About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

12/29/14 – 10:29 A.M.

The Hancock County government will head into 2015 with more cash on hand than previously estimated. The commissioners learned today the cash balance for the end of this year will be a little more than $3 million.

Audio: Mark Gazarek

Commissioner Mark Gazarek says conservative budgeting will help give the county even more stability in 2015.

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12/29/14 – 5:31 A.M.

The children of a man who was declared legally dead, only to show up alive years later, will not have to pay back benefits to the Social Security Administration. The Review-Times reports Donald Miller Jr.’s children are no longer being asked to pay back more than $47,000. The agency had already decided to write-off one daughter’s bill but didn’t decide for another daughter until last week.

Miller was declared legally dead in 1994 when he disappeared. At that time, he owed his ex-wife around $26,000 in child support. Miller showed back up in Ohio last year after living in the South for more than a decade.

MORE: Review Times

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12/29/14 – 5:30 A.M.

Our year in review continues today with a look at one of the most controversial stories of 2014 – the proposed downtown Findlay traffic plan. City and business leaders proposed major changes in downtown traffic in late February…

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

Mayor Lydia Mihalik pitched changing part of South Main Street into a two-lane road as a safety measure for pedestrians. The plan included reverse angle parking and a median strip.

The plan wasn’t well received by the general public though. Many complained the plan would create bottlenecks at peak traffic times. Others were concerned about fire trucks and ambulances being able to get through the area…

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

Mihalik tried to argue the merits of the plan, but in the end it wasn’t enough. The idea, which would have included reverse-angle parking and median strips, was shelved after a couple of months of discussion.

Some aspects like curb bump-outs to make street crossings shorter are still going to be implemented.

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12/29/14 – 5:21 A.M.

While gas prices are more affordable these days, a Findlay church made the pain at the pump even more tolerable last week. The Stonebridge Church and its members paid for the gas of nearly 250 people at the Speedway on Tiffin Avenue on Christmas Eve. The Courier reports members of the church raised $5,300 to pay for drivers who stopped at the gas station last Wednesday.

They ran out of money after about an hour and 20 minutes. 16 members of the church even helped pump gas for people.

MORE: The Courier

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12/29/14 – 5:14 A.M.

Gas prices continue their free fall as we start another week. The statewide average fell 16 cents in the last seven days, down to $2.02 for a gallon of regular today. Over the last two weeks, Ohiogasprices.com reports prices have fallen 38 cents a gallon.

Local prices are following the trend. Last Monday in Findlay we started off the day paying $2.17 a gallon. This morning we’re starting off at $1.93.

The average price in Ottawa is $1.95.

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12/29/14 – 5:03 A.M.

The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of their own today. A post on the department’s Facebook page says Deputy Garry Warren of Leipsic passed away at his home Sunday night. He was 51 years old.

Warren was a twelve-year veteran as a corrections officer in the Putnam County Adult Detention Facility.

Visitation and funeral arrangements have not been finalized yet.

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12/29/14 – 4:53 A.M.

A three-vehicle crash shut down the southbound lanes of I-75 Saturday night in Findlay. The State Highway Patrol says the accident happened around 5 p.m. near the U.S. 224 interchange.

47-year-old Edward Everett of Onsted, Michigan, was driving south when he hit the brakes to avoid an object on the road. He was hit from behind by 18-year-old Nicholas Bennett of Avoca, Michigan. Both vehicles swerved and hit a semi truck.

Bennett suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken by medical helicopter to Mercy St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Toledo. His passenger, 20-year-old Kayla Bennett, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at Blanchard Valley Hospital.

Everett and the driver of the semi were not injured. The crash remains under investigation.

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12/29/14 – 5:30 A.M.

It was a quiet year for local political races. There was one exception to that rule though; the Republican Party primary race for Hancock County Commissioner. Challenger Steve Oman took on incumbent Phil Riegle, largely making the race about Blanchard River maintenance…

Audio: Steve Oman

Riegle said aggressive maintenance work was taking place…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Ultimately the voters overwhelmingly sided with Riegle. He took 60 percent of the votes cast and was uncontested in November.

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12/23/14 – 10:46 A.M.

Unemployment rates for stayed steady in our region for November. New numbers from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show Hancock and Putnam Counties continue to have some of the lowest jobless rates in the state. Hancock County’s unemployment stood at 3.3 percent last month. Putnam County was at 3.5 percent.

Hardin and Wyandot Counties are both under 4 percent unemployment as well. Hardin was at 3.9 in November while Wyandot was at 3.7.

Elsewhere, Henry County’s unemployment rate was 4 percent, Seneca and Wood Counties were at 4.1, and Allen County was at 4.4 percent.

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12/23/14 – 7:31 A.M.

Home sales were relatively flat in our area last month. The Ohio Association of Realtors says 109 homes were sold locally in November, compared to 114 last year. While that’s only five less homes sold, it follows a trend of slower home sales for the year.

The number of homes bought this year is down 8.5 percent locally compared to 2013. The number for the entire state is down only 2.6 percent.

There is good news if you’re trying to sell your home. The average sale price remains up for the year. Local homes have been selling for $126,000 on average, up 4 percent over 2013 numbers.

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