Libertarians see opportunity in 2016 elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the Republican Convention convening in Cleveland, complete with protests outside and floor fights inside, the Libertarian Party is hustling to give Ohio voters disaffected with both major parties another choice. Because the party’s gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Earl of Bowling Green, was bumped from the 2014 ballot, the Libertarians do not qualify to have their presidential ticket Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, and running mate Bill Weld, former governor of Massachusetts, on the Ohio ballot this year. So Nathan Eberly, of Bowling Green, and other Libertarians are collecting the 5,000 verified signatures needed for Johnson and Weld to appear as independents. Eberly said it was not a high bar, and he’s heard the state party has more than 3,000 signatures on hand. Still, he was out and about Monday evening, meeting people at Grounds for Thought or visiting people’s homes to collect signatures. That the party is having to struggle to get on the ballot in the key battleground state of Ohio this of all years is ironic, since the fortunes of the Libertarians has never looked brighter. “This year is probably going to be a banner year for the Libertarian Party because of the unpopularity of (Donald) Trump and (Hillary) Clinton,” Eberly said. Some polls, he said, have Johnson gaining 13 percent of the vote, while others have him as low as 8 percent. Still, Eberly said, Johnson is within striking of the 15 percent Johnson needs to join the Democratic and Republican nominees on the stage for the first presidential debate Sept. 26 in Dayton. He dismisses the criticism that voting for the Libertarians or Greens is just going to help a candidate they abhor be elected president as “fearmongering.” That’s based on the assumption that a vote for the Green candidate is a vote that would have gone to the Democrats and a vote for the Libertarian pulls from the Republicans. Eberly said polling is showing that the Libertarians are pulling equally from disaffected Republicans and disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders. They are drawn to the party’s belief in…


BG debates trash bin enforcement – issue fines or confiscate cans?

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Council wants to make sure that once a garbage bin ordinance is passed, that it is enforceable. So on Monday evening, council debated whether violators should face fines or have their trash cans confiscated. Council member John Zanfardino expressed concerns about the penalty portion of the ordinance. He is in favor of ordering violators to pay fines when problems are spotted. Waiting to confiscate the cans on garbage pickup day would be like arresting someone for walking around with an open bottle days after the violation, he said. He asked that the city warn residents for first violations, then issue fines for additional violations. “To me, that’s a very laborious way to address it,” Zanfardino said of city workers confiscating the cans. Council member Sandy Rowland shared concerns about the city taking away garbage bins from violators. “I just don’t think it’s going to work for enforcement,” she said, voicing concerns about city workers entering private property. But Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said the cans would only be removed from property when they are sitting by the street on pickup day. “We don’t want people to go on private property. We own the right-of-way,” City Solicitor Mike Marsh said. The city already confiscates trash cans that are left at the roadside for several days. Residents then have to pay $50 to get them back. Council member Bruce Jeffers said confiscation of a trash bin sends a strong message. Marsh cautioned that fines cannot be levied against residents without a citation being issued. “There isn’t a way to fine someone without citing them first,” he said. Council members suggested that a violation to the new garbage bin ordinance be a civil infraction. Zanfardino said the most egregious trash violators will just tidy up their yard on trash day and continue breaking the rules the other six days of the week. Other college towns, like Kent, fine people for violations, he said. “If we’re serious about this, I sure hope the council considers a civil infraction,” Zanfardino said. “A warning will…


