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One of the subjects that seems to interest people most about Firehouse living is how we feed ourselves. Common questions include:  Who cooks?  What kind of food do you eat?  Does the City pay for your food?  How come I see your guys in the grocery store?  What happens if you get called out while you’re eating?

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I have learned to understand that these things may not be obvious to a lot of folks and now appreciate the fact that they are interested in how we do things.

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Here is how it works:

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Bowling Green Firefighters work 24 hour shifts starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 7 a.m. the next day.  They have to eat during that time so each shift includes two meals, lunch and dinner or “supper” depending on where you’re from.

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Who cooks?  Firefighters take turns cooking.  Sometimes for a two week period or it may be day to day.  It depends on the schedule.  Sooner or later everyone has to cook. Some Firefighters are pretty good cooks…others, not so much.  During my career I have worked with Firefighters who had been to French cooking schools and with others who could not boil water (at least when they first started).  Most Firefighters fall somewhere in between.  If you are willing to learn, there is usually a lot of interest in helping the cook, after all, everyone is stuck eating the result.

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What kind of food do you eat?  The food has changed a lot over the years.  25 years ago you would find a five gallon bucket of lard next to the stove. Just about EVERY DAY included beans and cornbread.  Fried food ruled! The food was good but maybe not so good for you.  Over time, Firefighters became more interested in healthy cooking. Today the grill gets used a lot and salads are the norm. During the winter, chili, soups, and large casserole type dishes are common table fare. Learning how to make the right amount for 10 to 12 hungry people is one of the most important things to learn.  Tradition says the cook goes through the line last. You learn not to come up short.

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What about shopping for groceries?  That’s right; the cook is responsible for procuring the day’s food.  Most of the time, the crew goes to the store with the assigned cook.  The cook is in charge of deciding what to cook and how much money to spend on it. They have a budget to follow.  

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Does the City buy your food?  No. All Firefighters chip in to finance the food. On average it will cost about $100.00 per month for each person. So in a typical year, Bowling Green Firefighters spend about $133,000 buying groceries.  That ain’t chump change!!

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What happens if you get an emergency call while you’re eating?  This happens a lot. We go.  It does not matter what you are doing when a call comes in – you have one minute to be on the truck ready to go.  Mealtime is no different. It is the cook’s job to turn of the stove and secure the kitchen. Sometimes you get back in time to finish the meal, sometimes not. It’s just part of the job.

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One thing you learn is to not complain about the cooking unless you are willing to help. I once overheard a guy complain about too much cheese in the lasagna. Guess what? Extra cheese went in immediately. Another complained about too much chicken to suit him. Guess what?  Chicken every meal for two months. Firehouse etiquette, you learn quick.

Thanks for your interest, Chief Johnson

BG Reinvestment Area

They City of Bowling Green partnered with citizens and agencies when developing the 2014 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Consolidated Plan which includes a heavy focus on the newly identified BG Reinvestment Area. This new plan allows the City to prioritize its limited funding for the betterment of its citizens and the community as a whole.

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This strategic plan addresses the priority needs for years 11-15 of the program, covering Fiscal Years 2015 -2019. The CDBG program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs.

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The BG Reinvestment Area is identified by six census tracts (Census tracts 101, 102, 103, 104, 105 and the city portion of 112). The area contains the largest portions of minority populations, the highest level of low income residents and the oldest homes. Each of the next five years, the City will contribute 60% of its CDBG allocation toward neighborhood improvements within this area.

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The projects completed within the BG Reinvestment Area will focus on public improvements and benefit the area as a whole. Projects will include the building or updating of City parks, improvements to City streets or sidewalks within the defined tracts, construction of public facilities and various other neighborhood improvements. The overall goal of this project is to create a better residential environment and address the housing needs in the area.

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The BG Reinvestment Area is 75% renter occupied compared to the City’s 63%; the income of the residents are below City-wide levels; and only 13% of the housing units in the area were built in the last 20 years.

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The City utilized publicly available data sources, citizen input, and past experiences in the planning and development of the CDBG Consolidated Plan. If you would like more information about the Bowling Green Reinvestment Area or any specific plans, please call 270-393-3658.

 

 

The City of Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department offers multiple recreation classes and leagues. This fall, there will be a new Silver Strength Class for our senior citizens and a Biddy Ball league for our youngest residents.

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The New Silver Strength Class will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until 9:25 a.m. and will focus on orienting members to the cardiovascular and weight equipment in the facility. This new class is part of the SilverSneaker’s program at Bowling Green Parks and Recreation which is a fun, energizing program that helps older adults take greater control of their health by encouraging activity and offering social events.

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Additional SilverSneakers classes and their schedule can be viewed at http://www2.bgky.org/bgpr/fitness/silversneakers.php. The classes are located at Parks and Recreation, 225 East Third Avenue.

