Rainbow proudly flies again over Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation had a full house Sunday morning. They were a mix of regular congregants, and a lot of visitors who had shown up to support the church as it responded to an act of hatred. On Tuesday someone stole the church’s rainbow pride flag and mutilated it. The Wood County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident At noon on Sunday, about 100 people gathered around the flag pole as Andrew Schocket, president of the congregation, raised a new rainbow flag. The morning message on the congregation message board was “Still We Rise.” Schocket said that the news of the desecration of the church’s flag had an extra kick given the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the weekend before during a march by Nazis and other white supremacist groups. The Rev. Lynn Kerr said that in her sermon “I was asking people: don’t sleep through the revolution. The revolution is one of compassion. There’s just too much hate and division, and it only seems to be getting worse. .. We might feel like we’re a small group, but we can’t sit on our hands any more. We’re small, but mighty.” Kerr said she was grateful for all the visitors at that morning’s service. They had read about the incident and “just came out to support us.” “It felt wonderful,” Kerr said. “You just don’t always know how they feel about you. That came out today.” Kerr said she has also received many calls and emails. “The whole community has been very supportive.” After raising the new rainbow flag, Schocket said that the church now has another rainbow flag in storage, so that if something happens to this one, the congregation will be able to get a new one flying immediately.  

Rally in BG responds to right wing violence in Charlottesville

A couple hundred people  gathered Sunday afternoon on the Bowling Green green space for what is being called a Rally to Protect Freedom. The gathering, organized by BG City Councilman Daniel Gordon is in response to deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted by a march of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. One woman died when a car slammed into a a group of counter-protesters. Media have identified the driver who faces multiple charges as James Alex Fields, resident of Maumee. Those attending the rally carried signs including the messages: Racism is NOT history yet No hate here Justice for all A Great America is not racist, sexist, or homophobic.  

Local election official favors limited voter info sharing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Ohio is one of the 44 states refusing to give President Donald Trump’s elections commission all the voter information requested. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, has said he will provide the newly created Elections Integrity Commission with information that is already made public to campaigns and political parties. But Husted is drawing the line at Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers. The information on Wood County voters is already at the fingertips of the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, according to Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections. “Our voter information already is linked with the state data bases,” Burton said on Friday. Though not privy to all the details, Burton said Ohio is handing over only public information. “It sounds like everything he is supplying is public record that could be accessed by anyone else,” Burton said of Husted. The Elections Integrity Commission requested all 50 states to submit full voter information, including registrants’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of their social security numbers, a list of the elections they voted in since 2006, information on any felony convictions, information on whether they were registered to vote in other states, their military status, and whether they lived overseas. Trump set up the commission to investigate undocumented widespread voter fraud in national elections. He has claimed 3 million votes were illegally cast in the presidential election last year, robbing him of the popular vote. Husted said earlier this year that voter fraud is not widespread in Ohio and the presidential commission’s inquiry was not necessary. Burton shares that opinion, and believes that states should manage elections and counties should maintain the voter rolls. “I fall into the camp that voting and elections fall under the state’s purview,” Burton said. “I’m comfortable with how Ohio and Wood County have gone about the process.” The county board of election’s ultimate responsibility is to make sure that everyone legally able to, who wants to vote, can do so. The board reaches out to try to take voters off the rolls if they have registered at new addresses, or if they can find death records. But Burton has no concerns about widespread voter fraud. “I feel all our processes are as solid as they have ever been,” he said. “We have prided ourselves in our county in having the best data possible.” Like other election officials across the nation, Burton does have concerns about sharing local voter data with a federal commission. “Every time we pass that data on, I get concerned,” he said. “Then that risk expands. You lose control over being able to secure that data.” Ohio isn’t alone in its reluctance to send Trump’s commission all the requested information….

Health care bill must be fiscally sound

One Senator commented to a constituent that the ACA was fiscally unsound.  The basic premise of insurance is to ‘spread the risk’ which means including everyone.  Unfortunately, the ACA’s provisions did not require everyone to participate as do Medicare and FICA.  If members of Congress intend to continue health insurance through the private market, adequate financing is essential.   A stronger ‘mandate’ not a weaker one is necessary to provide enough revenue to make the ACA viable. It is unconscionable to: * Strip low income citizens of health benefits while providing reduced taxes for high income / net worth citizens and corporations. * Adopt an ‘age tax’ via higher premiums for older participants. * Authorize individual states to eliminate benefits. Also, it is meaningless to promote tax credits for low income citizens since their income is insufficient to have an income tax liability in the first place. If Congress is unable to amend the ACA to be fiscally sound, the alternative would be a single payer system as is the case in most other countries in the world.  If they can provide quality health care to their citizens, the most prosperous country in the world needs to join them and provide health care for all of its citizens. To be fair, a requirement of the legislation should include mandated participation for members of Congress too.  Either we the public should be entitled to the insurance coverage our Congressional Representatives enjoy, or they should be required to participate in the insurance program they implement for their constituents. Respectfully, Bob and Joan Callecod

