Patients feel loss of Dr. Lavey at cancer care center

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Barbara Forbes got the news Dr. Robert Lavey was leaving the Wood County Hospital cancer center, she was certain he had taken a job at a bigger hospital. “He’s so gifted,” said Forbes, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April 2017. “His expertise, his intelligence, his knowledge, his compassion, his communication are above and beyond.” Then Forbes was informed that Lavey had been terminated at the cancer center. “I’m being brutally frank – I was absolutely devastated when I heard he was leaving,” she said. “We’ve lost a gift and someone else is getting a gift.” Lavey, who had been medical director of the cancer center since its opening in 2014, said he was terminated in July at the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center after the number of patients being treated at the center dropped. He had been hired in November of 2013 to help design the center, select the staff, choose the equipment, and set the policies and procedures. His was the smiling face associated with the cancer center. “I feel a real pride in what we’ve done for the community and the services we provide for the patients and their families,” Lavey said during one of his final days at Wood County Hospital. “I am very much invested emotionally in the services.” Lavey said he was told the decision to end his employment was “just business.” “I was simply given notice I was being terminated.” Wood County Hospital President Stan Korducki declined to answer questions about Lavey’s departure. “I can’t comment on any personnel matters,” he said. Korducki stressed that the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center continues to provide quality patient care. “I can’t make any comment about Dr. Lavey,” he said. “We continue to have excellent physician services at the Maurer Cancer Center. Nothing has changed in terms of that.” Lavey said he was in the middle of a contract set to expire on March 30, 2019. The hospital has replaced him with Dr. Dhaval Parikh, who is board certified in radiation oncology and has practiced for more than 20 years. According to the hospital, Parikh provides care for patients “with all types of cancers through highly conformal radiation therapies, which matches the radiation beams to the shape of…


Bowling Green takes ‘green’ part of name seriously

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Amanda Gamby’s new job may fall short of being glamorous. It’s had her tagging garbage bins, going through recycling, and riding bike for the first time in eight years. But as Bowling Green’s first ever sustainability coordinator, Gamby doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She is a true believer in the city’s environmental sustainability – whether that involves energy production, recycling, bicycling or clean water. Gamby, who spoke Thursday to the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club, said the city has already made some serious strides toward sustainability. “We’re really already doing some pretty cool things,” Gamby said. “We’re just not telling about it very well.” So that is part of her job. Gamby, who previously served as the Wood County environmental educator, has expertise in public outreach and education for very young children to senior citizens, and everyone in between. And she wants them all to know that 42 percent of Bowling Green’s electricity comes from renewable sources. “That’s a pretty big chunk of the pie,” Gamby said. The city was the first in Ohio to use a wind farm to generate municipal electricity, starting in 2003. “The joke is that it’s a wind garden because it’s only four,” she said. But even though it’s just four turbines, some doubted the city’s wisdom and investment in the $8.8 million project. “Many people thought Daryl Stockburger was crazy,” Gamby said, of the city’s utilities director at the time who pushed for the wind turbines. But the turbines have been generating power ever since. The turbines are as tall as a 30-story building and generate up to 7.2 megawatts of power — enough to supply electricity for approximately 2,500 residential customers. Debt on the wind turbine project was paid in full in 2015, which was several years earlier than planned, Gamby said. And now, the city is home to the largest solar field in Ohio. The 165-acre solar field consists of more than 85,000 panels and is capable of producing 20-megawatts of alternating current electricity.  In an average year, it is expected to produce an equivalent amount of energy needed to power approximately 3,000 homes.  It will also avoid approximately 25,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year since the energy is generated from a non-fossil fuel resource. The…


