterways and the sun’s rays warm up the water to create algal blooms. “All those ingredients in the water that promote algae growth start to happen,” said Brian O’Connell, utilities director for the city of Bowling Green. Last week, an algal bloom in the Maumee River near Defiance’s water treatment plant prompted a “no contact” advisory. Defiance is located upriver from Bowling Green’s water intake which sits between Grand Rapids and Waterville. “Swimming and wading in the Maumee River is not recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, those with certain medical conditions and pets,” a Defiance news release stated, according to the city’s newspaper. But Defiance officials said the drinking water supply was safe. The water is currently being drawn out of the city’s reservoir, not the river, they reported. And water from the reservoir had been tested, showing safe levels. Bowling Green’s drinking water is also safe despite algal blooms in the river, according O’Connell. Bowling Green draws its water from the Maumee River near its West River Road plant, and pumps it into a reservoir where it is treated for any algal blooms. That is just the first step, O’Connell explained earlier this week. “To top that off, there’s a small UV light system,” he said, and then chlorine treatment just in case anything slips past the processes. “Our finished water samples have always shown a ‘no-detect,’” level of algae, O’Connell said. Throughout the treatment process, the water is repeatedly tested. “We, like every other plant, are doing the required sampling on the raw water side,” he explained. Then the testing is conducted again on the treatment side. The city’s plant has not yet experienced a level of algal blooms that it can’t effectively treat, he said. “The harmful algae has never got through the system,” O’Connell said.    


NextGen enlists young voters to go to polls to fight climate change

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the primary season all but over and the Democrats and Republicans settled on their presumptive nominees, a national effort is under way to turn out young, environmentally aware voters in November. NextGen Climate has been reaching out to college-aged voters since early this year urging them to pledge to vote for candidates who will take action to address climate change. The effort started on campuses in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus and expanded to a dozen more campuses throughout the state, including Bowling Green State University. By fall the effort hopes to be on 60 campuses in Ohio. “Our goal is to help young voters turn their passion for climate action into votes for climate champions,” said Joanne Pickrell, state director. “We want to harness the energy brought out by the primary and harness it to this important issue. “ Ohio is one of seven states NextGen Climate is focusing on. The others are Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Illinois, and Colorado. The states were chosen, she said, because they are important to the presidential contest and because they have contested senatorial races. “The response on college campuses has been great,” Pickrell said. “We believe that young voters want to vote on important issues in their lives like climate changes. Young voters want to see action on climate change. … We think this a huge issue for a large voting bloc.” Millennials and Baby Boomers are the two largest voting blocks. A poll by USA Today/Rock the Vote found that the percentage of 18 to 34 year olds who say they are likely to vote has risen from 60 percent in January to 70 percent in March. Another poll taken late last year by ABC News/Washington Post found that 76 percent of 18 to 29 year olds thought climate change was a serious problem, with 63 percent of them saying it was a very serious problem, and 64 percent said the federal government should do something to address it. “We want candidates to really talk about the benefits of acting on climate changing,” Pickrell said. “That includes the economic benefits.” Now only will these actions help the environment but they will create “great jobs,” she said. “Candidates should be doing more to move forward toward real solutions on climate…


Conservation district seeks nominees for annual awards

From THE WOOD SOIL & CONSERVATION DISTRICT The Wood Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) is accepting nominations for the Harold and Ida Lou Bordner Farm Beautification Award and the Backyard Conservationist Award. Sponsored in part by The Andersons, Inc. and in memory of Harold and Ida Lou Bordner, the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District recognizes Wood County rural landowners and famers for utilizing conservation practices and maintaining the appearance and structures of the original farmstead. As you drive through the countryside, take note of the home sites which catch your attention. Is there a rain barrel or composter? Is there a windbreak or prairie grasses? Are original buildings maintained? Submit your nominations to the Wood SWCD office (1616 E. Wooster St. Suite 32 Bowling Green, OH 43402 or julielause@woodswcd.com) no later than July 18. The winning home sites will be awarded at the Wood SWCD Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet held on September 10, 2016 at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) Northwest Agricultural Research Station, 4240 Range Line Road Custar, OH 43511.


