About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

3/24/14 – 4:52 A.M.

No one was injured following a Sunday afternoon fire near Mt. Blanchard. The Delaware Township Fire Department responded to a home at 21151 Hancock County Road 183 around 3:45 p.m. A fire in a wood stove in the home’s basement reached a wall between the garage and the house. The flames caused some light damage in the garage and the attic over the garage.

The family was not displaced.

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3/21/14 – 7:38 A.M.

A sleepy driver caused a crash in northeast Hancock County Thursday morning. The Sheriff’s Office reports a car and semi collided on State Route 613 near Washington Township Road 262 just before 9 a.m. 51-year-old Brian Tiell of Fostoria was driving east on 613 when he fell asleep. That caused him to sideswipe a tractor-trailer driven by a Zanesville man.

Hanco EMS took Tiell to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Deputies cited Tiell for going over marked lanes.

View Sleepy Driver Causes Crash in a larger map

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3/21/14 – 7:16 A.M.

The statue of John Hancock that sits on top of the Hancock County courthouse is getting its night light back. The county commissioners approved a deal with First Federal Bank Thursday to place a floodlight on their building, to be pointed at the statue.

The county dropped the statue lighting efforts when the economy tanked. The commissioners will pay First Federal $500 a year for the space and electricity the light will use.

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3/21/14 – 6:46 A.M.

The teenager accused of robbing a Fostoria convenience store at gunpoint was in court this week. Prosecutors indicted 19-year-old Dakota Sharninghouse on a count of aggravated robbery. The Review-Times reports if a jury convicts him, Sharninghouse could spend 11 years in prison.

Investigators say Sharninghouse robbed the E. Lytle Street Circle K on February 27.

The Seneca County grand jury also indicted 19-year-old Zachary Spires in connection with the case. Police say Spires drove the car used to get away from the store. He faces a charge of complicity to aggravated robbery.

MORE: Review-Times

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3/21/14 – 5:29 A.M.

Marathon Petroleum has found a creative way to save on the tax bill associated with its expansion plans. The company won’t actually own the new buildings for several years. The Courier reports the Findlay-based oil giant will at first cede ownership to the Blanchard Valley Port Authority. Because the port authority is a government body, it doesn’t pay sales tax. That will save more than $2 million for the cost of the new buildings.

Marathon will pay for the construction of the new buildings. It will then lease the new office space from the port authority from 6-20 years. After that the company will buy the buildings at a cost of $10,000. The port authority approved the plan Thursday.

Marathon will pay the port authority $225,000 for its role in the plan.

MORE: The Courier

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3/21/14 – 5:16 A.M.

An area just north of Findlay could be developed in the future, but there’s just one problem right now. The site is a brownfield. That could change though, as Hancock County has approved a detailed environmental assessment of the site. The money will come from a $1 million Brownfield Assessment Coalition Grant the county received in 2010.

The area in question is just south of Allen Township Road 100, between the interstate and N. Main Street. The property was once a Marathon bulk petroleum storage center. Researchers will work to find out if there is any contamination in the soil and water at the site. An initial study found former bulk petroleum above-ground storage tanks and 10 oil wells on the site.

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3/21/14 – 4:54 A.M.

More flood-prone homes are set to be torn down in Hancock County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded the county $1 million for the effort. The money comes from the government’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. It will include more than $115,000 from the state and $155,000 in local funds.

The Hancock County Commissioners will negotiate sale prices. Homeowners in areas that see issues with flooding take part in the program voluntarily. There’s no word yet on what buildings the county will look to tear down.

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3/20/14 – 12:08 P.M.

A rebounding economy helped drive up Hancock County’s “bed tax” collections in the last quarter of 2013. That’s according to Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Rachael Rahrig. She says collections for that time were up almost 11% over 2012 numbers. That’s normally a slow period for hotel stays…

Audio: Rachael Rahrig

Rahrig expects big things in 2014 for tourism. Sports will once again be a big driver for that…

Audio: Rachael Rahrig

Rahrig says a new swim tournament is also scheduled for this summer.

She adds the events not only mean hotel stays, but dollars spent at local gas stations and restaurants.

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3/20/14 – 11:16 A.M.

When it comes to fighting prescription drug abuse, Hancock County is doing a good job. Unfortunately there’s a lot more work to do. That was the message an expert on the topic gave to members of the opiate abuse task force this week. Hancock County Commissioner Phil Riegle was in attendance, and says local collaboration is the key…

Audio: Phil Riegle

Dr. Michael Flaherty is an expert on opiate abuse, and has been working with the local task force on their plans.

Riegle says Dr. Michael Flaherty wants the group to look at ways to keep expanding their efforts…

Audio: Phil Riegle

The local task force board of directors met with Flaherty Wednesday.

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3/20/14 – 8:35 A.M.

Putnam County law enforcement and emergency crews paid tribute to a colleague earlier this week. The Putnam County Sentinel reports funeral services were held Monday for Sue Williams. She was a well-liked dispatch supervisor for the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years.

The services included a procession of fire trucks, ambulances, and sheriff’s cruisers. Two ladder trucks from the Ottawa and Perry Fire Departments set up in Columbus Grove as part of the salute.

Williams also served as a paramedic in the county for 33 years. Sheriff Mike Chandler told the newspaper, “Even when I was a deputy, Sue was more than a coworker, she was everybody’s friend.”

Williams was 52-years-old.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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