BG’s new arborist has deep rooted love of trees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s new arborist is a big believer in diversity. That’s one of the reasons he was attracted to the city – its diversity of trees. Grant Jones, who was working at the botanical Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia, knew of Bowling Green’s reputation as a tree hugging community. “I’ve always heard good things about Bowing Green and its commitment to trees,” he said. Jones shares that commitment – though he could do without the messy mulberry tree he has to park under at his temporary home. Since arriving on the job on June 1, Jones has been getting to know Bowling Green’s people and its trees. “There’s a really nice grove of old oak trees,” he said about the huge trees in City Park. “They look like they are doing pretty well right now.” “I think that’s one of the things I like about trees,” they take time to reach their potential, he said. “They’re not something that’s instant.” Unlike Nebraska, where he grew up, Bowling Green has a wealth of maple, oak, honey locust, crab apples and pear trees. “There’s not a lot of trees in Nebraska, so I got to appreciate the trees we had,” Jones said. And unlike many cities, Bowling Green has a tree inventory that tracks all the city-owned trees in the parks, cemetery and right-of-ways between sidewalks and streets. “That’s important,” Jones said. As tree diseases come and go, an inventory allows the community to track its susceptible trees and replace them with types that can withstand the diseases. A few years ago, it was the emerald ash borer that wiped out ash trees. The latest potential threat seems to be the Asian longhorn beetle. “They like maples, which is unfortunate because maples are good trees,” Jones said. But unlike the ash borer, it appears the longhorn beetle can be stopped by treating trees. “It would be nice to avoid that,” he said. Jones said he’s aware of the controversy last year, when the city lost several mature trees along West Wooster Street to a gas…


Multicultural Affairs office looks for common ground between campus & community

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most of the 40 people who came out for a #Let’sSupportEachOther gathering last week in the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs were staff members. These counselors and residence life staff are on the front lines when it comes to dealing with students’ concerns. Not only their concerns as students at Bowling Green State University, but the concerns they bring with them to campus. The meeting was called to discuss the recent incidents of black men dying in encounters with police officers, followed by the killing of five police officers on duty during a protest in Dallas. While those in attendance, which included faculty, community members and two campus police officers, need to focus on students’ emotions, they must also deal with their own reactions. Krishna Han, assistant director for diversity, said he found himself in tears on several occasions when watching videos related to the slayings. He had to eventually step back from social media. One black woman spoke of her fears for her son. They live in a suburb of Toledo, and he is repeatedly followed and stopped by police, and he’s been stopped in Bowling Green as well. Some expressed frustration over what they could do; others expressed frustration over the perceived lack willingness of others to take action. Emily Monago, director of the office, said in an interview the next day that she was surprised by the number of people who came out. “We just wanted to provide an opportunity for people to talk.” She said one of the possibilities discussed was how to become more involved with the city’s Human Relations Commission and in the joint city-campus Not In Our Town movement. “How can we do more to promote that and get people involved? Those are some of the conversations we’re having. We’re trying to strategize about how we can make a stronger community connection.” While Bowling Green may seem remote from the settings where these events unfold, the issues are still important for local residents to address, Monago said. “Members of our Bowling Green are impacted by these events….


BGHS ’78 grads show their class with new bobcat statue

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Poised to lift the white shroud from the object set in front of Bowling Green High School, Bill York paused to note that he’d been promised “this is not just another class of ’78 prank.” The class, known in the years since they graduated as the worst class ever, has set about turning over a new leaf. “We’re trying to establish a new reputation as the most giving class,” York said. That spirit was represented when the object, a large bronze statue of a bobcat, was unveiled. For Principal Jeff Dever, it will be “a tremendous thing for kids to come to school and see that.” And yes, he heard, the stories about the class as “the worst class that came through these doors.” What he knows is that the class has been “very generous.” “They handled this from start to finish,” he said. The project was spearheaded by Bill York. Classmate Mike Hammer, the city superintendent of public works, enlisted help from city workers to get the base of brick and concrete constructed. York said that after the class held its 35th reunion, some of the organizers talked about creating a more permanent structure. In 2014, the Bowling Green High School Class of 1978 was created. In 2015, the foundation awarded its first scholarship for $1,000 and donated a couple benches that sit outside the school. This year a $2,500 scholarship was awarded, and the bobcat was purchased and placed. The idea for the bronze mascot came from members of the class, York said. They wanted something “unique” and enduring. It should be made as it is of bronze, stone and brick. “It’ll be long lasting,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll outlast us all.” The budget for the project was $8,500. The class raised almost $12,000. York said that may mean benches or other elements could be added to the project. The bronze bobcat was purchased from the Large Art Company, from Baltimore, Maryland. York said that when they first approached the administration about how they could help the school, all the administrators knew…


