Kroger adds finishing touch to new marketplace

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The transformation of the Kroger Store on North Main Street into a Kroger Marketplace has been a work in progress for all, employees and customers, alike to see and experience. And that experience has been trying at times, conceded store manager Kim Richmond. Every day the store’s associates had to answer queries. Where’s the bread today? And for her it meant late night calls reporting problems at the store. Once it was even a fire. Turned out to be a minor blaze. As a bright new produce section opened up in the north end, in the south end other sections looked like a grocery store in a sci-fi dystopia. On Wednesday the Marketplace put those day behind it. Everything is bright and new. The shelves are packed, and the aisles lined with folks offering free tastes of some of the store’s new products – fried Japanese peppers, all-beef hot dogs and more. There’ll even be a new service starting Thursday that those befuddled customers of a few weeks back would have appreciated – ClickList, a service that allows customers to shop online, drive to the store and have their groceries delivered to them while they wait outside, never having to get out of their cars. The marketplace will also offer The Little Clinic, staffed by nurse practitioners, who will be able to diagnose, treat, and prescribed medications for common illnesses. The store features an extensive deli and cheese area. Roberts, who grew up in Pemberville, started her career at Kroger as a meat counter clerk in 1994. Times and expectations of customers have changed. Now the store must cater to those looking for quick and easy foods, rotisserie chickens, expanded sushi offerings, hand-tossed pizzas and artisan sandwiches to take home or to eat in the bistro area. On the other end of the spectrum, she said, are “the foodies” who are always on the lookout for the newest culinary trend. The Kroger Marketplace has expanded its offerings to appeal to that crowd as well. The store has a wine and beer tasting bar, will have a growler bar once the proper license comes through. The Kroger Marketplace, which is a 57,000-square-foot expansion, will also sell name brand apparel and small appliances, housewares, and toys. More than 100 new associates have been hired to staff the expanded Kroger. That drew praised from Mayor Dick Edwards and County Commission Chair Doris Herringshaw who were on hand for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. They appreciate the investment in the local economy. Roberts said she’s proud of the new store because: “This is where my friends shop, this is where my family shops, this is where my neighbors shop.” When they do, they’ll have little problem finding just where the bread’s located.

“Smoke Signals screening, food in the trenches on tap at library

Thursday, April 13 Community Reads presents the award-winning film, “Smoke Signals,” based on Sherman Alexie’s short story collection, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven.” The PG-13 film, with screenplay by Alexie and featuring Adam Beach, Evan Adams, and Irene Bedard, will be shown in the second Floor Meeting Room at 10 a.m., with an encore presentation at 6:45 p.m. Ever wonder what American dough boys ate in the trenches of World War I? Saturday, April 15, come hear author and food historian Nathan Crook (“A Culinary History of the Great Black Swamp”) talk about the good, the bad, and the unusual food that fueled the front for U. S. soldiers during the Great War. The library will be closed Sunday, April 16, and will resume regular hours on Monday, April 17. All programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104,

Ag advocate urges farmers to open up to consumers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Emily Buck, an educator, communicator and farmer, was on friendlier ground recently when she addressed the Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum than she was about a month before in Washington D.C. The proof was right there on the menu. The local group was munching on an egg and cheese dish and tiny sausages. When Buck was a member of the panel at a conference sponsored by Food Tank, lunch was hummus and mushroom burgers. Food Tank, a group that advocates for sustainable agriculture, is not a friend of conventional farming, Buck said.  She even called it “scary” at one point. But she felt she needed to be there. She didn’t hide who she was. She and her husband, John Buck, raise corn, soybeans, and some wheat on about 1,000 acres in Marion County. She also maintains a sheep herd. And the corn and soybeans are grown from genetically modified seed. “This is not a friendly group by any means,” she said. “But I put myself out there because we needed someone from our side be part of the conversation. “There are people making decisions who have never set foot on a farm. They don’t understand why GMOs are allowing me to use less herbicides, letting me have better water quality.” People who care about sustainability are worried about air, soil, water, and habitat. “We have to find a way to talk to people who are concerned about these things in the right way,” Buck said. The associate professor at Ohio State urged farmers to get out of their comfort zones to engage the consumers of what they grow. That means confronting misconceptions and misunderstandings, as well as finding common ground. Facts, she said, are not enough. Connecting emotionally, connecting with the consumers’ values are the only way to get through. In an age of instant communications, that becomes all the more important, Buck said. She quoted writer and animal scientist Temple Grandin as saying: “Every phone is a TV.” That’s frightening for farmers. Much of what happens on the farm is not pretty, and can be misinterpreted as being cruel, she said. That makes farmers and ranchers leery of engaging the public. But those truths need to be confronted as well. A petting zoo does not show an accurate picture of farming. So Buck said just about every year she’ll post a photo of a dead lamb. She shows it as a tragedy for the ewe, and sad for her. Three segments of consumers drive most of the conversation, Buck said – moms, millennials, and foodies. “Those are the ones blogging and posting.” Mothers are concerned about food safety and what they are feeding their children. They’re very savvy, she said, about social media, and that’s where they turn to get and give advice….

