Wood County

Local farm tours to plant seeds of knowledge

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Agriculture is big business in Wood County. And while local residents are surrounded by rich farmland, many may still be unaware of locally grown foods served at their kitchen tables and those shipped round the world. To help spread that information, the first Wood County Ag-Venture self-driving farm tour is being held on Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seven local farms and agricultural companies are opening up their barns and businesses for local residents to tour. “Agriculture is our number one workforce, so we want people to understand what we do and how important it is,” said Lesley Riker. “A lot of people don’t know where their food comes from.” The tours are open to the public, and every stop will have activities for children. This is the first time for a county-wide tour to be organized, said Julie Lause, of the Wood Soil & Water Conservation District, which is one of the sponsors. “We were inspired by some of our neighboring counties,” Lause said. “Agriculture in Wood County is the top business and people don’t realize how extensive agriculture can be,” she said. “They don’t realize what it takes to create the products we eat.” Some of the stops on the tour ship their products internationally. “They want to tell our story,” Lause said of the farms on the tour. “They really want people to know what goes on behind the scenes.” Also sponsoring the Ag-Venture tour is the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “It’s a great opportunity for tourism in the county, and making people aware of ag-businesses in the county,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the economic development commission. There are more than 1,000 farms in Wood County. Here’s how they rank with the rest of Ohio’s counties: 1st in value of grain sold. 5th for soybean crops planted. 6th in total value of agricultural products sold. 8th in total value of vegetables sold. 13th in total value of greenhouse sales. 17th in total value of aquaculture sales. 181st in the U.S. for total grain value. Following is a description of each agricultural site on the tour. Luckey Farmers, 11330 Avenue Road, Perrysburg Luckey Farmers is a grain marketing and farm supply cooperative that serves about 2,000 members with grain marketing, plant food, seed feed, general farm supplies and petroleum products. The seed and feed lines feature Luckey Farmers own brand of products called Gro-Mor. The current facilities consist of seven grain locations, eight agronomy facilities, a feed manufacturing plant, seed processing facility, three petroleum stations and four fuel delivery trucks to service farm, home and light industry. Moser Farms, 24062 Hull Prairie Road, Perrysburg Moser Farms is a fifth generation run grain farm operated by Bob and Maribeth Moser, alongside their son John and his wife Casey. Their operation includes corn, soybeans and wheat. Aside from their day-to-day farming duties, the Mosers are also the host for the Technical Development Research site for Monsanto. The site is home to thousands of research trials on new corn and soybean traits coming down the pipeline to help farmers of the future. Hirzel Canning Company, 411 Lemoyne Road, Northwood Producers of Dei Fratelli products, Hirzel Canning Co. was founded in Wood County in 1923 by Carl Hirzel….

Living history – Kazoos, ‘marriage mill’ and speakeasy raids

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   During Prohibition, Lizzie Fuller led raids on local speakeasies. During the Great Depression, Wallace Kramp and his farmer friends started the local “penny auctions” to save neighboring farms after foreclosures. And Georgia Sargent Waugh led the Kitchen Kazoo Orchestra of a local homemakers group. Their stories and more will be part of the 15th annual Wood County Living History Day on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m., in Oak Grove Cemetery in Bowling Green. Local residents will portray citizens interred in Wood County cemeteries or those who had an impact on Wood County’s leisure time of the 1920s and 1930s. The citizens selected this year were chosen to coincide with the “leisure time” exhibit at the Wood County Historical Center & Museum, “The Return to Normalcy: A Life of Leisure in Wood County.” The annual Living History Day draws a crowd to the cemetery because it gives a glimpse into everyday people who lived in Wood County, said Kelli Kling, director of the Wood County Historical Center. “I think it’s popular because the people being portrayed are real people,” Kling said. “It’s not necessarily the celebrities. It’s people just like us, who made an impact on Wood County.” This year’s portrayals include people with intriguing hobbies or occupations. For example, Georgia Waugh and her kazoo orchestra. “That’s such an unusual thing,” Kling said. “There will actually be a performance at the event.” Also portrayed will be Paul Fuller, who had a role in the Bowling Green “marriage mill.” “Bowling Green was an area where a lot of people passed through to get married,” Kling said. “There was a bit of a competition going on” to see who could marry the most couples. Then there’s Lizzie Fuller, who grew up in a strict Christian household in Grand Rapids, where travelers frequented on the canal boats. She was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which considered alcohol an evil. So she led raids on speakeasies, where alcohol was sold on the sly during Prohibition. “She felt it was her duty to protest against them,” Kling said. Following is a list of all the people being portrayed, as well as the people taking on their roles for the Living History Day event. “I love the fact that they’re all being portrayed by local folks,” Kling said. Raymond George (1889 – 1930) – Conductor of the First Methodist Church orchestra and a member of the Bowling Green Military Band. Portrayed by local musician Cleve Patton. Nettie Willard Lincoln (1863 – 1947) – A southern socialite, member of the Shakespeare Round Table, and notable landscape artist. Portrayed by Dinah Vincent. Paul Fuller (1907 – 1999) – Professionally, an award-winning advertising manager for the Sentinel-Tribune, but locally dubbed a collaborator of the Bowling Green Marriage Mill. Portrayed by Thomas Edge. Lizzie Fuller (1857 – 1940) – As part of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement in Grand Rapids, helped lead raids on the local speakeasies during Prohibition. Portrayed by Stephanie Truman. Ernest (1980-1973) and Viola (1913-1992) Walter – Owners of the Virginia Motion Picture Theatre, North Baltimore from 1936-1959. Portrayed by: David and Ellin Stoots. Wallace Kramp (1893 – 1952) This local farmer, with a community of his friends, was the catalyst for what may have been the…