Health center doesn’t turn any patients away

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Navigating health care systems can be a scary process, especially for those people who lack adequate insurance. But local residents who have put off medical care for fear of another bill they can’t afford will not be turned away at the Wood County Community Health and Wellness Center. “We are looking at the whole person” and that includes offering services on a sliding fee scale so they are affordable to all, said Diane Krill, director of the center located inside the Wood County Health District at 1840 E. Gypsy Lane Road, Bowling Green. “No one is turned away for services,” Krill said. The health and wellness center provides primary care for all ages, with Dr. Steve Dood as chief medical officer and Katie Barricklow as family nurse practitioner. “It’s care for infants through everyone,” Krill said. The center offers STD testing, women’s health care, senior health care, behavior health services and social work services. An in-house pharmacy allows patients to get their prescriptions filled on site. “They can get all of their needs met,” Krill said. The center is a lifesaver for many patients who have put off dealing with health issues, said Rhonda Stoner, social worker at the site. “They’ve let their health go for so long, by the time they come to us there are a lot of health needs,” Stoner said of some patients. “We see the smiles on their faces now. Before they thought there was no hope,” she said. “We see the healing in that old wound.” The center focuses on treating the entire person, Krill explained. So in addition to tending to physical needs, the center also has a behavior health specialist to help with mental health needs such as anxiety, depression and everyday life struggles. “Evidence shows that physical and mental needs are really integrated,” Krill said. “We do feel behavioral medicine is important.” The services are “patient-centered,” and based on community health assessments of local needs. With its expanded services, the health and wellness center has seen an increase in patients. Last year, the…


Northwest Ohio gets its close up in NowOH art exhibit

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A portrait of Northwest Ohio is now on display in the galleries in the Bowling Green State University Fine Arts Center. Friday the 9th Northwest Ohio Community Art Exhibition exhibit opened featuring work by 56 area artists. Entry into NowOH is open to all artists who live in 12 Northwest Ohio counties. “Everything that got sent in got included in the show,” said the Detroit artist Sarah Rose Sharp, who served as the exhibit juror.  “Something that’s really beautiful about that is it paints kind of a collective picture of a community which is great to see.” Art, she said, is “subjective” and when so many works are brought together “you can get kind of an aggregate of a community’s experience.” Roxanne Shea’s “Ariel View,” which Sharp selected for Best of Show honors, reflected that vision. Sharp praised the work for its blend of an archaic printing technique with references to geo mapping. Shea’s portrayals of the trailer park where her grandfather lived are rooted in the Rust Belt experience. Shea, who received her Master of Fine Arts in 2-D Studies this spring from BGSU, said her grandfather died right before she started these prints. Shea, who grew up in a low-income family in Grand Rapids, Michigan said: “I was trying to understand where I came from, where I’m at now and how I feel a little distance from my family because I’ve gone through college.” The winning work is an overview of the park, while another print shows a few trailers. She used the collagraph technique that involves employing found materials. In her case that was wood and 24-inch masking tape. She build up the surface and then cut away material to create the images. “Growing up I didn’t have much, so I had to use what I had around me,” Shea said. “The collagraph process involves grabbing what you can and applying it to the plate. Finding the materials is a big part of the process for me, bringing it back and showing its beauty.” Using salvaged materials, Sharp said, is becoming a common practice…