More county residents turn to food pantries for help

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Across Wood County, more people are turning to food pantries to help feed their families. Some food banks offer food once a month, others whenever needed. Some require proof of need, others ask for nothing. “We’re seeing more food insecurity,” said Sue Clanton, director of United Way in Wood County. So last month, people representing food pantries throughout Wood County gathered at the United Way office in Bowling Green to collect information on all the grassroots efforts to help the hungry. Information was recorded on how often food is available, how much food is given per person, and how families qualify at each operation. The details will be updated in the county’s “211” help telephone system, so when people call for help they can be directed to the place most able to assist. In addition to bags of groceries, many of the sites offer such help as free meals, laundry and shower services, clothing, kitchenware, toiletries and baby items. Others provide car care, used furniture or community garden crops. Many of the operations are hosted by churches. Some are open multiple days a week, others once a month. “We don’t turn anyone away hungry,” said a volunteer with St. Thomas More’s food pantry in Bowling Green. First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green averages 200 clients a month at its food program, Heather Sayler said. The church has four freezers, and may need to add another for the program. “We’re looking at harnessing our volunteers,” with more than 50 a month, she said. “Long-term we’re looking at home delivery.” Perrysburg Christians United offers food once a month, and help with rent and utilities for people at risk or eviction or having their utilities cut. The Brown Bag program in Bowling Green is open three days a week. The site has no “means testing,” and provided for about 17,000 meals last year. “We help people in urgent crisis in need of food,” Gwen Andrix said. “All it takes is for someone to say, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to get my next meal.’” Many people are falling through the cracks, according to Andrix. All it takes is one unexpected car repair, sickness or a spouse leaving to push someone into poverty. So people are also offered a sheet listing local resources – “to hopefully find a lasting solution to whatever situation they are in.” The Brown Bag program also tries to offer delivery 24/7. “If you call us today, I will try to get food to you today,” Andrix said. The Otsego Food Pantry has served families in that school district for more than 20 years. “We wanted to make sure children were being served,” said Lisa Hatfield. That program tries to provide enough food and toiletries to last seven to 10…

