Photographers feel money should be no object in capturing family memories

By. DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Alyssa Stahl has been sponsoring a family for Christmas for the past several years. This year the professional photographer has decided to give her philantrophy a different look. Stahl said she follows a number of other photographers on social media and she was inspired by Jeremy Cowart, a photographer and activist, who sets up his gear in low income neighborhoods to take portraits of the residents. So this year, Stahl to put her photographic skills to work through The Memories Project.  Stahl and two other photographers, China Parry and Katie Heuerman will set up shop at three locations on the grounds of the Wood County Historical Center on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will take photos of families or individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford to get pictures taken.  The event is a collaboration with the Brown Bag Food Project, which will help spread the word and line up participants. Those wishing to make an appointment should call Brown Bag at (419) 960-5345. They will receive a CD with several images, and a photo release that will give them permission to get the portraits reprinted. The CDs will be available at Brown Bag’s office at 115 W. Merry Ave., Bowling Green. “This is a way to help multiple families,” Stahl said. “It doesn’t have to be a family. It could be elderly person. Just anyone who wouldn’t have the means to get that done,” Stahl said. Her love of people is what led her to take up photography. She grew up in Liberty Center. Her mother and her aunt did sports photography for local papers.  Stahl said she got started manipulating photos using Photoshop and doing digital design. She attended Bowling Green State University to study graphic design. While at BGSU seven years ago, she started taking photos, especially of families and friends. Four years ago she started her own business Alyssa Danielle Photography and Design. “It’s really cool to do a wedding or watch somebody’s kid grow up and to take pictures over a period of time and capture their personalities,” Stahl said. “It’s just nice to have that updated picture of themselves. People don’t take pictures that often and don’t think about it until something happens,” she said. “Being able to give that to somebody is heartwarming.”


State representative candidates voice varied goals

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The two candidates for Ohio House of Representatives 3rd District bring different backgrounds, beliefs and goals to the race. Incumbent Republican Theresa Gavarone is an attorney, business owner and former Bowling Green City Council member. Democrat Aidan Hubbell-Staeble is a political science major at BGSU and full-time employee at Kroger. Gavarone points to her accomplishments in the Ohio House. Hubbell-Staeble points to his experience pinching pennies and dealing with a family health crisis. During her first term as state representative, Gavarone noted her success in passing legislation that improves communication between law enforcement and drivers who have communication problems, updates Ohio’s overdue child support guidelines, and helps victims of human trafficking clear their records so they can get good jobs. “I know what a difference that will make – to break that cycle,” she said. Gavarone also talked about the capital budget passed during her term, which will help several local agencies such as the Wood County Committee on Aging’s new senior center, the Cocoon shelter, Perrysburg Heights Community Center, Northwood Miracle League field, BGSU forensics lab and Owens first responder training. If re-elected, Gavarone said she would like to continue working on the drug addiction crisis and mental health issues – so that people who need the care have access to it. She would also like to focus on education – making sure that students are being educated and trained for the jobs of today and the future. Hubbell-Staeble’s goals if elected are a bit different. He wants to make sure that families facing health crises aren’t burdened with financial despair as well. “It’s our duty to protect Medicaid expansion in Ohio,” he said. “I don’t want to see anyone go through that.” Hubbell-Staeble also supports a “living wage” so that people who have full-time jobs don’t have to juggle other employment to make ends meet. “People aren’t making enough to get by. Wages have stagnated. People are struggling,” he said. “Working Ohioans didn’t see benefits from Trump’s tax cuts,” Hubbell-Staeble added. And he would like to work toward quality and affordable housing issues. During a candidate forum earlier this fall, the two outlined their beliefs during questions posed by the audience. When asked about the value of expanded Medicaid, Gavarone said the expansion has helped people suffering from addiction and mental illness. “We need to do a lot more,” she said. Gavarone added that the state needs to make sure the Medicaid expansion is economically feasible. Hubbell-Staeble said 650,000 Ohioans now have access to health insurance because of the expansion. He talked about his family’s experience – with his mom being diagnosed with breast cancer when he was younger, and the family having to declare bankruptcy. “I think that’s wrong. I don’t think anyone should have to do that,” he said. Hubbell-Staeble said he supports the expansion for health care coverage. “Coverage shouldn’t be determined by how much you make or how much your parents make,” he said. When asked at the forum for their stances on abortion, Hubbell-Staeble said he is pro-choice. “As a man, I don’t think it’s my right to tell a women what to do with her body.” “It’s been decided by the Supreme Court a long time ago,” he said. Gavarone said she is pro-life….


