Who May Pray?

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

Mike Aspacher urges support for BG Schools levy

I am writing to urge residents to strongly consider supporting the Bowling Green City Schools proposed bond levy. The proposed levy would allow for the financing of much- needed school facility improvements. It is worth noting that our current elementary school buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s and and are among the oldest school facilities in Wood County. I believe that our Board of Education has done an excellent job of considering all the potential building options and has chosen a plan that will best meet the educational needs of our students. It will result in the construction of school buildings that will meet our community’s needs for years to come. I do not offer my endorsement of this effort blindly. I am very much aware that this levy will place an additional financial burden on all of the residents of our community, and I am sensitive to the impact that this will have on every family and each business’s budget. I do however feel strongly that this investment is critical to the continued health and vitality of the Bowling Green community. It is well established that strong and healthy public schools are a vital component of the overall strength of a community, and the fact that the quality our school facilities has fallen behind those in surrounding school districts can not be ignored. The investment in our community that would result from the passage of this levy will not only allow us to provide for the educational needs of our students, but will also result in increased property values, and will assist in the City’s efforts to attract families and businesses to our community, both resulting in an expansion of the tax base in the community. In short, investment in our school system is also an investment in the continued strength of our community. When you vote on May 8, please consider the responsibility that we all share to provide the same level of support to our children and grandchildren that was extended to us by past generations. Mike Aspacher Bowling Green

“The Wicks Family have long been a positive force in our community” – Cathy Harshman & Judy Yackee

The Wicks family and their business, Grounds for Thought, have long been a positive force in our community. Beyond providing a gathering place and nutrition for the mind and body they have hosted numerous cultural, music and intellectual events. They have been instrumental in organizing our wonderful Black Swamp Arts Festival. And now they are applying that positive force toward another community. On August 25, Port Aransas, Texas (as well as other coastal communities) was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. This beautiful beach town has lost so much including every single book in their library. We put out the word that we were collecting books to help the Port Aransas library rebuild. The result has been amazing. Our friends have really come through. Kelly, Laura and Sandy Wicks of Grounds For Thought have alone provided dozens of boxes of books. We are so very grateful for these donations and for the privilege of being a part of this wonderful BG community that Grounds for Thought epitomizes. Cathy Harshman Judy Harshman Yackee Bowling Green

‘Does anyone represent the voters in Bowling Green?’ – Paul Wohlfarth

Bowling Green City Attorney Mike Marsh silently signed away the city’s easement rights to the Nexus pipeline on October 11th. Then later Mayor Dick Edwards publicly decreed that he and his team will be watching the NEXUS pipeline river crossing as if NEXUS cares. Congressman Bob Latta, the absent representative to all this, signed a letter along with 83 other well oiled representatives to call on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute any pipeline protestors as terrorists. Does anyone represent the voters in Bowling Green? https://buck.house.gov/sites/buck.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/Protecting%20Energy%20Infrastructure.pdf Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Mi

‘[Daniel Gordon’s] dedication is a beacon of hope for Bowling Green’ – Linda Lander

