Monday, August 27th, 2007

School repairs may top $1M
It could cost more than $1 million to restore Central Middle School, the worst-hit of the Findlay City Schools in last week's flooding.
more >>
Red Cross service center opens
Flood victims needing Red Cross assistance can visit a "service center" which has opened at Owens Community College in Findlay.
more >>
Officials are optimistic about federal flood aid
Local government officials were optimistic Sunday about the area soon receiving federal funding for flood cleanup, but in the meantime they're moving ahead with vast cleanup and recovery efforts.
more >>
Inspectors assess local flood damage
Hancock County residents and business owners should know soon — perhaps in the next couple of days — if they will be able to apply for federal relief as a result of the extensive damage caused by last week's flood.
more >>
Gov. Strickland visits Putnam County
OTTAWA — The big news coming out of Ottawa/Glandorf over the weekend would have to be that the Blanchard River has returned to its banks, falling below flood stage late Sunday and allowing the cleanup to begin in earnest.
more >>
Landfill collects 900 tons of trash
Nine hundred tons.
more >>
Flood victims crowd local stores
Chad and Jody Guckes have already bought two dehumidifiers to dry out their flooded basement, two miles north of Forest, but they still need a lot of other supplies to restore their home.
more >>
Flood volunteer detours to Findlay
Christina Drake recently decided to sell everything she owns, leave her home in Harrisburg, Pa., and devote her life to helping flood victims.
more >>
Flood briefs
Marathon offices remain closed
more >>
2 tractor pulls highlight Hancock fair
It won't be long now until the Old Mill Stream Fairgrounds will be filled with the sounds of clucking chickens, frying tenderloins, screaming carnival riders and roaring tractors.
more >>
Hancock County Fair ticket prices
While many events and happenings at the 2007 Hancock County Fair will be free, there will be an admission charge to get into the fair, and to attend certain events.
more >>
Fair begins Wednesday, runs through Monday, Sept. 3
Hancock County Fair schedule:
more >>
Public Record
more >>
Local News

School repairs may top $1M


Staff Writer

It could cost more than $1 million to restore Central Middle School, the worst-hit of the Findlay City Schools in last week's flooding.

With the new school year set to begin Sept. 4, the city school board has just over a week to decide what to do.

The board held an emergency meeting Saturday evening, and will spend much of today's regular meeting making plans. The school board meets at 7 p.m. today in the commons of Millstream South, 1100 Broad Ave.

Board members learned Saturday that an initial estimate — that said repairs would cost the district in the thousands of dollars — was incorrect and that damages were more extensive than originally thought.

"When you get in here and actually start looking around (at the damage), it's a lot different than seeing it on paper," Superintendent Dean Wittwer said. "On paper it might just say that there's two feet of water in the building, but it's not until you get in here and find water in every office and in the cafeteria that it becomes a different story. You find out things you did not know."

The renovation costs will include pumping water out of the building, removing materials that are wet and unsalvageable, and assessing the air quality.

Until the air quality inside the building has been determined, the school board will not decide where to put Central Middle School students, who are scheduled to begin class on Sept. 4. The school has about 480 students.

The district is considering three options depending on the air quality report, Wittwer said.

If the air inside the building is found to be acceptable, school for Central Middle School students would be delayed only a few days.

If the air quality is poor, students may be moved to a different location for class — but that location has not yet been determined.

A third option — a "last resort," according to Assistant Superintendent Paul Blaine — would be to hold split sessions at the high school for Central and high school students.

Wittwer said the district hopes to have air quality information by today or Tuesday, and to then select a plan from the three options based on that information.

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Red Cross service center opens



Flood victims needing Red Cross assistance can visit a "service center" which has opened at Owens Community College in Findlay.

Red Cross case workers will be available there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

The center will stay open "until we start to see we're not getting a lot of people coming in," national Red Cross spokesperson Lynn Cook said Sunday.

"Everybody is eligible for assistance and we encourage people to come in as soon as they can if they need it," Cook said.

Red Cross assistance "helps people get clothing, food, medications filled and things like that to help get them through the next several days" after a disaster strikes, said Cook.

According to individual needs, the organization "may give debit cards" to people as financial assistance until personal monetary issues like insurance compensation can be ironed out.

Red Cross representatives clarified Sunday that paperwork filled out with the American Red Cross for assistance is not connected in any way with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid.

Individuals seeking federal assistance — if it becomes available — will have to file a separate application for that, Cook said.

"It is really important that people understand we are not FEMA; that we are not part of government," said Cook.

Meanwhile, fewer flood victims are now staying at the Red Cross shelter at the Cube, as they find alternative places to live. Only 31 people stayed at the shelter Saturday night, said national Red Cross representative Joan Meinke, compared to 200 at one point last week.