Concerned Ohioans to rally at Latta’s office

Members of Concerned Ohioans will rally Friday, June 2, at noon at U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office, 1045 N. Main St., Bowling Green, to oppose the  American Health Care Act, the House Republicans’ inntnded replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Concerned Oioans contend the bill would take health coverage away from 23 million Americans and have a disastrous impact the AHCA would have on Ohio families and communities . Following the speeches, participants will visit Latta’s office and deliver letters, articles and fact sheets. Friday’s event is part of a week of action during the Congressional Memorial Day recess holding Republican Members of Congress accountable for their actions on health care. The attendees will send a clear message: Ohioans won’t let Rep. Latta get away with taking health coverage away from millions, gutting Medicaid, or cutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

‘Die-in’ shows grave concerns about GOP health plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A strip along North Main Street was turned into a makeshift “cemetery” Thursday as supporters of the Affordable Care Act laid on the ground and held up cardboard tombstones. “Last Thursday, the House passed a bill that will have this effect on people,” said Sara Jobin, one of the organizers of the “die-in.” One “tombstone” read “Beloved daughter chose college over health care.” Another stated, “Killed by heartless lies.” And another, “RIP Democracy.” The protest was held in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. Latta was not present and the office closed shortly after the “die-in” began. Molly Tomaszewski, of Northwood, held signs protesting the projections that 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act passed by the House GOP members, including Latta.  She believes the answer is a single payer system. “Universal health care is not a partisan issue. It’s a life issue,” she said. “We need health care.” Tomaszewski said her husband has good health insurance through his job. But she has 27 pre-existing conditions as listed in the new GOP plan. Without insurance, her prescriptions would cost $5,000 a month. “They could put lifetime caps on,” she said, worrying about how she would then afford her medications. Of the 30 people gathered for the protest, the majority were women. Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said her husband died last month after a long illness. She was insured through him, and is two years away from qualifying from Medicare. So she may have to pay six times as much for coverage through Cobra. Miller is a cancer survivor, and currently needs foot surgery. But that will probably have to wait. She also talked about the difficulty her husband had finding doctors who would accept his insurance when the couple moved back to Ohio from Washington state. “I just think the system we have is insane,” Miller said. Julie Dougherty, from Archbold, has good insurance now – but she is uncertain of the future. “I have a desire that everybody in society should have basic health care,” she said. “I have a pre-existing condition, so I’m concerned about how this will shake out.” Dougherty sees good health insurance as a characteristic of developed countries – like good roads and good schools. Kendal Kissinger, of Weston, shared a similar view. “I think health care is a human right,” she said. “I’ve known people who have gone bankrupt who have insurance. And I’ve known people who have died who don’t have insurance.” It makes no sense that the U.S. can’t provide health insurance like all the other wealthy nations in the world, Kissinger said. Julian de Leon Guerrero, of Bowling Green, who is covered by his parents’ health care under the Affordable Care Act,…

