Government

BG plans for rash of police and fire retirements

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green is trying to prepare now for a rash of retirements expected to hit the city’s police and fire divisions in a couple years. Nearly 25 years ago, city voters passed a couple safety levies – allowing the city to add staff to both the fire and police divisions. The additional staffing was viewed as a necessity to community safety. But now many of the police officers and firefighters filling positions created after the levies passed are nearing retirement – all at once. The city will fill the vacancies, but it will take some planning by the police and fire divisions, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said last Saturday during a strategic planning session held for City Council. The police division could see six to eight retirements in 2021, Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. “That will open the floodgates,” Hetrick said of the 25-year mark in 2021. The fire division is facing the retirement of four officers this year, and as many as 20 retirements over the next fire years, Fire Chief Bill Moorman said. Bowling Green now requires all its firefighters to also be paramedics. “Finding good, quality candidates to fill those positions is more difficult,” Moorman said. “We’ve got some challenges.” Council member Sandy Rowland asked if the city’s pay scale for firefighters is high enough to help attract people to come from other fire departments in the region. Moorman said the Bowling Green firefighter pay scale is about average for the region. Council President Mike Aspacher asked Hetrick if efforts are being made to add some diversity in hires to the police division. “We are unrepresented in minority hires,” Hetrick agreed. To help remedy that, the chief said the next recruitment effort may be expanded to a statewide and national search. Hetrick said he is considering contracting with a firm that tests nationally for new hires. “Hopefully that bumps up our interest,” the chief said.


Downtown parking report now in hands of City Council

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Time is ticking away for Bowling Green to solve its downtown parking dilemma. Last year, city council introduced an ordinance doubling downtown parking meter fees from 25 cents to 50 cents an hour. But council wanted to study other options before taking that step. So a downtown parking task force was formed, with seven members – four representing downtown property owners and three representing business owners who don’t own their buildings. Several options were discussed, including higher parking fees or free parking subsidized by the business and property owners. The group met several times, but was unable to reach a consensus. Two members strongly favored the shared parking model, three members strongly supported the rate increase, and two members leaned toward the rate increase with some reservations. “The report was very thorough and very accurately reports the conversations,” said Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett. The report has been given to council members – who now must decide the best route forward for downtown parking. Fawcett said he expects council to act on the parking issue “sometime soon.” “Because the vitality of downtown is a core tenant (sic) of our community and local government, it is imperative that this issue be considered seriously,” the parking report concluded. And since the current funding structure not longer supports the downtown parking needs – sticking with the status quo is not an option. The report explains how Bowling Green’s downtown parking issues differ from many communities, including: The relatively large downtown resident population needing parking.The fact that prime parking locations (on the street) are free, while spaces further away and behind the storefronts are paid.A large student population as well as downtown employees has prompted concerns about the lack of parking turnover.A very low current parking rate, of 25 cents an hour, is below the national minimum rate of $1 an hour charged. The problem lies in the fact that the city’s parking fund is intended to pay for all aspects of downtown public parking. This includes paving, ongoing maintenance of the parking lots, enforcement costs including…


