Government

Bringing solar power out of the dark ages

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Ohio may be the nation’s leading solar manufacturer, but some state leaders’ attitudes about solar are back in the dark ages, according to Bill Spratley, executive director of Green Energy Ohio. However, Bowling Green could be a “game changer” – building the largest solar field in the state. “Next year, Bowling Green, Wood County will be the mecca.” It’s appropriate that Bowling Green take the lead, Spratley said, since the city was the first to erect utility scale wind turbines in 2003. Maybe the Bowling Green solar field can convince politicians that harnessing the power of the sun is no longer radical. “They still think solar is out in the future. Solar is here now,” Spratley said. “We’ve got to get past these buggy whip manufacturers.” Spratley said he runs into solar investors around the country, curious about Ohio’s reluctance to support solar power. “What the hell is happening in Ohio,” he said they ask him. The state legislature has frozen Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, he said. Consequently, renewable energy comprises just 3 percent of the overall mix of electricity sources in the state. “We need to send a message to free the hostages in Columbus,” he said of possible solar funding to “get power to the people.” Spratley was one of many speakers at the “Building Big Solar Across Ohio” conference in Bowling Green on Thursday. He was joined by leaders of renewable energy companies, representatives of solar companies, officials from communities using solar power, and green energy advocates. Solar power used to be “for off-the-wall hippies,” said David Dwyer, president of American Renewable Energy. But that is no longer the case. For those unable to access solar power on their roofs, community solar was created, according to Mark Wilkerson, of Clean Energy Collective. “Solar had to transcend politics,” said Wilkerson, who has worked in the solar industry for more than three decades. “It’s the extension of the American dream.” And it is working in some areas. Take the small town of Minster, with just 2,850 people. It was formerly famous for its Oktoberfest and winning sports titles. But now it’s also on the map for its 18-acre solar field which produces 4.2 MW of electricity. The conference pointed out the top 25 solar sites in Ohio, with the greatest number being in Southwest Ohio, and the greatest capacity in Northwest Ohio, including sites in Clyde and Owens Corning in Toledo. The fewest solar sites are found in the Southeast quadrant of the state. All but one of Ohio’s 88 counties – Noble County – has some solar power generation in place. The 25 sites together produce 132 MW of electricity – the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road, according to Emily Sautter, of Green Energy Ohio. By the end of this year, Bowling Green’s solar array should be producing 20 MW on 165 acres northeast of the city, at Carter and Newton roads. The acreage was formerly rented out for farming by the city, and will be leased at $1 a year by NextEra, which is building the solar array. The benefits of solar power to the city include reduced carbon emissions, a more diverse power supply with peaking resources, and a fixed price for the life of…


Farmer asks county to not declare Lake Erie ‘impaired’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Mark Drewes tried to convince the Wood County Commissioners Tuesday to not fall for claims by city folk that farmers don’t care about the region’s water. He asked that the commissioners not jump on board with other regional officials asking that Lake Erie be designated as “impaired.” The self-professed “simple farmer” sat down in front of the county commissioners and handed out his charts showing phosphorus runoff rates, county livestock populations and maps of extensive soil sampling on his farm. The water issue became a very public matter in 2014 when the algae rendered Toledo water undrinkable for a few days. But according to Drewes, who farms near Hoytville in the southwest corner of Wood County, the water issue had already been a hot topic for the agricultural community. “We’ve been talking about it for years,” he said. “This problem is the No. 1 problem we face as farmers in Wood County.” But declaring the lake “impaired” will only make matters worse, the farmer said. “That is a very drastic measure,” said Drewes, who farms corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He also works closely with large livestock operations, and serves on the Ohio Corn Growers Board. Drewes said he was troubled to see Toledo Councilman Mike Ferner ask the commissioners to help declare the lake as impaired, while implying that farmers don’t care about the water. “That’s absolutely incorrect,” he said. Drewes’ family has farmed the land for generations – and plans to continue for many more. So the water quality is important to them as well. “It’s something we think about every day,” he said. Both commissioners Joel Kuhlman and Craig LaHote asked Drewes how the “impaired” designation would hurt farmers – especially if they are already doing all they can to reduce algal blooms. If the lake is declared impaired, scientific studies will be conducted to determine where the phosphorus is originating. “We want to know where it’s coming from, so it can be addressed,” Kuhlman said. LaHote said that agriculture could benefit if studies show farm phosphorus isn’t as much of the problem as suspected. But Drewes said was skeptical of any studies. “Impaired status will push agriculture to its breaking point. We are regulated beyond belief,” he said.  “Let’s figure this thing out before we attack it. Let’s not attack it, then figure it out.” But Kuhlman said the impaired designation would require that scientific studies be done to track the highest sources – before attacking them. “I completely agree we need to understand the problem,” LaHote said. And if the EPA does not coordinate the study – what agency will, he asked. Drewes said the USDA and ODA are already working on it. “We have taken ownership of this,” Drewes said. But farmers shouldn’t bear all the burden, he added. “I truly believe in my heart that 99 percent of the farmers are doing what’s right.” Meanwhile, city wastewater systems are allowed to pump raw sewage into waterways during periods of heavy rains, and faulty private septic systems all over the region are sending sewage into ditches and the lake. “The political willpower is not there to fix that,” he said. “They look at agriculture as the easy low-hanging fruit.” Making a formal declaration of the lake’s…


