“Backyarding” is a Trendy Thing

Thanks to the family yard, the health and well-being benefits of being outside are just a few steps away….

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – “Backyarding,” the new trend to move many indoor activities–from working in an office or classroom to dining and recreation–to the great outdoors, is growing. Under pandemic conditions, yards and other managed landscapes became a safe haven for social gatherings, celebrating milestones/holidays, working, studying, playing, exercising, relaxing.  
“Your own backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and homeowners got really creative as they expanded and enjoyed their yards over the last year,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt Foundation. “We predict, long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, our yards will become an even greater part of our lives. The notion of ‘backyarding’ is here to stay.” 
In 2020, home improvements – many of them in the backyard – skyrocketed. So did the demand for outdoor power equipment as homeowners invested in making their outdoor spaces fabulous, functional and flourishing. Overall, shipments of outdoor power equipment increased 16 percent in 2020.
“Expect people to continue to invest in their outdoor life this coming spring,” said Kiser. “Many homeowners who put time and effort into their landscapes last year will be rewarded when that yard comes back to life this spring. But, even if you did little last year, it’s never too late to start – just start.”  
Here are some ways to bring more “backyarding” into your life:  
1.    Invest in your yard. Design a dream lawn and garden. Consider its purpose. Don’t design just for aesthetics. Do you have kids and pets who need a place to play? Will you be hosting safe gatherings? Do you need a place for rest and relaxation and/or games and recreation?
2.    Get the whole family involved. Create a game or a friendly competition with your family to help identify all the ways you can move your indoor life to the great outdoors – and right out your backdoor. Can you take office calls and video meetings to the patio or porch? Can your kids do their online learning outdoors? How often can you take dining outside? Keeping safety in mind, can you gather outdoors for family celebrations, birthdays, graduations and reunions? 
3.    Plant something—as early as you can. (Or plant more). Adding trees, bushes, grass and flowering plants is a good yard investment, but they often take time to grow. Plant as early as recommended so you can enjoy the benefits faster.  Just remember ”right plant, right place.”  Location, maintenance, sunlight and watering needs should all be considered, as well as your climate zone.
4.    Stretch winter-weary muscles. Take workouts, yoga classes and meditation sessions outdoors. You also can let off some steam by mowing the grass, trimming the hedges, or edging the lawn. Working in the yard not only helps our living landscapes look better and stay healthy, it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and control in trying times. 
5.    Plan a staycation. A make-shift “resort” or vacation spot could be just out your back door. Pitch a tent, build a campfire, hang a sheet between trees to make a movie screen, set up games – these are just a few ideas to make the backyard a vacation spot. 
6.    “Level up” nature care. Add flowering plants, trees and shrubs to give wildlife and pollinators food and shelter. Your yard is part of the larger ecosystem, so check your climate zone for landscaping options that support your birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Don’t forget to take time to just sit and drink it in, observing the wildlife and nature around you.
Research shows simply spending time in nature – which starts in your backyard – is good for reducing stress, boosting heart health, boosting Vitamin D levels, and enhancing memory.  Thanks to the family yard, the health and well-being benefits of being outside are just a few steps away.
To learn more, go to TurfMutt.com. 

Spend A Day At The Shelter With Wood County Humane Society

The fundraiser will take place virtually on Facebook Live…

(Bowling Green)—The Wood County Humane Society invites you to spend a day in the life of a shelter animal with its upcoming fundraiser on Saturday, February 27.

The fundraiser will take place virtually on Facebook Live and will be co-hosted by Fundraising Chair Melissa Rahal-Hall and Board President Heath A. Diehl. Hall will spend the day hanging out in the kennels with dogs that are available for adoption; Diehl will be located in the cat rooms with adoptable felines.

The event will run from 8 AM to 8 PM. The organization hopes to raise $3,000 from the one-day event.

Shelter staff will go live every hour on the hour. These broadcasts will provide viewers information about shelter operations, as well as upcoming events like the Annual Garage Sale and Reverse Raffle. Shelter staff also will provide additional information about the impending temporary closure of the shelter for the installation of new HVAC systems happening from mid-March to early May.

Live broadcasts with the co-hosts will happen on the half-hour. During these broadcasts, the co-hosts will be subjected to a variety of fun challenges that have been suggested by shelter staff and by viewers who tune in for the event. Challenges may include eating cat/dog food, rolling around in catnip, being walked on a leash, and other activities in which shelter dogs and cats regularly engage. Challenges will be selected randomly by the spin of a virtual enrichment wheel and are dependent upon donations.

Prizes will also be given to select viewers throughout the day. For every $5 donated, individuals will be entered once into a drawing for gift cards to local retailers in Wood County, as well as cat- and dog-themed items like coloring books, mugs, puzzles, and more.

To stay up-to-date with what’s happening at WCHS, follow the organization on Facebook (wchsohio) or visit its website (wchumane.org).

Wood County Humane Society, located in Bowling Green, Ohio, is a private, non-profit, managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused or neglected pets. The organization receives no funding from national humane organizations for daily operations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund programs such as Humane Investigations, Safe Pets, food assistance programs, low-cost spay/neuter opportunities, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for over a thousand animals each year—from dogs and cats, to the occasional pocket pet or farm animal. All animals admitted into the adoption program are housed and cared for as long as it takes to find their adoptive home.