Public hearing planned on county landfill expansion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Local citizens will get to weigh in Wednesday on a plan to expand the Wood County Landfill. A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m., in the fifth floor hearing room of the Wood County Office Building, on the plan to grow the landfill which has been submitted to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The county landfill originally opened along U.S. 6, west of Bowling Green, in 1972. The current permitted area of the landfill has an estimated six years of space left. It takes anywhere from three to five years for the Ohio EPA review process, said Kelly O’Boyle, assistant administrator for Wood County. “It’s a long process,” she said. The proposed expansion will add an estimated 105 years to the landfill, based on current use. For a period of nearly 15 years after 2000, the Wood County Landfill averaged about 35,000 tons a year taken in. Then Henry County closed its facility, and for three years, Wood County Landfill took in about 48,000 tons a year. Last year, that tonnage jumped to 58,000. The current footprint being used is 42 acres, reaching almost 100 feet high. The expansion would take place on approximately 59 acres to the north of the existing acreage being used. “We want to keep it as a public asset, so people can bring their stuff here,” O’Boyle said. The bottom of the landfill has an EPA-approved liner, and once an area is full, it gets an EPA-approved cover. Methane gas is monitored with a series of wells, and leachate is captured so it doesn’t move off site. Those same monitoring standards of groundwater, surface water and methane will be required for the expanded area, O’Boyle. The proposed expansion will allow the landfill to extend upward 180 feet. The existing landfill area is approved to reach 120 feet high. The county owns a total of 350 acres at the landfill. Staff from the Ohio EPA will be present at the public hearing on Wednesday. “By law we’re required to have a hearing for people to ask questions,” O’Boyle said. County officials have been talking about the need for a landfill expansion for years, and have not heard any complaints from citizens, she said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” O’Boyle said.

County moves money to pay for roads and bridges

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In March, Wood County Engineer John Musteric reported that the county’s roads and bridges were in dire condition. They suffered from too many repairs needed and not enough funding. That announcement sent the Wood County Commissioners on a search for county funds that could be moved over for road and bridge improvements. And on Monday, the commissioners reported that they had come up with nearly $6.5 million to be used during the next five years to build and repair county bridges and roads. “We look forward to much progress in improving our roads and bridges,” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said during a press conference announcing the funding. Herringshaw said it was clear that the county engineer’s office would never catch up with road and bridge repairs under the current funding system. The commissioners agreed earlier this year to enact a new $5 vehicle license fee, with the revenue going to road and bridge work. But Herringshaw said it was clear that wouldn’t generate enough funding to meet the needs. The county roads and bridges are at a crisis, Musteric said this past spring. “We’ve been in a crisis mode for a long time. We’ve got so much to take care of and maintain.” The county has 245 miles of roads to maintain, plus 441 bridges with an average age of 41 years. More than 20 bridges have passed the century mark, with the granddaddy of them all being the 133-year-old bridge on Custar Road south of Sand Ridge Road.“We’re way behind, way behind,” Musteric said in March. But the newly found funding will help, he said Monday. The road and bridge funding will come from the following sources: – One-time transfer of $1.8 million from Wood County Building Inspection cash balance. – One-time transfer of $300,000 from the conveyance fee that funds county economic development. – One-time transfer of $100,000 from the Wood County Clerk of Courts’ auto title fund. – $200,000 each year for five years from county sales tax revenue. – $650,000 annually from the new $5 vehicle license fee. Musteric said much of the funding will be spent on the road and bridge needs south of U.S. 6, where safety has become an issue. “These are your roads. I’m here to protect them and improve them,” he said. Nearly three-quarters of the county’s road conditions are currently rated marginal or lower. Nearly half of those are ranked as poor or serious. Bringing those roads up to fair condition would cost an estimated $39 million. The county engineer’s office is studying pavement preservation practices. The lifespan of average pavement is 25 years. To catch up, the county would need to pave 35 miles every year – costing about $10.3 million each year. Instead, the county has been spending about $1.1 million a year on paving. When it comes to bridges, the county plans to replace four this year, costing about $1.2 million. That is just a drop in the bucket, with 441 bridges in Wood County. More than half are over 50 years old, and 52 bridges are ranked in poor or worse shape. The cost to replace those 52 would add up to $20.8 million, Musteric said. At the pace the county is going, it would take 90 years to…

