Government

Food truck rules leave bad taste for vendors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s mobile food vending ordinance is not exactly a recipe for success for food trucks. Mac Henry would like to open a food truck business in Bowling Green, but told City Council Monday evening that its ordinance is too restrictive. Henry, who lives just outside the city, said the ordinance limits hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and restricts food trucks to 150 feet from the throughway. The rules are “not very conducive to opening a food truck in this town,” he said. Henry said food trucks are currently “a big part of the culinary innovation” going on in the nation. City Council president Mike Aspacher said council is the body that would have to make any changes to the ordinance. He added that modifications would only be made after the ramifications are studied. Council member John Zanfardino agreed with Henry that changes were in order. “Right now our ordinance is totally prohibitive, if you get right down to it,” he said, mentioning the growing trend of food trucks. “I think it’s a coming thing.” Council member Sandy Rowland noted the success of food trucks in Perrysburg, where the businesses set up one evening a week. “It might be an opportunity to provide people with something to do,” she said. After the council meeting, Henry said he doesn’t have a food truck operation now, but would like to get one started. “I’d like to get into it,” he said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something like that in my hometown.” Henry said he…


Pipeline attempt to use eminent domain protested

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Eminent domain often allows pipeline companies to plant their lines where they wish. The only point left to dicker is the amount they have to pay landowners to cross their property. But the pipeline case being heard in all three common pleas courts in Wood County is different. Unlike pipelines that are sending gas to companies that supply energy for public consumption, the Utopia pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan would be sending ethane, a byproduct of the fracking industry, to a private plastics company in Ontario. Kinder Morgan is planning to start construction later this year on the $500 million ethane pipeline from shale sites in southeast Ohio to Canada. The proposed Utopia line would run south of Pemberville, then north of Bowling Green, then cross the Maumee River south of Waterville. Kinder Morgan claims the company has the power of eminent domain to bury the pipeline in 21 miles of Wood County. “Our position is they absolutely do not,” said Andy Mayle, an attorney working with Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law. According to Thompson, a private pipeline company’s taking of land for its own gain violates the Ohio Constitution’s strict protection of private property rights. Thompson and Mayle represent 16 families in Wood County who are contesting the eminent domain claims of the Texas-based pipeline company. The case is being heard by all three common pleas courts in the county because Kinder Morgan has sued so many landowners, Thompson said. The landowners’ arguments are two-fold, Thompson explained. First, the private pipeline will provide no public use so…


Seeliger wins BG City Council Fourth Ward seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The retired football coach beat out the environmental attorney, political finance director, Realtor/chef, and scientist Monday evening to score the open seat on Bowling Green City Council. Scott Seeliger won unanimous approval Monday evening from council to fill the Fourth Ward seat vacated when Theresa Gavarone was named a state representative. He was sworn in after the vote, and took his seat with council for the remainder of the meeting. Five people presented themselves to council as candidates for the empty spot – Seeliger, Will Airhart, Jeff Dennis, Eric Eberly and William Herald. A sixth candidate, Jeremy Adams, withdrew his name prior to the meeting. Seeliger described how he came to Bowling Green in 1979 with his wife, Karen, and two daughters. He came for his dream job working with the BGSU football team, and never left. He later served as director of corporate development at BGSU, then as athletic director and football coach with Bowling Green City Schools. “This town, this city is everything I could possibly hope for my wife and I to grow and raise a family,” he said. Now retired, Seeliger said he would like to give back to the community. “Now I have time and I have a passion. I want to serve this community,” he said. His strength, he said, rests in working with other people. “I know the value of teamwork.” In serving the Fourth Ward, Seeliger said the most important goal is to preserve property values, strong schools, and city services. “The quality of life is the most important thing.” In serving the entire…


Inmate opiate addicts given lifeline before leaving jail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Doug Cubberley remembers the day a man came to the court probation office begging to go to jail. “We had one young man come to our office who said, ‘If I don’t go to jail, I’m going to die.’” The man was addicted to opiates and knew it was only a matter of time till he overdosed, Cubberley said Thursday. Probation workers in Wood County began noticing in 2014 that something was killing their clients. “They were dying at alarming rates,” said Cubberley, chief probation officer and court administrator at Bowling Green Municipal Court. So the conversation started about opiates and their growing grasp on people of all ages and backgrounds. “We all wanted to think it was only in Cleveland or Toledo,” he said. But it was clearly here, too. So leaders in the police, court and drug treatment professions started looking for a solution. Community meetings on the opiate epidemic were held in Bowling Green, Perrysburg and North Baltimore. Last week, another meeting was held for court, probation, police, EMS and drug treatment professionals. This time it was to introduce “a necessary evil” in response to the opiate epidemic – Project Direct Link. Statistics show the highest rate of accidental overdose occurs when an addict leaves jail or a treatment program, Cubberley said. “Once they are in jail, they lose tolerance to opiates.” And that often leads to deadly results. So Project Direct Link is intended to offer opiate addicts a different course. The program gives inmates an injection of Vivitrol, a drug that helps prevent cravings and doesn’t allow…


