Community Opinion

When BG Independent News launched the website bgindependentmedia.org, we questioned whether we wanted to get into running letters to the editor. From our long experience with newspapers, we both had very mixed feelings about those. Yes, having an open forum for readers to express their opinions is an important service to offer. But since that could mean publishing not infrequently things we knew were untrue, as well as expressions of hate speech, it left us uncomfortable. And while a newspaper has a corporate identity, BG Independent is far more identified with its principals, Jan McLaughlin and David Dupont. 

Just as we hold ourselves to certain standards, we’d like our letter writers to as well. First, this is not the place to express hatred of classes of people due to sexual orientation or race or religion. Nor are we interested in quick “elect Q for office B” statements with no support. If you want to make a claim for or against someone, offer evidence. We also will not publish back and forth arguments between writers.

To submit a letter or opinion piece, send it in the form of a text document or within the body of the email itself (no PDFs or photo files) to letters@bgindependentmedia.org. Though only your full name and city will be published, please include a phone number and street address for our reference. We will not post anything from anonymous sources.

Leontis focused on local action for global concerns

Neocles Leontis is on the Democratic Party ballot for the May 7 primary election, running for an at-large seat on Bowling Green City Council. I urge primary voters to cast their votes for this progressive candidate who has his eye on big issues like climate change while understanding that change has to happen locally.  Neocles is a long-time resident of Bowling Green – 32 years – who has been active in the community as a member of the East Side Residential Group, Peace Lutheran Church, and Bowling Green Kiwanis. He was instrumental in getting the city to install the solar array which has been operating since 2017. He worked with Columbia Gas to promote affordable home energy audits and insulation. He has supported Ohio Interfaith Power and Light with its mission to encourage responsible stewardship of energy and other resources.  One of his primary local concerns is to establish regular fire and safety inspections of rental properties, particularly older buildings and houses. He is as concerned about the safety of the student population as he is about saving them money in the long run through conservation measures like insulation. And his proposals for energy savings will also contribute to reducing greenhouse gases.  I have known Neocles for nearly thirty years, and I have always admired the way he stays broadly informed (he reads ravenously) and becomes personally engaged in community, social, and political matters. He is passionate about his beliefs and goals, but he brings a scientist’s systematic and practical approach to seeing them realized.  Change is inevitable. We just need to make sure it happens in both compassionate and rational ways. This is precisely where Neocles Leontis can make a local difference with potential impacts beyond our community as well.  Vote Leontis for City Council at large on May 7, or before: early in-person voting runs until Monday, May 6, at 2:00 pm. Geoff Howes Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on April 17, 2019.

Read More

Mike Aspacher endorses Bruce Jeffers for another term on council

I am writing to express my support for the re-election of Bruce Jeffers as at-large representative to Bowling Green City Council. It has been my great pleasure to serve along with Bruce during his eight-year tenure on City Council. During this time, Bruce has proven to be a dedicated and hardworking representative for the entire Bowling Green community. Bruce has been a consistent advocate and supporter of the city’s efforts to enrich its sustainable energy portfolio, and he voted to enable the construction of our solar field, which is currently the largest in the state of Ohio. Bruce has been a strong guiding voice as the city has considered issues and opportunities related to planning, land use and neighborhood revitalization, demonstrating the vision and patience required to consider these critical, long-range issues. Bruce has also been a leader in the development of the city’s Welcome BG initiative. This process, which is intended to build on council’s resolution designating Bowling Green as welcoming city, provides exciting opportunities to supplement our local work force, a critical need as we continue to develop our business community. Bruce has served on council’s municipal utility committee and the planning and zoning committee, and he is the current chairman of the finance committee. He has demonstrated the ability to grasp the many complicated issues and activities that these committees assume responsibility for. It is my strong opinion that the sum of Bruce’s experience and demonstrated leadership qualities makes him the clear choice to continue to serve the citizens of Bowling Green as an at-large representative. I hope you will join me in voting for Bruce Jeffers on May 7.  Mike Aspacher Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on April 16, 2019.

Read More

Interfaith events express our dreams and hopes

The recent BG Interfaith Breakfast held at the Junior Fair Building was a success that drew 200 persons to celebrate not only different faiths but all parts of our community.  Congratulations to South Side Six, Grounds, co-chairs of our peace-making breakfast, our city administrators, our school teachers and leaders, and our citizens. In fact there have been hundreds of interfaith events here and around the country:  to name a few, there’s the Multi-Faith Council of NW Ohio Banquet, Temple Shomer Emumin’s Interfaith Seder, the spring National Prayer Day held annually since 1952 (sadly, ours next spring will depart from its interfaith purpose), and Al Gore’s “interfaith service” at the Atlanta Ebenizer Baptist Church where 600 persons gathered.  Most of us gather in interfaith groups at work, school, sports, card games, houses of worship, and families without recognizing them as such. We take the diversity of those groups for granted, but by calling them “interfaith,” we intentionally attend to each other, identify our religious community or none, seeking understanding of our similarities and differences, learning from them, erasing stereotypes, agreeing to live together in respect and peace. Interfaith events are a forceful response to our toxic divisions and national polarization, fault lines that have caused anger, social fragmentation and violence.  We know that each of us can be seen as “the other.” But when we are truly together, friendships are born.  When we sponsor interfaith dinners, seders, climate talks, or workshops, and when we interact as real persons., we question stereotypes, there are no “others” and we reach across the tables in solidarity. Although it is not considered religious, Edward Hicks’ painting The Peaceable Kingdom (1833) exemplifies Quaker ideals of equality, criminal and social justice, peace, protecting the earth and seeking personal wholeness and social harmony. The animals and children are taken from Isaiah 11:6–8 including the lion eating straw with the ox. Hicks used his paintings as a way to define his central interest, which was the quest for a redeemed soul.  May those images of lions and oxen together enter our dreams and hopes. Tom Klein Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on April 10, 2019.

