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9/11/14 – 5:06 A.M.

We managed to avoid severe weather Wednesday, but we did get plenty of rain. And of course when that happens, all eyes turn to the Blanchard River. Fortunately it looks like there isn’t much to talk about there. The Blanchard in Findlay started rising rapidly just after 7 p.m. Wednesday night; but it appears to have crested well below action stage.

Downstream in Ottawa the river is expected to run high the for the next day, but will stay below action stage there as well.

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9/11/14 – 5:22 A.M.

The completion of a new nursing home in Ottawa could face major delays after a state fire inspector expressed concern about a couple of issues. The Putnam County Sentinel reports Ottawa Fire Chief Dan Rieman (REE-mehn) gave council an update on the situation this week. Rieman says the inspector wants a water line that circles the Meadows of Ottawa-Glandorf dug up. The problem is that it now sits below concrete and blacktop.

The inspector also was unhappy he was unable to do a rough inspection of the sprinkler system before drywall was installed.

The issues seem to stem from how some fire codes are interpreted by the State Fire Marshall’s office. Rieman said the fire suppression systems are like what was installed at the new Ottawa Elementary School. He added his department inspected the nursing home the same as they did the school.

The Meadows of Ottawa-Glandorf is expected to open next month barring a setback. The State Fire Marshall will visit the site tomorrow.

More: Putnam County Sentinel

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09/09/14 8:58 p.m.

At tonight’s appropriations committee meeting, Findlay city council members unanimously recommended that council reject the recent request from other organizations for anymore bed tax money.

The portion of the hotel/motel bed tax the city of Findlay receives has always gone into the city’s general fund, which this year is estimated to be $500,000, with the exception of 15 percent which is allocated for the Arts Partnership.

At the August 19 council meeting the Hancock Historical Museum approached council and asked for a portion of the tax revenue, which according some council members opened a can of worms.

Since the museum’s request, there have been requests or inquiries from many other organizations, such as the Women’s Resource Center, the Children’s Museum, the Salvation Army, YMCA, Chopin Hall and a church.

Councilman Randy Van Dyne said the amount of work needed to create criteria, policies and procedures for the distribution of the money would be extensive.

Audio: <a href=”http://wfin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/zz-van-dyne.mp3″>Randy Van Dyne</a>

Councilmembers suggested a number of other sources, such as the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Community Foundation, that give money to non-profits for programs that bring people to Findlay.

Audio: <a href=”http://wfin.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/zz-rasmussen.mp3″>Don Rasmussen</a>

Law director Don Rasmussen was one of many who brought up that while some of the organizations that inquired about the tax revenue distribution are non-profits, not all of them bring visitors to Findlay who utilize the hotels and do not generate bed tax revenue.

Though the committee agreed no other requests should be accepted, they did say they would fulfill their three-year, 15 percent commitment to the Arts Partnership, which is effective until 2017.

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Crash Reported On County Road 37 South Of Findlay

10/20/14 – 6:44 A.M. A crash in Hancock County could be causing some traffic issues this morning. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports a driver went off the road and hit a power pole on State Route 37 south of County Road 172. A dispatcher says the road hasn’t officially been closed, but it’s probably a good place to avoid. Crews are en route to repair the utility pole. No other details were immediately available.  

Gas Prices Falling After Mid-Week Spike

10/20/14 – 5:30 A.M. Gas prices are up from last Monday, but coming down after spiking last week. Ohiogasprices.com reports the average price for a gallon of regular around the state is $3.06 this morning. That’s up three cents from last Monday but down six cents from last Thursday. In Findlay, drivers are reporting an average of $3.09 around the city. Last Monday we were paying $2.99 a gallon, but by Wednesday that had risen to $3.19. In Ottawa, the average price is back below $3 a gallon this morning.