Some local churches also have offered shelter to displaced local residents, and are continuing to help by serving meals and handing out cleaning supplies.

Other church members from outside the state will be helping with cleanup efforts. According to a local United Way representative, between 400 and 500 Mormons will be arriving in Findlay to help with cleanup efforts. Those cleanup crews will be overseen by United Way organizers.

Meanwhile, more Red Cross cleanup kits arrived on Sunday and are available at the Cube. According to Cook, three semis full of kits arrived.

Cook said the Red Cross prefers to distribute one kit per family or household.

Contact staff writer Joy Brown at:

(419) 427-8496

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Officials are optimistic about federal flood aid



Local government officials were optimistic Sunday about the area soon receiving federal funding for flood cleanup, but in the meantime they're moving ahead with vast cleanup and recovery efforts.

"We're in recovery mode now. We've had no word from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) yet" about federal aid, "but they were here doing some looking around and I think this thing is going to start moving very quickly," local Emergency Management Agency Director Garry Valentine said Sunday.

Although speaking cautiously, many local officials were optimistic Sunday about the prospects of receiving federal assistance.

State Rep. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, who spoke at a meeting of county elected officials Sunday afternoon at the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, said he "met with the governor today in Ottawa and with FEMA representatives ... and they said they've seen" less dire situations that have merited federal funding.

FEMA teams were in Findlay and Ottawa this weekend making preliminary assessments, and were also in nearby villages that were badly flooded, including Arlington and Bluffton.

"They're now in the process of turning that information over to the governor. He will then relay to the president that he thinks a (federal disaster) declaration should be made and that would give us access to federal government" money, Valentine said.

FEMA offers two types of funding — assistance for individuals and assistance for governments. Assistance is generally given on a 75 percent to 25 percent ratio, with the public paying the smaller share, according to Hite.

Hite noted that flood damages sustained at Central Middle School, for instance, estimated to be over $1 million, could merit such aid.

When a federal disaster declaration is made, Valentine said the public will be given a toll-free FEMA number to call in order to start the process to apply for funding.

"When FEMA comes into the area, we will advertise when they're here. People will go to where they're at and start one-to-one contact with the FEMA people," he said.

Damage assessment

At a meeting Sunday morning at the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center, national American Red Cross representative Joan Meinke said that organization's damage assessment for residential properties in Hancock County, halfway completed at the end of the day Saturday, stood as follows: nine homes destroyed, 148 with major damage, 172 with minor damage, and 962 affected.

City estimates indicate at least 2,800 properties have been affected.

Flood debris

Trash containers for use by flood victims were made available Sunday at the Cooper Field parking lot on Broad Avenue.

Residents can put flood-related trash in the containers, but should not leave any trash on the ground, according to Findlay Service Director Mike Sobczyk.

The containers are not for other household garbage and are not for use by commercial haulers or contractors.

Crews will continue to pick up flood trash along curbs.

Findlay Treasurer Robert Cole Sprague said the city is being helped by crews from Cleveland with "massive amounts of debris pickup. They've done a significant amount of work on the south side of town."

Emergency officials urged citizens not to toss out "junk they couldn't sell at a garage sale" — useless items not necessarily damaged by flooding.

Valentine also stressed that people should not be scavenging from the growing scrap piles that have cropped up along roadsides, due to mold and bacteria that could be present on such items.

"There's a place north of Clinton Court on Main Street that had clothes piled up outside, neatly stacked on Saturday and when I drove by there this morning they were all over the sidewalk. People are picking up things, just drying them out and wearing them," he said.

Tetanus shots

At the meeting held at the EOC, government representatives on Sunday were clamoring for more tetanus shots for their workers, particularly those cleaning up flood debris. A Findlay Health Department spokesperson said the Ohio Department of Health shipped 150 doses for residents suffering puncture wounds while cleaning up, but said the state was giving the local department "a hard time" about getting more.

Emergency Management Association workers at the meeting said they'd demand 1,850 more doses from the state for city and county workers and residents.

Checking credentials

Emergency response organizers emphasized that residents should always check the credentials of anyone claiming to represent an organization like the Red Cross or FEMA.

Red Cross workers maintain that all credentialed workers and volunteers wear badges. Non-credentialed volunteers are also used by the Red Cross, but those people are required to accompany a credentialed worker.

Building inspectors, who will be assessing structural damage, will be arriving this week from the Ohio Department of Commerce and will have identification with them too, as will members of National VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster).

Legal issues

Information is trickling out to service organizations and government officials that the flooding is starting to affect people legally.

A United Way volunteer said she'd heard some people are experiencing problems with landlords who are trying to evict people from flood-damaged homes.