Latta’s health care vote leaves some constituents feeling sick

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Congressman Bob Latta said the nation needs rescuing from the “disaster that is Obamacare.” So on Thursday he became one of the 217 Republicans who voted to push out the Affordable Care Act to replace it with the American Health Care Act. The vote was followed by cheers from Republican members of Congress who had promised for seven years that they would get rid of the ACA. “It’s very evident that Obamacare is failing the American people, and its problems continue to grow,” Latta posted on his website. “The promises of Obamacare have been thoroughly broken, and the problems it has foisted on hardworking families can’t be ignored.” “Constituents in my district have told me about skyrocketing premiums, difficultly using their insurance, and the lack of choices they face thanks to Obamacare,” Latta stated. But many constituents in Wood County were left wondering Thursday if Latta listened at all to their concerns. Those citizens, who support the ACA, peacefully protested each week outside the congressman’s Bowling Green office. They wrote countless letters and made countless phone calls. The local citizens pleaded to be heard. They begged for a chance to meet with Latta. But on Thursday, he voted without a single town hall meeting on the health care issue. Some constituents did receive letters back from Latta – but they were identical form letters mailed out months after the local residents sent letters voicing their concerns. “In his bogus form letter that many of you received, he wrote that premiums would go down 10 percent under the new plan and that he would ensure that people with pre-existing conditions would continue to get coverage,” Bowling Green citizen Meghan Wilson wrote after many local citizens received the exact same letters from Latta. “What he didn’t say is that he would vote on a bill that includes high-risk pools, which will cause premiums to skyrocket for people with pre-existing conditions. There is no end to how disastrous this plan is,” Wilson said. One Bowling Green resident voiced her anger on Facebook after Thursday’s vote. “Thanks GOP. Every person that lives in my house has a pre-existing condition. Glad you’re looking out for us,” she wrote. Twenty congressional Republicans voted against repealing the ACA, because they felt it wasn’t in their constituents’ best interests. But Latta’s statement about the GOP plan painted a different picture. “The AHCA keeps in place protections for pre-existing conditions while giving states more flexibility to improve their health care marketplaces and bring down the cost of insurance. At the same time, the bill repeals Obamacare’s burdensome mandates and costly taxes that hurt Ohio families and small businesses, and it establishes a Patient and State Stability Fund that will provide funding to states so they can implement policies that…

“Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG.” -Jill Carr

To The Residents of Bowling Green: I submit this letter to express my support of the candidacy of Sandy Rowland for re-election to the Bowling Green City Council. Our primary election is right around the corner. On May 2 I will be casting my vote for Sandy Rowland and I urge you to do likewise. The following are some of my reasons for supporting Sandy’s candidacy. First, Sandy is fully committed to the responsibilities associated with being a member of City Council. She is visible, approachable, an excellent listener, and consistently attends meetings and a wide variety of community events. She takes her constituents’ concerns and questions very seriously and follows-up accordingly. Sandy loves this community and serves it so well. Second, Sandy’s accomplishments during her time on Council are noteworthy. She has worked very hard to bring attention to the needs of residents on the east side of town, especially the deterioration of its neighborhoods. Sandy is a strong proponent of diversity as evidenced by her involvement in Not In Our Town and La Conexion. She has also been a strong advocate for public health and the environment. The list goes on, and will no doubt continue to grow when Sandy is re-elected to another term. Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG. She wants to continue working hard for us and we need her! So I urge you to vote for Sandy Rowland on May 2. She is a proven hard worker, supporter, and advocate for the residents of Bowling Green. We will all benefit from her experience and her continued dedication. Jill Carr Bowling Green

“Ohio has already been designated as the sacrifice zone for fracking”

By LEATRA HARPER Most Ohioans have no idea of the destruction of the states’ clean air and water taking place right now in the Southeast part of the state in which the extreme energy extraction method of horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is taking place and has been for over five years. Once the huge pipeline infrastructure like Energy Transfer’s Rover pipeline and the Williams/Spectra Nexus pipeline are in commission, fracking will take off even more. The pipelines themselves threaten our drinking water and clear cut our forests, spoiling agricultural land and polluting the air with their compressor stations. The pipelines steal private property through the use of eminent domain and threats and false promises made to landowners. Ohio has already been designated as the sacrifice zone for fracking and its toxic, radioactive waste, with Ohio land fills and injection wells solving the industry’s biggest problem on the cheap. It is becoming widely documented of the environmental damage and health impacts of fracking, with a recent study showing an increase in infant mortality likely due to water polluted by fracking with an addition 50 infant deaths as a result (http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2988876/fracking_kills_newborn_babies_polluted_water_likely_cause.html). The pipelines will cause even more death and destruction. A climate bus leaves from NW Ohio in Bluffton this Friday at 8 p.m. (for tickets click) for the Peoples’ Climate March in Washington D.C..  We have many reasons to march for the climate and against extreme energy extraction.  When Rover ramps up, Ohio’s clean air and water will be sacrificed for fracking. When the LLC’s take their spoils and leave, Ohio taxpayers will be on the hook to clean up the mess, if even possible. Accompanying this article is a picture of Rover taken on April 25 with directional drilling going on under the Maumee River – threatening our drinking water. Rover has already spilled over 2 million gallons of toxic drilling fluids into Ohio wetlands (http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2017/04/19/rover-pipeline-spills-more-than-2-million-gallons-of-drilling-fluid-in-ohio-wetlands-one-month-after-construction-began).The destruction of Ohio’s environment and future economy has been taking place for awhile, and will be even more so soon. With Nexus and Rover giving frack gas access to higher-priced export markets, it will be a fracking free for all with Ohio’s cheap disposal of frack waste for in-state and out of state drillers compounding the pollution and destruction. The harms of fracking are well known and documented – and yet, our legislators, regulators and Governor Kasich look the other way. We will pay dearly for what the multi-national investor community with corporate complicity purchased through campaign contributions is doing to us to reap short-term gain at our long-term pain!  Anyone who cares about their children and grandchildren should be outraged. If you can’t be in Washington DC to march for the climate – do something – anything – to get involved. There’s much more at stake, especially here in Ohio, than most people realize, and that’s…

