About the author  ⁄ Doug Jenkins

2/10/16 – 5:02 A.M.

Last year the Hancock County Commissioners agreed to raise the county hotel/motel bed tax by 3 percent. Yesterday the terms of use of that increase were officially spelled out. The Courier reports the commissioners approved an agreement with the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts and the Hancock County Agricultural Society. The extra tax is expected to raise around $349,000 each year for the arts center, and more than $174,000 for the fair board.

The money has to be used for improvements to property or to buy assets with a useful life of at least five years. Both groups will have to report to the commissioners how the money is being used.

The arts center is expected to use the money to pay off construction debt, renovations, and equipment. The ag society plans to repair or replace several buildings at the fairgrounds.

MORE: The Courier

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2/9/2016 – 5:00 pm

Security and functionality. Those were the two primary concerns from the Hancock County Commissioners to a proposal to begin plans for upgrades to the Hancock County Courthouse and Justice Center court buildings. The county judges met with the commissioners Tuesday morning to discuss beginning plans to renovate and update the rear entrance to the courthouse and the probate & juvenile courts buildings. Judge Reginald Routson said that the courts and Sheriff’s department is in favor of modifications to the west entrance to the courthouse to make it more secure and are interested in combining efforts to current plans to modify the Justice Center which is located west of the courthouse.

Sheriff Heldman, also in attendance said that his chief concern was security for both buildings and a proposal to modify both structures and connect them to provide for one secure entrance rather than two separate ones would help to address security while also alleviating some of the costs.

Given ongoing plans to upgrade and modify Dorney Plaza, any changes that the courts make to their structure would directly impact those plans, and before any plans can be approved, a feasibility study will need to be done to see if it is possible to build a structure to accommodate both buildings. The judges proposed to conduct a feasibility study on the matter at a cost of $22,000. They would review the usage of both buildings and also provide for some design concepts.

Commissioner Phil Riegle said that the commissioners would review the proposal and have an answer by their Thursday meeting. Riegle also said that he would get in contact with the City of Findlay about expanding the scope of the study to include the Municipal Court in the city building to help secure all three buildings. Riegle said he would contact city officials this week on the matter.

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2/9/2016 – 4:44 pm

Findlay native and State Senator is hitting the campaign trail for Governor Kasich’s bid to be the Republican nominee for President. Senator Cliff Hite has been with the Kasich campaign and said that he’s happy to support Kasich’s run for the White House.

Audio: Cliff Hite

Hite said that national campaigning is quite different than Ohio campaigning, noting that the Iowa caucuses with their voting rules and the townhalls have seen record turnouts. He noted that while campaign managers tend to say that negative campaigning works, Kasich has remained positive and in doing so has grown support.

Audio: Cliff Hite

Hite said that the Kasich campaign expects to bring in a significant win in New Hampshire and they are already making plans to move on to the next set of primary elections over the next month.

Audio: Cliff Hite

Midnight voting in New Hampshire has Kasich tied with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. New Hampshire continues to vote today.

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2/9/2016 – 2:30 pm

A successor will be appointed next month to fill the vacant seat of Hardin County Commissioner following the death of Ed Elliott. WKTN Radio reports that the Hardin County Republican Party will meet March 7th to name a successor. This person will serve until the term is completed in early 2017.

Currently one Republican, Robert Carder, is running in the March 15th Primary. He will face independent Roger Crowe in November. As Elliott was to run in the primary his name will still appear on the ballot this March but a notice will be given to voters advising them that a vote for Elliott will not count.

More: WKTN Radio

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2/9/16 – 11:16 A.M.

Local business owners got a briefing on the state of the economy Tuesday. Nick Raich, founder of the Earnings Scout, talked to Findlay-Hancock County Chamber of Commerce members about his economic outlook for 2016. Raich says the data shows the economy is slowing down…

Audio: Nick Raich

However, that doesn’t mean you should panic about the economy. Raich says business owners should actually be investing in themselves right now.

Audio: Nick Raich

Raich says because companies aren’t optimistic about the economy, they are staying a holding pattern, which in turn is slowing down economic growth.

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2/9/16 – 10:35 A.M.

Members of the community are continuing to pitch in to help the people affected by the Gibbs building fire in downtown Findlay. Hancock County Red Cross director Todd James gave an update at a Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday…

Audio: Todd James

While he didn’t have an exact figure, he did mention some of the families have found new permanent housing…

Audio: Todd James

James said the situation was similar to the Argyle building fire in 2012. He added the recovery effort is moving along at about the same pace.

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2/9/2016 – 10:11 am

Two Findlay streets will be closed today due to gas line repair work. According to a release from the city engineer Columbia Gas will be working on lines on Washington Street and Liberty Streets. Washington street will be closed to thru-traffic from Cory St. to S. West Street until 1:00 pm. Liberty Street will be closed from West Main Cross to Sandusky Street until 5:00 pm this afternoon.

All work is weather permitting. Avoid both areas if at all possible.

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2/9/16 – 7:26 A.M.

The Carey school district will build a new athletic building and bus garage. The Courier reports the school board voted to approve the $1.5 million project during their Monday meeting. Bonds will be sold to raise around $1 million. The rest of project will be paid for through the general fund.

The athletic building would include a fitness/weight room, storage area, locker rooms, and public restrooms among other things. The bus garage will keep 12 buses under cover and also have a service area.

MORE: The Courier

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2/9/16 – 7:18 A.M.

Two area schools set aside their rivalry for a night to help a student battling a rare bone cancer. The Review-Times reports a benefit for L Ray Burns and his family was held during the Hopewell-Loudon girls basketball game against Tiffin Calvert Monday night.

Students and parents bought red and blue t-shirts for the Monday game, with the slogan “Shoot for a cure” and the #lraystrong hashtag. Anyone with the shirt got into the game for free, and more than 300 were sold. Raffles and a bake sale were also held to raise money for the Burns family to help pay for medical treatment.

Doctors discovered a tumor a few months after the Hopewell-Loudon senior broke his ankle in a football game against Calvert. Burns is now undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital to treat the cancerous tumor that was found in his left ankle.

MORE: Review-Times

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2/9/16 – 7:01 A.M.

Another Fostoria police officer has been charged with OVI. The Courier reports Justin Kiser was taken into custody Saturday night following a field sobriety test. Kiser was pulled over for speeding by a state trooper around 1:30 a.m. on Union Street in Fostoria. He refused to take a breathalyzer.

Kiser has been placed on leave for the time being.

On January 17 officer Cory Brian was arrested and charged with OVI when he was pulled over for a lane violation on U.S. 224. He’s scheduled for a pretrial hearing February 19.

MORE: The Courier

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