Weighty issues – county citizens getting fatter & sadder

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County residents have gotten fatter and sadder in the last three years. The latest Community Health Assessment results for Wood County adults show growing numbers of people carrying around extra weight physically and mentally. Nearly 40 percent of local adults classify themselves as obese, while another 33 percent say they are overweight. A total of 14 percent of adults reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more consecutive weeks. The surveys are conducted every three years by the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio. “We can be confident that this is pretty accurate,” Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey said earlier this week. A total of 1,200 adult surveys were mailed out to randomly selected residences. In order to be statistically accurate, 383 responses were needed. A total of 431 adults responded. The youth surveys fared even better, since they were conducted at schools. The health survey process began in 2008 – which allows the health department make comparisons to past health data. “How are we trending? Are we getting better in this trending?” Batey asked. The answer is yes and no. Overall, the youth data is positive. “I was very happy to see the trends with our youth,” Batey said. “We’re either holding the line or improving.” Obesity and overweight numbers among youth are gradually improving. Physical activity among youth is increasing. “Those are good things to see,” he said. Cigarette smoking among youth is at a record low. Overall substance abuse is down in kids. The numbers of youth trying alcohol and engaging in binge drinking are also down. Adolescent sexual activity is down. And bullying has dropped a bit. The one area seeing a troubling increase is in mental health. More youth responded that they have considered suicide, and experience regular sadness or hopelessness. “Mental health still seems to be declining,” Batey said. “It’s a trend that’s going in the wrong direction.” In the survey responses of parents with children ages birth to 5, a positive trend was seen in a majority of families reading to children every day in the past week. The biggest negative was a drop in mothers attempting breastfeeding. “That jumped off the page for me,” Batey said. “I think that’s huge.” But overall, Batey was happy about changes seen in younger respondents. “I’m very optimistic about the trends we’re seeing in our children and youth,” he said. Adults, on the other hand, slipped in some key areas especially weight and mental health. A total of 39 percent of adults ranked themselves as obese, compared to 22 percent three years ago. That compares to 32 percent of Ohioans and 30 percent overall in the U.S. that consider themselves as obese. Combined, 72 percent of local adults described themselves as either overweight or obese. “That’s a pretty big swing for us from where we were,” Batey said. “That’s a pretty significant number that’s concerning to me.” Wood County adults also showed a decline in mental health. When asked for the average number of days of poor mental health in the past month, local adults said 4.8 compared to 1.9 in 2015. When asked about having two or more weeks in a row of feeling sad or hopeless, 14 percent of adults said they had experienced…

President of NAT Transportation concerned about possible recycling location closure