Daniel Gordon is seeking re-election as the Ward 1 representative to the Bowling Green City Council. His outstanding record of leadership qualifies him to be the only choice for that elected position. Leadership, commitment to neighborhood revitalization, and dedication to equality and social justice have been hallmarks of Daniel’s work on City Council. He has blended these characteristics in supporting numerous projects to improve the quality of life for all Bowling Green citizens. Daniel’s leadership has been critical in attempts to improve neighborhoods in Ward 1. Central to a quality neighborhood are community resources, including green spaces where families and individuals can gather and participate in recreational activities.  One of Daniel’s signature neighborhood developments is Ridge Park, the first public park in the history of the First Ward.  He is eager to create another recreational area for children and families in the northeastern part of Bowling Green. Daniel has supported the Complete Streets program which provides safe transportation options for citizens.  It is Daniel’s strong sense of equality that drives his efforts to ensure that all citizens in Bowling Green have equal access to city resources and safe transportation.   Bowling Green has a need for appealing neighborhoods and quality housing in Ward 1 and throughout the city of Bowling Green.  Sixty percent of housing in Bowling Green is rental property.  It is important for a community to have an appropriate mix of housing options, particularly to attract new homeowners and families. We want Bowling Green to be a city where all members of the community are afforded quality housing. In addition to neighborhood improvement, Daniel’s leadership has been instrumental in the passage of City Council resolutions to make Bowling Green a welcoming, safe and inclusive community. He has worked with City Council, the Human Relations Commission, community organizations, and citizens to make Bowling Green a city in which all community members feel safe and accepted.    In community gatherings, Daniel Gordon can always be counted on for his delivery of a well-prepared, eloquent speech that promotes the essential values of equality and social justice.  His dedication is a beacon of hope for the Bowling Green community. I am proud to support Daniel Gordon as the 1st Ward representative to the City Council.  Daniel has the leadership, commitment, and dedication to serve the interests of Ward I residents and all citizens of Bowling Green.   Linda Lander Bowling Green, OH

NAMI thanks Perrsyburg HS National Honor Society

This year’s NAMI Wood County Walk for Mental Health and Chili Cook-off was a resounding success, and we owe much of that to our marvelous volunteers from the Perrysburg High School National Honor Society. What a dynamic group they were! Energetic, enthusiastic, bright, willing…there might not be enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe these young men and women. From setting up to serving chili to helping participants make crafts, the NHS volunteers kept the day running smoothly. They not only followed instructions, but also anticipated what needed to be done and did it cheerfully. Walk participants and chili cooks alike commented on how helpful and upbeat our volunteers were. We couldn’t have done it without them! An organization like NAMI relies on volunteers to make its programs and events work. We feel so lucky to have had a group like the NHS involved in one of our major fund-raisers. And it’s good to know that we have such intelligent, dedicated young people in our community. They make the future look brighter! With many thanks, NAMI Wood County Staff, Family, and Friends  

“Sandy will serve us with dedication, civic engagement, and concern for all.” – Linda Lander

Sandy Rowland is seeking re-election as an At-large member on the Bowling Green City Council. As a long-time resident, she attended both Bowling Green High School and Bowling Green State University. With deep roots in this community, Sandy is the epitome of a committed public servant. She has shown her dedication to making Bowling Green a city that attracts people, families, and businesses. The qualities I most admire about Sandy Rowland are her dedication, civic engagement, and humanity. If there is an event, organization, or single task that makes Bowling Green a better community, Sandy Rowland is always there to assist. Sandy is a well-informed, collaborative Council member who critically examines issues. Her work on the Community Action Plan is evidence of a vision to move Bowling Green forward and enhance the qualities that make it a vibrant community. An award-winning real estate agent, Sandy is attentive to the needs of others and works to find solutions. She understands the importance of an appealing community, with good neighborhoods and schools, and a healthy economy. Sandy has worked to improve Bowling Green neighborhoods, particularly the east side, and address the quality of life of everyone. She has a commitment to excellence in education. Sandy’s knowledge of Bowling Green businesses is critical to the work of City Council and she works toward strong economy. I think Sandy’s greatest attribute is her deep concern for humanity which is the foundation for her dedication as a Council member and volunteer extraordinaire. Sandy was a member of the Bowling Green Human Relations Commission and works with La Conexion and Not in Our Town Bowling Green. I have personally worked with Sandy on committees and have seen her willingness to commit her time and expertise to make Bowling Green a better place for all. “Ohio, the heart of it all” was a slogan used by the state of Ohio. Sandy Rowland’s caring nature is at the heart of her work as a public servant and volunteer. Her sense of compassion is manifest in her dedication to the citizens, organizations, businesses, and institutions in Bowling Green. With re-election as an At-large member of the City Council, Sandy will serve us with dedication, civic engagement, and concern for all. Linda Lander Bowling Green, OH

‘Support the high school and elementary school construction projects’ – Mayor Dick Edwards

