Review Category : Local News

Arlington Teen Facing Multiple Rape Charges

3/23/16 – 4:56 A.M.

An Arlington teenager is facing three rape charges. The Courier reports 18-year-old Kyle McDowell was also indicted on counts of gross sexual imposition and kidnapping Tuesday. Prosecutors say the incidents happened on October 11 and 14 of 2014, when McDowell was 17-years-old. The case was first heard in the Hancock County juvenile court and then sent to the grand jury for consideration.

The indictments say McDowell used force or threat of force to engage in sexual conduct with a teenage girl on October 11. Three days later McDowell allegedly engaged in sexual conduct with the victim three times. The kidnapping charge alleges that McDowell restrained the victim in the case.

Prosecutor Mark Miller says the Ohio Attorney General’s Office handled the case due to a potential conflict of interest in the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office.

MORE: The Courier

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Northbound I-75 Lane To Close This Evening

3/22/2016 – 5:23 pm

One lane of northbound I-75, between US 224 near Findlay and Allen Township Road 101 will be closed this evening. The lane will be closed from 7pm tonight until 6am Wednesday morning. ODOT reports that pavement work will be the reason for the closure. Drive with care.

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Hancock EMA Looks To Utilize App To Aid First Responders

3/22/2016 – 3:18 pm

The Hancock County Emergency Management agency would like to utilize a service to help emergency responders who respond to incidents and events. EMA Director Lee Swisher presented a proposal to the Hancock County Commissioners to make the I Am Responding service available to all emergency response agencies across Hancock County.

Swisher says that the service is already utilized by many county departments. Using mapping features already in operation, the app helps by letting agencies know who is responding to an incident, who is coming to the station or is already on site, and allows agencies to track where their crews are on site and where to go on site.

There is a cost associated with the service, which is being withheld due to confidentiality agreements, however, Swisher said that the cost will be made public if the proposal is approved. They hope to have a final proposal approved by early July of this year if not before.

More: I Am Responding

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Local Unemployment Rates Fall In February

3/22/16 – 12:15 P.M.

Hancock County added 400 people to the ranks of the employed in February, dropping the county’s unemployment rate in the process. Numbers released Tuesday by the Department of Job and Family Services show 100 less people registered for unemployment benefits last month, and the labor force also increased by 300 people. That led to the unemployment rate falling to 4.1 percent in February, down from 4.4 percent in January. The rate is slightly higher than in February of last year, when unemployment was at 4 percent.

Elsewhere, Wyandot (4.3), Putnam (4.6), and Wood (4.7) counties were all below 5 percent unemployment. Hardin County checked in at 5 percent, Allen was at 5.3, and Seneca was at 4.7 percent unemployment. Henry County had the highest local rate at 7.1 percent.

Every local county saw lower unemployment in February compared to January.

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I-75 Widening Sparks Major Change In Diversion Channel Timeline

3/22/16 – 11:45 A.M.

The reconstruction of the I-75/US 68 interchange will need tons of fill material to build. The proposed Blanchard River diversion channel will create tons of fill material. That supply-and-demand scenario has the potential to drastically change the flood mitigation timeline in Hancock County. Citing what would be another delay in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Chief’s report, Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik and project engineer Steve Wilson proposed moving toward a local diversion channel plan. The Hancock County Commissioners appear to be on board. If all goes according to plan, the construction of a diversion channel would start in February of 2018, rather than in 2022.

The change in plans means an ambitious timeline to match up with the widening of I-75 in Findlay. That project is set to go out to bid by late 2017, which means the diversion channel project would have to go out to bid at the same time. But before that happens, an engineer would have to be contracted to design the project, and surveys and geotechnical investigations will have to take place. Wilson says land will also have to be bought…

Audio: Steve Wilson

The process of buying land could start as early as this June.

Going with a local plan also means no federal dollars will be attached to the project. Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik says the county and city have banked money for this…

Audio : Lydia Mihalik

She adds there will be cost savings in using the fill material from the channel for the ODOT project.

One of the biggest criticisms of the diversion channel plan has been the taking of usable farmland. Commissioner Mark Gazarek says this plan would eliminate the need for ODOT to dig fill pits on useable land…

Audio: Mark Gazarek

Commissioner Brian Robertson said he thought the plan was a good local recommendation. He also told Mihalik he suggested a local plan in 2013, and wondered what changed her mind…

Audio: Brian Robertson

Mihalik said the opportunity to partner with ODOT and dwindling confidence in the Army Corps of Engineers was her big turning point.

Commissioner Phil Riegle also expressed concerns with the Army Corps continued delays…

Audio: Phil Riegle

The Corps wanted more study time which could have delayed a final report by up to a year.

The commissioners will likely vote to seek bids for a project consultant firm at their Thursday meeting.

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Wood County Man Killed In Weekend Crash

3/22/16 – 7:37 A.M.

A Wood County man was killed in a one-car crash over the past weekend. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office reports 46-year-old Brian Sperry of Wayne was involved in a crash on Holcomb Road east of State Route 199 around 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

No other details on the incident were available. The crash remains under investigation.

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Shannon Cemetery Plans On Hold For The Moment

3/22/16 – 7:21 A.M.

Plans for the future of the Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton are on hold for now. The Courier reports village council tabled a motion on plans for the cemetery during their Monday meeting. Mayor Judy Augsburger said she would like to form a Shannon Cemetery board before any action is taken. Council unanimously approved the motion.

Last month saw the Shannon Cemetery Commission present plans to council that contained a list of guidelines to follow for the future of the facility.

Commission members opposed plans to turn the cemetery into a memorial park.

MORE: The Courier

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Public Comment Period Open For Some Ohio Education Standards

3/22/16 – 7:09 A.M.

If you have questions, concerns or comments your child’s education, the Ohio Department of Education would like to hear them. The agency is taking feedback about English Language Arts and Mathematics standards through April 5. You can review the state’s standards on the ODE website. Suggestions and comments can be made through an online survey.

The standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics were set in 2010.

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Carey Looks To Buy New Fire Truck

3/22/16 – 6:47 A.M.

Officials in Carey are looking at ways to pay for a new fire truck. The Courier reports the village is looking to buy a new ladder truck. Fire Chief Chad Snyder told village council the current truck does not extend high enough to handle firefighting above buildings. It also only has a two-person cab.

A new truck is estimated to cost $945,000. It won’t be ready for 14 months, so council will likely set aside money to buy the vehicle over the next several months. In the meantime, they’ll look funding opportunities to cover 50 percent of the new fire truck.

MORE: The Courier

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Putnam County Lead Testing Set For Next Week

3/22/16 – 5:26 A.M.

Putnam County residents can get tested for lead next week. The Lima News reports the health department will hold the testing on March 30 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Appointments have to be made for the tests, and the cost is $20. To make an appointment call (419)523-5608.

Lead testing is done by a simple fingerstick.

MORE: Lima News

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