About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

10/22/15 – 6:50 A.M.

A bill sponsored by state Senator Cliff Hite would encourage companies to invest in rural Ohio towns. The measure took a step forward Wednesday, when it was passed in the Ohio senate. The Ohio Rural Jobs Act would make investment money available for companies that expand and provide new jobs in rural areas.

The program would make up to $75 million of capital available over the next two years if approved.

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10/22/15 – 6:35 A.M.

One person was injured in a two-car crash west of Findlay Wednesday afternoon. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports the collision happened at the intersection of State Route 12 and County Road 140 just before 5 p.m.

18-year-old Kashmire Harris was attempting to turn left from Road 140 onto Route 12 when she pulled into the path of a car driven by 32-year-old Cassandra Reason of McComb. Harris was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of her injuries. Reason and her 4-month-old son were not hurt.

The crash remains under investigation.

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10/22/15 – 5:30 A.M.

With the general election less than two-weeks away, we continue our look at the Findlay City Council-At-Large candidates.

On subject all the candidates have had an opinion on is tax deferments for some city businesses. Challenger Jeff Wobser says he believes the program is bad policy…

Audio: Jeff Wobser

Wobser added while he didn’t believe the practice was being abused, the somewhat secretive nature of who is taking part can have the appearance of impropriety.

Police dash and body cams have also been a big issue on the campaign trail. Wobser says the city should take a wait and see approach…

Audio: Jeff Wobser

Wobser adds while using the cams may seem simple, there must be considerating for the cost of maintenance and data storage as well.

Downtown parking is another issue that has all the candidates talking. Wobser says the changes to Crawford Street should help…

Audio: Jeff Wobser

Wobser adds he thinks the city has done about all that it can do to add extra parking spots in the downtown area.

Tomorrow we switch focus, and will look at the Fostoria City School levy.

 Full interview with Jeff Wobser:

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10/22/15 – 5:23 A.M.

A fast-food restaurant in Fostoria was robbed at knifepoint early Wednesday morning. The Fostoria Police Department reports a man threatened employees at the Taco Bell on Plaza Drive. The suspect got away with a small amount of money.

The man is described as about 5’10”, weighing around 180 pounds. He was wearing dark clothing and a ski mask.

Police are considering the suspect “extremely dangerous.” Anyone with information to call the Fostoria Police Department (419)435-8573.

There’s no word on if the incident is connected to another knifepoint robbery, which happened Monday night at the South Side Carryout.

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10/22/15 – 5:14 A.M.

An apparent incident involving an Arcadia school board member was discussed at Wednesday’s school board meeting. What that incident involved is anyone’s guess. An interaction between board member Rich Ernest, school volunteers, and a few students was brought up; but no one at the meeting offered any details.

Ernest read a brief statement before the meeting, saying the incident has been “blown way out of proportion.” He added it was resolved weeks ago. At least one person in the audience wasn’t satisfied. Shelly Hill wanted to know if school board members signed a code of conduct. She also didn’t elaborate on the issue.

MORE: The Courier

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10/22/15 – 5:02 A.M.

Firefighters in Putnam County battled two field fires Wednesday. The Putnam County Sentinel reports the first fire was reported early in the afternoon between Roads 20 and 20-J, and north of State Route 114. A brush fire ignited several acres of wheat stubble in that area. Firefighters remained on the scene through the evening to keep the flames under control.

The second fire was reported behind Cherry’s Farm Market on U.S. 224 east of Ottawa around 4:30 p.m.

In both cases trash fires combined with a strong breeze and dry conditions combined to help the flames spread.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel


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10/22/15 – 4:55 A.M.

The traffic pattern on Crawford Street in downtown Findlay will change next Wednesday afternoon. The effort to make West Crawford one-way to the west and East Crawford one-way to the east should be finished by 3:30 p.m. on October 28. A release from the city says Crawford will close in both directions Wednesday morning to allow for pavement restriping.

The changes being made will allow reverse-angle parking on the south side of the street and parallel parking on the north side.

The city is reminding residents how to reverse-angle park. First you pull ahead of the space you want to park in, then you turn on your turn signal, then you back into the spot.

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10/21/2015 – 10:21 pm

This is part of a fourteen-week series highlighting many aspects of drug use, enforcement of drug laws and treatment that community members and authorities in Hancock County face.

How has drug and alcohol addiction affected the criminal justice system? Hancock County Common Pleas Court Judge Reginald Routson spoke at the Chemical Dependency Seminar at the University of Findlay Wednesday night. Judge Routson said that there is a bit of a generational gap between judges who believe that drug addiction is a moral choice people make and those who believe that it is a mental disease.

“I think that there is an observable generational difference between how younger judges and older judges deal with these issues. But to be fair we’ve had a system that’s been in effect for a long time. The increase in drug and drug-related cases is, in our world a recent phenomenon.” said Routson.

Judge Routson said that around 85% of all cases that he sees on a daily basis are for drug or drug-related offenses, which stands in stark contrast to when he first took the bench.

“I’ve been around for 27 years. It’s been since I started being a judge that it’s really become a problem. It wasn’t a problem when I started out in 1989 at all. It was not on the radar period.” said Routson.

In response, several courts have instituted a drug court, which is a separate court system that deals with drug-related cases using a different approach. Drug courts use a treatment approach along with a punishment approach to help those charged enter into recovery programs. The drug court is new in Hancock County, having operated less than one year thus far and while he notes it’s too soon to tell, Judge Routson says that the courts have made some progress.

“I have at least three drug court participants who have been clean for seven and a half months having been tested five times a week. That’s success and progress in my view” said Routson.

Routson says that around fifty-one to fifty-three thousand people are currently in Ohio prisons, which doesn’t include local county jails, and he says that given the fact that Ohio has a bed capacity of around thirty-eight thousand, drug courts help to provide an alternative to prison time for some. There is a screening process and not everyone can go through the court, which Routson notes is a drawback, but the screening process is in place to ensure that the people involved are committed to getting help.

“I’ve had a lot of people who want to get in, but they don’t meet the criteria. We’re just not going to let anyone in because there’s a system that’s in place and we don’t want to waste our resources on people who maybe don’t need it, and also people who think it’s a way around the system. Those are our two concerns” said Routson.

Routson says that while that while the drug court in Hancock County is still young, the drug court philosophy shows that progress can be made. Courts can save money by getting people help from addiction and the people on average have fewer addiction issues.

“Recidivism definitely is reduced with drug court participants. A return to addiction definitely reduced” said Routson.

The Hancock County Drug Court meets every Tuesday. More information about the court can be found by clicking here. Next week, State Representative Robert Sprague will discuss how the state legislature has addressed addiction issues. The meeting will be held in Davis 2225 at the University of Findlay next Wednesday night at 6:00 pm.

The seminars are sponsored by The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services, Hancock County Community Partnership, and the Hancock County Opiate Task Force.

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10/21/2015 – 9:11 pm

The Findlay City Council continues to review a policy which will regulate production animal ownership in the city limits. At an ad hoc committee meeting Wednesday afternoon, several members of the council reviewed a policy from the City of Marion which addressed ownership of production animals, including how the animals can be housed, treated, and the number of animals that can be owned by residents.

Councilwoman Anne Spence said that she was in contact with the Marion prosecutor as to how their policy has impacted the city since it was implemented a few years ago. The committee voted to review the policy further once more information is obtained.

Issues with the implementation and enforcement of new ordinances were considered a primary concern as well as how the city would regulate existing animals in the city limits.

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