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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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Two Inmates Who Escaped From a Lima Prison Will Not Be Charged

10/24/14     3:52 p.m. Two of the three inmates who escaped from a Lima prison will not be charged with escape. The Lima News reports Chardon High School shooter T.J. Lane and fellow inmate Lindsey Bruce will not be charged. Lane and Bruce along with fellow inmate Clifford Opperud used a ladder to escape from Oakwood Prison in Lima on Sept. 11 but were all captured within hours. Prosecutor Juergen Waldick said additional years cannot be added to Lane’s triple life sentence. Waldick added it would be a waste of taxpayer money to charge Lane, as well as a security risk to transport him for court hearings. Waldick said he spoke with the families of Lane’s victims and they agreed with his decision. Opperud will be charged with escape and faces an additional 8 years on top of his 12-year sentence for robbery.

Play Defense Campaign Raising Money for Breast Cancer with Selfies

10/24/14     11:43 a.m. A new campaign to raise money for breast cancer awareness is as easy as taking a selfie. Imaging Consultants of Findlay Radiology is donating $1 for every selfie posted to their Facebook page, with the person in the picture wearing their “Play Defense” breast cancer button. All donations will be split between Susan G. Komen and Cancer Patient Services. “Play Defense” buttons are available at Coffee Amici in downtown Findlay. The “Play Defense” campaign encourages women and men to be proactive about their health by getting annual mammograms, doing self-checks and seeing a doctor if there are any changes or concerns.

Special Kids Therapy Holding Trunk-or-Treat Monday

10/24/14     11:25 a.m. Special Kids Therapy will once again be offering Halloween Trunk-or-Treat for the special needs community. SKT will be partnering with University of Findlay occupational therapy students to host the event in the Blanchard Valley Center parking lot Monday Oct. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. The goal of the events is to provide a safe and fun environment for special needs children and their families to go trick-or-treating. UF’s OT students are also planning games, pumpkin decorating and other Halloween activities. SKT invites any interested community agencies to decorate a car and hand out candy on Monday. In case of rain, all activities will be moved into BVC’s gym. For more information, call 419-422-5607.

Tiffin Grocery Store Robbed

10/24/14 – 5:33 A.M. A Tiffin grocery store was robbed earlier this week. A news release from the Tiffin Police Department says a man held up the Heritage IGA at 479 East Market Street around 7:30 p.m. Monday night. The man walked in, demanded money, and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. The suspect was described as a white man with a beard, standing around six feet tall and weighing around 250 pounds. He was wearing a dark hoodie, dark pants, and gloves. Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call (419)447-2323.  

Pills Seized From Fostoria Home

10/24/14 – 5:22 A.M. Prescription pills were seized from a Fostoria home Wednesday night. The Fostoria Police Department reports officers executed a search warrant at 132 Nichols Street around 11:20 p.m. No arrests have been made yet and the investigation continues.  

Ebola Watch List Now Includes Seneca County

10/124/14 – 5:17 A.M. Seneca County has been added to the list of counties with residents who may have had contact with a person diagnosed with Ebola. The Ohio Department of Health released new information on the state’s response to the disease yesterday. It shows Seneca County in a list of 15 counties with seven or fewer contacts with Amber Vinson. Vinson is a Dallas nurse who visited northeast Ohio before she was diagnosed with Ebola. However, the AP reported this week that doctors were no longer able to detect the disease in her body. 164 people in Ohio may have had contact with Vinson. Only three people are in quarantine. The rest are monitoring their temperature twice a day.

Findlay Police Investigating Wednesday Night Attack

10/24/14 – 5:03 A.M. The Findlay Police Department is investigating an alleged assault. The department reports a 44-year-old man was attacked by four unknown men in the 1800 block of North Blanchard Street just before 10 p.m. Wednesday night. The victim was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of what were called substantial non-life threatening injuries. No weapons were used in the attack.  

