Government

Intersection work planned at South Main and Gypsy Lane

The City of Bowling Green has contracted with Geddis Paving and Excavating for the construction of intersection improvements at South Main and Gypsy Lane. The work will include: -The addition of a left turn lane for westbound Gypsy Lane -New signal poles, mast arms and signals -New LED edge lit street name signs -New pedestrian crossings, signals and countdown timers Work is scheduled to begin on July 18 and is expected to last eight weeks, weather permitting. East Gypsy Lane will be closed to thru traffic for 21 calendar days beginning July 18, with the detour route using Klotz Road and Napoleon Road. Intermittent lane closures are possible on South Main Street throughout the project, but through traffic will be maintained at all times. Contact the City of Bowling Green, Engineering Division (419)-354-6227 for additional information or with any questions.


Northwood mayor interested in House seat

Northwood Mayor Edward Schimmel announced today that he will seek the Republican party nomination for the Ohio House 3rd District seat. The vacancy was recently created when Representative Tim Brown accepted the position as executive director with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Schimmel, a two-term Northwood city councilman and first term mayor, has sat on the Republican central committee since 2012. “One of the things I’ve learned in elected office is that there is always more work to be done,” Schimmel said. “I know that if selected I will be leaving the mayor’s office with unfinished business, but I believe that I can help not only Northwood, but all of Wood County in the State House.” An attorney with the law firm of Hizer & Schimmel, he said that he is fully committed to being representative. “If that means leaving the practice of law altogether, I would certainly do that. The plan at this time would be to only work a couple days a week as an attorney, so that I could devote my time to representing Wood County and my obligations to my family.” Schimmel is 39 years old, and is married with three children. He attended Northwood schools, and the University of Toledo where he obtained degrees in political science and law.


Parking kiosks to take coins, cash or credit cards

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   People parking in the city lot behind Panera may want to start brushing up on their license plate numbers now. Come August, motorists parking in that lot will need to punch in their license plate numbers and pay at one of three kiosks taking the place of the old parking meters. The kiosks will be located behind SamB’s restaurant, at the parking entrance on East Wooster Street, and near the parking entrance on Clough Street. “We wanted to make it as convenient as possible for people,” said Joe Fawcett, Bowling Green assistant municipal administrator. Fawcett was explaining the new parking payment program Tuesday to anyone with questions. Bowling Green officials chose between three types of parking payment kiosks – pay by display, space or plate. “It was determined that pay by plate would be the most convenient,” Fawcett said. The pay by display kiosks require motorists to return to their vehicles to place tickets on their dashboards. That is the type used at Bowling Green State University. The pay by space would require the drivers to see the parking space numbers, which may be difficult in the winter. The pay by plate requires the driver to punch in their license plate number. The kiosk will accept coins, cash or credit cards. Those who pay with credit cards can add more time by using their smart phones if they end up needing extra time for the parking spot, Fawcett said. The rates and time limits for the lots won’t change. According to Fawcett, the idea of switching from parking meters to kiosks came…


Registered voters purged from Ohio rolls … including 3,424 in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 3,400 registered voters in Wood County were purged from the voting rolls last year. Following a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State, 3,424 registered voters were dropped in August of 2015. The state’s directive is telling county boards of election to wipe voters from the rolls if they have shown “no voter initiated activity” since the last two federal elections. That “activity” includes voting, signing petitions or filing for a change of address. Wood County Board of Elections Director Terry Burton explained the process requires the office to send out postcards to registered voters who have not voted in the last two federal elections. That postcard is basically asking the citizen, “Are you still there?” Burton said. If the citizen getting the postcard does not respond, their status goes “inactive,” however, they can still vote, Burton said. But if the person has four more years of no voting activity, they are kicked off the rolls. “Those people get purged,” Burton said. “After eight years and a mailing,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a real stringent bar.” But Mike Zickar, who serves on the county board of elections, sees it differently. “I see it as a clear violation of law,” Zickar said, adding that national voter law forbids removing people from rolls due to their voting inactivity. “Very few states are throwing people off for not voting.” A federal lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has added to debate among voting rights activists and elected officials during the 2016 election cycle. The lawsuit is asking the court…


