Government

Mike Aspacher announces plans to run for mayor of BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Democrat Mike Aspacher announced his desire to become Bowling Green’s next mayor Tuesday evening, he was joined by some unlikely supporters – Republicans. But in an era where party divisions have become cavernous, this is the hallmark of Bowling Green City Council – and of Aspacher, its president. “I believe that our city government functions well, and that it does so because we don’t let politics divide us,” he said. “Here, we set our differences aside and focus instead on what can bring us together.” And Aspacher – a true “townie” – would like to be at the helm as that work continues. “I owe a lot to the Bowling Green community. This is where I grew up, where I went to school, where I got married, and where I raised my family,” he said in front of a packed room in the nature center at Wintergarden Park. Aspacher, a retired project manager for Dunbar Mechanical, began his public service in the 1990s when he was approached by the bipartisan power team of Dick Newlove and Mike Marsh to run for a seat on the board of education. “They gave me a subtle push toward public service,” Aspacher said. “I had no clue what I was getting into.” He served on the school board for eight years. Then was approached again to run for City Council, where he has now served for nine years. With the fire crackling in the background in the lodge, Aspacher told his supporters why he’s not done yet. “I believe cities should be measured primarily by the quality of life that they provide for the people who live there. By this measure, Bowling Green is a great city and we owe our gratitude to those who have laid the foundation for our community,” he said. “I’ve never been more optimistic about Bowling Green’s future than I am today. I know where this city has been, and I have a vision of what it can become,” he said. “I’m convinced that we can work together to develop creative ideas that will help our community grow and improve.” Aspacher listed the qualities he believes are needed for a strong community: – Responsive and transparent local government – Sound financial management – Well-trained public safety force – Effective and efficient public works department – Efficient and forward looking public…


Bus safety – dealing with defiant & distracted motorists

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local bus drivers fear their routes are just accidents waiting to happen. One driver, whose route travels U.S. 20, decided to keep track one year of the vehicles that illegally passed her bus when it was stopped for students. “I quit counting at 77,” she said. Bowling Green school bus drivers have reported 44 motorists illegally passing so far this year. Perrysburg has reported 38. “It’s just a blatant disregard for the law,” one bus driver said. State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, met on Friday with local school superintendents, school transportation directors and bus drivers at Bowling Green High School. Gardner had heard concerns about drivers illegally passing stopped buses, and decided to talk to the people who deal with it daily. “We ought to talk to the people on the roads,” he said. Attending the meeting were representatives of Bowling Green, Eastwood, Elmwood, Otsego, Lake, Perrysburg, Rossford and Anthony Wayne school districts. They discussed changes that might make drivers more likely to comply with the law – stiffer penalties, cameras catching them in the act, or more education. School buses are a safe mode of transportation, according to the National Highway Safety Board, Gardner said. School buses log about 5.7 billion miles a year, and are 50 to 70 times safer than other forms of transportation, he said. “It’s the safest way to transfer your children to school and home again,” Gardner said. However, defiant and distracted drivers sharing the road are posing risks for buses. “Obviously, it’s a nationwide problem. Everybody here knows it,” said Toby Snow, transportation director for Bowling Green City Schools. Bus drivers talked about motorists that speed up to pass buses preparing to stop. “They don’t want to wait, so they increase their speed and run your yellow lights,” one driver said. Another driver said it’s almost a daily problem – and she’s too busy watching the road and children to identify the offending vehicles. “I don’t have time to look at that license plate.” The offenders range in age from 16 to 96. They pass stopped buses on sunny days and snowy days. “Motorists are just not following the law,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. Gardner, the administrators and the drivers discussed ways to reduce the incidents – whether through equipping the buses with more cameras and lights, passing legislation that would increase…


