About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

10/31/16 – 5:30 A.M.

A fire near Upper Sandusky destroyed a barn late Saturday afternoon. The Wharton-Richland Township Fire Department reports they received a call about a blaze at 14664 Wyandot County Road 330 just before 5 p.m. Saturday.

A nearby trash fire likely sparked the blaze. Fire Chief Shane Weatherholtz says there were no injuries fighting the fire. The barn was a complete loss.

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10/31/16 – 5:23 A.M.

You can expect more of the same when it comes to work on area highways this week. ODOT says many of the same projects are continuing. Both directions of I-75 from State Route 235 to the County Road 60 overpass remain reduced to one lane for a repaving project. ODOT says that project will continue through mid-November now.

State Route 12 between Findlay and Fostoria will see occasional lane reductions. Crews are installing pavement reflectors following a resurfacing project.

U.S. 224 between State Route 235 and the Putnam County line remains reduced to one lane in certain areas as crews complete pavement repairs.

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10/31/16 – 5:14 A.M.

A crash north of Lima killed a Columbus Grove man late last week. The State Highway Patrol reports 63-year-old Michael Litten was driving north on North West Street around 11:10 p.m. Friday night when he hit a semi that was turning left onto North West Street from Ottawa Road.

56-year-old Terry Bartley of Bellefontaine was driving the semi. EMS crews treated Bartley for injuries at the scene of the collision. The crash remains under investigation.

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10/31/16 – 5:05 A.M.

Residents in the Liberty-Benton School District will talk about the district’s next superintendent this week. A public meeting is set for Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the high school. The meeting will gather public input on the values, skills and experience the next superintendent should have.

Current Superintendent Jim Knable told the school board in 2015 that he planned to retire in July of 2017. However, at a recent school board meeting Knable said he would like to retire at the end of December.

A questionnaire on the Liberty-Benton school website is also collecting public input for the next superintendent.

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10/31/16 – 4:57 A.M.

While asbestos remains in some Findlay City School buildings, the district has a plan to manage the material. That’s according to a report in today’s Courier. Dennis McPheron is the director of operations for the district and says, “it doesn’t pose a major health issue or problem in the school system.” McPheron says the district removed most of the asbestos in the buildings in the 1980s. They encapsulated what remained.

A federal law requires school districts to check their asbestos mitigation measures every three years. The next inspection in the Findlay school district starts in November. The remaining asbestos is only a danger during renovation or demolition projects.

It would take around $663,000 to remove all the asbestos left in the district’s building. The school system spent around $30,800 to remove some asbestos from Findlay High School and Jacobs Elementary in 2013.

Asbestos isn’t banned and is legal as long as it is properly contained.

MORE: The Courier

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10/28/16 – 5:30 A.M.

Marathon officials aren’t happy with the company’s current stock price. The Courier reports the company has outlined plans to raise its value. In a release, CEO Gary Heminger said Marathon will make a series of, “very bold, aggressive” moves to raise the stock price.

Plans include offering its logistics and transportation subsidiary, MPLX, assets contributing about $350 million to annual earnings by the end of 2017. Marathon will also contribute to MPLX’s $1 billion of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by year-end 2019. Heminger says other moves to “highlight and capture the value” of Marathon Petroleum’s ownership interest in MPLX” are on the table.

Fadel Gheit is a senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer. He tells the newspaper he agrees with Marathon’s strategy.

MORE: The Courier

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10/28/16 – 5:18 A.M.

Marathon Petroleum’s fuels processing, transportation, and logistics subsidiary had a strong third quarter. MPLX reported a profit of $141 million between July and September. That’s more than triple the number it posted for the same time period in 2015. Revenue also tripled to $703 million.

A release from the company says that it is benefiting from buying MarkWest last December. The move made MPLX the largest gas processor in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in eastern Ohio and the northeastern U.S.

CEO Gary Heminger said, “MPLX’s gathering and processing segment is experiencing growing demand from producer customers amid an improving commodity price environment.”

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10/28/16 – 5:08 A.M.

The trial of an Arlington man accused of killing his former fiance’s 2-year-old son won’t happen until next year. The Courier reports 28-year-old Brent Houdeshell’s trial is now set for January 30. Earlier this month, Aaron Ried of the public defender’s office filed a motion to withdraw as Houdeshell’s lawyer. Court records show Houdeshell is now represented by attorney Adam Nemann of Columbus.

Prosecutor’s charged Houdeshell with murder, endangering children, and tampering with evidence on April 15. Investigators say he beat 2-year-old Breydon Ferrell to death in an apartment on Breckenridge Road on March 31. The boy suffered a broken skull, bruising on the brain, a broken leg, and bruising on the face, arms, legs and feet.

MORE: The Courier

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10/28/16 – 4:56 A.M.

Campaign spending reports show Hancock County Commissioner Mark Gazarek has raised and spent more money than his opponent. The Courier reports Mark Gazarek’s campaign brought in nearly $11,000 in contributions during the last reporting period. He spent around $7,300 on the campaign.

The challenger in the race is independent candidate William Bateson. His campaign raised around $6,600 and spent roughly $4,300 during the same time.

You can see a list of each candidate’s donors in today’s Courier.

MORE: The Courier

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10/27/16 – 11:13 A.M.

Today is Hancock County Commissioner Phil Riegle’s last day in office. He’s leaving the post to take an appointment as Hancock County Prosecutor. During his last meeting, Riegle said working with several elected officials over the last 10 years is what he’ll remember most…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Riegle said things like the 2007 flood and the economic recession made the job difficult at times, but for the most part he found the job enjoyable.

Riegle had some advice for whoever the GOP appoints to take his seat as a Commissioner…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Riegle says the person appointed to the open seat should be prepared to work hard and crunch a lot of numbers.

The Hancock County Republican Party will appointment a replacement for Riegle. They’re expected to do that by the end of November.

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