Review Category : Local News

Safe Ride Home Offering Free Rides Home 24/7 Tomorrow through the New Year

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

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Highway Patrol Searching for Driver in Double Hit-and-Run Accident

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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One Person Killed In Seneca County Crash

12/19/14 – 9:24 A.M.

One person was killed in a two-car crash in Seneca County Thursday. The Associated Press reports the accident happened in Scipio Township around 1:40 p.m.

27-year-old Donald Miller of Republic failed to yield at a stop sign and hit a car driven by 54-year-old Gaynel Klimek. Miller was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from his pickup truck. He was pronounced dead at an area hospital. Klimek was also taken to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

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North Baltimore Approves 2015 Budget

12/19/14 – 6:47 A.M.

The village of North Baltimore has passed its 2015 budget. The Sentinel-Tribune reports council approved a $4.6 million measure at their meeting this week. Village officials say the budget will allow for the same level of services provided this year without a major increase in funding.

The village’s biggest expense is for water filtration. That budget line was set at more than $533,000.

MORE: Sentinel-Tribune

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Year In Review: Findlay Village Mall Dealt Setbacks

12/19/14 – 5:30 A.M.

Our look back at 2014 focuses on the continued erosion of stores at the Findlay Village Mall today. The shopping center took some big hits this year, including the loss of Sears in April. Courier business reporter Lou Wilin said that was a tough loss because it’s hard to replace anchor stores these days…

Audio: Lou Wilin

Smaller blows to the mall were dealt later in the year, with Jo Ann Fabrics announcing it would move out of the mall to a new location. Aeropostale announced it would close this month.

Still, mall management is optimistic for the future…

Audio: Lou Wilin

Wilin said the hope is these new spaces, like the Children’s Museum and Cedar Creek Church, will bring more foot traffic to the mall.

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Columbus Grove Home Damaged By Fire

12/19/14 – 5:24 A.M.

A Columbus Grove family was driven from their home by a fire Thursday. The Lima News reports firefighters were called to 103 West Street around 5:40 p.m. Everyone in the house was able to escape safely.

So far, there’s no word on what caused the fire. No damage estimate has been released.

MORE: Lima News

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Maumee Conservancy District Gives Update On Ottawa Flood Mitigation

12/19/14 – 5:16 A.M.

Revised plans for flood mitigation in Ottawa have been accepted. The Putnam County Sentinel reports the Maumee Conservancy District reviewed the plans at a recent meeting. The state of Ohio has also set aside $1.2 million for the district. The money is to be used for non-structural flood relief efforts.

The conservancy district has also secured the URS company to put together flood mitigation plans for the Blanchard River in Ottawa.

In the meantime, any properties that could be affected by the altered approach to the Road I-9 bridge are being surveyed. The land is also being appraised so that it can be bought if needed.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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Findlay and Hancock County Health Department Merger Details Discussed

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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Six Ohio Businesses Raided Under Suspicion of Illegal Gambling

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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