Richard Strow: Lack of trust leads to ‘no’ vote on levy (updated)

I am a firm believer in a quality education, a strong community, and planning for the future. However, in good conscience I cannot support this levy issue. I received my education in the Bowling Green School System, as did my daughters. Three members of my family have been teachers in in our system and its precursors as well as one member of my family has been in school administration. And yet with all of this positive history I cannot support this ballot issue. I am going to vote NO for one simple reason: TRUST. I am saddened to say that based on last year’s campaign and the current unchanged attempt before the voters next week, I have come to openly distrust our Superintendent and the School Board. We were promised truthfulness and transparency and what we got instead has been deception, distraction and omission of facts. The BGSB and Superintendent Scrucci are asking the public to “TRUST” them with $72 million to build new buildings. The first deception is in the $72 million figure. According to the Wood County Auditor’s office the ACTUAL payback will be over $141 million. While $72 million just seems to be a huge amount to an average person, the reality of nearly twice that, is just unbelievable. Why weren’t we told the true overall cost? Instead they attempt to distract us by breaking down the cost to $1.07 per day per 100,000 valuation in an attempt to make the amount seem to be just small change. The second deception rests in not revealing the district’s true financial status today and the written budgeting for the next 5 years. When I found out that the district has $13.28 million dollars in the bank and investments, I was shocked. Even more shocking is the 5 year budget forecast to the Ohio Department of Education showing not only deficit spending for each of the next 5 years but also a growing deficit each year for the next 5…

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Citizens gather on Wooster Green to defend DACA

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Yvette Llanas, a lifelong Bowling Green resident and American citizen, never dreamed the threat of deportation would touch her family. Llanas found out last week she was wrong. “I never thought this would affect me,” Llanas said in an impromptu speech on the Wooster Green Sunday evening during a rally opposing President Donald Trump’s action to end DACA. “My daughter-in-law happens to be undocumented,” Llanas said. “The decision made this week just crushed my soul.” Her daughter-in-law came to America as a small child. “This is the only home she knows,” Llanas said. “She is part of our country,” as are her two children. “We are all immigrants here, somehow, some way,” Llanas said. About 60 local residents gathered in the Wooster Green to express their opposition to Trump’s announcement last week that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution. Since it was enacted under President Barack Obama, about 800,000 immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. illegally have received protections from the program. DACA allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. Their status is renewable every two years. “This is really targeting kids who were brought by their parents at a very early age,” said Beatriz Maya, of the La Conexion organization. “They don’t know any other life. It makes no sense for them to be deported. It’s very wrong. They cannot be blamed for anything.” Those attending the rally were asked to contact their congress members about the DACA issue. “The Dreamers don’t want citizenship just for themselves,” Maya said. “They want comprehensive immigration reform for 11 million undocumented immigrants, who have been contributing to the nation for…

Street and parking lot closures set for Black Swamp Arts Festival

In conjunction with the annual Black Swamp Arts Festival scheduled for Sept. 8, 9 and 10, certain street closures and parking restrictions will be imposed in downtown Bowling Green. Beginning at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, the eastern portion of City Parking Lot 2 (behind SamB’s and Panera) will be closed. The entire lot will be closed beginning Friday, Sept. 8 at 6 a.m. At 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, on-street parking will be prohibited in the following locations: Main Street between Clay and Pearl; Prospect between East Wooster and Clough; Clay between Main and Grove; and Clough between Main and South Prospect. Any vehicle parked in these restricted areas after 3 a.m. on Saturday will be towed at the owner’s expense. At 4 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, Main Street, between Clay and Pearl, will be closed to vehicular traffic. While Main Street is closed, no through traffic will be permitted on Oak, Court, Clough and Washington streets. Wooster Street will remain open for east and westbound traffic throughout the festival. During the Main Street closing, detour routes for local and truck traffic will be posted. Throughout the event, shuttle buses will pick up visitors at the Bowling Green High School, Wood County Fairgrounds, Meijer, and Bowling Green State University. The buses will drop visitors off downtown at the Frontier Communications building as well as the Bowling Green Police Division. All streets will reopen and parking will be reinstated on Sunday evening.

BG solar field energy output dropped during eclipse

Though not in the direct path of the solar eclipse, the city of Bowling Green’s solar field felt the shade of the eclipse, according to Bowling Green Utilities Director Brian O’Connell. On Monday at 1 p.m., the solar field was generating 18 megawatts of energy. As the eclipse occurred, around 2:30 p.m., the solar output dropped to 3 megawatts for a couple minutes. When measured again at  3:30 p.m., the power generation was back up to 18 megawatts, O’Connell said.

Jewish Community Relation Council condemns right wing violence in Charlottesville

The domestic terrorism perpetrated in Charlottesville, Virginia, by neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the KKK has left so many of us incensed and distraught. It was particularly jarring to those of us who live in northwest Ohio to learn that the driver of the car that plowed into a crowd of protestors, killing one and injuring many others, lives in Maumee, Ohio. Part of the mission of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo is to foster constructive relationships within the Jewish community and among people of all faiths and cultures in order to promote a just, democratic, and pluralistic American society. We join with the many who have already condemned these acts of hatred and violence. We will work relentlessly with other community organizations to keep hatred and bigotry out of northwest Ohio and our nation. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer began this relentless work when he spoke out against the rally and attended a candlelight vigil the following night. He was almost immediately assaulted on Twitter. The tweets accosting Signer, who is Jewish, were explicitly anti-Semitic. Equally anti-Semitic and racist were the chants of the torchbearers, “Blut and Boden” (Blood and Soil), a German phrase prominently used during the rise of the Third Reich. History teaches us that discrimination and marginalization of ethnic and racial minorities leads to the destruction of the fabric of democracy and worse–much worse. In the words of Elie Wiesel: “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Signed, Eric Dubow, President, Sue Ann Hochberg, JFGT JCRC Chair

Special delivery: Mail calls treasured by WWI doughboys

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For the American doughboys overseas in World War I, mail from back home was a true treasure. To the farm boys who had never been beyond their fields, and the city boys whose borders ended at the edge of their boroughs – mail call was a brief visit to home sweet home. “Those were the two most important words of the day – mail call,” said Gary Levitt, from the Museum of Postal History located in Delphos, southwest of Bowling Green. Mail call meant a box of hand knitted socks from mothers, newspaper clippings of hometown festivals or football games from siblings, and letters full of sweet talk from sweethearts back home. “You didn’t have any other form of communication,” Levitt said recently during one of the monthly “teas” at the Wood County Historical Center. This gathering focused on mail during World War I, since the museum is featuring an extensive look into the war and the Wood County men who served in it. “To many, letter writing may seem a quaint and charming pastime,” Levitt said. But a century ago, when America entered WWI, it was all families had to keep in contact. “Writing letters was considered a patriotic duty, along with food rationing and buying war bonds,” he said. But it certainly wasn’t easy for mail to reach the right destinations, since the doughboys were spread out and many of their troop locations were secret. “Americans were all over Europe,” Levitt said. “No one wanted to let anyone know where anyone was.” Plus there were no transatlantic flights, so mail was transported across the ocean by ship. The mail was sorted before it left the U.S., at Chelsea Terminal on the Hudson River, Levitt said. Then it was shipped to Bordeaux in France. If sorted properly, it arrived in France with an approximate location of the recipient. There were other challenges, Levitt said. The delays and rough transport was not…