Something to chew on: Senior congregate meals serve up food and friendship

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s more than the meatloaf and lemon meringue pie that draws senior citizens to congregate meals at community centers across the nation. It’s something that doesn’t show up on the daily menu. And it’s something that many seniors can’t get their daily dosage of at home. Almost as important as the nutrition served up at senior centers is the conversation shared around the dinner tables. Robert Blancato, executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, is going across the nation doing research on the value of congregate meals for senior citizens. On Friday, he was in Bowling Green at the Wood County Senior Center for lunch with local citizens. “We know there’s a growing problem of isolation of older people,” Blancato said. So he is surveying seniors about the values of casseroles and conversations. “I’ve decided to sit with older adults and ask them myself.” Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said much research has been done on how home-delivered meals help seniors remain independent in their own homes. “We know the value of home-delivered meals,” Niese said. But until now, no one has surveyed the value of congregate meals. As Blancato chats with seniors over chicken or lasagna, he finds a common thread in the conversation. “They use the word socialization,” he said. They talk about the opportunity to get out of the house, to volunteer, and to learn from others. On Thursday, Blancato sat down for a meal in East Cleveland and heard the same comments. “They’ve been verification of the importance of these programs.” His favorite comment came from an older woman at a center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Because we love to gossip,” she told him. “Every time I talk to older adults, they provide the proof,” Blancato said. However, while Blancato is gathering up research supporting the value of congregate dining programs, the federal government is threatening massive funding cuts. The Older Americans Act has already been lagging in funding for years, he said. “It is nowhere near enough to meet the needs.” But Blancato pointed out that the average age of seniors showing up for congregate meals is in the upper 70s, and the average age for those getting home-delivered meals is the lower 80s. The lack of the nutrition provided by those meals would result in far more people living in nursing home facilities. “Look how much this is saving Medicare and Medicaid,” he said. But the future of funding for such senior programs is unknown since Congress doesn’t have it budget ready. President Donald Trump announced this week during his speech to Congress that he plans significant increases in spending for defense and law enforcement. That means cuts elsewhere. “It’s a scary number for anybody…

BG revelers raise their glasses and voices in memory of Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   All we needed Friday night was Robert Burns processing into Naslada Bistro with the haggis. After all, we had bagpipes, and plenty of tartan, including Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov clad in a tam o’ shanter, sash and kilt of Royal Stewart. And he wasn’t the only one baring his manly gams. Later there would be poetry and song, and traditional Scottish dishes, and of course, many rounds of whisky. The occasion was a celebration of the birth of Robert Burns, and if the bard of Scotland and bawdy bon vivant was absent is body – being dead some 220 years is a good enough excuse– he was certainly there in spirit. This is the second annual Burns Night held at the downtown restaurant. Or, as host Elliot MacFarlane said, the second and a half. Another Burns night was held Thursday. Demand for the first in 2016 prompted Mitov and MacFarlane to present it two nights this year. Burn Night Dinners are a tradition dating back to shortly after the poet’s death. Now on the face of it, a night devoted to the poetry and song of a long dead personage, with interlude grandly titled “The Immortal Memory” may sound a bit staid. The event was nothing of the sort. Haunch to haunch with the poetry and sentimental ballads were bawdy jokes. A Burns Night Dinner, MacFarlane said, was a time for flatulence and rude talk about the English. After uttering his first “fuckin’” while telling a story, he advised the several dozen gathered that the word was Scottish for “jolly.” The dinner was a jolly time. In the old days, he said, the dinners could last for eight hours, and boys with wheelbarrows would be on hand to push the revelers home afterward. The Bowling Green event ended with everyone raising their voices in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne.” The frivolity began well before the first round of whisky, and only heightened with each succeeding shot. “We need something in winter in Bowling Green besides hockey, so we have Robert Burns,” MacFarlane declared. Not that there’s anything wrong with hockey. He did after all grow up in Bowling Green. All this was in keeping with Burns, a failed “ploughboy” and tax collector who found success as a wandering poet, who was welcomed in salons and taprooms. When he died at 37, 10,000 mourners attended his funeral. Still he was impoverished, leaving behind a wife and plentiful offspring, both by her and his many mistresses. His work, though, has a deep and abiding impact on people. MacFarlane said that when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for fighting against apartheid he took comfort in two books, “The Diary of Anne Frank” and a volume of poetry by “Robert Burns.” Abraham Lincoln loved Burns, committing poems…

