Ta-dah moment: Library & circus are compatible

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ta-Dah was the word of the day Friday morning at the Wood County Library. As part of the summer reading program, the Cirque Amongus from Michigan visited the library to give an introduction to basic circus skills – stilt walking tight rope walking, a ladder pyramid, riding a unicycle, balancing, and juggling. A successful, or even unsuccessful, attempt was concluded with a loud ta-dah! Accompanied by the hands flying out to the side. Children’s Librarian Maria Simon started off the morning with a cautionary note by reading the picture book by Elise Parsley, “If You Ever Want To Bring a Circus To the Library, DON’T!” But Simon clearly didn’t heed the book’s message. She welcomed Myrthia Hornshaw and Johan Yamine into the building with open arms. At first they demonstrated each skill, using drawing volunteers from the dozens of children in attendance.  After each skill was shown, the kids were instructed to scream ta-dah! They were itching to go. With the help of the library’s volunteens, the kids – for some walking a recently acquired stunt — then got to try for themselves. That meant riding bikes through the atrium. Tottering on a “high-wire” that was just a few inches off the ground. Tumbling, balancing, working with other kids to form a pyramid on the ladders. And they were the only ones having a blast. Diana Hensley, who as there with her two children, tried her hands with the balance sticks and then she even got on a tiny bike, not afraid to tumble. Hensley said the family frequently takes part in library activities, throughout the year. She appreciates that in the summer there’s something going on just about every morning. The circus program was special. It got kids moving. It involved kids of different ages as well “It’s more interactive,” she said. “It’s a different thing that kids don’t get to experience.” That was why Simon brought Cirque Amongus to the library. The program gives kids a chance to exercise their gross motor, helps them build their self-esteem through learning something new and, most of all, have fun. Cirque Amongus was started 17 years ago by Hornshaw’s brother Sem Abrahams and his wife, Teresa. Hornshaw joined about 10 years ago. The founders are performers as well, she said, as is their son Jon Hash Abrahams, who has appeared on the Steve Harvey show…


Taxpayers can now view City of BG checks online

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Taxpayers interested in how much the city of Bowling Green spends on paper, paint and Panera can now get a look at the city’s checkbook. The city has joined other governmental entities in the state posting expenses online on OhioCheckbook.com through a program offered by the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. The city’s bills have never been top secret information, but they also haven’t been really accessible to the average citizen. The online checkbook puts the numbers right at taxpayers’ fingertips. “This information has always been available,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said Friday morning during at visit from staff representing State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s office. “We’ve always had an open book philosophy. But you’ve taken it to a whole other level with technology.” The Ohio Checkbook program went live in December of 2014. Since then, more than 1,100 of the 4,000 local governmental entities in Ohio have signed up to have their expenditures displayed online. “We’re a public entity and it’s public information,” said Brian Bushong, finance director for the city of Bowling Green. “If we can make it easier for people to look at the information, it’s a great tool.” In Wood County, the expenses for several entities are already online through the checkbook program, including, Wood County, Rossford, Cygnet, North Baltimore, Bradner, Haskins, Luckey, Risingsun, West Millgrove, Weston, Webster Township, Northwood School District, North Baltimore School District, Otsego School District, Rossford Schools, North Baltimore Public Library and Fort Meigs Cemetery.  Bowling Green State University was the first of the state universities to become part of the program. “It’s been amazing to me how many entities have bought into the system,” Edwards said. It allows people to follow the money – at least the outgoing money. The incoming revenue is not tracked. The system, which went live in December of 2014 for the state, allowed Ohio to “set a new standard” in transparency, according to Dan Risko, deputy director of public affairs for the Ohio Treasurer’s Office. Prior to the online checkbook, Ohio was ranked 46 among the states in governmental transparency by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, Risko said. Ohio now ranks number 1 in the nation, he added. In 2015, other governmental units were invited to join in – cities, villages, township, school districts and other entities. “Ohio is leading the way in governmental transparency,” Risko said. Though the…