Overgrown courtyard becomes oasis in middle of BGHS

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The courtyard at Bowling Green High School is being transformed into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the classrooms and chaotic lives of students. There in the courtyard is the soothing sound of a waterfall, where koi fish glide back and forth, beautiful flowers and smooth stonework. But it hasn’t always been this way. A couple years ago, biology teacher Josh Iler looked at the courtyard and realized it could be so much more. “The bushes were overgrown, covering the windows,” Iler said. One bush was blocking the door into the courtyard, making it difficult for students and staff to use the area. “They would not come out here,” Iler said of the students. But on Thursday, the courtyard was full of students sitting at the patio tables, taking a breather before their last couple classes of the year. “Now you’ve got to get out here early to get a seat,” Iler said. A couple years ago, Iler decided to use the courtyard as a classroom tool, and turn it into the oasis at the same time. He asked North Branch Nursery to come up with a landscape design for the space. “Get me started and I’ll let the kids figure out the rest,” he said. From there it grew … and grew. The work started on the edges of the courtyard, with the old overgrown bushes being pulled out and replaced with neatly sculpted flower beds. Then recently, the work moved into the center, where the school’s victory bell used to sit before it was moved out to the football field. “There was nothing but a cement slab,” in the center, Iler said. So on a recent Saturday, Iler and his students were joined by Superintendent Francis Scruci to create a koi pond with waterfall. “It got bigger and bigger,” he said, with the help of Select Stone, North Branch Nursery, Midwood and D&D Landscaping. One of those students helping with the project is Jordan Arrington. Though he graduated on Sunday, Arrington came back to school Thursday to talk about the courtyard project. “I took a lot of pride in this,” Arrington said. “He’s the guy who wouldn’t let it stop,” Iler said of Arrington. Arrington will be attending Bowling Green State University this fall,…


Undergrads win awards for research & scholarship

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS There were smiles and pride all around at the awards ceremony May 18 for the winners of this year’s Undergraduate Symposium for Research and Scholarship. The winners were chosen from among the 80 students who gave poster presentations and another 24 who gave oral presentations at the April 23 event. Also honored was Dr. Andrew Gregory of the School of Earth, Environment and Society, who received the Undergraduate Faculty Mentor of the Year Award. Gregory, a spatial geneticist, has involved students in his research into reproduction among sage grouse and prairie chickens as well as ecology and sustainability issues in Kenya. Students and their faculty mentors and parents gathered for the presentation of original glass pieces created by BGSU School of Art faculty member Joel O’Dorisio. President Mary Ellen Mazey congratulated the winners on their work, telling them they would remember it their entire lives, as she has her own experience. Winners in the poster presentation division were: Andrew Witte, a geology major and student of Dr. Margaret Yacobucci, geology, for his quantitative analysis of the shape and size of trilobite fossils in the Great Lakes region to understand geographic distribution of genetic populations across the Appalachian and Michigan basins Lydia Dempsey, a music composition major and student of Distinguished Artist Professor Marilyn Shrude, for her contemporary music composition “The Wishing Well: A Children’s Ballet,” which was staged in April in a collaboration with BGSU student choreographer Sophia Schmitz and conductor Robert Ragoonanan Gregory Grecco, a neuroscience major, for his study of life-threatening hyperthermia as a side effect of illicit designer phenethylamines, drugs commonly known as bath salts. Working with Dr. Jon Sprague, director of the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science at BGSU, Grecco compared the hyperthermic effects of six permutations to the more well-known MDMA. Anthony Colosimo, a physics major and student of Dr. Farida Selim, for his research into scintillation mechanisms in wide and direct band gap oxides Oral presentation winners were: Elizabeth Herring, a student of psychology faculty member Dr. Anne Gordon, for her work “Role of Humor Production and Humor Receptivity in Relationship Satisfaction” David Westmeyer, a student of Dr. Heath Diehl, Honors College, for his presentation on the Bachelor of Liberal Studies Degree Option for Pre-Dental Undergraduate Students…