Survey to check your eating and exercising efforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Public health officials want to know if you are eating your broccoli and carrots, or if you are more of a couch potato. So last week, people from various health and service agencies sat around a table at the Wood County Health District and talked about what kind of questions to pose to local residents to get a pulse on their health. Specifically, they want to know what you are eating and how much you are moving. Are there barriers to you eating fruits and vegetables – access, cost, transportation? Are there barriers to you exercising – no parks or trails, can’t afford a gym membership? The Northwest Ohio Hospital Council is coordinating efforts to check on the nutrition and activity of residents in several counties. Locally, the survey will look at the health opportunities and challenges here in Wood County. Brittany Ward, with the Northwest Ohio Hospital Council, is hoping to get at least 1,000 responses in Wood County, covering young, old, rural and urban populations. The group meeting last week was trying to narrow down questions so the online survey is manageable and not so long that people give up before they finish. The survey is intended to take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Plans are for the survey to be sent out to the community in February through early April. The survey will ask questions about: Are bike or walking trails accessible? How far do kids have to walk to school? Do you have access to farmers markets? Are there Weight Watchers programs offered near you? Are there “food deserts” where healthy food is not available? Do you feel safe to walk in your neighborhood? Are there sidewalks in your community? How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat each day? How often do you eat at restaurants? What type? Do you garden? Have you had to choose between paying bills and buying food? How often do you exercise? Are parks in your area handicapped accessible? Does your employer provide worksite wellness? Do schools in your area promote nutrition and physical activity? The hope is that once data is gathered, the information can be taken to elected officials and other leaders to support healthy changes in communities. The survey results will give credence to communities adopting policies and practices to promote healthy lifestyles. The survey will also ask local residents about the types of community improvements they would support to provide better nutrition and exercise opportunities. Those options might include farmers markets, community gardens, sidewalk accessibility, bike and walking trails, neighborhood safety and healthier foods at local groceries.

Rebecca Singer, new leader at Center for Innovative Food Technology, is rooted in farming

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In her new position as CEO and president of the Center for Innovative Food Technology, Rebecca Singer has to deal with the entire spectrum of the food industry, from seed to package. She brings just the right mix of experience the job requires. Singer, who took over the leadership role about a month ago, has a degree in agri-business and applied economics from Ohio State, and she managed the state’s Ohio Proud program before taking a position with CIFT 15 years ago. All that is grounded on the farm. She grew up on a farm in Defiance County, and when she moved back to Northwest Ohio to join CIFT, she decided settle back there. She and her brother now manage the operation while their father stays involved in the chores he enjoys like driving the tractor. They grow soybeans and ponder all the issues that farmers face. Do they have enough acreage for a viable soybean operation? Should they transition into vegetables and specialty crops? “It lends a lot of authenticity that these are the kinds of things that go through our minds on our operation,” Singer said. Like Ohio’s weather, the agriculture sector is ever changing. Recently “there’s been such a tremendous amount of interest in local foods,” she said. This effects the farmers who grow the food those who process it. That’s been seen at CIFT’s Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen outside of Bowling Green on Ohio 582.  The facility serves as a launching pad for local food products. “A lot of people enjoy making food for other people,” Singer said. “They enjoy sharing recipes that’s been passed down for generations.” The cooperative kitchen has the equipment and expertise to help that make that happen. CIFT can serve as “a one-stop shop” for producers, helping them identify sources of ingredients, fine-tuning their processing to make it as cost effective as possible, and adhering to food safety procedures. Interest in using the kitchen increased with the local food movement. “It’s really exploded,” she said. More and more people want “a clean label,” she said. They don’t want to see an ingredients list laden with artificial additives and preservatives. Tastes will shift. It’s all about hot and spicy now. The desire for local ingredients is here to stay, she said. Growers are straining to meet that demand. Finding labor for those few weeks when they need to harvest is a challenge, one they share with larger processors. “We hear all the time that they can’t find help,” she said. Finding folks who want to work hard, in the heat of summer is increasingly difficult. Mechanization can help, but harvesting still needs the human touch, she said. The ag incubator located at the cooperative kitchen site demonstrates new technologies and methods for growing food, as well…

