Wood County

County hears pitch for business incubator to hatch inventors’ ideas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A business incubator may be set up in Wood County to help local inventors hatch their ideas. The Wood County Commissioners heard a proposal Tuesday morning from Rene Polin, president and founder of Balance, a company that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. “You can’t just be a dreamer. You have to be a dreamer with a business plan,” Polin said. And that’s where Balance would come in to the picture. “We want to bring our panache in the industry from Cleveland to Wood County,” Polin said. To do that, Polin needs some type of very basic workspace – something with office space, power and connectivity. “I know that sounds primitive,” but that’s all that’s needed, he said. The firm’s Cleveland space is an old factory building. The firm works with entrepreneurs, helping them assess their plans, fill out necessary paperwork, and determine if the project is worth their time and investment. After all, most inventors aren’t good business people, explained Doug Miller, of the Wood County Economic Development Commission which is working to bring Balance here. “They don’t have any idea how to run a business,” Polin agreed. “We bring the management acumen.” The business incubator can help entrepreneurs determine if there is a market for their product, Miller said. “People get focused on their invention,” but if the public won’t buy it, the idea isn’t going anywhere, he said. Sometimes, the dreams need to be tweaked. “We ask the hard questions,” Polin said. “We don’t kill the dream, but we change their idea of what their dream can be.” By using consumer research and focus groups, the incubator can help gauge the success of a product. The Balance firm has seen its own success – just by helping others achieve their dreams, Polin said. One such story is the Comfort Adjust Pillow that is currently being sold on the QVC shopping network. Several other ideas are being worked on now at the business incubator in Cleveland, including a pet grooming device. Polin said the inventor is being assisted with getting a patent, refining a prototype and testing it on different animals. The incubator also helps entrepreneurs decide if they want to produce the item themselves or license their creation to someone already in the business. Other inventions being tinkered with at the incubator now include a “super simple” non-powered French press for coffee. An Italian coffee company is looking at that, Polin said. Then there’s the digital app that helps get excess farm products sold in markets. And the football fantasy idea that the inventor wants to get online by draft day next year. And the drug therapy device that is the brain child of an emergency room doctor from Youngstown. “There are probably hundreds of people here who have ideas,” Polin said. “Everyone has an idea, right?” Of course, not all inventions make it. Of the three to four entrepreneurs who seek help each month, probably one or two actually succeed. “Not all of them will move forward,” Polin said. “There’s a ‘kiss it or kill it’ moment in the process.” And often it makes more sense for the entrepreneur to license their idea to someone already in business, and just collect royalties, he said. Wood County Commissioner…


Wood County selects solution for glass recycling

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The glass recycling operation may resume soon for Bowling Green and all of Wood County. The behind the scene operations may be a little different, but residents will once again be able to drop off their glass recyclables as they have in the past. “The public should see no difference from before,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said Thursday morning. The new solution calls for the glass to be shipped to a new location in Dunkirk, Indiana. “The commissioners are optimistic this will work,” Kalmar said. “The most important part is it doesn’t go in our landfill,” he added. The county commissioners selected a proposal from Strategic Materials, with costs of $20 a ton for shipping paid to Strategic Materials, and $10 a ton for handling paid to the Bowling Green Recycling Center. The county will pay the entire $30/ton fee. Strategic Materials is interested in a three- to five-year agreement. ”This arrangement is uncomplicated, restores glass recycling county citizens, cost effective, and keeps glass out of the landfill,” Kalmar said. Bill DenBesten, of the Bowling Green Recycling Center, said the center board will review the decision made by the commissioners. “Since this new proposal includes a change of partners, increased due diligence is required before we formally respond. We have already begun informal discussions and are planning a more comprehensive meeting, likely on Monday evening,” DenBesten responded. “I’ll let you know just as soon as the board has made its decision.” If the agreement proceeds, people dropping off glass will once again be able to use the bins at the recycling center. The option previously discussed of using the city’s old salt shed as storage for glass was discarded since it would have meant moving the glass multiple times. “The city was generous to offer,” but the idea would not have been efficient, Kalmar said. “This really should get us back to the arrangement we had before,” he said. Earlier this summer, the Bowling Green Recycling Center stopped accepting glass. The decision applied to all the center’s locations, including the 24-hour drop-off site in Bowling Green, and the satellite trailers and satellite facilities scattered throughout Wood County. Glass for recycling is particularly difficult to haul since it is very important that a load not be contaminated. Glass collected in Bowling Green and throughout the county usually has to be transported every three to four weeks, when 22 to 23 tons are collected. BGSU sustainability director, Nick Hennessey said that when the recycling center stopped taking glass, the glass drop-offs started growing at BGSU. “We’re interested in getting it resolved,” he said. Glass recycling has been a costly operation for some time. However, paying for glass to be landfilled isn’t cheap either – with dumping costs at about $40 a ton. The recycling center had been sending glass from Wood County to a recycling site near Dayton. It was costing $30 a ton to ship the glass, for which it was paid $25 a ton. Late last year, the shipping costs were raised to $40 a ton, and payments were cut to $10 a ton. The BG center then found a company in Sylvania to take the glass at no cost. However, that agreement ended abruptly, leaving the Dayton site as the only…