Firefly Nights announces a Halloween-themed encore festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Even after a wet start to the evening, the more than 200 people who were around at the end for Friday’s Firefly Night festival, still wanted more music from the closing act Freight Street. So the local folk-rock quintet, fronted by Boo Lee Crosser with singer Flannery Murnen, drummer JP Stebal, bassist Devonte Stovall, and violinist Kathleen Schnerer, obliged. This was to have been end of the three-event community festivals for the season. But organizers also have an encore planned. The businesswomen who spearheaded and organized Firefly Nights in downtown Bowling Green announced at the end of the night that there will be one more festival this year on Oct. 19. The October event will feature the same mix of music, food, kid activities, and shopping, only with a Halloween theme. Working with Downtown Bowling Green, the Firefly Night fest will take the place of downtown treat or treating. Mary Hinkelman, director of Downtown BG, said that the festival was a way to continue the trick or treating while adding more activities both for youngsters and the whole family. Kati Thompson, one of the Firefly founders, said the idea came up through discussions by the organizers. Hinkelman responded favorably to the possibility, and suggested using it to replace downtown trick or treating. With about 2,000 kids taking part last year, the event is becoming unmanageable, she said, with kids having to wait in long lines to get their treats. They then approached the city about the possibilities of staging another festival, which requires closing Main Street in downtown off to traffic. City officials approved. In announcing the event, Thompson said: “Don’t worry we’ll still have plenty of treats for the children, but we’ll combine that with fun for the entire community.” What Halloween activities will be offered and how the treat or treating will be handled is still being discussed. Possibilities include hayrides, a kiddie parade, Halloween and fall themed activities, doughnuts and cider, and even a costume contest for children and adults. Thompson said details will be forthcoming. The Oct. 19 Firefly Nights festival will be held 6-10 p.m., same as the summer events. Friday’s event got off to a soggy start with a downpour shortly after it began. Festivalgoers sought shelter under awnings, and in shops and…


BG may buy old BG Block & Lumber site for $500,000

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   With its water and sewer division building bursting at the seams, Bowling Green officials may spend $500,000 to purchase neighboring property. The Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities heard a proposal Monday evening from Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell to purchase 1.57 acres at 315 and 325 N. Grove St. The property sits just to the east of the city’s water and sewer division at 324 N. Maple St. “This would save us from having to look for more space outside our area,” O’Connell told the board. “It’s a good long-term decision for water and sewer.” For some time, the water and sewer division has been in need of additional building space and parking. The city had budgeted $130,000 for concrete drive and parking improvements at the site to accommodate current staff. However, there was no ability to expand the building. Recently, a neighboring property owner, Alan Stoots, approached the city about buying his property – which was formerly the site of BG Block and Lumber. There are several buildings on the property, with some being rented to tenants for storage, commercial and residential uses. According to Stoots, the rental income is about $47,000 annually. Stoots was asking $520,000 for the property. The city hired a real estate appraiser, who said the value of the property was $450,000. After several discussions with Stoots, the city agreed to a purchase price of $500,000, O’Connell said. While that amount is 11 percent above the appraised value, O’Connell said the property is more valuable to the city because of the water and sewer division location and need for space. “We’re kind of at the seams right now,” O’Connell said. “This will get us some additional building space that we could use from day one.” The site would secure a long-term home for the water and sewer division, and possibly provide room for future growth, he said. The water and sewer division could use three of the buildings on the property, totaling about 10,000 square feet, for cold storage of materials, hydrants, valves, topsoil and sand. The city’s electric division currently has transformers and other equipment sitting outside on the North Maple Street property. “Anytime you have equipment outside, it’s additional wear and tear,” O’Connell said. The city plans to continue…


Food waste talk gives ag breakfast attendees plenty to chew on

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clean your plate. If only the solution to food waste was that simple. As Brian Roe, a professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics of Ohio State University, neither the problem nor the solutions are simple. Roe was the speaker at the Northwest Ohio Ag-Business Breakfast Forum Thursday presented by CIFT at the Ag Incubator on Route 582. The problem is global, he said, though the details differ. In developing countries the waste comes earlier in the supply chain. Once the food reaches the consumer, it gets consumed. In the United States and other developed countries, the problem is focused the closer the food comes to reaching the kitchen. The cost of the problem is “staggering,” Roe said. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates 31 percent of the world’s food production is lost. In the United States, the USDA estimates that percentage of loss is experienced on the retail and consumer levels in the United States as well. That means in 2010, 133 billion pounds of food were wasted at a cost of $162 billon. That waste of past-date milk, shriveled produce, and stale cereal, represents a waste of the resources that go into producing those products – the water, land, and labor. This also costs households money for products that they buy and then throw away without using. And that food, Roe said, could help feed the one in six American children who live in households that experience food insecurity. Feeding America, estimates there is 48 million pounds lost before the food even gets to market and another 22 billion pounds at local markets a year. This is usable food, Roe said. Once that food is discarded the problems continue. About 20 percent of what goes into the nation’s overstuffed landfills is food waste. As it decomposes, it forms methane gas. Only the United States and China account for more greenhouse gases than what food waste produces. Two-thirds of the food wasted in the U.S. is lost in the home. Roe said that confusing labeling of food is a particular problem. Terms such as “sell by,” “best used by,” and “expires on” are not as precise as they may seem and often lead consumers to throw out still edible food. An experiment conducted at…