BG dinner to toast poet Robert Burns

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elliot MacFarlane of Bowling Green, found an unusual partner in his celebration of the birth of Scottish national poet Robert Burns, Bulgarian chef Boyko Mitov. For the second year, they are teaming up to present Robert Burns Night dinners , Thursday, Jan. 26, and Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. both nights at Naslada Bistro, 182 S, Main St., in Bowling Green. Dinners in honor of Burns, around the time of his Jan. 25 birthday, have been celebrated since the poet’s death in 1796, MacFarlane, a member of the St. Andrews Society said. He has been involved in organizing such events for decades in Toledo, Detroit, Frankenmuth and elsewhere. The closest to home was years back when there was one presented at Nazareth Hall. Now, he has to drive miles, to enjoy and help others enjoy this mid-winter festivity. Last year, after working with Mitov on a Scotch tasting dinner, they decided to present a Burns Night celebration. Held one night in January, 2016, the restaurant was packed and had dozens on the waiting list. This year, the Burns dinner will be presented twice. MacFarlane said he’s had people approach him to make sure there’s room. As of Thursday noon, Mitov said there were places for a few more. Each dinner accommodates about 40 people. Only the back part of the restaurant is used. The large tables up front are needed for staging. The event offers a full evening of entertainment, as well as a four-course meal of Scottish specialties. The festivities begin with the arrival of the traditional meat pudding, the haggis, accompanied by a piper. Mitov uses grass-fed beef and fresh lamb to make the traditional dish. MacFarlane said he provided Mitov with Scottish recipes, and he’s tweaked them in his own style. “It’s great working with a good chef,” MacFarlane said. Though the cuisine was new to him, Mitov said, he had no problems adjusting the recipes and the preparation. The format, with paired drink and food, is similar to traditional dinners served in Bulgaria. In both cases, specially selected liquors are serve with complimentary entrees. The haggis will be accompanied by 12-year-old Cragganmore, Speyside Single Malt. The other courses are Cock-a-leekie Soup with 14-year-old Glenfiddich U.S. Exclusive Bourbon Barrel Reserve; Scotch Collops of Beef with Rumbledethumps with 18-year-old Aberlour Highland Single Malt; and for dessert, Cranachan (cream, berries and oats soaked in whisky) and  15-year-old  Dalwhinnie, Highland. Vegetarian can be requested when making reservations. MacFarlane has selected the best whiskies available to go with each of the four courses. Mitov said the evening is about more than eating and drinking. The entertainment includes music by the bagpiper Kim Sautter. Songs will be performed, a memorial to the poet, and, of course, plenty of verse, both by Burns and by later…

The Andersons announces it will exit retail business

From THE ANDERSONS INC. / PRNewswire The Andersons, Inc. (Nasdaq:ANDE) announces today (Jan. 15)  its plans to exit the retail business and close its remaining four retail stores in the second quarter of 2017. The retail closings will have no impact on the Company’s grain, ethanol, plant nutrient and rail operations. “The decision to close The Andersons stores was not easy for anyone involved,” says CEO Pat Bowe. “Choosing to cease a business that has spanned 65 years and employs about 1,050 people is tremendously difficult.” The closing will eliminate approximately 650 positions in the Toledo area and 400 positions in Columbus, of which approximately 75 percent are part-time positions. The Company will provide employees with severance packages and outplacement services to assist them in their career transitioning. During the past eight years the Retail Group has incurred pre-tax losses, including previous asset impairments, in excess of $20 million and closed three stores. The full financial impact of this closure has not been determined. The Company expects to record pre-tax impairment charges on long-lived assets related to the Retail segment of approximately $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Company expects to record a pre-tax charge in the range of $9 to $14 million in the first half of 2017 for severance costs and other costs associated with the closure. The Company also anticipates that the full carrying value of its inventory may not be recoverable during the store liquidation process. Gains or losses are anticipated on individual properties upon sale, however the Company is uncertain of the timing and amount of those sales. Subsequent to the impairment charges noted above, the Retail Group’s assets at their December 31, 2016 carrying values include: Inventory and other assets       $21.0 million Long-lived assets                     $9.8 million About The Andersons, Inc. Founded in Maumee, Ohio, in 1947, The Andersons is a diversified company rooted in agriculture conducting business across North America in the grain, ethanol, plant nutrient and rail sectors. For more information, visit The Andersons online at The Andersons Stores Facts: Original Warehouse Market opened in Maumee in 1952 Stores average 140,000 square feet Stores average 125,000 different SKUs   SOURCE The Andersons, Inc.