Dear Editor: Bowling Green as a city government and as a community has long been the beneficiary of forward thinking citizens and public officials. Wise investments in the past are paying huge dividends today and have positioned the city for an even brighter future. For example, Bowling Green has one of the best and most sustainable array of utilities in the region featuring reverse osmosis water production, extremely reliable electricity, and high EPA standards for sewage treatment. BG was the first city in Ohio to build utility-sized wind turbines. Now we have the largest solar field in Ohio: 85,000 solar panels producing 20 mega watts of power. We also have a vibrant, historic downtown business district, one that will soon feature at long last a public square, i.e., a gathering place, the Wooster Green. We have parks with miles of walking trails and features of nature, a nationally recognized garden park, a community center built on the principles of collaboration, and a water park overwhelmingly supported by the voters and located in historic City Park. As a university community, we recognize the importance and value of education. BGSU is investing heavily in its facilities, including those in its academic core. City-university relationships are being enhanced by mutually reinforcing improvements in the E. Wooster Street corridor, thus adding meaning to the city’s welcoming environment. The Bowling Green story is a good one, one that should be the source of pride and admiration by all its citizens with one noticeable exception: it has far too long neglected its school facilities. As Mayor of Bowling Green, I encourage and challenge all voting citizens to think forward from a total and broad community perspective about serving the needs for tomorrow’s students. Support the high school and elementary school construction projects on the November 7th ballot. Let’s be Bobcat Proud! Thank you, Richard A Edwards Mayor City of Bowling Green

‘What’s a blast zone?’ – Paul Wohlfarth

The Toledo Blade reported July 23 of the growing housing developments in Waterville. The Toledo Blade failed to inform its readers that next to the Village at Waterville Landing will run the 36 inch high pressure Nexus natural gas pipeline. The proposed Nexus pipeline route will open the area to future industrial pipeline development. A 36 inch 1440 psi natural gas pipeline has a blast zone radius of 1,500 feet. What’s a blast zone? A blast zone is the area from which a leaking natural gas pipeline will kill instantly after ignition. The Toledo Blade failed to warn its readers of this fact. Those building in the Waterville area should ask their builders and real estate agents where is the NEXUS pipeline located in relation to my new home? Words of warning: Agents and builders are not required to report this to prospective buyers. The buyer must do their due diligence to protect their families and investment. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan

‘Did the war on drugs create the opioid crisis?’ – Brad Waltz

By now most all of us know of someone affected by the use of heroin. There is no question that every story surrounding its use is a sad one. This article is by no means meant to distract from or to minimize that. So, we have a opioid epidemic. It’s on the nightly news, well nightly. Mike DeWine is making a gubernatorial run in Ohio based on the tragedies. Congress in late 2016 passed the Cures Act; in it $1 billion is set aside to fight the epidemic over the next two years. The latest Senate Healthcare bill sets aside a massive $45 billion over the next ten years. The money will be used to, among other things, “Encourage the use of additional drug courts.” To, “Work to expand same day services for recovery from substance use disorders and co-occurring related disorders.” So, plainly this must truly be an epidemic. Here are how the numbers shake out. According to the CDC, annually 480,000 people die from the effects of cigarette smoking. I’ve no idea the CDC’s methods of tabulating this. I suspect the numbers are a bit fudged to warrant an anti-smoking campaign slush fund. Annually 88,000 die in alcohol related deaths. Car crashes account for (in 2016) 37,757 deaths 55,000 die annually (on average) from the flu In 2013, 31,959 people died the result of stumbling. This number is expected to grow as our life expectancies continue to rise. So, I ask you, the reader. How many people died from heroin overdoses in 2016? How many people dying (again sadly) warrant more federal power, more taxpayer money- to the tune of $4.5 billion per year, over twice the entire federal budget of Greenland? Must be over a 100,000 right? Or is it more? The Federal government has done nothing in terms of an outright ban on tobacco products and it kills, according to the government- nearly a half million people a year. Granted they tend to be older than the typical overdose from heroin death but the heroin overdose death total must be on par with a legal product like tobacco to warrant such funding and attention. Have your number? 12,989. Now, granted, that is just heroin overdoses. Another 9,580 died from the use of fentanyl and another 17,536 from Oxycodone and Vicodin. In total around 40,000, 15,000 less than die from the flu. 8,000 less than tripped to death. I’m not sure .012% of the population succumbing to an addiction is a textbook definition of an epidemic, I’d prefer the term power grab, an excuse for government to further fund itself. Regardless, what is the solution? I don’t claim to have that answer. I will give you some more numbers. One million doses of morphine is so large a pallet can be used for transportation. One million doses of fentanyl can fit in an eye glass case or shoebox. Raw fentanyl (most likely imported from China) sells for $12,500/kilo. One kilo of fentanyl will make one million tablets of product and one tablet sells for $20.00. That comes to $20,000,000 per shoebox. There is a huge profit to be made in these opioids, the product isn’t going anywhere. And given the above numbers, maybe back in the 80’s Milton Friedman was correct when he said of the War…

