Wood County

Addiction and mental health safety nets depend on levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After Carol Beckley’s life turned dark, she tried to end her life five or six times. After Kyle Snyder started stealing from his dad’s medicine cabinet, he ended up overdosing on opiates multiple times. Their lives have few similarities – except Beckley and Snyder were both saved by the safety net stretched out by the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board. So on Monday, the two told their stories at the kickoff for the WCADAMHS levy which will appear on the November ballot. “Nothing speaks as clearly as to hear somebody’s personal story of their recovery,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of WCADAMHS. Beckley, who grew up in Wood County, started having problems 26 years ago. “My life as I knew it fell apart,” she said. She grew detached from things that were important to her, and started cutting herself. Beckley said she attempted suicide five or six times. Over the next five years, she was hospitalized about 20 times. “It was a revolving door for me,” she said. At that point, Beckley moved back to Wood County, where she found the safety net of services for people with mental health and addiction problems. Through Behavioral Connections, she was assigned a psychiatrist, therapist and case manager. She started hanging out at the Connections Center, where people cared how she was doing. “It was a place I could go on a daily basis,” Beckley said. “It got me out of my house. I started to crawl back to some sense of normalcy.” Without the levy funding for local mental health services, Beckley would not have been standing at a podium Monday telling her story. “Without the funding, without the help, I wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “Life as I know it is not the life I planned – but it is very rich.” Snyder was helped by a different safety net – one for addicts. As a child, Snyder watched as his father struggled as he waited for a kidney transplant. He remembered the burden and pain he felt as a child. “I remember at 10 years old I didn’t want to be alive,” he said. As a teenager, Snyder searched for ways to escape his world. “Anything to alter my reality,” he said. When alcohol was no longer enough, Snyder began taking his dad’s prescribed morphine from…


County jail expansion plan locked in at $17.6 million

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years, Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn has been saying the county jail needs some changes and a possible expansion. The price tag for that work at the Wood County Justice Center is $17.6 million. But once it’s done, Wasylyshyn promised he won’t be back with any more jail requests for the county commissioners. “We think this will get us many, many years,” the sheriff said Thursday as plans for the jail expansion were presented to county commissioners Doris Herringshaw, Ted Bowlus and Craig LaHote. The project can be divided into two separate proposals. One is the expansion and reconfiguration of the intake and medical areas of the jail. That would cost an estimated $8.6 million. The second part of the plan adds on an expansion of inmate cells plus renovation of the security pods. That would raise the overall price tag to $17.6 million. The jail currently has 220 beds. The expansion would add another 78 beds. The commissioners asked for more time to review the expansion plans. Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said the commissioners support the plans for revamping the booking and medical areas of the jail, and have already appropriated funds for the architectural and engineering of that part of the project. But the actual addition of inmate beds is not so certain. “The question is do they want to take one step more,” Kalmar said. The jail averages 165 to 180 inmates a day. However, all inmates can’t be housed in any cell. For example, high security inmates can’t be placed in minimum security housing. Females can only be housed in female units. Relatives cannot be in the same area, nor can inmates being held for the same crime. So while the jail has 220 beds now, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can house 220 inmates. Justice Center Captain Rebecca McMonigal compared it to a Rubik’s cube. Wasylyshyn said the addition of more beds would benefit the county. The county has operated a jail since 1820, and that’s not likely to change. “We’re always going to be in the jail business,” he said. Even if the county does not need all the beds, it can rent the extra to area counties facing overcrowding in their jails, the sheriff said. This year, the jail will take in close to $350,000 from other counties housing prisoners here. Some come…


Drug & alcohol abuse prevention trumps politics in D.C.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Preventing drug and alcohol abuse is not a political issue. Milan Karna saw that firsthand this week as he attended a roundtable discussion hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House. Karna, coordinator of the Wood County Prevention Coalition, was asked to attend the 20-year anniversary of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy’s Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant awards in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Karna was one of six grant recipients present from the 731 programs in the nation. The programs – which work to prevent drug and alcohol abuse by youth – were awarded $90.9 million. The Wood County Prevention Coalition’s piece of the pie was $125,000. This is the fifth year for the local coalition to receive federal funding. “The coalition is neutral,” Karna said. “It’s public service for the betterment of the entire community.” Karna was gratified that the current administration appeared to understand the value of the prevention programs. “I understand people have different feelings about different political figures,” Karna said. Both Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have been long-time supporters of funding the programs – but the support of the administration was unproven. “It was encouraging to hear this administration has agreed to allow this program to continue,” Karna said. During the roundtable discussion, youths from some of the prevention coalitions spoke of the reasons behind their commitment to the cause. President Donald Trump shared his personal story of his brother’s alcohol addiction. “He seemed very sincere,” Karna said. “I could sense that he was personally affected.” Karna has his own personal story that spurs his efforts to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. Karna’s father had issues with alcohol and tobacco. He was able to quit drinking – but had a much tougher time with smoking – even after undergoing a quintuple bypass. “He was asking my brother and me for cigarettes,” shortly after the surgery, Karna said. His father, who grew up in Yugoslavia, started smoking at age 5. He died in 2012 at age 72. “I think that’s something that drives me,” Karna said. It’s a motivator for many. “I think this is an issue a lot of people care about. There is a lot of grief and energy to do something,” Karna said. That may be why the issue has the ability to cross political lines. “Prevention is something…


