One way the Sentinel-Tribune can measure interest in a story is by the number of hits it gets on our website. Based on that criteria, the most-read story in 2013 was about the Pemberville man who killed a neighbor’s dog in front of the family’s children. That story got 9,962 hits.
|File photo. A bed mattress is seen wrapped around a tree, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, after strong winds destroyed a home in Jerry City, Ohio. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
But the number of hits cannot be equated with the most newsworthy stories of the year, since there are times when the top-read stories of the week include police blotter, recipes, obituaries, accident reports or lists of graduates.
So in an effort to remind our readers of some of the most important stories of the year, our newsroom staff looked at the most read web stories, plus listed stories they felt carried a great deal of public interest.
Here are those stories:
DISASTERS BREED LOCAL TRAGEDY
• A propane leak was believed at fault in an explosion that leveled a home and killed two residents near Luckey in September. Jahn Richards, 63, and her son, Andrew Schulte, 37, were killed as a result of the blast at the single-story dwelling, and at least three others in the home were injured. More than 45 firefighters from three departments were called to the scene. Reports indicated that debris could be found more than a quarter-mile away from the scene.
• Two tornadoes that ripped through northern and southern Wood County in mid-November knocked out power to more than 1,500, damaged businesses and either destroyed or heavily damaged two homes in Jerry City and North Baltimore. At least one injury was reported as a result of the storm. The tornadoes - one touching down in Perrysburg Township and a second that touched down between North Baltimore and Jerry City - were classified as EF-2 and EF-1 respectively, reaching speeds of more than 100 mph.
• Straight-line winds late on July 7 took down 15 electric transmission poles on North Dunbridge Road, leaving several businesses and a couple of homes without power for several days. City damages were in excess of $250,000. Private damages were not announced.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
|File photo. Christopher Zimmerman leaves court. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• Thomas Boyer, 53, Custar, was indicted this month on charges of attempted murder and felonious assault in the Nov. 20 shooting of William Morris, 42, Rutland, outside of Boyer's Defiance Pike residence. The incident was apparently related to a foreclosure case - Morris was a subcontractor for a company working with One West Bank, which had foreclosed on the home in September, and was there to change the locks and winterize the home if it was not occupied. Morris was shot in the back with a shotgun and taken to University of Toledo Medical Center. The shooting took place across the road from St. Louis Catholic School, which was briefly placed on lockdown. Boyer remains in custody; his case is scheduled for arraignment on Jan. 6.
• Christopher Zimmerman, 64, now of Tennessee, was indicted on charges related to the shooting of a dog outside his former residence in Pemberville in a case that spurred local ire. Zimmerman, who faced charges in Bowling Green Municipal Court, was later indicted in Wood County Court of Common Pleas on two counts of endangering children after he reportedly shot and killed a dog with a .45 caliber handgun in the presence of two children of a next-door-neighbor, who owned the dog. Zimmerman claimed the 6-month-old dog, named "Puppy," was going to attack him. The case is pending.
• More than seven months after it was first reported, the death of a former Bowling Green State University professor and administrator was ruled a homicide. Dawn Glanz, 66, Bowling Green, died May 9 as the result of a "sharp force injury to the scalp" according to the Wood County Coroner's Office. Glanz died at her Kensington Boulevard home and the death had been labeled suspicious by the BGPD.
• Richard Schmidt, 47, Toledo, was sentenced to just under six years in prison on federal gun and counterfeiting charges in U.S. District Court this month. Schmidt, who owned Spindletop Sports Zone at the Woodland Mall, was reportedly selling counterfeit goods, including sports memorabilia, at the store, catching the eye of law enforcement. The story later took a sensational turn when a stockpile of 20 guns, 40,000 rounds of ammunition, and thousands of other "survivalist" supplies and gear were found during police searches, as well as items linked to the white supremacist movement. A list naming black and Jewish leaders in Ohio and Michigan was also reportedly found, prompting the FBI to warn individuals featured in the document.