BG Council tackles streets, sidewalks, support for schools and more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The city of Bowling Green has its work cut out for 2019. Some challenges are familiar – street construction, neighborhood revitalization and downtown parking. But some challenges presented at Saturday’s strategic planning meeting weren’t on last year’s priority list – sidewalks, side streets and supporting the school district. City Council met for its annual strategic planning session to review the city’s priorities for 2019, and to allow council members to suggest their own goals for the community. “We can see where we’ve been in 2018, and set the stage for activities and goals in 2019,” Council President Mike Aspacher said. Mayor Dick Edwards cautioned that construction downtown and on the roundabouts at Interstate 75 will make this year a little bumpy. “We know it’s going to be an unusually demanding year on many fronts,” Edwards said. “There are things that will put us all to the test.” But the mayor pointed out that unlike some “cities to the north,” Bowling Green officials work well together for the betterment of the community. “I thought we had a very good year last year,” Edwards said. “I think it speaks well for our city government. We work well together.” Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter started out the strategic planning process by reviewing progress made on last year’s priorities. The city began implementing suggestions in the Community Action Plan, work on the East Wooster corridor continued, the city’s charter was updated, and legislation was passed to create a historic preservation commission. Tretter then listed the goals for 2019: Implement of the historic preservation commission.Continue East Wooster corridor efforts in cooperation with BGSU.Continue neighborhood revitalization efforts.Update the zoning code.Improve radio coverage for safety operations.Construct new building in City Park.Complete construction of Wooster Green.Scan permanent planning and zoning records.Determine borrowing need, timing and method for various projects.Upgrade police division recruitment and hiring practices to national trends.Begin and complete downtown utility and paving project.Complete East Wooster/I-75 roundabout project.Increase electric sales to lower customer costs.Explore ways to lower electric transmission costs.Implement new billing software and utility customer interface portal.Remove and replace old…


After 33 years in Statehouse, Gardner going back to school as chancellor

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News State Sen. Randy Gardner’s dedication is unquestionable. Some may be critical of his politics – but many of those will confide that Gardner’s commitment is indisputable. During his 33 years in the Ohio House and Senate, he has never missed a vote. Since 1985, he has logged 10,423 consecutive roll call votes on bills, amendments and resolutions in his self-described “second home.” And as Senate Majority Leader, he was beginning his 20th year in service to elected leadership positions in the General Assembly – more than any other Republican in Ohio history. Come Monday, Gardner’s voting streak will end. But his service to Ohioans will continue as he is sworn in as the next chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The decision to switch roles was made after great deliberation, Gardner said on Thursday afternoon. “I have not had a job change since I’ve left the classroom at Otsego High School,” where he taught history. “It’s been a privilege of a lifetime serving the people of northern Ohio,” he said. But with term limits, Gardner faced just two years left as State Senator. “I still have a great passion for serving,” he said. “I looked at my opportunities to make a difference in the state,” he said. “It’s not because I’m rejecting what I’m doing now. I’ve enjoyed being Wood County’s voice at the Statehouse for more than 33 years.” And the chancellor position pairs Gardner’s passions for education and public service. He has served as chairman of the higher education subcommittee in the House and Senate for the last eight years. “That’s at least one strength I bring to the job,” he said. Gardner’s move may unleash a flurry of interest in the Senate seat left vacant. The opening will be filled by the majority caucus in the Ohio Senate – for the remainder of the two years left on his term. The Senate district covers all of Wood, Ottawa and Erie counties, plus portions of Lucas and Fulton counties. Gardner leaves office with the hope that work he left…


Latta: $5.7 billion will pay for more than a wall

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) is standing behind President Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund border security. That money, Latta contends, isn’t just for a wall. Latta, in an interview Thursday, called the proposal multi-layered, and said Trump “is willing to negotiate.” It’s the Democratic leadership that’s not putting a counter proposal on the table, and that’s what’s needed to move toward an end to the stalemate that has idled some federal workers, while others are working without pay. National parks, if open, are filling with trash while assistance to farmers and those eligible for SNAP benefits are endangered as the partial federal government shutdown drags on. Latta said he has not collected his pay since the beginning of the shutdown. Latta described the $5.7 million as “a multilayered approach,” not “just a contiguous wall.” He said the plan would construct about 250 miles of barriers.  It would also pay to construct all-weather roads and purchase technology, including sensors and cameras. “It’s not just for one thing.” Most importantly, he said, it would pay for the personnel needed to guard the border. Latta praised those federal agents working on the border. Based on a trip to the border last July, he was impressed how they handled those coming over. He described a former big box store that has been transformed to house immigrants. Conditions on the border, he said, need to be addressed. A funding bill passed by the House, once the Democrats took control, did not have adequate funding, so he voted against it. The bill went nowhere because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take it up, saying Trump would veto it. It was “a show piece,” Latta said. The Bowling Green Republican said that in the past prominent Democrats such as then Senator Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and current Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer backed a wall. That’s a reference to 2006 legislation that called for  fencing along the border, which Schumer and Obama did support, though Pelosi did not. Those barriers were built. As…