BG to view more ‘user-friendly’ parking kiosks for downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As part of the continuing debate over how to pay for downtown parking, a more “user-friendly” kiosk will be demonstrated for downtown and city officials next week. Mayor Dick Edwards expressed some reservations about the new kiosk at Monday’s City Council meeting, but said he is looking forward to seeing a model that is easier for motorists to use. A committee of downtown property owners and business owners has been meeting to study the options of how to pay for parking. The committee is charged with looking at whether the city should continue to charge for parking, or if the property and business owners want to work on a shared cost approach. The cost of parking meters will double in the downtown area if a solution isn’t found. The problem is that the city isn’t making enough from its downtown parking meters to pay for repaving the lots and enforcing parking rules. But the fear is that doubling parking costs will discourage customers from patronizing downtown businesses. The city’s downtown lots – with their 600-plus parking spaces – are struggling due to flat revenue, increasing costs and aging infrastructure. Under a shared cost program, the downtown property owners would be assessed based on their front footage and the benefits to their parcels. The average property owner would pay $220 a year for 20 years. The lowest amount charged would be $30 a year. The highest – to the owner of multiple properties – would be $2,000 a year. Those assessments would generate about $20,000 a year. The concept of the downtown property owners picking up the tab for parking expenses was not supported by the landowners during a meeting earlier this year. However, the business owners have stated they would be willing to share in the expenses if it meant customers wouldn’t have to pay for parking. The benefits of getting rid of parking meters would be multi-faceted. It would be a marketing opportunity for downtown businesses, it would eliminate the need for meter or kiosk replacements, and it would mean the city would no longer have to pay property taxes on the parking lots since they would not be generating revenue. That alone will be an annual savings of about $35,000. The parking committee includes the following downtown property and business owners: Dick Newlove; Greg Halamay, owner of Finders Records; Kim…


Hollenbaugh chosen to fill vacant First Ward City Council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG  Independent News   Bowling Green City Council went with the tried and true option Monday evening – voting unanimously to name Mark Hollenbaugh to the First Ward seat vacated by Daniel Gordon. Hollenbaugh beat out four other candidates who promised qualities such as youth, diversity, fresh ideas from other communities, and a scientific commitment to renewable energy. But what Hollenbaugh brought to the table was consistency, dedication even in the face of failure, and his ability to work with anyone regardless of party. Some council members are “rock stars,” one member said, but Hollenbaugh has proven to be rock solid serving his constituents. He was sworn in at the beginning of the council meeting Monday, and took his seat with the other council members. Hollenbaugh, a Democrat, served as the First Ward member of City Council from January 2010 to December 2011. “When Mark was on City Council before, he was faithful and effective performing his duties,” said council member Bill Herald. When Hollenbaugh lost the election to return to the First Ward seat, he didn’t let that discourage him. “Some disappear. Others redouble their efforts and seek other ways to serve,” Herald, a Republican, said. Hollenbaugh volunteered to serve on city planning commission and on the East Side Residents Association. A government and history teacher at North Baltimore Schools, Hollenbaugh has also served on several city boards, such as the City Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, Charter Review Committee, and is involved in the Community Action Plan. “He has been consistently serving in ways he can contribute,” Herald said. “I stay involved because I care about my community,” Hollenbaugh said. Each of the candidates to fill the First Ward seat was given five minutes to present themselves to City Council. One of the applicants, Hunter Sluss, dropped out from the race earlier on Monday. The others under consideration were: Connor Goodpaster who has earned two degrees from BGSU, is expecting a baby with his wife in March, and who has served with community organizations like United Way and the Wood County Continuum of Care trying to solve problems within the community. Goodpaster said he has a good understanding of the issues of poverty that affect local residents. Neocles Leontis has been a professor of chemistry at BGSU since 1987. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, he carries out scientific research funded by…


