work leads to independence

Work Leads to Independence at new worksite in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   In one room, workers put together flow lines for windshield washers. In another, workers put labels on bags of bird seeds. In another, workers rebuild ink and laser cartridges. And in another area, people on their day off from work sit together and play cards. This is just as Vic Gable had imagined it could be. A place where Wood Lane workers with developmental disabilities could work together under one roof. A place where those same workers could hang out with friends on their days off. And a place where Work Leads to Independence (still known on paper as Wood Lane Industries) has a storefront in the Bowling Green community. “You always have a wish list of what you want, and this had it all,” Gable, director of Works Leads to Independence, said of the program’s new location at 991 S. Main St. – formerly the home of Heringhaus Furniture. “This is in the heart of the community.” On the very first day the site was open, customers walked in the front door to get document shredding services and laser cartridges refurbished. “The community has been very welcoming to us,” Gable said. “We’re loving the fact that we wanted to have a sales front” and the community is responding. Gable admitted he had some concerns about some of the older workers adapting to the new site. He was greatly relieved when one of the longest employees, David Schult, who has worked for Wood Lane for 52 years, quickly took to the new location. “I love it,” Schult said as he removed paperclips from paper before it was shredded. “I get paid for…

Heringhaus Furniture sold to Wood Lane work program

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   After being in the furniture business for more than four decades, Allen Heringhaus wasn’t crazy about selling his store to another company in the same market. “I had mixed emotions,” he said. “I’ve been in the furniture business for 44 years.” Then the perfect buyer came along – Work Leads to Independence, formerly called Wood Lane Industries. “They’re great for the community,” Heringhaus said Friday of the buyer. “They are all about the community. It’s just the right thing.” The furniture store, at 991 S. Main St., Bowling Green, opened in 1973. The Heringhaus home store in Ottawa, Ohio, opened in 1908. Over the years, Heringhaus sold many items to Wood Lane’s residential program. “We’ve had a great relationship with all the Wood Lane people,” he said. Work Leads to Independence plans to combine all its operations under one roof in the 18,000 square foot building sitting on 1.25 acres. The site was purchased for $750,000. “We’re really excited to be in town and on Main Street,” said Vic Gable, CEO of WLI. The new location will allow the agency to consolidate all its work sites of Laser Cartridge Express, Scanning Solutions, Document Destruction, Wood Lane Industries workshop, plus be the headquarters for its recycling and Community Employment Services. “We’re going to all be in one building,” Gable said. “And we’re repurposing a building in town.” Poggemeyer Design Group is working on plans for the building, which Gable hopes is ready to move into by Jan. 1. Modifications will include making a workshop setting in the back and a front showroom for the Laser Cartridge Express business. “LCE will have a storefront….

Wood Lane industries to move; board searches for other work options

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The work at Wood Lane Industries will soon be moving – along with two-thirds of the people with developmental disabilities who are served there. The work and the workers will be setting up shop in a storefront on Main Street in Bowling Green – an exciting opportunity for the people being served, organizers said. But the concern now is that 41 of the 125 workers will be left behind, with little time to find alternate services for them. Families of people with developmental disabilities met this past week in the industries building on East Gypsy Lane Road, to get as many answers as possible. Many expressed concerns about change being especially difficult for people with developmental disabilities. They and their families are comforted by consistency in settings, staff and services. Brent Baer, superintendent of the Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities (known as Wood Lane to many), apologized to the families for the hastily organized meeting. But he explained that the board felt the need to act quickly to try to find new providers for adult services. “I realize this is a shock to many of you,” Baer said. The board was notified about two weeks ago that the services at the industries location would be moving by the end of this year. “This is a pretty monumental transition for us, and it’s certainly not one we asked for,” Baer said. “I know this is going to be a huge challenge.” Wood Lane has been through several changes in the last few years – with most affecting administration while the services remained consistent. The changes to all development disability services across the…