To the users of NAT Recycling: For more than 20 years, NAT has supported, with the assistance of The Wood County Solid Waste District and The Bowling Green Recycling Center, the operation of it’s recycling center. This has been “a loss leader” for our trash business; in other words, it has been at a monetary loss for NAT. But, the users, made up of the homeowners of southeast Wood County, have appreciated this service and the Waste District supported the program. Recently, The Solid Waste District, with the approval of the Commissioners and Administration, has arbitrarily decided to discontinue its support of certain transportation and processing costs of material recycled from NAT to Bowling Green. This was done without conferring with NAT or The Bowing Green Recycling Center. Neither NAT or BGRC have the funds to assume these costs on a long-term basis nor have we requested additional support. This was despite for more than 20 years NAT’s processed tonnage has and still is, second only to BGRC in the Wood County area. In the meantime, the Waste District’s unencumbered funds (cash available) are at an historic high. Citizens should remember, by Ohio Law, the Office of the Wood County Commissioner’s is responsible to provide access to recycling through out Wood County. And we provide a heated, well kept all weather 24/7 location for Southeast Wood County. We, Mike Fairbanks and I, will be studying how this loss of funding will effect NATs operation of the 24/7 recycling, but without the FULL support of The Wood County Waste District, at this time we see the closing of our recycling program in the near future. We ask you to express your thoughts to your Wood County Officials by calling the Wood County Administration Office (Andrew Kalmar; Doris Herringshaw, Craig LaHote, and Theodore Bowlus) at (419) 354-9100; or the office of The Wood County Solid Waste District (Mrs. O’Boyle) at (419) 354-9297. Thank you for your time and understanding. Mick Torok President of NAT Transportation

‘Food Truck Fridays’ offers change of menu to county workers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   “Food Truck Fridays” will soon be giving some Wood County employees a reason to leave their packed lunches at home. Who wants the standard fare of peanut butter and jelly, when they can dine on barbecue, chili and cornbread, or hot dogs with all types of toppings? When Bowling Green City Council passed an ordinance earlier this year allowing food trucks in the city, it got some county employees thinking. Staff at Wood County Job and Family Services, on East Gypsy Lane Road, approached Maricarol Torsok-Hrabovsky, special projects manager at their office, about arranging for food trucks to visit during lunch time. “We’re pretty much out where there’s not a lot of food actually,” Torsok-Hrabovsky said. She checked with the county commissioners, who had no objections. She called other county offices in the East Gypsy Lane complex – like Wood Lane, the Sheriff’s Office, and Wood County Health Department – and found out that their employees were also hungry for a change of pace. “We got interest from several of them. So we decided to try it out,” Torsok-Hrabovsky said. Then she talked with Joe Fawcett, assistant municipal administrator for Bowling Green, about local vendors. Fawcett directed her to the Wood County Health Department. Torsok-Hrabovsky quickly found out what food truck vendors are in demand. “Food trucks book really, really fast,” she said. With all the fairs and festivals, “they have their summers already planned.” But she was able to reserve a few vendors – creating “Food Truck Fridays” on July 27 and Aug. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The trucks will set up in the lot behind the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services. The Food Truck Friday on July 27 will feature Country Lane BBQ and The Little Stand on the Prairie. Country Lane BBQ specializes in pulled pork “sundaes.” The Little Stand on the Prairie’s menu includes grilled bologna, mashed potato bowls, chili and cornbread, plus strawberries with homemade biscuits and whipped cream. “That was the big sell,” Torsok-Hrabovsky said. The Food Truck Friday on Aug. 17 will feature Country Lane BBQ, The Little Stand on the Prairie, and Weenie Dawgs. Weenie Dawgs sells hot dogs with all types of toppings, plus walking tacos. Many of the county employees at the East Gypsy Lane complex grab a bag of fast food and bring it back to work for lunch. Torsok-Hrabovsky is hoping they will want to change up their menu. “Maybe they will walk on over,” she said. Once the summer is over, Torsok-Hrabovsky would like to continue the Food Truck Fridays once a month. “Maybe we could get a few more vendors,” she said.

Parker a natural as county environmental coordinator

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Beth Parker’s appreciation for the environment comes naturally. She grew up near Pittsburgh, spending time outside, with a dad who worked as a canoeing instructor for the Red Cross. Her love of nature has led her to the position of environmental program coordinator for Wood County. “I guess it boils down to respect,” Parker said. “The earth is our home. We should respect it. We’re not going to get another one, so we need to treat it well.” Parker earned an environmental science degree from Bowling Green State University, with a specialization in education and interpretation. She went on to work at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Ohio, the Long Lake Conservation Center in Minnesota, and most recently at the Wood County Park District as a naturalist. “When you have a love for nature, you want to protect it and make sure it’s well cared for,” Parker said. Parker took over the environmental program coordinator position just as the county opened permanent recycling sites at several satellite locations throughout Wood County. “That started the day before I started,” she said. “I’ve been out checking those to make sure things are going well.” The recycling sites are being used by many county residents, she said. But Parker has identified a need for education on some topics at the satellite locations. Some people are continuing to put their recyclables in plastic grocery bags, which cause problems. “They can tangle up the machines,” Parker said. And cardboard boxes should be flattened before being put in the drop-offs, she added. “But people are definitely using them, which is great,” Parker said. In addition to the county’s recycling efforts, Parker will also be giving tours of the wind farm and county landfill. She will be working on avenues for education, programs, and partnerships with community organizations. “I’m looking forward to being able to continue the educational opportunities they’ve been providing in the past,” she said. “I look forward to building relationships with other community groups, businesses, and governmental entities.” Parker is also interested in working on composting in the county. “It’s all about working toward a sustainable future,” she said.