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Or maybe you are looking for a fun activity for your 3 to 5 year old? If so, Biddy Ball may be the perfect program. Biddy Ball is a great introduction to the sport of basketball with lowered rims and relaxed rules that makes the game enjoyable and allows for a learning of the basics. Kids will play on one half of the court with a smaller than normal basketball.

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Registration for the 2014 league will begin on Monday, August 4th and will run through Friday, August 8th from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at F.O. Moxley Community Center.

Games will begin on September 13 and the cost is $35 per child and includes a jersey. Space is limited so please register early. For more information call 393-3734.

 

 

City’s Skate Park

Looking for a fun activity for you or your kids to enjoy? The City’s Skate Park is just the place. A family-friendly atmosphere and a good physical activity for everyone. Watch this week’s Update BG to learn more:

When Neighborhood & Community Services (NCS) makes its move from the City Hall Annex up to their new location on Reservoir Hill, they’ll be joined by another division: the City’s Animal Control Officers, who are currently part of the Bowling Green Police Department.

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Seven-year Animal Control veteran Bill Gruszczyk will be making the move with new hire Holly Avery, but not until the renovated building at 707 E. Main Avenue is ready. NCS Director Brent Childers says that is on track to happen sometime in August. In the meantime, BGPD will be getting new ACO Holly Avery, a former BGPD dispatcher, fully trained and working.

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“Animal Control is really a code enforcement function with a neighborhood focus. We’re just putting them where they best fit,” explained Police Chief Doug Hawkins.

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“Even after the transition, Animal Control will continue to be dispatched by the Police Department, so citizens may not even notice a change there,” added Childers. “And they’ll still work very closely with Police. But we think this will be a win-win for our Animal Control Officers and our code inspectors to build on and enhance our overall service in neighborhoods together.”

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The move is the newest in a series of additions and enhancements to Neighborhood & Community Services, formerly known as Housing & Community Development. The City Central Coordinator and Neighborhood Action Coordinator moved to the department in 2010, and the International Communities Liaison moved from an assignment in the Police Department to an expanded City-wide role in NCS in 2012.

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Like these changes, this newest one is in keeping with the City’s emphasis on maintaining the vitality and integrity of its neighborhoods by incorporating functions with a neighborhood focus under one umbrella.

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Retired BGPD veteran and new Code Enforcement Coordinator James Napper will supervise Animal Control. More detailed information will follow in the next few weeks about NCS’s move and how you can access their services at their new location.

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Facebook and Twitter

Do you use social media? Are you curious about what is happening in and around the City of Bowling Green?

The City of Bowling Green Facebook and Twitter Pages are a great way for folks to stay up to date about issues and events taking place in the City as well as be able to provide feedback or ask questions to staff.

When posting to our social media sites, we focus on information that is pertinent to citizens such as road closings, special events, parks and recreation classes and camps, changes in the City, traffic and accident updates, police department information and fire departments tips and notifications.

To follow us on Twitter log onto twitter.com/CityofBGKY and to like us on Facebook log onto facebook.com/citybgky .

For more information, please call 270-393-3642.

Annual Overlay Project

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Have you ever wondered how it is determined which roads are paved in the City of Bowling Green? The City maintains approximately 278 miles of streets; a length which grows annually with the build-out of new subdivisions. The total number of lane miles to be paved will vary from year to year and depends largely on the cost of asphalt as well as existing conditions such as the need to do more intensive repairs beyond a typical overlay in some locations.

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Street conditions are surveyed annually by an outside consultant using a vehicle with high-tech equipment including lasers, cameras, computers and other measuring devices. The data which is collected is maintained in a pavement Management Application (PMA). The PMA performs an analysis recommending the most economically efficient allocation of available funds to sustain pavement quality throughout the street network.

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In addition to the above method, staff also conducts field inspections to evaluate and prioritize projects and develop the final project list each year. This allows the City to use both data and personal inspection to make sure the right roads are being paved.

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The Board of Commission recently approved the FY 2014 Paving Contract. Scotty’s Contracting and Stone was awarded the $900,000 contract for the City’s Annual Overlay Project which is starting this summer. This program is funded annually through Liquid Fuel Tax revenue received from the State of Kentucky.

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For this Fiscal Year (July 14 to June 15), we are projecting paving approximately 4.3 miles of streets which includes supplemental streets. Completion of all projects will depend upon actual field conditions and will be completed as funds allow. If the supplemental streets are not completed in the current Fiscal Year, those streets will carry over to the FY2015 list. Below is the Annual Overlay Project list.

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http://www.bgky.org/publicworks/planningdesign/transportation/annual-overlay-project.php

Every two years, the City of Bowling Green takes the time to participate in the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and National Research Center (NRC) National Citizen Survey (NCS). This survey is a low-cost citizen survey service for local governments.
Residents living within the City limits of Bowling Green may receive a post card in the mail this July telling them that they have been randomly selected to participate in this year’s survey. If you happen to receive this survey, please take a few minutes to fill it out and let us know how you feel about our roads, public safety, parks, crime, public services and so much more. The survey is only a few pages long and it gives staff insight to what citizens are or aren’t happy with in the City.
To get a representative sample of Bowling Green residents, the adult (anyone 18 years or older) in your household who most recently had a birthday should complete this survey. Year of birth of the adult does not matter.

