About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

2/19/16 – 4:59 A.M.

The Blanchard Valley Center is working to set up strategic goals for the future, and as a result you might not see their levies on the ballot as frequently. The Courier reports BVC Superintendent Kelli Grisham met with the county commissioners Thursday to get their input. Commissioner Phil Riegle suggested avoiding back-to-back levy campaigns in the future.

In May of 2015, voters renewed a 5-year, 1.9 mill operating levy for the center. A year before that a five-year, 2.5-mill levy that generates around $2.3 million a year was passed. Riegle says that while the BVC levies usually get a lot of support from the community, spacing out them out could help if public sentiment ever changed.

An upcoming change at the center will see Blanchard Valley Industries begin operating independently in October. Grisham says clients and their families will see very little change. She compared it to when a nonprofit corporation took over operations of the BVC’s residential program in 2014. The move was made to sidestep pressure on public institutions to move clients from residential housing to homes in the larger community.

MORE: The Courier

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2/18/16 – 11:14 A.M.

Shoppers didn’t hold back in Hancock County this past December. Sales tax collections for the month totalled just over $1.2 million…

Audio: Mark Gazarek

County commissioner Mark Gazarek says they don’t expect every month being up by the same amount. He adds that means the commissioners will continue to budget conservatively.

Because there is a two-month delay in getting the numbers back from the state, the December sales tax collections are recorded in February. For two months of reports in 2016, sales tax collections have totalled a little more than $2.4 million. At this time in 2015 collections were just over $2.3 million.

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2/18/16 – 10:32 A.M.

Whirlpool officials are confirming Findlay expansion plans. A release from the company says the dishwasher assembly facility on the city’s north side will break ground for an 86,400 square foot addition this spring. The total investment in the facility is expected to be $40.6 million. The project will add around new 50 jobs.

An official date for the groundbreaking will be announced once final approval of state and local assistance is given.

Jim Keppler is Whirlpool’s vice president of Integrated Supply Chain and Quality organization. In a release, he said “This is an important day for Whirlpool Corporation and another example of our ongoing commitment to American manufacturing.” Keppler added, “It represents not only an investment in the men and women of the Findlay plant, but also in the many others who assemble appliances at our eight additional U.S. manufacturing plants.”

MORE: Whirlpool Corporation

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2/18/16 – 6:54 A.M.

A Carey home was damaged by a fire Tuesday night. Firefighters were called to 606 Crab Apple Drive around 6:30 p.m. after cooking oil ignited a kitchen fire. Two girls and an infant were at home at the time and were able to escape safely.

The girls were heating up an indoor grill, but the appliance was too close to the bottle of cooking oil. The bottle melted and ignited. There was minimal damage to the home as firefighters were on scene very quickly.

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2/18/16 – 6:44 A.M.

The Arcadia school district is moving forward with plans to have all-day kindergarten in place by the next school year. The Courier reports the school board voted to renovate a former art room into a kindergarten classroom during their Wednesday meeting. Cost estimates for the materials needed to convert the room are still being gathered.

28 children are enrolled in half-day kindergarten in the district. The plans for full-day kindergarten include a lunch break at 10:15 a.m. and a snack later in the day.

Arcadia officials say once they make the move, McComb will be the final district in Hancock County with half-day kindergarten.

MORE: The Courier

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2/18/16 – 5:31 A.M.

The Findlay City School District is looking to fill three principal positions before the next school year. The Courier reports positions are open at Jefferson Primary, Lincoln Elementary, and Glenwood Middle School. Interim principals are handling the job duties while the hiring process takes place.

The Jefferson and Lincoln openings were advertised two weeks ago. Around 30 applications have been received for the two jobs. An internal posting for the Glenwood job was posted Tuesday. Assistant Superintendent Troy Roth tells the newspaper he anticipated it would also be advertised outside the school system.

Glenwood Principal David Alvarado is taking the superintendent job at Hopewell-Loudon. Jefferson Principal Krista Miller is going to become the principal at Jacob’s primary school next year. Former Lincoln Principal Scott Marcum left to become the principal for the Arlington School District.

MORE: The Courier

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2/18/16 – 5:18 A.M.

A Putnam County school district will be looking for a new superintendent. The Putnam County Sentinel reports Continental’s Joel Mengerink is leaving after the school year to take the same position in Elida. Mengerink’s final day will be July 31.

The Continental school board accepted the resignation at their meeting earlier this week.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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2/18/16 – 5:12 A.M.

An appeal of a former Findlay police officer’s firing will be heard by Ohio’s highest court. The Ohio Supreme Court will review Dave Hill’s case after lower courts affirmed the disciplinary action.

The firing happened after several incidents in 2012. In July of that year, Hill used a Taser on a 14-year-old boy, who was the son of another officer. Video of the incident was reportedly posted on Facebook. A few weeks later Hill was suspended for 10 days after he voiced his disagreement with another officer’s promotion by putting a loaded gun in his mouth. In November of 2012, Hill reportedly combined the name of a female officer with a word for a prostitute in front of other officers. The female officer was scheduled to testify about the incident involving the gun at an arbitration hearing.

In 2013 an arbitrator ruled Hill should be reinstated to his position with no back pay. The city appealed the decision and a Cuyahoga County judge ruled the arbitrator overreached in trying to find a middle ground. Hill appealed that decision, but the 8th District Court of Appeals sided with the city on the firing.

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2/18/16 – 4:57 A.M.

The Whirpool plant in Findlay is planning an expansion. Dow Jones Newswires reports the Whirlpool Corporation plans to build an 86,400 square foot, $40.6 million addition to the facility just north of the city. Roughly 50 jobs will be added at the plant as a result. No other details about the plans have been made available by the company just yet.

The Findlay plant already employs around 2,300 people. 12,500 dishwashers are made in the facility each day.

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2/17/16 – 7:14 A.M.

A former Lima Police officer is currently standing trial, accused of raping a 16-year-old girl. The Lima News reports the accuser in the case, who is now 17, testified against 28-year-old Justin Bentz Tuesday. During an hour of testimony, the girl said Bentz got her drunk and took advantage of her last June.

The teen was living with her sister at the time, and Bentz was a roommate in the home.

The defense has argued Bentz did have sex with the girl, but that it was consensual.

The trial resumes today.

MORE: Lima News

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