Think driving downtown will be clear after gas line work? Think again

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green motorists and businesses counting the days till the Columbia Gas work is done downtown should brace themselves for a rude awakening. The gas line replacement work that has shut down lanes and parking in the downtown much of this summer is just the first round of work along Main Street. “You ain’t seen nothing yet,” said Bowling Green Public Works Director Brian Craft. It’s not the city’s intention to make driving and parking difficult in the downtown area – officials are just trying to get necessary work done in a timely fashion. The good news is the downtown streetscape should be good for years once all the work is done. The bad news is the downtown is going to be torn up for another year or so to finish the job. “It’s just a circle of time,” Craft said. And the gas lines, water lines and roadwork all reached the end of their lifespans at the same time. The Columbia Gas work is scheduled to be done in October. But then water and sewer line work is scheduled throughout the winter, followed by repaving and rebricking Main Street next spring and summer. It could be worse, according to Craft. Initially Columbia Gas was planning to do its downtown work in 2019 – which could have meant that Bowling Green would have to repave the downtown streetscape again soon after completing the work. “It isn’t a perfect situation,” Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett said a couple weeks ago. “But we don’t have a choice in the matter.” All the work is necessary – and will result in a safer and better city for residents once it’s all complete, he said. Raquel Colon, external affairs specialist for Columbia Gas of Ohio, said the downtown project which started in June will not be completed until sometime in October. “We have brought some additional crews in to keep the progress moving,” Colon said. The gas line replacement project has taken so long because there are so many individual taps to replace in the downtown area. Unfortunately, the waterline work will be just as time-consuming, Craft said. The old lines are being replaced with new 12-inch lines. And those lines will be buried much deeper, he said. “Ours is going to…


Rudolph to lose old silos, get back Bob Evans sign

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The small community of Rudolph is about to lose its five rusted grain silos, and gain back its sign noting that Bob Evans once lived there. The Wood County Park District board agreed Tuesday to have the unused silos removed along the Slippery Elm Trail, just south of Mermill Road. The park district had purchased the property years ago from Mid-Wood and for a while the silos were rented back to Mid-Wood for use. However, the two large and three small silos have been empty for years. The concrete at the bases is deteriorating, and the steel is rusting, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board. A company called All Excavating & Demolition approached the district about taking down the silos for a cost of $1,500. The concrete from the silos will be ground up and spread over the site. The steel will be salvaged by the company. The demolition should have no effect on those using the nearby Slippery Elm Trail, Munger said. While discussing the silos removal, board member Bill Cameron asked about the possibility of replacing the sign on the site that noted Bob Evans once resided in Rudolph. Though born in Sugar Ridge, north of Bowling Green, Evans apparently later lived for a period in Rudolph, south of Bowling Green. He went on to create the Bob Evans restaurant chain. “I miss the sign,” Cameron said. Munger said the sign had been taken down years ago when the park district had new siding installed on the old Mid-Wood building. The park district uses the building for storage along the trail. Munger said the sign is still in the building, and will need to be repainted – but it will be restored on the side of the building at the corner of Rudolph and Mermill roads. In other business, Park District Board President Denny Parish asked about the problem of people parking at Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve and then walking to the neighboring stone quarry. “This is an ongoing problem,” he said about people trespassing at the privately-owned quarry to go swimming. Park police chief Todd Nofzinger said the park district has been considering the best way to stop people from wandering from its preserve to the stone quarry. “We’ve been…


