Government

BG plans ahead for another water treatment reservoir

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials plan to spend $220,000 to buy some acreage for another water treatment reservoir. A few years ago, the city purchased 76 acres on Hull Prairie Road with the thought of putting another reservoir there in the future. The one problem was a house that sat on four acres in the center of the acreage at 23134 Hull Prairie Road. But the owner of the house, Jay Largent, has now asked if the city is interested in purchasing his house and the four acres for the appraised price of $220,000. The Board of Public Utilities voted Monday evening to do so. “This could be advantageous for us,” Director of Public Utilities Brian O’Connell said, explaining that 80 acres is much more desirable than 76 acres with a house in the middle. “It does give us a more viable site for a reservoir.” A larger reservoir would provide additional raw water storage as well as better quality raw water to the plant. Until the new reservoir is needed and the house is demolished, the city may rent it out to make some income. Or the city may trade the land for other acreage closer to the water treatment plant that is four miles away from the Hull Prairie acreage. According to O’Connell, there’s enough money for the land acquisition in the 2017 Water & Sewer Capital Improvement Fund. Also at Monday’s meeting, the board of public utilities voted to enter an agreement with the Wood County Port Authority to help extend services to a new portion of the Woodbridge Business Park….

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Sugar Ridge still under EPA orders to get sewers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a decade now, the community of Sugar Ridge has been on the Ohio EPA’s clean up list. In 2007, the Wood County Health District got a report of a sewage nuisance in the unincorporated village located north of Bowling Green. The EPA took over sampling and “deemed it a sewage nuisance,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. The area was ordered to connect to a public sewer system. But that proved to be easier said than done. The Northwestern Water and Sewer District conducted a feasibility study to find out how to make it affordable to hook up the homes to public sewer. “They found it was very costly to build the sewer” – too expensive for the average homeowners in Sugar Ridge, Glore said last week. The project recently came onto the health district’s radar again when a concerned citizen reported that a resident of the Sugar Ridge area was trying to install a new sewer without approval, on Long Street. Upon inspection, Glore found that the resident was actually trying to fix a drainage system. She also found serious ground water drainage issues that could be affecting the septic systems. Residents in the area were advised to pump their septic tanks more often and lessen their water usage if possible. Worsening the situations is a plugged ditch along Sugar Ridge Road. Middleton Township officials are looking at how that ditch may be cleaned to allow for proper drainage, Glore said. The bad news is the septic systems are not sufficiently handling the…


‘Die-in’ shows grave concerns about GOP health plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A strip along North Main Street was turned into a makeshift “cemetery” Thursday as supporters of the Affordable Care Act laid on the ground and held up cardboard tombstones. “Last Thursday, the House passed a bill that will have this effect on people,” said Sara Jobin, one of the organizers of the “die-in.” One “tombstone” read “Beloved daughter chose college over health care.” Another stated, “Killed by heartless lies.” And another, “RIP Democracy.” The protest was held in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. Latta was not present and the office closed shortly after the “die-in” began. Molly Tomaszewski, of Northwood, held signs protesting the projections that 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act passed by the House GOP members, including Latta.  She believes the answer is a single payer system. “Universal health care is not a partisan issue. It’s a life issue,” she said. “We need health care.” Tomaszewski said her husband has good health insurance through his job. But she has 27 pre-existing conditions as listed in the new GOP plan. Without insurance, her prescriptions would cost $5,000 a month. “They could put lifetime caps on,” she said, worrying about how she would then afford her medications. Of the 30 people gathered for the protest, the majority were women. Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said her husband died last month after a long illness. She was insured through him, and is two years away from qualifying from Medicare. So she may have to pay six times as much for coverage…


BG offers senior center land so old site can be retired

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The aging Wood County Senior Center is being retired. In front of a packed room of seniors waiting for lunch, Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards announced Thursday that the city has plans to give the Wood County Committee on Aging some land for a new home – the old school central administration property at 140 S. Grove St. The announcement was welcomed among those who use the senior center on a daily basis. “It’s about time,” said Mary Hansen, of Bowling Green. She and Virginia Combs quickly listed off all the deficiencies they have noticed at the current senior center which is over a century old. Too many stairs, not enough parking, poor heating and cooling topped the list. “It gets hot and then it gets cold. We always layer up,” Hansen said. And then there’s the unreliable elevator. “It makes noises when it does go,” she added. The news was also welcomed by Herb Hoover, Bowling Green, who frequents the senior center for lunch and card games. “My wife and I come here five days a week for lunch,” Hoover, 89, said. “It really breaks up the day.” The gifting of the land for a new senior center may also help the city solve its own building dilemma. For years, city officials have talked about cramped conditions at the city administration building which is located directly to the west of the senior center, which the city owns. The senior center moving to South Grove Street would free up space for a new city building in the area currently shared by the…