Gavarone backs Medicaid-related veto overrides in House

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News State Rep. Theresa Charters Gavarone voted with the rest of the Ohio House Republicans to overturn 11 budget vetoes issued last week by Republican Gov. John Kasich. While the House did not act on overriding a veto that would have frozen Medicaid expansion in the state, it did override a number of other Medicaid related vetoes. The veto overrides now must go to the State Senate where they will need a three-fifths vote to pass. Gavarone said she was felt particularly strongly about restoring money to counties that they were losing when the federal government said a tax for Medicaid providers could not be levied. That cost Wood County $900,000. “This will partially restore some of that funding,” she said. The funding would stretch over the next six years. State Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) told Clint Corpe on “The Morning Show” Thursday that overriding that veto was his top priority as well. The House also delayed plan to move behavioral treatment under Medicaid into managed care for six months. This was especially important to insure a continuity of treatment for those fighting opioid addiction, Gavarone said. She also said it was important that the House restore the provision calling for Medicaid reimbursement rates to be set at 75-percent of the Medicaid allowable rates neonatal and newborn services. They are now 45 percent. She said the move is revenue neutral. In his veto message, Kasich said, the increase would force the state Medicaid program to lower rates for other services “to avoid an increase in Medicaid expenditures.” That could threaten access to those services and the provision limits the state Medicaid director’s ability “to efficiently and effectively manage the Medicaid program.” That phrase appeared often in the veto message, attached to Medicaid-related items the House has subsequently overridden his vetoes on. Gavarone said these overrides were a matter of combatting executive overreach and making sure elected representatives had a say in managing Medicaid. Gavarone left open the door that the Medicaid expansion freeze and other items may come up again. “There was a lot in there,” she said. Veto overrides can happen anytime within the two-year legislative session that begins in September. In other action, Gavarone also voted in favor of a modification of the concealed carry law that lessens the penalties for carrying a weapon into a gun-free zone. The change means that…


Manufacturing no longer dead-end and dirty jobs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   From childhood on, kids dream of what they will become when they grow up. Doctor? Teacher? Scientist? Few set their sights on working in a manufacturing plant. But maybe they should. The Wood County Economic Development Commission is working with others to put on the first “manufacturing camp” in the county for middle school age students. Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the county economic development commission, explained the concept Thursday to the county commissioners. “We want to introduce middle school kids to modern manufacturing,” Gottschalk said. “We think there’s a misconception of what manufacturing is.” It’s not like the old days when factories were thought of as dirty worksites with mundane, repetitious routines. Today’s manufacturing plants are often spotless and require high tech skills. And the jobs are plentiful. “We visit the manufacturers and we hear constantly that they can’t find people,” Gottschalk said. “There’s a lot of demand.” So students who choose jobs in the manufacturing sector over getting a college degree often come out ahead of their peers. They have an easier time finding work, they make similar wages to those people with degrees, and they aren’t saddled with the debt from college. But most kids don’t even think about manufacturing as a career. To help change that mindset, the first “manufacturing camp” is being planned in Wood County. Partnering with the economic development commission is U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, the local Ohio Means Jobs office, Bowling Green City Schools, Penta Career Center, BGSU, the Wood County District Public Library, and the Wood County Educational Service Center. The local industries participating in the camp are Owens-Illinois, Home Depot, Lubrizol and Northwood Industries. Students will tour each of the sites to get a better picture of what modern industries look like. Penta Career Center will also be hosting an advanced manufacturing lab using robotics. The camp filled up quickly, Gottschalk said, with 30 students from Bowling Green Middle School signing up for the spots. Also during the meeting with the Wood County Commissioners, Gottschalk reported on the results of surveys given annually to graduating high school seniors in the county. Of the 500 students who responded, 84 percent said they planned to attend a two-year or four-year college after graduating high school. Of the respondents, 40 percent said they plan on leaving the area after graduation. Gottschalk also reported on recent…