Election Preview: Latta Running For Reelection

10/20/14 – 5:30 A.M. There’s just a little more than two weeks left until the November election, and we continue our preview of the candidates you’ll see on the ballot today. Bob Latta is running for reelection in Ohio’s 5th Congressional District. On the topic of job growth, Latta says the problem is businesses are over-regulated, which means they can’t expand… Audio: Bob Latta Latta says he’s supported legislation that would simplify and reign in excessive legislation. While many criticize Congress for partisan gridlock, Latta says he has been a part of bipartisan legislation efforts… Audio: Bob Latta Latta says he also worked with Democrats on legislation that would have reduced paperwork for auto dealers. Latta also talked about working with Democrats on a caucus that focuses on rural issues.

Fostoria Properties Could Be Condemned

10/20/14 – 5:18 A.M. Two Fostoria properties could be condemned this week. The Review-Times reports properties 304 South Poplar Street and 654 Maple Street will be reviewed by the Seneca County General Health District Board of Health. They’ll meet Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the issue. For more information, you can call (419)447-3691.

Arcadia Man Injured In Weekend Crash

10/20/14 – 5:10 A.M. A two-car crash injured an Arcadia man Saturday afternoon. The Findlay Police Department reports the crash happened in the 1100 block of Tiffin Avenue around 4:45 p.m. 24-year-old Corey Jones of Arcadia was pulling out of a parking lot when he collided with a car driven by 54-year-old Debra Smith of Rawson. Jones was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of his injuries. He was also cited for failure to yield.  

Six Putnam County Residents Monitored For Ebola

10/20/14 – 5:04 A.M. Six Putnam County residents are being monitored for Ebola symptoms. The Putnam County Health Department reports the individuals were in the same bridal shop in Akron as Amber Vinson, who has been diagnosed with Ebola. Health officials stress the risk of infection for the residents is low as there was no direct, high-risk contact with Vinson. Precautions are being taken though. The people who visited the bridal shop are having their temperature monitored twice a day for 21 days. The individuals are not being quarantined since there was no direct contact with Vinson. Putnam County Health Commissioner Mary Ann Myers said, “the residents of Putnam County can be assured that our department is staying in constant contact with all involved parties, including health officials from ODH and CDC, to ensure the safety of our residents.”

10/17/14 – 12:00 P.M Blanchard Valley Health System is taking precautions when it comes to the Ebola virus. Officials announced Thursday that Ebola response protocols had been activated. The response plan was developed over the summer. Infection preventionist Colleen Abrams says the health system will work with the CDC, American Hospital Association, the Ohio Department of Health, and others to keep workers and patients safe. Abrams says screening questions are in place for new patients to detect any exposure to Ebola. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a person sick with Ebola, or through items contaminated with the person’s blood or bodily fluids. Ebola is not spread through the air, food or drinking water.

Zombies Invade Findlay For Charity Event Saturday

10/17/14 – 12:00 P.M. There will be a zombie outbreak in Findlay tomorrow night. The American Red Cross Hancock County Youth Council will hold a “Zombie Run for the Red 5K” at Findlay High School’s Cooper Field at 6 p.m. The cost to register will be $25 at the event. A release for the event says there will be zombies and other surprises for runners during the event. The race will end at Cooper Field with a Zombie Apocalypse Party. Money raised from the event will help fund Hancock County Youth Council activities.

Deer Muzzleloader Season A Success For Local Hunters

10/17/14 – 12:00 P.M. Hunters in our region had a good take during the recent antlerless deer muzzleloader hunting season. Last weekend saw more than 6,000 deer tagged around the state. That’s up 18 percent from 2013. Locally, hunters in Wood and Wyandot County had the most success. Wood County hunters tagged 42 deer over a two-day period, compared to 16 last year. Wyandot County hunters tagged 30 more deer this year, bringing in a total of 88. Numbers were flat in Hancock and Putnam Counties.

Millstream Speedway To Reopen In 2015

10/17/14 – 9:29 A.M. After a few fairly quiet years, the Millstream Speedway is set to reopen in 2015. A release from the Millstream Motorsports Complex says track owners Greg and Mary Beth Roe have entered into a three-year agreement with Randy and Lisa Hammer from Fremont Ohio to run events at the track on Findlay’s northwest side. The Hammers have been associated with racing in the region for many years. A schedule of events will be announced at a later date.

