About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

3/23/16 – 5:15 A.M.

The victim of a fatal crash that happened near Mount Cory Monday night was identified Tuesday. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports 46-year-old Nicole Leisenring of Findlay lost her life in the one-car crash on Union Township Road 38.

Leisenring’s car hit a bridge barrier over Ottawa Creek and flipped into the waterway around 8 p.m. Monday. The incident remains under investigation.

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3/23/16 – 5:09 A.M.

More discussion about joining the Northwestern Water and Sewer District took place in McComb Tuesday night. The Courier reports many officials on hand at the public meeting said that villages like McComb are struggling to meet state standards on water issues. Village council will give final reading to an ordinance to merge with the district at a Monday meeting.

Some residents on hand expressed concerns about the plan. Everett Latta is a Realtor in McComb and was worried about tap-in fees for new homes in McComb. Others who attended blamed former village officials for letting the water and sewer plants get into their current state.

Tom Stalter is a manager for the district. He told the audience that whether McComb joins or not, their water rates are likely to go up. He added rates and other details of the merger are still being worked on.

MORE: The Courier

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3/23/16 – 4:56 A.M.

An Arlington teenager is facing three rape charges. The Courier reports 18-year-old Kyle McDowell was also indicted on counts of gross sexual imposition and kidnapping Tuesday. Prosecutors say the incidents happened on October 11 and 14 of 2014, when McDowell was 17-years-old. The case was first heard in the Hancock County juvenile court and then sent to the grand jury for consideration.

The indictments say McDowell used force or threat of force to engage in sexual conduct with a teenage girl on October 11. Three days later McDowell allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with the victim three times. The kidnapping charge alleges that McDowell restrained the victim in the case.

Prosecutor Mark Miller says the Ohio Attorney General’s Office handled the case due to a potential conflict of interest in the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office.

MORE: The Courier

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3/22/16 – 12:15 P.M.

Hancock County added 400 people to the ranks of the employed in February, dropping the county’s unemployment rate in the process. Numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Job and Family Services show 100 less people registered for unemployment benefits last month, and the labor force also increased by 300 people. That led to the unemployment rate falling to 4.1 percent in February, down from 4.4 percent in January. The rate is slightly higher than in February of last year, when unemployment was at 4 percent.

Elsewhere, Wyandot (4.3), Putnam (4.6), and Wood (4.7) counties were all below 5 percent unemployment. Hardin County checked in at 5 percent, Allen was at 5.3, and Seneca was at 4.7 percent unemployment. Henry County had the highest local rate at 7.1 percent.

Every local county saw lower unemployment in February compared to January.

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3/22/16 – 11:45 A.M.

The reconstruction of the I-75/US 68 interchange will need tons of fill material to build. The proposed Blanchard River diversion channel will create tons of fill material. That supply-and-demand scenario has the potential to drastically change the flood mitigation timeline in Hancock County. Citing what would be another delay in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief’s report, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik and project engineer Steve Wilson proposed moving toward a local diversion channel plan. The Hancock County Commissioners appear to be on board. If all goes according to plan, the construction of a diversion channel would start in February of 2018, rather than in 2022.

The change in plans means an ambitious timeline to match up with the widening of I-75 in Findlay. That project is set to go out to bid by late 2017, which means the diversion channel project would have to go out to bid at the same time. But before that happens, an engineer would have to be contracted to design the project, and surveys and geotechnical investigations will have to take place. Wilson says land will also have to be bought…

Audio: Steve Wilson

The process of buying land could start as early as this June.

Going with a local plan also means no federal dollars will be attached to the project. Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says the county and city have banked money for this…

Audio : Lydia Mihalik

She adds there will be cost savings in using the fill material from the channel for the ODOT project.

One of the biggest criticisms of the diversion channel plan has been the taking of usable farmland. Commissioner Mark Gazarek says this plan would eliminate the need for ODOT to dig fill pits on useable land…

Audio: Mark Gazarek

Commissioner Brian Robertson said he thought the plan was a good local recommendation. He also told Mihalik he suggested a local plan in 2013, and wondered what changed her mind…

Audio: Brian Robertson

Mihalik said the opportunity to partner with ODOT and dwindling confidence in the Army Corps of Engineers was her big turning point.

Commissioner Phil Riegle also expressed concerns with the Army Corps continued delays…

Audio: Phil Riegle

The Corps wanted more study time which could have delayed a final report by up to a year.

The commissioners will likely vote to seek bids for a project consultant firm at their Thursday meeting.

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3/22/16 – 7:37 A.M.

A Wood County man was killed in a one-car crash over the past weekend. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office reports 46-year-old Brian Sperry of Wayne was involved in a crash on Holcomb Road east of State Route 199 around 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

No other details on the incident were available. The crash remains under investigation.

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3/22/16 – 7:21 A.M.

Plans for the future of the Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton are on hold for now. The Courier reports village council tabled a motion on plans for the cemetery during their Monday meeting. Mayor Judy Augsburger said she would like to form a Shannon Cemetery board before any action is taken. Council unanimously approved the motion.

Last month saw the Shannon Cemetery Commission present plans to council that contained a list of guidelines to follow for the future of the facility.

Commission members opposed plans to turn the cemetery into a memorial park.

MORE: The Courier

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3/22/16 – 7:09 A.M.

If you have questions, concerns or comments your child’s education, the Ohio Department of Education would like to hear them. The agency is taking feedback about English Language Arts and Mathematics standards through April 5. You can review the state’s standards on the ODE website. Suggestions and comments can be made through an online survey.

The standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics were set in 2010.

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3/22/16 – 6:47 A.M.

Officials in Carey are looking at ways to pay for a new fire truck. The Courier reports the village is looking to buy a new ladder truck. Fire Chief Chad Snyder told village council the current truck does not extend high enough to handle firefighting above buildings. It also only has a two-person cab.

A new truck is estimated to cost $945,000. It won’t be ready for 14 months, so council will likely set aside money to buy the vehicle over the next several months. In the meantime, they’ll look funding opportunities to cover 50 percent of the new fire truck.

MORE: The Courier

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3/22/16 – 5:26 A.M.

Putnam County residents can get tested for lead next week. The Lima News reports the health department will hold the testing on March 30 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Appointments have to be made for the tests, and the cost is $20. To make an appointment call (419)523-5608.

Lead testing is done by a simple fingerstick.

MORE: Lima News

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