Wood County ‘park rangers’ changed to ‘park police’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The shouted command, “Stop, park ranger,” just doesn’t carry the same authority as “Stop, police.” For that reason and others, the Wood County Park District’s rangers asked the park board Tuesday to change their title from rangers to police officers. The park board voted unanimously to do so. In the past, the county park rangers had law enforcement and maintenance roles. That has changed, and the rangers now perform strictly law enforcement duties. The park rangers are certified Ohio Peace Officers, and the name change would clarify their authority. “In making this change, we are hoping to clarify exactly what we do as certified peace officers working in the park district, and to help our employees, visitors and neighbors feel more secure while being in or near our properties,” the rangers’ proposal stated. “As rangers, we constantly encounter people who have no idea what a park ranger is or that we are law enforcement officers,” the proposal continued. “We have had people question our need for carrying a gun, if we have the same authority as law enforcement, and challenge us when we try to enforce park rules and laws.” The rangers also said when working with multiple agencies and dispatchers, it takes time to explain their authority. When rangers formally make a criminal charge in court, they sometimes have to remind court employees that they are certified peace officers. “We believe that because of the public’s inability to distinguish exactly what we are or what we do, eventually an incident may escalate the need for force and thus escalate the liability of the park district,” their proposal stated. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said Delaware County’s park system has changed the title of its rangers to police. “It clears up any vagueness to what their responsibility is,” Munger said. Ranger Mark Reef agreed. “This is so the public can identify that we have law enforcement authority.” Toledo Metroparks still refers to its officers as rangers, according to Scott Carpenter, head of public relations for the metroparks. “We like them being called rangers,” Carpenter said, adding that the officers do more than protect people, by also looking out for nature. Carpenter also noted that all national parks are patrolled by park rangers, not park police. Wood County Park District Chief Ranger Todd Nofzinger said the name change will not change the rangers’ roles. “It doesn’t change what we do. It doesn’t change our daily duties,” Nofzinger said. Board member Sandy Wiechman had a few logistical questions, but was told the name change would not require any additional training or radio changes. “It’s been a long time coming, and they deserve it,” she said. There will be an expense of about $4,000, to change markings on vehicles, badges, paperwork and patches. In 2012, the rangers presented a proposal that would replace their shotguns with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. They asserted that the weapons, in addition to providing less legal liability than the shotguns if fired, would also be more practical when rangers are required to dispatch rabid animals and would also serve rangers better in cases of a possible active shooter situation. The park board at the time did not approve that request. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park district board decided…