Ammonia Spill Closes Wood County Highway

10/17/14 – 5:21 A.M. A highway remains closed in Wood County today following an ammonia spill. The State Highway Patrol reports the crash happened Thursday around 8:20 a.m. at the intersection of State Route 281 and Huffman Road near Portage. A semi carrying ammonia was driving east on Route 281 when a pickup truck driven by 41-year-old Scott Reiman of Bowling Green ran a stop sign and caused the collision. The semi rolled over, spilling ammonia onto the road and into three ditches. Route 281 could be closed until the weekend as the cleanup continues. The driver of the tractor-trailer, 23-year-old Joshua Whitaker of Fowler, Indiana, was taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center. He was last listed in critical, but stable condition. Reiman was treated at the scene for minor injuries.  

Mugshots Back On Hancock County Jail Website

10/19/14 – 5:14 A.M. Hancock County jail inmate information and mugshots are back on the web. The information was taken down late last month because of changes to public record laws. The new rules don’t allow information about criminals convicted in juvenile court proceedings to be posted online. In September, the jail was housing inmates who fit that description. As a result, the mugshots were taken offline. Sheriff Michael Heldman says they may have to take the pictures down from time-to-time until the software company finds a way to process information that is in compliance with the law.

Former Ottawa Councilman Sentenced For Fatal Crash

10/17/14 – 5:06 A.M. The former Ottawa councilman who caused a fatal crash earlier this year was sentenced Thursday. The Courier reports Alan Ducey was given two 180-day suspended jail sentences. He also had his license suspended for a year and was fined $1,000. Judge Chad Niese said Ducey was not on his phone and was not intoxicated when the crash happened. Ducey spoke in court, saying “I cannot hope to ask for your forgiveness and I do not deserve it, either” to the victim’s families. 85-year-old Joan Beam and her daughter, 62-year-old Christine Hayden, were killed in the crash. MORE: The Courier

More Testimony Given In Findlay Murder Trial

10/17/14 – 4:56 A.M. Testimony continued in the Montre Robinson murder trial Thursday in Findlay. The Courier reports Angela Gutierrez testified for about the night her husband was killed for two hours. Gutierrez said Joe Gutierrez may have gotten into a fight on the night of November 7 when he tried to get money or drugs. According to testimony, Joe Gutierrez was celebrating his cousin’s birthday. He left a party around 11 p.m. On cross-examination Angela Gutierrez admitted her husband had said he was going to get more drugs “any way he could.” That may have included a fight with Ralph Harris III. Robinson allegedly saw the fight and encouraged Harris to get revenge. Harris has admitted to shooting and killing Joe Gutierrez at the intersection of East Foulke and Crystal avenues. The trial will continue today. MORE: The Courier

Election Preview: Gregg Norris Running For Ohio House

10/17/14 – 4:26 A.M. Election previews continue today with a Libertarian candidate hoping to secure a seat in Ohio’s House. Gregg Norris says he’s just your Average Joe with a wife and kids, two dogs and chickens in his backyard. But Norris has gained a little notoriety since announcing his candidacy for Ohio state representative. Norris said what separates him from his opponent incumbent Robert Sprague is his belief in small government. Audio: Gregg Norris Norris said he believes all the other issues in the state, such as overspending and high tax burdens, are tied to a government that’s too big… Audio: Gregg Norris Norris said every time the government creates a new agency, regulation or something of the sort, there has to be someone in place to police or manage it. According to Norris, this extension of government is costing money, hence the overspending and tax burdens.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have recaptured parts of the Mosul Dam from Islamist extremists, Kurdish and Iraqi military officials said Monday, in a battle for what is effectively a potential weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.

Gen. Karim Fatah, commander of a Kurdish peshmerga battalion near the dam, told ABC News Kurdish forces have taken control of both ends of the dam, but fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still control some positions near the western end of the structure. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying large parts of the dam had been retaken.

The Kurdish offensive has been aided by U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes on ISIS targets, including 15 U.S. strikes Monday, according to the U.S. military.