Read More

Jeffers possesses qualities that represent the best of BG

Among Bowling Green’s many positive characteristics, one of its best is the quality of our City Council. Our City Council also sets a tone for our community by working together well, thinking through issues regardless of party. That is why, now as much as ever, Bruce Jeffers would be the best choice for Bowling Green’s at-large Council seat. It’s been my privilege to know Mr. Jeffers for some years. We have shared many long conversations and been on committees together, and I have watched him serve on City Council. He has worked to foster street and housing planning, prepare the city to use more solar power, and promote a welcoming atmosphere to immigrants for our expanding job market. More than that, though, he possesses two qualities that represent the best of Bowling Green. First, he is an excellent listener. Rather than pushing any one agenda, he listens intently to members of the public and other Council members. Second, he is practical. He works to find progressive, workable solutions to BG’s current and future challenges. In sum, in addition to his having a strong record of accomplishment during his time in City Council, he is the best candidate, going forward, to help our city function well and continue its record of responsive, practical governance. Andy Schocket Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on April 10, 2019.

Read More

Brad Waltz: Plastic bags best for convenience … and the environment

It seems counterintuitive to suggest that plastic bags are the least bad option, environmentally speaking, for getting groceries home, but it is indeed the case and as someone that cares about convenience AND the environment, I hope to convince you of that.  Paper and cotton bags must be more environmentally friendly than plastic. No. University of Oregon Chemistry Professor, David Tyler had this to say in a 2012 interview. “There are really good things about plastic bags—they produce less greenhouse gas, they use less water and they use far fewer chemicals compared to paper or cotton. The carbon footprint, that is, the amount of greenhouse gas that is produced during the life cycle of a plastic bag, is less than that of a paper bag or a cotton tote bag. If the most important environmental impact you wanted to alleviate was global warming, then you would go with plastic.” How can that be, paper bags can be recycled and that’s good for the environment, and if they do make it to the landfill they are far more environmentally friendly than plastic. Wrong on both counts. Again it seems counterintuitive but making paper AND plastic bags from raw materials is still more environmentally friendly than recycling is, in the case of the plastic bags, Dr Tyler says, “The petroleum industry doesn’t waste anything”. The paper bags that do make it to the landfill take up ten times the space as their plastic counterparts and do not degrade any quicker.  I’m not convinced Brad, the cotton totes have to be environmentally friendly. No. The cotton that is used in cotton bags uses 25% of the pesticides used in the US and huge amounts of water. The UK Environmental Agency found that a cotton bag would need to be used 173 times to have a lower environmental impact than one single use bag. Between the irrigation needed to grow cotton and the water necessary to clean it as suggested by the US Department of Health, the use of water far exceeds that of single use plastic!  If followed rigorously The Reason Foundation noted 40 times more water just to clean them as recommended than is used in the manufacture of the plastic bags. If “single use” plastic bags were banned obviously less plastic would make into the landfill. Again the answer is no. When in 2011 Australia banned plastic shopping bags they reportedly noted a 36% drop in plastic shopping bags reaching the landfill. The report however went on to say this was offset by heavier, thicker purchased plastic bags which take up more landfill space than those that were banned. Single use plastic bag bans harm the poor the most. It should go without saying, every dollar spent on bags to transport groceries is one less dollar available to purchase groceries.  And lastly, these bags are not just single use bags. They are reused in many ways, they are used to pick up dog poop, used for cleaning a cat’s litter box, as bathroom trash can liners, to dispose of meat scraps, to clean out vehicles, they’re reused in many ways and absent the availability of them, homeowners and consumers will need to purchase true, single use bags. If the outcome of legislation matters and not the intentions, it is vital that evidence based facts be used, not emotion based do something-ism. Facts matter in legislation, facts matter in environmentalism, facts matter, and in the case of, “to ban or not to ban”, the facts clearly state, so called “single use” plastic bags should not be banned! It doesn’t seem like the right thing to do is nothing,…

Read More

House Democrats unveil Ohio Promise

From OHIO HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today joined Democratic lawmakers to unveil the Ohio Promise, a blueprint to renew the Buckeye State’s promise of better jobs and brighter futures. “For many, Ohio’s promise of good-paying jobs and the opportunity to get ahead has faded,” said Leader Sykes. “Democrats are committed to restoring Ohio’s promise of better jobs and brighter futures by working together to expand opportunity and create an economy that works for everyone.” The Democratic blueprint to restore the Ohio Promise includes a five-point compact to build opportunity for working people, to strengthen families and the communities they live in, and to hold government accountable to taxpayers.* “The promise of Ohio is our promise to you,” said Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington). “It’s an framework for the future that puts families first, giving them the tools they need to get ahead. We do it by lowering taxes, making education attainable and promoting job growth by making it easier for Ohioans to start and grow a business.” The announcement comes amid declining quality of life metrics in Ohio, which currently ranks 44th in unemployment and 41st in population growth. Working Ohioans continue to fall behind, seeing $147 less in wages than the average American at the end of each week. In addition, Ohio has fallen from fifth to 23rd in education and ranks among the worst for both infant mortality and overdose deaths. “Years of broken promises have rigged the system against everyday Ohioans. They are working harder, but seeing less at the end of the day. They can’t get ahead,” said Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon). “To restore Ohio’s promise, we need to keep our promises and work together to make sure that if you work hard you can get ahead in Ohio. It’s about creating good jobs and an economy that works for everyone—not just those at the top.” The plan includes a number of bipartisan priorities, including plans to protect healthcare and Medicaid expansion, invest in education, expand public transit and improve children’s services, in addition to reforming the state’s tax system and reducing the price of prescription drugs. “We are committed to working together to deliver real results for taxpayers,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “Better lives and brighter futures begin with good-paying jobs, a growing economy and the chance to get ahead. That’s the Ohio Promise.” Democrats plan to expand on their policy priorities in the coming weeks as the House debates the governor’s first two-year budget. *Editor’s Note: The Ohio Promise is attached. Here is what other House Democratic lawmakers are saying about the Ohio Promise: “We need to make Ohio an opportunity state again. That will happen if State Government focuses on helping to grow good paying, community building, middle-class jobs. When the Ohio middle class is healthy, the economy grows for everyone.” – House Democratic Whip and state Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) “Everyday Ohioans see an economy that’s rigged against them, where they work hard and do everything right, but still can’t get ahead,” said “We need to restore the Ohio promise, that if you work hard, you can get ahead. We’re committed to working together to build opportunity so that every Ohioan has a real shot at the American Dream.” –Assistant Democratic Whip and state Rep. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) “It is up to the legislature to fulfill Ohio’s promise as we look to attract new residents to Ohio and keep our families, friends, and neighbors in this great state. We need diverse opportunities that help hard working families thrive, not just survive, investment in education that supports our youth from cradle to career, and fair treatment and access…