Water study searches for non-Toledo options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The suspect quality and high price of Toledo water has prompted Wood County to search for other sources of water for its customers now dependent on Toledo. A study paid for by the economic development commission identified three alternate sources of water for Wood County users. The three primary scenarios identified in the study, which was released Friday, were: City of Bowling Green’s water system with expanded reservoir space. Maumee River regional water plant with an intake and reservoir. Maumee River/Lake Erie Bayshore water intake, with a regional water plant and reservoir. Wood County customers have long questioned the price of Toledo water, but also began to doubt the quality after the water crisis in the summer of 2014, when people were warned to not drink water from Toledo due to the algal blooms. So a study was conducted to look at other options. “The Wood County Economic Development Commission believes the national attention on the water crisis brought into question the potential impacts on future economic development attraction and retention effects for Wood County,” a release on the study results stated. The cost of Toledo’s water to users outside the city limits also prompted the study. “There’s a big upcharge for the suburbs,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director for the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “We asked, are there other alternatives that are economically feasible?” “The answer is – yes,” Gottschalk said. The options would relieve Wood County customers’ dependency on Toledo water, said Jerry Greiner, executive director of the Northwestern Water and Sewer District. The contract between many Wood County users and Toledo for water expires in 2024. So this study gives time for action to be taken to create other sources. “A water plant might take five or six years to get up and running,” Gottschalk said. “Ideally, we’d like to see some sort of regional water agreement.” The current Wood County usage from Toledo is approximately 5.5 – 6.8 million gallons per day with projected maximum usage to increase to 12.3 – 14.25 million gallons per day. To…


BG School District considers building options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green school officials are facing four major decisions – and none of them are easy. Does the district want to fund building projects locally or use some state funding? Should the district consolidate the elementary schools or stick with neighborhood buildings? Should the district renovate, construct new or do nothing with its buildings? And lastly, how can they get the word out to more people in order to get more educated input. “We want to know what our taxpayers are thinking,” Superintendent Francis Scruci said during another public meeting Thursday about building options. The options are many, but none will move quickly. The earliest the district will put a levy on the ballot is May of 2017. “I like May elections,” Scruci said. “I’ll tell you why. People tend to be a little more positive.” And the earliest a new school might be constructed would be three years after getting the approval from the school board. The most expensive option calls for the consolidation of the three elementaries into one central building, and major renovations to the high school. That option has a price tag of $54 million. It’s unsure how much millage that would require, but if that is the option selected, the district would not piecemeal it over different elections. “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,” Scruci said. A less expensive option calls for a new Conneaut Elementary, and renovations to Kenwood, Crim and the high school – estimated to cost $44 million. But that brings up the question, “how much good money do we put into old buildings,” Scruci asked. Doing nothing is not a very realistic option since the school buildings are bursting at the seams, with modular classrooms being added to Conneaut this year and likely at Kenwood next year. “We are at capacity,” Scruci said. “Our class sizes aren’t getting smaller.” Projections call for enrollment to grow by 100 to 150 students in the next decade. Earlier this year, the district received the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission survey which looked at 24…


Solar project faces more questions from county

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Commissioners threw some shade on Bowling Green’s plans Thursday to build a solar array to help power the city and other communities. Work was to begin on the largest solar field in Ohio in a couple days. But that is unlikely now since the county has not yet approved the 30-year tax abatement requested for the $43 million project. The commissioners continued to question the rushed timeline of the project, which would build a 20 MW solar array on city acreage northeast of the city. “How necessary is this aggressive timeline?” Commissioner Joel Kuhlman asked. “Critical,” responded Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for the city. “There can be no delay.” If the county does not approve the tax exemption, the solar project will be unaffordable for NextEra Energy and AMP, which are working on the project, according to O’Connell. “It is likely that this project will be canceled due to the increased costs,” he said. “This project is bigger than just a Bowling Green site,” O’Connell said. There are 26 proposed sites in AMP member communities across five states. Six of those sites, including Bowling Green’s, are planned to be completed by the end of 2016. “It is difficult to make solar generation projects cost effective without utilizing all of the tax advantages available,” O’Connell said. So the state is allowing projects like this to be exempt from property taxes as long as they meet criteria. If the city were to own the solar power generating system, it would not pay property taxes, it was noted. But Kuhlman pointed out that the tax breaks will be benefiting a private company – not the city in this case. “This is a private entity that is going to be operating the solar field,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking these questions.” “We are talking about a private entity that is asking for a substantial tax break, that is trying to make money,” Kuhlman said. The city could have constructed its own solar field, but it would not have been nearly…