ISIS managed to take control of the dam last week, an eventuality about which a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department had previously said the U.S. government was “extremely concerned.”

On Sunday, President Obama sent a letter to Congress notifying lawmakers that he had authorized airstrikes against ISIS targets at the dam “in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace,” the letter said.

The stark language actually may have downplayed the danger posed by the dam, according to prior U.S. estimates of the damage that could be caused should the dam be breached — or even if it is simply left alone to degrade on its own without the constant repair work that has been critical to keeping the dam right side up for the past 30 years.

The Mosul Dam was built in the mid-1980s on what reports indicate was a terrible spot to build a sprawling dam.

“Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq, was constructed on a foundation of soluble soils that are continuously dissolving, resulting in the formation of cavities and voids underground that place the dam at risk for failure,” said an urgent letter sent from David Petraeus, then commanding general of the U.S. Army, and Ryan Crocker, then U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2007.

The dam requires “extraordinary engineering measures” — namely constant grouting operations — to fill in the holes and “maintain the structural integrity and operating capability of the dam,” according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) report from the same year.

For 30 years –- and through several periods of violent conflict — the Iraqi government has managed to keep the dam upright by continuously pumping in literally tons of grout like an industrial version of the little Dutch boy, as a geotechnical expert who worked on the dam put it.

But the U.S. says any failure of the dam could be “catastrophic.”

“[T]he most severe impact of a dam failure would be [for] the City of Mosul, located 50 kilometers [31 miles] downstream of the dam,” Petraeus’ and Crocker’s 2007 letter said. “Assuming a worse [sic] case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul Dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave over 20 meters [65 feet] deep at the city of Mosul, which would result in a significant loss of life and property.”

Mosul is estimated to be home to more than 1.5 million people. Flood waters, albeit at a lower level, could reach all the way to Baghdad, more than 200 miles further down the Tigris.

A 2011 report written by an USACE official and published in Water Power magazine estimated failure “could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths.”

Recently, a U.S. official confirmed that the dire 2007 estimate still stands. After Mosul, flood waters would travel for eight to 10 days before reaching Baghdad, where the U.S. Embassy there could see one to four meters of water, the official said.

The U.S. State Department said earlier this month that control of the dam was one of ISIS’ goals in Iraq. Late last week, the extremist group got its wish, took control of the dam and immediately inherited the urgent grouting problems.

On Friday, an Iraqi government official said that the lead dam engineer and his team were still on site and operating the dam at ISIS’ behest. Supplies to continue grouting operations were available and the water level was also being kept lower than normal to reduce the risk of a breach, the official said then.

ISIS may not necessarily want the dam to fail, considering the extremist group controls portions of the land that would be flooded. The dam is also a “key source” of power and water for the surrounding area, making it a vital piece of infrastructure either way for whoever is in control, another State Department spokesperson told ABC News last week.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have recaptured parts of the Mosul Dam from Islamist extremists, Kurdish and Iraqi military officials said Monday, in a battle for what is effectively a potential weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.

Gen. Karim Fatah, commander of a Kurdish peshmerga battalion near the dam, told ABC News Kurdish forces have taken control of both ends of the dam, but fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) still control some positions near the western end of the structure. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying large parts of the dam had been retaken.

The Kurdish offensive has been aided by U.S. and Iraqi airstrikes on ISIS targets, including 15 U.S. strikes Monday, according to the U.S. military.

ISIS managed to take control of the dam last week, an eventuality about which a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department had previously said the U.S. government was “extremely concerned.”

On Sunday, President Obama sent a letter to Congress notifying lawmakers that he had authorized airstrikes against ISIS targets at the dam “in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”

“The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, endanger U.S. personnel and facilities, including the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace,” the letter said.

The stark language actually may have downplayed the danger posed by the dam, according to prior U.S. estimates of the damage that could be caused should the dam be breached — or even if it is simply left alone to degrade on its own without the constant repair work that has been critical to keeping the dam right side up for the past 30 years.

