About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

4/27/16 – 5:02 A.M.

Hancock County is getting healthier for the most part. The Courier reports results of a new community health assessment were released Tuesday. The numbers show fewer people are smoking, and fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol. However, the 2015 Hancock County Health Assessment shows more adults are misusing medications.

The numbers released Tuesday are being compared to a health assessment done in 2011. Youth smoking has declined from 8 percent to 7 percent. Adult smoking dropped from 18 percent to 13 percent during the same time.

As far as access to health care goes, only 3 percent of the people surveyed had no insurance in 2015. That number was 8 percent in 2011.

While youth drinking has declined in the county, adults report drinking more. The study shows 60 percent of adults had at least one alcoholic beverage in the month before the survey. That was up from 51 percent. While one drink may not be an issue, the number of adults who reported binge drinking was also up; 19 percent in 2015 compared to 15 percent in 2011. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more drinks in one sitting for women.

The number of adults who are overweight was up three percentage points to 38 percent. However, the younger population is slimming down a little. 13 percent were overweight in 2011, compared to 12 percent in 2015. The percentage of adults and youths considered obese didn’t change.

MORE: The Courier

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 3:40 pm

Township Trustees from Eagle Township and Liberty Township spoke with the county commissioners Tuesday about concerns they had about a proposed diversion channel for the Blanchard River. The channel would serve to control flooding along the river in Hancock County. Liberty Township Trustee Shawn Beucler said that all the trustees had four main concerns

–any roads that are cut for the channel would need a bridge to allow drivers, and more specifically emergency responders access across the channel.

–crews using roads during construction could tear up township roads. Would need funding to pay for any repairs

–county residents are entitled to have a yes or no vote on the channel plans, especially if those plans are paid for with significant county funds.

–would any property owners along the channel be reimbursed for lost property every time a future flood would result from the channel

Beucler noted that the cost/benefit ratio on the diversion channel plans didn’t seem to exist for the impacted residents of Eagle and Liberty township. Additionally, all the trustees wanted control of any plans to be in the county’s hands and not the Maumee Conservancy District.

The commissioners all said that they appreciated the comments. They noted that the Maumee Conservancy District was taking over the plan from the Army Corps of Engineers as far as research and planning were concerned but not implementation and residential concerns such as the ones brought before the commissioners would be taken into consideration in the adoption of any final plans. Commissioner Phil Riegle said that the concerns did not fall on deaf ears.

Audio: Phil Riegle

The Maumee Conservancy District will be completing a study of the project to account for the environmental impact of the channel as well as impact by way of any future flooding.

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 3:09 pm

Hancock County is looking at expanding its IT department. Curt Smith with IT, as well as county elected officials, spoke with the commissioners Tuesday about hiring an additional staff member to help with ongoing projects. Smith said that a potential hire would be junior level.

Audio: Curt Smith

Future concerns, as noted by County Auditor Charity Rauschenberg were to hire staff that could potentially move into more senior roles in the future. Given the competitive nature of IT in northwest Ohio, it was important to find people who had some experience and were not truly “entry-level”

Commissioner Phil Riegle said that the elected officials made the case that there would be ample work for an additional staff member once they’re were hired and trained on the county IT processes and issues.

Audio: Phil Riegle

Rather than approving an appropriation, the commissioners asked Rauschenberg to begin the process of advertising for the new position to see what interest it generates. The request noted that an appropriation could place a salary range at $40-50,000 but should the market dictate additional appropriations, Riegle said that the commissioners were open to future discussions.

Read More →

4/26/16 – 12:44 A.M.

The demand for new housing in Hancock County continues to grow. The Hancock County Commissioners approved plans for the Buckeye Ridge Subdivision during their Thursday meeting. Property owner Dana Parsell says the subdivision will include eight lots. The size of each lot will range from 1/6 of an acre to 1.5 acres.

Parsell adds an annexation agreement will be in place with Van Buren to provide the new homes with public sewer and water.