• A Bowling Green mother and father both pleaded guilty to charges relating to the 2012 death of their infant son. Brian Steinmiller, 32, was sentenced this fall to 14 years in prison in the death of 3-month-old Carter. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and two counts of endangering children as part of a plea deal. The child's mother, Rebecca Steinmiller, 26, pleaded guilty to an endangering children charge in October and is to be sentenced Jan. 28. She could receive up to three years in prison. The child suffered numerous injuries throughout his short life, including 23 rib fractures, burns, and skull injuries. The cause of death was determined to be abusive head trauma.
|File photo. Brian Steinmiller addressing the court during his sentencing. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• Nathan Brenner, 36, Liberty Center, was sentenced Monday to 11 years in prison on two felony endangering children counts in the death of 2-year-old Emma Zehnpfennig, Bowling Green, in 2012. The child died of abusive head trauma. Brenner was reportedly living with the girl's mother at the time of the offense. The defense had contested a number of findings in the case, and Brenner entered an Alford plea, which does not admit guilt but admits the prosecution could prove the charge.
• Two men associated with the band Of Mice and Men were arrested for felonious assault in April after a concert at the Clazel on North Main Street. Lead singer Austin R. Carlile, 25, Huntington Beach, Calif., and Loniel M. Robinson, 27, Escondido, Calif., had reportedly struck a man in the 100 block of North Main Street. The charges were later amended to misdemeanor assault.
IN THE PUBLIC SPOTLIGHT
• On July 1 Democrat Robert Piasecki was elected to fill the Fourth Ward Bowling Green City Council seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Greg Robinette, who left to fulfill a military commitment. Piasecki was defeated in November by Theresa Charters-Gavarone.
• In November, Perrysburg elected council member Mike Olmstead to replace two-term Mayor Nelson Evans. Voters also chose to replace Joe Lawless and Sarah Weisenburger on city council, with Barry Van Hoozen, Rick Rettig and Jim Matuszak to join council in January. The Perrysburg Board of Education will also have at least two new members, Cal Smith and Sue Larimer, after election losses by Valerie Hovland and Mark Schoenlein. Van Hoozen's election to city council has left another position vacant, with applications due Friday for the seat which will be filled by council later in January.
• Perrysburg will take a staggered approach to renovating its parks after unveiling an ambitious $26 million plan over the summer that would install multi-use paths and expand recreational opportunities near the Maumee River. City council voted to approach the plan in phases, looking at the paths first and putting on hold aspects like reconstruction of the waterfront area.
• The Wood County Board of Health voted Sept. 12 to fire Bill Ault, then director of administration of the Wood County Health District. Several of his subordinates filed complains that Ault, who had been with the district since 2007, contributed toward a hostile work environment and made inappropriate comments to employees.
• In Lake Township, the fire chief and two paramedics resigned in February. The three had attended the wedding of firefighter Steve Sims, and at the reception they became concerned about the level of intoxication of his brother, Scott Sims, a police sergeant. The paramedics decided to treat Scott Sims with two bags of saline solution from a township fire station. Bruce Moritz was hired as the new fire chief in August. The Sims' father, Ron, did not win re-election as a trustee in November.
• Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilcyznski quit in January after some legal research showed he had missed too many council meetings over the last two years and would probably be forced out. Councilman Pat Fox quit along with him, and Nathan Eikost left in May. Council President Ed Kolanko was elevated to mayor, and ran unopposed in November.
• Rudolph Libbe was named Wood County Corporate Citizen of the Year
• Dr. Sherri Thomas was named Wood County Champion of Children.
HARDLY BUSINESS AS USUAL
|File photo. Victory Inn along Wooster Street in Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• The Victory Inn and Suites on East Wooster Street was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after proceedings in Bowling Green Municipal Court this fall. The hotel, located at 1630 E. Wooster St., had faced health violations after a number of issues, including bedbugs, dog feces, stained bedding, and a lack of smoke alarms, came to light.
• Wrangling over the dilapidated Woodville Mall in Northwood didn't stop this year - even after a Wood County judge ordered the already-closed facility to be demolished by May of 2014. The City of Northwood had said that demolition plans submitted by mall owners Ohio Plaza Shopping Center LLC were inadequate, while an attorney for the owners accused the city of attempting a "land grab" of the site by blocking the demolition.
• Luckey Farmers and Sunshine Cooperative reached agreement on a proposed major agricultural hub near Bradner on U.S. 6. The expanded location of a Luckey Farmers site is along a rail line that would provide increased markets for grain farmers in the wide area served by both co-ops.
• Calphalon opened a 363,000-square-foot warehouse near the southeast corner of Ohio 25 and Ohio 582.
• After months of debate Bowling Green City Council created a new zoning classification that opened the door to redevelopment of the former Ohio National Guard Armory and Deck-Hanneman Funeral Home property on the south side of the 200 block of East Wooster Street for a CVS Pharmacy, and the north side of the same block into Market Square to house commercial and residential units.
