About the author  ⁄ Genna Freed

10/16/14     10:01 p.m.

Since Toledo’s water crisis, much of the blame has been placed on farmers for using too much fertilizer in their fields causing higher amounts of phosphorus runoff going into the lake.

Dr. Jeffrey Reutter has been working at Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie since 1971. He said though the agricultural runoff is the biggest source for phosphorous, it’s not solely the agricultural community’s responsibility. Reutter said water treatment plants and homeowners are just as responsible.
Reutter likened what is happening with the lake now to what happened in the 70s, when water treatment plants were not as efficient. He said the conclusion then was reducing phosphorus and updating 20 treatment plants.
The goal that’s been set for now it to reduce the phosphorus load by 40 percent for everyone, not just farmers. This time it’s more difficult because instead of just updating 20 treatment plants there are 14,000 farms that need to address the issue.

Reutter said there are a number of ways to reduce the water you use, such as using lowflow toilets and showerheads. Looking at cleaning products and fertilizers to be sure they’re low phosphorus will be beneficial as well.
For farms, Reutter suggested getting the fertilizer into the ground as far as possible as opposed to just spreading it on the surface in order to decrease chances of rain washing it away, as well as not putting fertilizer on frozen or snow-covered fields for the same reason. He also said farmers should treat fertilizer and manure the same way. Reutter said algae will bloom with phosphorus assistance no matter what for the phosphorus is in, fertilizer, manure or otherwise.
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10/16/14     5:33 p.m.

In 1999, Rachel Scott wrote, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” Scott was the first person killed just days later in the Columbine High School shooting, but her many journals and life inspired Rachel’s Challenge, a program that encourages students and educators to create a positive school environment where students can learn and feel safe.

Audio: Brenda Frankart

Liberty-Benton High School principal Brenda Frankart said the challenge is a way to rejuvenate the idea of positivity and kindness into schools.

Audio: Brenda Frankart

Scott was inspired by Anne Frank and kept journals filled with positive notes, detailing the way she lived a life of kindness. Scott’s legacy lives on through the program, which Liberty-Benton students learned about on Tuesday.

Frankart said the program At LB will be student-led, and the student S.T.R.I.D.E.S. (Students Taking Roles in Developing Educational Success) are currently brainstorming projects they can work on to help implement the idea.

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10/16/14     2:49 p.m.

McLane Company officially broke ground on its 22nd grocery distribution facility in Findlay today. McLane COO Mike Youngblood said it wasn’t one thing in particular that made Findlay attractive.

Audio: Mike Youngblood

The 337,000 square foot grocery distribution center is also the beginning of an even bigger project with the creation of Tall Timbers West.

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

Mayor Lydia Mihalik said McLane and the new park are great progress for Findlay. McLane will be the first company in the new industrial park across from Lowe’s Distribution Center on County Road 99. The facility is expected to be full function by fall 2016.

Youngblood said he expects the facility to be open and fully functional by fall of 2016. To see a photo gallery of this afternoon’s groundbreaking, visit our website.

Click on each image to see a larger version

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10/16/14     11:43 a.m.

Ohio is the only state in the country that allows cities to decide their own rules, regulations and systems for municipal income taxes. For state treasurer Josh Mandel, that’s a sign something needs to be done.

Audio: Josh Mandel

Earlier this year Ohio’s House of Representatives passed a bill to help simplify the income tax system for municipalities. Since then, the bill has been waiting for a vote from the Senate.

Audio: Josh Mandel

According to Mandel, the current system puts a burden on small businesses, who don’t always have the money to hire accountants and lawyers to oversee all the necessary forms and regulations. Freeing up that money would allow them to hire more employees.

Mandel said this bill would not determine tax rates, just simplify the system. He said he’s cautiously optimistic there will be a vote from the Senate sometime this fall.

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10/15/14     9:52 p.m.

The land being discussed for possible development is  at the southeast corner of the 140/99 intersection. The currently vacant land would be developed from the existing Hillcrest neighborhood northwest to the intersection.

The land being discussed for possible development is at the southeast corner of the 140/99 intersection. The currently vacant land would be developed from the existing Hillcrest neighborhood northwest to the intersection.

Further development in the Hillcrest neighborhood on Findlay’s north side is becoming more of a reality. City council’s water and sewer committee approved a plan to partner with the neighborhood developer to increase the size of a water line and sanitary sewer to benefit the city while still serving their purposes for Hillcrest.
Service-safety director Paul Schmelzer said increasing the size of the waterline from 8 inches to 20 will help complete the city’s overall loop on County Road 140 near the intersection of County Road 99. The city would pay the difference in the two prices at $140,000.
Expanding the sanitary sewer to increase service will allow for future expansion. The plan calls for a 12-inch sewer instead of 8, of which the city would pay the $22,000 difference.
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10/15/14     9:44 p.m.

A water flow test problem has been solved, giving the green light for the opening of the Hancock County engineer’s new garage. The building at 1900 Lima Ave. had a low water flow test in July, but a second in August suggested a looped water main would give the building sufficient pressure.

At yesterday’s water and sewer committee meeting Findlay council members approved the water main project, which cleared the way for the Wood County building inspector to issue a temporary occupancy permit for the garage.

The water and sewer committee proposed the County pay a minimum of $30,000 for the project and the city would cover as much as $60,000.

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10/15/14     2:28 p.m.

A Findlay police officer was involved in a single-vehicle crash Tuesday morning on East Main Cross Street.

38-year-old Officer Ryan Parsons was eastbound in the 300 block of East Main Cross Street in a police vehicle when he left the right side of the roadway and hit a power pole at 7:55 a.m.

Parsons sustained minor injuries in the crash. He was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital by a police vehicle where he was treated and released.

The police vehicle was heavily damaged and was towed from the scene by Mac & Bob’s Towing. The power pole broke off near the ground and was later repaired by AEP.

A medical issue is a suspected factor in the crash. The crash remains under investigation.

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10/15/14     1:44 p.m.

Montre Robinson’s murder trial entered its second day with the attorneys’ opening statements and a jury trip to where Joe Gutierrez III was killed Nov. 8, 2013.

Assistant Prosecutor Alex Treece told the jury that Robinson pushed shooter Ralph Harris III to seek payback for an alleged fight between Robinson and Harris. Harris was unable to identify his attacker, but Robinson said he was certain according to Treece.

Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate said prosecutors are relying heavily on Harris’ questionable testimony. The trial will resume later this afternoon with witness testimony.

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10/14/14     8:27 p.m.

Findlay’s Water Pollution Control Center will be getting an upgrade in the form of a new conveyor belt soon. City council’s appropriations committee approved the $48,000 purchase to replace the failing belt at Tuesday’s meeting.

Service-safety director Paul Schmelzer told city council’s appropriations committee the conveyor removes sludge and transports it into a dump truck. The conveyor has been in use since 1988 and is close to failing according to Schmelzer. He said doing all the necessary repairs would be about half the cost of replacing the belt.
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10/14/14     6:29 p.m.

In about a month downtown Findlay’s halls will be decked for Christmas. Council’s appropriations committee approved $3746 to decorate the 31 light poles Findlay is responsible for downtown. The other 39 are the responsibility of the Downtown Findlay Improvement District.
Findlay pays the DFID to unpack, decorate, repack and store all the pole decorations every year. The annual payment also covers any repairs or maintenance needed for the decorations.
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