Makers of adult incontinence products to expand

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It’s a sad fact of life. As the nation’s population gets grayer, they have a greater need for adult absorbent products for incontinence. That means more business for a Wood County company that has been meeting those bladder control needs for more than 40 years. So the company, Principle Business Enterprises, is looking to expand in response to greater demands. The company, located north of Bowling Green, near Interstate 75 and Devils Hole Road, is planning a $4 million expansion which would add 47,000 square feet to the existing building. On Tuesday, the Wood County Commissioners approved an enterprise zone agreement with the company for 100 percent real and personal property tax abatements over 10 years. Principle Business Enterprises currently employs about 235 people, and will create at least five new jobs with the expansion. That estimate is very conservative since each new line at the plant will employ six or seven people. The firm produces various products for incontinence, including “Tranquility” and disposable swimwear, and footwear like Pillowpaws and slipper socks. “We are really making a difference in the lives of people with difficult physical challenges,” said Chuck Stocking, CEO of the company. “The bad news is people need our products,” Stocking said Tuesday to the commissioners. The good news is, the company is continuing to work on meeting the demands for adult absorbent products and wound care items. “We’ve had such consistent growth,” said Larry Jones, CFO of Principle Business Enterprises. “As the boomers shift into that period of their lives” when they have more physical needs, the company is expanding to meet them. “It’s a good problem to have,” Jones said of the company’s need to expand. Stocking also told the county commissioners that the company is now working with the Veterans Administration. “It took us seven years to crack the code on how to do business with the Veterans Administration,” he said. “We have a team working on better care for our veterans.” The long term vision for Principle Business Enterprises includes additional expansions, Stocking said. Jones said the company provides a safe and good work environment, so the longevity of its employees is quite high. Wood County Planning Commission Director Dave Steiner also said the company is a good neighbor. “They have been good corporate citizens as well.” As part of the enterprise zone agreement, Principle Business Enterprises will make the school districts involved whole. That means the company will pay $35,000 a year to Eastwood and $4,400 a year to Penta Career Center. “We really appreciate being a part of Wood County,” Stocking said. “We’re very glad to have you in Wood County, too,” Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. “It’s always exciting to have economic development in Wood County.”      


Ohio’s cottage food rules focus of seminar, Sept. 26

From CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE FOOD TECHNOLOGY Implications to recent changes in Ohio’s cottage food laws will be the topic of discussion at a seminar hosted by the Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 from 4 – 5:30 p.m. at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK). Dennis Delong, R.S., food safety specialist, Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA), will discuss the new regulations and its relevance to local food producers. The new regulations primarily address the criteria and definitions for cottage food operations, labeling, sampling, food items allowed and prohibited.  Cottage food producers are prohibited from producing potentially hazardous foods.  They are allowed to produce the 20 items listed in the cottage food regulation. Ohio regularly ranks in the top 10 for most farmers markets in the nation, and Delong will also explain changes for such venues including what can and cannot be sold at farmers markets. These processing procedures will be explained within the NOCK – a kitchen-based setting that educates and advises entrepreneurs interested in starting a food business.  Food-related business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and those who are producing a product to sell at markets and/or other retail establishments are encouraged to attend. The cost is just $25/person or $20/person for group of two or more (pay online, or cash/check at the door) which includes great networking opportunities and light refreshments.  Advanced registration is preferred.  The NOCK/AIF is located at 13737 Middleton Pike (St. Rt. 582) in Bowling Green, Ohio. Visit ciftinnovation.org to register and pay online, or contact 419-535-6000, ext. 140 or rsvp@ciftinnovation.org.


