About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

8/31/16 – 5:20 A.M.

Hancock County plans to use the Findlay City School’s dark fiber network for telephone services in the future, but the system isn’t ready yet. As a result, the county commissioners agreed to extend their contract with Centrex for another year. The county pays around $10,000 a month for phone services. If the county decides to abandon the contract once the fiber loop is ready, they’ll still have to pay the remaining amount.

Telecommunications coordinator Dale Shaheen told the commissioners the extension was cheaper than a new contract would have been. AT&T quoted the county a monthly rate of more than $91,000 for a monthly deal.

The fiber loop is expected to be online sometime in the first quarter of 2017.

Read More →

8/31/16 – 5:12 A.M.

An appeals court has upheld the sentence of a McComb man. The Courier reports the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lima issued an opinion Monday in the case of 39-year-old Kevin Potts. Potts was convicted on charges of aggravated burglary and felonious assault for breaking into the home of an off-duty Hancock County corrections officer last summer. He was sentenced to 17-years in prison as a result.

Potts’ girlfriend had accused officer John Sheppard of sexually assaulting her while she was in jail for drunk driving. She was found guilty of making false accusations and sentenced to jail the same day of the attack. Potts pointed a loaded handgun at Sheppard during the break-in. The two fought until a sheriff’s deputy arrived to help.

Pott’s appeal raised five points. The claim said there was insufficient evidence he knowingly caused harm to Sheppard; that the trial court refused to advise the jury on a lesser charge; that the trial court didn’t allow cross-examination on specific matters; that the prosecution was allowed to offer opinion on witness credibility during closing arguments, and that the sentences for the two convictions should have been merged.

The appeals court found no basis for any of the claims made in the appeal process.

MORE: The Courier

Read More →

8/31/16 – 4:53 A.M.

The Hancock County Fair opens today. The first day of the fair will see plenty of activity. Several junior fair shows will take place throughout the day, including horse, swine, and rabbit showmanship. Many open class competitions will also be on the agenda.

The main attraction in the south grandstand tonight will be the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. It will be followed by the junior fair king and queen coronation and the Hancock County Band Show.

A list of all the candidates for king and queen can be found in today’s edition of the Courier.

MORE: The Courier

Read More →

8/30/16 – 2:00 P.M.

The Hancock County Convention & Visitors Bureau is looking to build on the gains of the past year. CVB Director Alyssa Preston spoke to the Findlay Rotary Club Tuesday, saying that 2015 was a record year. Bed tax receipts were more than $577,000, and hotel stays topped 290,000.

Preston says one way to grow that number is to bring more small meetings to Findlay and Hancock County. She says that her office will work aggressively to have more groups host their meetings in our area.

Another driving factor behind the number of hotel stays is sports tournaments. Preston says the Ohio Golf Association’s Ohio Amateur tournament along with softball and baseball tournaments brought in more than $486,000 to the community.

Preston also says the CVB is increasingly reaching out to the rural community. Preston says one example of that effort was the launch of the “Heart & Soul” program in McComb.

She adds that of the more than 350 events the CVB assisted with last year, more than 70 were focused on rural areas.

Preston says her office plans to continue that effort going forward. She says they’ll be bringing county-wide event education and financial support for rural programming in the coming months.

Read More →

8/30/16 – 11:21 A.M.

Ohio’s new medical marijuana law goes into effect on September 8, but that doesn’t mean local businesses have to allow their employees to use the drug. Karen Pierce of Working Partners says there are protections for employers built into the rules…

Audio: Karen Pierce

Pierce says businesses can’t be sued for enforcing anti-drug policies, even if the employee has a medical marijuana card.

Pierce suggests area businesses review their policies on employee drug use…

Audio: Karen Pierce

Pierce says the new law allows companies to continue to enforce employee drug policies, even if an employee has a medical marijuana card.

Pierce adds the new law could cause operational issues for businesses…

Audio: Karen Pierce

Pierce says that in states that have some form of legal pot, positive tests go up. Pierce says that leads to less qualified applicants for good jobs.

Pierce spoke to members of the Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday morning. Her company focuses on creating drug-free workplace policies for businesses.

Read More →

8/30/16 – 8:14 A.M.

A Findlay street will be closed for repaving work the next two days. The city’s engineering department says work will take place on Liberty Street between Elm and Sandusky Streets. The road will be closed until 7 p.m. today and tomorrow, but will reopen both evenings.

You’re asked to avoid the area if possible.

Read More →

8/30/16 – 5:26 A.M.

A Fostoria company continues to grow. The Review-Times reports Mennel Milling has bought Renwood Mills of Newton, North Carolina. Renwood has a large flour mill and a 12-ton corn mill as well as a state-of-the-art packing facility. The company produces Southern Biscuit and TendaBake brands of flour and mix along with private label retail products.

The move comes after the recent announcement Mennel Milling had reached a deal to buy a General Mills facility in Marion County. That deal is expected to close in November.

MORE: Review-Times

Read More →

8/30/16 – 5:17 A.M.

The Hancock Park District will be monitoring birds and restoring habitats at the Oakwoods Nature Preserve this weekend, and your help is needed. The district will work on habitat restoration from 10:30 a.m. until noon Saturday. Tools will be provided to help remove invasive species. You’re asked to bring gloves, bug spray, and to dress for the weather.

Bird monitoring will take place starting at 8 a.m. The event will include hiking as well. Another bird monitoring event will take place September 30 at Bright Farm. September is a good time to see migrating songbirds.

For more information on the events call (419)424-1555.

Read More →

8/30/16 – 5:07 A.M.

Arcadia officials want to apply for state funds to help pay for resurfacing part of North Main Street. The Courier reports a special meeting on the subject will be held Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the town hall on Gibson Street to talk about the issue.

Village council wants to mill North Main Street between East Brown Road and East South Street before it is repaved. The project has been estimated to cost around $207,000. If the project is approved by the state, the village would have to pay $57,000 toward the work. Funding would also include a $75,000 low-interest loan to Arcadia.

Council has until September 9 to submit the request to the state.

MORE: The Courier

Read More →

8/30/16 – 4:56 A.M.

Labor Day is coming up, and local law enforcement is ready to crack down on drunk driving during the final three-day weekend of the summer. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office will take part in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. During the next several days you’ll see increased messages about the dangers of driving drunk. There will also be sobriety checkpoints around the region and extra officers on patrol.

Sgt. Matt Kinsinger tells the Courier drunk driving is, “an unacceptable problem.” He added driving while intoxicated is, “selfish and dangerous.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 40 percent of the fatal crashes during the Labor Day holiday in 2014 involved drunk drivers.

MORE: The Courier

Read More →