What’s for lunch? Meatloaf wrapped up in red tape

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Meatloaf and turkey were on the menu Thursday for the 550 Meals on Wheels recipients in Wood County. The side dish – a big helping of red tape from the state. The Ohio Department of Aging created a new rule for all home-delivered meals supported by the state, requiring the recipients to sign for the meals each time they are delivered. That may not seem like a problem, but to those who deliver the meals and to those who receive them, it’s a bit of needless bureaucracy that clogs up a pretty efficient system. Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging, said the signature requirement adds time to the delivery routes, compromises the temperature safety of the food maintained by hot and cold packs, and makes some seniors uncomfortable that they need to sign for their meals each day. But State Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said he is working to remove bureaucracy from the Meals on Wheels menu. Prior to the new rule, many seniors looked at the Meals on Wheels system as a dinner being dropped off by a neighborly volunteer, Niese said. Now it feels more like public assistance, she said. The rule is specific, stating that the meal recipient must sign – not a family member or caretaker. “It has to be the meal recipient,” Niese said. And that poses some other problems. “Some of these folks are pretty frail,” Niese said. Some seniors prefer that meals just be dropped off by volunteers if the seniors are sleeping or in the restroom. But that is no longer allowed. “Now they have to wake up and we have to get their signature,” Niese said. “We can’t leave a meal.” “It’s bureaucracy at its finest,” she said. Joe Hrabovsky, chef at the Wood County Committee on Aging Production Kitchen, is hearing concerns voiced by many of the delivery volunteers as they pick up the meals. “It’s hard to get signatures from some of the people,” since many have vision problems, are shaky and don’t understand the change, he said. But the Meals on Wheels state funding is tied to the signatures. Niese suspects it’s an over-reaction to concerns about fraud. “If there has been fraud in the state, you deal with it. Don’t penalize all seniors,” she said. Niese and one of the long-time volunteers have written to the state to try to have the change revoked. Volunteer Vickie Askins said the new rule has added time to her route, and issues for the seniors she serves. “One of my clients was upset because she couldn’t see well enough to sign the sheet today,” Askins wrote in a letter to state legislators. “Another client was sleeping.  Another client is very frail and hard of hearing.  One…

MLK food drive canvasses BG neighborhoods

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive matched last year’s haul of food and other necessities despite being short-handed. The drive coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, could have use three times the crew of volunteers to cover all the neighborhoods in the city. Still, Amy Jo Holland, Brown Bag founder, said those people reached were generous. Very few reached said no. The drive gather between 60-70 boxes of food. By late afternoon those goods, non-perishable food, hygiene items and paper goods were being boxed up to be distributed by the six organizations that will share the bounty. In addition to Brown Bag, the other organizations benefitting are: First United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, St. Thomas More, and BG Christian Food Pantry.  Each will receive 10 to 12 boxes. That should be enough for a couple months, she said. In divvying up items, Holland said, attention is paid to the kind of service provided. Broken Chains, she said, works with the homeless, so it received all the trial size hygiene items and single serving and ready to eat food items. Homeless folks don’t have can openers, she noted. Larger, bulk foods went to St. Mark’s and First United Methodist because they serve meals. Holland said 60 volunteers showed up to work. Some stayed on for more shifts than they had signed up for. Next year, she said, Brown Bag may extend the drive, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, to Monday. That way they could better coordinate with Bowling Green State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. As it is some students are going over the Brown Bag’s facility on Monday to help sort items gathered in the food drive.

