Health

Finding the recipe to cure food inspection issues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Though the Wood County Health District has the power to shut down restaurants, the preferred outcome is that food establishments clean up their acts instead. When health sanitarians come across restaurants with serious issues, many of the violations are corrected on the spot. To make sure the problems have been solved, repeat inspections are often conducted. “It’s based on the severity of the violations,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the Wood County Health District. Inspectors are sticklers for food temperatures and other issues that can lead to public health risks. The sanitarians’ biggest tool is education. But if that doesn’t clear up the problems, then restaurant owners can be called in for administrative hearings at the health district office. If the violations are serious enough, an injunction or restraining order can be issued. “Ben has the right to order immediate closure,” Glore said of Ben Batey, the county health commissioner. “Our expectation is the food license holders are responsible for knowing the rules,” Glore said. “We hold that license owner responsible for training people.” But before any license is yanked, the sanitarians will make multiple attempts to educate the owner and those in the kitchen. Sometimes there are language and cultural barriers involved. The health district has learned that the biggest cultural gap appears to occur with some Asian restaurants. “We offer handouts in Mandarin Chinese,” Glore said of the educational materials. “That’s the language that seems to be the biggest barrier.” The Wood County Health District has not had to hold an administrative hearing on a local restaurant since 2015, involving Charlie’s in Perrysburg. Glore said that restaurant agreed to a “last chance agreement” and has been doing well. But sanitarians are always on the lookout for restaurants that have ongoing critical violations. “We have a couple on our radar right now,” Glore said. The intent isn’t to shut places down, but clean them up, she stressed. In Bowling Green, one of the food establishments with the most critical violations recently is the…


Optimal Aging Institute launching initiative to tackle opioid problems among older population

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even in retirement, Nancy Orel stuck by some of a gerontologist’s favorite reading – obituaries and the coroner’s report. In the listing from the coroner’s office, she noticed something interesting. Of the six people listed as dying from opioid overdoses, three, were over 50. Yet when she went to see what programs were available to help address the toll the opioid epidemic is taking on older Americans, she couldn’t find any. She mention it to those engaged in the battle against opioid addiction, and they would not have given older Americans any thought. True the greatest number of addicts are under 50, but the rates of addiction and abuse are raising faster among those 54 and older. The federal Center for Disease Control doesn’t even keep tabs on how many older Americans die from opioids, she said. (The Wood County Health District does a better job, she said.) So when interim Dean Sue Houston, of Bowling Green State University, called Orel in to see if she maybe wanted to come out of retirement, she said “yes.” She’d retired as associate dean of the College of Health and Human Services less than a year before. Though she was enjoying retirement, she saw something more needed to be done. Orel told Houston that when she first proposed creating the Optimal Aging Institute it was to promote the research being done at BGSU on aging related issues, and foster more research. The Optimal Aging Institute was launched in March 2016 with a $1 million grant from Medical Mutual of Ohio. In November Orel took on the newly created position of executive director of research for the institute. That represents a shift at the institute. The institute will continue its focus on the aging in place and age-friendly communities under executive director Paula Davis working with the Wood County Committee on Aging. Denise Niese, executive director of the Committee on Aging, said the two groups have worked in tandem on programming, and now all programs will be offered in conjunction with the committee…


