Health

BG dental office offers ‘Stars, Stripes & Smiles’ for veterans

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A Bowling Green dental office is hoping to bring smiles to the faces of local veterans next month. Free dental treatment will be offered to veterans on May 12 through the Stars, Stripes and Smiles program at Drs. Phipps, Levin and Hebeka, at 970 W. Wooster St. The care will be provided from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., on a first come, first serve basis. The dentists and staff will perform dental cleanings, fillings and extractions. The entire staff will spend the whole day providing care to area veterans. “We’re trying to serve as many people as we possibly can,” said Dr. Ryan Phipps, who has worked with the Stars, Stripes and Smiles program in Toledo with Dr. Rick Hires, a Navy veteran, who started the program. “It was very near and dear to his heart to give veterans dental care,” Phipps said. “It’s a real unmet need.” The Veterans Administration provides dental care only to those who are 100 percent disabled, were prisoners of war, or who received an injury affecting their dental health while serving. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 30 percent of uninsured veterans have not received needed dental care because they can’t afford it. Homeless veterans rank dental care as their third unmet need, right after housing and childcare. Phipps has worked with the Stars, Stripes and Smiles program for four years with Hires office in Toledo, and decided to try it this year in the Bowling Green office. The Toledo office averaged 120 veterans each year. “It’s tremendous. Every year I come away feeling like…

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Ziggython getting ready to roll along

  By ALYSSA ALFANO BG Independent Student Contributor Twenty-four hours of dancing, 120 miles of biking and many months of fundraising all for the benefit of children and families at Mercy Children’s Hospital in Toledo. Participating students attend monthly meetings, fundraise, and in April, they participate in 24 hours of dancing at Ziggython, three days of biking from Cincinnati to Bowling Green, or 12 hours of gaming to bring the fundraiser to a close. This year’s Ziggython will be begin Saturday, April 8, at 6 p.m.,  and continue through April 9 at 6 p.m. i Perry Field House o the Bowling Green State University campus Nicole Masjlo, a sophomore at BGSU and Morale Captain for Dance Marathon, encourages students interested in Dance Marathon to find out the different ways to get involved and raise money by checking the organization’s social media pages. As a Morale Captain, Masjlo and the other captains make sure that the different organizations and dancers involved are keeping up with their fundraising.  In addition, they help dancers and other participants stay energized and excited throughout the event. Masjlo says that Dance Marathon works with surrounding high schools to hold mini-marathons where the students can go to have fun, dance, and raise money for the cause. Dancers are required to raise money for the organization before Ziggython.  When they reach a certain monetary goal, participants can earn rewards and incentives such as time to sit, a nap, time to shower and more. In addition, vendors come and sell promotional items such as t-shirts and headbands to raise money for the cause.  Friends of dancers can also come…


Rally at Latta’s office planned to mark birthday of Obamacare

Concerned citizens in Ohio Congressional District 5 will rally at Representative Bob Latta’s Bowling Green office and meet with staff to express support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on its seventh anniversary.  The rally and meeting will take place on March 23 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. at 1045 N. Main Street, Bowling Green. The “ACA Birthday Party” is being led by Indivisible District 5 and is one of many such events taking place in nearly every district across the state on Thursday. Rep. Latta still has not held a public, in-person town hall to hear constituents’ concerns about the House Republicans’ healthcare replacement bill – which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will result in 24 million Americans losing healthcare coverage over the next 10 years.


Optimal Aging Institute offers Ukulele for Beginners class

From OPTIMAL AGING INSTITUTE Bowling Green State University’s Optimal Aging Institute will offer a two-session Ukulele for Beginners class, co-sponsored by Bowling Green Parks and Recreation. The program will take place on March 22 and 29 from 10:30 a.m. until noon at the Simpson Garden Community Center at 1291 Conneaut Ave. Learn how to strum, play a few chords, and sing familiar songs, all in a fun and relaxing environment with Lisa Gruenhagen, Ph.D. Dr. Gruenhagen is an associate professor of music education at BGSU. While studying flute and music education at Eastman School of Music, she became involved with the New Horizons International Music Association, which provides entry points to music making for adults that are age 50 and over. Gruenhagen has been playing the ukulele for approximately five years and has taught people of all ages. Along with other basics she will be teaching how to hold and tune the ukulele as well as how to balance playing within the group regardless of experience level. “Music makes you think. Music is thinking in sound. You are thinking about fingerings, chords, playing in tune, and balancing your sound with others. While playing ukulele, you are strumming to the pulse and might also be singing, coordinating all of these things at once. Actively making music strengthens muscles and can help build memory,” Gruenhagen says. The purpose of this program is to learn new musical skills as well as have fun. Ukulele is relatively easy to learn, only one or two fingers are required for some chords, and it is small and lightweight, according to Gruenhagen. Learning an instrument later in life…


