Scooby Doo, Chief Wiggum, Professor Snape get votes for Wood County sheriff

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some people take voting very seriously. Others, not so much. Some apparently see it as an opportunity to show their creative side. In the primary election earlier this month, Wood County residents voting on the Democratic ballot were given the chance to fill in a write-in candidate for sheriff. Retired deputy Ruth Babel-Smith was running as a write-in candidate, but many voters were thinking way outside the box. Some voters at least stuck with people with law enforcement experience – however questionable it might be. Getting one vote each were Barney Fife, the bumbling deputy from Mayberry RFD; Chief Wiggum, the lazy incompetent police chief in The Simpsons, and Roscoe P. Coltrane, the corrupt sheriff from the Dukes of Hazzard. “I was just disappointed Boss Hogg didn’t get it,” said Mike Zickar, of the Wood County Board of Elections. A few cartoon type characters garnered single votes like Alfred E. Newman, of Mad magazine covers; Fred Flintstone, of the prehistoric town of Bedrock; and Scooby Doo, the canine with the mystery solving gang of meddling kids. Mickey Mouse got 4 votes – 5 if you count the voter who just wrote “Mickey.” Garnering one vote was Disney’s Sheriff Callie, an animated cat who rides a blue pony enforcing the “Cowpoke Code” in the Old West. Some voters went big, writing national political figures like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Some preferred to stay local, casting votes for Chip Myles, of Myles Pizza; Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman; and Jim Weinandy, a local attorney. A few voters put their confidence in celebrity figures who had proven their power on stage or screen, such as Professor Snape, from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts; Jean-Luc Picard, captain on Star Trek: The Next Generation; and shock rocker Alice Cooper. Some write-ins had pizzazz, but seemed to lack any political seriousness, like Hypnotoad, the large toad with oscillating eyes and a droning hum from Futurama; Vermin Supreme, a presidential candidate who wears a wizard hat and long beard, and promises free ponies; and Deez Nutz, a satirical presidential candidate. By the way, Mr. Supreme and Mr. Nuts got two write-in votes each. Some voters preferred the more literate types, writing down George Orwell, author of Animal Farm; Hunter Thompson, of gonzo-journalism fame; and Rosa Clemente, community organizer and hip hop activist….

Streets to be closed for waterline work

On Monday, March 28, B.Hillz Excavating will begin work on the waterline located on Clough Street between South Prospect and South Summit streets. During this work, the following traffic changes will occur: South Summit Street.: No parking will be allowed on the 100 block of South Summit Street, Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. By 10 a.m. on March 28, two-way traffic will be allowed on this block, which is a change from the normal one-way (southbound) traffic. Two-way traffic will remain through Wednesday, March 30, depending on weather and progress of work. Clough St.: On Monday, March 28, 7 a.m. Clough Street will close from South Main to South Summit Street to install a new valve in the Clough/Prospect intersection. Once work is complete in the intersection, Clough Street from South Main to South Prospect will re-open along with the South Prospect/Clough intersection. Clough Street, from South Prospect to South Summit, will remain closed to thru traffic Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. After 6 p.m., this portion of Clough Street will open to westbound traffic only. Residents are encouraged to call the Public Works Department (419-354-6227) or visit the city’s website for more information or with questions.

State of Wood County – steady and solid

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County’s annual checkup showed a healthy region with more jobs being created, more teamwork being touted, and more tax revenues coming in to support services. The state of the county address, held this morning in the courthouse atrium, painted a rosy picture of the past year and the one ahead. “The past year was one of progress and change in Wood County,” said Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw, who presented the program with fellow commissioners Joel Kuhlman and Craig LaHote. Finances are staying steady. “Throughout the recession, Wood County remained fiscally strong,” Herringshaw said. Increases in revenue from property tax, sales tax and the casino tax are helping to compensate for loss in revenue from Local Government Funds and investment income. The commissioners recently approved a budget with annual appropriations totaling $40,628,105 – nearly $900,000 more than the previous year’s appropriations. Those solid finances have allowed the county to pay cash for some capital projects, such as the $2.9 million jail expansion and $1 million updates at Wood Haven Health Care. It has also allowed the county to retain its good bond rating, Herringshaw said. The commissioners have made wise use of the casino tax revenue, she said, by using it to fund bridge designs. This year, the revenue will pay for seven bridge projects throughout the county. Kuhlman listed off successes at several businesses in the county, with many new jobs being created. Those included First Solar which is adding 250 jobs, Fed Ex which is adding 262 jobs, Home Depot which is creating 500 jobs, CSX which has added 30 jobs, plus expansions at Schutz Container, O-I, and the building of Costco in Perrysburg. “Wood County’s economy has continued to improve,” Kuhlman said. He cited efforts to work with local trade unions and Penta Career Center’s new robotics lab. Successes were touted at Wood County Child Support Enforcement Agency which was recognized for increased collections, the Auditor’s Office for gaining state recognition, and Job and Family Services whose director Dave Wigent was honored at the state level. Teamwork was seen with the county dispatching now working with Lake, Walbridge and North Baltimore departments. Building inspection permits are up, the Portage River project may get underway soon, and renovations at the dog shelter will be completed this year. The fiscal status of the county is…