ODOT paves way for road, bridge work in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGLIN BG Independent News   Summertime – the season of vacations, longer days, and often long delays or detours due to road construction. “Orange barrels. Everybody’s favorite,” said Phil Senn, area engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation District 2, as he told the Wood County commissioners Tuesday about projects planned in the county. “We’ve got a lot going on,” Senn said. Following is a list of ODOT bridge projects in Wood County this year: Waterville bridge replacement at Ohio 64 and Ohio 65, costing $14 million, with a completion date of September 2020. A 45-day closure of the bridge began on June 18 for construction of a roundabout on the Wood County side. Wooster Street over Interstate 75, in Bowling Green, with plans to convert the intersections to roundabouts, costing $9.6 million. The project, which includes redecking the bridge over I-75, and sanitary sewer and waterline work, will be completed November 2019. Ohio 281 over I-75, south of Bowling Green, involving a bridge deck replacement, costing $1.1 million. The bridge is open now, and all work should be completed next month. Ohio 579 bridge replacements over Dry Creek and Cedar Creek, costing $1.6 million, to be completed this October. CSX railroad bridge by the Ohio Turnpike will be demolished, costing $2.2 million, to be completed June 2019. Road resurfacing projects in Wood County this year include: U.S. 20 paving from East Boundary Street to Lime City Road, costing $3.4 million, to be completed in August; a new traffic signal at Thompson Road; sidewalk extension from Holiday Inn to Heartland driveway. The Route 20 paving work is complete except for land striping. Ohio 25 paving from Jefferson Street to south of Roachton Road, costing $3.4 million. The paving is complete, but striping must be finished. Ohio 199 paving from Ohio 105 to Niederhouse Road, costing $664,000, to be complete in October. Route 579 paving from Ohio 51 to Ottawa County line, costing $1.6 million, to be done in October. ODOT is planning the following intersection construction work in Wood County: Left turn lane to be added on eastbound Route 20 to Route 163, costing $850,000, to be completed in November. Roundabout on Route 199 at Carronade Drive, costing $1 million, was completed in March. Roundabouts on Buck Road at Lime City Road, and Buck Road at Penta Center Drive, costing $3.3 million, to be completed in October 2019. Wood County Commissioner Craig LaHote said the roundabouts in the northern part of the county seem to be working well. “I think people are gradually getting used to the roundabouts,” he said. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said the roundabout at the Waterville bridge should help reduce traffic jams during busy times of the day. And Wood County Engineer John Musteric said the diverging diamond design on Route 25 at Interstate 475 has improved the traffic flow. “I think that has helped tremendously,” Musteric said. ODOT is planning crack sealing and pavement patching this year on: Route 6 Route 18 Route 25 Route 281 Route 582 Daily operations by ODOT include mowing, vegetation maintenance, ditch work, shoulder reconditioning, underdrain identification, and wildlife relocation – a nicer name for dead deer removal. Kasey Young, highway management administrator, talked about efforts by ODOT to set up specialized work crews for bridges, drainage and…

Talking trash – county commissioners get tour of landfill

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It wasn’t that long ago that landfills were unregulated piles of garbage. And in Wood County, nearly every town and township had one. Items that weren’t dumped were often burned in backyards. As the Wood County Commissioners toured the county landfill last month, they were reminded how those days were long gone. “It’s just not a hole in the ground anymore,” said Ken Vollmar, head of landfill operations, as he drove the commissioners on their annual tour of the facility that opened west of Bowling Green in 1972. The bottom of the landfill has an EPA-approved liner, and once an area is full, it gets an EPA-approved cover. Methane gas is monitored with a series of wells, and leachate is captured so it doesn’t move off site. Wood County is fortunate to have its own landfill, Vollmar said. “You can keep prices competitive,” he said. If the county didn’t have its own facility, the private landfills would be able to bump up their prices. “We keep them in check for Wood County citizens.” For a period of nearly 15 years, the Wood County Landfill averaged about 35,000 tons a year taken in. Then Henry County closed its facility, and for three years, Wood County Landfill took in about 48,000 tons a year. Last year, that tonnage jumped to 58,000. But Wood County doesn’t need to worry about outgrowing its landfill space anytime soon, Vollmar said. The current footprint being used is 43 acres, reaching almost 100 feet high. That footprint is expected to last another six to seven years. In addition to that area, the county also owns 80 acres to the west, 80 acres to the north, and another 40 acres to the northeast. The landfill is in the process of getting a permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to expand to the north acreage. That will give the county another 100 to 132 years of landfill space. As Vollmar drove the commissioners on their tour, he pointed out a major improvement at the landfill. For years, the facility has used “bull fences” to provide litter control in the areas where trash is currently  being dumped. On last year’s tour, the commissioners noted that the fences were thick with plastic bags blown from the trash being dumped. But now the landfill has a new piece of equipment that sucks the plastic bags off the fences. “It’s an animal,” Vollmar said. Vollmar pointed out the brush pile, which the landfill staff turns into a mulch pile, which is then sold to the public for $25 a ton. “It’s going like crazy,” Vollmar said. Vollmar showed the landfill sedimentation basins, which collect runoff from the trash mounds that can then be reused for dust control. He pointed out mountains of concrete from various construction projects – the Vehtek construction project, a BGSU parking lot demolition, and the Interstate 75 overpass destruction. Asphalt and concrete are crushed up to make a road base so trucks don’t get stuck going up or down the landfill. “It makes a lot of difference to the haulers,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said. Piles of soil are also accepted for future use, Vollmar said. “We use every bit of dirt we can for covering garbage,” he said.