Gavarone gets quick course on county issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s new state representative got a lesson in county government last week from advocates who fight on behalf of counties all across Ohio. State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, met with members of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and Wood County’s commissioners to learn about challenges faced by county governments. They wanted to make sure Gavarone, a former Bowling Green City Council member, doesn’t forget about counties as she takes her post in Columbus. “That’s why I’m here. I want to know what’s going on,” Gavarone said to CCAO officials. The top priorities right now include replacing voting equipment, preserving sales tax, responding to the opiate epidemic, and funding infrastructure. Gavarone said she has a special interest in opiate and mental health issues, which are putting demands on county jails and child protective services. As much as 70 percent of the jail population has some type of addiction or mental health issues, according to John Leutz, CCAO legislative counsel. “Wood County’s not exempt, that’s for sure,” Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said. “I look forward to working with you on this,” Gavarone said. She was cautioned by CCAO officials that it takes more than verbalized support to move issues like this forward. It takes financial support as well, said Brian Mead, policy analyst with CCAO. “If it’s a passion for you, fund it as well,” Mead said. “It’s not going to succeed if there’s not funding for it.” Counties also need help funding new voting equipment, which was purchased after the “hanging chad” controversy with punch card voting machines. “We’re now to the end of the useful life of that equipment,” said Suzanne Dulaney, executive director of CCAO. The goal is to have the next generation of electronic voting machines in place by the 2020 presidential election. “We simply don’t have the money to pay for this ourselves,” Dulaney explained. Wood County has 500 voting machines, plus another 100 for backup. “When you start pricing out 500 machines, it can be a very high number,” Herringshaw said. “It’s not in our budget.” Wood County Commissioner Joel Kuhlman estimated the new equipment will cost at least $1 million. In the past, when county boards of elections used punch card machines, the price was much cheaper and there were few maintenance expenses.  Now counties must pay for climate control storage for the electronic machines. “That total cost of elections is tough for people to understand,” Mead said. “You didn’t need an IT department for punch cards.” Counties are asking the state to help by paying 85 percent of replacing the voting machines. “The state really has been a partner with us in the past,” said Cheryl Subler, managing director for CCAO. However, with term limits in place, few state legislators are aware of the history of support and they “get skittish” about what they see as “new” funding requests, she said. The group also talked about state’s decision to charge sales tax on Medicaid MCOs, but not other MCOs. That decision is costing Wood County approximately $1 million, Kuhlman said. And across the state, counties are struggling to keep up with repairs to roads and bridges. Wood County uses its revenue from casino taxes to help with infrastructure costs, but with 450…


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 realized mobile food businesses can be a “touchy subject,” since they are seen as competition for brick and mortar restaurants already in business. But food trucks offer young people a chance to break into the business, he said. “Ultimately, if you’re a young individual and you don’t have that much capital, it’s a good way for Bowling Green to give a young person a chance,” he said. Also at the meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards told city council that he would like them to pass a resolution dedicating the former school site at West Wooster and South Church streets as a green space. The community has waited a long time for the city to take action, he said. “We’ve been through the eager part – now it’s anxious.” “This is an important part of our future for our community,” the mayor said. Council plans to have a resolution ready for discussion at its first September meeting. Planning Director Heather Sayler announced plans for the first public meeting for the Community Action Plan, on Aug. 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in Crim Elementary School, 1020 Scott Hamilton Ave. The plan is intended to advance goals from the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Update, by identifying city-wide neighborhood improvements, with a focus on the East Side. Edwards said the meeting marks progress. “It does represent a significant step forward with the land use plan,” he said. Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said the educational campaign has begun for the city’s new trash bin rules. The city has created flyers, door hangers and warning stickers. The information will be distributed by staff and is available on the city’s website. City officials hope the educational effort…