Door-to-door checks net dog owners without licenses

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 550 door-to-door checks for unlicensed dogs in Wood County have netted several owners who have neglected to get dog tags. The license can be a lost dog’s ticket back home – plus it’s the law in Ohio that every dog has one. So from March to November, county dog shelter employees will be going door-to-door checking to see if owners have complied. At times, it just doesn’t work for citizens to conceal their canines when county dog shelter workers come knocking. “Sometimes they answer the door and the dog comes up with them,” Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder said, smiling. The dog owners are given a chance to buy the licenses then and there. “We want them to voluntarily comply, not to issue citations,” Snyder said. Normally, citations are only issued if the dog warden’s staff finds repeat offenders, who have an annual habit of only buying dog licenses once they are caught without one. “There are people who try to get away with it every year,” Snyder told the Wood County Commissioners during a meeting on Thursday. Staff members are visiting homes that previously had licensed dogs, and some addresses picked at random. “That’s the only way to find people that have never registered their dogs,” Snyder said. In March, the checks were done in Haskins and Northwood. In April they were conducted in Northwood, Jerry City, Bloomdale, Pemberville, Perrysburg, North Baltimore, Weston, Portage and Cygnet. And in May, the checks were done in Bowling Green, Custar, Walbridge, Perrysburg, Rudolph, Weston, Risingsun, Bradner and Wayne. Door-to-door license checks…


Bob Mack opts out of race for Ohio House

By BG INDEPENDENT NEWS Bob Mack, a Perrysburg Township trustee and commercial real estate developer, has opted not to run for the Ohio State House. The vacancy was created when the incumbent, Tim Brown, of Bowling Green, was hired as executive director of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. Mack was considering the run, but said this morning (June 27) that “to be in that race you need to be 110 percent and I wasn’t sure I could get to that level.” Family obligations and his partnership in the commercial real estate firm Signature Associates, which is involved in commercial and industrial sales and leasing, prevent him from meeting the demands of the race. Mack said there’s unfinished business in Perrysburg Township he’d like to address. “Perhaps I can have greater impact on a more local level.” The Republicans have until Aug. 15 to name someone for the November ballot. Michael Marsh, the GOP county chairman, said others have expressed interest. Two Democrats have said they will run business proprietor Kelly Wicks, who ran for the seat in 2012, and Bowling Green City Councilor Daniel Gordon. The county Democrats are scheduled to meet Thursday (June 30) to decide who to nominate.  


Water & sewer district wants to know how it’s doing

From NORTHWESTERN WATER & SEWER DISTRICT The Northwestern Water & Sewer District recently launched a digital survey to its customers, contractors, vendors, and other organizations it deals with to gauge satisfaction levels and the quality of the work the District does. According to Jerry Greiner, President of Northwestern Water Sewer District, “We need feedback so we can see how we are doing, and just as importantly, find out what we could do better.” Greiner continues “Primarily we are focusing on our customers, but we also want feedback from organizations we do business with such as our contractors, other government agencies, and even media organizations.” The survey strives to create a baseline or current snapshot of satisfaction and quality, and then will proceed with a comprehensive analysis of the data and information. According to Gavin Smith, Director of GIS and IT at the District “We are going to intently study the results and communicate the results in a way that illustrates our current position across many measured factors, but then we will use this as a starting point to help us keep our strengths impactful while identifying and correcting weaknesses.” Additionally, the District plans follow up surveys, and maybe even focus groups, on a consistent long term schedule to create a constant feedback loop. Freelance marketer and public relations guru Tom Konecny, who helps the District with these types of tasks adds “Evaluation and continuous improvement is critical. For example, a laborer in a factory, a teller at a bank, or even a nurse at a hospital are continually evaluated so that current performance is measured and future performance is enhanced-…


Fair building to be fit for cattle and catered dinners

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Fairgrounds is packed with people for a few days each summer. The rest of the year, it’s pretty much a ghost town. But the fair board has a plan to change that – building a $3.2 million year-round facility made to handle both smelly livestock shows and fancy catered dinners. “We want to put the fairgrounds on the map for year-round use, rather than just six days,” Matt Hughes, of Fair Funding, said to the Wood County commissioners on Thursday. Hughes said the acreage at the corner of West Poe and Haskins roads hosts about 125,000 visitors each year for the county fair. A few days after the fair, the grounds are flooded for the National Tractor Pulling Championships. Other than that, you can hear crickets chirping. But to make the 46,000-square-foot building a reality, Hughes said donations are being sought from every possible source. And Thursday, he made a pitch to the county commissioners as one of those possible sources. “Our hope is you folks would consider a partnership,” he said. “A lot of your population has an interest in the fair,” Hughes said. The fundraising has been going on now about 60 days, with approximately $750,000 secured so far, Hughes said. Those organizing the project are looking for one-time donations, annual contributions, in-kind materials or services and endowments. Hughes told the commissioners the county fairs that are going to still exist in 20 years are those that think beyond the six days of the fair, and plan “beyond bake sales.” He said the commissioners’ help with construction…