Skateboard, scooter sports teach more than stunts

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Cautious adults cringed as the carefree youth demonstrated their skate park skills – flipping and twisting in the air – seeming to defy gravity. The kids show up almost every day to use the skate park in Bowling Green’s City Park, riding their skateboards, scooters, BMX and mountain bikes. Last week, the youth demonstrated their skills for the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club. Many of them have been inspired and instructed by Don DiBartolomeo and Matt Bowley, of The Right Direction, a non-profit organization that uses action sports to teach life skills. “He took a childhood activity, riding a bike, and parlayed it into a career,” Kiwanis member Scott Seeliger said of DiBartolomeo. “They’ve affected the lives of young people.” The Right Direction teaches kids far more than stunts on their skateboards and scooters. The organization teaches time management, organization and communication, DiBartolomeo said. The youth learn practical skills, like how to work on their bikes, and community skills like how to create a fundraiser to aid local organizations. Last year, the kids performed 3,500 hours of community service and collected 2,000 pounds of food to donate to local food pantries. “It gives the kids a chance to step out of their little bubble,” DiBartolomeo said, and be part of the bigger community. And the skate park in City Park gives them a safe place to practice their skills. When the skate park was first constructed, some questioned whether it would get much use. But nearly every day, kids are at the park, fine-tuning their stunts. “It gives these kids something to take interest in,” DiBartolomeo said. And they show their appreciation for the site by keeping it clean from trash and graffiti. “They kids are very respectful.” “These guys take care of this like it’s their own house,” Bowley said of the skate park. For many of the youth, action sports filled a hole in their lives, Bowley said. They aren’t the kids who fit into traditional sports like football or basketball, or who enjoyed organizations like scouting. The Right Direction, with its loose rules, fit them better. “There’s no governing body for it. We saw a need and we filled it,” DiBartolomeo said. The Right Direction also offers an opportunity for families to take pride in their kids, he said. Parents who can’t cheer on their kids at Friday night football,…


Artist brings color & pride to South Toledo

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Miguel Hidalgo and Vicente Guerrero, heroes of Mexico’s fight for Independence, are riding again, now in South Toledo. The two are the central figures in a mural created by artist David Cuatlacuatl and students involved in the Bowling Green State University mural project. Cuatlacuatl, a Mexican-born, Indiana-raised artist, was the guest for this year’s project. He is the resident artist with the Sofia Quintero Art and Cultural Center. He’s been at the center since last summer, but his connections extend further back. He first visited when his brother Frederico Cuatlacuatl was studying for his Master of Fine Arts in digital arts at Bowling Green State University from 2013-2015. But David Cuatlacuatl was offered the opportunity to come to Toledo when the director of the Quintero center visited an artist-in-residence program that the Cuatlacuatl brothers co-directed in their native Puebla, Mexico. She offered him the position in Toledo. Gordon Ricketts, the BGSU instructor who runs the mural project, knew his brother and approached him to work with a few students to create a mural as part of the summer project. (For a story on the mural project see http://bgindependentmedia.org/bgsu-students-paint-murals-to-animate-toledo-neighborhoods/) So Cuatlacuatl set about designing a mural for a wall two blocks from the Quintero Center. It’s on the back of the building that houses the food pantry run by the Immaculate Conception Church that’s right across the street. In the center he placed Guerrero and Hidalgo on a horse, and in a contemporary touch he has them wearing running shoes, the Nike swoosh evident on Guerrero’s footwear. The general’s presence reflects the ethnic mix of the neighborhood, the artist said. He was of mixed African, indigenous and Spanish ancestry. This neighborhood brought Mexican and African Americans together, Cuatlacuatl said, the result is mixed race families. The use of logos reflects Cuatlacuatl’s own interest in graphic design. Logos are packed with meaning, modern hieroglyphics. The logo for Jarritos, the Mexican soft drink evokes good times. Cuatlacuatl said he hopes “because of these recognizable objects, it will help viewers “engage in the more complex history.” The objects reflect on the nature of crossing borders, he said. “Objects can go back and forth, but people not so much.” In the upper left hand corner, the Virgin Mary looks down from a cloud. Even as Cuatlacuatl and BGSU students Kelsey Frysinger and Nick Purpura worked on the mural, residents…