State representative candidates voice varied goals

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The two candidates for Ohio House of Representatives 3rd District bring different backgrounds, beliefs and goals to the race. Incumbent Republican Theresa Gavarone is an attorney, business owner and former Bowling Green City Council member. Democrat Aidan Hubbell-Staeble is a political science major at BGSU and full-time employee at Kroger. Gavarone points to her accomplishments in the Ohio House. Hubbell-Staeble points to his experience pinching pennies and dealing with a family health crisis. During her first term as state representative, Gavarone noted her success in passing legislation that improves communication between law enforcement and drivers who have communication problems, updates Ohio’s overdue child support guidelines, and helps victims of human trafficking clear their records so they can get good jobs. “I know what a difference that will make – to break that cycle,” she said. Gavarone also talked about the capital budget passed during her term, which will help several local agencies such as the Wood County Committee on Aging’s new senior center, the Cocoon shelter, Perrysburg Heights Community Center, Northwood Miracle League field, BGSU forensics lab and Owens first responder training. If re-elected, Gavarone said she would like to continue working on the drug addiction crisis and mental health issues – so that people who need the care have access to it. She would also like to focus on education – making sure that students are being educated and trained for the jobs of today and the future. Hubbell-Staeble’s goals if elected are a bit different. He wants to make sure that families facing health crises aren’t burdened with financial despair as well. “It’s our duty to protect Medicaid expansion in Ohio,” he said. “I don’t want to see anyone go through that.” Hubbell-Staeble also supports a “living wage” so that people who have full-time jobs don’t have to juggle other employment to make ends meet. “People aren’t making enough to get by. Wages have stagnated. People are struggling,” he said. “Working Ohioans didn’t see benefits from Trump’s tax cuts,” Hubbell-Staeble added. And he would like to work toward quality and affordable housing issues. During a candidate forum earlier this fall, the two outlined their beliefs during questions posed by the audience. When asked about the value of expanded Medicaid, Gavarone said the expansion has helped people suffering from addiction and mental illness. “We need to do a lot more,” she…


Six citizens file to fill First Ward City Council seat

Six Bowling Green citizens have filed to fill the seat vacated by First Ward Councilman Daniel Gordon. Wednesday afternoon was the deadline for applications for anyone interested in the seat. The six candidates will go before the City Council Committee of the Whole on Monday at 6 p.m. Council will then vote to fill the seat at its 7 p.m. meeting. The applicants are: Connor Goodpaster, Mark Hollenbaugh, Neocles Leontis, Sebastian Ochoa-Kaup, Madison Stump and Hunter Sluss. Following are brief descriptions of each applicant. Connor Goodpaster, of 221 Leroy Ave., has lived in the First Ward for a little over a year and plans to stay there to raise his family. He moved to Bowling Green in 2013 to pursue his bachelor’s degree and “fell in love with the town.” Goodpaster and his wife both earned their master’s degrees at BGSU, his in public administration. While working on his master’s degree, he worked with community organizations like United Way and the Wood County Continuum of Care trying to solve problems within the community. If selected, Goodpaster said he would like to work on an agenda that will help the city retain BGSU grads, diversify the economy, and promote development to help the city offset budgeting constraints due to state funding cuts. Mark Hollenbaugh, of 315 Parkview Drive, is a familiar face to City Council, having served as the First Ward member from January 2010 to December 2011. Hollenbaugh is a history and government teacher at North Baltimore Local Schools. Hollenbaugh said that as a former council member, he has both the constituent knowledge and experience to represent the First Ward citizens. Since he periodically attends council meeting, he said he would be able to quickly be up to speed on issues facing the city. Hollenbaugh has also served on several city boards, such as the City Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, Charter Review Committee, and is involved in the Community Action Plan. Neocles Leontis, 119 N. Summit St., has lived in the First Ward since 1996 and has been employed as a professor of chemistry at BGSU since 1987. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, he carries out scientific research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Leontis is involved in several community organizations including Bowling Green Kiwanis, East Side Residential Group, Black Swamp Green Team, and Peace Lutheran Church. He is faculty adviser to the BGSU Environmental…