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 it does not qualify for public domain authority. Second, the pipeline company did not explore alternative routes as suggested. The local families have asked that the pipeline company consider placing the line along road right-of-ways, to avoid going through farm fields or housing lots. The Wood County commissioners have also asked the company to consider routing the pipeline along highways to lessen the burden on landowners. But the pipeline company would not budge on its route. However, it appears the company is now reconsidering its previous reluctance to deviate from its proposed route. After last week’s court hearing, Mayle got a call from pipeline representatives saying that an engineer has now determined that the line could be rerouted to run along the perimeters of properties rather than through farmland or residential lots. The pipeline officials also indicated they would be offering “substantially more money” to landowners, Mayle said. “From our perspective, the land is not for sale,” Mayle said. “Our goal is to beat it, not negotiate with terrorists,” Thompson said. On Monday, the landowners packed into Judge Alan Mayberry’s courtroom. It was decided that rather than present the same testimony as given last week in Judge Robert Pollex’s court, that Mayberry would instead review the 75 pages of arguments from both sides. The landowners, many of them farmers, voiced their concerns to Thompson as they met outside the courtroom. “We’re living off the land. The damage will affect our livelihood,” one said. “Our building lot is no longer a building lot if they dig through it,” another said. “I don’t know why they would deliberately move a line next to houses,” said one, voicing concerns about pipeline explosions. Others…


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 city, Seeliger noted the importance of working on the East Wooster corridor. He referred to it as the city’s “front porch,” with the need to make a good first impression. Before voting, city council discussed the difficulty making a decision, since so many good candidates applied. Airhart, an environmental attorney with Marathon, previously lived in Nashville and Houston, and moved to Bowling Green with his wife and three young children in 2015. He represents the young professionals that city leaders talk about attracting to the community, he said. His goals included moving ahead on the green space area and city building – both of which have not made much progress. Dennis, a Bowling Green native, said he has lived in all four wards in the city. He is currently working as deputy finance director of the Strickland for Senate campaign. Dennis said he excels at “one-on-one conversations with folks.” One of his goals is to find low cost solutions to East Side problems in the city. Eberly, who works as a Realtor and a chef at Nazareth Hall, said his skills include empathy for others. “I believe in promoting an open and tolerant community,” he said. “I feel as if I can provide a voice for the Fourth Ward.” He would focus on working together with BGSU, local businesses, and landlords, moving ahead on the city’s land use plan, and helping to create a walkable, bikeable community. “My dedication to the city is unwavering.” Herald, a data scientist and analytics manager, previously served two terms on city council. Since then, he has continued to attend council meetings, and other community meetings for the past 10 years. “You know what you’re…


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 them to feel the positive effects of opiates. “People cannot get high,” said Julie Weinandy, of Renewed Mind, which has been working with a Vivitrol program in Lucas County. The injection lasts 28 days, which gives the person a “safety net” until they are linked up with treatment programs. “It’s an awesome tool for the clients,” Weinandy said. Inmates are the perfect clients, since Vivitrol can only be used when a person’s body is clean of opiates. Jail is the ideal “detox program,” she said. “It’s very difficult to get a client to detox at home.” The program doesn’t stop with the injection of Vivitrol.  The next steps require the client to: Report to the Wood County Health and Wellness Center to begin the process of reinstating Medicaid, which is halted when a person enters jail. Schedule and attend appointments with an agency for counseling. Follow all recommendations of the providers. Abide by all probation/parole requirements from the courts. “This keeps them safe till we can transfer them into treatment,” Weinandy said. “It gives these inmates a chance to get help.” Cubberley explained the program is not a “get out of jail free card.” Once released the clients must keep up with requirements. And there is a great deal of motivation for inmates to free themselves of opiate addictions. “They will sell you the moon and stuff they don’t own to get help,” he said. To be effective, the shots and counseling must continue for 12 to 18 months. That is too costly for the Project Direct Link budget, so it is hoped that Medicaid will pick up the expenses for most of the clients. The project is initially being…