How to protect people, pets and pipes against the cold

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   We might as well get used to it. The cold dipped down to minus 4 degrees early this morning, and temperatures aren’t expected to get to 20 or above for another week. For some, the frigid temperatures are more than a cause for discomfort. The brittle cold can lead to burst pipes, frozen paws, frostbitten fingers and car problems. Some professionals in Bowling Green accustomed to dealing with the complications of cold weather offered some advice on how to protect people, pets, pipes and vehicles during these frigid temperatures. First, how people can prevent harm to themselves … “I wouldn’t be out more than a half hour at a time,” said Kevin Hosley, registered nurse at Wood County Hospital Emergency Department. And bundle up. “Any exposed skin should be covered.” People with lung problems or the elderly should avoid being out in this brittle cold, Hosley added. The most serious risk to humans is hypothermia, when the body’s temperature drops dangerously low, said Alex Aspacher, community outreach coordinator with the Wood County Health District. “Basically, your body starts to lose heat faster than it can replace it,” Aspacher said. One symptom of hypothermia is confusion, so “somebody might not know they have it,” he added. Hunters and homeless people are susceptible, but in these frigid temperatures some people are at risk even if they aren’t outside. Especially vulnerable are babies or older people in very cold homes. “Older people lose body heat faster” and babies aren’t able to generate heat the way others can to keep themselves warm, Aspacher said. If hypothermia is suspected, the person’s temperature should be taken. If below 95 degrees, 911 should be called, he said. Any wet clothing should be removed, and the person should be placed in a warm room and bundled in blankets – an electric blanket if available. The other risk with the cold is frostbite, when skin is exposed, commonly on the face, hands and feet. Aspacher explained that in frigid weather, the body prioritizes which areas to…


Do’s & don’ts of talking with loved ones with dementia

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The room was crowded with people desperately seeking ways to connect with loved ones who have dementia. The secret, the speaker said, is to stop expecting people with dementia to be who they used to be. Belinda Cytlak, a memory care consultant with Waugh Consulting, recently presented a program at Wood Haven Health Care on how to communicate with people who have dementia. When Cytlak asked how many in the audience know someone with dementia, every person raised a hand. “The family and friends have the toughest time,” she said. Cytlak spoke from experience, with her mother having dementia. “The hardest thing was to give up who my mom was,” she said. That doesn’t mean giving up on loved ones, but just changing expectations of them. It can be difficult for family members or friends to realize that today’s lunch is no longer a safe topic of conversation. “Anyone who has dementia has a problem with short-term memory,” Cytlak said. So the typical questions about lunch or recent visitors can make a person with dementia feel frustrated or like a failure, she said. “We put that person with dementia in a position where they know they don’t know – and they don’t want to fail,” Cytlak said. Above all, she said, don’t dispute facts with a person with dementia. “My mom used to say her big brother just came to visit. He’s been gone for eight years,” Cytlak said. But it was futile to say “No Mom, your brother wasn’t here.” Trying to use logic is not helpful. In fact, reasoning often causes a conversation to “spiral out of control.” If a loved one with dementia gets agitated or angry over their lack of short-term memory, Cytlak suggested trying to redirect them. Family and friends should come up with “conversation starters,” that can bring back pleasant memories. Cytlak recommended that loved ones try to “live in their world.” Her mom loved cooking, so talking about recipes was a topic enjoyable to both of them. Pay attention to…


Wood County Hospital to be honored for promoting employee wellness

From WOOD COUNTY HOSPITAL COLUMBUS – The Healthy Business Council of Ohio (HBCO) will recognize 73 Ohio employers for healthy worksite practices during the 14th annual Healthy Worksite awards presentation. Wood County Hospital will be recognized with the silver award for medium size businesses. These awards recognize Ohio employers who demonstrate a commitment to employee wellness through comprehensive worksite health promotion and wellness programs. Applicants are scored on the extent their wellness programs facilitate and encourage employee health, enhance productivity and ensure a healthy work environment. “Wellness programs are effective tools to engage employees in a more productive culture,” David Cowden, Chair of HBCO said. These programs most importantly help employees become healthier and happier, but also help drive down healthcare costs while driving up the bottom line.” All worksites, large and small, public and private, for profit and nonprofit, are eligible to apply for the Healthy Worksite Award.  All applications were reviewed and evaluated using objective criteria. Three levels of achievement were awarded — Gold, Silver and Bronze. Other applicants, who meet basic criteria, received a Recognition award. Increasing the number of worksites receiving awards is an objective in Ohio’s Plan to Prevent and Reduce Chronic Disease: 2014-2018, an objective being led by HBCO. The ceremony will be held at 12:30 p.m. on January 25, 2018, at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center in Columbus, Ohio as part of the Health Action Council 2018 Columbus Symposium. The symposium features national experts on health reform, health care systems and health benefits. Below are the recipients for the 2017 Healthy Ohio Healthy Worksite Award: Small Business: ≤ 300 employees (21 awards) Gold Award: Certified Angus Beef; City of Kettering; Lake Shore Cryotronics, Inc.; LifeCare Alliance; The Dupps Company; WBC Group LLC Silver Award: Bricker & Eckler LLP; City of Montgomery; Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; Healthy New Albany; United Way of Central Ohio, Inc. Bronze Award: Community Action Committee of Pike County; Corporate One Federal Credit Union; Custom Design Benefits LLC; Delaware General Health District; Findley Davies / BPS&M; HKM Direct Marketing; HORAN Associates; MarshBerry; Metals USA…