Group tackles tough topic of BG zoning regulations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The task assigned to the small group is even more cumbersome than its name – the Bowling Green Community Action Plan Implementation Subcommittee of the Planning Commission. The group held its first meeting last week to begin tackling a review of the city’s zoning ordinance – a process as sensitive as it is complicated. “It’s clear this is really intense and is going to take a lot of work,” said Jeff Betts, chairman of the subcommittee. The last thing the group wants is for residents 20 years from now to say, “Oh my God, what were they thinking,” subcommittee member Mark Hollenbaugh said. With a stack of reviews and recommendations in front of them, Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler agreed that the job is immense. “It’s a lot to digest, that’s for sure,” she said. Council member Bill Herald thanked the subcommittee for its willingness to take on the job. “It’s easy to get paralyzed because there’s so much to do,” he said. “I really appreciate you tackling this.” Zoning is so complex for many reasons. First every rule is interwoven with other rules. So if one regulation is tweaked, it could create the need for changes in many other regulations. “Anything you do with one part is going to affect other parts,” Hollenbaugh said. And second, zoning is touchy because it tells landowners what they can and cannot do with their property. “It’s super important to explain the ‘why’ behind it,” so it doesn’t appear like a conspiracy to keep property owners from doing what they want with their land, Betts said. “Everything needs to be transparent. Everybody needs to know every step of the process,” Hollenbaugh agreed. A report by a consulting firm, Development Strategies from St. Louis, will be presented to City Council in December. After that, the subcommittee will have more to discuss. Members of the subcommittee last week talked about the need to not piecemeal the zoning code. Instead of dealing in haste with an issue when it arises, the group wants to plan ahead. The zoning rules must come first, Betts said, rather than trying to pigeonhole a project into a set of rules. The goal will be to look ahead. “We need to envision the community we want in making these decisions,” Herald said. The Community Action Plan completed last year cited inconsistencies in…


Hess lecturer: Korean War was a pivot point in America’s war policy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When it comes to establishing the precedent of sending Americans to fight and die in war without the approval of Congress, the buck stops with Harry S. Truman. That was the conclusion of Mary Dudziak, who delivered the Gary R. Hess Lecture in Policy History Monday at Bowling Green State University. Dudziak, a historian and professor of law at Emory University, addressed “The War Powers Pivot: How Congress Lost its Power in Korea,” a chapter from her forthcoming book “Going to War: An American History.” “I had been a fan of Harry Truman,” Dudziak said. Her first book was on civil rights, and on that score Truman was a hero.  His stance was “courageous.” He was “a stronger president on civil rights than FDR and those before him.” On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army stormed across the 38th parallel and overwhelmed South Korean forces. “A monster is coming,” was the response of one Korean girl , Dudziak said. Truman was MIA. The 38th parallel had been the dividing line between the Communist north and the United States’ ally in the south. That division, the speaker said, was considered the “original sin” for what continues to be a festering international dilemma. Even as news of the invasion shot across the international dateline, Truman was in Missouri. Instead of rushing back to Washington, he took time to visit his farm and his brother. The president showed an “unusual amount of deference to the State Department.” The State Department’s response was to go to the then new United Nations to authorize a military response, and bypass Congress.  The Constitution gives the authority to declare war to Congress, though the president has some authority as president to use military force. “Korea was the first large scale military operation without a war declaration,” Dudziak said. It wasn’t even called a war at a time, prompting one mother to ask what she was supposed to put on her son’s tombstone. It set a precedent that presidents of both parties have used ever since most recently when President Trump ordered air strikes in Syria. Citing the Constitution’s first words “We the People,” Dudziak said that the neglect of Congress to formally declare war means the people are denied their say in whether members of the military are sent to experience the terror of war. “Those words are not erased by…