Friday night acts to light up Black Swamp festival stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival has prided itself on its eclectic musical offerings. While the wide Americana music umbrella covers many of the performers, there have been plenty who reside outside that catch-all term. Think of the European, Caribbean, and African bands that have graced the festival’s stages. While the festival may have a global reach, the performing arts committee has also consistently tapped into the roots of American music. That’s certainly the case on Friday, Sept. 7. Ohio rocker Drew Joseph opens at 5 p.m. The acts that follow tap into the reverberations from Brooklyn, New Orleans, Austin, Nashville, and Michigan. Here’s what’s in store under the Friday night lights on the Main Stage Two Tons of Steel: Revving up the rockabilly sound Named for a 1956 Coupe de Ville that served as the band’s “van,” Two Tons of Steel hails from San Antonio, Texas. We can thank a local connection, though, for their appearance. Alex Hann, the long-time site and logistic chair for the festival, has been a fan since first hearing Two Tons at one of their regular gigs in the iconic Austin venues the Gruene Music Hall. He was impressed by the band’s energy which had the dance floor packed from the first note, and their combination of styles. Two Tons of Steel has its roots in rockabilly and Texas swing. Perfect for the festival. Conversations ensued, and Two Tons of Steel is now motoring into Ohio, virgin territory for the band. “It’s like being on a first date,” said leader Kevin Geil, in a recent telephone interview. He grew up in Austin listening to rockabilly. “You could play those three chords and play a song. … It was simple and smooth, just great music. That’s where we started and that’s the foundation of how our songs are still written and performed.” In 1992 in San Antonio, Geil started the band as a traditional three-piece rockabilly outfit with acoustic upright bass and guitars backing the vocals. Back then the music was a novelty, and Two Tons of Steel took off. Billboard magazine wrote about them. The band appeared on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. A few of their songs were heard on “B” movie soundtracks. As Geil started featuring songs he’d…


Tipping the scales – local fight against childhood obesity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When Diane Krill was a child, she spent summer days playing in the park – not parked in front of the TV. “We were there from sun up to sundown,” she said of days of non-stop activity. “We didn’t go home until the dinner bell rang.” But times are different now, said Krill, CEO of the Wood County Community Health Center. Parents afraid to let their children roam the neighborhood sometimes prefer to use the TV as a babysitter. And when they do activities – like soccer or baseball – busy parents often rush through a fast food drive thru to pick up dinner. “We are seeing trends that are leading from childhood to adulthood,” said Wood County Health Commissioner Ben Batey. The likelihood that an obese child will learn healthy eating and exercise habits as an adult is, well, slim. So on Tuesday, the Wood County Health Department held a meeting on childhood obesity for interested community members. A recently conducted Community Health Assessment showed that 72 percent of Wood County adults are overweight or obese – higher than the state average of 67 percent. That adds up to about 37,000 Wood County adults who can be labeled as obese. “That seems staggering,” Batey said. “What can we do about that?” The survey found slightly better results among local youth, where the number of obese youth dropped a bit in the last three years. “We’re seeing a positive trend with our youth, and we don’t want to lose that,” he said. A big problem appears to be that many Wood County adults are not modeling healthy exercise or eating habits for their children. And discussing people’s diets can be a potential minefield – like bringing up politics or religion, Batey said. When surveyed about exercise, many local adults said they don’t have time for physical activity. However, in the same survey, adults averaged 2.4 hours a day watching TV, 1.5 hours on their cell phones, and 1.4 hours on the computer for non-work items. “We’re not taking time to get up and move,” Batey said. “I’m not saying don’t watch TV. But get up and move while you’re watching TV.” Batey admitted to being a “couch potato” himself, and eating too much fast food – until…


Investigation into Dawn Glanz’s murder continues

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The unsolved murder of Dawn Glanz may be closer to being cracked after the true crime TV show “Cold Justice” investigated the Bowling Green case. The episode aired last Saturday evening. The Bowling Green Police Division and Wood County Prosecutor’s Office picked up again where “Cold Justice” left off and spent the summer investigating unresolved questions. Though progress has been made, the prosecutor’s office is still not ready to press charges, according to Wood County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Dobson. But the investigation continues. “At this point, we haven’t made any decisions,” Dobson said Monday. Glanz, 66, was found dead in her home on Kensington Boulevard, on May 9, 2013. She had been a professor of art history at Bowling Green State University. Initially, it was believed her death was the result of natural causes, possibly a stroke. She was found on the bathroom floor. There were no signs of forced entry and nothing was stolen from her home. However, on the day Glanz’s body was to be cremated, police chief at the time Brad Conner received an anonymous phone call from a woman suggesting that Glanz’s death was not an accident. The cremation was halted. An autopsy found that Glanz had been stabbed in the scalp by an assailant using a weapon such as an ice pick or screw driver.  It was determined that the stabbing caused her to have a fatal heart attack. However, by this time much of the physical evidence of the crime scene had been cleaned up. Possible suspects were questioned, but there was not enough evidence to press charges. So five years later, Glanz’s nephew suggested a rather unorthodox attempt be made to find his aunt’s killer. Dehan Glanz said some new evidence might turn up if the show “Cold Justice” were to get involved. “The family approached us when the case stalled out,” Bowling Green Police Chief Tony Hetrick said. Kelly Siegler, a former Houston prosecutor, who leads the investigations on “Cold Justice,” was contacted. She worked with Tonya Rider, a Bowling Green State University professor and retired Toledo detective. The TV crew spent several days in Bowling Green in October, filming for the show. The primary Bowling Green police officers featured on the show were Det. Brian Houser and Sgt…


