About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

12/19/14 – 9:24 A.M.

One person was killed in a two-car crash in Seneca County Thursday. The Associated Press reports the accident happened in Scipio Township around 1:40 p.m.

27-year-old Donald Miller of Republic failed to yield at a stop sign and hit a car driven by 54-year-old Gaynel Klimek. Miller was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from his pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Klimek was also taken to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

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12/19/14 – 6:47 A.M.

The village of North Baltimore has passed its 2015 budget. The Sentinel-Tribune reports council approved a $4.6 million measure at their meeting this week. Village officials say the budget will allow for the same level of services provided this year without a major increase in funding.

The village’s biggest expense is for water filtration. That budget line was set at more than $533,000.

MORE: Sentinel-Tribune

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12/19/14 – 5:30 A.M.

Our look back at 2014 focuses on the continued erosion of stores at the Findlay Village Mall today. The shopping center took some big hits this year, including the loss of Sears in April. Courier business reporter Lou Wilin said that was a tough loss because it’s hard to replace anchor stores these days…

Audio: Lou Wilin

Smaller blows to the mall were dealt later in the year, with Jo Ann Fabrics announcing it would move out of the mall to a new location. Aeropostale announced it would close this month.

Still, mall management is optimistic for the future…

Audio: Lou Wilin

Wilin said the hope is these new spaces, like the Children’s Museum and Cedar Creek Church, will bring more foot traffic to the mall.

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12/19/14 – 5:24 A.M.

A Columbus Grove family was driven from their home by a fire Thursday. The Lima News reports firefighters were called to 103 West Street around 5:40 p.m. Everyone in the house was able to escape safely.

So far, there’s no word on what caused the fire. No damage estimate has been released.

MORE: Lima News

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12/19/14 – 5:16 A.M.

Revised plans for flood mitigation in Ottawa have been accepted. The Putnam County Sentinel reports the Maumee Conservancy District reviewed the plans at a recent meeting. The state of Ohio has also set aside $1.2 million for the district. The money is to be used for non-structural flood relief efforts.

The conservancy district has also secured the URS company to put together flood mitigation plans for the Blanchard River in Ottawa.

In the meantime, any properties that could be affected by the altered approach to the Road I-9 bridge are being surveyed. The land is also being appraised so that it can be bought if needed.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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12/18/14 – 11:19 A.M.

There’s a reason a new hotel just opened on Findlay’s west side. More and more people are spending the night at hotels in the city. Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson says third quarter numbers from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau are impressive…

Audio: Brian Robertson

Robertson says the “bed-tax” receipts from area hotels came to a little more than $150,000. For the year, collections are over $523,000.

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12/18/14 – 10:55 A.M.

Sales tax numbers are down 13 percent in Hancock County in December. Commissioner Phil Riegle says that number seems scary at first, but there’s something else that needs to be considered…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Riegle says for the year there’s been a roughly 3.3 percent increase in sales tax collections by the county. Riegle says that’s an indicator of steady business growth.

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12/18/14 – 10:35 A.M.

Tis’ the season – to file paperwork to run for public office. Several Findlay City Council members have taken out petitions to run for re-election. So far it appears incumbents Grant Russel, Tom Shindledecker, John Harrington, Randy Van Dyne, and Anne Spence are all running unopposed. Council president Jim Slough also is unopposed at this point.

One contested race is developing in the sixth ward. Jim Niemeyer and Christina Muryn have both taken out petitions to run. Niemeyer was appointed to the post after Andy Douglas stepped down earlier this year.

Tim Watson will run for election in the seventh ward race.

City auditor Jim Staschiak and municipal court Judge Jonathan Starn are also circulating petitions to run for re-election.

The deadline to file to run in the May primary is February 4.

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12/18/14 – 10:20 A.M.

Four people were recently arrested during a prostitution bust in Bluffton. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrests came at the conclusion of an undercover investigation.

A Findlay man, Cody Goshe, was arrested for solicitation. Moustapha Saar, a native of France, is facing the same charge. Brandi Millirans of Lima was charged with prostitution. Another Lima woman, Cierra Miller, faces charges of promoting prostitution and drug possession.

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