Abby Paskvan booked to sing anthem at GOP convention

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The National Anthem is Abby Paskvan’s favorite song. The 20-year-old singer has been performing “The Star Spangled Banner” since she was 8, when she opened a Bowling Green State University basketball game. On Wednesday, July 20, she’ll have the chance to perform it on her biggest stage yet, the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. (She is scheduled to sing at 7:45 p.m.) And she’s thrilled. “I’m super excited,” the Bowling Green resident said. She was already considering going to the convention as an observer. She has several friends involved in organizing events in conjunction with the convention, so she was hoping a get tickets. Paskvan said she’s interested in politics and with a national convention nearby “it would be awesome to see it up close.” To be able to sing there is “a once in a lifetime experience.” She expects to take the stage at about 7:45 p.m. She will sing without accompaniment. She assumes she was approached by convention officials because someone heard one of her previous performances, such as her recent appearance at a Cincinnati Reds game. She has sung the anthem at numerous sporting events, including the National Tractor Pulling Championships. “It’s my favorite song to sing,” Paskvan said. “It takes a lot of power.”  That’s a quality she’s had since she first appeared in public as a little girl with an astonishingly large voice. The singer was confident enough that when organizers asked if she wanted rehearsal, she at first deferred. They convinced her to take a trial run in Quicken Loans Arena. Her approach to singing the anthem is to stick to its roots. Sing the melody with no embellishment and “not over sing… not adding your own twist that it’s not supposed to have.” Paskvan is a junior studying marketing at BGSU. More and more, she said, she is considering making music a career.  Her business training, she said, will help her manage that career. She has studied voice for about six years with Tina Bunce. “I would definitely not be where I am without her,” she said….


BGSU is a step ahead in new state policing initiative

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Police Department has become the first in Wood County, and one of the first in the area, to be certified for meeting new standards promulgated by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. The department which had gotten provisional certification received its full certification after a recent site visit by the chief of the Coldwater police. BGSU Police Chief Monica Moll said the new initiative was established to set best practices in police interactions with citizens. The program, she said, is voluntary. All those who receive certification will be listed by the state. Most departments will want to make that list, Moll said. Each year two standards will be added that departments have to meet. This year the standards address equal opportunity in recruitment and hiring and policies on the use of force. Moll said that her force had a leg up since it had just completed its Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies paperwork, which she described as “the gold standard” for law enforcement accreditation. The Bowling Green City Police Department also has CALEA accreditation, she said. The CALEA standards align with the best practices advocated by the Ohio Collaborative. BGSU officers have to report any time they use force even if it’s only applying a wristlock. Every one of those reports, Moll said, is reviewed. The department also conducts an annual review of its use of force. BGSU officers seldom use force, and it’s a low level of force, maybe tackling someone who is attempting to flee. “We do a lot of training on de-escalation,” she said. Officers must also report whenever they draw their weapons. Officers working the midnight shift are more likely to use force, Moll said. The standards also cover more severe uses of force, including using deadly force. That policy is guided by Constitutional guarantees and Supreme Court rulings. Officers can only use deadly force if their lives or the lives of others are threatened. In addition, the BGSU department has policies pertaining to mental health calls. Officers receive 40 hours of training…


Toledo Museum exhibit dissects the emotional manipulation of political ads

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As someone who began his political education at the family dinner table, walking through the Toledo Museum of Art’s exhibit “I Approve This Message: Decoding Political Ads” is like strolling through a chapter of my autobiography. Politics made an early entry into my consciousness, and even the few election cycles beyond my actual memory – pretty much the Eisenhower campaigns – had a certain resonance. The elegantly dressed housewives with their crisp East Coast collegiate accents could have been sisters of June Cleaver, the mom on “Leave It To Beaver.” That Lena Dunham, the creator of “Girls,” pops on the screen right after in an ad built on a double entendre about losing her virginity and voting for the first time only highlights how much has changed. In a way. Listening to the issues – guns, poverty, crime, unemployment – that run through the discourse, a viewer would be right to despair about whether we’ve made any progress at all. But for exhibit creator Harriet Levin Balkind, the issues aren’t what matters when it comes to convincing voters how to cast their ballots. It’s all about emotion. Television advertisements are carefully crafted works of art intended to evoke those emotions. The same tools used by artists, are used by political hucksters. That’s why, TMA Director Brian Kennedy said, the exhibit belongs in the museum. “We’re a museum that’s has always been predicated on art education. We’ve been about educating people to see through works of art, and political ads are works of art of a kind. It’s really important we understand them.” With the Republican Party set to hold its convention in Ohio, and another presidential election underway the timing of the exhibit couldn’t be better. “I Approve This Message” is the brainchild of Balkind, the founder of Honest Ads. An expert in brand marketing, she started her research into what drives people to vote in 2014 after her agency was sold. What she found was people often vote for candidates who lie to them. This was behavior they would not accept from their…