William Easterly touts the power of poor people, not experts, to address poverty

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News William Easterly believes that poor people are the key to ending poverty. He doesn’t have to look far to find a prime example in his father, Nathan William  Easterly, retired Bowling Green State University professor of biology. His father, Easterly said, came from southern West Virginia. He was 3 years old when his father died. It was the middle of the Great Depression. “It was really a heroic effort by him, his mother and his family for him to be able to climb out of that and become a professor at BGSU,” Easterly said “It was much easier for me as a professor’s kid to become a professor. That was the easy part. The hardest part was done by my father. And I’m enormously grateful to BGSU for making that possible for my father.” Easterly followed his father’s academic path, though, in economics, not biology. He chose the field because it brought together his passion for mathematics and social justice. “He got a PhD; I got a PhD,” the younger Easterly said. “He became a professor; I became a professor. He’s my role model. I really admire enormously what my father accomplished in his career. He had much further to go then I did.” His father was present Sunday, when BGSU bestowed an honorary doctorate on his son in recognition of accomplishments as one of the world’s most read, most cited and most recognized economists. Part of him still remains in Bowling Green. He stayed in town as long as he could until opportunities elsewhere forced him to leave. That included doctoral studies at…


Geologists agree more data needed on Nexus pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The probability of a local catastrophe with the proposed Nexus pipeline is quite low – but the magnitude of the damage it could cause is quite high. And Nexus engineering and geological data have failed to instill a lot of confidence with local officials. A panel of geology experts answered questions Monday from Bowling Green officials concerned about the close proximity of the proposed 36-inch natural gas pipeline to the city’s water treatment plant and water intake on the Maumee River. The geologists all agreed on one point – more study is needed before the pipeline is buried near a fault line and under the river. The panel consisted of Dr. Charles Onasch, retired professor emeritus of geology at BGSU; Dr. Andrew Kear, assistant professor of political science and environment and sustainability at BGSU; Mark Baranoski, retired geologist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; and Stephen Champa, a senior hydrogeologist for Eagon & Associates. Steve Kendall, from WBGU and host of the Northwest Ohio Journal, acted as moderator. Though the council chambers was full, the bulk of the questions were asked only by Kendall. The panel discussion was arranged by Mayor Dick Edwards after City Council kept hearing a wide variety of answers to basic questions about the pipeline risks. Edwards hoped the panel could focus on the science – not propaganda from pipeline protesters or the pipeline company. But the geologists, to varying degrees, said more data is needed before science can give a stamp of approval to the pipeline. Council President Mike Aspacher asked if the pipeline poses a…


Latta’s “communication with his constituents is subpar” – Deborah Schwartz

From DEBORAH SCHWARTZ The article “Latta’s Health Care Vote Leaves Some Constituents Feeling Sick,” published May 5, 2017, did an excellent job covering both sides of the political healthcare story in District 5: Bob Latta ‘s oft-repeated Republican poppycock about the failures of “Obamacare” and his constituents’ concerns about the deleterious effects “Trumpcare” will have on their health. But thankfully, it went one step further in reporting on Latta’s lack of communication with his constituents. As someone who has emailed him, called him, gone to his Bowling Green office, and worked on planning town halls to which he was invited but did not attend, I can attest to the fact that his communication with his constituents is sub-par: · He does not hold or attend town halls. · His telephone town halls are one-sided, with no notice of when they are scheduled, screening of questions, and no time for follow-up questions. · His District Director and office staffers respond blandly to questions about Mr. Latta’s votes and opinions, as in “Mr. Latta hasn’t communicated with us about that yet.” · His schedule is not posted in advance of events – anywhere – although a BG office staffer said that press releases on his website told where he would be. · He doesn’t respond to comments on his posts on Facebook. · His email newsletter is full of superficial reports on legislation and his letters are form letters that do not respond to constituents’ questions or concerns. Last Friday, while two Wood County residents braved the rainstorm to stand on Main St. with signs about having a pre-existing condition and needing…