Park levy need not questioned, but more millage may pose problems

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   BG officials did not question the need for a new parks and recreation levy Monday evening. They did, however, question the chances of the millage increase passing on the November ballot. City council’s finance committee listened to BG Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley as she made the pitch for a 2-mill property tax levy lasting five years. Since the proposed levy is an increased amount from the current 1.4-mill levy, the council committee felt the need to scrutinize the request. Otley explained that the parks and rec program has not seen a levy increase in 16 years. In the meantime, the program has grown in acreage, facilities and programming. “We’ve added so much in 16 years,” Otley said. “The things we added were all things the community was asking for and wanted to see.” Also during that 16-year period, several maintenance projects were deferred. “A lot of things have been put off,” Otley said. For example, the Veterans Building in City Park is in great need of repairs. The parking lot at Simpson Garden Park has serious pothole problems. The park land has grown to 333 acres, including the new Ridge Park. And the 10-year-old community center is in need of maintenance. The three members of the finance committee, Robert McOmber, Michael Aspacher and Theresa Charters Gavarone, did not dispute the need for the additional millage. But they expressed concern that if voters don’t support the levy, that the department will be left with no levy revenue since the current levy has expired. “It’s the first time we’ve gotten ourselves in a position where we only have one shot,” at the levy, McOmber said. “People don’t have to vote yes just because you need it.” McOmber suggested that perhaps other options should be considered rather than the 2-mill levy, such as a lesser 1.8-mill levy, or two levies that add up to 2 mills. In that case, if voters feel they can’t afford the entire 2 mills, they may at least continue supporting the original 1.4-mill amount. “I don’t think that’s a slam dunk,” McOmber said of the levy’s chances. He also expressed concern about the levy sharing the ballot with the presidential race. “There are angry voters out there.” But Nadine Edwards, a member of the park levy committee, said the city can market the…

Large item trash pickup this week

A large item pick-up, to collect items which are too heavy or of such composition or configuration that they cannot be placed in the regular weekly  refuse collection containers, will be held this week. All items should be placed curbside on Monday to ensure pick-up.  There will only be one pick-up for each location and, once the crews leave a street, they will not return. NOTE: Pickup is by WARD and NOT by your normal refuse collection day. City Crews will collect the Large Items throughout the City independent of the normal refuse collection schedule. As with the City’s residential refuse collection program, this special collection is only for one and two family dwellings on public streets, per city ordinance. Mattresses/box springs will be collected for an additional fee. The fee is $25 for the first mattress or box spring and $15 per mattress or box spring thereafter up to a total of 3. The fee must be paid prior to collection at 304 N Church St- Public Works. Phone: 419-354-6227. Note that refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers are not eligible for collection.  By law, the city is not authorized to pick up building materials, construction or demolition refuse, sod, and rocks.  For a fee, property owners may dispose of these items at the Wood County Landfill on State Route 6. Additional information can be found at

Wood County voters support Kasich and Sanders; Reger wins Republican primary for judge seat