Election will show if solid red Fifth is safe from blue wave

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News J. Michael Galbraith, a Democrat challenging, Republican incumbent Bob Latta to represent the Fifth Congressional District, doesn’t want to hear about “a blue wave” in Tuesday’s election. That only fosters the kind of overconfidence that tells Democrats that going to the polls is not necessary. That kind of overconfidence, he said at a meeting in the Lake Township Hall, is what he believes cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 presidential election. That overconfidence is what elected Donald Trump, Galbraith said. And the Democrats antipathy toward Trump was evident in the signs that decorated the podium from which he spoke. Trump, though, isn’t on the ballot. Latta, one of his “foot soldiers,” as Galbraith puts it, is. Galbraith told the partisan gathering that the Republican congressman who has represented the district since winning a special election in December, 2007, will be “retired” in January. The Ohio Fifth hasn’t been represented by a Democrat since 1939. The Democrat’s optimism is based on numbers, not surprising for a financial planner with international experience who has taught finance at Bowling Green State University. Part of those calculations include having “old-school Republicans” casting their ballots for him out of dissatisfaction both with Trump and Latta. (Libertarian Don Kissick is also on the ballot.) Galbraith said the fact that he was standing before voters in an open forum was an important distinction. And he promised if elected he’d continue to meet with the public in such forums. The incumbent has not be available to hear the concerns and fears of those he represents, Galbraith said. Latta, however, has cited more than 1,000 constituent meetings, many one on one, since he’s been in office. Many people prefer these, he said, because they are “intimidated” to speak in public. In a telephone interview from his Washington D.C. office, Latta steered away from talk about Trump and his behavior as president. The president had just announced that he wanted to do away with birthright citizenship, by which anyone born in this country, including to parents here without proper authorization, automatically are US citizens. Latta said he hadn’t heard those comments. Asked about the atmosphere in Washington, he preferred to talk about what he believes are the accomplishments of the past two years. Those include a tax reform bill that’s provided “massive help to the middle class and also helped all the businesses across the district.” For Galbraith that “reform” is rather a “tax scam” that benefits the well off at the expense of the middle class. The most pressing issue in the minds of voters he said is health care. “We should move to single-payer health system ultimately Medicare for all,” he said. He cited a study commissioned by the conservative Koch brothers, which they tried later to quash. That study, Galbraith said, shows that the national debt could be lowered by $500 billion with a single payer system. With all citizens including the young and healthy included premiums would come down. Latta has been a steadfast opponent of the Affordable Care Act, passed during the early years of the Obama Administration. He has voted multiple times to repeal it. Now, though, he said he is in favor of keeping some of its more popular provisions — making sure people with pre-existing conditions can…


Auditor candidates disagree over appraisal process

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The two candidates for Wood County auditor differ on a major role of the office – how property appraisals ought to be conducted. The Democratic candidate for Wood County auditor has accused the Republican candidate of outsourcing jobs. Buddy Ritson has called for an end to privatized property appraisals in Wood County. But incumbent Matt Oestreich is defending the practice, saying the vast majority of Ohio counties contract with private firms to conduct appraisals. To do otherwise would be more costly and less efficient, he said. Of the 88 Ohio counties, only 10 do in-house property appraisals, Oestreich said. Those 10 are the largest counties that have enough staff to do appraisals themselves. Property appraisals are done every six years, so most counties can’t employ enough staff to conduct those periodic jobs, he said. “You’d have to have trained appraisers on your staff,” to do the appraisals in-house. And those employees would only be needed every six years when the appraisals are conducted, Oestreich said. The Wood County Auditor’s Office has always contracted with private appraisal firms, Oestreich said. The firms work in the county for 18 to 24 months, then move on to another county, he said. Wood County currently pays $1,258,000 to a company named Lexur Enterprises in Dayton to have the appraisals completed, Ritson said. “These are jobs that can be done here in Wood County. With the number of contracts and the tasks associated with them, these are good paying full-time jobs that should be done here in Wood County,” Ritson said. “To outsource these jobs, as the Auditor’s Office is doing, is bad for the county and its taxpayers.” While the appraisals aren’t done in office, some Wood County citizens were employed in the process. According to Oestreich, during the 2017 mass reappraisal a Perrysburg resident served as the project supervisor, and two other Wood County residents worked on the reappraisals. “Having appraisers living in Wood County is a definite benefit to the process of determining real estate values, as they have a pulse on the local market,” Oestreich said. Through an information request with the Ohio Department of Taxation, Ritson said he found five additional contracts with Lexur Enterprises since 2014 that include yearly new construction updates, assistance with value defenses, triennial updates, and additional appraisal services. All of the contracts with Lexur Enterprises total nearly $1.75 million, which is paid out of the Real Estate Assessment Fund, according to Ritson. Oestreich said the county has approximately 75,000 parcels appraised every six years. The firm doing the appraisals is paid about $16.75 per parcel. “We look at the market. We look at the characteristics of the house to determine the value,” the auditor said. Property owners disputing the appraisals for their property can file appeals. Ritson found 164 appeals, which resulted in a downward adjustment of more than $2.3 million in the county property values. “Our property values are higher than they should be and this downward adjustment proves that,” Ritson said. But Oestreich said adjustments are a natural part of the appraisal process. Every appraisal year has its share of appeals – which is why counties have boards of revisions. The total market value of all the parcels in Wood County adds up to approximately $9.142…