Excitement building for first Habitat home in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 25 years, Habitat for Humanity has been building homes in Wood County. But until now, none was constructed in Bowling Green. On Monday, shovels were dug into the ground at the first of three Habitat homes to be built in Bowling Green, near the corner of Manville and Clough streets. Mark Ohashi, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Wood County, said he once asked his predecessor, Maxine Miller, about her motivation for building the first home in Bloomdale. Miller said, “I just feel that everyone deserves a decent house to raise their family.” “It was that simple,” Ohashi said. Many take housing for granted, but those who live in inadequate homes or who can’t afford decent housing know how important a good home can be. “We’ve been able to make an incredible impact on 39 families in Wood County,” Ohashi said. “We’ve built all around Wood County, but never in Bowling Green.” Marlene Lerch, whose family was chosen for the new Habitat home, is not taking the home for granted. “I’ve been praying for a house for years,” said Lerch, who has lived in a manufactured home for about 10 years. “This will be a safe place for my family. This is all a new beginning.” Lerch, who is a home-based coach with WSOS Head Start, said she is looking forward to putting her “sweat equity” into the home construction. “I’m ready,” she said. Her three children are also ready for the move. “I’m looking forward to getting out of a trailer and getting an actual house,” said Eric Lerch, 11, who will start at Bowling Green Middle School in a couple weeks. “I actually get a new bedroom,” which he plans to paint red and silver, Eric said. His older sister, Audrey, who will be a senior at Bowling Green High School, has plans to paint her bedroom light gray. “Just being able to have it be our own. With this opportunity it’s going to be amazing,” Audrey said. Their mom said the family has gone through a lot in the last few years. “I never thought in a million years that I’d get a new house built for me,” Lerch said. As she thanked those at the groundbreaking, Lerch expressed her appreciation….


BG officials want answers about Nexus pipeline spill

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nexus pipeline officials have some explaining to do. Bowling Green officials were satisfied with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s response to a spill last month of 20,000 gallons of non-toxic drilling fluid north of the city. But the response of the pipeline company has left the city with some questions. For example, City Council members Daniel Gordon and Greg Robinette have asked: – When did the spill happen? Ohio EPA officials have said the spill was reported on July 17. However, emails from Nexus officials have stated the spill occurred on July 16. – How quickly did Nexus report the spill? Was the reporting done in a reasonable timeframe? – What kind of bentonite was involved in the spill? Though non-toxic, if it was the acidic form, are measures being taken to mitigate and monitor potential harm? – Does the Ohio EPA consider the Nexus decision to halt cleanup efforts at night a reasonable response? – Should Nexus crews have been prepared to work through the night? When contacted by Bowling Green Independent News about some of these questions, Nexus officials declined to talk on the phone and asked for the questions to be submitted in writing. A Nexus emailed statement said the pipeline company “remains committed to safe and environmentally responsible practices, including constructing the project in accordance with applicable environmental permitting requirements.” Though previous emails from Nexus stated the spill occurred on July 16, when asked about the conflicting dates, Adam Parker, who handles stakeholder engagement for Nexus gas transmission, changed the date to July 17 at approximately 6 p.m. The Ohio EPA has stated that Nexus crew members left the scene of the spill rather than continuing to clean up. Parker stated the Nexus crews temporarily suspended activities due to safety concerns related to working along the busy road after dark. When asked if Nexus has a policy in place requiring workers to continue with cleanup until it is completed, Parker responded with the following statement: “The project’s various plans and permits were filed and approved by state and federal agencies prior to the beginning of construction. On the evening of the spill, NEXUS promptly notified the Ohio EPA, installed multiple layers of containment and worked to complete the recovery of clay and water…