By BG Independent News Wood County voters joined the rest of Ohio in helping hand Ohio Gov. John Kasich a win in his race for the Republican presidential nomination. On the Democratic side, Wood County voters gave more support to Senator Bernie Sanders, though Hillary Clinton captured the state overall. Of Wood County’s 89,280 registered voters, 36,640, or 41 percent, cast ballots for the primary . Here is how Wood County voted in the primary election. DEMOCRATIC BALLOT President (delegates-at-large and alternates-at-large to national convention) Hillary Clinton: 6,108 (45.76%) Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente: 75 (0.56%) Bernie Sanders: 7,165 (53.68%) United States Senate Kelli Prather: 1,628 (13.47%) G. Sittenfeld: 3,006 (24.86%) Ted Strickland: 7,456 (61.67%) Fifth U.S. Congressional District James Neu Jr.: 9,346 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court John P. O’Donnell: 8,383 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court Cynthia Rice: 8,584 Second Ohio Senate District Kirk W. Halliday: 8,473 Third Ohio House District David Walters: 8,585 Sixth District Court of Appeals Jack R. Puffenberger: 8,278 Sixth District Court of Appeals Mark L. Pietrykowski: 8,697 Wood County Common Pleas Judge Steve Long: 8,569 Wood County Commissioner (term commencing 1/2/2017) Edward A. Kolanko: 7,902 Wood County Commissioner (term commencing 1/3/2017) Joel M. Kuhlman: 8,754 Wood County Recorder Julie L. Baumgardner: 9,232 Wood County Sheriff Ruth J. Babel-Smith (write-in): 684 Wood County Treasurer Jason Hartigan: 8,708   GREEN PARTY BALLOT United States Senate Joseph R. DeMare: 74   REPUBLICAN BALLOT President (for delegates-at-large and alternates-at-large to national convention) Jeb Bush: 74 (0.33%) Ben Carson: 190 (0.84%) Chris Christie: 31 (0.14%) Ted Cruz: 3,718 (16.44%) Carly Fiorina: 27 (0.12%) Mike Huckabee: 49 (0.22%) John R. Kasich: 10,968 (48.48%) Marco Rubio: 638 (2.82%) Rick Santorum: 16 (0.07%) Donald J. Trump: 6,911 (30.55%) President (for district delegates and district alternates) Jeb Bush: 135 (0.63%) Ben Carson: 343 (1.61%) Chris Christie: 64 (0.3%) Ted Cruz: 3,592 (16.89%) Carly Fiorina: 64 (0.3%) John R. Kasich: 10,003 (47.04%) Marco Rubio: 749 (3.52%) Rick Santorum: 43 (0.2%) Donald J. Trump: 6,270 (29.49%) United States Senate Don Elijah Eckhart: 2,557 Rob Portman: 13,732 United States Congress Bob Latta: 18,380 Chief Justice of Ohio Supreme Court Maureen O’Connor: 16,035 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court Pat Fischer: 8,357 Colleen Mary O’Toole: 6,981 Justice of Ohio Supreme Court Pat DeWine: 15,676 Second Ohio Senate District Randy Gardner: 17,787 Third Ohio House District Tim W. Brown: 16,869 Wood County Common Pleas…

Door-to-door dog license checks to start

The Wood County Dog Shelter will commence door-to-door dog license enforcement checks in the coming weeks. The goal is to identify unregistered and unlicensed dogs within the county, inform the public regarding the Ohio dog license and registration laws, and facilitate registration and licensing of dogs. Staff from the Dog Shelter will be visiting homes throughout the county to ensure that dogs are licensed. The Ohio Revised Code requires every person immediately upon becoming the owner, keeper or harborer of a dog, more than three months of age, or brought from outside the state during the year, to register and license the dog with the county auditor of the county in which the dog resides. If the registration is not obtained in accordance with the law, a penalty will be assessed in an amount equal to the registration fee for one year. The following registration types and fees are available: Registration Type 2016 Registration Fee Penalty Fee Annual License $14.00 $14.00 Three Year License $42.00 $14.00 Permanent License $140.00 $14.00 Kennel License $70.00 $70.00   To purchase a dog license contact the Wood County Auditor’s Office at 419.354.9150, the Wood County Dog Shelter at 419.354.9242, or visit the Wood County website at to purchase a dog license on-line.  

