Guion Family loves to share its sweet holiday tradition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Keith Guion’s family gathers at his mother’s house for the Thanksgiving dinner, the big meal will be a respite from the sweet toil that occupies them the rest of this week. More than a dozen members of the Guion family are continuing a candy making tradition that goes back four generations. The Guion family will be busy this week making up to 300 pounds of fudge, caramels, creams and toffees. Those will be packed in half-pound and pound boxes and shared with friends.  It’s a tradition that dates back to the Depression in Indiana when Guion’s grandmother and a friend decided they wanted to learn to make dipped chocolates, said Cassie Greenlee, Guion’s daughter. But the chocolates came out gray and streaky instead of smooth and glossy. So she approached a local candy maker to ask advice. Greenlee’s great-grandmother ended up getting a job as a window dipper, Greenlee said. She dipped chocolate in the shop’s window to lure people into the shop for a closer look. And because the family needed money, she and her husband started making chocolate, 300 pounds of it,  and sold it door to door, accompanied by their son, Guion’s father.  With the Depression passed, Greenlee said her great-grandmother said she’d had enough of the peddling.  “I never want to sell this again. I just want make it and give it away as gifts to friends.” That spirit of giving has continued for almost 90 years. Guion’s grandfather taught his wife the candy making craft, and they passed it along to their five children, including Keith. The Guions still love making candy, and still love sharing them. They’ll even teach others the craft. Earlier this month Guion and Greenlee presented a workshop on candy making at the Wood County Library. They set up shop the historic Carter House with Guion getting an early start making the fudge by boiling cocoa, sugar, corn syrup, and milk to bring it to 238 degrees.  Then he poured it onto a marble slap with a frame around it. Let it cool, but not too much, before using a putty knife he worked in butter then vanilla extract, and the secret ingredient, Sucrovert. He admitted that at this phase of the process, he always wonders: “Is this going to be an absolute disaster? I never now until it’s done.” He works it until…

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Project Connect holds kickoff meeting June 7

From PROJECT CONNECT WOOD COUNTY Community members and local organizations are joining together again to plan for the sixth annual Project Connect Wood County. On Thursday, June 7, event planners and interested community members will meet at 8 a..m at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church for breakfast and the start of the new planning year. It will be a time to highlight goals for the upcoming event, showcase past results, and recruit new community volunteers. A dedicated team of volunteers from the community, churches, and social service agencies are organizing Project Connect, which is scheduled for Wednesday, October 17 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 315 S. College Dr., Bowling Green. The event provides a broad range of free services to families and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness or poverty. The Wood County Continuum of Care Coalition began holding what was then called Project Homeless Connect in 2013. Since that time, hundreds of people in Wood County have received critically-needed services, and many others have been impacted through volunteerism. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw will again serve as the event’s Honorary Chairperson. For more information and continuing updates, visit our Facebook page:

Foster family opens home and hearts to 19 children

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some parents dream of becoming empty nesters. Quiet dinners, no pediatrician appointments, less hectic households. But Chris and Melanie Feather, of Grand Rapids, felt something was missing when their four boys grew up and moved on. So they took a bold step – bigger than buying an RV or a warm weather winter retreat – they became foster parents. “We had empty rooms,” Melanie said. “We really felt that was something we needed to do.” That was seven years and 19 children ago. “I love kids. I could probably do this forever,” Melanie said, giving a sideways glance at Chris to check his reaction. It took a few seconds, but then her husband’s straight face broke into a big silly grin. The couple, who was recently named Wood County Children Services Foster Parents of the Year, has taken in children ranging from newborns to 17-year-olds. So they now have four adult children, one adopted, plus six biological grandchildren, and “a lot of honorary” grandchildren. “I always think there’s somebody else out there who needs us,” Chris said. “There are a lot of kids who need love,” Melanie said. “They come in as strangers and leave as family.” “Or they don’t leave,” Chris said, referring to all the kids that stay in contact with the Feather family. “It makes my heart happy,” Melanie said, smiling. The Feathers readily admit the job of foster parenting isn’t easy. It ranges from fun and a blessing, to frustrating and nearly maddening – and that can be all in one day. But they try to stay focused on the goal. They are in this to get kids through rough patches in their lives that are no fault of their own. Some children don’t want to be removed from their families, no matter how bad that environment might be. “Some of the kids are mad they are in foster care,” Melanie said. She and Chris explain to the children that they realize they aren’t their parents. “But we’ll be their mom and dad as long as they need us to be.” Chris, a school bus driver and farmer, learned early on what many kids need. “The kids just want an adult’s attention,” he said. They want consistency and unconditional love. They have chores, like cleaning their bedrooms, setting the table, unloading the dishwasher. “Some of them just appreciate…

Cocoon needs help to secure additional funding

The Cocoon Shelter is in the last 24 hours of its #PurplePurseChallenge. The goal is to raise $2,000 to support the shelter’s services and qualify for additional money from Allstate (up to $50,000). Donations need to be fully processed, which takes a few minutes, by noon tomorrow (Tuesday, April 24). Visit