Read More

Gish name should remain on BGSU film theater

Dear Editor: The Black Students Union at BGSU would like to see the Gish Film Theater name removed from the Student Union.  These students should know that the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize has been awarded to several African Americans, including Spike Lee. In 1915, D.W. Griffith produced The Birth of a Nation, a racist movie that put the Ku Klux Klan in a favorable light.  Lillian Gish played a nurse from the North caring for wounded soldiers.  Because of her appearance in the film, the Black Students Union has implied that she is a racist; her sister, Dorothy, who was not in the film, is, by association with her sister, also, apparently, considered a racist.  The Birth of a Nation has never been shown in the Gish Film Theater.  President Rodney Rogers, assisted by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Ray Craig, appointed a task force of students, faculty and other stakeholders to review the controversy to decide whether the name should be removed. What is appalling, is that there is this movement afoot to defame the stellar film achievements of Lillian and Dorothy Gish, born and raised in Ohio.  There is no doubt, in my mind, that if these black students succeed in their defamation of the characters of Lillian and Dorothy Gish, they will have destroyed important film history.  Ralph Haven Wolfe founded the Gish Film Theater in 105 Hanna Hall in 1976. Ms. Gish came to the BGSU campus at least four times to be honored. If the Gish Film Theater name is removed, I think that it will indicate to the world that Bowling Green State University, as an institution dedicated to providing opportunities for differing views, has failed in that endeavor. Wally Pretzer Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on March 10, 2019.

Read More

Zepf Center urges people to ‘Have the Conversation’ about gambling problems

Submitted by the ZEPF CENTER March is problem gambling awareness month and Zepf Center is joining The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) in promoting this year’s theme of “Have the Conversation.”   Most people, who gamble socially, like those who have an occasional beer or glass of wine, do so without issue and can enjoy it, walk away and/or leave it alone.  However, problem gambling is a very different experience for those who succumb to it and is partially defined as “a progressive addiction whereby a person gambles compulsively to such an extent that the activity has a severe negative affect on his/her job, relationships, mental health and/or other important aspects of life.” In 2012 that the State of Ohio (OhioMHAS) reported that 95% of adults who gambled did not have a problem and would not meet the criteria for a gambling disorder.  Last year in 2018, that number was updated to 89% of adult Ohioans who gamble can do so without issue.  State research therefore indicates that somehow in the last six years the number of potential problem gamblers in the State of Ohio has more than doubled.  Based on data from the Ohio for Responsible Gambling coalition (ORG), an estimated 10%, or over 843,000 Ohio adults, are at risk for developing a gambling problem.  Of those, more than 76,000 Ohioans may already meet the criteria for a gambling disorder.  Research studies estimate there are over 3,600 potential problem gamblers in Lucas County alone.   Additionally the research tends to indicate that the rise is not in one form of gambling over another. The difference seems to be the increased availability of all forms of gambling and the introduction of gambling at younger ages and in a wider variety of methods and venues.  This may be the first generation of young Americans that will have the ability to gamble 24 hours a day on video card games, fantasy and other sporting events, or video casino games worldwide via the smartphones they carry in their pockets.  Often, parents authorize credit card transactions as gifts or to pay for young people’s allowances, believing the payments are for other less harmful digital media and online services.  How many people really look at those charges?   It seems the problem with problem gambling, is that gambling is so pervasive in modern society; we seldom notice it anymore and can rarely see obvious signs of it.  Gambling is truly the hidden addiction and in many ways may be as harmful as other more identifiable substance based addictions. Gamblers do not stagger, slur their words or pass out when they overindulge. However, problem gamblers are up to 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population and those addictive behaviors may exist for many, many years before they are (sometimes tragically) discovered.  For many, the first sign of problem gambling may be continued and unexplainable financial distress and borrowing money with no signs or evidence of intoxication.As March Madness reaches a crescendo, think about the estimated $10,000,000,000.00 ($10 billion) in bets placed on just the NCAA basketball championships alone. Additionally, the United States Supreme Court has recently legalized sports betting and that number will likely begin to increase next year as more States introduce legal sports betting.   Be aware of the dangers of problem gambling and know how to get information and help for you, your friends, and your family members and loved ones.  Thanks to support and funding from the Lucas County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board (MHRSB), help for problem gamblers and their families provided at…