Wood County Landfill running out of room

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Landfill is running out of room even faster than predicted. When 2016 rolled around, it looked as if the existing permitted space at the landfill would last another 11 years. By Tuesday, that remaining lifespan had shortened to eight to 10 years. The news was presented to the county commissioners on Tuesday by landfill staff and consultants. The reason for the faster filling is three-fold. First, the Henry County landfill closed, resulting in much of the garbage from that neighboring county coming to Wood County. Second, as the economy rebounds, the increase in new construction creates more debris, and people tend to buy new items and throw out the old, rather than stretching out their usefulness. And third, improvements at Wood County Landfill are making it more attractive to waste haulers, said Ken Vollmar, landfill manager. The Wood County Landfill received 38,000 tons of trash in 2014, which jumped to 49,000 tons last year. At the current rate, this year’s tonnage may top off over 60,000 tons. The landfill area covers more than 100 acres, with 43 of those in the current footprint approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for dumping. The site has about 60 more usable acres – and depending on the tonnage, the landfill has between 50 and 75 more good years, according to Shawn McGee, of Hull and Associates, consultants to the county. But McGee warned that while the lifespan of the current permitted area is eight to 10 years, the county needs to get working on the expansion now. It takes three to…


BG debates new restrictions for garbage bins

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bob McOmber never expected his job on city council would mean cruising through neighborhoods scouting out garbage bins. “I’ve spent more time than I could ever imagine looking at trash receptacles,” McOmber said Monday evening. He isn’t alone. Fellow Bowling Green council members Daniel Gordon and John Zanfardino have also been driving city streets trying to come up with reasonable rules for garbage bins. The three discussed possible rule changes Monday evening during a Community Improvement Committee meeting before the council meeting. Brian Craft, city utilities director, suggested the rules require all bins to have lids closed when placed out at the curb. Any bin with a “pyramid of garbage” will not be picked up, for two reasons, Craft said. First, when being lifted, the tall trash often spills on the ground, and second, if the lid blows open it can be broken off by the arm that lifts the trash into the truck. Craft also suggested that bins sitting out along the road on non-collection days be picked up by the city, with a citation and $25 fine given to the resident. Just today, the trash crew picked up bins at the curb on East Reed Street after neighbors complained. “The containers were sitting on the curb for weeks on end,” he said. “That’s the hammer to get people’s attention.” Zanfardino asked if civil infractions could be issued rather than the cans being confiscated. But Craft said that response would be too slow for most unhappy neighbors. “A citation doesn’t really correct the problem,” he said. The biggest issue, however, remains…


Bob Mack voices interest in state rep seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Tim Brown’s plan to resign as state representative for Wood County has left a big hole for local Republicans to fill. But Bob Mack, Perrysburg Township trustee, would like a chance at the job. “This all came about rather quickly,” Mack said Monday afternoon. And so far, Mack is the only Republican to state a commitment to run. The party has until Aug. 15 to pick a replacement for Brown to appear on the November ballot. Mack believes he has the qualifications for the legislative position. “I don’t want to do anything in my life unless I’m uniquely qualified to do so,” he said. Mack said he has spent 28 years in the “trenches of commercial real estate.” And he is in the middle of his fourth term as Perrysburg Township trustee. “I understand both the pressures of government funding and needing to make ends meet,” he said. Mack said he also served at least a decade on an ODNR coastal resources advisory commission. Though Mack is not up for re-election as township trustee this year, if he is chosen by the Republican House leadership to fill in Brown’s seat, he will have to relinquish his township position. “I have very mixed emotions,” Mack said. “It gives me a little bit of angst. We always have unfinished business in township government.” But if elected to the state legislature, Mack might be able to continue working on one of those items of unfinished business. One of his goals as a township trustee was to lead the township to a Wood County water service…