Issues, candidates file for Nov. 8 election

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Voters in Bowling Green will face two tax issues on their ballots in November – one for parks and recreation, the other for senior citizen services. Wednesday was the deadline in Ohio for filing issues and candidates for the Nov. 8 election. Since the national candidates don’t file at the Wood County Board of Elections, names may be added to those listings by the Ohio Secretary of State over the next couple weeks. Throughout the county, 27 tax levies will appear on the fall ballot for everything from schools and fire trucks, to roads and police protection. Following is a list of those issues, then a list of the candidates known to be on the local ballot. Wood County Wood County Committee on Aging, renewal of 0.7 mills, for five years, for providing and maintaining senior citizen services or facilities. Bowling Green Parks and Recreation additional 2-mill levy, for five years. Rossford Referendum amending an ordinance, adopting a new income tax credit for 2016 and thereafter. Bloom Township Tax levy replacement of 0.7 mills, for 5 years, for current operating expenses. Tax levy replacement of 1 mill, for 5 years, for fire protection. Freedom Township Tax levy renewal for 0.4 mills, for 3 years, for fire apparatus. Exclusive of the village of Pemberville, tax levy renewal for 1 mill, for 5 years, for road improvements. Tax levy renewal of 1 mill, for 3 years, for current expenses. Grand Rapids Township Additional tax levy for 2.3 mills, for 5 years, for new fire truck. Jackson Township Tax levy replacement and decrease for 2…


Six in running for open BG Council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Six people are in the running to fill the empty Fourth Ward City Council seat. Submitting applications were Jeremy Adams, Will Airhart, Jeff Dennis, Eric Eberly, William Herald and Scott Seeliger. Applicants will each give a brief presentation before City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Aug. 15, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers. The presentations will be limited to about five minutes. City Council may then vote during its 7 p.m. meeting, also on Aug. 15, to select a person to fill the seat. The Fourth Ward seat was vacated when Theresa Charters Gavarone was appointed as state representative for Wood County. Following are some details on each of the applicants for the council seat. Jeremy R. Adams, 615 Normandie Blvd., holds bachelors and masters degrees in architecture. He currently works as a designer at JDI Group in Maumee. He has also served in the Ohio National Guard since 2006. “In addition to education I have had a multitude of professional career experiences which required strong skills in communication and coordination amongst contractors, engineers, project managers, architects, military leaders, etc.,” Adams wrote in his letter of interest. “The leadership and dedication qualities I bring to the table have been further sculpted by my military career,” he stated. “The military has instilled professionalism and attention to detail qualities within me, which are necessary in any organization. It is this experience and professionalism that I will bring to City Council.” Will Airhart, 222. N. Grove St., is a practicing attorney with Marathon Petroleum Co., in Findlay. He and his family moved to…


Legislators asked to step up Lake Erie protection

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Two years after algal blooms created a water crisis in the Toledo area, local leaders want to know what Ohio and Michigan are doing to prevent the green water from returning. Last week, legislators from both states were asked to explain efforts at the state level to keep Lake Erie clean. The state senators and representatives were a captive audience for questions from regional city, village, township, county and school officials during a TMACOG forum. The legislators were asked about steps they had taken to protect the water quality in the northwest Lake Erie basin. One legislator from Ohio and another from Michigan said they had been “proactive” in their clean water efforts, with manure application on farm fields now being regulated. State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, stopped short of using the word “proactive,” but listed off several bills and proposals to protect the water. However, he then added, “I don’t believe we have done enough yet.” “We still have more work to do. This lake deserves it,” Gardner said. State Rep. Mike Sheehy, who represents several Lucas County subdivisions, said many Ohio waterways are in compliance with the Clean Water Act. “Guess which river is not on the list?” he asked – the Maumee River. State Rep. Bill Reineke, from the Sandusky County area, said he represents several farmers in his district who have been self-regulating their use of manure on fields. “We can’t be blaming anyone,” he said. Michigan Rep. Bill LaVoy said his region has worked with government sources of the problem, and is now starting to focus…


Waterline work planned on Pearl, Knollwood, Hillcrest and Parkwood

The Bowling Green Water Distribution Division will be conducting waterline work on Pearl Street, from Maple to Brigham; Knollwood Drive, from Ordway to the dead end; Hillcrest Drive, and Parkwood Drive.  The work is scheduled to begin Aug. 15. Affected property owners will be given notice one week prior to work beginning along with a reminder given one day prior.  The work will require a one-day shut-off of water service followed by a 72-hour boil order advisory.  Once the boil order is in effect, a water boil advisory door hanger will be placed at affected residences and information will be posted on the city’s website.  Traffic will be affected during this work. For questions or more information, contact the Water Distribution Division at 419-354-6277.