Read More

Zero waste in landfills and oceans – a response to city hearing on plastic bags

Tuesday night’s meeting of the City Council sub-committee on plastic bags was a good opener for facing the trash build-up but it left out so much that it may have hurt the hunt for the real problem. That problem is waste, a much larger category than plastics. Even if plastic bags are banned, our landfill is still drowning in waste and harming the water table, the air we breathe, and our most important resource, the oceans. It was surprising that most speakers at the meeting failed to mention the name of the task that hundreds of cities throughout the world are tackling: Zero Waste. At the top of the success list are San Francisco* and Kamikatsu, Japan. Not far behind are Australia, Canada, Italy, Austin, TX and Boulder, CO. This effort to diagnose and act on the problem of growing landfills is more than twenty years old. Consensus is building: Googling “Zero Waste” demonstrates widespread agreement on the problem, its form, and its solutions. In this global effort to minimize waste, some numbers are important and staggering: in 2016 the world produced more than two billion tons of solid waste, and large landfills get ten thousand tons of waste a day. Understanding Zero Waste starts by taking a field trip to the Landfill. There, we find mountains of stuff that belong in other places. If we look closely, we find five caterogies: Recyclables like glass bottles and aluminum cans; Reusables like clothing, metals and appliances; Compostables like food and dirt; Biodegradables like some plastics; Paper and cardboard. Missing from that list are plastic bags. They’re almost impossible to recycle so until they become biodegradable, we must indeed ban them. (Marshall Medoff, not a chemist, nor a scientist, may have found the formula for biodegradable plastic.) With hard work (and more barrels) cities are able to redirect most waste away from landfills. “Recology: A World without Waste” is a business that helps that process move forward. And in our own back yard Aldis grocery store offers an encouraging picture: No free plastic bags. Customers bring their own reusable bags. Cart rental keeps prices down. Specially designed packaging avoids over-packaging. Aldis participates in EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge. If you wish to know more, consult EcoWatch; 5Gyres.org; and 4ocean.com. Read the bible for Zero Waste by Paul Connett, The Zero Waste Solution: Untrashing the Planet. *San Francisco offers a well-detailed report on how it has moved forward toward zero waste. The following is quoted from their webpage at sfenvironment.org: The City of San Francisco has adopted a variety of  policies  which have helped the city move toward accomplishing the goal of zero waste. Most important to the City’s success is the  Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance , which went into effect on October 21, 2009. It requires San Francisco residents and businesses to properly sort recyclables from compostables and keep them out of the trash to landfill and place them in the proper collection containers. The Department of the Environment’s Environment Now team conducts extensive, multilingual and door-to-door outreach to residents and businesses and also checks residential curbside bins throughout the city. If materials are found in the incorrect bin, a tag is posted on the resident’s bin that indicates the correct bin. The team returns the following week to ensure that the error was corrected. The team also visits residents to answer questions about recycling and composting. The Department of the Environment staff work with Recology, the city’s hauler, to ensure that businesses have composting and recycling bins. If they do not, the Department sends them a letter advising them to order composting and recycling service….

Read More

Perrysburg mayor shares recommendation to resolve police communication issues

Consistent with my previous statements, I am providing members of city council a recommendation for moving forward to resolve issues of interdepartmental law enforcement communications. This is in response to the law enforcement events that occurred on August 27, 2018. As you know, I asked the Lucas County Sheriff to investigate those events, including a review of whether there was an issue regarding radio communication between jurisdictions. Neither I, nor any member of the Administration, received a complaint or concern from any official from neighboring jurisdictions about communication between agencies on August 27th. The report issued by the Sheriff’s office identified the current process and equipment used by the Perrysburg Police Division as a potential weakness. It recommended the city evaluate its radio communications with neighboring jurisdictions to correct that weakness. Pursuant to that recommendation, I directed additional funds be allocated to upgrading the Police Division’s communication capacity. With council’s cooperation and approval, $230,000.00 was allocated in the 2019 Budget for the purpose of improving communications with neighboring jurisdictions. To achieve that goal, I requested Administrator Bridgette Kabat evaluate and review the current communications system to formulate a recommendation ensuring the safety of our first responders and the community in a cost-effective manner. A technical advisory committee comprised of representatives of Perrysburg, Wood County and Lucas County Communications staff, administrative personnel, Wood County Sheriff Wasylyshyn, Perrysburg Fire Chief Ruiz and Eric Willman of Willman Technologies collected information and provided input in order to make a recommendation to council regarding how best to provide enhanced interoperability between law enforcement agencies and the Perrysburg Police Division. The advisory committee examined the current system and the process utilized to manually patch Perrysburg radios to allow direct communication with all of our neighboring communities. The advisory committee also reviewed the Wood County and Perrysburg Township radio systems and their capabilities. The committee identified options to provide the Perrysburg Police Division the broadest range communications between neighboring jurisdictions. Within these options, the committee concluded the creation of a new radio system while maintaining the current radio system would achieve interoperability and would cost approximately $225,000.00. In contrast, the same result could be achieved by equipping each patrol car with an additional radio and installing a permanent patch to allow communications with neighboring jurisdictions at a cost of approximately $65,000.00. It was the conclusion and recommendation of the advisory committee to pursue the second option, maintaining the current communication system while adding 800 MHz radios to each patrol car and key police personnel. This will provide enhanced officer/patrol interoperability not only with our immediate neighbors but also with any agency utilizing Lucas County’s 800 MHz Radio System. The group felt that this was the best way to achieve the goal of enhancing interdepartmental communication in a cost-effective manner. Attached to this memorandum is the written recommendation from the law enforcement radio advisory committee. I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the members of the advisory committee for volunteering their expertise and time to help Perrysburg address this very serious issue. Due to the importance of this issue I have suggested council schedule a Committee of the Whole meeting immediately prior to our next regularly scheduled city council meeting to discuss the recommendation of the advisory committee. Members of the committee have expressed a willingness to discuss the matter with council in an effort to provide council with the information necessary to make a decision. Lastly, while the Administration wants to move forward with the recommendation, I believe it would be prudent to not actually implement any changes until a new Chief of Police has…

Read More

BG resident says police recorded him & shared it with TV show

It has come to my attention that the Bowling Green police secretly recorded me and abetted in sharing this with a national broadcast without my permission. It was involved with the Dawn Glanz case. I was visited by the police in a large SUV.  Another woman came out of the van as I stood on my front porch. At no time did they admit they were recording me. I hope that all citizens will take this as warning when dealing with our police force. Dr. F. Scott Regan Bowling Green  Posted by: David Dupont on January 25, 2019.

