About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

3/28/16 – 4:23 A.M.

Investigations will begin today into suspicious fires in Wood County. Risingsun firefighters say four fires have destroyed barns and houses in the village over the past week, including two within an hour yesterday morning. No injuries were reported in any of the fires, but the structures were destroyed. The state fire marshal’s office will arrive on the scene of the fires today to help search for the cause

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3/28/2016 – 4:00 am

Several years ago, it seemed as though there were hundreds of wind energy companies looking to set up operations in Northwest Ohio. Today most of these companies have moved on. What happened? Rebekah Hedahl from One Energy, a wind developer in Findlay says that provisions in Ohio laws, specifically House Bill 483, passed in 2014 which changed setback requirements for wind turbines made it impossible for companies to look at Ohio as a viable market for wind energy.

Audio: Rebekah Hedahl

House Bill 483 was a budget bill that contained provisions for tax cuts and social program spending. However, Cincinnati Republican State Senator Bill Seitz supported the setback amendments attached to the bill citing turbine noise, light flicker and snow and ice being thrown from the blades. Seitz claimed that the bill would still be friendly to future development of wind farms in Ohio. Two years later, Hedahl says the result speaks for itself.

Audio: Rebekah Hedahl

The setback provisions called for a turbine to be placed on property at 1125 feet from the tip of a turbine’s blades to the nearest property line. In practice, that would place setbacks at 1300 from each turbine’s base. Hedahl said that would make building projects, like the 152 wind turbine farm near Van Wert impossible today.

Audio: Rebekah Hedahl

One Energy in Findlay has placed wind turbines north of Findlay to provide power to both Whirpool and Ball Corp at a fixed rate. Hedahl said this could be done because their project was under five megawatts.

Audio: Rebekah Hedahl

Hedahl says that One Energy plans to make a go in Findlay, by developing a campus to further study wind energy and fund research and development projects associated with wind generating power systems. To hear the complete interview with Hedahl, visit our Soundcloud page below.

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3/25/2016 – 11:40 am

Four people were injured when a vehicle crashed into a home on State Route 67 west of Harpster in Wyandot County Thursday. The Courier reports that the driver, identified as 80-year-old Leah Bulger of Tiffin was transported to the Wyandot Memorial Hospital for non-incapacitating injuries. Three passengers, 53-year-old Thomas Bulger, 8-year-old Dalton Rohrbach, and 10-year-old Wyatt Hannum were injured and transported to the hospital as well.

Bulger was heading northbound on 67 shortly after 7:30pm when she ran off the right side of the road, overcorrected and went off the left side of the road, striking two parked vehicles and struck the southeast corner of a home. The occupants, identified as William and Ruth Ann Miller were home but escaped without injury. There was heavy damage to the home and all vehicles and Leah Bulger was cited for failure to maintain control.

More: The Courier

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3/25/2016 – 11:29 am

Area farmers are looking forward to getting in the fields to plant now that Spring has arrived. And one of the early steps in that is spraying in the fields. Ed Lentz from OSU Extension says that given the high winds traditionally around NW Ohio in the spring, area farmers may be tempted to get the spray applications done early this year.

Audio: Ed Lentz

Lentz cautions though that there are a number of issues associated with getting in the fields early, to beat the high winds. One of these is that field chemicals many times have regulations as to when they can be applied to a given field.

Audio: Ed Lentz

Lentz notes that many companies place specific instructions on their applications in order to prevent issues from happening down the road. He encourages farmers to read and follow all instructions when applying herbicides to a field in the spring.

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3/25/2016 – 4:37 am

One person was injured in a two-vehicle crash on State Route 23 in Seneca County Thursday. The Review-Times reports that the accident happened at the intersection of 23 and County Road 62. One man was injured in the crash and had to be extracted from one of the vehicles. The injured man, who is unknown at this time was flown from the scene for unspecified injured. No further information was available.

More: The Review Times

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3/25/2016 – 4:28 am

A new program will be coming to Columbus Grove Schools to help kids not quite ready for kindergarten. The Putnam County Sentinal reports the program, called Bulldog Begindergarten will begin next year and is designed for those young students who are not developmentally ready for kindergarten.

The requirement for kindergarten is that the child must be five years old by Sept. 30 and this is what is followed by all Putnam County districts. Educators looked at current begindergarten programs at Bluffton and Allen East which have been successful and officials said the program can help students become more knowledgeable with math concepts, problem-solving and literacy skills.

Kindergarten students will be screened in April and parents will be able to request the begindergarten program. The kindergarten team will meet to determine which students best fit the program.

More: The Putnam County Sentinal

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3/25/2016 – 4:21 am

Findlay’s north water tower, visible from Interstate 75, will become a colorful tribute to area veterans. The Courier reports that the tower will soon undergo a red, white and blue paint job to make it resemble an American flag, with the message, “Findlay salutes veterans” written across the tank.

Repairs and painting of the water tower will be completed by mid-June. The city started draining the north tower on Monday to begin making repairs. Area residents and businesses won’t lose any water service while the updates are being made.