Shining some light on winter and holiday blues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   ‘Tis the season for depression and disappointment. Though the holidays are expected to bring cheer and glad tidings, to many the season stirs feelings of sadness and inferiority. The holidays are then followed up by months of cold days and prolonged darkness, leading to the “winter blues” for some. “This season brings out the best and worst of everybody,” Aeryn Williams, director of Family Service of Northwest Ohio, in Wood County, said during a recent presentation on “Surviving the Winter Blues” sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Wood County. First, comes Christmas – a time when many people strive for the perfect family Christmas cards with everyone in matching outfits, unique gifts for teachers, and the latest trendy recipes on Pinterest. But reality often intrudes with kids screaming on Santa’s lap, the annual retail rush, and recipes gone wrong. “We end up comparing ourselves to Martha Stewart or Pinterest,” Williams said. And inevitably, we can’t live up to those lofty goals. “Comparison is the theft of joy.” Williams shared her own experience of trying a homemade Peppermint Patties cookie recipe with her niece. The cookies came out looking more like a mess left by the dog on the lawn, than the picture perfect samples on Pinterest. But her 7-year-old niece came to the rescue. “She said, ‘We might not be making Peppermint Patties, but we’re making memories,’” Williams recalled. The Christmas season not only makes us strive for perfection, but also for super-human strength, Williams said. We look forward to the season all year, “but before you know it, your calendar is jam packed and we’re stressed out.” Williams offered some advice that can actually be used year-round. “’No’ is a complete sentence,” she said. “During the holidays, we don’t feel we can say ‘No.’” Prioritize. Maybe you should skip the cookie exchange this year, or miss the annual gathering with people you hardly know. “Stop ‘should-ing’ all over yourself,” Williams said. Give yourself a break. Instead of putting the holiday lights up outside,…


Cleanup of contamination left at Cooper set at $1.2M

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The cost to clean up contamination left behind on a Bowling Green industrial site is expected to hit more than $1.2 million. The Ohio EPA held a public hearing Wednesday evening to explain the cleanup proposal and take citizen comments about the plan for the Cooper Standard Automotive property at 1175 N. Main St. An investigation of the site found an area contaminated by Trichloroethylene (TCE), a common industrial solvent. “TCE was formerly used in industry as a cleaning agent,” Ghassan Tafla, from the Ohio EPA Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization, explained during the public hearing. “It worked magically on auto parts to clean the grease,” Tafla said. However, later TCE was found to pose a threat to the environment and public health. It is now only used in lesser amounts by the defense department. The local contamination is believed to have occurred before Cooper Standard Automotive or Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. owned the site, since neither of those operations used TCE. Cooper Standard Automotive purchased the 25-acre site from Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. in 2004. The property had been used by Cooper Tire to manufacture rubber hoses and seals for the automotive industry. The previous owner of the site from 1964 to 1977 – Gulf & Weston – reportedly used TCE in its manufacturing of truck bodies, refuse packers and associated parts. That original company on the site is expected to be responsible for the cleanup, according to an EPA official. Gulf & Weston reportedly has insurance to cover such contamination and had made an agreement with Cooper Tire. The TCE contamination was discovered in 1986 during the removal of underground storage tanks that held xylene, which was also used to degrease equipment. The contamination has been identified in the area west of the plant building, in the area of a former above ground tank which contained TCE. The Cooper Standard Automotive plant currently employs about 370 people. Those employees are not at risk from the contamination, according to the EPA. The indoor…


