Review Category : Local News

Farm Fields the Focus of New ODNR Water Quality Program

8/18/14   12:55 p.m.

Since Toledo’s water crisis, the state government has been focusing on what can be done to improve water quality. One of the products of that is the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Erie Nutrient Reduction Program.

Audio: Jean Derr

Jean Derr is the Program Administrator for the Hancock Soil and Water Conservation District and will be overseeing the LE NRP which will reimburse farmers and landowners who plant cover crops, install drainage management equipment or blind tile inlets. These practices will allow farmers to better manage water from their fields after harvest and during growing season.


The program spans 27 counties, including all local counties, and its goal is to combat harmful algal blooms and nutrient run-off from fields.

Audio: Jean Derr

ODNR has committed $1.25 million for the program in addition to the $3.5 million already appropriated through the Ohio Clean Lakes initiative. They are anticipating 25,000 acres of cover crops to be planted as well as 300 structures to be installed.

Applications for the program may be picked up at the Hancock SWCD. After submitting an application, the land will be inspected by SWCD and ODNR staff to ensure it is eligible for the program.

Counties included: Allen, Ashland, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot.

Contact Jean Derr at Hancock SWCD at 419-422-6569 or Mark Bruce at ODNR at 614-265-6860 with questions or for more information.

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Gas Prices Down To Start The Week

8/18/14 – 5:31 A.M.

Gas prices are down as we start a new work week. reports the statewide average for a gallon of regular is $3.39. That’s down from the $3.51 we were paying last Monday. It’s also eight cents less than what we were paying a month ago.

Prices in Findlay are trending higher than the state average though. The average price in the city was around $3.44 this morning. Ottawa drivers were paying $3.42.

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Findlay Man Injured In Weekend Motorcycle Crash

8/18/14 – 5:23 A.M.

A Findlay man was injured in a weekend motorcycle crash. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports the accident happened around 6:40 a.m. Saturday on County Road 180.

Investigators say 26-year-old Sean Farrell was riding his motorcycle north on Road 180 when he lost control just south of State Route 568 in Marion Township. Farrell, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital. From there he was transported to the Ohio State Medical Center in Columbus by medical helicopter.

The crash remains under investigation.

View One Injured In Motorcycle Crash in a larger map

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Weekend Apartment Fire Injures Two Just Outside Of Findlay

8/18/14 – 5:15 A.M.

A fire just outside of Findlay injured a father and daughter over the weekend. Liberty Township Fire Chief Gene Stump says firefighters were called to an apartment building at 2800 South Main Street around 7:15 p.m. Saturday. David Castret and his 18-month-old daughter were taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital, where they were treated and released.

The fire started in the kitchen and was contained to one apartment. There was smoke damage to other parts of the building. No damage estimate was available.

View Weekend Apartment Fire in a larger map

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Putnam County To Tear Down Old Jail Building

8/18/14 – 5:08 A.M.

The former Putnam County jail is set to be torn down. The Putnam County Sentinel reports the county commissioners plan to use Community Development Block Grant money to demolish the 116-year-old building. The commissioners say the building has fallen into disrepair.

The facility stands at the corner of Hickory and East Third Street in Ottawa. It stopped being a jail in 2001 when the new sheriff’s office was built. The building is currently used to house Putnam County’s IT office and for some storage.

County Commissioner John Love tells the newspaper the records will be moved to the Putnam Acres site once their new building is complete.

MORE: Putnam County Sentinel

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U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers Releases Flood Study Numbers

8/18/14 – 4:58 A.M.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finally released budget numbers for the ongoing Blanchard River Flood Study. Figures released to the Courier show $5.9 million has been spent on the project so far. 64 percent of that has been for labor done by the Army Corps.

The next highest expense has been for contract labor. That line item amounts to $2.1 million. Most of the contract labor has been done by the URS Corporation, a Cleveland engineering firm. They’ve been overseeing the environmental review.

When the flood study is finished, it’s expected to cost $9 million. Hancock County and the Army Corps have been splitting the cost.

MORE: The Courier

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City and County Officials Join Forces to Create Active Shooter Response Plan

8/17/14   9:25 p.m.

What started as a mass casualty response plan for the county was transformed into an active shooter plan when law enforcement officials considered the unthinkable: a shooter in a school.
Audio: Tom Lonyo
Findlay Fire Chief Tom Lonyo said nine months ago the Findlay Fire and Police Departments and Hanco EMS sat down to create a plan. What they quickly realized was their resources alone wouldn’t be enough.
The challenge is the 26 school campuses law enforcement officials would need individual plans for.
Audio: Tom Lonyo
Lonyo said the city group paired with the Findlay State Highway Patrol post, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, Blanchard Valley and the county fire chiefs to create the plan. Lonyo said despite jurisdictional egos, everyone came together “to do what’s best for these kids.”
The response plan will be applicable to places other than schools. Lonyo said the important thing is now law enforcement officials have identified the needs for each of their jurisdictions and know who to call when needed.
As for training, Lonyo said it will be a long process because of so many people being involved, but he is hoping that being proactive will benefit all the law enforcement bodies in the long run.

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600 University of Findlay Freshmen to Take on 60 Service Projects Saturday

8/15/14    4:20 p.m.

The University of Findlay moved freshmen onto campus Thursday, but they’re not wasting any time getting them involed. The entire 600-person freshmen class will be headed out to communities in the Hancock County area today to work on over 60 service projects.

Audio: Crystal Weitz

Crystal Weitz, director of UF’s Campus Compact Center for Service Learning, said students will be working at non-profit agencies, schools, churches and nursing and assisted living homes.

Audio: Crystal Weitz

In addition to learning about service and the community, Weitz said the project will hopefully help students get to know one and other a little better.

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ODOT Awards Findlay $2.4 Million To Make Improvements To Downtown

8/15/14 – 12:05 P.M.

Findlay is getting the funding it needs from the state to move forward with improvements to the downtown area. Mayor Lydia Mihalik says ODOT has granted the city $2.4 million dollars for its Transportation Alternative Plan, or TAP.

Mihalik says the grant means the city is only on the hook for anything done outside the scope of the current proposal…

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

She adds that around $40,000 of capital improvement fund money was used to get the ball rolling on the project.

Mihalik says now that the basics of the safety improvement plan are covered, residents will be asked about what else they would like to see included in the project…

Audio: Lydia Mihalik

Mihalik adds there could also be an opportunity for beautification efforts.

The next step in the plan will be to hire a consultant to help with design work.

The improvement plan includes curb bump-outs to slow down traffic at intersections and make for a shorter distance to cross Main Street. There will also be mid-block crosswalks and pedestrian islands. Entry medians will be built at the north and south ends of downtown to slow cars down and let drivers know about increased pedestrian traffic.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017.

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GALLERY: Findlay Fire Department Fleet

8/15/14   10:25 a.m.

The Findlay Fire Department may be upgrading their fleet next year. The current fleet (pictured in Gallery 1 below) is worth $4,450,000.

Click on each image for a larger picture.

Because of layoffs, the Department will be downsizing their fleet to meet their lower staff levels. The proposed fleet (Gallery 2) will drop in value to $3,420,000 but include two new trucks.

Images from a handout from Findlay Fire Chief Tom Lonyo.

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