About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

Video: Cookies & Pies: A “Tasty” Fair Tradition

9/3/2015   7:00pm

One of the many fun activities at the Hancock County Fair each year is the annual cookie and pie eating contest. Participants of all ages try their hands and wet their lips on cookies and pies to see who can eat one the fastest. It is all in good fun and some kids have even worked it out to a science.

Audio: Zane Davis

Zane Davis from Findlay won the nine to eleven year old class division. The Cookie contest was sponsored by the Hancock County Fair and the pie contest by Kathy’s Corner Restaurant of Arcadia.

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9/4/15 – 7:31 A.M.

A former Kenton Municipal Court probation officer was sentenced for sex crimes this week. WKTN radio reports Don Caste will spend eight years in prison. He entered guilty pleas on two counts of rape last month. Five other counts were dropped.

The victim appeared in court and lobbied for a longer sentence, saying the crime had left her with trust issues. She also said Castle had brainwashed her.

Castle will not be eligible for early release. He was also classified as a tier III sex offender.


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9/4/15 – 7:23 A.M.

There’s a possible solution on the table for the battle over how to maintain a cemetery in Bluffton. The Lima News reports a proposal would see the land at the Shannon Cemetery leased to an organization that would guarentee maintenance and upkeep of the facility.

Some Bluffton residents have fought efforts to turn the cemetery into a memorial park. The cemetery is the final resting place for some of Bluffton’s founders. It also includes gravesites for Revolutionary War soldiers.

No final decisions have been made. The group opposing making the cemetery a park says they want headstones returned first. They also want promises that the grounds wouldn’t be leased to anyone who wanted to change how the cemetery is used.

MORE: Lima News

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9/4/15 – 6:46 A.M.

Today is day three of the Hancock County Fair. Tonight’s featured event will be the KOI Drag Races in the south grandstand. That will start at 7 p.m. Today will also see ride specials start after 1 p.m. Ride wristbands will only be $20.

Once again there will be plenty of open class and junior fair competitions going on.

Fair Schedule:

7:00 AM Gates open
9:00 AM Op Class Saddle Horse & Pony Show (N Grandstand)
9:00 AM Jr Fair Dog Show (Show Tent)
9:00 AM Open Class Saddle Horse & Pony (N. Grandstand)
10:00 AM Jr Fair Dairy Goat Show (S. Show Arena)
11:00 AM Jr Fair/Op Class Beef Show (N Show Arena) Order: . Beef Feeder Showmanship, Beef Feeder, Beef Showmanship, Hosler-Corbin Insurance Agency Inc. Dairy Steer, HCCC Steer, Market Steer, LUNCH BREAK (1/2 hour), Junior Fair Beef Breeding, Open Class Beef Breeding
12:00 PM-3:00 PM Home &Garden Program (Grange Building)
1:00 PM-4:00 PM Jr Fair Premium Pick-Up –Yesterday’s Shows (Jr Fair Office)
5:30 PM Jr Fair Best Dressed Goat (S Show Arena )
6:00 PM 4-H Free Style Riding (N Grandstand) followed by Barrel Battle (N Grandstand)
7:00 PM Headline Entertainment: KOI Drag Racing (S. Grandstand)
7:00 PM Jr Fair Goat Obstacle Course
11:00 PM Fairgrounds closed

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9/4/15 – 5:34 A.M.

The old Putnam County Jail is going to be demolished. The Lima News reports that after standing for more than 100 years, the building and the communications tower next to it will be torn down. The Putnam County Commissioners accepted a bid for a little more $44,000 from ALL Excavating to handle the project.

Most recently the building housed four state sales tax auditors, who will now work from home. They county IT office was also based in the building, but they have been relocated.

Commissioner John Love tells the newspaper the jail will likely be down by the end of next month. Some asbestos removal will have to take place first.

MORE: Lima News

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9/4/15 – 5:26 A.M.

The semifinalists have been named for a teaching award in Hancock County. The Findlay Rotary Club narrowed its list of the area’s top teachers this week. Three semifinalists at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels have been selected. The winners at each level will be announced in October. Those who win get $2,500 to go toward their classroom. Second and third place finishers get $250.