More fitness sites drain dollars from Community Center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The competition from other fitness sites in the city may be leading to some thin pass sales at the Bowling Green Community Center. “It just boggles my mind that we don’t have more people in there. It’s such a marvelous facility,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said during the monthly Park and Recreation Board meeting Tuesday evening. Pass sales so far this year at the community center total $169,114. That’s a drop from last year’s pass sales at this time totaling $196,070. The number of passes sold this year is 1,134 – 215 fewer than last year at this time. Each month this year, the numbers have shown a drop. “I’ve been concerned with the figures we get every month from parks and recreation,” City Council member Sandy Rowland said. A task force has been set up to study how community center membership might be increased, how visibility can be improved, and how the appearance can be updated. On that task force are park and rec board president Jeff Crawford and board member Cale Hover. “It’s going to affect revenue if we don’t do some things,” Hover said. The mayor, who recently officiated at the ribbon cutting of the newest fitness center in town – Planet Fitness – urged the task force to look at other facilities, especially community-supported centers. Long-time member of the Bowling Green Community Center, Frank McLaughlin, suggested that the reduction in hours at the community center did not help with attendance and pass sales. Some of the new facilities in town are open 24/7, and most are less expensive. “Clearly there’s a lot of competition in town,” he said. McLaughlin said he would prefer to remain a member of the community center, but fewer hours and greater costs make it difficult. “It worries me. I’d rather not bail on that facility.” McLaughlin also reminded the board that as a public body its meeting agendas and minutes should be posted for public viewing on the city’s website. He made that same suggestion earlier this…


Landlord and renter responsibilities examined in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In a college town with nearly 7,000 rental units, there’s an awful lot of headbutting between landlords and renters and homeowning neighbors. When problems occur with home maintenance, is it the landlords’ responsibility to prove that their housing meets safety standards? Or is the onus on the renters to notify authorities if their housing is substandard? For years, Bowling Green officials have debated this question. Other Ohio college towns – like Kent, Oxford and Athens – have mandatory rental inspection and licensing programs. Bowling Green has preferred to make sure there are services in place that respond to rental problems as they arise. Following are various viewpoints in Bowling Green, including those from Mayor Dick Edwards, BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey and landlord Bob Maurer. Those who respond to complaints – the health district, fire division, building inspection and planning office – also share their perspectives. People closest to the students, like BGSU legal services and some East Side residents, also weigh in. And officials from rental inspection programs in Athens, Kent and Oxford talk about their experiences. EYE-OPENING TOUR Early this fall, some BGSU students asked their professor Neocles Leontis to help them get out of a lease at a rental property they felt was unsafe. “I could not believe it was allowed to be rented,” said Rose Hess, who toured the house. Photos taken during the tour show a ceiling fan dangling from the ceiling, a filthy washing machine that wasn’t working, a dryer that was not vented, a stove that didn’t work, fuse boxes without covers, and bricks holding open windows. “These properties are unrentable, yet they are being rented,” Hess said. “We need interior inspections and licensing.” Leontis agreed. “Parents who send their kids to Bowling Green can have no assurance when they rent a house that it’s safe.” Inspections are required of restaurants – the same should be standard for rental housing, he said. “This should not be allowed. Your kid moves into a fire trap and you never know.” SAME HOUSE…


