Pass the turkey – not food poisoning – on Thanksgiving

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Sure, Butterball has a turkey hotline for novice Thanksgiving cooks on Thursday. But it’s doubtful that their emergency operators have to tell many people not to use the hot cycle of the dishwasher to thaw out their frozen turkeys. That was one bit of advice dished out by the Wood County Health District to a local food establishment years ago. When asked last week for some tips on how Thanksgiving hosts can prepare a feast without poisoning their guests, the restaurant inspectors revisited some unforgettable turkey tragedies. In many cases, restaurants want to serve up all the holiday favorites, but just don’t have room to safely thaw out giant turkeys in their refrigerators. So they devise some creative methods. Registered sanitarian Julie Nye told about the turkeys thawing in a mop sink. That’s a no-no. Then there was the turkey in the dishwasher, with the appliance working double time to also wash all the vegetables for the trimmings. “They thought it would thaw faster,” Nye said. “There are creative ways to thaw that become a public health nightmare.” The best advice is to plan ahead, so the bird has time to thaw in the refrigerator. If you find your turkey still slightly frozen on Thanksgiving morning, don’t panic. It is safe to place a turkey under cold running water to help it thaw, registered sanitarian Jillian Bodey said. Following are more safety tips from the health district sanitarians, so your guests don’t…

Read More

Library to host panel on drug crisis, Sept. 13

On Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm the Wood County District Public Library will host a panel discussion on heroin and opioid use and addiction and their impact on our community. Panelists include Sen. Randy Gardner; BGPD Chief Tony Hetrick; Charlie Hughes of Northwest Community Corrections Center; Solace of NW Ohio’s Belinda Brooks; and Aimee Coe of the Zepf Center. Learn what is being done locally to fight this epidemic, and what you as a community member can do to help. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5050.

Pro-choice campus group to protest HerChoice march

FORCE at BGSU will hold a protest of HerChoice’s annual “Life Changes Everything” fundraising walk Saturday, Sept. 9, at 8:30 a.m. 531 Ridge St., Bowling Green. The protest will start on the sidewalk across from HerChoice and follow alongside them as they walk for two miles. (Their registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the walk starts at 9.) Donations for the Aggie Fund,  a local fund that s  financially assists those who are seeking an abortion but are unable to raise the full amount. According to the protest organizers: “HerChoice—a pregnancy center in Bowling Green—advertises free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds to students, but they do not provide unbiased care. They are a Christian organization with the goal of ending abortion, which they claim has ‘devastating effects’ on women.”

Protestors in BG won’t let Portman forget vote to repeal Obamacare

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Other controversies and crises may have knocked the continuing fight over the Affordable Care Act out of the headlines, but for some citizens it is not a dead issue: it is an issue of life or death issue. About a dozen protestors gathered at Wooster Green in Bowling Green Thursday late afternoon to send a message to U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. The gathering was organized by several liberal groups – For Ohio’s Future Action Fund, Indivisible OH5, and “This demonstration is to remind people that this fight to protect the ACA is not over,” said Jeremy Bernstein, from For Ohio’s Future Action Fund. Public health care is a “great, great value” for children, elderly and disabled. Dennis Slotnick, another organizer, said the protest was meant as a reproach to Portman, whom the group had earlier praised for voting against the House version of repeal and replace. Then when the issue came before the Senate again, he voted for the so-called Obamacare-light proposal. Slotnick said he felt Portman still “has it in him” to continue to support health care for the public. “But he has to be disciplined in some ways by his constituents.” he said. The group planned to send a letter with a photo of the protest. Several of them spoke of their own experiences with the Affordable Care Act. For Melissa Kritzell, Findlay, having the coverage under the ACA when she was being treated for ovarian cancer saved her life. She…

Opiates bring addicts to their knees; recovery programs help them stand again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Matt Bell knew he had hit rock bottom when he called the police. “I had a gun in my mouth,” he said Thursday to the crowd of people gathered to hear about the opiate crisis and the steps being taken locally to stop it. It had taken Bell several years to get to that point. He had led a charmed childhood, with a loving family, earning straight As in school and competing as a star athlete in three sports. Bell was so squeaky clean that he broke up with his first girlfriend because she smoked cigarettes. Bell went to college on an athletic scholarship for baseball, and had three professional teams scouting him. But that all changed when he tore his rotator cuff and was prescribed 90 percocets. Ninety percent of the time, opiate addictions start with prescribed pain pills, he said. He was hooked. “The pills got too expensive, so I switched over to heroin,” Bell said. The dealer gave him his first hit of heroin for free – knowing Bell would be back. Bell shared his story about opiates, along with health officials who are trying to find answers, a mom who nearly lost her daughter to opiates, and a court official who helped put together a program to help inmates avoid the drugs when they leave jail. “Opiates, heroin specifically, is what brought me to my knees,” Bell said. He tried rehab many times, overdosed three times, and was…

Norovirus in doughnuts suspected in sickening local residents

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   About 30 cases of possible norovirus from doughnuts are being investigated in Wood County. More than 200 people have reportedly been sickened by a fast spreading norovirus outbreak that started at a Maumee doughnut shop. Lucas County Health Department began investigating after patients reporting stomach flu symptoms were found to have eaten food from Mama C’s Donuts, 924 Conant St. The Wood County Health District is investigating if the approximately dozen illnesses reported to its office this week are a result of the norovirus, according to Alex Aspacher, spokesperson for the health district. At least two Wood County business – one being Grounds for Thought, on South Main Street in Bowling Green – purchase doughnuts from Mama C’s, and has purged its shop of the pastries. “Grounds has done everything they needed to do,” Aspacher said. “They have been very cooperative.” The virus, which causes stomach flu like symptoms, spreads very easily, he said. So Grounds for Thought has been working closely with health district staff. Kelly Wicks, who owns Grounds with his wife Laura, said the product was pulled and staff sanitized as instructed. “We’re working with them very closely,” he said of the health district. Wicks said the owners of Mama C’s are very conscientious and hard-working. “I feel bad for the owner of Mama C’s,” he said this morning. Ground for Thought has found the doughnut shop to be very dependable and plans to continue serving the business’ goods….

Help for those caught up in opiate epidemic: Call 211

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County has all types of services for people dealing with the opiates epidemic – for addicts trying to kick it, for families struggling as they watch, for schools trying to prevent opiate use before it begins, and for physicians who prescribe opiates. But if people aren’t aware of the services – they may as well not exist. So here is the one number they all need to know – 211. “We’ve done a lot to try to reduce the barriers,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. “In a nutshell, 211. Call 211.” Clemons said it became glaringly obvious to him over the last month or two, when a number of local agencies were not aware of the resources open to Wood County residents facing the opiate epidemic. So last week, Clemons and some members of his agency and board met with the county commissioners about helping them reach people in need. “We’re trying to get the word out,” he said. “Help is here.” As an example, Clemons said that Wood County’s recovery housing program for male opiate addicts often has open slots. “A lot of times people are in need, but they aren’t aware of services,” he said. Clemons asked if small brochures, stressing the need to dial 211, could be placed at every desk of county employees who take calls from the public. The brochures are already being carried…