‘The [pipeline] industry has a history of nefarious behavior’ – Paul Wohlfarth

On June 22, Bloomberg News ran the article, “The Company Behind the Dakota Access Pipeline Has Another Big Problem in Ohio,” reporting on the many environmental problems the Rover Pipeline has caused in Ohio. Of particular note was Attorney Matt Strayer who represents 200 landowners that have easement agreements with Rover. He is quoted as saying, “The tight timeline meant that paying for damage was preferable to preventing it.” Farmer Ben Polasek was quoted as saying,” They’ll do what they want, and they don’t care who they step on to get there. It’s all about how quickly they can get that pipe in the ground.” The Rover pipeline is just the warning shot to those who have signed easements with the Nexus pipeline. The industry “owns” your land now and in the future, doing with it what they want. The regulatory agencies are now being defunded by our current administration, helped by Congressman Bob Latta, emboldening the oil and gas industry to do as they want without regard to landowners and the environment. Farmers will need expensive lawyers to argue for their property rights while many will simply give up in frustration. The industry has a history of nefarious behavior, covering up their mistakes while quietly litigating in its defense (much cheaper). Industry whistle-blowers have reported shortcuts in building pipelines across the country especially when schedules are not being met. Pipeline welds reportedly go uninspected to meet imposed contracted timelines. Whistle-blowers complain of pipe being buried before inspection results are verified. The Nexus pipeline is far behind schedule not to meet their contractual completion date of November 2017 for the first pipeline. A second pipeline in its future plans makes the Nexus route a co-corridor of pipeline development. With all the opposition to pipelines in the country, it makes any established pipeline route more valuable for future development. Do you think the industry’s subcontractors will honor quality over completion bonuses in meeting a rushed schedule? When they leave with bonus checks in hand, never to be seen again, the beleaguered easement landowners will wonder what the future will bring or if there is a future. Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan

Volunteer Gary Jones thanks Dana Corp for hosting Adopt-a-Pet event

I would like to commend the Dana Corporation on Technology Drive in Maumee for hosting an Adopt-a-Pet day for their employees. Jenny Miranda organized the event because she loves animals, she supports the work of rescue sites and humane societies and she wanted a fun day where employees might adopt a pet. What a remarkable event for a corporate company to support local efforts. It was a fun day and pets were adopted. And generous gifts of toys, food and blankets, enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck were given to each of the participating humane groups. To me, it was a remarkable day spent with enthusiastic Dana employees. Kudos to Dana and Miranda. Gary Jones, Volunteer Bowling Green

“Why is the landfill filling up faster than expected?” – Meghan Wilson

I read with interest the report that the Wood County Landfill’s projected lifespan is shrinking. But I have more questions: why is the landfill filling up faster than expected? What accounts for the 10,000 tons more trash from 2014 to 2015? Efforts are underway in cities across the country to reduce waste through better recycling programs, composting, and educating citizens on how to reduce consumption of disposable materials. Wood County has a lot of land, but do we really want to tie up more of it with landfills? Meghan Wilson

“Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes” – Paul Wohlfarth

The NEXUS pipeline has promised Wood County $22,786,432 in total tax receipts over five years. The glowing assessment would be wonderful if not for the glaring truth: Nexus doesn’t pay its required taxes or fees to compensate for the auditor’s services. Ohio Law  319.54 states: (C) From all moneys collected by the county treasurer on any tax duplicate of the county, other than estate tax duplicates, and on all moneys received as advance payments of personal property and classified property taxes, there shall be paid into the county treasury to the credit of the real estate assessment fund created by section 325.31 of the Revised Code, an amount to be determined by the county auditor, which shall not exceed the percentages prescribed in divisions (C)(1) and (2) of this section.  (p) Of an easement or right-of-way when the value of the interest conveyed does not exceed one thousand dollars; Sad truth is many of the Ohio counties along the NEXUS pipeline have not paid these easement conveyance fees. The Coalition to Reroute NEXUS (CoRN) has looked at counties along the NEXUS pipeline route and had found four that are compliant with Ohio law. Current law requires a $3 to $4 per $1000 fee on easements over $1000. $1 of every $1000 goes to the state. Four counties include Summit, Stark, Wood and Lorain are paying some conveyance fees to the Auditor. So far we found Medina, Erie and Fulton counties that were not collecting these fees back in February. Summit and Stark counties were not being paid all fees, requiring further investigation. Two Ohio DT 100EX forms are required by the auditors office. One is an exemption form (Statement of Reason for Exemption From Real Property Conveyance Fee) and the other (Real Property Conveyance Fee Statement of Value and receipt) declaring by penalties of perjury the value of said easement is either less that $1000 or over $1000 including the $4 per $1000 fee. No other documentation of value is required leaving no proof of compliance. Your Wood County Auditor Michael Sibbersen has stated that Nexus is filing with his office but has no way of proving they are paying the required fees in full. In Fulton county Auditor Brent Kolb was unaware of the law and only now has alerted NEXUS to file. We heard that NEXUS has filed two Exemption From Real Property Conveyance Fee forms declaring under perjury that the value of these easements are less than $1000. I don’t think I’ve heard of any easement of less than $1000 in value. Through these two counties runs the Rover and Utopia pipelines. Are they paying the required fees? Some of these easements are for over $1 Million in value, that’s $4000 in possible unpaid taxes to Wood and Fulton counties on one easement. There are hundreds of these easements. Are the pipeline companies paying their full share? Are they being held criminally responsible? Will they ever paid what the law requires? With rising taxes on real estate I cannot simply not pay my taxes without penalty. What makes them above the law? Paul Wohlfarth Ottawa Lake, Michigan

“Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG.” -Jill Carr

To The Residents of Bowling Green: I submit this letter to express my support of the candidacy of Sandy Rowland for re-election to the Bowling Green City Council. Our primary election is right around the corner. On May 2 I will be casting my vote for Sandy Rowland and I urge you to do likewise. The following are some of my reasons for supporting Sandy’s candidacy. First, Sandy is fully committed to the responsibilities associated with being a member of City Council. She is visible, approachable, an excellent listener, and consistently attends meetings and a wide variety of community events. She takes her constituents’ concerns and questions very seriously and follows-up accordingly. Sandy loves this community and serves it so well. Second, Sandy’s accomplishments during her time on Council are noteworthy. She has worked very hard to bring attention to the needs of residents on the east side of town, especially the deterioration of its neighborhoods. Sandy is a strong proponent of diversity as evidenced by her involvement in Not In Our Town and La Conexion. She has also been a strong advocate for public health and the environment. The list goes on, and will no doubt continue to grow when Sandy is re-elected to another term. Sandy has worked hard for the residents of BG. She wants to continue working hard for us and we need her! So I urge you to vote for Sandy Rowland on May 2. She is a proven hard worker, supporter, and advocate for the residents of Bowling Green. We will all benefit from her experience and her continued dedication. Jill Carr Bowling Green