• Big-box retailer Costco is still looking at a Perrysburg location, but several meetings to consider the project have been canceled and not yet rescheduled. Residents have expressed concerns about already-heavy traffic at the proposed location on Ohio 25 near Eckel Junction Road.
• In Bowling Green, DOWA, Lubrizol, Clark Fixture Enterprises and Southeast Container undertook expansions, while Henry Filters got its old name back.
• Home Depot is building a 1.63 million square-foot facility near the southwest corner of U.S. 20 and Pemberville Road. Eastwood schools will receive $675,000 per year as part of the tax abatement agreement, and Penta will receive $69,000 per year. The facility is expected to bring to the area 125 full-time jobs and another 30 part-time positions.
• The Ohio Department of Transportation announced plans to widen Interstate 75 from two to three lanes between Perrysburg and Findlay over several years.
ATHLETICS SCORE INTEREST
|File photo. Bowling Green State Univeristy Athletics Director Christopher Kingston, left, presenting a BGSU jersery to Dino Babers, BGSU's new football coach. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• Bowling Green State University women's assistant basketball coach Ali Mann resigned after her relationship with a student came to light.
• Chris Kingston was named athletics director at BGSU to take the place of Greg Christopher, who resigned after 6 1/2 years to become the AD at Xavier. Kingston came to BG after serving as the executive senior associate director of athletics at North Carolina State since August 2010.
• The BGSU football team won its first Mid-American Conference championship in 21 years and played Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
• Head coach Dave Clawson was scooped up by Wake Forest prior to the bowl game and BGSU hired Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers to replace him.
• The contract of Bowling Green High School boys basketball coach Von Graffin wasn't renewed, even though Superintendent Ann McVey insisted he was neither fired nor not renewed. The Bobcats were 111-43 during Graffin's 11 seasons.
• Gary Gardner was hired to replace Graffin, but less than a month later, he resigned from the position.
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME
|File photo. Dorinda shelley walks her dog back in October in front of the home she feard would be lost. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• The Ohio Department of Transportation opted to install retaining walls on Ohio 64/65 near Grand Rapids to correct slope erosion. Public complaints surrounded a proposal to relocate the road further inland from the Maumee River, as it would have required demolition of a historic home that served as a stop on the underground railroad. ODOT will require some property acquisition for the project, but no homes will be required to be torn down
• Despite strong opposition from residents, the Five Point sewer project will proceed as proposed by the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
• The Perrysburg Heights neighborhood endured much turmoil during 2013, first voting to end paid positions in the community association and part ways with Anita Serda, a long-time board member and organizer of a yearly festival. The event was renamed this summer and experienced alleged sabotage, and problems didn't stop there. Current board members of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association have vowed to cooperate fully with an investigation into its finances by the Ohio Attorney General's Office prompted by several complaints.
SCHOOLS TRY TO MAKE THE GRADE
• Perrysburg's school board approved an optional performance-based pay system for teachers on Dec. 10. Perrysburg's plan, one of the first like it in the state, ties pay raises to measurables like certifications and achievement in students' measured growth during the school year. A one-time incentive awards teachers $1,500 for signing on by Jan. 6 or $1,000 for joining in 2014-2015.
• Bowling Green Schools closed Ridge Elementary in May and then drew the ire of parents with a planned redistricting of its elementary school attendance lines. The key considerations for the new district boundaries included the distribution of the student population and the number of existing classrooms, but parents were upset with the short notice.
• The closing of Ridge came before a property tax levy was soundly defeated in the city: The final tally on the 6.75-mill property tax request in May was 4,118 opposed (65 percent) and 2,174 in favor (35 percent). The tax would have brought $3.945 million into the district's coffers. Its failure, some have indicated, came after a Citizens for Financial Responsibility campaign circulated misleading information about how the school district spends its money, particularly on teacher salaries. After the levy failure, the school system immediately implemented a pay-to-participate program for the middle school and high school, not only for athletics but for clubs with a paid adviser. The fee is to help offset the $500,000 the district spends on high school and middle school athletic programs.
• BG City Council purchased the Ridge School property for $25,000 and announced plans to demolish the structure. The area will remain green space.
• The Common Core has school districts across the state amending course selections for the 2014-15 school year to prepare for formal assessments in mathematics and English language. The initiative details what K-12 students should know in English and math at the end of each grade. School officials have pointed out the number of hours students will be prepping for and taking tests will detract from actual teaching.