Cousin Of Convicted Murder Sentenced On Firearm Charge

10/24/14 – 4:58 A.M. The cousin of a man who was found guilty of murder in Findlay this week was sentenced on firearms charges Thursday. 23-year-old Darius Pullom was given five-years of community control sanctions. He was found to be illegally carrying a gun when he was arrested along with Montre Robinson last November. The gun was not the weapon used to kill Joe Gutierrez. Pullom had already pleaded guilty to a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Opt Out Deadline Approaching For Findlay Gas Customers

10/24/14 – 4:52 A.M. Some Findlay residents could be changing natural gas suppliers soon. If you don’t want to switch providers, you might have to do a little bit of work. Safety-Service Director Paul Schmelzer says some residents received letters from Constellation recently. If you got that letter and want to stay with your current provider, you need to return a form that came with it. You can also opt out by calling (800)718-1493. The people who received letters took the opt out option last year but because of a rate change they’re required to opt out again. Schmelzer says he understands it’s an inconvenience, but it’s the way it has to be done under the law. The deadline to respond to the letter is October 29.

Deadline Expires For Wood County Exotic Animal Owner

10/24/14 – 4:20 A.M. The owner of a Wood County exotic animal refuge is waiting to see if the state is going to take his animals. Kenny Hetrick from Tiger Ridge Exotics was given ten-days to voluntarily surrender his animals or they would be seized and he would be prosecuted. The deadline expired on Thursday. Hetrick is in violation of a 2012 state law that requires him to have a permit for his exotic animals.

University of Findlay Get $1.56 Million for Scholarship Endowment Fund

10/23/14     9:10 p.m. Marjorie and Mildred McGranahan were two unmarried sisters from McComb and graduates of what was then Findlay College. Now deceased, their legacies will live on in the form of a healthy scholarship endowment fund for future University of Findlay students. Audio: Rose Miller Rose Miller’s mother-in-law was a first cousin of the McGranahans. She and her husband were farmers and were close with Millie. She said anything having to do with science, agriculture and education was important to both Marj and Millie. The McGranahans managed the 500-acre family farm on their own well into their 90s. With their farm earnings, they began giving small donations to UF and formed the McGranahan-Shafer-Van Dorn scholarship endowment fund, which grew to $1.27 million. Earlier this month, UF received its final gift from the sisters, $1.56 million from their estates, which will be added to the established fund. Audio: Katherine Fell Katherine Fell, president of UF, said its impossible to imagine how many lives these sisters will touch with their endowment….

Passports Available for World of Downtown Restaurants Tour in Findlay

10/23/14     11:09 a.m. If there are restaurants in downtown Findlay you’ve been wanting to try, the seventh annual World of Downtown Restaurants tour is being held Nov. 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. The self-guided tour takes you to 17 downtown restaurants where you can sample food. Audio: Tamera Rooney Tamera Rooney, communications director for United Way, said this year’s event is limited to 300 passport holders. Those passports are available for purchase at Buggy Whip Bakery, Coffee Amici or the United Way for $20. Participating restaurants: West End Tavern, Adrianna’s Riverfront Cafe, Rossilli’s, Tavern at the Inn, Greek Garden, Alexandria’s, Buggy Whip Bakery, Bistro on Main, Waldo Pepper’s, Trans Am Meatballs & Subs, We Serve. Coffee, Baker’s Cafe, Main Street Deli, Wine Merchant, Bread Kneads Downtown, Logan’s Irish Pub and Coffee Amici.

Hancock County Buys More Flood Prone Property

10/23/14 – 10:42 A.M. The Hancock County Commissioners bought more property for flood mitigation purposes today. The county will use money from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to buy property at 800 Wedgewood Drive in Findlay. The house was appraised at $135,000. The county has been buying and demolishing flood-prone homes since 2007. The practice reduces damage from future flooding.  

Findlay Based Non-Profit Sending Medical Gloves To Africa

10/23/14 – 5:22 A.M. A Findlay High School graduate is working to help prevent the spread of Ebola in Africa. Nathan Thomas’ non-profit organization, All We Are, is trying to send 50,000 pairs of medical examination gloves to West Africa. The group estimates it will take $9,000 to buy the gloves and send them overseas. The All We Are website says the reason Ebola continues to spread is because healthcare workers don’t have the proper protective gear. You can get more information about the campaign at allweare.org.

Putnam County Residents Showing No Signs Of Ebola

10/23/14 – 5:07 A.M. No news is good news for the six Putnam County residents who are being monitored for symptoms of Ebola. The Putnam County Health Department reports that so far no one in the group who visited the same Akron bridal shop as Amber Vinson is showing symptoms of the deadly disease. Vinson is a nurse who traveled from Texas to northeast Ohio. She was recently diagnosed with Ebola. The health department will continue to check the temperatures of the Putnam County residents twice a day until November 1.

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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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