You can see the list of semifinalists on our website.

Elementary Semifinalists:

Leigh Ann Kuenzli, special education teacher at Chamberlin Hill Intermediate School
Kristen Lichtle, a kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary School
Valerie Smith, a first-grade teacher at Northview Primary School.

Middle School Semifinalists:

Karen Acuna, a special education teacher at Donnell Middle School
Lindsey Boes, a math and language arts teacher at Glenwood Middle School
Megan Ortinau, a math teacher at Van Buren.

High School Semifinalists:

Kim Cortez, a science teacher at Arlington
Roxanne Runion, a science teacher at Findlay
Audrey Van Hoose, a math teacher at Arlington.

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9/4/15 – 4:53 A.M.

A livestock feeds maker in Hancock County is expanding. Hamlet Protein will build a 976-square-foot addition to its plant near the Tall Timbers Industrial Center. The $750,000 investment will add more room for equipment and storage.

Mark Newcomb is the vice president of sales and marketing for Hamlet, and says they will also add two more employees. 25 people currently work at the facility.

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9/3/2015   7:10pm

An Arcadia man was sentenced in Hancock County Common Pleas Court Thursday for aggravated robbery and endangering children. The Courier reports that Joe Vera III, 21, was sentenced to 5 years for the first-degree aggravated robbery charge and 17 months for the fourth-degree endangering children charge. The sentences will be served consecutively.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Elizabeth Smith recommended 17 months for endangering children, and 8 years for aggravated robbery as Vera is “no stranger to the criminal justice system,” she said. Vera’s attorney, John McMahon, requested a minimum sentence so his client can get treatment for his struggles with alcohol. McMahon said his client was “borderline blackout drunk”during the robbery.

Last month, Vera pleaded guilty to the amended charge of endangering children, originally a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony. The original indictment said Vera engaged in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old on April 3, 2014, in McComb.

More: The Courier

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9/3/2015   3pm

A new attraction can be found at the Hancock County Fair this year. A Ninja Warrior Endurance Course can be found near the path where the old steer barn was located at the fairgrounds. One of the organizers of the event, Levi Beagle explains the course.

Audio: Levi Beagle

Fairgoers will have an opportunity to test their endurance and muscles at the fair. The course will be operating in the afternoons and evenings the entire week of the fair. Participants can qualify for prizes and a final run to be held Sunday.

Audio: Levi Beagle

Beagle says that information about the course as well as costs can be found posted at the course at the fairgrounds.

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9/3/2015  2:00pm

The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, The City So Nice They Named It Twice are some of the popular nicknames for New York City. New York is home to a wide variety of individuals and cultures and is a major hub for the arts. Next year, The Arts Partnership will be taking area youth on a trip to New York City to experience many art styles and cultures. Craig VanRenterghem Education Director for the Arts Partnership says that plans for the Youtheatre trip will have the youth experience a vast array of different art styles.

“Take in some Broadway shows, take in some sights, some museums. Get a master class or two with some professionals in the theater program. It gives students a chance to see what it can be like to have that as a career in their future.” said VanRenterghem.

The New York Trip is a first-year educational opportunity for the Arts Partnership, one that they hope will become a tradition. Students will be able to experience and take part in art shows and exhibits from large to small, as well as tour one of the largest cities in the world.

“Part of our itinerary is a tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as seeing two Broadway shows and a tour of Radio City Music Hall. There’s a lot of arts and a lot of excitement.” said VanRenterghem.

The trip will not be inexpensive. Trip packages range from $865.00 to $1125.00. However, VanRenterghem says that the Arts Partnership will work with interested people and several fundraisers will be held before the trip.

“There are payment plan opportunities with our travel company, Bob Rogers Travel and we will also offer fundraising opportunities for those that would be interested in helping the youth pay for the trip.” said VanRenterghem.

There will be 56 spots available for youth as well as chaperones and the public is encouraged to register soon if you are interested. If you would like more information on the trip, you can contact the Arts Partnership at 419-422-3412, or their website at artspartnership.com.

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