BG explains new garbage bin rules

(Submitted by the city of Bowling Green) City Council passed legislation at the Aug. 1 meeting updating Chapter 94 of the Bowling Green Codified Ordinances, which covers garbage and litter laws within the City. These changes were made by Council to help keep Bowling Green neighborhoods appealing and healthy as well as improving the efficiency of refuse/recycling collection. Some of these changes include: – container lids shall be closed at all times. – all containers shall be set at the curb with the lid opening facing the street with the lid fully closed, and all containers shall be removed from the right-of-way by 7  a.m. the day following collection. – on non-collection days, all refuse and recycling containers – including dumpsters – whether City or privately owned, shall be stored within an enclosed area or in the side or rear yard of the premises adjacent to the structure with the lid closed. The purpose of requiring container lids to be closed at all times is to help prevent the breaking of the lid during the collection process. If the lid is open or the container is facing the wrong way at the curb, the lid can break. Also, if the lid is open during non-collection days or at the curb, the chances increase that the garbage within the container will fall out becoming loose litter. These changes will go in to effect on Aug. 31. The changes have been posted to the City’s homepage. Call Public Works at 419-354-6227 or the Mayor/Municipal Administrator’s Office at 419-354-6204 for questions.


Gavarone sworn in as state representative

Theresa Gavarone has been sworn in as state representative of the 3rd Ohio House District after the House Republican Caucus voted to appoint her to fill the vacant seat. “As evidenced by her many years of public service, her first-hand knowledge of the small business sector, and her law experience within the community, I believe Theresa Gavarone will honorably and diligently serve the constituents of Wood County,” Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) said. “I’m pleased that she was sworn in as a member of our caucus and I look forward to working with her on issues important to those in the district.” Gavarone holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. As a resident of Wood County for more than 30 years, she has represented the community, serving on Bowling Green City Council and participating in the local Kiwanis group. On the city council, she was chair of the Public Lands and Buildings Committee and also served on the Finance and Ways and Means Committee as well as the Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee. In addition to her public service, Gavarone is an attorney with Ruck & Wright Law and the co-owner of a family business with her husband of 24 years, Jim. She and Jim reside in Bowling Green and have three children. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Wood County as their next state representative,” Gavarone said. “It is truly an honor to be in this position and I look forward…


BG Council agrees on trash bin compromise

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After months of talking trash, Bowling Green City Council took action Monday evening on a new garbage collection ordinance. The new rules require garbage bins to be stored within enclosed areas, in side or back yards, with lids closed. The ordinance was too tough for some, too lenient for others – but was passed as a compromise by unanimous vote. That common ground was recognized by council member Bob McOmber as a distinct difference between the nation’s government and communities like Bowling Green. “Not a darn thing gets done because no one will compromise,” McOmber said of federal government. “This legislation approximately splits the difference,” he said, noting that council members Daniel Gordon, Sandy Rowland and John Zanfardino wanted the ordinance to be stricter, while members Theresa Charters Gavarone, Mike Aspacher and Bruce Jeffers would have preferred looser rules. “This really is a compromise solution,” McOmber said. Rowland said she would have preferred tougher rules. “I think Bowling Green deserves better,” she said, voicing her dislike of trash bins sitting on the side of homes. “We don’t need to set the goals so low.” But Gordon said any change is progress. “It is the compromise that we worked out,” he said. “It’s a concrete improvement for residents of Bowling Green.” Council members also unanimously agreed Monday evening that the penalty for not following the ordinance will not result in the trash bins being confiscated by the city. Instead, civil infractions will be issued and fines will be levied. It was decided confiscating trash bins would be too labor intensive and could result…


BG Council needs new member – applications due in 6 days

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council has an open seat and is looking for a Fourth Ward resident to fill it. Anyone interested has six days to submit a resume, and 13 days to prepare a speech. On Friday, Theresa Charters Gavarone submitted her letter of resignation as Fourth Ward council member in order to take her new appointment as state representative. So anyone interested in filling her council position has until Aug. 8 at 4:30 p.m. to submit a letter of interest and a resume to the clerk of city council, Kay Scherreik. The information can be emailed to kay.scherreik@bgohio.org or sent by mail to 304 N. Church St., Bowling Green. Applicants will then be asked to give a brief presentation before City Council’s Committee of the Whole on Aug. 15, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers. The presentations will be limited to about five minutes. City Council may then vote during its 7 p.m. meeting, also on Aug. 15, to select a person to fill the Fourth Ward seat. Council President Mike Aspacher thanked Charters Gavarone for her service to the city. “Obviously, we’re very thankful of Theresa’s contribution,” he said during Monday’s council meeting. Charters Gavarone was not at Monday’s meeting, but stated in her resignation letter that she would assist in the transition process for a new Fourth Ward council member. “In order to ease the transition, I would be happy to meet with you and any potential candidates for the council seat,” she wrote. “Working with each of you and serving the people of Bowling Green in this…