Tax break approved for new glass plant in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for a new glass plant in Wood County are a little more crystal clear. On Thursday, the Wood County Commissioners approved a request from NSG Pilkington for a 100 percent tax abatement for 15 years. The same deal was approved Wednesday by the Troy Township Trustees. And agreements have already been made with Eastwood Schools to get $344,000 a year, and Penta to get $44,000 annually. The new 511,000-square-foot glass plant, estimated to cost $270 million, will create 150 jobs. “We are excited to have you break ground and be in Wood County,” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. NSG Pilkington, formerly LOF, considered sites in Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan before deciding on the Troy Township site. The location is off Pemberville Road, just south of Garling Road, and south of the Home Depot warehouse. The company conducted a “rigorous site search,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “He’s been a big help,” NSG overall solar project manager Todd Huffman said of Gottschalk’s assistance. Wood County Planning Director Dave Steiner said the efforts by economic development officials to have the site “shovel ready” paid off for this project. “It’s nice to see this in an area already slated and ready to go,” Steiner said. The new plant – dubbed the “Falcon Project” – will be designed to support the company’s solar energy customers. The biggest of those customers is First Solar – for which NSG has created a “unique” glass product. “I’m excited to be a part of an initiative that’s creating clean energy,” Huffman said. More manufacturing space could not be “shoehorned” into the Rossford NSG plant, Huffman said. So the search began for an additional site. Huffman, who grew up in Perrysburg, said he hoped the new plant could be built locally, “but the numbers have to make sense.” The approval of the tax abatement by the county commissioners helps those numbers align. The new plant – like the Rossford location – will be in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. “You can’t turn off a furnace and turn it back on,” Huffman said. The new plant will put to use the latest technology for coating the glass for more light transmission. The company is also expanding in Vietnam, to support First Solar growth there, Huffman said. Of the 150 jobs created,…


BG puts sale of industrial park acreage on fast track

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council agreed last week to put the sale of industrial park acreage on the fast track. The city approved emergency action to sell three acres to a company wanting to move here from Cincinnati, and 1.56 acres to a company already here that needs more parking and storage space. Sue Clark, director of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, explained the need to expedite both sales. On the southeast corner of the city, three acres will be sold in the John Quinn Innovative Tech Park off Napoleon Road for $26,000 per acre. According to Clark, the new company plans to build an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing building. It currently has 10 employees, and plans on hiring 10 more by 2022. “He is anxious for his concrete footers to be done before the snow flies,” Clark said of the company owner. And in the Woodbridge Industrial Park off Dunbridge Road, Vehtek officials would like to purchase acreage in order to provide more parking for employees and storage space for racking. Vehtek, with approximately 700 employees, is one of Bowling Green’s largest employers. The company has plans to add another 50 employees. Several employees already have to park in the grass during their shifts. And Bowling Green Fire Chief Bill Moorman has repeatedly expressed concern about getting fire equipment up to the building in case of a fire. The added space will help, Clark said. “So the fire chief can get the fire truck around without any problems,” Clark said. Plans call for an improved right-of-way on East Poe Road, with the addition of a culvert crossing over the Poe Road ditch, along with widening a portion of Poe Road. These improvements will allow better truck access into and out of the facility. For the right-of-way widening, Sue Clark, director of Bowling Green’s economic development office, has been working with the state to secure Ohio Department of Transportation funds for 75 percent of the improvements. Normally the city would fund the other 25 percent of the project. However, the city is proposing that Vehtek pay $60,000 to the city for a strip of city property adjacent to the company’s northern property line. This will improve Vehtek’s ability to expand its site and make parking/storage improvements. Council member Sandy Rowland initially expressed concerns about the ordinances being expedited for the two companies. “What can…


BG voters to decide on changes to City Charter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Reading election issues on ballots is enough to make some voters doze off while standing at the voting machine. This year, Bowling Green voters will decide four City Charter items – and city officials are trying to explain them without having to set a snooze alarm. Three items will modify the existing City Charter, while one will actually remove an item from the charter altogether. Following is a brief explanation of each. Filling vacancies on council The first ballot issue would result in repealing the existing charter language about filling council vacancies. This item actually has very little explanation on the ballot. The charter currently stipulates that when a council seat is vacated, the person appointed to the seat will serve the remainder of the term. “There is a potential for someone to be appointed to City Council and serve up to four years in that seat,” said Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator. If the current language is repealed, the city will be in alignment with the Ohio Revised Code. The state code requires that the person appointed will only remain in the seat until the next election. Adding Department of Planning The second charter item on the ballot would result in the addition of the Department of Planning to the City Charter. “Planning is an important component of the city,” Fawcett said. The major functions of the planning office will continue to be described in the city’s codified ordinances. Increase candidate pool for fire and police; decrease bonus credit for veterans The third charter issue involves the city’s Civil Service Commission. The change would increase the eligibility list for hiring of entry level firefighter and police officer positions from three to five names. The list is certified by the Civil Service Commission and is based on the people with the highest standings. “The goal is to expand the candidate pool for those positions,” Fawcett said. Both the police and fire chiefs support the change. The amendment also grants a 10 percent bonus credit for honorably discharged veterans who achieve a passing score on entry level position tests. That is lower than the current 20 percent credit. The change has been approved by veterans involved in the charter updating process. “I think it’s an appropriate level,” said Fawcett, himself a veteran. Require charter reviews at least once a decade The final charter…