Northwestern Water and Sewer District Projects

Work may be delayed in extreme weather.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio, – The Northwestern Water and Sewer District (The District) delivers water and sewer services to over 20,000 customers in Wood, Henry, Sandusky, and Hancock counties.  Although many of our projects are performed underground, our utility work can impact roads throughout our service area.  Updates and additions are highlighted in bold and underlined.  Work may be delayed in extreme weather.

McComb: Waterline Replacement Project *UPDATE*
Through March, expect lane restrictions and possible water service interruptions on South Main Street, between Park Drive and Liberty Street, on Todd Street, near the railroad tracks, and on West Cooper Street between Liberty Street and Rader Road.  Project complete: May.  Project Investment: $600,000.  

Perrysburg Township: Waterline Replacement
Through March, lane restrictions and water service interruptions are possible on North and South Bramblewood, Bridgewood, and Cliffwood Streets in Perrysburg Township for waterline replacement. Residents will be notified of service interruptions. Project complete: April 2021.  Project Investment: $1.5 million.

Perrysburg Township: Sewer Lining
Through July, lane restrictions are possible in Perrysburg Township north of SR 795, west of 75, and south of the turnpike, for sewer rehabilitation.  Project complete:  August.  Project investment: $1,230,000.

District-Wide: Valve Maintenance *WORK POSTPONED*
Valve maintenance work is postponed due to weather.  Work will be announced when rescheduled. 

District-Wide: Bulk Water Replacement *WORK POSTPONED*
Upgrades to the bulk water station in Weston (12805 Van Tassel Road) and at the bulk water station at the CSX facility (18920 Deshler Road) have been postponed due to weather.  Work will be announced when rescheduled.  

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Push to Get COVID-19 Vaccine for Loved Ones

Research Shows Risk Extraordinarily High for African Americans with dementia….

 For more than a year, Cynthia Moon has had hospice care come into her mom’s home.

Ella Evans has congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, she’s had a stroke – and she has dementia.

When the pandemic hit, Moon said she called the agencies to ensure all the aides were COVID trained and tested. “My mom is so frail, she cannot get sick. The smallest cold could put her in the hospital,” Moon said.

Moon wanted her mom to get the COVID vaccine. But her mom’s doctor did not recommend it. She said “‘there hasn’t really been any studies conducted with all the issues my mom has’….I don’t want my mom to get COVID, nor do I want her to get the vaccine and it could be bad for her. I just stay prayed up. God’s going to protect her.”

Ella Evans and her daughter Cynthia Moon


Then Moon had a change of heart. She and her son transported Ms. Evans, who is bedbound, to get her first vaccine dose. She’s weighing whether to go forward with the second dose because of the side effects she has heard people talk about after receiving the second dose.

New research shows that African Americans with dementia are at a significantly increased risk of contracting COVID. A study published Feb. 9 by Case Western Reserve University in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association found that the odds of contracting COVID-19 were twice as high for patients with dementia compared to those without dementia. African Americans with dementia had close to three times the risk of being infected with COVID-19 as white individuals with dementia.

Researchers used electronic health record data from 61.9 million American adults. While this is the first paper focused on the COVID risk faced by those with dementia, the published paper said the study highlights the need to protect individuals with dementia, especially those who are African American, as part of the strategy to control the pandemic.

In Ohio, dementia is not a current qualifying condition for priority vaccination. But individuals 65 and older, which comprises most people with Alzheimer’s, can be vaccinated now.

 “We know how dementia disproportionately impacts African Americans and Hispanics. Now you add the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 and it is devastating. This pandemic continues to highlight the inequities in health outcomes,” said Eric VanVlymen, Ohio Regional Leader of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Karen D. Gorman Jones is well aware of the magnitude of health challenges African Americans face. “Everybody else gets a cold, we get the flu. They get the flu, we get pneumonia,” she said. Gorman Jones, who is the primary caregiver for her mother Inez Gorman, who is 91, said she was hesitant at first about getting the vaccine for her. “But every vaccine that came out I got. I grew up getting vaccinated. I made sure my children got vaccinated,” she said. So, her mom, who has Alzheimer’s disease, received the vaccine and she will get it also when she can.

Terri Littlejohn’s mother, Dorothy Crane, lives with her and her husband Randall Littlejohn. When she and her husband Randall both got infected with COVID, Terri Littlejohn was hospitalized and Randall, whose symptoms were not as severe, stayed home and took care of Mrs. Crane, who has Alzheimer’s. Terri was determined that her mother was going to get the vaccine. In fact, while she was still in the hospital, she made calls to get Mrs. Crane an appointment.

Mrs. Crane, who so far has escaped the virus, got her first dose while Terri Littlejohn was hospitalized. “She cannot get COVID,” she said. “We choose life. We want our mother not to be sick as we were,” she said.

The Alzheimer’s Association has a dedicated web page with information about the vaccine for dementia caregivers and people living with Alzheimer’s disease. People can access it at https://www.alz.org/.