Advice offered to farmers interested in harvesting the sun

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When it comes to deciding whether to install solar panels on the farm, it’s more complicated that just letting the sun shine in. Eric Romich, a field specialist in energy development for the Ohio State University Extension Service, had to go deep in the weeds to answer the simple question: What’s the payback? He addressed that question Thursday at the Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum. It all depends, he said. It depends on energy needs and regulations, and, yes, politics. Depends certainly on what the solar installer says. It also depends on what the utility representative says, and what the farmer’s accountant and, maybe, the attorney, have to say. “This works,” Romich said. “I’ve known a lot of farmers that have installed (solar panels) and they’re happy with them.” Those who were happy, he said, were those who viewed them as long-term investment, 30 years or so. Those who expected a quick financial return on the investment were not satisfied. In 2008, more than 11,000 farms had solar installations. Just four years later that was up to 34,000. Still despite the increase in solar production, Romich said, “it’s still a drop in the bucket” when it comes to total electricity production. Farmers considering adding solar have a lot to consider. Every farm and installation is unique, Romich said. While farmers should consider multiple proposals, evaluating those can be difficult. The cost should be considered independent of federal incentives, including grants and low-interest loans. Only a third of applications secure that kind of funding. And the grant can be considered taxable income. They need to make sure that the estimate includes cost of operating, maintenance and insurance. True, solar collectors are relatively simple and typically have warranties, but anything that’s around for 20 years is probably going to need maintenance. These projects can generate solar energy credits that in turn can be sold through brokers to utilities that need to meet state threshold of renewable energy. But the price of the credits “has really taken a dive.” For one thing, more solar power is being produced. Just like with corn, greater supply leads to lower prices. Also, in 2008, Ohio enacted the 25 by ’25 standard that called for 25 percent of the state’s energy to be produced by alternative…


BG citizens gush over their parks, but push for more on ‘park poor’ side of city

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents love their parks – so much, they had no trouble rattling off three pages of positive comments gushing about the gardens, trails, playgrounds, pool and more. But when the time came to identify weaknesses, they listed off plenty of problems, or opportunities for improvement, depending on the point of view. Citizens were asked Wednesday evening to list strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department during the fifth and final focus group. The ideas presented will be considered during the formation of the parks department’s five-year plan. The most glaring weakness seemed to be the “park poor” east side of the city. Children from a large chunk of the southeast corner of the city have to cross major streets or the railroad tracks to get to a park some distance away. Resident Tom Kleine suggested that the city look into buying the former South Main School playground property. “Children could use that space,” he said. But instead, “children are left to the streets and the alleys.” The old schoolyard has playground equipment, a basketball court and a place to play kickball, all surrounded by fences. But neighborhood children have not been able to resist the chance to play. “Kids are jumping the fence,” to get into the playground, resident Jon Herald said. Another resident pointed out that while community support has been strong over the years, nearly all the funds raised have gone toward parks on the west side of town. Another “weakness” identified is the city’s rental of more than 60 acres to the county club for a golf course. Resident John Calderonello estimated the golf course is used by about 60 people, while the six acres of the neighboring City Park is used by thousands. “I think there’s a great opportunity for the city,” to expand the park and offer programs such as boating in the quarry and archery with the greater acreage. “I say that with some trepidation because I play golf there every Monday,” Calderonello added. Approximately 40 people attended the forum, and listed off these strengths of the parks: The staff at Wintergarden Park is great. “They are amazing, always very helpful,” Gaynelle Predmore said. “There’s opportunity for volunteers to get their hands dirty,”…


Gardner and Brown talk about marijuana, wind energy and roundabouts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s state legislators fielded questions about marijuana, roundabouts and windfarms Friday morning from local residents. State Sen. Randy Gardner and State Rep. Tim Brown, both R-Bowling Green, presented a legislative update to members of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. The talk covered a wide range of topics on health, energy and transportation. Gardner reminded those present that he and Brown value direct contact from their constituents and make an effort to be “very accessible” to citizens. Brown said it’s good for the public to be aware of state legislative efforts. “The more sunshine we have on these deliberations the better it is for all of us,” he said. Following are some of the issues discussed. Windfarms Brown talked about a wind energy bill that currently calls for setback requirements that make wind farms “next to impossible.” Under the current language in the bill, the majority of the wind turbines at Ohio’s largest windfarm would not be allowed. “Their right to have them has been stripped away,” Brown said, adding that he is working to change that. Some businesses are reluctant to locate in Ohio because the state doesn’t do enough to promote clean energy, he added. “We have businesses who want to be in our state and say, ‘No,’” such as Amazon, Brown said. “They demand renewable energy.” Gardner said Ohio needs to look at making use of renewable and natural resource energy. “I think there’s an ‘all of the above’ policy,’” he said. Orange barrels Ohioans should not expect relief from road construction anytime soon, Brown said. “I hear more about this from people than anything else.” The state has increased the annual funding to fix Ohio roads and bridges from $150 million to $175 million during the next five years, then up to $200 million after that. “The orange barrels aren’t going to go away,” he said. The goal with projects, such as the Interstate 75 widening here in Wood County, is to grow the economy and attract businesses. The state is also looking at more roundabouts as a way to keep traffic moving and reduce serious accidents. “It takes me a lot of getting used to,” Gardner said about roundabouts, but added that statistics show they are much safer for motorists. Medical…