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 mills, for 5 years, for ambulance services. Liberty Township Tax levy renewal and decrease for 0.4 mills, for 5 years, for emergency medical services. Tax levy renewal for 0.3 mills, for 5 years, for current expenses. Middleton Township Tax levy replacement for 2 mills, for 3 years, for providing, maintaining and operating Middleton Township Fire Department. Montgomery Township Tax levy renewal for 1 mill, for 3 years, for road improvements. Perrysburg Township Additional tax levy for 2 mills, for 5 years, for police protection. Bloomdale Village Tax levy renewal for 1.3 mills, for 5 years, for current expenses. Custar Village Tax levy renewal of 3.2 mills, for 5 years, for current expenses. Grand Rapids Village Tax levy renewal for 2 mills, for 5 years, for general construction of streets and bridges. Hoytville Village Tax levy renewal for 1.8 mills, for 5 years, for current expenses. Jerry City Village Tax levy renewal for 3 mills, for 4 years, for fire protection. Tax levy renewal for 3.5 mills, for 4 years, for current expenses. Millbury Village Tax levy renewal for 1 mill, 5 years, for current expenses. Fostoria City School District Tax levy renewal of 8.1 mills, for 10 years, for emergency requirements of the school district. Perrysburg Exempted Village School District Tax levy renewal of 16 mills, for continuing period, for current expenses. Rossford Exempted Village School District Bond issue ($31,440,000) of 4.4 mills and tax levy of 7 mills, for constructing school facilities. Mid-County Ambulance District Additional tax levy of 3.5 mills, for 3 years, for ambulance services and emergency medical services. Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority Tax levy renewal of 1.5 mills, for 10 years, for general expenses. Trotters,…


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 Bowling Green from Texas in early 2015. “My family has deep roots in this region, and I am delighted to call Bowling Green home. I can’t think of a better place to raise our kids,” he wrote in his letter of interest. Airhart said he has expertise in environmental and commercial issues. His profession has provided exposure to a broad range of issues affecting local government, he added. “We are excited about the future of this community, and I want to offer my time and abilities to serve the residents of the Fourth Ward,” he said. Jeff Dennis, 324 N. Grove St., is currently working as deputy finance director of the Strickland for Senate campaign. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science. Dennis said his skills include the ability to collect and analyze large data sets, identify trends, organize information in a clear manner and foster strong relationships. “In my mind, the most important issue facing our city is the implementation of the Future Land Use Plan,” Dennis said in his letter of interest. “To improve our economic trajectory, we need to improve our ability to attract and retain young professionals. As a member of this demographic, I recently made the decision to purchase a home and start a family here. Too many of my peers choose places like Findlay, Perrysburg or Toledo.” Eric Eberly, 865 Parker St., is the executive chef at Nazareth Hall, a Realtor, and has an associate degree in business. Eberly is also the founding member and treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Wood County. “As a local Realtor, chef and entrepreneur, I am dedicated to a successful, growing and prosperous city,” he stated. “I…


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 on farming sources. “We all have responsibility,” said State Rep. Steve Arndt of Ottawa and Erie counties. The problem is caused by failed septic systems, community wastewater system deficiencies, and agricultural runoff. “There just simply is not enough money,” to tackle the problem without turning to science to pinpoint the sources, Arndt said. The local officials asked about aging and failing water systems that need replacement, but are not affordable for most communities. “We definitely should do more,” Gardner said. “Isn’t it amazing that we live next to one of the most important fresh water sources” yet parts of the region have very high water rates and bicker over their systems. Gardner went on to say he had proposed a billion dollar clean water bond issue that did not garner ample support to progress this year. “That is not going to happen in 2016,” he said. Michigan State Rep. Jason Sheppard said his state shares in the problem of aging infrastructure, with the city of Flint still having some wooden water mains. “It’s an ongoing problem,” Sheppard said. “How can we as a state prop up these municipalities?” Sheehy said when he travels across the country, people are aware of Northwest Ohio’s water problems. He suggested Ohio consider enacting a 2-cent a gallon tax on water, like other states to make improvements to its water systems. “Communities are doing their parts. They need help from the state level and also federal,” Sheehy said. Gardner said he feels more hopeful of progress on water improvements since former State Rep. Tim Brown has taken over as head of TMACOG, and the Sylvania mayor is leading the water effort for TMACOG. “I think…


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 to working with constituents and my new colleagues in the days to come.” The 3rd House District includes all of Wood County.