Local Republicans rally around party – with no mention of Trump

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly 400 area Republicans were given their marching orders Saturday evening – make phone calls, knock on doors and vote. But they weren’t told which candidate to cast their ballots for in Tuesday’s primary, with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s name never mentioned during the speeches at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. While it may have been left open which candidate to support, it was made very clear who to defeat. Keynote speaker Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz hammered the Democrats for failed actions in Benghazi, dishonesty by the IRS, and blunders by the Secret Service. “Everyday I feel like I’m in a cesspool fighting against people who don’t care about doing the best for the people of America,” Chaffetz said Saturday evening at the dinner. Chaffetz, who believes in limited government and was in the spotlight recently for taking on Planned Parenthood, urged fellow Republicans to take a stand in next Tuesday’s primary election in Ohio. “This is ground zero. What you do really, really matters,” he said. Neither Latta or Chaffetz mentioned Trump during their prepared remarks. When approached before their speeches, Chaffetz said he supports Marco Rubio for president, but more importantly, he wants the Republicans to take back the White House. “I want to win,” Chaffetz said. “I want the most conservative person we can find to beat Hillary Clinton. We can’t afford to lose the White House again.” Chaffetz attributed Trump’s success with voters to the nation’s demand for change. “I think the country is beyond frustration with President Obama,” he said. “They know it’s off track.” Chaffetz wasn’t ready to throw his support to Trump yet, saying the party still has four viable candidates. “Ohio’s up next. They are on deck.” Latta agreed, saying his constituents want something new. And Trump fits that bill. “Nobody’s like Donald Trump,” he said. “If I go to the grocery store, people come up to me. People just want something different. He’s a total outsider. A lot of people think he’s viable.” And elections are the time for Americans to act on “peaceful revolutions” by voting for change, Latta said. “We’ve got our marching orders here in Ohio,” Latta said to the crowd. “We cannot have a third term of Barack Obama. We cannot afford it.” “The regulations coming out from…

Ohioans to play a big role in presidential primary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Ohioans watch primary election results roll in from around the nation, they may be wondering if their votes will count for much during Ohio’s primary next Tuesday. Absolutely, say three local political science professors. “It’s definitely not too late to play a significant role in the primary,” said Melissa Miller, of Bowling Green State University’s political science department. Though it’s not Super Tuesday, next Tuesday offers candidates a chance to pick up some big delegate counts. Primaries will be held in Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Ohio. Both Ohio and Florida are being watched closely, not just because each has a Republican home candidate, but also because both are winner-take-all states. So whoever wins Florida walks away with 99 delegates and whoever wins Ohio takes home 66 delegates. With that in mind, Nicole Kalaf-Hughes, also from BGSU’s political science department, is expecting a big voter turnout in Ohio. “I would hope so,” she said. “I think people are really tuned into the election here.” If Donald Trump were to lose to Kasich in Ohio and Rubio in Florida, he would have to work even harder to get enough delegates to get the Republican nomination outright, according to David Jackson, also from BGSU’s political science department. All three political science professors have been startled by Trump’s success wooing voters. “It’s been a pretty big surprise,” Jackson said. “They think he’s the solution to the country’s problems,” Miller said of Trump supporters. Establishment Republicans, however, view Trump as a threat to their party. So much so that the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, laid out a strategy last week for the party to knock Trump off his pedestal. And Ohio is part of that plan. The “anyone but Trump” strategy calls on Ohio voters to cast ballots for Kasich and Florida voters to support Rubio. Neither will gain great ground, but it may be enough to cause a brokered convention, where no one candidate goes in as the automatic winner. “It’s pretty much too late to try to unite behind a single delegate,” to defeat Trump, Miller said. The plan is not a “viable strategy,” but rather an “available strategy,” Miller said. “They were too slow to wake up to the Donald Trump insurgency.” With a new push by the Republican establishment against Trump, the chances…

Bill allows terminally ill to use drugs awaiting FDA approval

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A bill has passed the Ohio House that would allow terminally ill patients to use drugs still in the trial period by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Bowling Green, co-sponsored House Bill 290, which is also known as the “Right to Try” legislation. The bill passed the House after testimony was presented by people whose dying family members may have benefited by having access to the drugs, he said. The law will allow Ohioans who are suffering from a terminal illness to have increased access to investigational drugs, biological products, or devices that have passed Phase I of an FDA clinical trial and will remain in ongoing trials. The access must come with the recommendation of their treating physician and another physician. “We’re not talking about something that’s not tested,” but rather drugs that are still in the lengthy trial periods with the FDA, Brown said earlier this week. “The drugs we’re talking about have already gone through the first rounds of FDA trials.” If the Ohio Senate passes the bill, Ohio will join 24 other states that already allow access to such medications. Currently, Ohio citizens can travel to those other states to get the drugs, but cannot access them here in Ohio. “This bill will expand treatment opportunities for Ohio’s terminally ill residents.  Far too often, patients who were previously unable to access potentially lifesaving medications in Ohio sought medical assistance in other states.  This bill will eliminate additional financial and emotional burdens and will provide options in Ohio for patients who desperately need it,” Brown said. Currently, the FDA offers an expanded access program, which allows terminally ill individuals to access investigational medications. However there are only about 1,000 annual participants and the application process is burdensome. This legislation does not require doctors to provide their patients with investigational drugs, but creates an opportunity not previously available to terminally ill patients and their physicians. House Bill 290 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.