No mistake about it, BGHS Drama Club’s ‘Comedy of Errors’ is hilarious

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In presenting Shakespeare’s  “The Comedy of Errors”  the Bowling Green High School Drama Club has condensed it to its silliest. The plot involves the unlikely meeting of two sets of identical twins leading to humor from slapstick to clever wordplay. Think Groucho Marx joins the Three Stooges. Directed by Jo Beth Gonzalez, the play has been edited into version that runs about an hour with the tastiest bits left in.  “The Comedy of Errors” opens tonight (Nov. 1) at 7 p.m. in the BG Performing Arts Center, continuing at the same time and place Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $7 and $5 for adults. The play, set in the 1960s, opens with the trial of Egeus (Hailey Kozey), a merchant for Syracuse, captured in Ephesus, which is off-limits to traders from his city. In pleading his case to the duke (Lauren Clifford), he tells his sad tale of family separation. In a shipwreck many years before he and his twin son Antipholus and the infant purchased as the son’s servant, Dromio,, also a twin, were parted from his wife and the other twins, who have the same names. Don’t ask. It’s Shakespeare.   Now the Syracuse Antipholus (Terra Sloane) with the Syracuse Dromio (Charlotte Perez) have gone off to find their lost siblings, and the father has gone off seeking them, and they’ve unbeknownst to each other all landed in Ephesus. And Ephesus just happens to be where the lost siblings they are seeking live. That’s just the start. Now with the Syracuse twins set loose on the street of Ephesus — which seems about the size of Bowling Green given the way people just happen to run into each other — all manner of high jinks ensue. Now this involves a high degree of suspension of disbelief for the audience who are seated close up and personal on the stage. Antipholus of Ephesus (Maddy Depinet) and Dromio of Ephesus (Hudson Pendleton) bear no resemblance to their Syracuse counterparts. Yet no one, master nor friend, nor even wife, can tell them apart. Must be because they’re dressed alike.  So when Syracuse Antipholus sends his servant off to squirrel away some money, and he meets the Ephesus Dromio he’s angry that the servant has not a clue of what he’s talking about. And he beats him about the head.  All this is reported back to Antipholus of Ephesus’ wife Adrianna (Olivia Strang)  who goes off and hauls back the wrong twin. Now this twin is not much taken with his supposed “wife,” but does quite like her sister Luciana (Sophi Hachtel). At this point one thing is clear: It’s good these “twins” don’t resemble each other because otherwise the confusion would be impenetrable. Sloane’s character even asks an audience member to pinch her to make sure she’s not dreaming. All this is played for laughs. Yes, the father languishes in prison facing execution if he can’t pay his fine, but we know this is a comedy and somehow all this will come to a neat conclusion that’s as improbable as all that went before. The cast, which also includes Fran Flores, Katie Partlow, and Allison Nonnemaker, seems to have a great time with all this. They enunciate Shakespeare’s verse with aplomb.  They’ll have the audience,…