Roundabout eyed for Campbell Hill – Napoleon Road

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   East Wooster Street in Bowling Green may not be the only route in the area steering for roundabouts. Wood County Engineer John Musteric has asked for a safety study to be conducted at the intersection of Napoleon Road and Campbell Hill Road – just on the east side of Bowling Green. The Wood County Commissioners agreed to the study, which will be conducted by Poggemeyer Design Group. According to Musteric, the Campbell Hill-Napoleon intersection was identified on a list compiled by the Ohio County Engineers Association as one of the worst intersections in the region for accidents. Other Wood County intersections have made the list in the past, including Hull Prairie and Roachton, which now has a roundabout, and several on Oregon Road between Ohio 795 and the city of Northwood. A roundabout is currently being considered for the intersection of First Street and Oregon Road, Musteric said. In the city of Bowling Green, roundabouts are planned at East Wooster’s intersections with Interstate 75, Dunbridge Road and Campbell Hill Road. Now it appears there may be one more roundabout, just on the outer edge of the city. During the past three years, Musteric said the Campbell Hill-Napoleon crossing has been the site of about 45 accidents. Most have involved property damage and none have been fatal crashes, he said. “There have been a lot of accidents there,” he said. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of visibility, and the county has added signage. But that doesn’t seem to have helped. “People are stopping at Campbell Hill and then they pull out thinking the Napoleon traffic will stop,” Musteric said. So a traffic study will be conducted, in hopes of the county getting some funding for a possible roundabout. A four-way stop could be placed at the intersection, but then there will be more rear-end collisions, he said. “The state is more than willing to give money away for safety,” Musteric said. “These roundabouts reduce accidents by 76 percent.” The traffic study will likely be completed by the end of this year. “We definitely want it done while school is open,” he said. The results will be used to help the county pay for improvements. “We can use that to apply for grant money,” Musteric said. However, the county engineer said some type of agreement will likely be needed between the county and the city before the work is done. “If the county puts $1 million in this, we don’t want that area annexed into the city without getting some of our money back,” he said.  


BGSU teams with Wood County to monitor mosquitoes

By BOB CUNNINGHAM BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Notice an uptick in mosquitoes in northwest Ohio? You can thank climate change. Warmer summers mean longer mosquito seasons, and milder winters signify a higher survival rate for mosquitoes. Those conditions, which have allowed for the emergence of diseases such as that caused by Zika virus, are cause for concern — especially as mosquitoes that vector, or carry, such viruses migrate farther north. “What’s happened the last two to three years has led to a lot of concern about mosquito-borne pathogens and viruses,” said Dr. Dan Pavuk, an insect biologist and lecturer in Biological Sciences at Bowling Green State University. “South Florida last summer in mosquito season had more than 200 cases of the Zika virus in humans that were actually documented to be transmitted by mosquitoes. That has spurred the interest in revitalizing a lot of the mosquito surveillance.” The Wood County Health District recently received a $17,696 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to study mosquitoes in Wood County. The health district contracted with BGSU to assist in its mosquito surveillance project. Pavuk and two undergraduate biology students, Erica Eskins of Bellevue, Ohio, and Hannah Alanis of Oregon, Ohio, have been working on the project all summer. They’ll set the traps throughout Wood County, including three sites in Bowling Green and one each in Pemberville, Grand Rapids, Perrysburg, Rossford, North Baltimore and Walbridge. “We go out at least once a week and set the traps and then go back the next day to pick them up,” Pavuk said. “Most people don’t want to work with mosquitoes, but Erica and Hannah were actually really excited about working with them, and they both have gained a lot from this particular experience.” When Pavuk was an undergraduate student in the late 1970s, he said, there was a large amount of mosquito surveillance in Ohio and the United States because of other viruses that are vectored by the insects. The spread of St. Louis encephalitis, California encephalitis and Eastern equine encephalitis had health officials on high alert at the time. Now, with climate change, there’s a concern that some mosquitoes that vector Zika virus are moving farther north. “Among the mosquito species we’ve been sampling for is the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, which occurs over a large part of Ohio but not usually northwest Ohio except for Lucas County,” Pavuk said. “Lucas County did have a record of an Asian tiger mosquito in 2009, and Paul Bauman, the general manager of the Toledo Sanitary District, reported the occurrence of Asian tiger mosquitoes in Toledo last week. Asian tiger mosquitoes vector Zika virus, but we don’t have a vector of Zika virus that normally occurs in this area. Even if Asian tiger mosquitoes show up, it doesn’t mean people are suddenly going to come down with a Zika infection.” Pavuk also said that the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, a major vector of Zika virus and several other viruses such as yellow fever virus, dengue virus and chikungunya virus, does occur as far north as Cincinnati. Pavuk and his students are primarily concerned about surveying mosquitoes, Culex pipiens and other Culex species, that vector the West Nile virus. He said there have been a number of counties in Ohio this summer that have captured mosquitoes that have tested positive for the virus….