Wood County Dog Shelter adds creature comforts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As big dogs barked all around him, “Wags” the puppy sat in his air-conditioned kennel, with a stuffed animal, listening to a symphony by Joseph Martin Kraus piped in on NPR. Wags and his mom, Onyx, ended up at the Wood County Dog Shelter recently when their owner started having health problems as she traveled from Detroit south on Interstate 75. While an ambulance took their human to the hospital, a dog shelter employee came to pick up Wags and Onyx. On Tuesday, the Wood County Commissioners toured the county dog shelter where they visited Wags and the five other dogs residing in the kennels – two pit bull mixes, two rottweiler mixes and one scruffy-looking terrier named Gizmo. Wood County Chief Dog Warden Andrew Snyder showed the commissioners some of the improvements at the shelter – air conditioning in one room of kennels for the dogs, an improved sound system so the dogs hear music and voices throughout the day, and new beds. Shelter staff is also making an effort to give the dogs time in the outdoor pens six days a week. The pens have plastic wading pools full of water, so the dogs have plenty to drink or can take a dip if they are hot. The smaller pens have covers over them. Snyder is hoping the larger outdoor pens will soon have tops also, since Max the dog quickly scaled the fence last week. “He came right up to the door and sat,” till shelter staff let him in, Snyder said. The improvements at the dog shelter have not gone unnoticed by humans either. It was only a couple months ago, when a group called Wood County Canine Alliance held a rally in Bowling Green, demanding better conditions at the county dog shelter. Some of those protesters are now volunteering at the dog shelter, Snyder said. “We really appreciate that,” he said. Connie Donald, of the Wood County Canine Alliance, said she has seen improvements. “Oh my gosh, yes,” Donald said. “Ever since that rally. All that noise was worth it.” The dogs are going outside more, and fewer of them are being euthanized. “The dogs are happier,” she said. Last year, the county dog shelter impounded 426 dogs, compared to 297 so far this year. The euthanasia rate last year was 14.3 percent, compared to 3.1 percent…


Wood County may wade into storm water program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Draining the Great Black Swamp came at great expense. Keeping it drained has also proven to be quite costly. Wood County Engineer John Musteric believes the bills for handling storm water can be divided more fairly in the county. So he has asked the county commissioners to approve a $50,000 study to examine the feasibility of setting up a storm water district in Wood County. “We’ve been after the commissioners to investigate this,” Musteric said. “I believe it’s a more fair way.” The feasibility study would show how much the county is spending to keep storm water at bay through ditch maintenance, removing debris in rivers, storm sewer repairs, catch basin repairs and manholes. “I think it’s going to be an eye-opener,” Musteric said. Depending on the findings, the study could result in the creation of a storm water district in the unincorporated areas of the county that would charge fees to landowners to support. “It has been proven in court that county commissioners can do this,” Musteric said. Many other areas in Ohio already have storm water districts in place, with monthly fees ranging from $3.47 in Toledo, and $4.06 in Lucas County to $3.50 in Elmore, and $8 in Oak Harbor. The assessments to landowners are based on the amount of “impervious property” on the parcel. In other words, how much space is covered with rooftops or pavement that doesn’t allow water to soak into the ground. Local farmers, Musteric said, will only be charged the minimum rate, since even if they have large areas of impervious property, it is balanced out with even larger areas of open ground. “I think the farmers will embrace it,” the county engineer said. The county auditor’s office would handle the assessments, Musteric said. The fees would likely be billed on property taxes as special assessments. By setting up a district funded by landowner fees, the county will be able to set money aside for storm water expenses. Currently, ditch improvements that aren’t under a maintenance plan along county roads are paid for with county road and bridge funding. So by creating a system of funding for storm water issues, the engineer’s office can use more of its road and bridge funding for the work it was intended for, Musteric said. The storm water district would not have to cover the entire county. It…