Six citizens file to fill First Ward City Council seat

Six Bowling Green citizens have filed to fill the seat vacated by First Ward Councilman Daniel Gordon. Wednesday afternoon was the deadline for applications for anyone interested in the seat. The six candidates will go before the City Council Committee of the Whole on Monday at 6 p.m. Council will then vote to fill the seat at its 7 p.m. meeting. The applicants are: Connor Goodpaster, Mark Hollenbaugh, Neocles Leontis, Sebastian Ochoa-Kaup, Madison Stump and Hunter Sluss. Following are brief descriptions of each applicant. Connor Goodpaster, of 221 Leroy Ave., has lived in the First Ward for a little over a year and plans to stay there to raise his family. He moved to Bowling Green in 2013 to pursue his bachelor’s degree and “fell in love with the town.” Goodpaster and his wife both earned their master’s degrees at BGSU, his in public administration. While working on his master’s degree, he worked with community organizations like United Way and the Wood County Continuum of Care trying to solve problems within the community. If selected, Goodpaster said he would like to work on an agenda that will help the city retain BGSU grads, diversify the economy, and promote development to help the city offset budgeting constraints due to state funding cuts. Mark Hollenbaugh, of 315 Parkview Drive, is a familiar face to City Council, having served as the First Ward member from January 2010 to December 2011. Hollenbaugh is a history and government teacher at North Baltimore Local Schools. Hollenbaugh said that as a former council member, he has both the constituent knowledge and experience to represent the First Ward citizens. Since he periodically attends council meeting, he said he would be able to quickly be up to speed on issues facing the city. Hollenbaugh has also served on several city boards, such as the City Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Committee, Charter Review Committee, and is involved in the Community Action Plan. Neocles Leontis, 119 N. Summit St., has lived in the First Ward since 1996 and has been employed as a professor of chemistry at BGSU since 1987. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, he carries out scientific research funded by the National Institutes of Health. Leontis is involved in several community organizations including Bowling Green Kiwanis, East Side Residential Group, Black Swamp Green Team, and Peace Lutheran Church. He is faculty adviser to the BGSU Environmental Action Group. Leontis has been an advocate for making Bowling Green more energy efficient and sustainable. If selected, he would be interested in helping with more measures to make Bowling Green a healthy, economical and thriving place to live and raise a family. Sebastian Ochoa-Kaup, of 812 N. Summit St., works as a non-medical case manager for Equitas Health, making sure people living with HIV/AIDS can access the services they need. He has volunteered with Bowling Green community organizations like the Cocoon, La Conexion, Not In Our Town, It’s On Us, and serving on the city’s Human Relations Commission. Ochoa-Kaup believes he can help represent Bowling Green’s diverse community. He currently serves on the Executive Board of Equality Toledo, bringing a voice to the Latino community and transgender community. He also co-facilitates a support group for transgender youth. Madison Stump, 724 N. Enterprise St., believes she is well-suited to serve…


Wood Lane seeks reduced renewal levy for 2.45 mills

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood Lane is asking voters to approve a reduced renewal levy – dropped from the current 2.95-mills to 2.45 mills. The decrease in millage allows the agency to be fiscally responsible and continue to provide quality services, according to Wood Lane Superintendent Brent Baer. Wood Lane has been required by Medicare/Medicaid rules to shift its services to private providers in the past few years. So some question why the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities needs a levy on the ballot. The reason – while Wood Lane no longer provides the services directly, it now has to pay private agencies for the services. Privatization did result in some reduced costs for the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. And the board did pass those savings on to the taxpayers, Baer said. For example, in 2017 the board eliminated its levy collection all together, and in 2018 it collected 50 percent of the millage. But while there have been some cost savings by privatizing services, there are some cost increases due to growing demands for services, Baer said. Since 2013, the individuals served by the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities has grown from 899 to 1,071. “None of the individuals who previously received services stopped receiving services,” Baer said. “Our commitments are for the life of an individual.” When people with developmental disabilities waive their right to institutional care, they are picked up by community based services – like Wood Lane. That agency then identifies their needs and develops plans to meet them, Baer said. The waivers allow for federal funding, but the community agency must still pick up 40 percent of the costs, said finance officer Steve Foster. Demands are growing as the population here is increasing. “Wood County is one of the few counties in Ohio that’s growing,” Baer said. Wood Lane services start early and follow people throughout their lives. “We start at birth with early intervention services,” he said. More early intervention is needed for children with autism, and for children affected by the opioid crisis, he added. As the children age, Wood Lane School gets involved for youth up to the age of 22. “Anyone who runs a school for people who have significant developmental disabilities has additional costs,” Baer explained. But Wood Lane has no intention of not offering school services. Without them, children would be placed back in their home schools – which would just shift the costs to those districts. Or they would be cared for at home, where little socialization is offered. “We just can’t let that happen,” he said. The agency also offers Family Support Services such as respite care, help with home modifications, and special diet assistance. “It’s a bit of a lifeline between the county board and those who receive services,” Baer said. Requests for those services are also growing. The agency provides homemaker care, transportation to work and medical services, plus vocational services. One of the big challenges is to find safe, affordable and accessible housing for their consumers. “We continue to be overwhelmed by housing needs,” Baer said. One of the newest specialized programs for Wood Lane was the opening of a home for children with developmental disabilities. Baer said he is very proud of that program that…


