12/19/14 – 9:34 A.M. A person reportedly was injured in the Hardin County Courthouse when they jumped from the third to the second floor Thursday. Kentontoday.com says the incident remains under investigation. The Hardin County Sheriff’s Office only confirmed that an EMS squad was called to the scene. MORE: Kentontoday.com
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.
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
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.
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
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
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. Audio: Paul Schmelzer 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. Audio: Paul Schmelzer 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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
12/18/14 – 11:19 A.M. There’s a reason a new hotel just opened on Findlay’s west side. More and more people are spending the night at hotels in the city. Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson says third quarter numbers from the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau are impressive… Audio: Brian Robertson Robertson says the “bed-tax” receipts from area hotels came to a little more than $150,000. For the year, collections are over $523,000.
12/18/14 – 10:55 A.M. Sales tax numbers are down 13 percent in Hancock County in December. Commissioner Phil Riegle says that number seems scary at first, but there’s something else that needs to be considered… Audio: Phil Riegle Riegle says for the year there’s been a roughly 3.3 percent increase in sales tax collections by the county. Riegle says that’s an indicator of steady business growth.
12/18/14 – 10:35 A.M. Tis’ the season – to file paperwork to run for public office. Several Findlay City Council members have taken out petitions to run for re-election. So far it appears incumbents Grant Russel, Tom Shindledecker, John Harrington, Randy Van Dyne, and Anne Spence are all running unopposed. Council president Jim Slough also is unopposed at this point. One contested race is developing in the sixth ward. Jim Niemeyer and Christina Muryn have both taken out petitions to run. Niemeyer was appointed to the post after Andy Douglas stepped down earlier this year. Tim Watson will run for election in the seventh ward race. City auditor Jim Staschiak and municipal court Judge Jonathan Starn are also circulating petitions to run for re-election. The deadline to file to run in the May primary is February 4.
12/18/14 – 10:20 A.M. Four people were recently arrested during a prostitution bust in Bluffton. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office reports the arrests came at the conclusion of an undercover investigation. A Findlay man, Cody Goshe, was arrested for solicitation. Moustapha Saar, a native of France, is facing the same charge. Brandi Millirans of Lima was charged with prostitution. Another Lima woman, Cierra Miller, faces charges of promoting prostitution and drug possession.