Family

Families find solid, supportive homes through Habitat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two families who never believed they would be homeowners, were recently given keys to their new homes. They are very different families. Olivia Rice grew up in Weston, in the same town where her Habitat for Humanity home was built. Love Ezell and Addam Currie are from Cleveland, Detroit and now Bowling Green, and will be living next door to Rice. But they also share some fundamental similarities. They both dreamed of the day they would own a home, and they both look forward to raising their small children in their Habitat houses. And both families recently gave strangers tours of their new homes and thanked people who they grew to know as they worked side-by-side on their houses. “Without all of your help, we couldn’t be here right now,” Rice said, as she accepted the keys to her home. “Now I get to raise my son in this town that I grew up in.” Currie also offered his family’s gratitude. “Thank you for everyone’s efforts,” he said. “Thank you for all the blessings. I appreciate all of this.” The homes are modest, but they are solid. They are in a good neighborhood and come with family support from Habitat for Humanity. During the dedication of the two homes on Brooke Lane, the new homeowners were welcomed by Weston Village Council member Penny Taylor. “Welcome to Weston,” Taylor said. “We love Weston, and what a day to celebrate – gorgeous weather and brand new neighbors.” Donna Mertz, a Habitat volunteer, presented the families with Bibles that former volunteer Harriet Rosebrock made arrangements…

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Citizens sick about losing health insurance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 20 local citizens crowded into U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office on Thursday to tell the congressman they are sick with worry over the looming repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Latta’s staff listened politely and said they would pass on the concerns. But that wasn’t good enough. “I really want to talk to my representative about the Affordable Care Act,” said Sheri Wells-Jensen, who organized the meeting. Others joined in pushing for a face-to-face with Latta. “Rep. Latta needs to have a public town hall meeting. I think he needs to listen to what’s going on locally,” said Laura Landry Meyer. “He needs to get out of Washington.” His staff stressed that Latta has held close to 700 public events during his terms in Congress. “I understand that, but things are changing by the hour now,” Landry Meyer said. Tim Bosserman, Latta’s district representative, said he did not have a current schedule for the congressman. If a local meeting is scheduled, it will appear on Latta’s website, he said. But the group was persistent, and continued asking for a commitment for a town hall meeting. Wells-Jensen offered condolences for the “poor staffers” in the Bowling Green office who weren’t equipped with the congressman’s schedule. Melanie Stretchbery put the staff on notice that this is no longer business as usual. “We are voters. We are taxpayers and we’re not sitting down anymore,” she said. “We want to be heard,” Landry Meyer said. The biggest concern in the room was the possibility of the Affordable Care Act being repealed with no replacement…


Child abuse cases increase locally by 25% last year

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Child abuse investigations increased in Wood County by nearly 25 percent in 2016 – a jump never seen before by the staff at Children’s Services. The number of cases went from 718 in 2015 up to 894 in 2016 – meaning 176 more child abuse investigations. Cases of abuse were reported in every community in the county. The increase is being attributed to more people reporting child abuse or neglect cases when they see them, and to the rising opiate epidemic. The numbers were presented Thursday to the Wood County Commissioners. The number of physical abuse cases investigated in 2016 was 224, the number of sexual abuse cases was 142, the number of neglect cases was 439, and the number of emotional abuse cases was 19. Drugs were involved in 212 of the cases. “The drug cases are much more difficult,” and take longer to resolve, according to Sandi Carsey, director of Wood County Children’s Services. “It’s normal for people to relapse,” added Brandy Laux, assessment supervisor at Wood County Children’s Services. When investigators arrive at homes with drug problems, “there are bigger issues,” of finances, eviction, utilities and loss of employment. Nearly every month last year saw more child abuse reports than the year before. “Every month last year, except for December, we increased,” Carsey said. And this January is seeing the same uptick. “I would hope we wouldn’t have as big of a spike, but we never know,” Carsey said. In expectation of the increases, the county commissioners approved an additional staff person in Children’s Services last year. “That helps…


BGSU sociologists’ research garners close to $2 million in grant funding

By BOB CUNNINGHAM BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University recently was awarded three grants for sociology research totaling nearly $2 million. The largest grant is $1.1 million from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health (NICHD/NIH) for the support of the Center for Family and Demographic Research. The center was formed on BGSU’s campus in 2000, and has been continuously funded by NICHD since 2002. There are fewer than 25 universities that are funded for a population research center in the country. The other two grants are for the studies “Pathways Linking Parental Incarceration and Child Well-being” for $500,000, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); and for the “Social Influences on the Long-term Cessation of Violence” for $384,000, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grants were written by Wendy D. Manning, Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, Peggy C. Giordano, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Sociology, and Monica A. Longmore, Professor of Sociology. The three professors, who also are close friends, have been working together on research at the University since the late 1990s. “We are happy to have support for the Center for Family and Demographic Research,” said Manning, who is the director of the CFDR and the principal investigator (PI) on the NIH grant. “The Center grant is an infrastructure grant that provides work space, security, conference rooms and skilled staff to support research at Bowling Green on health and well-being of children, youth and families.” Since its inception in 2000, research at the Center has aligned with the Population Dynamics Branch scientific mission with a…