Kelly Wicks eyes open state representative seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News     Kelly Wicks, a Bowling Green Democrat who ran for state representative in 2012, would like to take another run at the legislative office now that his former competitor, Tim Brown, has left the race. “With the sudden resignation of Tim Brown, it put a whole new spin on the election in November,” Wicks said Monday afternoon. Since Brown, a Republican, announced last week that he was resigning to take the top position with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, Wicks said he has been approached by local constituents about applying for the position. “They asked if I would be willing to step up and make another run,” he said. After a great deal of talk with family members, who would be most affected by a campaign, Wicks decided to put his name in the race. “Ultimately, it will be up to the Democratic Central Committee,” he said. That committee will review all the Democratic applications, then make a decision who will appear on the Wood County ballot. Wicks said his strongest qualifications are his willingness to be available to constituents and his experience running a business, Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green. “I think my three decades of private sector work make me a good candidate,” he said. “I would be able to hit the ground running.” Wicks praised Brown’s efforts at the Statehouse, and said he looks forward to working with Brown on TMACOG issues such as high speed rail transportation. State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has given the Wood County Democratic Party…


Daniel Gordon to pursue state representative seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   State Rep. Tim Brown’s decision to resign from the Statehouse has set the dominoes in motion. His departure has given the Wood County Democratic Party a glimmer of hope that it has a chance to take the state seat. The first local Democrat to officially state his interest in the legislative seat after Brown’s announcement is Bowling Green Councilman Daniel Gordon. But first, the Democrat currently on the ballot, David Walters, of Bowling Green, has to resign his place on the Democratic ballot for the Ohio State House of Representatives. And Sunday evening, Walters announced his plans to bail. “Tim Brown has been a dedicated public servant to the residents of Wood County for many years and has done a commendable job of representing the best interests of our county,” Walters stated in a press release. “However, like Representative Brown, I feel that my calling now lies away from elected office and so it has become imperative that we put forward a candidate who can continue his legacy of placing the interests of Wood County residents above partisan politics.” And that will make room for Gordon, whom Walters endorsed. “While I remain passionate about the issues affecting Wood County, I feel that there is a person better suited to represent our community than myself. That individual is Bowling Green City Councilman Daniel Gordon,” Walters said. But Gordon may be just one of several Democrats eyeing the seat. According to Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party, the process for finding a replacement candidate will be made in the next few…


Buckeye Boys State says farewell to BGSU

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Buckeye Boys State ended Sunday with the traditional call: “We’re adjourned.” Those words had special resonance at Bowling Green State University where the government education program has made its home for the past 39 Junes. Next year when the American Legion-sponsored program convenes, it will be at Miami University. The program’s board of trustees voted Thursday evening to approve a five-year contract to move the program to Miami University, dashing the hopes of locals who wanted to keep it here. The move had been rumored for weeks and had even been prematurely announced on two occasions earlier this year. The vote, said Boys state spokesman Jim Koppin, was not close. When all was said and down, it was a business decision. Despite a last-minute proposal matching Miami’s offer, “Bowling Green never came up with a proposal we could live it. As one local resident said, ‘it was too little, too late.’” Mayor Dick Edwards said on Friday he’d been told BGSU’s initial offer was an increase of 41 percent. Koppin said he’s been told the same figure. A jump in the cost of that magnitude would have been difficult for Legion posts around the state to absorb. All the delegates’ expenses are paid. It costs $300 to send a high school junior to the program. This year 1,250 were registered, though a few were not able to attend. The local posts pick up the tab, with some receiving corporate sponsorships to help cover the costs. Should that price tag go up to $400, he said, it would make it difficult, especially for a…


Kuhlman tries for court of appeals seat – sending local candidates scrambling for open seats

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Commissioner Joel Kuhlman has turned in an application for judge in the Sixth District Court of Appeals, sending more local candidates scrambling for seats. Kuhlman didn’t think much of it when some of his Wood County supporters approached him about filing for the ballot spot vacated when Court of Appeals Judge Jack Puffenberger withdrew his name on June 3. Kuhlman chalked it up to his local constituents being supportive. But then the push came from people outside Wood County, including encouragement from Lucas County’s handpicked candidate for the seat who declined the offer. So Kuhlman started taking a second look. “I’ve been struggling with it for the last couple days,” said Kuhlman, the lone Democrat on the county commissioner board. “I really like being a commissioner.” But after debating, he decided to take the chance. “I’m going to go for it,” he said Friday afternoon. Kuhlman’s decision has started a game of political musical chairs with potential candidates eyeing empty seats. “It’s a complicated mess right now,” said Mike Zickar, head of the Wood County Democratic Party. That’s because earlier in the week, Republican Tim Brown announced he was giving up his state representative position to take the top spot with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. “It’s like playing multiple games of chess right now,” Zickar said. Here’s why: Kuhlman is facing off with Republican Ted Bowlus right now for county commissioner. If Kuhlman is selected by the Sixth District’s eight central committee leaders for the court ballot, he has to give up his spot on the county…