“Sandy always does her homework” -Marcy St. John

Four Democrat candidates will appear on the May 2 primary ballot for Bowling Green City Council. Voters will choose two of them to be the endorsed Democrat candidates for the two at-large Council positions which will be on the November 7 ballot. To my mind, Sandy Rowland is the strongest candidate for an at-large City Council seat. Sandy’s record of leadership and community involvement is decades-long and includes work on the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission and Not In Our Town Bowling Green [NIOT], both of which I worked on with her. She is an excellent choice to represent the community at large, because as a professional realtor, she is able to discern the needs and wants of her clients, who come from all walks of life. She knows how to listen and how to represent a diverse clientele. Sandy always does her homework–she’s visible throughout the community and she is on top of current issues. She asks BG residents about their concerns and she listens to their answers. She has been an outspoken supporter for our new Green Space and for the rejuvenation of East Side neighborhoods. She serves on the Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee for City Council, and she chairs Council’s Parks and Recreation Committee. She has been a key player in the development and application of both Bowling Green’s Land Use Plan and its Community Action Plan [revitalizing the East Side]. Sandy knows how essential it is to make positive and ongoing changes in our city, and she has the skills to help keep these changes on course. It is Sandy Rowland’s goal to serve on an innovative and effective City Council for the betterment of our entire community. I encourage you to vote for her in the May 2 primary. Marcy St.John Bowling Green

‘Sandy Rowland has a special eye for ordinances that enhance our life experiences in BG’ – Diane Vogtsberger

I write to support the candidacy of Sandy Rowland for Council-at-Large. Sandy’s resume attests to her qualifications, but I would like to address her performance in support of projects that have made Bowling Green a better place to live and raise a family. Her volunteering at Black Swamp, BG Art Walk, Classics on Main, and Winterfest are just a few examples; there are many more. Perhaps the one I can speak to the most is the preservation of the green space, now referred to as Wooster Green. At every presentation given to Council in order to promote this town square, Sandy asked pertinent questions about its feasibility and indicated her support for such an endeavor. Overtime, as more information was presented, she became more of an advocate for the project. When the mayor announced the creation of the Task Force, she supported it wholeheartedly. And finally, when it came to a vote after the third reading of the resolution, she spoke enthusiastically about why it would be good for our community to embrace this opportunity. The resolution passed 7-0. I relay this story because I believe it reflects how much Sandy cares about providing the best possible community for all of us. Certainly, she and other council members can pass ordinances that govern, but she has a special eye for those that enhance our life experiences here in Bowling Green. Please join me in voting for Sandy Rowland in the primary on May 2. Diane Vogtsberger Bowling Green

“Holly Cipriani has the qualifications needed to lead Bowling Green on City Council” -Jakki Kleinhans

On May 2, voters will select two Democratic candidates to be endorsed for the two at-large positions on Bowling Green City Council. Holly Cipriani is the leader I want for City Council At Large. I fell in love with Bowling Green when I began my undergraduate career at BGSU. The small town feel with the big city opportunities make BG an amazing place to work, live, and raise my family. Cipriani has the Bowling Green values that make our city so exceptional. She is committed to making BG a better place for herself and other community members. Holly Cipriani has the qualifications needed to lead Bowling Green on City Council. After completing her Master of Public Administration at BGSU, she has devoted her time and energy to helping the community. From her years working as an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking to her involvement in the Civics 101 teach-in series, Cipriani continues to focus on ways to engage and uplift our community and its citizens. Cipriani’s vision of inclusion will continue to promote the safe and welcoming atmosphere which sets Bowling Green apart. Cipriani has dedicated her life to learning the newest, best, and most effective training in politics. She will continue to bring this knowledge and experience to serve on City Council and build Bowling Green upward and outward. I encourage you to cast your ballot for her in the primary. Sincerely, Jakki Kleinhans Bowling Green, OH