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 12:40 pm

The Fields For All project — The Miracle Field and Miracle Playground — to be built this summer near The Cube has a lead donor. Blanchard Valley Health System has been announced as the lead donor for the project and the new park will be called the Blanchard Valley Health System Miracle Park in its honor.

Plans for the new park will make in an inclusive facility that will allow individuals with disabilities the opportunity to play regardless of ability. The new park, located at the Marathon Diamonds will include a custom baseball field with a cushioned rubberized surface that allows players with disabilities to experience a game a baseball and wheelchair and walker accessible dugouts.

The Miracle Playground is designed to welcome children of all abilities and their families. It will provide individuals who are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged the opportunity to enjoy a playground with sensory-stimulating activities.

The entire project is budgeted for $1.35 million and currently, the project is 86 percent funded. Opening day of the park is scheduled for August 20th 2016. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.miracleleagueoffindlay.com

Read More →

4/26/16 – 12:24 A.M.

An agreement to keep storm water flowing properly for a neighborhood just west of Findlay has been reached. The Hancock County Commissioners have approved a $44,000 plan for a pump station rehab project for the Western Meadows detention pond…

Audio: Doug Cade

Deputy Engineer Doug Cade says the current pump isn’t working as efficiently as it could.

58 property owners in the area will be assessed around $725 initially for the work. They’ll also pay around $73 to maintain the pump, although those costs could be lower if the pump doesn’t have to run much.

Hancock County will pay for the assessment of county-owned property near the pond off of County Road 88.

Work is likely to begin in the late fall.

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 12:14 pm

The University of Findlay recently hired a new director of International Admissions and Services. The University announced that Martin Bennett began working at the university earlier this month and specializes in new media in student recruitment overseas.

Bennett has more than 20 years of experience in the United States and England. Most recently, he served as the global social media consultant for British Council. He received a Master of Arts degree in history in 1993, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history, with honors, in 1991, both from Marquette University.

Bennett replaced Penny Gerdeman, who retired.

More: UF Newsroom

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 12:08 pm

Two Findlay residents were injured in a crash late last week west of Pandora. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reports that 20-year-old Jacob Karhoff of Findlay was traveling westbound on OH 12 shortly after 2pm when he failed to negotiate a curve. The car slid off the road and struck an AEP Power pole.

The vehicle received heavy damage and Karhoff had to be mechanically extracted from the vehicle. He and his passenger, 19-year-old Schenia Johnson of Findlay were both injured and transported to St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima.

The crash remains under investigation by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.

Read More →

4/26/2016 – 11:09 am

Hancock County is one of the healthiest counties in Northwest Ohio. At least according to a 2015 Community Health Assessment. The Courier reports that assessment was presented at Blanchard Valley Hospital Tuesday and said that many numbers were down from 2011’s assessment, including three percent of adults reported being uninsured, compared to eight percent in 2011. Additionally, 13 percent of adults reported being a current smoker, down from 18 percent in 2011.

However, the count reported above average numbers in other areas. For example, 19 percent of adults in Hancock County reported they engaged in binge drinking, up from 15 percent in 2011. This compares to 18 percent for Ohio and 16 percent for the United States.

More than half of adults, 56 percent, rated their health status as excellent or very good. The information comes from surveys of adults, adolescents in grades 6 through 12, and children ages 0 to 11.

More: The Courier


Read More →

4/26/16 – 10:47 A.M.

Hancock County continues to pay to take care of a tuberculosis case. The county commissioners approved an additional $1,500 toward treatment of the patient during their Tuesday meeting. That’s on top of roughly $3,800 spent earlier this year.

Ohio law requires counties to cover the costs of TB treatment for people who aren’t insured. Commissioner Phil Riegle says there is only one case in the county, but they must also treat anyone living in the house with the patient.

No other details on the case can be given because of medical privacy laws.

Read More →