Voters to decide 2 county levies in fall – though 1 is still in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will decide the fate of two county-wide levies this fall. The county commissioners heard from both groups last week. One levy is a reduced renewal levy – dropped from the current 2.95-mills to 2.45 mills for Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The other is still a mystery. A request had been made for an increase from a 1-mill to a 1.3-mill levy for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. The commissioners seem to be on board with the Wood Lane request. But they have expressed reservations about the increased levy request from ADAMHS. During the presentation by Wood Lane officials, Superintendent Brent Baer talked about the “dynamic growth in services” that the board is seeing. And Martha Woelke, of the board, said great deliberation went into the levy request. “We did everything we can to maximize state and federal money,” she told the commissioners. The board has been able to reduce its levy collections some years, but feels that 2.45 mills is the lowest it can go for the renewal. When people with developmental disabilities waive their right to institutional care, they are picked up by community based services – like Wood Lane. That agency then identifies their needs and develops plans to meet them, Baer said. The waivers allow for federal funding, but the community agency must still pick up 40 percent of the costs, said finance officer Steve Foster. “Our commitments are for the life of an individual,” Baer said. Demands are growing as the population here is increasing. “Wood County is one of the few counties in Ohio that’s growing,” Baer said. About five years ago, there were 226 consumers on waivers. Now there are 425. Baer expects that number to double again in the next five years. The board may need to be back in five years, asking for a greater levy, but this should do for now, Baer said. It’s not often that a county board approaches the county commissioners about lowering a levy request. “I’ve never had to do one with a reduction,” said Sandy Long, the clerk of the board of commissioners. The commissioners like the idea of asking taxpayers for less for Wood Lane. But they aren’t completely sold on asking taxpayers for more for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board. The Wood County Commissioners – who have to certify the need for levies before they are placed on the ballot – have asked the ADAMHS board to consider other options for the November ballot issue. The current 1-mill levy generates about $2.9 million. The levy replacement plus addition of 0.3 mills would bring in an additional $1.3 million. According to a letter last month from Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar to ADAMHS Executive Director Tom Clemons, the commissioners aren’t rejecting the request for the 1.3-mill levy. However, they would like the ADAMHS Board to consider other options. Those options, according to the letter, plus the original request are: 1.3-mill replacement levy for 10 years, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 approximately $45.50 a year. 1-mill replacement levy for 10 years, which would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $35 a year. Replacement…

New sheriff’s deputy in town for courthouse security

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Rob Eaton walked into a mess this morning on his first day on the job as director of security for the Wood County Courthouse Complex. “I walked in and there are alarms going off everywhere. I thought – Holy Toledo,” Eaton said this morning. The phones were down because of a system-wide problem with the phone lines, causing the alarms to blare at the courthouse. “It was baptism by fire,” Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn said as he introduced Eaton to the county commissioners this morning. The phones were back in service by 8:20 a.m. Eaton has been with the sheriff’s office for 26 years, starting on the corrections staff, moving to road patrol, serving on the Special Response Team, and most recently in the civil division. He also served 14 years in the Army National Guard. Eaton will receive an annual salary of $65,894. He has no plans to change operations in courthouse security, set up under his predecessor Becky Ewing. “I’m looking forward to this challenge of working with everyone,” he said. Since October, the security at the courthouse complex has been divided. The sheriff’s office is in charge of the grounds, buildings and entrances. The court constables, led by Ron Dicus, are in charge of the courtrooms and adult probation. The primary challenge of the job is clear, Eaton said. “Making sure everyone is safe,” from the public to county employees, he said. At the same time, citizens must feel the courthouse complex is a public facility, Wasylyshyn said. “There’s a tough balance between making everyone feel welcome” and making sure they are save, the sheriff said. Also during his meeting with the county commissioners, Wasylyshyn reported that security staff members are now offering fingerprinting in the atrium at the request of the judges. He also mentioned that the security staff is trying to be more visible in the courthouse and county office building. The commissioners acknowledged seeing the staff throughout the complex.