Opiate addicts find lifeline in local ARC program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Fighting the opioid crisis can be like aiming at a moving target. Drugs get more potent, people are prone to relapse, and some proposed laws work against success. But it appears that Wood County’s Addiction Response Collaborative is having an impact. “We’re making inroads,” Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson told the county commissioners Tuesday morning. In the six months that the ARC has been up and running, the program has been alerted to 80 individuals who have overdosed. “Some of those have overdosed multiple times,” Dobson said. Of those 80, five died. While tragic, that number is far less than the 16 people who died of opiate overdoses in 2016 in Wood County. The ARC team, made up of Belinda Brooks and Det. Sgt. Ryan Richards, had contact with the 75 addicts who overdosed, three of whom refused help. Of the addicts, 55 cases were referred to ARC by law enforcement officers, and 22 were referred by family members. “Those are great numbers,” Dobson said of those referred by family. That means the word is getting out to more than just law enforcement. “I was pleasantly surprised. People are contacting the program.” Of those working with the ARC program, four overdosed a second time and are currently in treatment. “That’s a great number when you’re talking about 75 people.” The ARC Quick Response Team responds to overdose incidents and other addiction-related incidents and calls. The team initiates a conversation with the survivor and family members. The goal is to encourage and offer assistance in obtaining treatment and counseling through multiple local behavioral health providers. During the past six months, Brooks and Richards have made 611 contacts with the 75 addicts – following up with them, encouraging them, looking for any gaps in the services, Dobson said. In addition to the Quick Response Team, the program works with programs in the court system, including a diversion program, analyzing the current intervention process being used by the court and the implementation of a court docket specific to addiction. Initially, some of the law enforcement offices in the county were suspect of working with the ARC. “There was more law enforcement resistance,” Dobson said. Some police agencies feared the ARC would take over cases. “That’s not our intention. We step in with ‘What can we do to help?’” In fact, Richards often shares information…


Rudolph to lose old silos, get back Bob Evans sign

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The small community of Rudolph is about to lose its five rusted grain silos, and gain back its sign noting that Bob Evans once lived there. The Wood County Park District board agreed Tuesday to have the unused silos removed along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park district had purchased the property years ago from Mid-Wood and for a while the silos were rented back to Mid-Wood for use. However, the two large and three small silos have been empty for years. The concrete at the bases is deteriorating, and the steel is rusting, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board. A company called All Excavating & Demolition approached the district about taking down the silos for a cost of $1,500. The concrete from the silos will be ground up and spread over the site. The steel will be salvaged by the company. The demolition should have no effect on those using the nearby Slippery Elm Trail, Munger said. While discussing the silos removal, board member Bill Cameron asked about the possibility of replacing the sign on the site that noted Bob Evans once resided in Rudolph. Though born in Sugar Ridge, north of Bowling Green, Evans apparently later lived for a period in Rudolph, south of Bowling Green. He went on to create the Bob Evans restaurant chain. “I miss the sign,” Cameron said. Munger said the sign had been taken down years ago when the park district had new siding installed on the old Mid-Wood building. The park district uses the building for storage along the trail. Munger said the sign is still in the building, and will need to be repainted – but it will be restored on the side of the building at the corner of Rudolph and Mermill roads. In other business, Park District Board President Denny Parish asked about the problem of people parking at Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve and then walking to the neighboring stone quarry. “This is an ongoing problem,” he said about people trespassing at the privately-owned quarry to go swimming. Park police chief Todd Nofzinger said the park district has been considering the best way to stop people from wandering from its preserve to the stone quarry. “We’ve been working with Stone Co. and Perrysburg Township Police Department to come up with a solution,”…


Tipping the scales – local fight against childhood obesity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Diane Krill was a child, she spent summer days playing in the park – not parked in front of the TV. “We were there from sun up to sundown,” she said of days of non-stop activity. “We didn’t go home until the dinner bell rang.” But times are different now, said Krill, CEO of the Wood County Community Health Center. Parents afraid to let their children roam the neighborhood sometimes prefer to use the TV as a babysitter. And when they do activities – like soccer or baseball – busy parents often rush through a fast food drive thru to pick up dinner. “We are seeing trends that are leading from childhood to adulthood,” said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The likelihood that an obese child will learn healthy eating and exercise habits as an adult is, well, slim. So on Tuesday, the Wood County Health Department held a meeting on childhood obesity for interested community members. A recently conducted Community Health Assessment showed that 72 percent of Wood County adults are overweight or obese – higher than the state average of 67 percent. That adds up to about 37,000 Wood County adults who can be labeled as obese. “That seems staggering,” Batey said. “What can we do about that?” The survey found slightly better results among local youth, where the number of obese youth dropped a bit in the last three years. “We’re seeing a positive trend with our youth, and we don’t want to lose that,” he said. A big problem appears to be that many Wood County adults are not modeling healthy exercise or eating habits for their children. And discussing people’s diets can be a potential minefield – like bringing up politics or religion, Batey said. When surveyed about exercise, many local adults said they don’t have time for physical activity. However, in the same survey, adults averaged 2.4 hours a day watching TV, 1.5 hours on their cell phones, and 1.4 hours on the computer for non-work items. “We’re not taking time to get up and move,” Batey said. “I’m not saying don’t watch TV. But get up and move while you’re watching TV.” Batey admitted to being a “couch potato” himself, and eating too much fast food – until he and his wife had their first child. “This is about childhood obesity. But kids…


County voters to face two levies on fall ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will have two county-wide issues to decide in the November election. Neither are asking the voters for more millage – which was very important to the county commissioners as they deliberated the tax levy requests earlier this year. 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 duration of that levy is five years. The other is a replacement 1-mill levy for 10 years for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. During a presentation by Wood Lane officials earlier this year, 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. The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board started out asking for an increase in levy dollars, from the current 1-mill to 1.3 mills. But the Wood County Commissioners – who have to certify the need for levies before they are placed on the ballot – 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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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