Gordon’s resignation comes under cloud of accusations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After seven years of being the voice of the First Ward, Bowling Green City Council member Daniel Gordon has stepped down. First elected as a college student, Gordon fought for the rights of those often unheard by city government. He worked to improve East Side neighborhoods and to make the city a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. But he steps down from City Council under a cloud of accusations of sexual assault and rape. Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said this morning that his office is looking into the allegations that were reported to the police division by a third party. Hetrick said he could not reveal details. “I can’t comment on an investigation,” the chief said. The person making the accusations has not reported them to police. The accusations were posted on social media, including as comments on the Wood County Democratic Party’s Facebook page. Mike Zickar, president of the Wood County Democratic Party, said he saw the comments last week on the party’s Facebook page. “I notified the police. I felt like they were the people to investigate,” Zickar said. “I felt like that was a serious charge, and the party doesn’t have the mechanisms to investigate,” he said. Council President Mike Aspacher said he was made aware of the social media posts last week, and was aware those were forwarded to the police division. Gordon had one year left on his council term. Council will follow the same process it has in the past to fill vacancies, Aspacher said. Any First Ward resident interested in the position has until Oct. 31 to submit an application to the city. Prior to the next council meeting on Nov. 5, a Committee of the Whole meeting will be held to hear from all the applicants. A replacement will be selected at that time, Aspacher said. Aspacher said Gordon has served the city well during his seven years on council. “He was always eager to discuss issues of inclusiveness in our community,” Aspacher said. Gordon provided a valuable connection between the university and the city, Zickar said. “I feel Daniel brought a real nice link between students and the city,” Zickar said. Mayor Dick Edwards also praised Gordon’s efforts on council. “Obviously this comes as quite a surprise,” he said about the resignation. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Daniel,” Edwards…


Community solar project takes another step forward

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The future just got a little brighter for the proposed community solar project in Bowling Green. On Monday, Bowling Green City Council had the first reading of an ordinance authorizing an easement and lease agreement for between the city and Wood County. Earlier this year, the Wood County Commissioners entered an agreement with the city to allow 50 acres of county land to be studied as a potential site for a solar field. The Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities also agreed to allow 20 acres of its neighboring land to be part of the project. The 70 acres sit on the north side of East Gypsy Lane Road, between Interstate 75 and Wood Lane facilities. The property is currently leased for farming. Last week, the Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities approved the agreement now before council. The agreement is for a three-year lease option and does not commit the city to taking any action or spending any funds. Bowling Green Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell explained that having the property under a lease option would allow the city to have more detailed discussions with solar developers. “This is meant to be a community project,” Daryl Stockburger, assistant director of Bowling Green Public Utilities, said during a meeting with the county commissioners earlier this year. “Everybody is talking about doing their best to make this succeed.” Both of those entities have already shown strong support for solar power, by backing the city’s solar field on Carter and Newton roads. That field, at 165 acres, is the largest solar field in Ohio. Bowling Green gets a portion of the power generated at that solar field – enough to supply nearly 5 percent of the city’s energy needs. This new project, on East Gypsy Lane, would be different in that it could be a community solar field, which means city residents and businesses could sign up to be a part of the project and get electricity from the kilowatts generated at the solar field, according to O’Connell. All of the energy created at the proposed site could be used to power Bowling Green. The community field could produce up to 10 megawatts, which is about half of the power generated at the Carter Road site. The panels would likely rotate with the sun during the day to maximize the energy generated. The “community…