Safety council reports more traffic deaths, warns about drunk driving dangers

From SAFE COMMUNITIES OF WOOD COUNTY Safe Communities of Wood County announced today (Friday, Dec. 1) that there have been 14 fatal crashes in Wood County, compared to 11 last year at this time. This is an increase that is completely preventable. Safe Communities of Wood County and law enforcement are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind all drivers that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving and to always plan a sober ride home before holiday parties begin. The holidays are a special time in America, full of excitement and endless festivities. Oftentimes, these celebrations bring higher numbers of drunk drivers to the roads, endangering those drivers and others. Drunk driving can have deadly, devastating consequences. Nationally in 2016, 37,461 people were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, and 28 percent  (10,497) died in crashes where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08. In fact, from 2012-2016, 14,472 people lost their lives in motor vehicle traffic crashes during the month of December, and 28 percent (3,995) died in a crash that involved a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher. Remember these tips to avoid a OVI and to keep our roads safe:  Remember that it is never okay to drive drunk. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation to get home safely.  Even one drink can impair judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.  If planning to drink, do not plan to drive. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.  If you have been drinking, do not drive—even a short distance. Call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation. Try NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or a friend and identify their location so they can be picked up.  Help others be responsible. If you see someone you think is about…


Planet Fitness extends Judgement Free Zone to Bowling Green

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green has now become part of the Judgement Free Zone. On Tuesday, Planet Fitness marked the opening of its Bowling Green location, 1135 South Main St., The gym, which bills itself as a Judgment Free Zone, first opened its doors at Halloween. On hand to help mark the grand opening was Danni Allen 2013 winner of NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” which Planet Fitness sponsors. Allen, who is a national ambassador for the fitness company, said as someone who once topped 300 pounds she can relate to the people coming to the nationally franchised gym. She believes Planet Fitness is the right fit for many. “We cater to first time gym users or people looking for a fresh start,” she said.  “We do accept multiple flavors as I call them. We have more flavors than Baskin-Robbins that walk through the front door. From any range of fitness you can get your goals met at Planet Fitness. Just walking in the door you see there’s a different range of sizes, ages, demographics. The great part is we all sweat the same color.” Jonathan Habuda, the regional manager, said that from its founding 25 years ago, Planet Fitness has promoted “the judgment free zone” concept. “We want to create an atmosphere that’s comfortable for everyone and offers fitness instruction in a comfortable non-intimidating environment,” he said. Planet Fitness has about 1,400 locations nationwide. That welcoming concept extends to pricing, which is $10 a month. For another $10, said Deanna Silmi, who manages the BG facility, a member has access to further amenities in the spa such as tanning and massage chairs. The standard membership provides access to a baker’s dozen of fitness machines – treadmills, ellipticals, cardio rowers, cable towers, and more. The TRX room allows a member to move through a series of machines in way that gives a total body workout in 30 minutes. The facility employs a full-time certified personal trainer, Hannah Barber.  She’s available by appointment or to walk-ins. “She’ll walk you through everything,” Habuda said. Having a…


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 get sick from the feast. Top on the list – wash your hands … often. “The number one thing we can remind people to do is handwashing,” Nye said. That rule is especially important in between handling an uncooked turkey and any food item raw and ready to eat. “Handwashing is top for everybody,” said Lana Glore, director of environmental services at the health district. “It’s amazing what that will prevent.” And for good measure, wash the produce even if it’s labeled “pre-washed,” Glore said. You never really know if the pre-washing was as thorough…


Old prescriptions adding to opiate crisis – 5 sites accepting drop-offs year-round

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Across the U.S., many household medicine cabinets have old pill bottles tucked away … just in case they are needed later. That tendency to save prescriptions is adding to the opiate crisis in the nation, according to local law enforcement, public health and education leaders. An estimated 75 percent of opiate addictions start with prescription drugs. “One piece of our heroin problem is in our medicine cabinets,” Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said Wednesday during a press conference at his office. Once people no longer need their prescribed medications, many have the habit of hanging onto them. “I’m just going to hold onto this till I need it someday.” But too often, those drugs are found and used by someone other than the original patient. So local officials in Wood County have established safe drug disposal boxes in five locations that are available year-round and round-the-clock to people wanting to dispose of old drugs. National Drug Take Back Day is Oct. 28, but the Wood County Educational Service Center, Wood County Sheriff’s Office, Wood County Health District, and some law enforcement chiefs throughout the county want to offer disposal sites 365 days a year. “We cannot make significant gains in combating the drug epidemic by simply taking back our unneeded prescriptions one or two times a year,” Kyle Clark, director of prevention education at the Wood County Educational Service Center, said. “Our community needs to take action now.” The Drug Enforcement Administration approved permanent drug take-back boxes in Wood County are located at: Bowling Green Police Division, 175 W. Wooster St. Perrysburg Police Department, 300 Walnut St. Perrysburg Township Police Department, 26611 Lime City Road. North Baltimore Police Department, 203 N. Main St. Wood County Sheriff’s Office, 1960 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. The drugs are collected from the boxes by the DEA, which incinerates them. “If people would be diligent in cleaning out their medicine cabinets, they can take advantage of these boxes we have around the county,” Wasylyshyn said. “This will go a long…