Read More

Sheriff reconsiders issuing snow emergency declarations

Dear Wood County Citizens, As your Sheriff, I work directly for all 130,000 of you and take this honor very seriously. From the first day I took office in January of 2005, every decision I make is based on what is best for the citizens of Wood County, not what is best for me or my office. At times I re-evaluate decisions made. I will be issuing all three emergency levels. I have learned from the conversations I have had with many of you on the phone, emails, and text messages over the past 72 hours that some of you want me to inform you of the road conditions using the three emergency levels. For all of those that had contacted me that you do not want direction from the government, please understand that level 1 and level 2 emergencies do not prevent you from travel and you may choose to use them as an advisory. As I have done since taking office, a level 3 will only be called in the event of white outs or if the roadways are impassible and the duration will be for as short of time as possible to safeguard our freedoms. We do live in Northwest Ohio and get snow and ice frequently every winter. Due to the size of our county and public service availability to clear roadways, please keep in mind the level issued is county wide and may not reflect the current road conditions where you live. A good friend of mine often says “Whatever level you are on you are always one level off.” Yes, many of you may disagree with me on the level issued and may think I should do level 3s for smaller weather events. I know that no matter what decision I make not everyone is going to agree with me. I do not know of anyone that agrees with another person 100% of the time. However, if you disagree with me please do not call the dispatch center and use foul language, yell and threaten my deputies. They do not determine the levels. Please call, email or text me directly. I am constantly learning and working on being the best Sheriff I can possibly be. My goal is for the Wood County Sheriff’s Office to be the best. Sincerely, Mark Wasylyshyn Posted by: Jan Larson McLaughlin on January 23, 2019.Last revised by: David Dupont

Read More

Sheriff made wrong call on storm level

Mark,   I am a registered Republican and have never voted for anyone other than a Republican.   I have voted for you every time you ran and have met you.   My point is that you are taking a hard line on this issue and I can tell you that people feel you are wrong on this, even Republicans.   People rely on YOU to give them accurate information and the reality of Saturday was that you didn’t    I drove from Hancock county which was a level 2 to BG and it was at least as bad.   All I am saying is that playing the Trump line, which we both know is the case here, is not in the best interest of public safety. Jasen Leffel Bowling Green Mark Wasylyshyn response Jan. 21 at 10:05 p.m. Dear Jasen, As you know I rarely issue level three. I strongly believe in people having the right to travel when they wish. I recently educated myself about the levels and spoke with a man involved with creating them. He confirmed what I sent out.  You don’t sound like a Republican.  Usually Republicans are for individual rights not government dictating when you can leave travel. Last opponent ran campaign against me promising many more level threes. She did not fair (sic) well.  If I get voted out doing the right thing then I’ll move on and you can stay home per orders when it snows.Mark WasylyshynWood County SheriffSo what changed since last year when it comes to issuing a certain level?   You issued them last year.   I really hope this is not anything politically motivated but sense it really is.   I guess ALL the other surrounding sheriffs must be wrong.   I am a lifelong Republican and you are really taking the wrong avenue on this if you plan to be re-elected.   Please reconsider your stance if and when the next storm hits.The roads were definitely bad, at a minimum a level 1 but in my opinion a level 2.  People aren’t stupid and this will come up during the next election cycle.Jasen Leffel Posted by: David Dupont on January 22, 2019.

Read More

10 readings on social justice recommended

This list of 10 readings on social justice is a suggested guide for those interested in bringing a focus on equality, tolerance, community, empathy and other values consistent with a humane approach to building a more just and fair society. 1. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. Author: Isabel Wilkerson. Chronicles one of the untold stories of America. The decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities. 2. Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. Author: Amy Ellis Nutt. Inspiring story of transgender actor-activist Nicole Maines. One of two identical twins, Nicole persists in her struggles within an unwelcoming society. 3. The Crucible: A Play in Four Acts. Author: Arthur Miller. The witchcraft trials of 1682 resulted in socially sanctioned violence. Miller turned the story into a powerful parable about McCarthyism.    4. A People’s History of the United States. Author: Howard Zinn. The history of America from the viewpoint of factory workers, Native Americans, civil rights advocates, the working poor and the migrant worker et al. The battles of angry men and women against corporate and government tyranny. 5. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Author: Martin Luther King Jr.  The letter written from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama defends the strategy of non-violence resistance to moderate white pastors condemning a protest march. 6. Sermon on the Mount. Matthew Chapters 5-7. These chapters from the New Testament describe the most important teachings of Jesus Christ including the Beatitudes. The call to humility, peacemaking, and righteousness with a condemnation of greed and hypocrisy. 7. In Dubious Battle. Author: John Steinbeck. A fast-paced novel of social unrest. Set in California apple country where a strike by migrant workers against rich landowners spins out of control. 8. All Quiet on the Western Front. Author: Erich Maria Remarque. A young German soldier during WWI observes the horror of war. As the war plods on the character of Paul Baumer vows to fight against the principles of hate that war depends on. 9. Cider House Rules. Author: John Irving. Set in rural Maine in the first half of the 20th century, this novel finds Dr. Walter Larch as the founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St.Cloud’s. The story defines the controversy surrounding abortion. 10. The Second Amendment: A Biography. Author: Michael Waldman. The life story of the Second Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights. Waldman argues that the views on the Amendment are driven by political advocacy. The list of Ten Essential Readings on Social Justice was created by the group Advocates for Social Justice (ASJ) based in Northwest Ohio. The readings were chosen for their ability to  generate critical thinking and discussion on important social and political topics. We encourage you to send comments on any of the works and to make suggestions for other readings. ASJ can be reached at AdvocatesforSocialJustice748@gmail.com Advocates for Social Justice           Posted by: Jan Larson McLaughlin on January 15, 2019.

Read More

Who May Pray?