More: The Courier

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3/25/2016 – 4:13 am

The United Way of Hancock County has approved grants to 25 programs offered by 16 social service agencies in the county. The Courier reports that a total of $1,801,141 was awarded by the United Way and Impact teams comprised of community leaders reviewed grant applications and recommended the distribution of the funds.

The process includes a review of the program results while also looking at the most pressing needs of the community. Since its inception in 1955, the United Way of Hancock County has raised more than $79 million for programs and services.

A complete listing follows;

• Boy Scouts of America, Black Swamp Council, was awarded $47,500 for two programs: a Boy Scouting program which promotes positive youth development; and Exploring, which helps young people explore career opportunities. An additional $5,000 was awarded to assist boys who do not have the financial resources to join Boy Scouts.
• Camp Fire of Northwest Ohio was awarded $60,000 for its Thrive program, a youth development effort. An additional $60,000 has been set aside for Camp Fire as a challenge grant if it meets established recommendations.
• Cancer Patient Services was awarded $130,000 for its Patient Direct Services program, providing medical supplies, nutritional supplements, emotional support and education to cancer patients.
• CASA/GAL of Hancock County was awarded $120,000 to recruit, train and support volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates who represent children who are abused, neglected or dependent or are involved in domestic relations disputes.
• The Center for Safe and Healthy Children was awarded $26,000 for its program for abused children. The program provides a safe place to investigate child abuse allegations and guide these children and their families through the legal and healing process.
• Century Health was awarded $55,000 for its Peer-to-Peer program, which advocates for those struggling with mental illness and addiction recovery.
• Challenged Champions Equestrian Center was awarded $35,000 for its therapeutic riding program for Hancock County residents with special needs and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder through horseback riding and other horse-related activities.
• Children’s Mentoring Connection was awarded $102,000 for its Mentoring Youth at Risk program, which recruits and screens adult volunteers to serve as mentors to children.
• Findlay Family YMCA was awarded $91,000 for two programs: the Open Door Membership program, which makes services accessible to low-income families while still requiring a financial contribution, and the child care program, which provides educational, social and physical development while also assisting low-income families with child care expenses.
• Family Resource Center was awarded $131,490 for three programs: Bright Beginnings, which focuses on early childhood programming; Community Prevention, which focuses on tobacco, substance and alcohol abuse prevention; and Hancock Addiction Prevention Program for Youth (HAPPY), a peer-to-peer prevention program.
• Findlay Hope House for the Homeless was awarded $265,000 for four programs: the Housing Office, providing housing assistance and community referrals to low-income people; Independence Project, which moves homeless families into permanent, affordable housing; Hope House Shelter, providing transitional housing to women and women with children; and Bridges Out of Poverty, which focuses on assisting people in generational poverty to be prosperous.
• Girl Scouts of Western Ohio was awarded $57,000 for a Personal and Professional Development program, which promotes girls’ personal growth and leadership development.
• Hancock County Saves was awarded $25,000 to provide programs to promote and increase savings and debt reduction.
• Community Action Commission was awarded $242,151 for Hancock Area Transportation Services (HATS), a public transportation program taking people to work, health appointments and more.
• Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio was awarded $9,000 for the Patient Direct Services and Education program in Hancock County.
• Open Arms Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services was awarded $300,000 for three programs: Adult Services, providing immediate shelter for persons fleeing from violence; Child Services, which includes screening for abuse, conducting support groups for children, and providing supervised visits; and Violence Recovery, a program for offenders focused on changing behavior.
In addition, the United Way entered into an agreement to reimburse the American Red Cross up to $40,000 for the year for services related to disaster relief and armed forces communications.
The United Way board has earmarked $125,000 for the Halt Hunger Initiative, which provides funding for local food pantries and programs.
Funds have also been earmarked for the following projects: the workforce coalition’s Raise the Bar-Hancock County director at $30,000; Hancock County pre-kindergarten scholarships at $175,000; and a community assessment at $5,000.

More: The Courier

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3/24/2016 – 5:13 pm

AMC announced last month that it has acquired Carmike Cinemas for $1.1 billion in a move that will make the theater chain the world’s largest chain of movie theaters. Carmike currently is the fourth largest exhibitor in the country, with 2954 screens including the ones in Findlay. With the move, AMC and Carmike would have well over 600 theater locations in 45 states across the country.

AMC has made a business by traditionally opening theaters in urban areas, whereas Carmike has operated in rural communities. With the move, the company expects that the merger will produce $35 million in cost synergies. As to what it means at the local level, not much is known at this point, however, AMC CEO Adam Aron said that the number of layoffs would be minimal. Carmike announced earlier this month that the merger is expected to be finalized by the end of this year.

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3/24/2016 – 4:22pm

A Findlay woman was killed in a two-vehicle crash on State Route 613 west of Pleasant Township Road 135 near McComb this morning. The Courier reports that 79-year-old Rose Conkle of Findlay was traveling westbound on 613 shortly before 8am when her vehicle went left of center, sideswiping an eastbound vehicle and continuing off the south side of the road where it rolled onto its side.

Conkle had to be extricated from her vehicle and was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The driver of the other vehicle was uninjured. The crash remains under investigation.

More: The Courier

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