• BGSU had a contentious year, starting with the administration announcing plans to cut 100 faculty members, unfair labor complaints being filed by the administration and the faculty union against each other, and then additional faculty cuts proposed this fall.
• The university administration also brought in an international consultant to find ways it could cut operational costs.
• Enrollment at both BGSU and Owens Community College declined in the fall.
• BGSU adopted a no-smoking policy for campus, starting Jan. 1.
COMMUNITY REACHES OUT
|Jeanettie Zamarripa (right) of Dying To Be Pretty Salon, gives a haricut to a guest during Project Homeless Connect at Saint Marks Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
• For the first time, homeless people were welcomed to local services in one concentrated effort called Project Homeless Connect.
• The Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry worked hard to keep shelves stocked and to find a more suitable location to serve the hungry. So far, no new site has been found.
• Alicia's Voice, a group that reaches out to domestic violence victims, nearly closed down when funding was in doubt.
• "Not in Our Town" was formed as a city-university effort in response to racist tweets made by white BGSU students about fellow African American students at a local bar.
WORLD COMES TO WOOD COUNTY
• Music legend Bob Dylan's dark growl voiced new songs and old favorites at the Stroh Center.
• South African musician and anti-apartheid activist Hugh Masekela visited BGSU in April, paying tribute to his friend and hero Nelson Mandela, who died later in the year.
• The iconic Beach Boys appeared in concert at the Wood County Fair. The eternal "Boys" concert was a sellout and helped boost the fair to record attendance.
• Elizabeth Smart shared her story of kidnapping and survival, speaking at BGSU.
• Daoud Nassar, a Christian Palestinian who lives and farms outside Bethlehem on the West Bank, visited both Perrysburg and Fostoria. His tours are designed to increase Americans knowledge of his perspective and challenges to establish his family's ownership of a farm in the sensitive area.
• Brahmrishi Shree Kumar Swami Ji, the spiritual leader of Ancient Traditional Science Secrets, appeared at a spiritual convention in Bowling Green, where he drew more than 200 followers from up to 15 states and Canada to the location.
• Vice President Joe Biden made a stop at CSX intermodal hub near North Baltimore.
• Civil rights activist and Freedom Rider Diane Nash told a BGSU audience that her work is not done.
• After months of discussion Bowling Green voters soundly rejected a proposed amendment to the city charter that proponents said would have prevented hydraulic fracturing being used in the city for oil and gas exploration.
• In October, manure which had been applied to a farm field for fertilization found its way into a ditch. The temporarily contaminated ditch is located on the west side of Reynolds Road, just to the south of Greensburg Pike in Portage Township. Officials said the contamination was minimal, due to the heavy rains which diluted the manure and the quick action of the landowners and officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District. The cause was determined to be a leak in one tile and other tiles which had not been identified and thus were not blocked for the application.
Among those who died in 2013 were notable residents including: David C. Miller, Joan Gordon, Doug Valentine, Al Baldwin, Pat Fitzgerald, Max Rayle, Floyd LeGalley, Chuck Duricek, Beryl Stewart, Nancy Germann, Darrel Hentges, Robert Herringshaw and Bill Snook.
JUST PLAIN WEIRD
|File photo. A lifeguard (left) keeps watch while people use the lazy river during the grand opening of the Bowling Green City Pool. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
• "Poopetrators" cost the BG pool about $5,000. On several occasions the new $4 million complex at City Park was shuttered because fecal material was found in the water. Officials investigated the problem and did ban one youngster from the complex. The pool drew record attendance despite those problems and a cool summer.
• A Pemberville couple was banned from the Wood County Fair for the first of three years. The Senior Fair Board imposed the ban following an incident at the 2012 fair. Just prior to this year's county fair, a judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order which would have permitted their attendance. Their children did participate at the fair, both earning championships with their livestock.
• Earlier this month, Angela West, 30, Bloomdale, was arrested at Elmwood Local Schools for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after her son was not picked up by a school bus. The issue apparently stemmed from a paper that the boy had not gotten signed by a parent related to a prior minor disciplinary episode on the bus. West reportedly wasn't aware of the reason for him being left and, after not receiving satisfactory answers at school, she became "irate" and was arrested.
• A North Baltimore police officer was disciplined after shouting at a mother who left her child in her car while she went into a grocery store.
• Gun and ammo sales shot up as people feared stricter gun laws would be put in place after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. Their concerns emptied stock at local firearm and ammunition stores.