One day as the Lord God looked down on his world, he observed the many signs of good and evil at play in the lives and relationships of the people he had created. From acts of love and generosity and compassion to acts of hatred and lust and greed, from neighbors helping neighbors to nations at war with each other and even between factions of their own people. It occurred to him that perhaps he needed to remind them that he created them out of his love for them and that their wellbeing as individuals and families, as nations and as a world is wrapped up in that purpose of love for one another that is at the very heart of their being. Then he remembered that once he had told one of his prophets that if the people he created would call upon him for his help, he would save them from their sin and their self-destruction. So he landed on the idea of a world-wide day of prayer and tossed it out to see whether some of his faithful would consider spreading the word. Well, the idea did catch on, and over the period of a few years, various communities began holding World Day of Prayer gatherings, calling on God to help them find ways to overcome the sins that separate them and create such chaos in human life and suffering, and help them become the people he had created them to be. So God decided this idea must have some merit, and he decided to call together the leadership of the world’s religious organizations to work on the details. What he wasn’t expecting is that some of those in leadership wanted to dictate the rules of who would be allowed to attend and lead these gatherings. For example, those who considered themselves”true Christians” wanted to designate who could pray, but would allow anyone who wanted to attend to do so as long they were silent, and also wanted to specify what prayers would be allowed. God was especially dismayed by the Christians, because when he sent Jesus, he sent him to convey his message in a very personal way, not to start a new religion, but to correct some errors in the old ways of understanding him and his intentions for the human experiment he had begun, and to open up their understanding to life in its fullness as he had intended it. Moreover, if they were going to limit the prayers people could offer to so-called Christian prayers, that would mean that the prayer Moses taught the Israelites, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord,” would be ruled out. So would personal prayers like those of Hannah as she prayed for a son, and the prayers of David in his Psalms, the prayers of the prophets, and perhaps even that one often called “The Lord’s Prayer,” which after all was taught by a Jewish Rabbi even before Christianity began. More than that, if Christians claim Jesus as the founder of their faith, why would they want to keep anyone from praying to God who sent Jesus in the first place, who himself never turned anyone away, but gladly welcomed them into his fold – Romans, Samaritans, Greeks, even despised tax-collectors, prostitutes, and lepers! So what will God do now? Let’s tune in and see. –Horace Huse Toledo Posted by: admin on December 22, 2018.

Read More

MVUUC minister chooses to channel energies in positive direction

It has been noted that for those of us that are not welcome to speak at the National Prayer Day event, we have the Annual Not In Our Town Interfaith Breakfast that “anyone can come to.”  As a planner of that event, and the chair for the last two years, I can confirm that the Interfaith Breakfast planners invite all faiths to participate.  Many of the congregations that will most likely be represented at the National Day of Prayer, have not attended the Interfaith Breakfast.  It is a shame they don’t join us because we hope to encourage an interfaith dialogue and understanding with all faiths in our community.  We believe that it can be a simple lack of knowledge and experience that feeds the fear of other beliefs.I know it seems the rest of us are being treated unfairly; but my faith encourages me to see the worth and dignity in all people, and by extension, in all faiths.  That’s why I’ve decided to channel my energy in positive ways. First, I’ll work harder on interfaith activities that encourage mutual respect.  Secondly, I am praying in my own way for those people that have not yet discovered that we are much more alike than otherwise.  I will feel compassion for those that have not yet discovered the joy that fills the heart when we love all of our neighbors. I won’t be angry with others because they don’t approve of my beliefs because I know that making a difference in our world will only be achieved when we all find our common humanity. I hope that our community will eventually come together in one prayerful, meditative, and contemplative moment to benefit the greater good. For now, I can only change how I react to intolerance. I choose the way of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said,  “l’ve decided to stick to love – hate is too great a burden to bear.” Rev. Lynn Kerr Minister, Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on December 21, 2018.

Read More

Planned Parenthood denounces sweeping abortion bans in Ohio

In the middle of the night, the Ohio legislature passed two dangerous and unconstitutional abortion bans — outlawing both abortion six weeks into pregnancy and the safest, most common method of second trimester abortion. These dangerous restrictions could effectively ban abortion in Ohio. The six-week abortion ban in effect eliminates abortion because most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at six weeks. Furthermore, the method ban challenges a doctor’s ability to provide the best options for their patients by criminalizing doctors for doing their job. With Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court and Trump in the White House, it’s clear that emboldened anti-abortion politicians are pursuing dangerous and radical policies in an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion entirely. Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America: “In the last seven years, over 400 laws have passed that restrict abortion care, despite what we know from medicine and science to be true: Abortion is a safe, standard medical procedure. Ohio’s six-week abortion ban and method ban are dangerous policies that could endanger women’s lives. I know firsthand just how important it is for doctors to have the ability to provide the care their patients want and need. As a doctor, I trust my patients to make their own health care decisions, and every doctor should have the right to provide care for our patients without the threat of prison time. We at Planned Parenthood will always fight to ensure patients have access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio and across the country.” Statement from Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio: “Today, Ohio politicians have made a national disgrace of our state. Let’s be clear — the abortion bans are equally extreme, take aim at Ohioans and families, and punish doctors for caring for their patients. We demand Governor Kasich stop both of these dangerous policies in their tracks. Every Ohioan deserves the right to control their own body, life, and future without politicians getting in the way. We will stand against these unconstitutional attacks on Ohioans and will use everything at our disposal to protect their access to safe, legal abortion.” The courts have made it clear that banning abortion before viability is unconstitutional. Similar six-week and 15-week abortion bans in North Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi have all been struck down by the courts for violating the precedent created by Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Furthermore, in every state where politicians have passed similar method bans, the courts have intervened and ruled them unconstitutional. Yet the Ohio legislature is ignoring well-settled law and putting women and doctors at risk in the process. These anti-abortion politicians have made clear their true motive — to ban abortion despite overwhelming public support for a woman’s right to decide if and when to become a parent. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Posted by: David Dupont on December 14, 2018.