Federal shutdown may squeeze more than furloughed workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As the federal government shutdown drags into day 17 on Tuesday, the number of people caught up in the gridlock grows. If the stalemate continues, it could affect local residents relying on food assistance, those needing help paying for utilities and transportation, and farmers who were promised some relief from tariffs. Initially, the shutdown over funding for a wall between the U.S. and Mexico affected an estimated 800,000 federal employees. On this Friday, those workers will go through their first payday with no checks being given. But as it continues, the stalemate will impact far more than those 800,000 workers. Originally, the shutdown would have also halted tax returns to Americans. But the unpopularity of that prospect led to an announcement Monday afternoon that tax refunds will go out despite the government shutdown. Prior to that announcement, local tax preparers were in a land of limbo. “We haven’t heard when the actual filing season might open,” said Leah Jenne, of Stott CPA in Bowling Green. Jenne and others in the tax business had been told that when returns are accepted, taxpayers will have to pay the amounts they owe – but they will have to wait on their refunds. “You can file your returns, but you’re not going to get a refund,” Jenne said of the original tax season plan during the shutdown. Jenne said she had one important question – “Are you going to attach some interest to this?” Then she added, “I know the answer.” The Internal Revenue Service is among the federal agencies affected by the government shutdown, and is reportedly operating with only 12.5 percent of its workforce, or fewer than 10,000 federal employees. Stott CPA will be ready when taxpayers are – regardless of the IRS. “At this point, it’s business as usual as far as we’re concerned,” Jenne said. But while a lifesaver has been tossed out for those citizens due tax returns, that same provision hasn’t been extended to those in need of food assistance. Over at the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services,…


Home construction inching its way ahead in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It doesn’t qualify as a building boom, but slowly and steadily, Wood County is seeing home construction inch its way ahead. “We’re not setting the world on fire, but it’s getting better,” Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey said about housing construction in the county this year. Rudey reported to the county commissioners last month that the county saw single-family home construction reach 265 houses in 2018. That is a slight increase from 250 in 2017 and 240 the year before. It’s been just over a decade since the burst of the nation’s housing bubble. During that time, the construction industry has been slowly building its way back. The Wood County Building Inspection Office covers the largest geographic jurisdiction of all building departments in Ohio, covering Wood, Hancock, Henry and Fulton counties for all commercial construction, as well as Wood County, the city of Napoleon and the city of Wauseon for residential construction. And the permit revenue is growing for the building inspection office. In 2017, the annual revenue was about $1.4 million. Then in 2018, it hit $1.5 million. And this year, the annual revenue surpassed $1.6 million – which had been the record amount set by the county building inspection office in 2005. Mike Rudey presents building inspection report to county commissioners. “November turned out to be a very good month,” Rudey told the commissioners, with $190,000 in permit revenue coming in, compared to $124,000 during that month in 2017. “Everything looks good, on the positive side,” Rudey said. As is customary for the county, the majority of the growth is being seen in the northern portion, especially in the Perrysburg area, Rudey said. Bowling Green is continuing to hold steady. On Wednesday evening, the city of Bowling Green Planning Commission approved Plat 1 of the Reserve at Martindale. The first plat consists of three residential lots along Pearl Street. The small housing subdivision, proposed by David Maurer, is planned east of Peace Lutheran Church. The seven-lot subdivision will sit on the 3.5 acres between Pearl, Martindale and West Wooster…