Teachers scare up some Halloween thrills for trick-or-treaters

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Back when Shaun Briggs and Josh Iler were just starting their teaching careers about15 years ago they shared a house. Looking for something to do on Halloween they decided to dress up and give trick-or-treaters a bit of a scare along with their candy. Briggs, who said he didn’t have any particular fondness for Halloween, said they had a good time.  “We’ve had more enjoyment seeing the kids faces.” Now with homes of their own they’re continuing the tradition. Every year they decked out Briggs’ home at 1202 Bourgogne Ave. in Bowling Green in all its Halloween finery. Demons, specters,  skeletons, human remains, all manner of things that go bump in the night confront the trick-or-treaters as they tip toe through the tombstones. Be careful because some of those figures might make a move on you. Briggs, a teacher at Eastwood, said they go easy on the littlest ones, ratcheting up the thrills for the older crew. He said it takes him and Iler, a teacher in Bowling Green, about 10 hours to get the yard prepared, and they add something new every year. It’s an occasion for a party with 20 to 30 family and friends joining them for a supper ordered from Mr. Spots. Then the kids hit the streets to trick or treat, and he and Iler start stalking the front yard. Word seems to be spreading about the display. He’s notice cars pulling in and parking with parties coming just to their house. The growing arsenal of scare-ware gets stored in Iler’s shed in the country. The display is a one-day only affair, Briggs said. They need to get it packed away so it doesn’t get damaged by the weather, and is ready to deliver thrills to a new set of trick or treaters next Halloween.


‘Most Happy Fella’ at BGSU is a most wonderful show

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” is a tricky devil of a musical. Or is it an opera? Loesser said it was a musical, and yet it is filled with soaring operatic moments to go along with the toe-tapping numbers.  The Bowling Green Opera Theatre has the talent to do justice to both genres. That will be on display this weekend when “The Most Happy Fella” is performed Friday, Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center at Bowling Green State University. For tickets click here. .Directed by Geoffrey Stephenson, the musical compresses the original three acts into two with the elimination of dance numbers. That puts the focus even more on the singing, and the cast comes through, which is no surprise to anyone who follows the sounds emanating from the College of Musical Arts. Leading the cast are Caroline Kouma as Rosabella and Nick Kottman as Tony.  They are an unlikely pair of lovers. The elderly vineyard owner sees her waiting table in a restaurant in San Francisco and falls in love. He leaves a note and keepsake indicating he’d like to develop a relationship. They correspond, and when she asks for a photo he’s afraid she’ll reject him because of his age, instead he sends a photo of the handsome itinerant foreman Joe (Luke Serrano). And when Rosabella — the name given her by Tony — finally  arrives at the Napa Valley vineyard, she finds the wedding feast all spread out and Joe waiting for her. Only then do Joe and Rosabella discover the deception. But not before a couple of the exuberant production numbers that make the show so enjoyable. This leads up the revelation that takes both Joe and Rosabella by surprised. She’s about to leave, despite Joe’s protestations that Tony may be a “grampa,” he’s a nice guy as shown by all his friends gathered to greet his bride. Then Tony arrives, on a stretcher, after his truck overturned. Knowing she has few options in life, Rosabella goes through what may be a deathbed wedding anyway, only to follow it up with an intimate indiscretion with Joe. Rosabella is at a loss and Joe only wants to help, yet they are carried away on waves of emotional confusion. Now in most musicals the old guy, would be the barrier to overcome for the young lovers to be reunited. But “Most Happy Fella” is not just any musical, and not just because of its lush, romantic score. With the mediation of the doctor (Salem Abad) Tony and Rosabella grow closer, as she helps nurse him.  Kottman has to negotiate between his character’s impatience with the rate of his healing, and his genuinely generous spirit. He’s nagged bu concerns, fueled by his jealous dour sister Marie (Alexandra Hegedus), that he is too old for Rosabella. He sends for her waitress friend from San Francisco, Cleo (Madi Short) giving her job so she can keep Rosabella company. She finds her own love interest in Herman (Luke Schmidt), the guy who likes everybody and gets taken advantage of as a result. Schmidt and Short have a wonderful chemistry. Their comic interplay lights up the stage. Kouma lets Rosabella’s affection…