Seniors dreaming big about new center possibilities

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Don’t tell these seniors they are stuck in their ways. They are dreaming big about the possibilities of a new senior center – conjuring up ideas like a pool, solar panels and retail space. “If they have a concept we haven’t thought of, that’s what we need to hear,” said Denise Niese, executive director of the Wood County Committee on Aging. But Niese is quick to remind the seniors that the center has to stay within budget. Last month, it was announced that Bowling Green was giving the committee on aging land for a new senior center, and that Wood County would secure financing for the project. The property was formerly used for the school district’s central administration building, between South Grove and Buttonwood streets, south of West Wooster Street. Last week, a second public brainstorming session was held on the project. “People are wanting to give input, which is a good thing,” Niese said. “There was some very good discussion.” During this second session, more ideas were suggested about partnerships with the senior center. One recommendation was a possible teaming with community theater groups, such as the Black Swamp Players and the Horizon Youth Theatre. Niese said the committee on aging would need to look at the additional costs that would entail. “We’re open to exploring and partnering. This will still be a community space – like this one is,” Niese said of the existing senior center on North Main Street. “My board and I have to listen to these suggestions.” The idea was floated again about the committee on aging considering Kenwood Elementary School for a senior center, since the school district is planning to build a new centralized elementary school. Niese said the city is giving the land to the committee on aging, and the committee will have an environmental study completed before accepting the deed. “The city has offered,” she said. “We’re still in a planning process. We are still in the very beginning planning stages.” However, the idea of having a building designed specifically for seniors is pretty attractive. For more than 35 years, the senior center has been housed in the historic post office on North Main Street. A new building offers the hope of a reliable elevator, ample free parking with at least 87 spaces, and plenty of space so yoga classes don’t have to…


Constitutional rights (and wrongs) defended for 4th

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to eat ice cream? Well, two out of three beats the national average. While the fireworks were being prepared, and the community band was tuning up for the Independence Day concert, people gathering Monday evening for the festivities in Bowling Green talked about the freedoms guaranteed to them in the Constitution. Some were bona fide Constitutional amendments. Others were rights supported by legislation. And some were just wishful thinking. But overall, the crowd gathered for the July 4th concert was above the national average in their Independence Day and American history knowledge. After all, we live in a nation where some citizens believe “Judge Judy” is a member of the Supreme Court. “Seventy-nine percent of people don’t know who we got our independence from,” lamented Joyce Kepke as she carried her lawn chair for the fireworks viewing. Kepke’s favorite Constitutional amendment gave women the right to vote – the 19th Amendment. Her “biggest disappointment” was that the Equal Rights Amendment still has not been enacted. Some of the 27 amendments are more familiar than others. The 1st Amendment guarantees freedoms of speech, press and religion, plus protects the right to petition the government. The 2nd Amendment, another oft-cited one, guarantees the right to own and bear arms for defense. And the 13th Amendment banned slavery. The 18th Amendment banned the sale and consumption of alcohol. But that all changed with the adoption of the 21st Amendment which repealed the ban. Many of the amendments are much more obscure, such as the one stating citizens cannot be forced to quarter soldiers during times of peace. Oddly enough, no one mentioned that amendment Monday evening as their favorite. Freedom of speech ranked in a solid first place among concert and fireworks fans. “The 1st Amendment. I think it’s important to voice what you think,” said Steve Deutschman. Ruah Buckingham shared that sentiment, but also expressed concerns about free speech. “I’m not too sure that we really have that anymore,” she said. “You need to think what you say before you say it.” Beverly Miner had difficulty narrowing it down to one particular freedom. “There are so many,” she said. But she settled on “freedom of speech,” then added her mind was focused on “freedom of vacation” at the moment. Andy Drumm referred to it as freedom…


