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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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Motorcyclist Injured In Wyandot County

A motorcycle crash in Wyandot County injured one person Saturday afternoon. The Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office reports the accident happened around 2:20 p.m. on County Road 119, south of Harpster. The crash victim was taken from the scene by a medical helicopter. No other details were available.

Gas Prices Continue To Drop In The Area

9/22/14 – 7:34 A.M. Gas prices are continuing to fall around the area. Ohiogasprices.com reports the average price for a gallon of regular around the state is $3.18. That’s down 12 cents from last week, and 21 cents from last month. The average price in Findlay is right around $3.18 this morning. In Ottawa, drivers are paying $3.14 a gallon. Several stations in the Toledo area are selling for less than $3 a gallon right now.

Three Injured In Wyandot County Crash Saturday

9/22/14 – 7:28 A.M. A car crash in Wyandot County injured three people Saturday night. The Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office reports the crash happened Saturday night around 9:45 p.m. on State Route 15 near Township Road 95. Three people were taken to Wyandot Memorial Hospital in Upper Sandusky. Their names were not released. No other details were available.

Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation Moving To New Location

9/22/14 – 7:17 A.M. The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation group is picking up stakes and moving to a new location. The group is moving all their exhibits, including the quarter scale steam engine, from 11600 County Road 99 to 12505 County Road 99. The new location gives the train enthusiasts nearly 40 acres to build on, while the old location was only five acres. The NWORRP hopes to be open in their new location by the end of the month.

Flu Shot Clinics Scheduled In Putnam County

9/22/14 – 5:29 A.M. The Putnam County Health Department will start offering flu shots this week. The agency will hold the first walk-in clinic Friday. Shots will be given at the Health Department in Ottawa from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Putnam County residents may not have to pay anything at the time of service because the health department is billing most major insurance companies for the vaccine now. There is also a limited amount of free vaccines for those who can not afford it. Clinics will be held in several locations over the next month. FULL SCHEDULE: • Friday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Health Department, 256 Williamstown Road, Ottawa. • Sept. 29, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ottawa Senior Center. • Oct. 2, noon to 5 p.m. at the health department as a drive-through clinic only for those with special needs. • Oct. 3,…

One Person Injured In Findlay Crash Saturday Afternoon

9/22/14 – 5:18 A.M. One person was hurt in a two-car crash in Findlay late Saturday afternoon. The Findlay Police Department reports the collision happened in the 600 block of Western Avenue around 5:15 p.m. Saturday. A police report says Michael Allen of Findlay was waiting to turn his SUV onto West Lincoln Street when he was hit from behind by another SUV driven by Joshua Hoffbauer of Findlay. Hoffbauer was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of his injuries. He was also cited for failure to maintain an assured clear distance.

Four Injured In Crash Near Rawson

9/22/14 – 5:07 A.M. Four people were injured in a crash near Rawson over the weekend. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports the accident happened on County Road 12, just south of County Road 313 around 8:15 p.m. Saturday. 28-year-old John Oman II of Rawson was driving a Kia Optima south on Road 12 when he hit the back of a utility vehicle driven by 23-year-old Darren Sadler. Sadler and his passengers, 24-year-old Jennifer Reichley and 3-year-old Levi Sadler, were taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment. Oman was treated at the scene. The crash remains under investigation.

Local Boy Scout Working To Revive Findlay Skate Park

9/22/14 – 5:02 A.M. A local Boy Scout is working to breathe new life into Findlay’s skate park. The Courier reports 15-year-old Seth Johns and a group of 20 friends are making repairs to the facility just off of Park Street. The city has given Johns $4,000 to complete the work. Johns is using the opportunity as his community service project to become an Eagle Scout. The skate park was closed in July because of its declining condition. Boards were broken and the laminated surface was coming apart. There were also concerns about vandalism at the park. Findlay public work superintendent Matt Stoffel believes the work can be finished sometime next month. Johns is a Findlay High School Student and a member of Boy Scout Troop 313 in Van Buren.

Severe Thunderstorms Watches and Warnings Issued for Northwest Ohio

09/20/14   7:29 p.m. The National Weather Service has issued various watches and warnings for severe thunderstorms this evening. The counties affected by the watch are: Hancock, Henry, Putnam, Seneca and Wyandot. That watch is in effect until 11 p.m. tonight. Wood County is under a severe thunderstorm warning until 8:15 p.m.

Findlay Health Department to Hold Walk-In Flu Shot Clinics in October

09/19/14   1:07 p.m. Flu season will be here before we know it and in preparation the Findlay Health Department will host six walk-in flu shot clinics for city residents during the month of October. All clinics will be held at the department at 1644 Tiffin Ave. Those planning to get the vaccination must bring their insurance, Medicaid or Medicare cards. October clinics are scheduled for: Oct. 2 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Oct. 3 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 9 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 10 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 17 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Oct. 23 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. Starting Oct. 24 the clinic will be open at the health department from 3-4 p.m. every day until vaccines supplies are gone. No appointments are necessary. For more information contact the health department at 419-424-7441.

Flag Display at Hancock County Courthouse Honors POW/MIAs

09/19/14   11:10 a.m. If you’re in the downtown Findlay area you may notice more American flags than usual near the Hancock County Courthouse. This is because today is POW/MIA recognition day. Every year the third Friday in September honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. Today is one of only six days the POW/MIA flag can be flown.

District Requirement Changes Create Moving Target for Schools

09/19/14   11:03 a.m. School report cards were released yesterday and Findlay superintendent Ed Kurt said the Findlay school district is moving in a positive direction and he’d like to continue that. But with the changes the state continues to make, Kurt said it’s hard to make progress. Audio: Ed Kurt In his opinion, Kurt said all the required testing may now have a negative impact on students. Audio: Ed Kurt Similar to comparing apples to oranges, Kurt said if the requirements for schools change annually, it will be more difficult to compare them and identify progress. He said instead of looking at report cards, Findlay will focus on the growth of its students from year-to-year and try to keep scores moving in the right direction.

Columbus Grove Home Destroyed In Early Morning Fire

9/19/14 – 5:40 A.M. A Columbus Grove home is a complete loss following an early morning fire. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reports firefighters were called to 107 Vidette Avenue just before 2:30 a.m. When they arrived the house was completely engulfed in flames. The resident of the home was able to escape unharmed and call 911 from a neighbor’s house. The blaze remains under investigation.

Former Wood County Sheriff’s Deputy Found Guilty Of Sex Crime

9/19/14 – 5:28 A.M. A former Wood County Sheriff’s deputy was found guilty of abduction and gross sexual imposition yesterday. The Sentinel-Tribune reports 51-year-old Dusty Garwood was found guilty by a visiting judge. He had elected to have his case heard by a judge instead of a jury. Garwood was accused of having sex with a female inmate in the Wood County Jail. The relationship continued when the inmate was released, but still under electronic home monitoring. Garwood will be sentenced October 10. MORE: Sentinel-Tribune

Seneca County Employees Will Pay A Little More For Health Insurance

9/19/14 – 5:20 A.M. Seneca County employees will pay a little more for their health insurance next year. The Review-Times reports premiums will go up 1 percent. County Administrator Stacy Wilson says the increase was recommended by the county’s health advisory committee. Employees with single coverage will pay an extra $5 a month. Employees with family coverage will pay about $14 more a month for the lower deductible plan. Around 250 people are on the county’s health insurance plan. MORE: Review-Times

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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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