Read More

Tom Klein: Why National Prayer Day should be truly inclusive

By now the news has spread around this city; Bowling Green leaders and many citizens are not pleased.   Chaplain Kristel Asmus, who again serves as coordinator of our the National Prayer Day, is directing the event coming in May, 2019, and is restricting speakers to Christians.  No Muslims, no Mormons.  And, of course, no Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is.  All those religious groups represent spiritual causes preaching compassion and love.  Christian-only speakers conflict with the nationally established purpose of the event — to recognize and celebrate the religious and ethnic diversity of America. Anything other than inclusiveness is harmful and dangerous. Some history might help explain what’s at stake here. A national prayer day was formalized in 1952 when a joint resolution by Congress was signed by President Truman. In 1988, the law was amended and then signed by President Reagan. For its long history, the prayer-day speakers have spanned diverse faith communities with the purpose being to spread the word of God and love to unite the country. Spiritual extremism happens when someone claims a monopoly on truth.  The greatest danger of such extremism is the wars accompanied by a fundamentalist cause and character, with economic and historical components connected.  In our own time there’s the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian Civil War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Then, there’s the Thirty Years War, the Crusades, the Sudanese Civil War, and the Nigerian Civil War.  Of course Christian-only speakers in our small town will not spark a war. But when such practices spread across the US, that can happen. It’s a rare event when one person who, ironically, has been in charge of this event for twenty years and decides to radically modify it.  We need to understand why a chaplain might take such an extreme position, converting a healing and unifying message into one where there is only one right message, and why serious harms can result.  Such an attitude is at best disturbing.  The chaplain, with confirmation from the National Day of Prayer Task Force, told the BG Independent News that “Mormons could not participate in leadership teams or participate publicly in the prayer event.”  Looking at that restrictive attitude through the lens of theologian James Fowler’s framework on stages of spiritual development is enlightening.     Much like Piaget’s work examining the cognitive development of children and adolescents, Fowler’s research takes the next step and includes persons of all ages to see how their thinking changes as they grow up, moving from stage to stage. To simplify Fowler’s conclusions, early stages of spiritual development see children thinking literally and concretely.  “Mom said no and I better not touch that.”  Adolescents and younger adults discover beliefs without questioning them.  “Mom and Dad are agnostics.  I am too.”  In early adulthood, persons can learn that they’re in a box and need to look outside of it.  “Maybe poetry isn’t as bad as I thought.”  In mid-life a person can approach people and ideas by realizing that some experiences are not rational, logical or easily understood, moving from either/or to both/and and getting to know people of other faiths and other life orientations.  “I used to think that men with beards are weird.  Now I’m not so sure.”    Finally, at the stage for those approaching maturity and old age, “universalizing,” as theologian Rose Anne Karesh writes, lets us see “all humanity as one brotherhood, and taking profound, self-sacrificing action to care for all of humanity.” (Of course some individuals don’t grow according to Fowler’s ladder.  There are many youth who live as saints and Mother Teresa’s.) It may be fitting to conclude with one of the great Christian theologians of our time, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who lived between the two world wars and was imprisoned for resistance to Hitler…

Read More

Ohio should not restrict citizens’ right to petition government

We want to thank Sen. Gardner for conducting the Town Hall Meeting last Saturday and listening to the concerns and questions from his constituents.  At that meeting, I asked him about HJR19 in regard to amending the process for getting a petition on the ballot. The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution grants citizens several fundamental freedoms including ‘the freedom to PETITION the Government’.  In Ohio, the process to get a measure on the ballot is already quite stringent and HJR19 provisions make it even more difficult. Senator Gardner responded to me that the concern was that large donors from out of state were infringing on the rights of Ohio citizens.  If this is the true concern, we respectfully suggest that the Legislature address ‘Money in Politics’, rather than unduly burdening civic organizations, such as the non-partisan League of Women Voters, to successfully get a petition measure on the ballot. Fellow citizens, if this issue being rushed through the ‘Lame Duck’ Session is of concern to you, please contact your elected representatives: Sen. Gardner  614-466-8060 or 419-352-1984 Rep. Gavarone 614-466-1804 or 419-345-7768   Joan and Bob Callecod Bowling Green   Posted by: David Dupont on December 5, 2018.

Read More

NAMI director urges ‘yes’ vote on ADAMHS levy

I am writing today to encourage you to vote yes on the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board 1 mill Replacement Levy on Tuesday, November 6th if you haven’t done so already. This is not a new tax, it would bring the old tax up to current value. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Wood County receives a majority of its funding from the ADAMHS Board to provide support, education, and advocacy for individuals affected by mental illness. One in five people are living with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness. Of these one in five, there are many more family members, friends, and colleagues affected by their loved ones condition. NAMI is able to provide support and education for all of the above mentioned. NAMI Wood County provides twice yearly free classes for family members and individuals living with mental health conditions through the support from ADAMHS. These classes and ongoing support groups are invaluable to those that utilize them. Many times, people attend a program and announce that they’ve not shared their story elsewhere. NAMI can provide that safe space for people to share, be heard, and feel supported by peers. Among the many peer programs that NAMI provides, there are a great deal of community education programs offered due to Levy support.  Mental Health First Aid teaches individuals how to provide assistance and access help for a person in a mental health crisis. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainings are coordinated by NAMI as well. This community program offered twice yearly provides law enforcement officers information in working with individuals in a mental health crisis. CIT companion courses hosted by NAMI include: Fire and Rescue Workers, Dispatchers, Behavioral Health Clinicians, Advanced Trainings, and Resiliency Trainings. The evidence based prevention and recovery programs that NAMI Wood County provides are national programs with statistics that have shown reductions in recidivism rates in both jails and hospitals. By supporting the ADAMHS Board Levy, you are making a difference in the lives of people affected by mental illness and the Wood County community. Jessica Schmitt Executive Director NAMI Wood County Posted by: David Dupont on November 5, 2018.