Gardner says Ohio Senate must wait for House action on overriding governor’s vetoes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) is waiting on action for the Ohio House to act on the 47 items Gov. John Kasich vetoed in the $133-billion two-year state budget Friday. “I’m not going to spend an awful  lot of time on any particular item until we find out if the House is going to take action, because if the House decides not to vote the Senate doesn’t have any action to take.” State Rep. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) confirmed the House will convene Thursday to discuss overriding the vetoes. (Gavarone was not available today for an interview. A separate story on her reaction to the budget and vetoes will be published later.) It takes a three-fifths majority to override the governor’s veto. The earliest the Senate would convene would be July 12, he said, and even then it could be as late as August or September. In fact, he said, a measure could be overridden any time during the legislative session, which lasts until August, 2018. Some decisions, though, have to be made sooner. Any override of the governor’s veto of a measure that would have frozen expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, would have to be made before the middle of next year. In the case of the Medicaid expansion freeze, he has concerns about a number of issues. Those include whether provisions making exceptions to the freeze for the drug addicted and mentality ill would be retained. “I wouldn’t even consider voting until I have answers to those kind of questions.” One issue he said he’s “definitely interested in” is the governor’s veto of a provision to freeze Medicaid rates for hospitals. This was done at the behest of hospital administrators and agreed on by both the House and the Senate. The idea was to freeze rates as a way of forestalling cuts to those rates. “I think hospitals have managed the last couple years in a budget conscience way,” he said. To freeze rates would be “a positive thing for holding down state budget costs. Why they would need to be cut below that?” Still overriding the veto may have ramifications, Gardner said. The administration has the ability to make other changes that could negatively affect hospitals. He’d need a clearer picture before casting a vote. “The question on almost every veto override is: What are the ramifications of doing…


BG Girl Scouts get real life government lesson in D.C.

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As the nation prepares for another birthday, a group of Bowling Green girls will celebrate this Fourth of July with new knowledge about their government. Members of Girl Scout Troop 10799 recently returned from a trip to Washington, D.C., where they crammed in as many tours and sightseeing stops as possible in four days. They learned that George Washington didn’t smile for portraits because his artificial teeth would fall out. “He was a great leader, but his teeth … not so great,” said Girl Scout Natalie Hollands. They learned that while the Senate chambers is a serious and somber place, the House of Representatives is raucous and chaotic. “You could hear a pin drop in the Senate,” said Allie Parish. But not the House. “It was really crazy,” Paige Suelzer said. The leader kept banging the gavel for quiet. “They were like little kids.” And they learned that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is no place for giggling – even if one of their little sisters drops a water bottle that rolls close to the feet of the soldier on guard. Thirteen Bowling Green Girl Scouts, who will be entering sixth grade this fall, toured the city with their families. They visited the memorials to Lincoln, Jefferson and Martin Luther King Jr., the memorials to those who served in the Vietnam War and those killed in the 9/11 attacks. They toured the East Wing of the White House, the Capitol Building, and the Pentagon. The girls all had their favorite sites. For Sophia Nelson, a big fan of Abraham Lincoln, her favorites were the Ford Theatre and the Petersen House, where Lincoln was taken after being shot. For Allie, it was the American National History Museum, where the huge flag is displayed that inspired the writing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” For Natalie Hollands, it was the White House, which the girls toured just hours after the shooting at the Republican baseball practice. For Reagan Otley, it was the Lincoln Memorial – though as you might guess, her favorite president is Ronald Reagan. For Paige, it was the Capitol, where the Scouts witnessed a rare event. “They saw something that rarely happens,” said Kristin Otley, Reagan’s mom. The House of Representatives passed a resolution recognizing the valor of those who responded to the shootings at the baseball practice. “They passed a…


Home sweet Habitat home … with mortgage paid off

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 20 years ago, James Wenz and his family moved into their newly built Habitat for Humanity home on Walnut Street in Bloomdale. Their home was one of the first built by Habitat in Wood County. On Thursday, Wenz crumbled up his mortgage and lit it on fire. “That’s the sweetest fire I’ve ever seen,” said Wenz. Wenz is the second of the 37 Habitat homeowners in Wood County to pay off his mortgage. So the event was celebrated outside Trinity United Methodist Church in Bowling Green. “This is huge. This is what it’s all about, right here,” said Mark Ohashi, executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Wood County. “Here we’re seeing the success of the program.” Habitat for Humanity homeowners pay a no-interest or low-interest monthly mortgage payment for a safe and affordable home. “We know that with just a little help, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Ohashi said. “James and his family just needed a boost, and they took that opportunity and ran with it. They’re the perfect example of what a home can do for a family.” Wenz raised three children in the home on Walnut Street. “They’ve all left the nest,” he said. “It was a good place to raise a family.” And now that the mortgage is paid off, Wenz has plans for those monthly payments that used to go toward his house. “I’d like to save for retirement,” he said. And remodel his home, he added. Before burning his mortgage papers, Wenz offered his appreciation to Habitat volunteers. “Thank you for everyone who helped build my home,” he said. One of those volunteers from 22 years ago was present. Wib Miller remembered working on the framing of Wenz’s home. Miller went on to help with many homes in Wood County, and vacationing to areas where blitz builds allowed him to volunteer. “I guess it’s the satisfaction of helping people,” Miller said. He recalled the dedication of the very first Habitat home in Wood County, next to the Wenz home in Bloomdale. “Their little girl came running through the yard and said, ‘That’s my house,’” Miller said. He was sold on the program. Though his age makes it difficult for him to take on the building duties, Miller still works…


