About the author  ⁄ Genna Freed

12/21/14     5:30 a.m.

Our look back at 2014 continues with even more economic development in Findlay. In May, McLane Company announced they’d be building a 337,000 square foot grocery distribution center, becoming the first company in the new Tall Timbers West industrial park.

At the groundbreaking ceremony in October, McLane COO Mike Youngblood said it was a number of things that made Findlay an attractive place for the new center.

Audio: Mike Youngblood

In addition to the 425 jobs the center will create, McLane is also helping the city finance the infrastructure for the new industrial park it will be a part of.

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

At the groundbreaking, Mayor Lydia Mihalik said McLane and the new park are great progress for Findlay. McLane is giving $500,000 to help with streets, water and more for what will be Tall Timbers West. JobsOhio will also be giving an additional $637,000.

The distribution center is expected to be open in the fall of 2016.

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12/19/14     4:15 p.m.

Holiday festivities are under way with Christmas less than a week away. Whether it’s a get-together with friends or a company Christmas party, Safe Ride Home is operating 24 hours a day 7 days a week today through the end of the year to make sure anyone who has been drinking gets home safely.

Audio: Mike Cortez

Mike Cortez is the founder of Safe Ride. All rides are from the bar or party home and are free. You can contact Safe Ride Home by calling 419-425-3908, or by using the IRideHome app. More information can be found at srhfindlay.com.

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12/19/14     3:18 p.m.

Two people were hit by a truck while changing a tire on State Route 31 near milepost 4 in Hardin County’s Hale Township around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Authorities are searching for the driver and vehicle involved.

According to the State Highway Patrol, 82-year-old Lauren James of Kenton was parked well of the roadway on the southbound side of State Route 31. A tow truck was parked nearby with all emergency lights activated.

A dark colored pick-up truck heading south went off the right side of the roadway, striking both James and the tow truck driver, 21-year-old Jordan Long of Richwood, before leaving the scene.

James was airlifted to Riverside Hospital in Columbus with non-life threatening injuries. Long was taken to Hardin Memorial Hospital in Kenton with non-life threatening injuries.

The patrol is asking the public for assistance in locating the pick-up truck, possibly a Toyota with writing on the tailgate. It will have Ohio registration plates, will be missing the driver-side mirror and should have damage on the left front corner.

Anyone with information should contact the Findlay Patrol Post at 419-423-1414.

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12/18/14     9:30 p.m.

The merger of the Findlay and Hancock County Health Departments is closer to being a reality. At a committee of the whole meeting last night, city council members heard details of the process from city officials.

Findlay Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said the city will contribute $360,000 and the county $247,500. After the census in 2021 those percentages and amounts will be re-evaluated.
Starting in January the two departments will be operating parallel to one another with the goal of merging at the start of 2016. Schmelzer said what’s important right now is to focus on the big picture.
According to Schmelzer, because both departments knew the merger was coming and they are operating at low staff levels. This meaning there should be no cuts when the departments combine. Schmelzer said because of the level of service there may need to be additional hirings.
All Findlay Health Department workers will become county workers as a result of the merger. Schmelzer told council those workers will either be able to take their sick and vacation time with them or have the city pay them out. If they choose to take it with them the city will pay the county for that time.
The next steps are to finalize a contract and appoint a board and full-time health commissioner, which will happen in March. The rest of the pieces such as personel and facility will fall into place at the discretion of the new board and commissioner.
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12/18/14     3:22 p.m.

Ohio’s attorney general says state agents raided six businesses suspected of operating illegal casinos in northwest Ohio, including one in Findlay. Talk ‘n’ Win at 7525 Patriot Drive was one of the businesses raided Thursday.

The Associated Press reports local authorities also helped carry out raids in Toledo, Fremont, Defiance and Oregon. Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office says the businesses were paying out illegal cash prizes. Agents took away a combination of sweepstakes and skill games from the six sites.

Officials say skill games with cash prizes are illegal under Ohio law unless operated by a casino or racino. So far there have been no charges filed or any arrests.

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12/18/14     2:50 p.m.

Whether you’re at the store, school or at work, there is bound to be someone sniffling, sneezing or out sick this time of year. Leanna McGuire, director of nursing at the Hancock County Health Department, said in the area they’re seeing plenty of cases of the common cold but also the flu.

Audio: Leanna McGuire

McGuire said the flu vaccine is still somewhat effective, and she would still recommend it because some protection is better than none. There have been several hospitalizations due to the flu in the county already this year.

In addition to getting a flu shot, it’s important to remember the basics of self-care this time of year.

Audio: Leanna McGuire

McGuire said another easy tip to avoiding getting sick this season is to wipe down surfaces if your home or office daily with sanitizing solution to kill any germs.

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12/18/14     12:45 p.m.

Trooper Justin Slusser has been awarded the 2014 Trooper of the Year for both the Lima Post of the State Highway Patrol and the Findlay District of the Patrol.

This is Slusser’s second consecutive Trooper of the Year award. He was selected by his fellow troopers for his leadership, cooperation, ethics and commitment to law enforcement.

Slusser began his career with the Patrol in 2011. In his short career, he has won numerous other awards and trains newly graduated troopers. He is a graduate of Columbus Grove High School and the University of Northwest Ohio.

Slusser’s District Trooper of the Year award makes him eligible for the State Trooper of the Year award, which will be awarded to one of the eight district winners next February.

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12/18/14     12:35 p.m.

A Tiffin man charged with involuntary manslaughter has been found competent to stand trial.

The Fostoria Review Times reports 50-year-old Keith Hook pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity after fighting 55-year-old Dean Mathias, also of Tiffin, at a South Sandusky St. residence in Fostoria Sept. 22. Mathias died at Mercy Tiffin Hospital Sept. 23 as a result of his injuries.

Hook’s pretrial plea hearing will take place Jan. 26. His trial is set to begin February 17. He is currently being held on $100,000 bond.

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12/17/14     5:48 p.m.

The holiday season is usually a season of giving, but one Findlay family wants to warn others that a local Grinch is taking. Jenni Smith went shopping for her five kids and seven grandkids last night. She left the gifts in the car to bring in after the kids had gone to school today.

Unfortunately when she got up this morning someone had broken into her car and stolen the $400 to $500 of presents.

Audio: Jenni Smith

A report on the incident was filed with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. Smith said she knows of at least one other neighbor in her Liberty Township neighborhood whose car was broken into last night.

A friend of this Smith family set up an online fund raising page to help replace the gifts. They were able to raise triple the cost of the presents, which Smith plans to donate after replacing what was stolen.

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12/17/14     10:30 a.m.

A man who was dog sitting is now facing charges after police shot one of the dogs.

According to police, 74-year-old Keith Thompson of Findlay was responsible for the two dogs who got loose in the 900 block of Putnam St. Dec. 3. The report says the pit bull mix and boxer had acted aggressively toward a UPS driver and charged Findlay Police Captain Sean Young. When the boxer was within 8 ft. of him, Young shot the dog.

Thompson is charged with a misdemeanor for allowing the dogs to run loose. He is scheduled for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 31 in the Findlay Municipal Court.

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