Read More

Prevention educator urges yes on ADAMHS levy

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to vote yes for the 1.0 mill replacement levy of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS). This is not a new tax, it is a replacement tax, which brings the old tax up to current value. The Wood County Educational Service Center receives over seventy-five percent of their prevention education program dollars from the ADAMHS Board. The Educational Service Center is just one of several quality agencies supported by the ADAMHS Board with your tax dollars. The Wood County Prevention Education Program engages youth leaders, schools, parents, communities and agencies to educate and prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in our youth. The Prevention Education Program also addresses issues relating to bullying, dating and relationship violence, classroom behavior, and improving mental health in our youth. On-site prevention education specialists in 9 school districts monitor trends, identify/implement evidenced-based programs, strategies, support, and early intervention and referral for treatment services as selected by each district for all Wood County youth. Prevention education staff members also make referrals for youth experiencing trauma to on-site school-based mental health counselors also provided with funding by the ADAMHS board. National studies report that evidenced-based prevention education programs have a positive impact on academic achievement, school climate, and safe and healthy youth.  Since 2004, a biennial youth survey is conducted in Wood County for all public school students in grades 5 through 12 and in 2018, virtually all drugs are at their lowest rates of usage since the survey’s inception.  Not only is prevention extremely efficacious, it is also fiscally responsible, as for which each dollar spent on prevention programming up to $64 dollars can be saved on societal costs that would have otherwise been incurred.  Prevention, early and often works. Please vote yes for the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services 1.0 mill replacement levy. The positive impact will be felt by your youth, your schools, and your communities. Kyle D. Clark Prevention Education Program Director Wood County ESC   Posted by: David Dupont on October 31, 2018.

Read More

Jennifer Karches: Issue 1 will save money & improve public safety

Please vote YES on Issue 1. I understand it’s not perfect, but there is NO hope that our legislature will enact any meaningful prison/sentencing reform anytime soon. Too many lives are ruined with Ohio’s punitive drug laws, which rely on prisons as the answer. Did you know one year of prison costs Ohioans $30,000? Ohio has approximately 50,000 inmates, which means WE spend approximately $1.5 billion per year locking people away, rather than actively working to rehabilitate and treat their addictions. There is a better way! According to Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities Campaign, here are some excellent reasons to vote YES on Issue 1 to reduce the number of people in state prison for low-level, nonviolent crimes and put the money to better use by directing savings to drug treatment and crime victims. ✓ YES on Issue 1 saves taxpayer dollars: Ohio spends more than $1.8 billion per year on a broken prison system where too many people who pose little public safety risk are incarcerated while treatment and prevention programs suffer. Issue 1 will save tens of millions of dollars annually in prison spending and direct the savings to addiction treatment and victims of crime. ✓ YES on Issue 1 puts our public safety dollars to better use: Wasting law enforcement resources and prison on people struggling with addiction makes no sense. Issue 1 requires misdemeanors instead of felonies for low-level drug possession offenses and requires community service, treatment or local jail, instead of state prison, for people convicted of these crimes or who break probation rules (such as missing a meeting). Treatment and supervision work better to improve public safety than a revolving prison door. ✓ YES on Issue 1 reduces recidivism: Issue 1 expands earned-credit programs so that qualified people can be considered for release if they participate in rehabilitation programs. Experts agree that requiring people to earn their way out of prison through rehabilitation reduces the likelihood they’ll commit more crimes. ✓ YES on Issue 1 protects public safety: This was carefully written to ensure that people that are a danger to public safety remain incarcerated. No one convicted of murder, rape or child molestation will benefit from any aspect of this measure. Issue 1 has bipartisan support from law enforcement, mental health and addiction treatment providers, nurses, faith leaders, and victims of crime. SAVE MONEY. IMPROVE PUBLIC SAFETY. Jennifer Karches Bowling Green Posted by: David Dupont on October 28, 2018.

Read More

Mayor Edwards asks community to support ADAMHS replacement levy

From a total community perspective, there is perhaps no more important issue on the November 6th ballot than the replacement levy to help support Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services in Wood County.   One only has to assess the daily news to realize the magnitude of need for these life-saving services. Every day the demand for help for crisis situations seems to grow and no family, no household is immune from the need for intervention specialists.   In both my university and public service life, I have seen time and time again the need for support services grow whether for family support, mental health, substance abuse, crisis situations or general informational needs to help others.   As one who has devoted so much volunteer time over the years to help in some small ways to assist others with special needs, I urge you to help in a big way by supporting the ADAMHS replacement levy.   Richard A. Edwards Mayor City of Bowling Green Posted by: admin on October 26, 2018.

Read More

“I believe Joel Kuhlman will make a good appellate judge” – Mel Browning

​A few years ago, after 23 years, I retired as an attorney at the Sixth District Court of Appeals. During my time there I had an opportunity to observe some really superior appeals judges. The court is one of the most respected in the state. ​The common characteristics of a good appeals court judge include not only a firm understanding of the law, but a sense of fairness, impartially and a dedication to protect the rights of all who come before the court.  The good judge must also temper the application of the law with a sense of compassion and an understanding that those who come before the court should be dealt with respectfully. ​I have known Joel Kuhlman and his family for decades now. I believe that he has the traits necessary to be a good judge. He has a firm understanding of the law, having practiced for ten years in Wood and the surrounding counties. He is fair, impartial and compassionate. ​He also brings with him an appreciation for the perspective of the non-urban parts of the district which, although comprising approximately half of the population of the Sixth District, have been traditionally under-represented on the court. ​I believe that Joel Kuhlman will make a good appellate judge and that his election to the court would bring a perspective and vigor that the court needs. For these reasons I would urge your support for Joel Kuhlman for Sixth District Court of Appeals sthis November. Mel Browning Rossford Posted by: admin on October 25, 2018.

Read More

BG Chamber supports ADAMHS levy

It is the decision of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to support The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Replacement Levy in the upcoming November election. We considered the services offered by ADAMHS and how vital they are to our business community.  We also gave consideration to your use of public funds and conceded that use is reliable and respectable. It is our belief that this replacement  levy will allow ADAMHS to continue to help fight real-life problems faced by our entire community and the affects drug addiction and mental health issues have on the employment pool of our business affiliates.   Mary F. Hinkelman, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce   Posted by: David Dupont on October 24, 2018.

Read More