 

Participation in this survey is very important since only a small number of households are being surveyed. If you have any questions about the Citizen Survey please call 270.393.3642.

 

Bowling Green has been utilizing the National Citizen Survey since 2008 and staff uses the results to improve service delivery, develop future projects and assist with budget preparation. If you would like to see the results from previous surveys, please visit http://www.bgky.org/citizen-surveys.php. We would appreciate any feedback or suggestions for future surveys.
Please help us shape the future of Bowling Green. Thanks for your time and participation – we look forward to hearing from you!

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Fire trucks today are an iconic symbol of the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect others. Their ladders, sirens and bright red color are a fixture in our society. But the fire truck has evolved over the last 100 plus years and there is no doubt that it will continue to as technologies grow and innovations continue.

This is the evolution of our fire truck.

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From 1831 to 1898 the Bowling Green Fire Department fought fires with hand-pulled hose carts. These carts were used across the country and were transported by manpower. To deploy, the ropes on the front of the cart would be unwound, and 10 or more men would run out in front to pull the hose cart to the fire scene. Two men would hold onto the tongue to steer and/or attempt to brake the cart. At the scene, the hose was unwound from the cart, laid out and connected to a hand pumper to move water from a cistern or pond to the source of the fire.

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In 1898, the Bowling Green Fire Department brought a new employee on board that revolutionized the game of firefighting – the horse. As paid firefighters and fire departments became more common around the country, horses were introduced and used to pull the fire pumps. This new change greatly improved response times and allowed firefighters to do their job much more efficiently. During this time, the main fire station was located behind current day City Hall on East 10th Street.

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While horses were a big improvement to the Fire Department, they weren’t around for long. In the early 1920’s the BGFD saw its first engine powered fire truck. These open cab trucks with no roof were the first of their kind and remained a constant through the 1960’s. “Pumper 2” is a 1931 truck that has been remodeled and is now displayed at Headquarters.

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The 1960’s brought with it roofs and doors for the driver and passengers but still lacked doors for the rear jump seats. From this point until the 90’s, small changes continued such as the trucks getting bigger, more pumping capabilities, larger water tanks, hydraulic aerial ladders, hydraulic rescue tools, sirens, rotating lights, air conditioning and more.

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Around the year 2000, trucks were again revolutionized with computer technology to make them safer and more user friendly through advanced software, communication, visibility, and warning systems. Fire trucks in general have also become more specific to the need of the department. Today, the BGFD has 9 front-line fire trucks: 3 engines (pumpers), 3 rescue pumpers, 2 aerial platforms (w/95’ and 100’ aerials), and 1 quint (w/75’ aerial).

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Over the years the fire department has expanded into much more than fighting fires; it has progressed into an agency tasked with mediating virtually any type of emergency situation. Due to this change, the BGFD fleet today also includes: 1 command vehicle, 3 Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting apparatus, 1 brush truck, 1 Hazardous Materials truck, 1 HazMat Decontamination trailer, 1 trench rescue trailer, 1 loss control trailer, 1 arson investigation trailer, and 1 rescue boat and raft w/trailer.

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As times change, so will our equipment and our abilities. The Bowling Green Fire Department will always strive to be one of the best departments in the country with top of the line equipment and firefighters.

Fireworks ~ By Kim Lancaster

Many things come to mind when thinking about the 4th of July: freedom, summer, BBQ’s, pool parties and of course, fireworks!

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There are those who love fireworks and those who loathe them. To help make sure that everyone has a great 4th of July holiday, the City of Bowling Green has offered some good neighbor courtesies as well as some safety guideline and regulations to keep in mind for the 2014 season.

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Because not everyone is excited about the loud bangs and bright lights, notify your neighbors before using any large fireworks near your home and never put other people or their property at risk.

Fireworks : Ground Spinners, or ground wheels or charkhi

Fireworks are NOTpermitted on public streets, and any debris left by fireworks should be picked up and disposed of properly. Never point or throw fireworks at another person, and always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap. Consumer fireworks may only be used by individuals at least 18 years of age.

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The city DOES NOT require a permit to discharge fireworks from June 27th through July 5th until 10 p.m., and on July 4th until 11 p.m. All other dates require a Special Fireworks Discharge Permit from the Bowling Green Fire Department.

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Keep in mind that enforcement of firework guidelines is a complaint driven process. Please call the Bowling Green Police Department non-emergency line at 270-393-4244 to file a complaint regarding fireworks. For more safety guidelines or to obtain a Special Fireworks Discharge Permit, contact the Bowling Green Fire Department at 270-393-3702, or visit their website at www.bgky.org/fire.

Most importantly, have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

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