Five houses being demolished for East Wooster facelift

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Brick by brick and board by board, bulldozers are changing the landscape along East Wooster Street in Bowling Green. The demolition of the old houses is seen by some as a blessing for the future – while others view it as a loss of the city’s past The city of Bowling Green received five demolition permit requests at the end of last month for houses across from Bowling Green State University. Those houses – at 926, 930, 1010, 1024 and 1030 East Wooster Street – are now at various stages of demolition. The owner of 1010 E. Wooster St. is listed as BGSU, while the owner of the other four locations is Centennial Falcon Properties, an entity established by BGSU seven years ago to finance the construction of residence halls. There are no specific immediate proposals for the lots where the homes are being demolished, according to Dave Kielmeyer, spokesperson for the university. “There are currently no plans for the properties. The sites will be seeded this spring and remain green spaces for the foreseeable future,” Kielmeyer said last week. Some local residents have lamented the loss of old homes across from the university – especially the house that sat back off the street on the southwest corner of Crim and East Wooster. That home was reportedly built in 1840 using locally quarried stone. The city’s planning department sees BGSU’s efforts as a step in the right direction to clean up the East Wooster corridor to the city. Some of the homes being torn down were non-conforming uses, since they were zoned as single-family residential but were being used for student rentals. The homes were “not all in tip-top shape,” Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler said. Another house being torn down across from BGSU. The houses being demolished had suffered the wear and tear of being rentals to college students – and in some cases had reputations as being major “party” houses and eyesores along East Wooster Street. At the beginning of the school year each fall, the city’s mayor and university’s…


BG seeks bids to demolish old buildings, build new one in City Park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News It took a mere 11 minutes Thursday for Bowling Green City Council to wrap up 2018 with its last meeting of the year. There were none of the customary comments from city administrators, no reports from council members, and no speeches from citizens. But along with the regular fund transfers and resolutions, council took one step that is sure to be noticed in the city next year. Council voted to advertise for bids and enter into a contract to demolish three buildings in City Park next year. Contracts will also be entered for the construction of a new City Park building, including landscaping, paving an entry drive and parking lot. The city has contracted with Schorr Architects for designing the new City Park building. Schorr specializes in historical-type structures. The original plan was to tear down the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – then start construction so the new building replacing the aging structures would be ready for use by summer of 2019. However, that timeline proved to be too tight and unrealistic. Instead, the old buildings will be torn down in the next few months. Construction of the new building will follow. The new goal is to have the City Park building completed by summer of 2020. That means the parks and recreation department won’t have City Park buildings to schedule events in next summer. But Kristin Otley, parks and recreation director, has reassured the park board that there are ample facilities in the city’s 11 parks to hold programming. The contract price with Schorr Architects is $317,500 – a bit lower than the expected cost of $320,000. Earlier this year, city approved the sale of $3.75 million in bonds to pay for tearing down the three old buildings and constructing the one new facility in City Park. The new building will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, ample parking and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park. At the close of…


Medical marijuana dispensary in BG expected to open in March

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Many Ohioans are still waiting to be able to buy medical marijuana – though 2018 was supposed to be the year when state residents with certain medical needs got full access to the drug. It appears unlikely that the state will meet that timeline. However, the delays will pay off in the long run, according to the man opening up the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green. Mark Jacobs, who will operate the dispensary called Glass City Alternatives on North Main Street, said the state is doing a good job trying to iron out all the kinks in the new medical marijuana program. That attention to detail should mean smoother operations once the dispensaries are up and running, Jacobs said last week. “The more regulations now, the more we won’t have to go back later for changes,” he said. “We are learning it all together,” Jacobs said. “The time up front will be well spent.” Some dispensaries in Ohio are planning to be in operation in January. Jacobs is planning for mid-March for the Bowling Green site. The location, formerly the Glass City Credit Union Building at 1155 N. Main St., still needs about eight to 10 weeks of construction work, according to Jacobs. Wood County Chief Building Inspector Mike Rudey said the plans for the medical marijuana dispensary in Bowling Green include controlled entries into the building and a fenced-in area in the back where deliveries will be made. The marijuana product will be stored in the old bank safe in the building, Rudey said. The medical marijuana provision in Ohio was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in 2016. The effort missed its Sept. 8 deadline as growers, processors, testers and dispensary operators got bogged down in regulations. The timetable also lagged for the program’s patient and caregiver registry, which went live earlier this month. According to the Associated Press, doctors have submitted nearly 4,500 recommendations for the medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry. There is an online portal where certified doctors can recommend patients and caregivers. One of the…