“Being elected to public office often means facing disagreement” -Gary Jones

Latta Town Hall My letter is to encourage Congressman Latta to to hold a town hall event for his constituents. Those of his colleagues that have done so have improved the perception the public has of them. Those in congress represent all of the people and in a two party system there will be those who disagree with the position that a member of congress may have. That is how democracy works. Being elected to public office often means facing disagreement. Please Congressman Latta: a town hall for everyone. There is no danger to you in such an event. Gary Jones Bowling Green

Congressional candidate to hold listening session

From GALBRAITH FOR CONGRESS Michael Galbraith (D) announced today his plans to hold a listening session with interested area residents at the Wood County District Public Library in Bowling Green, Tuesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. Galbraith recently declared his candidacy to challenge incumbent Robert E. Latta in the 2018 election for the right to represent Ohio’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. “I am getting in this race to represent the people of the 5th Congressional District, and the first step in the process is to hear their hopes and concerns,” said Galbraith. “The most important job of a Member of Congress is listening to constituents. This listening session is just the start.” Following the announcement of his candidacy, the chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party, Michael Zickar, said “I think he’ll be a great candidate. So many people are frustrated with the status quo. There’s a lot more energy this cycle. People are really fired up.” Details about the event can also be found on the campaign’s Facebook page, Galbraith for Congress, and at the website, www.GalbraithforCongress.com. J. Michael Galbraith grew up in Maumee. He received his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Bucknell University and an MBA from Bowling Green State University. He also worked in international finance, mostly in London, for almost 30 years. When he returned to Northwest Ohio, in 2003, he worked as a financial adviser for Northwestern Mutual. He now teaches in the Finance Department at BGSU. His father, John A. Galbraith, served in the Ohio Legislature as a Republican from 1967 to 1986. Galbraith currently runs his own small investment firm and serves on the Water Committee of the Toledo Rotary Club. He resides with his wife in his hometown of Maumee.

Voters want to see Latta and Trump’s tax returns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Every Friday they show up with their signs – fueled by frustration and fear about the future of the nation. This week, constituents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District had two main questions for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta at his office in Bowling Green. But as usual, they had to settle for talking to the congressman’s staff. First question – why has Latta refused to meet with his constituents? “Where is Bob Latta. We really want to see him,” said Betsey Davis, of Indivisible Maumee River Progressives. And second, where are President Donald Trump’s tax returns, and why did Latta vote that the president shouldn’t have to make them public? “Where are his taxes? Let’s have some honesty,” Davis said. As some citizens stood out along North Main Street, others went into Latta’s office and voiced their concerns and questions to the congressman’s staff. Despite repeated requests, Latta has not responded to their efforts to meet with him. “We’ve invited him so many times,” said Kathy Bangle, of Fulton County Indivisible. “We want to talk to him. We want to hear what he has to say. We come every single Friday. His aides are wonderful. But it’s not the same as talking with him.” On Friday, the posters again revealed the thoughts of the constituents. “Latta is Lost,” “Wanted for Not Doing His Job,” “MIA.” They periodically broke out into chants of “Where is Bob?” “We need him to listen, and we need him to start protecting us,” Davis said. “It’s not good enough,” to talk with the congressman’s aides each week. “We’ve invited him. He’s declined every single time.” Staff in Latta’s Bowling Green office said any questions about a public meeting during Congress’ two-week Easter break had to be directed to Latta’s office in Washington, D.C. A question left for his director of communications, Drew Griffin, was answered with an email stating, “Thanks for reaching out. We don’t have any town halls scheduled at this time.” Latta has defended his use of telephone town halls as his way of connecting with constituents. But Susan Shelangoski, of NOFA Indivisible, said that format doesn’t allow for effective communication. “I think that’s a very controlled form,” she said. After asking three times to be on Latta’s telephone town hall list, Shelangoski said she got a phone call with no notice, and a quick cut off after she posed a question. “It was very unsatisfying.” Since March, Shelangoski said she has made multiple requests with Latta’s D.C. office to meet with the congressman. “He claims to do that on his website,” she said. “I didn’t even get the courtesy of a response.” Neocles Leontis, of Bowling Green, shared the same frustration. “Bob continues to refuse to hold a public hearing where he answers questions from…