Review Category : Local News

Montre Robinson Murder Trial Wraps Up With Closing Arguments

10/22/14     1:31 p.m.

The trial of Findlay murder suspect Montre Robinson wrapped up today with closing arguments. The Courier’s Ryan Dunn was in court this morning where he says the prosecution reminded the jury of the happenings on the night of Joe Gutierrez’ murder.

Audio: Ryan Dunn

Dunn said the defense also reiterated their case.

Audio: Ryan Dunn

The jury is now deliberating the case. A verdict is expected tomorrow.

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Former Findlay IHOP Owner Sentenced for Fraud

10/22/14     12:20 p.m.

The former owner of the Findlay IHOP restaurant was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday.

According to the Toledo Blade, 57-year-old Tarek Elkafrawi owned seven IHOP restaurants in northwest Ohio and Indiana. A fire at the Findlay restaurant in 2008 closed the business for about a year. The restaurant remains closed and is for sale.

Elkafrawi pleaded guilty to 53 counts in relation to a series of criminal schemes between 2003 and 2012 intended to defraud the government, the restaurant’s corporation, Farmers Insurance company, and his employees of millions of dollars.

He admitted to hiring more than 200 undocumented workers. He provided some employees multiple identities to receive extra hours without overtime pay, so they could make Medicaid and other public assistance claims.

Elkafrawi was ordered to pay $1.36 million to the insurance company for fraudulent insurance claim payments, as well $5,042 to the Findlay Fire Department for the fire. He was also required a forfeiture of property, including proceeds from the sale of the seven restaurants, cash, and vehicles.

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Salvation Army Holiday Assistance Applications Begin Next Week

10/22/14     11:27 a.m.

Next week the Salvation Army of Hancock County will begin taking applications for its Holiday Assistance Program. The program is aimed at helping families who will need financial help buying presents this season.

Applications will be accepted Oct. 27 through 31 and Nov. 3 through 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., as well as later times by appointment. Those seeking assistance are asked to bring an ID, social security cards, proof of birth for all those living in the home, proof of income, expenses and Hancock County residency.

For more information, contact Major Andy Carter or Major Marty Smith at 419-422-8238.

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Two Lima Schools Evacuated Following Bomb Threat

10/22/14 – 8:43 A.M.

Two Lima school have been evacuated due to a bomb threat this morning. A tweet from the Lima Police Department says both Lima Senior High School and South Middle School are closed. Media partner WTOL-11 reports the threat was received a little before 8 a.m.

Police in Lima say not to bring your kids to the two schools. Officers are conducting sweeps at both locations.

 

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Three Hancock County Teachers Honored

10/22/14 – 5:26 A.M.

Three area teachers were honored for their hard work yesterday. Leah Brant, a sixth-grade science and English/language arts teacher at Donnell Middle School; Robynn Drerup, a kindergarten teacher at Jefferson Primary School; and Heather Murray, a Spanish teacher for Liberty-Benton, were all given Golden Apple Awards.

Award winners are given a $2,500 cash prize. Semifinalists received a $250 prize. Nominees must be full-time teachers who work in Hancock County.

The Findlay Rotary Club holds the annual event at the Winebrenner Theological Seminary.

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Findlay Murder Suspect Takes Witness Stand

10/22/14 – 4:59 A.M.

A Findlay man accused of murder testified in his own defense Tuesday. The Courier reports Montre Robinson served as his only defense witness during yesterday’s proceedings. He faces a murder charge in the death of Joe Gutierrez last November. Investigators say Robinson was driving the car Gutierrez was shot from.

Robinson testified he witnessed an attack on Ralph Harris III at the Glenwood Village Apartments on Sterling Drive a little before midnight on November 7. He added that he didn’t get a good look at the attacker, and that Harris said the man was Hispanic.

Robinson said they went to go pick up his cousin from work early on November 8. As they did, Harris was confident he saw his attacker in another car. He told Robinson to follow him. When Gutierrez got out of his car, Harris shot him. Robinson said he didn’t know Harris had a gun. He also testified he was afraid of Harris following that, so he went along with the getaway plan.

Closing arguments are set for today.

MORE: The Courier

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Hancock County Auditor Clarifies CAUV Confusion

10/21/14 – 1:43 P.M.

The Hancock County Auditor is trying to clear up some confusion among farmers in Hancock County. Charity Rauschenberg says while several area counties are having their CAUV’s reassessed this year, Hancock County is not…

Audio: Charity Rauschenberg

CAUV stands for Current Agriculture Use Values. Those rates have been increasing across the state.

41 of Ohio’s counties are being reassessed this year. Hancock County won’t be reassessed until 2016.

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Hancock County Commissioner Issue Bonds For Development

10/21/14 – 1:33 A.M.

The Hancock County Commissioners cleared the way to finance some big projects in 2015 today…

Audio: Brian Robertson

The industrial park Commissioner Brian Robertson was referring to is where the McClane development is going in on Industrial Drive.

More than $2.5 million in bonds will fund the development projects. The money will mostly go towards ditch and river maintenance, as well as paying for infrastructure on Distribution Drive.

Hancock County Commissioner Brian Robertson says that doesn’t mean taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for the debt though. Assessments will pay for the work on the waterways, and a TIF will pay for the Distribution Drive work…

Audio: Brian Robertson

The bonds will also fund some of the construction costs of the new Hancock County Engineer’s Garage.

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More Details Released On Bluffton Bank Robbery

10/21/14 – 1:09 A.M.

More details have been released on a Bluffton bank robbery and police chase from this morning. The Bluffton Police Department reports that just before 9 a.m., a man later identified as 43-year-old Brian Matheny of East Jordan, Michigan, held up the Chase Bank on Main Street. Matheny allegedly threatened an explosion if his demands weren’t met.

A teller complied, and Matheny fled the scene. His white SUV was located in the northbound lanes of I-75 a short time later. Matheny attempted to run from police, but eventually turned off the interstate on State Route 12 in Findlay. That’s where he exited his SUV, and set himself on fire.

State troopers quickly extinguished the flames, which only caused superficial injuries to Matheny. He was treated at Blanchard Valley Hospital and then taken to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office.

Gallery:

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Home Sales Down In Hancock County

10/21/14 – 12:20 P.M.

Home sales in Hancock County remain down for the year. The Ohio Association of Realtors released numbers through three-quarters of 2014 today, and the number of homes sold is down 9.1 percent. Across the state, home sales are down 3.5 percent compared to 2013 numbers.

There is good news if you’re trying to sell your home. The average sale price in Hancock County is up 4.5 percent compared to 2013. The average price is a little more than $127,000 through nine months of the year.

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