Center for Innovative Food Technology to host seminar on food trucks

Submitted by the CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE FOOD TECHNOLOGY Food transport, service and catering requirements will be the topic of discussion at a seminar hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK). Four experts, who specialize in working closely with mobile food companies, food service operations, caterers, and other similar entities, will address the various regulations for obtaining and maintaining licenses, food safety rules, inspections, and numerous other aspects of the industry. A growing trend within this area is the growth of food trucks.  According to a 2015 IBISWorld survey, revenue in the food truck business industry has increased 9.3 percent from 2010 to 2015, with more than 5,000 food truck businesses throughout the U.S. employing 14,000 people. Featured speakers include Brad Sherrick and Jerry Bingham from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, and Jillan Bodey and Julie Nye from the Wood County Health District. These processing procedures will be explained within the NOCK – a kitchen-based setting that educates and advises entrepreneurs interested in starting a food business.  Food-related business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those who are producing a product to sell at markets and/or other retail establishments are encouraged to attend. The cost is just $25/person or $20/person for group of two or more (pay online, or cash/check at the door) which includes great networking opportunities and light refreshments.  Advanced registration is preferred.  The NOCK/AIF is located at 13737 Middleton Pike (St. Rt. 582) in Bowling Green, Ohio.

MLK food drive needs help to reach all corners of BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News More volunteers are needed so the annual BG Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Food Drive reach out to more households throughout Bowling Green. The drive to collect non-perishable food and hygiene items will be held Saturday, Jan.14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 15, noon to 4 p.m. The drive is being coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project working out of Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green. According to Amy Jo Holland, of Brown Bag, said last year about 100 volunteers were able to canvas about two-thirds of Bowling Green. About 70 boxes of food was collected and was distributed to six area food pantries. The aim this year is to have enough people to reach all neighborhoods. In a Facebook post the organizers wrote: “We have had a wonderful response in previous years and hope to set a record with this year’s endeavor. As many of you are aware, there is a dire need for food donations in our area; we have a large number of food insecure people, and the area food pantries are extremely low on supplies.” They are asking residents to have their donations ready, so that volunteers can reach as many Volunteers will also collect monetary donations. Checks should be made out to:  Brown Bag Food Project. Those donations will be divvied up among participating pantries. Volunteers will meet at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. at the beginning of their chosen shift on either Saturday or Sunday. Shifts are two hours long. To sign up, go to:  

Some of the stories that clicked for BG Indy in 2016

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News If you ask those of us involved with BG Independent News, the biggest news of 2016 was that we got this enterprise started and weathered our first year. This has been a great venture that has both challenged and rewarded us, if not enriched us. We pride ourselves on writing the best stories about Bowling Green, its immediate surroundings and area arts and entertainment scene. We’ve been heartened by the fact that we’ve had close to 160,000 users and 600,000 page views since the website was launched in late January. For that Jan McLaughlin and I thank you, our readers. It’s been a great ride. As we start a new year, we thought we’d go back and see just what stories drew the most traffic in the previous one. I decided on a top 30 of the more than 1,700 stories we’ve published. That includes the bylined stories that make up the heart of BG Independent News, but also Community Voices, Opinion, Obituaries and Newsbreak (though not the event listings that get lumped into What’s Happening in Your Community). (See the list of links at the end of the story.) The story that drew the most traffic was “The day the pizza died,” which is by neither of the principle writers. The rumors of Myles Pizza closing had been in the air for well over a year. When Chip Myles finally called it quits, I was headed out of town for a funeral, so Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, from Zibbel Media and an accomplished writer, stepped in and wrote her elegy to the beloved local pizza place. While this may seem ironic that our top story was written by neither McLaughlin nor Dupont, I don’t see it that way. Zibbel Media, operated by John Roberts-Zibbel and Roberts-Zibbel, is as much responsible for launching and maintaining the BG Independent enterprise as McLaughlin and Dupont, and I’m happy to have this recognition of that contribution. Some people were celebrating the holidays by pulling their last Myles pizza out of the freezer. The opening of Pizza Pub 516 in the location with a clear intent to update the place while maintaining much of the Myles character was also of interest, placing 18th on the list. Roberts-Zibbel also wrote another top 30 story, “Sign of the times,” about a lone, masked, disgruntled protestor who camped out in front of the Bowling Green Police Station on a sizzling hot day last summer. She also had a hand in the story that drew the second most traffic, the obituary for Jordan Powell, a young man who died far too soon. His family had few resources, and though we weren’t running obituaries in May, we decided to post it. It was sad, yet gratifying, because it showed the value of the service we…