County to weigh in on overweight truck permits and fees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Wood County Engineer’s Office would like heavy truck traffic to stay on roads that can handle their loads. So starting Jan. 1, those overloaded trucks may need to get a permit and pay a fee to the engineer’s office. Those haulers will also be advised to use a route that can handle heavy loads. “If they haul the right weights, they don’t need permits,” said Wood County Engineer John Musteric. “We just want them to be law abiding citizens.” And the county commissioners – who have to vote on the permit fees – seemed to agree. “I think it’s a good step toward preserving our roads and bridges,” said Commissioner Craig LaHote. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw wanted to ensure that the fees would go toward road repairs, not salaries – which Musteric confirmed. The goal of the overweight vehicle permit program is to protect county roads and bridges from damage. Overweight vehicles that travel state routes are required to obtain a permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation. These same overweight vehicles that travel state routes legally, then exit onto county and township roads with no permits or regard for the capacity of the roads or bridges. “This is to protect our assets,” Musteric said. “We’re spending a lot of money to improve these roads and bridges.” For those trucks suspected to have overweight loads and no permit, the county’s portable scales will be requested by a sheriff’s deputy. An engineer’s office employee will deliver the scales and advise the trucker on a suitable route for their load. By requiring permits and fees, the engineer’s office can discuss appropriate routes before the overweight loads start crossing county roads. “If you’re coming through, we need to set the best route. That permit protects them if they stay on that route,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said. But if an overweight truck is found without a permit, or not on the permitted route, fines will be issued. The county learned a hard lesson from the Rover pipeline construction in the southern part of the county,…


Close-minded National Day of Prayer plan opens doors for alternatives

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The church that has traditionally opened its doors to the National Day of Prayer event in case of bad weather, has said its doors are now closed to such a close-minded event. The refusal to allow people of all faiths to participate in the annual National Day of Prayer event on the steps of the Wood County Courthouse has led local churches, organizations and individuals to take a stand. In the two weeks since it was revealed that only conservative Christians would be allowed to pray at the annual event, Bowling Green residents are distancing themselves from the program, organizing alternative events, and issuing statements of disapproval. On Wednesday, Trinity United Methodist Church, located next door to the courthouse, issued this statement: “In recent years Trinity United Methodist Church has served as a rain location for the National Day of Prayer event held at the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green. We have valued this community event and certainly value prayer for our nation’s leaders. We believe the National Day of Prayer is a vital event that promotes unity and freedom. “However, as more information has come to light about the theological beliefs of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, and the theological beliefs recently articulated by the chairperson of the event in an article in the Bowling Green Independent News, Trinity United Methodist Church regrettably will not participate in the 2019 event. “As currently planned, the event is not in line with United Methodist Theology. In good conscience, our church will not offer our space to host an event that does not fully include people of differing faith streams. At Trinity, we are a church of open hearts, open doors and open minds,” the statement concluded. This is not the first church to distance itself from the event. Pastor Gary Saunders, of the First Presbyterian Church, and co-chair of the BG Ministerial Association, has not attended the event in the last few years. “There are clergy who have quietly stepped back from the event,” he said. The National Day of Prayer,…