Gambling problems reach into college population

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   A study conducted last summer by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board showed that 4.3 percent of those surveyed showed some tendency toward disordered gambling behavior. The study was done while first-year students were on campus before the semester started, said Lorrie Lewandowski, ADAMHS associate director. The survey found males more likely to indicate problem gambling tendencies than females. The study is an ongoing effort to study disordered gambling, prompted by the opening of four casinos in 2012 in Ohio, including the Hollywood Casino Toledo, just over the Wood County line. The constitutional amendment that approved the casinos requires they provided 2 percent of their gross revenues to combatting problem gambling. In 2016, $5.4 million was generated for those efforts, according to the state’s casino control commission. But casinos are just one gambling option. The Ohio Lottery offers a variety of games that are widely available. ADAMHS figures show there are more than 115 licensed lottery retailers in Wood County who sold over $24 million worth of lottery products in 2014. About 2,000 online gambling sites exist, most operating illegally. Lewandowski said the ADAMHS board is focusing on three groups, teenagers up to age 18, college age youth, and senior citizens. They are the groups most in danger of developing gambling disorders. The board employs Bill Ivoska to consult on developing local data. If the board is charged with addressing local problems then it needs local information, she said. Ivoska recently co-authored a scholarly article based in part on Wood County data that showed while lottery games such…


Health district aims high for public health goal

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Health District has a pretty lofty goal for local residents. “We’re striving to be the healthiest county in Ohio,” Health Commissioner Ben Batey said Thursday to a meeting of the Wood County District Advisory Council – representing the municipalities and townships in the county. In order to improve local public health, the district has set some lofty goals for itself. In addition to all the environmental and nursing services already provided, the district plans to focus on the priority issues of obesity, mental health, youth violence and bullying, and health care access. Dental care will also be a priority for the health district, with the use of an $820,000 federal grant to build a dental center onto the existing health district building on East Gypsy Lane Road. Medicaid dental services have long been identified as a serious need in the county. The new dental clinic, which will have five examine chairs, is expected to be open by the beginning of 2018. Though the number of projected clients is unknown, Batey said of the 1,300 health center patients surveyed, 75 percent said they would be interested in using the dental services. Batey also noted that the county’s Net Plus program now offers transportation to medical appointments for any Wood County residents. “We have set a standard in Ohio,” for good medical access, Batey said. “We tackle these issues that other counties are really struggling with.” The success of the health district was recognized last year when the agency received national accreditation. “That was a very proud moment for us,” Batey…


Efforts underway to find leaking septic systems

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though sewer lines are inching their way across Wood County, there are still an estimated 14,000 homes that continue to rely on septic systems. An estimated half of those are failing and leaking raw sewage. By later this year, all 26 municipalities in Wood County will have public sewers. But many homes in rural areas don’t have that option.  And many may not be aware their septic systems are failing. “’Working fine’ is they flush the toilet and it goes away,” said Lana Glore, Wood County Health District environmental division director. But the question is – where does the sewage go? Since the average life expectancy of a septic system is 30 years, Glore said it’s possible that as many as 7,000 septic systems are sending sewage into public waterways. “In an ideal world, we’d have everybody sewered,” she said. Because aging and failing septic systems are a problem statewide, the Ohio Department of Health wants local health departments to examine every system. The Wood County Health Division already has a septic system operation and maintenance plan, but it is on a much smaller level, Glore said. Inspections of systems are complaint-driven or prompted by real estate sales. Since many older septic systems were installed without permits, they have likely never been inspected. “The first step is going to be playing catch up,” Glore said. “Where are our critical areas?” The health district consults with the Northwestern Water and Sewer District to see if plans exist to extend sewer services to problem areas. The health district works with the county building inspection…