Youth

Park district peddling mountain biking in 2019 budget

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District may invest some money to attract kids of that awkward age to use their county parks. The park district already has programs that appeal to young children and adults. But the difficulty is getting older kids and young adults to view the parks as a place to spend time. So the draft budget for the Wood County Park District has a tentative $200,000 set aside for an off-road mountain biking training area and a trail off the Slippery Elm Trail. Earlier this fall, the park board voiced support for a proposal to create pump tracks in Rudolph and a mountain bike trail in the savanna area along the trail. Park naturalist Craig Spicer presented a proposal for both concepts. He explained the mountain biking park and trail would help the district attract teens and young adults. A survey conducted earlier this year showed only 6 percent of the county park users were college student age. All parks suffer from the same difficulty luring teens and young adults, Spicer said. “They are one of the most finicky audiences,” he said. According to Spicer, off-road and sport biking are growing in popularity. “This is a good opportunity to ride that wave,” he said. The creation of an off-road biking park in Rudolph, and a trail in the woods north of the community would also be an investment in a county park in the southern part of Wood County. Currently just five of the county’s 20 parks are south of U.S. 6. The proposed park would be located in the one-acre area already owned by the park district along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park board had already agreed to have unused farm silos removed from the property. A proposal created by Pump Trax USA shows a park with a “strider” track for little kids, a beginner track, an intermediate and advanced track, and a skills trail for mountain biking. The area would have parking for 30 cars, a bike fix-it station, and a covered shelter house. Maintenance of the park would be similar to the neighboring Slippery Elm Trail, since the bike park courses would be constructed of cement or asphalt. Don DiBartolomeo, of the Right Direction Youth Development Program, told the board he would offer programming for free at the bike park. DiBartolomeo is…

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BG canine officer used to track escaped juvenile

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The teen who escaped from the Wood County Juvenile Residential Center on Dunbridge Road, Wednesday evening, reportedly used a chair to break out the window of his cell, according to Bowling Green Deputy Police Chief Justin White. Bowling Green Police Division received a 911 call from JRC at 9:31 p.m. An officer was already in the general area, and others joined to set up a perimeter. Bowling Green’s canine officer, Arci, picked up the juvenile’s trail outside the residential center window, and began tracking him north, White said. As police headed north along Dunbridge Road with Arci leading the way, they found the teenager’s orange residential center flip flops. Soon after that, police received a phone call from a resident of the Copper Beach apartment complex, located at the corner of Dunbridge Road and Napoleon Road. The caller said the teen was trying to break into cars in the apartment complex parking lot. Police found blood on a car door handle, then Arci continued to head north along Dunbridge Road. At the same time, a police officer on the east side of Interstate 75 saw the 15-year-old escapee. The teen listened to police commands and was arrested at 10:22 p.m., White said. The boy had cuts on his hands and was taken to the Wood County Hospital emergency department. After being treated, he was charged with escaping from the center, and returned to the facility, White said. The teen’s original charge that landed him in the residential center was theft of a vehicle, White said. The boy, from Henry County, was being held in the juvenile residential center, which holds minors facing felony level offenses from 10 area counties, according to Wood County Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner. “It’s never occurred before,” Woessner said of an escape from the facility. A detention hearing will be held this afternoon for the teen, the judge said.