Wood County asked to join the ‘Big Fix’ for dogs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County has been asked to join the “Big Fix” program to spay and neuter dogs. The pilot program in Lucas County last year resulted in more than 400 dogs being fixed, according to Steve Serchuk, a volunteer with the program. “It will make the county safer,” Serchuk told the Wood County Commissioners last week. “It will save the county money. It will lead to more people licensing their pets.” Serchuk said Lucas County started the spay-neuter program after determining that almost one-third of the 57,617 licensed dogs in the county were not fixed. “We were blown away,” he said. So Lucas County, Toledo and the Toledo Community Foundation chipped in $9,000 each to reach out to the areas with the highest population of dogs that hadn’t been spayed or neutered. The goal was to fix 350 dogs – but the program exceeded expectations and 409 dogs were spayed or neutered. The success led Lucas County to apply for a matching grant of $25,000, and ask Wood County to join the project by chipping in $7,500 to have the amount matched by the grant. Wood County has approximately 21,000 licensed dogs. The funding would provide for 200 to 225 dogs being fixed. Serchuk said the county would benefit from more dogs being fixed. He presented the following information: 60 to 90 percent of dog attacks involve intact male dogs. Spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to roam and their behavior is better. “This will deal with the cause of pet overpopulation, not the result,” he said. The average cost to fix…


Wood County Auditor distributes taxes

Wood County Auditor Michael Sibbersen has announced the distribution of the real estate, public utility tax, and special assessments for the second half 2016 settlement. A total of $81,567,728 was collected and distributed including $2,419,667 for special assessments. In addition $9,034,412 is to be reimbursed from the state income tax funds, $6,066,961 in non-business credit, $852,995 in owner occupied credit, and $2,114,456 in homestead exemption monies. These represent tax reductions for qualifying properties. The Wood County County Commissioners requested that the 1.3 mill voted Human Services Levy collection be suspended for this year due to sufficient fund balance. This provided tax relief of $40 annually on a $100,000 home. Wood County currently maintains 74,670 individual land parcels of record and distributes the taxes to 18 school districts, 19 townships, and 26 cities and villages. Wood County has more than 100,000 individual special assessments, which are distributed to regional, county, municipal and township governments. Examples include ditch construction and maintenance, sewer and water systems, street lighting, street cleaning, and tree maintenance programs. Totals for the second half revenue distribution are as follows: WOOD COUNTY $2,851,090 REGIONAL WATER AND SEWER $723,791 COUNTY DITCH MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION $222,235 COUNTY SEWER AND WATERLINE PROJECTS $225 MAUMEE WATERSHED CONSERVANCY $44,227 BOARD OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES $8,672,079 ALCOHOL, DRUG ADDICTION &MENTAL HEALTH BOARD $2,861,003 PARK DISTRICT $1,129,684 COMMITTEE ON AGING $790,775 BOARD OF HEALTH $634,745 HISTORICAL CENTER $60,664 JOB & FAMILY SERVICES $0 WOOD COUNTY LIBRARY BOND $134,689 TOWNSHIPS $6,400,725 MUNICIPALITIES $7,117,554 SCHOOLS $49,992,604    


Lt. Gov. makes it her business to help Ohio businesses

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was right at home talking to the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce members, sharing their disdain for governmental red tape that bogs down businesses. “I was with you, fighting the bureaucracy,” Taylor said, speaking of her time as a CPA prior to entering government. That frustration led her to cross to the other side. “I discovered what I really wanted to do was serve,” Taylor said during the mid-year chamber luncheon this past week. “I wanted to be a part of writing the laws.” She started out small, running for a position in city government, then worked her way up to state representative, then state auditor, and finally to her current position as lieutenant governor under John Kasich. In government, Taylor said, she has been able to fight for taxpayers, bringing about regulatory reform. “The status quo is never acceptable for me. We hold every state governmental agency responsible for their regulatory impact on business,” she said. “If the answer is – ‘That’s what we did before’ – that is not acceptable.” Taylor described her approach as a “common sense” strategy, to look at how regulations such as those protecting the environment were affecting businesses. State rules were reviewed with a special emphasis on looking at the impact on business, she said. That analysis led to 60 percent of the rules affecting businesses being rescinded or amended, Taylor said. “We have to understand, what we do in government does affect business and job creation,” she said. Consequently, Ohio’s unemployment is down and wages are rising faster than the…