Musical energy comes in lots of flavors at the 2017 Black Swamp Arts Festival

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Arts Festival will bring back some favorites to the Main Stage to help celebrate its 25th year. Those are favorites from previous festivals including the darlings of 2016 the all-female mariachi ensemble Flor de Toloache and zydeco rabble-rouser Dwayne Dopsie and his Hellraisers. The festival runs from Friday, Sept. 8, through Sunday, Sept. 10 in downtown Bowling Green. Performing Arts Committee chairs Cole Christensen and Tim Concannon also are confident some of the newcomers, such as Birds of Chicago and Afrobeat veterans Antibalas from the Broadway show “Fela!” are destined to become festivalgoers new favorite bands. The festival has now posted its full Main Stage lineup on http://www.blackswampfest.org/music-1/ with links to the bands’ websites. The schedules for the Community Stage and the Family Stage are still being put together, though as in the past several Main Stage performers will play second sets elsewhere. The lineups include two acts considered the best in their genres. The Irish band Lunasa, called “the hottest Irish band on the planet,” will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and the legendary gospel quintet Blind Boys of Alabama, who date back to 1944, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday. “They’ve done their thing for 70 years,” Christensen said. The Blind Boys represent the roots of the kaleidoscopic sound now called Americana. “We’re just trying to bring high energy acts from every genre of music,” Christensen said. Those acts can come from across the ocean, or they can come from across the street. Each day of the festival is opening with a local band on the Main Stage. Kicking off the festival and reviving the practice of having a top local act as openers will be the Matt Truman Ego Trip. The band has a psychedelic punk rock mix. Truman will return later for an acoustic show. On Saturday the BiG Band BG, the Bowling Green Area Community Bands’ swing group, will open the show. Concannon said he liked what he heard during a recent concert at the Pemberville Opera House. Following them will be Bobby G with Curtis Grant and the Midnight Rockers. The Toledo singer absorbed the sound of the blues will growing up in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta. As a teenager he moved to Toledo and brought his love of the blues with him. He was performing in Toledo clubs in the 1970s…


BGSU employee suggests amendment to allow sick time sharing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A phone call from a Bowling Green woman resulted in one sentence inserted in the state budget bill that could make a difference for many Ohio residents. On Wednesday, State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, stood up in chambers and read off an amendment, which he dubbed the “Faith Olson amendment.” The change is one paragraph in a more than 4,000-page budget bill. “Still in this big state, one person can make a difference,” Gardner said from the floor. Olson, a Bowling Green State University employee since 1978, reached out to Gardner about employees at state universities not being eligible for a paid leave donation program. Previously, state university employees could save up their unused sick time, and put it in a “bank,” where other employees could use the time in case of critical or chronic illnesses. Gardner met with Olson, fiscal officer for the BGSU College of Education and Human Development, at Frisch’s on North Main Street to discuss her concerns over breakfast. Olson explained that under an interpretation from Attorney General Mike DeWine, the unused sick time could no longer be donated to fellow state university employees in need. DeWine’s unofficial opinion stated that unless the program was in a union contract, or involved faculty, that the paid leave could not be given to others with chronic illnesses. That troubled Olson. “There were people still in need,” she said. So she reached out to Gardner, who she felt has been supportive of higher education issues. “I think it’s a valid request,” Olson said. So did Gardner, who decided to put an amendment in the budget bill that would again allow employees to donate sick time. “This sounded like a reasonable amendment for the budget,” he said after hearing Olson’s concerns. The only difference is that now rather than having a “leave bank,” the time can be given directly to someone in need, Olson said. Gardner touched base with BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey, Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll and Provost Rodney Rogers, to discuss the amendment. They welcomed the idea, Gardner said. The change is permissive, so universities only participate if they wish. “Because of Faith Olson,” employees will be able to donate their sick leave to those in need, Gardner said. “You have made a difference.”