County approves $46 million in appropriations, 3% raises

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Thanks to a steady revenue from sales tax, the Wood County commissioners this morning approved $46.4 million in appropriations for 2019. The budget includes 3 percent raises for the county’s approximately 1,200 employees. The appropriations total is $1.8 million more than in 2018. The budget transfers $2.9 million from the general fund to the permanent improvement fund. That transfer will cover $900,00 for the county’s share of the new voting equipment cost, $806,000 for renovation of mechanical systems at the county jail, and $1.2 million to continue efforts to build the permanent improvement fund for future projects. Those future projects include possible expansion and renovation to the jail’s booking and medical areas, and addition to female housing area. Also in the future is the possible move of the county highway garage from East Poe Road to the county complex on East Gypsy Lane Road. The county transferred money this year for architectural and engineering services for renovations at the jail. The funding transferred for next year will pay for architectural and engineering services for the new highway garage. “Those are coming, in time,” said Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar. In addition to the standard annual expenses, the county commissioners’ appropriations also included $75,000 for the opiate response program in the county prosecutor’s office. Other agencies like the Wood County Health Department and Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services will continue paying a portion of the costs, but the state’s funding for the program has come to an end. “That burden is going to fall to the general fund,” Kalmar said. The commissioners also agreed to pick up a share of the subscription cost for Code Red, the countywide phone alert system. The county will pay half of the $46,000 cost, with 17 other public entities picking up the other half so they can all participate in the Code Red system. “It’s really a good partnership for us to have,” Kalmar said. And the commissioners agreed to fund a new position of assistant 911 director for the sheriff’s office. The 3…


Wood County Park District awards employee pay raises

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Wood County Park District is trying to clean up the last of the mess left behind from the controversially large pay raises granted – then canceled – for employees in 2010. Last week, the park board voted on its 2019 budget, including standard cost of living raises plus step raises for all employees. However, some of the employees will be seeing larger raises in their paychecks. That’s because a consultant found that the pay rates for some positions needed updating, Park District President Denny Parish said. Those raises range from 10 percent to 23 percent. “There were flaws in that, we knew from the very start,” Parish said of the old pay system. “It’s been the subject of many discussions. Parish said the park district board’s two goals for 2018 were to pass the park levy and update the employee classifications as advised by Archer & Co. The levy passed easily in May, and now the pay grades are being revised. The original employee pay scale had 25 steps and 16 grades, put together by Parish. “The original chart was done by hand,” he said. The new chart is calculated based on hourly pay rates, rather than annual salary rates – which makes it much more exact, Parish said. Based on surveys and interviews, Archer & Co. determined that some employees were not be compensated for all of their responsibilities. The positions identified as not being paid enough included the operations specialists, administrative assistant, program naturalist, and the office manager/HR coordinator. “There’s no question that what happened years ago influenced this board,” Parish said. “We needed to convince the elected officials this was equitable and fair.” The board has been very cautious the last eight years after it was forced to reject the exorbitant pay raises that were met with an outpouring of criticism. That resulted in delayed pay raises and a new salary study conducted by the same consultant used by the county commissioners. Last week, the employees recommended for bigger boosts in their pay include the following: Office/HR manager, 10…


Technology changing lives of people with developmental disabilities

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News When Gov. John Kasich started pushing for technology to help people with developmental disabilities, John Martin was completely on board. He recalled Kasich’s blunt message. “You people are not using enough technology,” Martin said loudly, remembering Kasich blurting out orders. (Martin can get away with that, since both he and Kasich are leaving their jobs at the end of the year.) “He was demanding we use robots,” said Martin, who has a few weeks left as director of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. Martin knew the answer was in using technology as remote supports, not robots – and he knew Kasich would support that since the governor had declared Ohio as a “technology first” state. Martin visited Wood County Developmental Disabilities on Friday to see how technology is being put to use here. He heard from Chris Doerner, who is able to live by himself in an apartment – thanks to technology. “It helps me be safe at home,” Doerner told Martin and a roomful of people gathered to see the state director. In simple terms, Doerner has sensors in his door, and a two-way TV in his apartment, that allows his family and Wood Lane staff  to check in on him. “It’s neater than having somebody hanging around your house,” Martin asked. “Yup,” Doerner said. And when he wants privacy, “you can turn it off,” Martin asked. “Yup,” Doerner replied. That is just one example of using technology to allow someone to live more independently.  Yes, it also saves on personnel costs, but the primary goal is to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities. In many cases, technology allows families to place their adult children in independent living situations with far less worry. Martin talked about other technology success stories. He told of a man whose son has autism. The son liked his days to be predictable, with events going in sequential order. The family realized that if their son was up and in the shower at 5:45 a.m., then he would have a good day, Martin said. So…