About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

4/23/15 – 4:33 A.M.

One person is dead after a freak accident in Wood County. Sheriff’s deputies say 57-year-old Almeda Couture was driving along Tontogany Creek Road yesterday when a tree fell on her SUV, pushing the vehicle into a mailbox and utility pole. A passenger in Couture’s vehicle was hospitalized.

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4/23/15 – 4:31 A.M.

Owens Community College officials are being pushed to find a solution to the school’s money crunch. The Ohio Board of Regents placed the college under “fiscal watch” yesterday, creating a higher level of financial accountability. Owens launched an aggressive recovery plan last year designed to shore up the bottom line while boosting enrollment and providing a quality education.

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4/22/15 – 11:09 P.M.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers answered questions from Hancock County residents about proposed Blanchard River flood mitigation measures Wednesday night. Lt. Col. Karl Jansen talked about why flood reduction efforts are needed in Findlay and Hancock County…

Audio: Karl Jansen

With a packed auditorium full of members of the county and the city Jansen said he expected tensions to be high…

Audio: Karl Jansen

During the question and answer session of the meeting, many asked why it seemed county residents were bearing the brunt of Findlay flood relief. Jansen addressed the topic that hung over the entire meeting…

Audio: Karl Jansen

Jansen added that the job of the Corps isn’t to assign blame, but to find a solution for the entire watershed.

Many in the agriculture community have lobbied for the river to be dredged. While the Corps has said that won’t make much of an impact on severe flooding, it might not be off the table. Laura Perez is a project manager with the agency, and told the crowd after talking with area residents they will reconsider the option.

Hancock County Farm Bureau President Gary Wilson said that concession surprised him…

Audio: Gary Wilson

However, Corps representative Mike Pniewski said the price of dredging is probably cost prohibitive…

Audio: Mike Pniewski

That figure doesn’t include the cost of dredging Eagle Creek.

Another topic that received a lot of attention during the meeting was induced flooding. Panelists from the Corps said there would be increased water levels during a 100-year flood in areas near a proposed levee.

Hancock County Farm Bureau President Gary Wilson said he was happy to hear the Corps admit this would be an issue…

Audio: Gary Wilson

Corps members said that once the plan is optimized they’ll know more about what areas will be impacted most…

Audio: Army Corps Panel

Engineers don’t believe the upstream mitigation will impact Ottawa much at all because the peak flows tend to level out between the Findlay and Ottawa.

Several people on hand were concerned that roads closed to make way for a diversion channel would limit their access to emergency services. Pniewski said that’s a concern that will be addressed in the optimized plan…

Audio: Mike Pniewski

Many residents west of the proposed channel lobbied for their roads to remain open for better access to Findlay.

Of course, if the plan is adopted there is the issue of buying land for the levee and diversion channel. Vic Kotwicki is chief of real estate for the Detroit and Buffalo Corps offices. He says in most cases a fair price is found for land…

Audio: Vic Kotwicki

Gary Wilson says he doesn’t think it will be easy to reach agreeable prices…

Audio: Gary Wilson

Kotwicki says there are instances where the negotiations end up in litigation, but it doesn’t happen as often as you might think…

Audio: Vic Kotwicki

If there is litigation, it is paid for by the local partner in the mitigation process.

Public comment is currently being taken.  The Corps will take the comments and review them while they optimize the plan.  The final draft will be up for approval in 2016.

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4/22/15 – 8:15 A.M.

A Findlay teenager was arrested and charges are pending against another man following an early morning burglary attempt in the city. The Findlay Police Department reports the incident happened around 12:30 a.m. this morning at 1121 Chateau Court.

A man was attempting to enter his home at that address when he was attacked by two masked men. The assault continued in the home until the victim struck one of the men with an object. The victim was struck multiple times but refused treatment for injuries.

A short time later police located the suspects. 19-year-old Shawn Hobbs faces an aggravated burglary charge. Another man was interviewed and released. Charges could still be filed against the second suspect.

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4/22/15 – 6:58 A.M.

The Hopewell-Loudon school district is on the hunt for a new superintendent. The Review-Times reports Nichole Jiran resigned Tuesday morning. She had been the superintendent for nearly three years. Jiran is taking a position with Marion City Schools as a director of teaching and learning.

The school district will begin their search for a new superintendent by the end of the week. Jiran’s starts her new job in July.

MORE: Review-Times

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4/22/15 – 6:49 A.M.

North Baltimore is looking to get a grant to help pay for a police cruiser and an EMS vehicle. The Courier reports village council is seeking a grant and loan package from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay for the vehicles.

Council also discussed EMS staffing. Officials are looking at ways to have more technicians available for daytime service runs. A spokesperson for Mid-County Ambulance Service said they’ve been making more runs in the North Baltimore area. Councilman Bill Cameron said that the more North Baltimore struggles to provide its own ambulance services, the more Mid-County struggles to serve its primary coverage area.

MORE: The Courier

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4/22/15 – 5:33 A.M.

Two people were hospitalized following a two-car crash in Findlay Tuesday morning. The Findlay Police Department reports the crash took place just before 9 a.m. in the 500 block of South Main Street.

59-year-old Kathleen Pahl was slowing down to let a car parallel park when she was hit from behind by a truck driven by 47-year-old Eric Wilhelm of Arlington. Pahl and a passenger, 83-year-old Dorothy Chaskel of Findlay were treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Blanchard Valley Hospital.

Wilhelm was not hurt. He was cited for failure to maintain an assured clear distance.

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4/22/15 – 5:26 A.M.

Fostoria City Council took aim at blighted properties during their Tuesday meeting. The Review-Times reports two ordinances regarding the issue were passed last night.

The first ordinance requires property owners in the city to register vacant buildings every 12 months to weed out abandoned buildings. The second measure requires residents to keep their lawns trimmed to help improve the look of the city.

The vacant buildings list is expected to help the city keep track of buildings that need torn down. Owners of structures that aren’t abandoned will have to keep tabs on their property or face fines. The responsibilities include maintaining lawns and securing buildings.

The lawn care ordinance states that grass and weeds can’t grow over a foot tall. Failure to mow means the city will do the work, and could assess the costs on a resident’s real estate taxes.

MORE: Review-Times

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4/22/15 – 5:09 A.M.

Four fire departments battled a barn fire near New Riegel last night. The blaze reportedly started around 10:30 p.m. at 7615 West Township Road 96. Farm equipment and livestock was lost in the fire.

No other details were immediately available.

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4/22/15 – 5:04 A.M.

The lawyer for a 14-year-old charged with aggravated robbery wants the media blocked from covering the case. The Courier reports attorney Abigail Hefflinger filed paperwork this week. The filing claims the trial should be closed to “protect the nature of the juvenile court process and the rights of the alleged delinquent child.”

Hefflinger’s client, Isaiah Oliver, is accused of taking part in two robberies in Findlay on March 25. He allegedly used a knife to cut a 15-year-old boy in the abdomen in the Tiffin Avenue Kroger parking lot. A little later the teen and 21-year-old Joe Vera III of Arcadia allegedly tried to steal a car from the Tiffin Avenue Circle K.

MORE: The Courier

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