One manufacturer expanding, another one moving to BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials approved the sale of acreage to one local industry looking to expand and to another looking to move here from Cincinnati. The Board of Public Utilities on Monday evening voted to support the transfer of 1.56 acres to Vehtek, located on the east side of the city in the Woodbridge Industrial Park. “They have a large amount of racking to store items in the parking lot,” said Brian O’Connell, director of the city’s public utilities. “This is going to be a big help to solve a parking problem.” Vehtek, with approximately 700 employees, is one of Bowling Green’s largest employers. The company has plans to add another 50 employees. The company wants to buy two parcels west of the plant. Several employees already have to park in the grass during their shifts. “They definitely have a need for additional parking,” O’Connell said. The fire chief has had continuing concerns about employee and plant safety. Plans call for an improved right-of-way on East Poe Road, with the addition of a culvert crossing over the Poe Road ditch, along with widening a portion of Poe Road. These improvements will allow better truck access into and out of the facility. For the right-of-way widening, Sue Clark, director of Bowling Green’s economic development office, has been working with the state to secure Ohio Department of Transportation funds for 75 percent of the improvements. Normally the city would fund the other 25 percent of the project, O’Connell said. However, the city is proposing that Vehtek pay $60,000 to the city for a strip of city property adjacent to the company’s northern property line. This will improve Vehtek’s ability to expand its site and make parking/storage improvements. “That parcel really has little value to anyone else besides Vehtek,” O’Connell said. On the southeast corner of the city, three acres will be sold to a new company moving from Cincinnati to the John Quinn Innovative Tech Park off Napoleon Road. The property will be sold for $26,000 per acre. According to Clark, the company plans to build an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing building. It currently has 10 employees, and plans on hiring 10 more by 2022. Also at Monday’s meeting, the public utilities board approved a solar project easement and lease agreement with the Wood County Commissioners and Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The city has been…


Candidates compete for voters’ support at forum

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For two hours Sunday afternoon, 18 candidates on the November ballot talked about the lack of civility in Congress, arming teachers in schools, abortion, and judicial temperament. As far as candidate forums go, this one was not a snoozer. However, it was rather lengthy, so another story will follow about the seven State Board of Education candidates. The forum, hosted by both the Bowling Green and Perrysburg League of Women Voters groups, skipped the candidates’ opening statements and went straight into questions. The three candidates for the 5th District Congress seat were Democrat J. Michael Galbraith, who has taught finance and management at the college level; Libertarian Don Kissick, who is an autoworker and Navy veteran; and incumbent Republican Bob Latta, who previously served as state legislator and county commissioner. The first question was about the brutal discourse in Congress, and how that might be changed. Latta talked about the importance of establishing working relationships with people. “You just have to turn off the TV and sit back and talk,” he said. Latta was critical of the Democrats being unwilling to consider the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, and instead stating from the beginning that they would oppose his advancement to the court. Galbraith saw the issue differently. “Congress is being run by a group of people with extremely narrow interests,” he said, noting tribalism on both sides. As for Kavanaugh, Galbraith said the nominee was “forced through.” “I personally didn’t feel this man has the temperament,” he said. Galbraith pointed out the partisanship that doomed Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “They are simply not responsible to the people of the U.S.,” Galbraith said of Congress. Kissick suggested that more could be accomplished if Congress would stick to the issues rather than attacking each other. “We’ve lost that in Washington, D.C.,” he said. Career politicians are disconnected from the average person. He suggested citizens could change that situation by voting outside the two-party system. “You have to start voting differently,” Kissick said. “That’s how we ended up in this mess.” The congressional candidates were then asked about the contamination at the Luckey FUSRAP site and the harmful algae in Lake Erie. When would the studying end and the solutions begin? Galbraith said there is “too much finger pointing going on.” Farmers and people working on the…