BGMS teacher resigns amid allegations, police investigation ongoing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Middle School teacher under investigation for possible criminal conduct has resigned. After an executive session this evening, the board of education accepted the resignation of Dylan Stark, an art teacher hired by the district in 2017. Stark’s resignation came after the completion of the school district’s internal investigation into his conduct. The investigation by the Bowling Green Police Division is ongoing, according to Deputy Chief Justin White. After the school board’s vote, Superintendent Francis Scruci explained district officials had been given information from another teacher who had received information from students about Stark. The district followed up on those allegations, and on Oct. 19 Scruci turned the information over to Bowling Green Police Division. At the same time, the district continued its internal investigation. Neither Scruci nor Board President Jill Carr were specific about Stark’s conduct that led to his resignation. However, Scruci said the investigation showed “behaviors that we wouldn’t accept in our district.” Stark, who also coached football, turned in his resignation on Monday. Scruci sent out an email to parents and staff last week asking the community to not spread rumors and to wait for the results of the investigation into Stark, who had been placed on paid leave. “Every individual has rights,” Scruci said. “Rumors are dangerous. We wanted to make sure we protected everyone involved.” Most of the allegations proved to be unfounded, but some were found to be true, Scruci said this evening. Carr said the school board backed the district’s response to the accusations. “The board supports the investigation the district engaged in,” she said. A substitute teacher has been filling in for Stark’s classes. The district will now start the process to hire a replacement, Carr said. Meanwhile, the police will continue looking into the possible misconduct. “It’s still under investigation,” White said this evening.


Panera planning move from downtown to Big Boy site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Big Boy is moving over for bread, bagels, salads and soups. Panera Bread is planning to move from downtown Bowling Green onto the former site of Big Boy on East Wooster Street. Applications have been filed with the city engineer’s office for demolition of the Big Boy restaurant, and with the city planning office for a drive-thru at the new site. A building permit request for a new Panera restaurant was approved earlier this month by the Wood County Building Inspection Office. The new building will have 4,413 square feet of space. For 17 years, Panera has been serving downtown diners in Bowling Green. The move to East Wooster Street will give the restaurant better access to I-75 travelers, students on the BGSU campus, and ample parking. The move will leave a big hole in the downtown, but Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Hinkelman was looking at the bright side. “I don’t think it will stay empty long,” she said of the possibilities to fill the South Main storefront. Floyd Craft, owner of the building housing Panera, said he had heard some rumblings about the restaurant moving. Over the years, the business has expressed its desire to have a drive-thru for customers. “I haven’t heard anything official from them,” he said. And he suspects that the move won’t be very soon since a new restaurant will have to be constructed, and Panera renewed its lease two and a half years ago for the current site until 2021. Craft agreed that filling the spot shouldn’t be difficult. “Sooner or later, we’ll find someone,” he said. “I would like to get another good restaurant here.” Craft said he isn’t as worried about the impact of the move on himself – but more so on the overall health of the downtown. “I’m more concerned about them leaving for the traffic they pull downtown,” he said, noting the number of customers who eat at Panera then do some shopping at other downtown stores. “That’s my biggest concern.” The current Panera site at 139 S. Main St. is 5,000 square feet. “They’ve been a good tenant. I’m sorry to see them leave,” Craft said. The manager Tuesday morning at Panera downtown said she couldn’t answer questions about the move. The corporate office did not return a phone call or email request. Meanwhile, after more than 40 years serving the classic Big Boys and strawberry pie at the Frisch’s at 1540 E. Wooster St., officials from that restaurant hope their loyal fans will continue to seek out Boy Boy specialties. The East Wooster site, once a place popular with BGSU students especially for late night food, could not compete with drive-thru food from McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Waffle House, said Rob Armstrong, president of Bennett Enterprises, which operates Big Boy. “We felt this was a good decision,” he said about the closure. Armstrong is hoping customers just shift their business to the Big Boy at North Main Street, which will remain open. “We’ve got a lot of loyal Big Boy customers,” he said. “We hope a lot of our customers find their way over there.”  


