About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

1/9/17 – 5:27 A.M.

The Findlay-Hancock County Public Library is rolling into the final year of its three-year strategic plan. This year the plan focuses on children. Director Jeff Winkle tells the Courier one goal is to increase the number of people taking part in the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program.” The library wants at least 450 children taking part by the end of the year. Winkle admits it’s an aggressive goal since it would double the number of people taking part.

The second goal is to organize most children’s picture books by subject rather than by author. Winkle says, “If a child really loves dinosaurs, all of the dinosaur picture books will be together.”

MORE: The Courier

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1/9/17 – 5:17 A.M.

The Findlay Municipal Court is looking to crack down on unpaid fines and fees. The Courier reports defendants owe the court $11.7 million in outstanding fees as of December 21 of 2016. The number has increased nearly $9 million over six years.

Delinquent accounts are typically turned over to a collection agency. However, Findlay Municipal Court Judge Jonathan Starn tells the newspaper, “We’ve gotten back to the point where just doing the collection agency isn’t enough to get it done anymore.”

Starting this month, probation officers will hold weekly fines and costs hearings every Monday. The municipal court phased out a similar program five years ago when dockets got too full.

Of the $11.7 million owed to the court, $2.7 million comes from defendants who haven’t paid their jail costs. Since 2013, defendants who serve time in the county jail have to pay an $84 per day fee.

Starn says around 30 percent of people pay the fines issued by the court. He adds he’d like to see that come up to at least 40 or 45 percent.

MORE: The Courier

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1/9/17 – 4:28 A.M.

A Wood County woman is facing up to five years in prison for threatening the daughter of a murder victim. Roberta Axtell is scheduled to be sentenced today for intimidation, retaliation and menacing charges. Axtell pleaded guilty last year to threatening Dana Rosendale’s daughter on Facebook after Russell Adkins was convicted of her murder in July.

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1/6/17 – 5:36 A.M.

Firefighters from two departments battled flames and frigid temperatures in Rawson Thursday night. The Rawson and Mount Cory fire departments responded to a blaze at 156 Kelly Street around 11:30 p.m. No one was in the house at the time. The American Red Cross of Hancock County provided residents with food and clothing.

No other details were immediately available.

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1/6/17 – 5:29 A.M.

2016 was a good year in Ottawa for business development. That’s according to Mayor Dean Meyer, who spoke to the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce this week. The Putnam County Sentinel reports Meyer highlighted several small businesses that opened in Ottawa over the past during his annual address.

The biggest economic news of 2016 came from Whirlpool and One Energy. The companies are partnering for a wind turbine at the Ottawa Whirpool plant. Meyer says it shows at least a 20-year commitment from Whirlpool to stay in Ottawa.

Whirlpool is also adding another line at the facility. That will create 40 new jobs according to Meyer.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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1/6/17 – 5:12 A.M.

Findlay Police Chief Greg Horne’s last day on the job is Saturday. Horne is retiring so he can take a job as the director of public safety at Ohio Northern University. He started as an auxiliary officer in Findlay in 1983, becoming chief in 2010.

Horne tells the Courier humor is the key to getting through the sometimes stressful job. Horne says, “Sometimes it seems like a dysfunctional family. You would do really stupid stuff and make fun of each other. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a whole lot of good guys.”

Horne said a lot has changed in law enforcement since he first became an auxiliary officer in 1983. Horne said, “We’ve become problem-solvers rather than just enforcement.” He added officers now train in many areas like crisis intervention, safety curriculums, and even cultural differences.

Captain Sean Young will serve as the interim chief while the search for a full-time replacement take place. Young is eligible for the role. Lieutenants Ryan Doe, Robert Ring and John Dunbar are also eligible.

MORE: The Courier

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1/5/17 – 11:05 A.M.

The Hancock County Landfill is getting a new industrial trash compactor.  The Hancock County Commissioners signed off on the Hancock County Solid Waste District spending a little more than $738,000 for the equipment during their Tuesday meeting.

The old unit was severely damaged in 2016.  Ohio CAT offered to pay the county $30,000 to salvage it.  The offer is $10,000 more than the company offered for salvage late last year.

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1/5/17 – 7:43 A.M.

One of the area’s few remaining Kmart stores is closing this year. The company announced the Kenton location is one of eight Kmart stores shutting down in Ohio this year. The location’s closure is set for March, but the company hasn’t given an exact date. Liquidation sales start next week.

According to Kmart’s website, the last remaining store location in our area is in Fostoria.

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1/5/17 – 7:35 A.M.

North Baltimore officials want to see more economic development in the village. To do that, they’re proposing a new incentive program for employers. The Courier reports the village might offer rebates to companies that generate new payroll.

Under the plan, council would decide the details of the rebate on a case-by-case basis before making it into an ordinance.

MORE: The Courier

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