The Mosul Dam was built in the mid-1980s on what reports indicate was a terrible spot to build a sprawling dam.

“Mosul Dam, the largest dam in Iraq, was constructed on a foundation of soluble soils that are continuously dissolving, resulting in the formation of cavities and voids underground that place the dam at risk for failure,” said an urgent letter sent from David Petraeus, then commanding general of the U.S. Army, and Ryan Crocker, then U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in 2007.

The dam requires “extraordinary engineering measures” — namely constant grouting operations — to fill in the holes and “maintain the structural integrity and operating capability of the dam,” according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) report from the same year.

For 30 years –- and through several periods of violent conflict — the Iraqi government has managed to keep the dam upright by continuously pumping in literally tons of grout like an industrial version of the little Dutch boy, as a geotechnical expert who worked on the dam put it.

But the U.S. says any failure of the dam could be “catastrophic.”

“[T]he most severe impact of a dam failure would be [for] the City of Mosul, located 50 kilometers [31 miles] downstream of the dam,” Petraeus’ and Crocker’s 2007 letter said. “Assuming a worse [sic] case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul Dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave over 20 meters [65 feet] deep at the city of Mosul, which would result in a significant loss of life and property.”

Mosul is estimated to be home to more than 1.5 million people. Flood waters, albeit at a lower level, could reach all the way to Baghdad, more than 200 miles further down the Tigris.

A 2011 report written by an USACE official and published in Water Power magazine estimated failure “could lead to as many as 500,000 civilian deaths.”

Recently, a U.S. official confirmed that the dire 2007 estimate still stands. After Mosul, flood waters would travel for eight to 10 days before reaching Baghdad, where the U.S. Embassy there could see one to four meters of water, the official said.

The U.S. State Department said earlier this month that control of the dam was one of ISIS’ goals in Iraq. Late last week, the extremist group got its wish, took control of the dam and immediately inherited the urgent grouting problems.

On Friday, an Iraqi government official said that the lead dam engineer and his team were still on site and operating the dam at ISIS’ behest. Supplies to continue grouting operations were available and the water level was also being kept lower than normal to reduce the risk of a breach, the official said then.

ISIS may not necessarily want the dam to fail, considering the extremist group controls portions of the land that would be flooded. The dam is also a “key source” of power and water for the surrounding area, making it a vital piece of infrastructure either way for whoever is in control, another State Department spokesperson told ABC News last week.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A drug approved to treat a rare form of leukemia reversed hair loss caused by alopecia, a small study found.

The drug, ruxolitinib, helps reduce inflammation caused by disease. But it also helped three alopecia sufferers regrow full heads of hair within five months, according to the study published Sunday in the journal Nature Medicine.

“We still need to do more testing to establish that ruxolitinib should be used in alopecia,” said study author Dr. Raphael Clynes, director of the Columbia Center for Translational Immunology at Columbia University in New York City. “But this is exciting news for patients and their physicians.”

It’s not yet known if ruxolitinib can restore other types of hair loss.

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that leads to patchy hair loss. It is not the same as male pattern baldness, which has its roots in genetic and hormonal causes.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The cost of raising a kid is now more than $245,000, a new report out Monday finds.

From the time a child is born until he or she turns 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that little bundle of joy, born in 2013, will cost parents $245,340 to raise. That amounts to roughly $13,600 a year.

The annual government report finds that raising a child in the urban Northeast costs more than the national average — $282,480 — while families in the South and rural regions of the U.S. can expect to pay less — $230,610 and $193,590, respectively.

All these figures will increase with inflation. Compared to the USDA’s “Expenditures on Children and Families” report in 2012, the national average is up 1.8 percent.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Transportation says cars that talk to each other could prevent more than half a million car crashes a year.

It’s called vehicle to vehicle communication technology — or V2V — and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says it could move the focus from helping people survive crashes to helping them avoid crashes altogether.

A new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposes a new rule, issued in 2016, that would require new cars to come equipped with two types of V2V.

The report says those advance warning systems could prevent up to 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives every year.

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