ADAMHS levy aims to save lives from drugs, suicide

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Tom Clemons makes his rounds to public meetings before next week’s election, he talks about the big difference made by a levy that costs voters a small amount. The 1-mill replacement levy for 10 years for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services will cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $35 a year. That money is spent on dealing with growing drug addiction problems and increasing needs for mental health crisis services. “We save lives,” said Clemons, executive director of Wood County ADAMHS. The levy funding is needed to keep up with growing needs for services, Clemons said. Some of the biggest issues include dealing with the opiate epidemic, providing more mental health housing, and improving crisis intervention services. Wood County is expected to hit 30 deaths this year from opioid overdoses. The number of suicides is also on the rise, with the county trending at about 20 this year, Clemons said. The funding is vital, he said, for programs fighting the opioid crisis, plus an increase in methamphetamine and cocaine abuse. Addiction recovery houses, and the mental health services are all part of the safety net supported by the WCADAMHS levy. The county used to average six to seven suicide deaths a year. “That’s too many,” Clemons said. And then they spiked. In 2015 there were 17; in 2016 there were 20; in 2017 there was a drop to 11; and this year the county is on pace to hit 25. In response to the increase in adult suicides, the ADAMHS board recently decided to fund a mobile crisis response that replaced The Link crisis center. The mobile unit responds to crises wherever the person is – at home, work, a store, or a park, Clemons said. It has unlimited capacity for calls, so no one calling in for help will be put on hold, he added. “Everybody who answers the phone is thoroughly trained in crisis response,” he said of the new hotline. The ADAMHS board also funded training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, designed for people who are suicidal, self-harming or aggressive to others. The therapy has been proven very successful, Clemons said, and focuses on self-calming skills, mindfulness and meditation techniques. When the training is complete, Wood County should have 30 to 40 therapists available with expertise in the DBT techniques. The levy makes up one-third of the county’s funding for mental health and addiction services, according to Doug Cubberley, president of the Wood County ADAMHS Board. The 1-mill replacement levy will bring in approximately $3.2 million a year. Passage of the levy is vital since this is the final year of the current levy, Cubberley said. “If this levy fails to get the majority vote, our programs will have to be severely curtailed,” he said. At the same time as seeing rising costs for services, ADAMHS is also seeing a drop in help from the state and federal government. A decade ago, state and federal money made up 60 percent of the ADAMHS budget. Now the local levy dollars have to bear the burden of 75 percent of the budget. Clemons stressed that the board has reduced expenses and secured a number of grants. “We have made prudent reductions in our…


Federal funds put BGSU at the center of Lake Erie research

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University Monday announced the launch of the Lake Erie Center for Fresh Waters and Human Health. BGSU will lead the collaboration with nine other universities and research institutions. The project is being funded by a $5.2 million federal grant from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation. The physical hubs for the research will be the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Center and Ohio State University’s Stone Lab. BGSU faculty member George Bullerjahn will direct the center and serve as lead researcher. Bullerjahn said the center is an outgrowth of the collaborations that started after the Toledo Water Crisis of 2014. That event “brought a bunch of scientists together who found they had complementary interests, and they liked each other,” he said. “What this does is it allows a very talented team of diversely trained scientist to work together for a long period of time and with more resources.” Though the research has been ongoing in many different institutions since the Western Basin of Lake Erie captured national attention, many questions remain. “One gap we have is we know the water turns green, but we can’t predict how green the water will get or how toxic it may get,” Bullerjahn said.   Researchers will be looking at what causes algal blooms, and what kills them, and the mechanisms that turn them toxic.  “You can look at a body of water that’s quite green, and it may not be toxic at all,” Bullerjahn said. “If you look at the 2014 Toledo Water Crisis, the water was not that green. It was a minor bloom. But it was toxic as hell. How do you sort that out? So that’s one of the things we’re working on. … Can we predict when the bloom forms and when they decline?” Bullerjahn described himself as “optimistic and patient.” The problem cannot be solved in a year or two, but “we’ll be in better shape in 10 years,” he said.  “I think we’re understanding more and more  about the terrestrial issues and what land use practices  need to be modified to limit nutrient runoff.” Other areas of the country are in much worse shape, he said.  “These types of responses are reactionary. Blooms started to occur in mid-‘90s and have gotten worse,” said Tim Davis, another member of the BGSU faculty in biology. The center’s efforts will break down silos, and will have scientists working from a common set of data that will be widely shared, he said. Collegiality is an essential ingredient in the project. “We’re tying to get the best science possible to put together mitigation practices and strategies that will allow us to develop long term solutions. We want to do this as quickly as possible.” Still, Davis said, the response of Lake Erie is likely to be delayed. Nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen will remain in the soil and possibly in sediments in the lake for years. Global warming will also have an impact. Global warming directly or indirectly causes more rain, which washes more nutrients from farm fields into the lake. That results in bigger blooms that grow more quickly, and occur earlier in the spring and last well into the fall, Davis said. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur said…