Dog warden reports on changes at county dog shelter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County dog warden is not like an old dog that can’t be taught new tricks. Chief Dog Warden Andrew Snyder said Tuesday morning that he is always looking for ways to improve operations at the county dog shelter. Those changes include more visible signage for the shelter, more dog license sales, increased outdoor exercise for the dogs, improvements to the dog park, decreases in dogs euthanized, and increased efforts to find homes for impounded dogs. Last Friday, approximately 50 protesters rallied in downtown Bowling Green to protest dogs being euthanized at the Wood County Dog Shelter. Snyder reported to the county commissioners Tuesday that the dog shelter’s euthanasia rate is 8 percent – far lower than the 40 percent rate a decade ago. Of the 184 dogs impounded so far this year, 81 were reclaimed by their owners, 45 were adopted by new owners, 35 were taken in by rescue organizations, and 15 were euthanized. “I think our adoption statistics show we have a really good relationship with our rescues,” he said. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw asked if some dog owners surrender their dangerous dogs to the shelter for euthanasia. “Do they bring them to you with that in mind?” Snyder said that does occur, and added that some owners drop off older ill dogs. On Monday, the shelter took in four new dogs, he said. One was a pit bull whose owner has been incarcerated, and the family cannot take in the dog because it is aggressive toward other dogs. “We take in a dog like that and do our best to find that dog a home,” Snyder said. But fewer rescue groups are available to take in such dogs. “It’s a never ending process to try to find a home for these dogs.” Snyder reported on some improvements to the commissioners, such as: Revisions to a kennel worker’s hours now allow the dogs to get outdoor exercise time six days a week. A new, more visible sign will be erected at the dog shelter, located in the county complex off East Gypsy Lane Road. Other signage options are being considered at an entrance to the complex. Workers have made more door-to-door checks for dog licenses, which should result in more license sales this year. More “dangerous” dog licenses have been purchased, as required by state law. “So we’re seeing more compliance there,” Snyder said. Changes are also planned at the county dog park, located next to the dog shelter. The three padlocked entrances to the dog park will be replaced with one keypad entrance. That should make it more convenient for members, and more likely they will lock it when leaving. Drainage issues will be fixed, and a water cooler system will be installed, Snyder said. Running water to the park was too expensive, he added. After the meeting with the commissioners, Snyder talked about some of the reasons possibly causing the lower number of dogs being impounded at the shelter. In 2005, there were more than 800 dogs taken in. Last year, that number was just over 400. More dogs are now being licensed, so they are immediately returned to their owners instead of having to go to the dog shelter, he said. Also, there has been an…

Grants go toward small town sidewalks, street, roofing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Small communities won out in the county-wide race for Community Development Block Grants this year. Custar, Pemberville, Risingsun and Perrysburg Heights were recommended to receive block grant funding by the Wood County Planning Commission and approved by the county commissioners. Northwood was selected as an alternative. “I know some of these small villages really struggle,” said Wood County Engineer John Musteric. Winning support for funding were: $61,700 for Custar to reconstruct about 1,360 feet of asphalt pavement and install four curb ramps, reconstruct one catch basin and one manhole on Superior Street. $68,900 for Pemberville to install about 38 curb ramps and 12 ADA detector pads in existing sidewalks, and repave 2,532 square feet of sidewalk to meet ADA requirements. $67,400 for Risingun to reconstruct about 2,980 feet of sidewalk along Main Street from the village limits to U.S. 23, plus install ADA ramps at all intersections. $55,000 for Perrysburg Heights Community Center to replace the roof on the original portion of the facility. Northwood’s request was for $100,000 to reconstruct about 1,190 feet of asphalt pavement, replace curbs, add sidewalks and curb ramps, and reconstruct catch basins along Maryland Place between Andrus Road and Brentwood Drive. Wood County Planning Commission had $253,000 to award this year in the CDBG funds. According to Planning Director Dave Steiner, there were several other applicants, but they failed to meet qualifications. Steiner showed slides of each community need, including broken up roadway and uneven sidewalks. Community representatives also made their own pitches for funding. Custar Mayor Renee Hartman talked about her town’s need for help. “Custar Road is in serious need of repair,” she said. “We would be very grateful. It’s one of the most important things to the village right now.” Pemberville engineer Steve Darmofel pointed out the need for ADA curb ramps, since only 12 percent in the village currently meet ADA standards. The plan is to replace 38 curb ramps on College, Hickory and Maple streets. “Those are bad. They’re not even close to compliant,” Steiner said as he flashed a photo of the curbs. A representative of Poggemeyer Design Group put a pitch in for Risingsun’s need for sidewalks and ADA ramps. “The sidewalks are extremely bad. Wheelchairs cannot go down there,” she said. Paul Belazis, of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association, talked about the need to replace the roof on the community center, which was built in 1995. The association was established in 1991 in response to needs in the low income community – including the 80 percent dropout rate for students. The organization has been offering afterschool programming, with dramatic results, Belazis said. “We have continued to do that for the last 25 years,” he said. “An awful lot of kids depend on it,” he said of the center.