Girl Scouts announce cookie flavors for 2019

From GIRL SCOUTS OF WESTERN OHIO Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announce the return of the gluten-free Toffee-tastic® cookie, part of the 2019 Girl Scout Cookie® season lineup, in select areas. More than just delicious cookies, the Girl Scout Cookie Program® fuels girls’ development of entrepreneurial and essential life skills, and the cookie earnings power amazing experiences for girl members. The largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is proven to help the majority of girl participants develop five essential life and business skills, fostering the next generation of women who are entrepreneurs and business leaders. A recent Girl Scout Research Institute study found that 85 percent of girls surveyed learned how to set goals and meet deadlines, 88 percent became effective decision-makers, 88 percent learned to manage money, 85 percent gained people skills, and 94 percent learned business ethics—all through the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Two out of three girls surveyed (66 percent) developed all five skills while doing amazing things for themselves and their communities. Each and every purchase of Girl Scout Cookies—100 percent of the net revenue, which stays local—is an investment in girls and their leadership capabilities, both now and in the future. And Girl Scouts in the Toledo area are able to do incredible things thanks to their cookie earnings, such as designing and distributing rain barrels that each collect and recycle over 730 gallons of water a year. “Learning what your customer base wants and needs from the product you offer is an important skill girls learn through the Girl Scout Cookie Program,” said Ashley Thoreen, product sales team lead for GSWO. “We’re excited about the return of the gluten-free Toffee-tastic cookie, because it gives our girls an option for customers with dietary restrictions. What better way to teach our girls how to be consumer experts than to provide products that meet their customers’ needs and expand their Cookie business?” “The Girl Scout Cookie Program plays a powerful role in developing financially savvy girl leaders,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “Girl entrepreneurs learn valuable interpersonal and business skills via the cookie program that help them become successful in their future careers, no matter what path they choose. My experience selling Girl Scout Cookies taught me to be creative, enterprising, and persistent, and helped me build self-confidence and resilience. When you buy Girl Scout Cookies you are…


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…


Horizon Youth Theatre’s ‘Kindergarten’ best of show at OCTA Jr.

The Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” scored best of show honors Saturday at the OCTA Jr. conference held at Owens Community College. Also receiving best of show recognition was the recent 3B Productions show “Hairspray.” “Kindergarten” was also honored for excellence in ensemble and its director Cassie Greenlee was honored for excellence in directing. Two cast members, Daniel Cagle and John Colvin, received excellence in acting recognition and were named to the All State cast. “Kindergarten” was staged last September.    


Kids beef up their skills raising livestock for county fair

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Months of wrangling hefty cows, getting up for early morning swine feedings, and coaxing obstinate goats may pay off this week for kids showing their livestock at the Wood County Fair this week. As adults were setting up carnival rides and food stands Sunday in the front of the Wood County Fairgrounds, kids were getting their livestock ready to show. Kassie Fintel, 17, has been building a relationship with Tot, an 800-pound beef feeder, since February to prepare him for the fair. Basically, it comes down to teaching some manners to Tot (whose twin is of course named Tater). “It’s so much work,” said Fintel, who goes to Bowling Green High School. “It’s countless hours every summer.” In addition to the feeding and cleaning of stalls, Fintel spent quite a bit of time walking Tot. “We have to walk them or they won’t be broken for the fair,” she said as she nudged Tot into position. During judging, Tot will be asked to show that he can raise his feet when tapped with a stick, set his feet square, stand quietly in the ring, and walk without running. “Basically, manners,” Fintel said. At that moment, Tot decided to ignore Fintel and instead chew on a ribbon tacked to the fair pen. “I love his personality,” Fintel said. “He’s such a little dog basically. He doesn’t realize how big he is.” Fintel also shows her quarter horse, Tuck, at the fair. That is less of a challenge since she and Tuck have been partners for years. “My horse has been trained, and we know what we’re doing,” Fintel said. At the barn next door, goats were being weighed in for the week. Though many of the animals showed reluctance to comply with their owners’ wishes, the goats clearly won the prize for being the most ornery. Mason Roe, 11, of Weston, was waiting with his goats, Trixie and Scarlett – neither who were particular about the spellings of their names. “They’re funny,” Roe said. “They walk and jump.” Like the other kids at the fair, Roe has spent months feeding, cleaning, shaving and walking his goats. He found that the pair had a fondness for eating corn. However, since goats bloat up with too much corn, he usually feeds Trixie and Scarlett specialty feed and hay. His goats weighed in at 102 and…


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…