Local artists promote awareness through book “Migraine365”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel doesn’t take her migraines lying down. Migraine disease may immobilize her at times, but she’s resolved to be a voice for others who suffer. It means being active on social media as Lady Migraine at ladymigraine.com. It means writing for migraine.com, and appearing in videos being the face for the many tormented by the silent demon. It means teaming with her husband John Roberts-Zibbel to write a graphic journal, “Migraine 365,” that looks at daily life for someone with migraine disease and their loved ones. In their case that includes two daughters Isobel, 8, and Alexandra 12. The book was self-published and can be purchased at blurb.com. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have them,” she said of the severe headaches and array of symptoms that accompany them. She was diagnosed when she was a child and remembers always having at least one per week, but the headaches didn’t become chronic, fifteen or more per month, until she was 30. “It was always a big problem,” Roberts-Zibbel said. “It took me a lot longer to get through college.” She persisted, but so did the migraine disease. Her first pregnancy was debilitating, and her second even worse. “Sometimes the pain gets so bad you want to shoot yourself in the head.” The disease forced her out of jobs. Now as a partner in Zibbel Media, she is a key player on the BG Independent News team, handling advertising, posting obituaries, and occasionally contributing articles. John Roberts-Zibbel got the idea for “Migraine 365” in 2014 while the family was on vacation in Cape May, New Jersey. Everything was going wrong, including no air conditioning in the middle of summer. And weather, Elizabeth said, “is one of my worst triggers.” John has been involved in the world of fantasy and comics for years, both as an illustrator and with his live rapping character The Mechanical Cat, who makes regular appearances at local clubs. Drawing during that hellish vacation, he got the idea of chronicling the daily life of the family, and how migraine disease weaves through it, and how the various members, including the children, maneuver through it. Elizabeth provided the narrative and poems. “The idea is to show what it is to live with migraine disease,” John said. He also launched a website for the project, which he said has reached 3,000 families touched…


Animal cruelty calls to go through sheriff’s office

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   To prevent animal cruelty cases from slipping through the cracks, Wood County residents will soon have one place to call to report animal abuse. After a meeting between the Wood County Commissioners, the Wood County Humane Society, the Wood County Dog Warden and the Wood County Sheriff, it was decided that the sheriff’s office will soon take over as a clearing house for animal cruelty complaints. As the county commissioners prepared to give the humane society its annual $30,000 check to support the position of a humane agent, Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar suggested that the roles of the various agencies involved be outlined. “We want to make sure that is clear,” Kalmar said of the role of the humane agent. “What can law enforcement expect?” Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn voiced his concern that cruelty calls could be going unanswered. “Are things slipping through the cracks,” the sheriff asked. “Is there tracking? Is there accountability with the calls.” The problem is the humane society has one humane agent to investigate cruelty complaints. She cannot work 24/7, so some calls don’t get immediate responses. The sheriff’s office also gets a share of the phone calls about animal abuse. So Wasylyshyn offered to have sheriff’s dispatchers take all the animal cruelty complaints to improve the tracking and the responses. That suggestion was welcomed by Erin Moore, the humane society shelter manager, and Heath Diehl, the humane society board president. “I think we’re missing things because people don’t know who to call,” Moore said. And with one agent, help is needed, she added. “That would be a peace of mind for us,” Moore said. “That would serve the citizens of Wood County much better,” Wasylyshyn added. If the humane agent is available, she would be dispatched, otherwise a deputy could respond. The humane society has a response protocol in place. Through a series of questions asked on the phone, it can often be determined if the case is a true emergency, Moore explained. “Everybody always thinks it’s an emergency,” she said. “Most things can wait till morning.” Sheriff’s dispatchers can be trained on the questions to ask to assess the immediacy of an animal cruelty complaint, Wasylyshyn said. That would be more satisfying to the callers than getting an answering machine at the humane society, he said. Requests may be made to other police…