Unleashing skills of dogs to serve human beings

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The black lab Porsche kept her eyes on her trainer, despite the dog treats scattered on the floor in front of her – including one sitting on her paw. Her salivary glands sent drops of slobber onto the floor, but she continued to obey the order to “leave.” Porsche is in training to become a service dog for Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, located under the Ability Center umbrella in Toledo. She and Jordan Kwapich, client service coordinator with Assistance Dogs, presented a program recently for the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. Kwapich, a Bowling Green State University graduate, works to match up service dogs with the people they will serve. The program currently has about 150 matches, and places about 20 dogs a year. “I have been a dog lover all my life,” so the job is a perfect match for her, Kwapich said. Her job is to screen clients before they get service dogs. “I get a feel of what their personalities are,” she said. “That’s the biggest thing – matching the personalities together.” “Our goal is to help people be as independent as they want to be,” Kwapich said. Most of the dogs trained are Labrador or golden retrievers. “We love their temperament,” she said. “They are very social and friendly.” Not all canines are made to be service dogs. “We look for a dog that’s very confident, work driven, not afraid of things.” They must also have a lot of energy. “They need to keep up with their person’s needs.” The agency trains dogs to fill the roles of service dogs, special needs dogs, and school therapy dogs. Most start their training as puppies, and are placed with a person when they reach 2 years old. “They have most of the puppy stuff out of their systems by then,” Kwapich said. The dogs are trained to perform such tasks as picking up dropped items, pushing or pulling open doors, delivering a telephone to their owner, helping with transfers from chairs or to bed, retrieving items from cabinets, and opening a refrigerator to get items like bottled water. The dogs learn to be problem solvers. “It’s pretty amazing,” Kwapich said. “Dogs are very intuitive.” The dogs trained for special needs clients learn skills to assist…


County voters to face two levies on fall ballot

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County voters will have two county-wide issues to decide in the November election. Neither are asking the voters for more millage – which was very important to the county commissioners as they deliberated the tax levy requests earlier this year. One levy is a reduced renewal levy, dropped from the current 2.95-mills to 2.45 mills for Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The duration of that levy is five years. The other is a replacement 1-mill levy for 10 years for Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. During a presentation by Wood Lane officials earlier this year, Superintendent Brent Baer talked about the “dynamic growth in services” that the board is seeing. And Martha Woelke, of the board, said great deliberation went into the levy request. “We did everything we can to maximize state and federal money,” she told the commissioners. The board has been able to reduce its levy collections some years, but feels that 2.45 mills is the lowest it can go for the renewal. 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. “Our commitments are for the life of an individual,” Baer said. Demands are growing as the population here is increasing. “Wood County is one of the few counties in Ohio that’s growing,” Baer said. About five years ago, there were 226 consumers on waivers. Now there are 425. Baer expects that number to double again in the next five years. The board may need to be back in five years, asking for a greater levy, but this should do for now, Baer said. The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services board started out asking for an increase in levy dollars, from the current 1-mill to 1.3 mills. But the Wood County Commissioners – who have to certify the need for levies before they are placed on the ballot – asked the ADAMHS board to consider other options for the November ballot issue….


Local farm tours to plant seeds of knowledge

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Agriculture is big business in Wood County. And while local residents are surrounded by rich farmland, many may still be unaware of locally grown foods served at their kitchen tables and those shipped round the world. To help spread that information, the first Wood County Ag-Venture self-driving farm tour is being held on Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seven local farms and agricultural companies are opening up their barns and businesses for local residents to tour. “Agriculture is our number one workforce, so we want people to understand what we do and how important it is,” said Lesley Riker. “A lot of people don’t know where their food comes from.” The tours are open to the public, and every stop will have activities for children. This is the first time for a county-wide tour to be organized, said Julie Lause, of the Wood Soil & Water Conservation District, which is one of the sponsors. “We were inspired by some of our neighboring counties,” Lause said. “Agriculture in Wood County is the top business and people don’t realize how extensive agriculture can be,” she said. “They don’t realize what it takes to create the products we eat.” Some of the stops on the tour ship their products internationally. “They want to tell our story,” Lause said of the farms on the tour. “They really want people to know what goes on behind the scenes.” Also sponsoring the Ag-Venture tour is the Wood County Economic Development Commission. “It’s a great opportunity for tourism in the county, and making people aware of ag-businesses in the county,” said Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the economic development commission. There are more than 1,000 farms in Wood County. Here’s how they rank with the rest of Ohio’s counties: 1st in value of grain sold. 5th for soybean crops planted. 6th in total value of agricultural products sold. 8th in total value of vegetables sold. 13th in total value of greenhouse sales. 17th in total value of aquaculture sales. 181st in the U.S. for total grain value. Following is a description of each agricultural site on the tour. Luckey Farmers, 11330 Avenue Road, Perrysburg Luckey Farmers is a grain marketing and farm supply cooperative that serves about 2,000 members with grain…