Citizens honored for making a difference in Wood County

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County honored its best on Sunday – a farmer who shows his love for the land by putting agronomics ahead of economics, a teacher who pushes his students to achieve goals they never believed possible, and a volunteer who helps connect people with ancestors they never knew existed. The Wood County Commissioners continued the annual tradition of handing out the Spirit of Wood County Awards on Sunday afternoon in the courthouse atrium. The following people were recognized: Mark Drewes for Agricultural Leadership. Robert Pollex for Liberty Through Law/Human Freedom. Charles Cox for Education for Civic Responsibility. Richard Adams for Religion and Liberty. Tom Oberhouse for Industrial/Economic Development. Millie Broka for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Michael Sibbersen for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. Ann Harris Householder for the Lyle R. Fletcher Good Citizenship Award. David Chilson for a Special Spirit of Wood County Award. Drewes, a grain farmer from the Custar area, is a recognized steward of the land who always has a tractor seat to share with people who want to learn about farming the land. “My dad preaches the term agronomics over economics,” said Drewes daughter, Darcy Krassow. Drewes is part of a multi-generational family farm partnership that has farmed in the Black Swamp area since the 1880s. Drewes’ farm model and mission encompass important conservation principles. And he shares his knowledge with others, having been a member of many national and state agricultural associations that work to find solutions to problems. He has been a strong advocate for farm issues and for the people who dedicate themselves to making their living off the land. Drewes has an open door policy at his farm – welcoming anyone to ask questions and discuss farming. He has hosted many crop tours, FFA tours, and bus tours of his farmland. When agriculture needed research on reducing the impact on the environment, Drewes offered up his farm as a research laboratory. He is unafraid of results and willing to lead by example in implementing new practices and technology to better his farm and the environment, according to the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. Pollex, of Perrysburg, served as a Wood County probate/juvenile judge from 1984 to 1998, then as a common pleas judge until retiring in 2016. “He had an impact on generations of juveniles in Wood County,” said current Juvenile Court Judge Dave Woessner. Pollex took a winding road to the judge’s bench. After earning a degree in physics, he worked as a research physicist for Libbey-Owens-Ford. It was there that he invented a device that measures the curvature of glass as it it being heated in a furnace. At night, he went to law school. He then worked in the firm of Charles Kurfess and as a part-time prosecuting attorney. Pollex brought his science background to the bench when he took part in a national program that trained judges in the use of science and technology in the courtroom. He then took that knowledge to train other judges in handling cases involving scientific matters. “Judge Pollex earned a reputation of being a fair, open-minded and just jurist,” said Wood County Common Pleas Judge Matt Reger. “He understood that each case was important to the litigants and…


Group tackles tough topic of BG zoning regulations

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The task assigned to the small group is even more cumbersome than its name – the Bowling Green Community Action Plan Implementation Subcommittee of the Planning Commission. The group held its first meeting last week to begin tackling a review of the city’s zoning ordinance – a process as sensitive as it is complicated. “It’s clear this is really intense and is going to take a lot of work,” said Jeff Betts, chairman of the subcommittee. The last thing the group wants is for residents 20 years from now to say, “Oh my God, what were they thinking,” subcommittee member Mark Hollenbaugh said. With a stack of reviews and recommendations in front of them, Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler agreed that the job is immense. “It’s a lot to digest, that’s for sure,” she said. Council member Bill Herald thanked the subcommittee for its willingness to take on the job. “It’s easy to get paralyzed because there’s so much to do,” he said. “I really appreciate you tackling this.” Zoning is so complex for many reasons. First every rule is interwoven with other rules. So if one regulation is tweaked, it could create the need for changes in many other regulations. “Anything you do with one part is going to affect other parts,” Hollenbaugh said. And second, zoning is touchy because it tells landowners what they can and cannot do with their property. “It’s super important to explain the ‘why’ behind it,” so it doesn’t appear like a conspiracy to keep property owners from doing what they want with their land, Betts said. “Everything needs to be transparent. Everybody needs to know every step of the process,” Hollenbaugh agreed. A report by a consulting firm, Development Strategies from St. Louis, will be presented to City Council in December. After that, the subcommittee will have more to discuss. Members of the subcommittee last week talked about the need to not piecemeal the zoning code. Instead of dealing in haste with an issue when it arises, the group wants to plan ahead. The zoning rules must come first, Betts said, rather than trying to pigeonhole a project into a set of rules. The goal will be to look ahead. “We need to envision the community we want in making these decisions,” Herald said. The Community Action Plan completed last year cited inconsistencies in the city’s current zoning ordinance. For example, when a gas station is constructed, the zoning requires certain setbacks and buffers for neighbors. However, for other development that may be as objectionable to neighbors, there are no such requirements, Sayler said. Ideally, zoning regulations will consider what development will work and won’t work in Bowling Green. The rules will then be tweaked accordingly to encourage investment, Sayler said. People investing in developing area want to be assured that other property owners in the area will make similar investments, she said. “What are the reassurances that the neighbors will do the same,” Sayler said. Zoning rules can be as specific as requiring certain kinds of building materials or plantings. Two big issues that will be examined are building heights and housing. It is difficult for developers to get a desired return on their investment when they have strict building height rules, Sayler…