Charters Gavarone to fill Statehouse seat, vacate BG Council seat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Theresa Charters Gavarone has been selected by a Statehouse screening panel to take the state representative seat vacated by the resignation of Tim Brown. That means the statehouse will gain a member and Bowling Green City Council will lose a member. Speaker of the Ohio House Clifford A. Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, announced this evening that the screening panel for the 3rd House District seat unanimously recommended Charters Gavarone for the appointment. She will fill out the remainder of Brown’s term through the end of this year. Other Wood County Republicans who were screened for the seat were Haraz Ghanbari, of Perrysburg, and Ed Schimmel, of Northwood. “I believe Theresa Charters Gavarone is an incredibly solid choice to represent the citizens of Wood County in the Ohio House of Representatives,” said Brown, who is leaving the Statehouse for the top job at the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments. “As a member of city council, she has already established herself as someone capable of working in a bipartisan manner for the benefit of Wood County’s citizens.  Her experience as a small business owner, an attorney, and an elected official will enable her to represent the people of Wood County extremely well.” The screening panel decision is the first step toward filling the seat. The Ohio House Republican Caucus will vote on the screening panel’s recommendation and swear in the new member on Aug. 2. The Wood County Republican Party’s Central Committee is meeting this Thursday evening in Bowling Green to pick the name to appear on the November ballot in place of Brown’s. Bob Mack, head of the Central Committee, expects that person to be Charters Gavarone. “That would make the most sense,” he said Wednesday evening. In cases like this, the other candidates not selected often “show solidarity” and back out of the race, Mack said. Brown agreed. “I would expect that the committee will replace my name with hers.” And that means Charters Gavarone would have to give up her seat on city council once she is appointed on Aug. 2. According…


Park district’s historic farm looking to grow

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Deer and raccoons have long been residents of the Wood County Park District. But chickens and goats? “Welcome to the farm,” Tim Gaddie, historic farm specialist with the park district, said to the park district board members Tuesday as they held their monthly meeting at Carter Historic Farm. The farm, located on Carter Road north of Bowling Green, is unlike any other park site in the district. The site is intended to take visitors back to the 1930s, when area farms were on the verge of big changes. “It was a big transition from hand powered and animal powered farming to machine-based,” Gaddie said. The historic farm programs focus on skills that families of the era relied on for survival – food preservation, vegetable and herb gardening, rug making and woodworking. Family campfire programs are also offered. This week, a group of kids aged 7 and 8 are attending farm camp there. Next week, 9- and 10-year-old kids will be learning at the farm. But Gaddie would like to do more to make Carter Historic Farm a working farm. Last year, chickens were added to the farm, with many of the eggs being used for programming. Soon, he would like to add some goats, then gradually work his way up to sheep, dairy cows, a draft horse and mules. Gaddie can picture a time when the sheep on the farm will be sheared to create yarn that will then be used for weaving. To accomplish these goals, Gaddie is trying to grow farm volunteers. “We’re working on building the volunteer base to do that,” he said. The farm currently benefits from help from inmates of the Northwest Community Correction Center, and may soon be offering a place for juvenile offenders to volunteer. “We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without volunteers,” Gaddie said. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger complimented the progress at the farm site. “I can’t say enough for the work Tim has done,” Munger said. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the park board approved the last of…