More grandparents take over raising their grandchildren

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Parenting children the first time around is hard enough. Doing it again as a grandparent is even more daunting and exhausting. But more grandparents are finding themselves in the role of parent with their grandchildren. So on Wednesday, Bowling Green City Schools hosted a Grandparent Resource Night at Kenwood Elementary. “We have a lot of grandparents out there in the district raising their grandchildren,” said teacher Jonelle Semancik. “They don’t know where to turn for help.” Kenwood Principal Kathleen Daney said she previously worked in Lucas County, where a Kinship Caregiver program exists to help grandparents who find themselves as parents again. “There’s nothing here to support the grandparents,” Daney said. “And every year there are more and more.” So Daney asked Judy Paschalis, who previously coordinated the Kinship program in Lucas County, to share her expertise in Bowling Green. “It’s desperately needed everywhere,” Paschalis said of support for grandparents. “It’s one of the most complex family situations.” Paschalis said in 2010, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of children were being raised by their grandparents. That number has continued to increase, she said, with drugs and alcohol being the cause 99 percent of the time. “I can say I know what you’re going through – because I really do know what you are going through,” Paschalis told the audience of grandparents. She and her husband have been raising their 9-year-old granddaughter since she was 4. The job is tough for so many reasons, one being emotional. “It’s no fun having a grandchild cry because she wants her mommy,” Paschalis said. “She’s really angry at me because I’m not her mommy.” And when parents don’t show up for planned visits, the grandparents are left picking up the pieces again. So these children have lots of “trauma” and more “worries” than most children. There’s also the expense of becoming a parent again in later life, when incomes are fixed. “And then, of course, you have to buy new clothes and shoes every three months,” Paschalis said. Then, there’s the stigma that comes with raising grandchildren – as if their failures with their own children caused them to desert the grandchildren. “You didn’t do so hot with your children,” Paschalis said. “People can make them feel bad about that if they let them.” But Paschalis urged grandparents to disregard that judgment. “You have no…

County parks are busy places during March

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Native Bees and Bee Houses Wednesday, March 7; 6:30 – 8:30 pm J.C. Reuthinger Preserve 30370 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Suzanne Nelson and Dean Babcock will present on native bees and how to encourage them to visit your backyard. You will complete your own mason bee house with guidance from the program leaders. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Attendance at all sessions is required. Cost: $20; FWCP $15. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, March 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, essays by David Quammen. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   CPR Certification at the Park Saturday, March 10; 8:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Get certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and AED use and learn choking relief. This American Heart Association course is taught by certified Park District staff. Participants must be 14 years of age. Registration deadline is March 3. Card certification cost: $20. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Community & Parks Open Forum Wednesday, March 14th  5:00 – 7:00 pm N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore Learn about the new and exciting opportunities with the Wood County Parks. Your input matters. Share your thoughts with us to help shape the future of the parks. Light refreshments and good company provided. Archery Skills: M-Archery Madness! Friday, March 16; 6:00 – 7:30 pm William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville Beginning archers build their skills in this fun and instructional program, where we’ll focus on body posture and aiming, eventually progressing to moving ball targets! All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 years of age or older. Cost: $5/$3 FWCP. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Working with Black Swamp Soils Series                          Sundays, March 18, April 22, & May 20; 1:00 – 3:30 pm W.W. Knight Preserve 29530…

WCESC offering guidance to parents of strong-willed kids

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY EDUCATIONAL SERVICE CENTER Is life with your teen full of conflict? Do you dread that moment when your teen returns home from school, or when you return home from work, trying to guess what today’s argument and battle of wills is going to be about? We know how to put a stop to that. Most of us in the field, working with high-risk youth know that parent involvement is the key to behavior change with adolescents. Yet, effectively educating parents in basic behavioral strategies is time consuming and repetitive. The Parent Project® is a parent training program designed for parents of strong-willed adolescents. Since 2003, more than 250 parents and their adolescents have attended Parent Project in Wood County and they report that there is important information in Parent Project classes for parents of all teens. Topics include reducing family conflict and arguing, improving school performance and attendance, identifying and intervening with alcohol and other drug abuse, interceding with negative peer associations (including inappropriate dating relationships) and helping parents to set clear, consistent rules with enforceable consequences. Parents who attend the Parent Project® are more likely to see positive behavior changes as parents understand and practice powerful Parent Project interventions at home. The motto of the Parent Project® is “Parents are the answer … when they have the tools they need.” Presented in an educational format, parents are trained for a low fee of $20 for the accompanying 180-page workbook. Youth ages 12-18 are also invited to attend a separate class at no additional cost. If the entire course is completed and the parent has attended all of the required sessions, the $20 fee will be refunded. Parents attend 24 hours of instruction for a cost of less than one session of private counseling. A concurrent teen component will also be offered, where teens will learn similar skills. Youth ages 12 and older may attend. The next session will be held Monday evenings from March 5 through May 7 at Rossford United Methodist Church, 270 Dixie Hwy., Rossford, OH 43460. The first three classes will run from 6 to 9 p.m. The remainder of the classes run from at 6 to 8 p.m. For more information or to register, contact Greg Van Vorhis at 419-354-9010, or