About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

8/29/16 – 7:00 A.M.

Columbus Grove officials are trying to figure out what to do with a vacant church. The Putnam County Sentinel reports council members recently talked about possible uses for the former Columbus Grove Presbyterian Church. Officials from the church have offered the building to the village at no cost, plus a donation of $30,000.

Village administrator Jeff Vance told council he had been approached about using the building as a branch of the public library. He added that if that happened the fire department could move to the current library location. The building could then be expanded to hold larger trucks.

Other suggestions for the old church include using it as a venue for village and school concerts, an off-site testing location for the school, and renting out the basement for gatherings.

Not everyone is on board with the village taking possession of the church. Councilman Mark Kohls said he didn’t believe they would be able to get any major revenue from the facility.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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8/29/16 – 5:41 A.M.

The Hancock County Fair starts Wednesday, and ticket prices have stayed the same for the most part. One exception is the cost of a “school ticket,” which is now $15 until 8 p.m. Friday. It was $12 last year. A school ticket is for someone 17-years-old or younger and admits them to the fair every day.

A season ticket still costs $21. It admits one person and their children 15-years-old and younger into the fair. A season ticket can be bought until 8 p.m. Friday.

Daily admission is $7 at the gate. Some fair attractions have extra fees.

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8/29/16 – 5:32 A.M.

A steel storage shed between Findlay and Rawson was damaged by a weekend fire. Firefighters from the Rawson Fire Department were called to 8411 Township Road 79 around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. A nearby trash fire spread to the building, sparking the blaze.

Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion while battling the flames.

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8/29/16 – 5:23 A.M.

A Van Buren man was arrested following a high-speed chase in Findlay over the weekend. The Findlay Police Department reports 37-year-old Joseph Miller was pulled over in the 200 block of South Main Street around 11:46 p.m. Friday. The officer who made the stop suspected there might be drugs in the car and called for a K-9 unit. When the police dog arrived, Miller sped away.

The chase made its way through the city at high speeds. At one point it went through a residential area. After stopping the car, Miller tried to run away on foot but was stopped when an officer used a Taser on him.

Miller faces several charges, including possession of cocaine, failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, tampering with evidence, and making false alarms. The last charge was filed after Miller activated the jail’s fire alarm while he was being booked.

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8/29/16 – 5:13 A.M.

Multiple cameras are being used on Findlay City School buses to keep kids safe. The Courier reports work continues to outfit each bus with five cameras each. So far 13 of the 44 have the cameras installed. The cost of the project is around $3,000 per bus. District treasurer Mike Barnhart says the plan is to install the camera system on around six to eight buses per year.

The money for the installation comes from the district’s permanent improvement levy and general fund. Around half the cost so far has come from each fund.

The cameras aren’t only designed to catch issues inside the bus. One is mounted on the outside, by the driver. Transportation Director John Dell says the camera can be used to catch people who illegally pass the buses. The video could be turned over to law enforcement so that the driver in question can be cited.

MORE: The Courier

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8/26/16 – 7:29 A.M.

Officers with the Seneca County Drug Task Force METRICH Enforcement Unit seized 100 marijuana plants from fields across the county Thursday. Several law enforcement agencies participated in the effort. The estimated value of the plants was around $100,000.

The seizures were done in coordination with the annual State Marijuana Eradication program.

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8/26/16 – 5:25 A.M.

The parent companies of two area banks are merging. First Federal Bank’s parent company, First Defiance Financial Corporation, is buying Commercial Bancshares of Upper Sandusky. Commercial Bancshares is the parent company of Commercial Savings Bank. The deal is worth around $63 million, and should close in the first quarter of 2017.

After the sale is completed Commercial Savings Bank will merge into First Federal Bank.

First Federal Bank has 34 full-service branches and 41 ATM locations in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Commercial Savings Bank has several offices in our region.

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8/26/16 – 4:59 A.M.

The Ohio Department of Transportation will not be building a noise wall along Western Avenue in Findlay. The agency released a statement Thursday that said there wasn’t enough support from the neighborhood. Around 70 residents in the area were surveyed over the summer. Less than 50 percent were in favor of the project.

The proposed wall would have been 16 feet high and stretched from the Western Avenue intersection with U6 68 / State Route 15 north to West Lake Court.

While some residents in the area had requested the wall, others wondered how it would affect their property values. Others didn’t like that it could have blocked their view of the horizon.

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8/25/16 – 12:18 A.M.

An attempt to get some clarification about a contract being requested by the Hancock County Department of Job and Family Services was made Thursday. Alliance Economic Development Director Tony Iriti says the proposal would be an offshoot of the “Raise the Bar” program that aims to connect employers with potential employees…

Audio: Tony Iriti

Iriti says the contract would allow the Alliance to work on behalf of the JFS to find businesses that would employ people from a harder to employ population.

Audio: Tony Iriti

Iriti adds the Alliance is already working to connect area businesses to potential employees, so the work on the behalf of the JFS makes sense.

Audio: Tony Iriti

WIOA is a state program that aims to get people back in the workforce.

Iriti and Hoover told the commissioners the $49,500 request would not fund a new position. It instead would be money used to fund the services provided by the Alliance. The money would come from federal and state sources, and not the county’s general fund. Commissioner Brian Robertson said the amount was a cap and didn’t mean it would all be spent.

Robertson had called the meeting to get a better picture of what the contract was intended to do. He said he believed the services covered under the proposed contract were already covered by the “Raise the Bar” initiative. The county has already contributed $30,000 to that program.

While Robertson says he has a better understanding of the proposal, he did not say if he would vote in favor of it.

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8/25/16 – 8:49 A.M.

Another area of Findlay will see fire hydrant flushing today. The water distribution department says crews will work in an area that spans from County Road 95 east to County Road 236, and from Fostoria Avenue north to County Road 212.

Crews are still working in an area that spans from County Road 236 to the west, Township Road 242 to the east, State Route 568 to the south, and State Route 12 to the north.

You can call (419)424-7192 if you have any questions.

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