12/24/14 5:58 a.m. A new Hancock County Juvenile and Probate Court magistrate has been named. Current Magistrate Kristen Johnson, who has been elected to serve as judge starting early next year, selected David Land for the position. Land has been an assistant prosecutor for 24 years in the city of Defiance. He is a graduate of Ohio Northern University’s law school. Land was chosen out of five candidates. Johnson said his salary as magistrate will be $70,000 per year. He is the husband of Hancock County Assistant Prosecutor Cindy Land.
12/24/14 5:45 a.m. A fire severely damaged a home near Vanlue Monday night. All four people at 11588 County Road 252 were able to escape the blaze, which started around 11:30 p.m. The four occupants were Trevor Chiow, Kali Hotelling and her two children. They rent the house, which is owned by Lester DeVooght. According to the Vanlue fire department, the fire started in the back of the house where a dryer was located. The fire then spread through straw that was stacked up around the outside of the house as insulation. The department said the room where the dryer was is a complete loss and the rest of the house is extensively damaged.
12/24/14 5:34 a.m. The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is putting on a special show for children on their police scanner tonight. A Facebook post from the office says they will be tracking Santa between 8:30 and 10 p.m. tonight so kids know when to be in bed for Santa to make his deliveries. The post says the department will still be handling other calls, which will take priority over the tracking. To tune in, you will need to use a scanner website or app as the broadcast will not be on the office’s old frequencies. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office scanner broadcast
12/24/14 5:30 a.m. A project that has been in the works since April of 2013 continued this year. We continue our look back at 2014 with the Blanchard River cleaning project, which began this year. At a commissioners forum in April, Hancock County Commissioner Phil Riegle said this effort was different from those in the past. Audio: Phil Riegle In April of 2013, the Hancock County Commissioners announced their plan to clean the Blanchard as much as the law would allow. Tawa Tree Service of Ottawa took on the project for more than $381,000 and started last October. In May, commissioners got an update on the project. Tawa said they had cleaned 13 miles of river, removing 92 log jams while making their way into Hancock County. At the end of the project, they will have cleaned 88.5 miles of River, including 46.2 in Hancock County, as well as some in Putnam and Hardin Counties. The cleanup efforts include removing debris from the river, clearing 31 islands and pulling…
12/23/14 2:50 p.m. The Hancock County Commissioners approved the county budget for 2015. At a meeting this afternoon Commissioner Phil Riegle said though no budget is perfect, what the commissioners passed today was reasonable. Audio: Phil Riegle The budget details about $22.3 million in revenue. The county will also carry over about $2.5 million into next year. Audio: Phil Riegle
12/24/14 11:38 a.m. More than half of all hams eaten in the U.S. are eaten between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if you were planning on a ham for Christmas dinner you may have noticed trouble finding them in stores. That is because of a PED virus that hit the hog industry last year. The virus caused about 5 million fewer pigs to be brought to market, or 10 million hams. Audio: Ed Lentz Ed Lentz from OSU Extension said we will be paying more for hams this year to make up for that loss. And finding a smaller ham may also be difficult this year. Lentz said the producers also kept pigs longer to make up for the loss, resulting in larger hams. The virus has worked its way out of the pigs after a six to nine-month recovery period. But Lentz said we aren’t out of the woods yet. Audio: Ed Lentz
12/23/14 11:12 a.m. Hancock County’s first residential treatment center is set to open next month. A grand opening and ribbon cutting event for the Tree Line Recovery Center will be held Jan. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. State Representative Robert Sprague is expected to speak at the ceremony.
12/23/14 – 10:46 A.M. Unemployment rates for stayed steady in our region for November. New numbers from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services show Hancock and Putnam Counties continue to have some of the lowest jobless rates in the state. Hancock County’s unemployment stood at 3.3 percent last month. Putnam County was at 3.5 percent. Hardin and Wyandot Counties are both under 4 percent unemployment as well. Hardin was at 3.9 in November while Wyandot was at 3.7. Elsewhere, Henry County’s unemployment rate was 4 percent, Seneca and Wood Counties were at 4.1, and Allen County was at 4.4 percent.
12/23/14 10:48 a.m. A search warranted led to a drug bust and an arrest in Van Buren Monday. Law enforcement searched 109 1/2 S. Main St. around 5:30 p.m. They found heroin, drug paraphernalia and hypodermic needles. Additionally there was a large amount of cash, criminal tools and a firearm in the home. The only arrest was an occupant of the home. The Hancock METRICH Drug Task Unit said criminal charges are forthcoming following an investigation.
12/23/14 – 7:31 A.M. Home sales were relatively flat in our area last month. The Ohio Association of Realtors says 109 homes were sold locally in November, compared to 114 last year. While that’s only five less homes sold, it follows a trend of slower home sales for the year. The number of homes bought this year is down 8.5 percent locally compared to 2013. The number for the entire state is down only 2.6 percent. There is good news if you’re trying to sell your home. The average sale price remains up for the year. Local homes have been selling for $126,000 on average, up 4 percent over 2013 numbers.
12/22/14 5:30 a.m. A project that was originally expected to cost Hancock County more than $5 million ended up finishing at just over $2.8 million. As part of our year in review, we take a look at the opening of the Hancock County engineer’s garage, which opened in November. Audio: Brian Robertson The project was a long time coming after the old garage was destroyed by the Derecho that hit Findlay in 2012. The new building at 1900 Lima Ave. had its opening delayed following a failed water flow test in July. They were able to open temporarily in October, but were without a gas meter and heat until recently. The garage is now open and fully operational.
12/23/14 – 5:24 A.M. A rollover crash remains under investigation in northern Seneca County. Emergency responders were called to an area near Township Road 103 on State Route 12 around 10:30 a.m. Monday. Witnesses say the car went off the road and “somersaulted” in the air. The vehicle flipped many times before coming to rest in a field. No other details on the crash are available yet.
12/23/14 – 5:16 A.M. A man was injured in Fostoria when his car was hit by a train Monday night. The accident happened just before midnight at the Norfolk Southern railroad crossing on Town Street. The Fostoria Police Department reports the driver of the car ignored a crossing gate and was hit by an eastbound train. The driver’s identity hasn’t been made public yet. He was taken to ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. A passenger was not injured. A citation in the crash is pending.
12/23/14 – 5:09 A.M. McComb officials are throwing their hat into the ring for a competitive grant. The Courier reports village council has submitted paperwork to apply for a $138,000 grant from the Orton Foundation. Other Hancock County villages and townships are also competing for the money. The award helps fund community improvements. Village Administrator Kevin Siferd said McComb is also looking into doing market analysis to see if the village could support more housing. The study would look into the housing market and see if more apartments or townhouses are needed. It would come at no cost to council. MORE: The Courier
12/23/14 – 4:51 A.M. Firefighters battled a blaze near Vanlue Monday night. Emergency responders were called to 11588 Hancock County Road 252 around 11:30 p.m. The home was reportedly fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene. Four people were in the house at the time, they were able to get out safely. No other details were available.