About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

1/15/15 – 5:06 A.M.

An Ottawa home was destroyed by a Wednesday morning fire. The Lima News reports the blaze broke out around 8:15 a.m. at 717 East Third Street. One person was asleep in the house at the time, but was able to escape safely.

The two-story home housed three apartments. All three apartments were affected by the flames and smoke, but only one person was in the structure.

An electrical problem is suspected to be the cause of the fire. The home was a total loss.

MORE: Lima News

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1/15/15 – 4:58 A.M.

New boat launches will be built on the Blanchard River in Hancock County. The Hancock Park District has been given a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for pay for the new launches at Liberty Landing. The grant is worth around $76,800.

The addition of the landing is part of an effort to use the river for recreational activities like boating, canoeing, and kayaking.

Construction could take place later this year.

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1/14/15 – 7:20 A.M.

Elected officials in Kenton are at odds on whether to pay for a performance audit. Kentontoday.com reports Mayor Randy Manns has vetoed an ordinance to pay for the inspection. In a written statement to council Manns said he had talked to the mayors of two other cities who had done the audit. They told him they had not seen a significant benefit. He added he did not believe it would be a good idea to spend $35,000 on the audit.

The Kenton Finance Committee has asked city council to overturn the veto.

MORE: Kentontoday.com

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1/14/15 – 6:40 A.M.

Have an idea for a restaurant? Chances are it has a better chance to succeed in Findlay. That’s according to industry trade publication Restaurant Business. In its ranking of best places to open a restaurant in the nation in 2014, Findlay finished fourth.

In fact, of the top five markets cited by the publication, Findlay is the only area that isn’t a major tourist destination. Two Hawaiian cities and Las Vegas are the only cities ranked ahead of Findlay.

The magazine cites increased economic growth as a reason why the city is attractive for potential restaurant locations. While Marathon and Cooper tire were given as examples, it also indicated the distribution centers in the region provide a stable pool of potential customers.

MORE: Restaurant Business

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1/14/15 – 5:32 A.M.

A Rawson man pleaded guilty to multiple rape charges this week. The Courier reports 56-year-old Gary Martin was in court Monday. He pleaded guilty to four first-degree felony counts of rape. The victim in the case was an 11-year-old girl.

The incidents took place between October 24 and December 29 of 2013 in Union Township and in Findlay.

Martin faces 15 to 35 years in prison. Sentencing will take place March 5.

MORE: The Courier

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1/14/15 – 5:25 A.M.

Putnam County residents are being encouraged to recycle more glass. The Putnam County Sentinel reports the county commissioners are pushing the effort. The county received a $100,000 grant from the Ohio EPA last year to increase glass recycling efforts.

Putnam County Administrator Jack Betscher tells the newspaper that officials are still working on ways to increase glass collection. Right now residents can take their glass to a recycling center at the Ottawa Walmart. The county is also going to start contacting area restaurants to solicit their glass.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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1/14/15 – 5:08 A.M.

The city of Findlay is looking to upgrade its fleet of safety service vehicles. City council will vote on buying new police cars and a new fire engine at its January 20 meeting. The cost for seven new police vehicles will be a little less than $233,500. A new fire truck could cost $580,000.

Service-Service Director Paul Schmelzer wants to move forward with the project as quickly as possible. He says the sooner the city makes its bids, the more cost-effective it can be.

The new police cars would replace four patrol cars and three detective cars. The fire department would replace Engine 4, which is a 1997 model pumper truck.

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1/14/15 – 4:58 A.M.

After a month of debate between city officials, retired Findlay Fire Chief Tom Lonyo could be getting compensation for unused sick time. The Courier reports the City Council Appropriations Committee talked about the issue at their Tuesday meeting. However, the group tabled the subject again when it was all said and done.

Findlay Law Director Don Rasmussen says the group is waiting on an approval letter from the state before moving forward. That could take a few weeks.

The debate on the issue has centered on if Lonyo was old enough to retire from his position. City law requires an employee to be 48 before they can retire, but state law would allow Lonyo to retire at 46 according to Rasmussen.

Lonyo left the fire department to take a safety-related job with Marathon Petroleum.

MORE: The Courier

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1/13/15 – 11:24 A.M.

Two people were injured in a one-car crash near Mt. Cory Monday afternoon. The State Highway Patrol reports the accident happened on County Road 16 in Blanchard Township around 1:20 p.m.

55-year-old Sherry Harris was driving north when she lost control of her car near County Road 78. The car went off the road and hit a utility pole.

Harris and her passenger, 30-year-old Brittany Grisby, were taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Both were wearing their seatbelts. Harris was cited for failure to control.

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1/13/15 – 11:16 A.M.

A final review of the 2014 budget showed Hancock County is on stable financial footing.  The finalized numbers for the past year showed county revenue was just under $23 million.  Commissioner Phil Riegle says in spite of a slower start to 2014, things turned out well in the end…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Riegle says the economy is improving in the area, which helps the county’s bottom line.

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