Helping local vets who came home with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As many as 25 percent of the U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan returned home with traumatic brain injuries. Thirty percent came back with post traumatic stress disorder. In Wood County, it’s estimated that 60 veterans are now living with the effects of TBI or PTSD. Many of the traumatic brain injuries were caused by IEDs (improvised explosive devices) frequently used in recent wars. So when Mary Hanna, executive director of the Wood County Veterans Assistance Center, got a call offering her office a $10,000 grant to help treat those problems, she jumped at the chance. “It was very humbling. We will be the first county office to receive funds to do this,” Hanna said. The need is great, she said. “TBI and PTSD dramatically impacts their ability to get through daily functions,” at school, on the job, and with their families. Hanna contacted the Speech and Hearing Clinic at Bowling Green State University, and a partnership was formed to use the grant to help local veterans. “I’m getting ready to notify each veteran about these services,” which will be offered at no cost, Hanna said of the 12,895 veterans living in Wood County. The grant came from Dr. Chrisanne Gordon, founder of the Resurrecting Lives Foundation, who has made it her mission to get better care for veterans returning home with the often invisible injuries of TBI and PTSD. In many cases, veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan went right from school to war, Gordon said. They never had to navigate in society before – and now some are faced with doing that with a TBI or PTSD. Services to treat such injuries by veterans organizations are still lagging, she said. “It’s not well diagnosed and treated in the civilian world. It’s like the new global epidemic,” she said. “It’s only in the last decade that we can see well inside the brain.” Some Vietnam veterans are just now realizing that they have been living with PTSD. “I don’t want that to happen…


Project Connect serves with no strings attached

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   They started lining up in the darkness at 6:45 a.m. – waiting for Project Connect to open Wednesday at 9 a.m. “Before the doors opened we had a line around the building,” said Erin Hachtel, co-chair of the fifth annual Project Connect coordinated by local social services and held at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green. The one-day event is a one-stop shop for goods and services for people in the Bowling Green area. “It’s to bring together people who have needs with people who can provide for those needs,” Hachtel said. The needs were varied. People came for a warm meal and bags of food to take home, for dental exams and vision checkups, for flu shots and birth certificates, and for winter coats for entire families. They went home with all that and more at no cost to them. As always, those seeking help were not called patients, consumers or clients. They were called “guests.” “Project Connect is a hospitality event where everyone is welcome,” Hachtel said. Help is offered with no strings attached. “We don’t ask at the door for them to prove they are in need.” Each guest was assigned to a volunteer, who helped them navigate through the sea of services offered. Barbara Ramsay, of Bowling Green, had come to the program before – but this year she was using a wheelchair. Her goal was to get food, a winter coat for her “grandbaby,” some leads on rental housing that is handicapped accessible, and a copy of her birth certificate. The Wood County Health District printed off the certificates for 110 people, with a donor paying the costs. “I think it’s awesome,” Ramsay said, holding her certificate. Further down the hall, Danielle Lashaway, of Rudolph, was getting her hair cut for the first time in more than a year. “I always wear my hair up. It’s time for a change,” she said, smiling. Lashaway also had plans to pick up some food and winter clothing for her seven children. She was…