EMA workers said other issues could crop up, from insurance claim disputes to child custody issues. The Emergency Operations Center will be referring those seeking legal help to the county prosecutor's office.

Sewage plant

According to Sprague, Findlay's wastewater treatment plant suffered flood damage — not enough to affect the city's sewer operations for the time being, but enough to possibly warrant expensive repairs.

"We had buckling in the floors of our clarifying units. There are six clarifying units and each cost $750,000 to construct," Sprague said Sunday. "Because of the immense amount of water pressure, they have buckled, enough so that you can see the rebar underneath." The water also "damaged the arms" that move over the clarifiers.

"Last night we made an emergency call to the firm that engineered our sewage plant. The EPA has been contacted," Sprague said.

Contact staff writer Joy Brown at:

(419) 427-8496

Back To Headlines

Inspectors assess local flood damage



Hancock County residents and business owners should know soon — perhaps in the next couple of days — if they will be able to apply for federal relief as a result of the extensive damage caused by last week's flood.

On Saturday, two inspectors, one from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the other from the Small Business Administration (SBA), toured some of the hardest-hit areas in Findlay and Hancock County to survey the flood damage.

They were escorted by Hancock County Commissioners Emily Walton and Phillip Riegle and a representative from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA).

Stops were made on Wilch Street on the south side of Arlington, and on Clinton Street, just east of Main Street in downtown Findlay.

The SBA inspector also collected damage estimates from some of the affected business owners along Findlay's Main Street.

The inspectors were expected to complete their assessments, basically a rough estimate of the flood damage in the area, on Sunday and then forward the reports to the OEMA, which has already conducted preliminary damage assessments.

The OEMA would then make a formal request to FEMA for federal relief.

If a federal disaster declaration is made, and Hancock County qualifies, FEMA would establish a local Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Individuals, property owners and business owners could then apply for relief in the form of low-interest loans and grants.

Further information about the application process will be made available if Hancock County is found to be eligible for federal funding.

"This is just one step in the process," Commissioner Walton said Saturday. "FEMA has not set up shop here yet, but they would if the declaration is made."

Saturday's tour of flood-damaged property began from the Emergency Operations Center at the county engineer's office and made its way to Arlington, where inspectors viewed homes along Wilch Street.

At 205 Wilch St., John Shepherd said he would welcome federal relief to help cover his losses, but said he has already been assisted by neighbors, family and friends.

Shepherd said Buck Run dumped about 15 inches of water throughout his home. A car parked in the garage was also damaged.

"I hope we get the declaration, but I understand it will take a while to actually see a check," Shepherd said. "In the meantime, I've had people offering to help me do whatever I need. It's really amazing how this community is pulling together."

The inspectors asked the residents and businesses they approached for rough estimates of their losses. It was not immediately known how much flood damage is needed to make the county eligible for federal relief.

In Findlay, the inspectors were escorted down Main Street, which was still lined Saturday with mounds of debris that had been pushed to the curb by downtown businesses. Nearly all of those on Main Street were flooded between Center and Hardin streets.

The SBA representative also stopped at the home of Lois and James Speck, 204 Clinton St. That home, like almost all residences in the area, was heavily damaged. The Specks lost the contents of the basement and first floor, and the flood is believed to have also caused structural damage.

With or without federal assistance, the Specks, who are insured, are ready to leave the neighborhood.

"We moved here four years ago and have had five floods," Lois Speck said. "If we can get some help to get out, we'll leave. It's just too much to go through."

While some downtown business owners have already committed to rebuild, others may not survive the flood without federal help.

Warren Krout, owner of Sour-Flower Trading Post, 204 N. Main St., said the flood "wiped" him out. Furnishings and other items he intended to sell at his pawn shop were piled by the curb and headed to the dump.

"If I can get some federal help I'll be able to open up again," he said. "If I don't, I may be able to, but it's going to take me much longer."

Inspections like the one in Hancock County were also being conducted over the weekend by FEMA and SBA teams in eight other counties declared as state disaster areas by Gov. Ted Strickland.

Besides Hancock, those counties include Putnam, Allen, Hardin, Richland, Van Wert, Wyandot and Crawford.

Contact staff writer J. Steven Dillon at:

(419) 427-8423

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Gov. Strickland visits Putnam County


Staff Writer

OTTAWA — The big news coming out of Ottawa/Glandorf over the weekend would have to be that the Blanchard River has returned to its banks, falling below flood stage late Sunday and allowing the cleanup to begin in earnest.

The river dropped to 23 feet — exactly flood stage — at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, according to the Putnam County Office of Public Safety.

Gov. Ted Strickland was in Putnam County on Sunday, surveying the flood damage and meeting with residents and business owners who were already in the process of cleaning up.

Strickland has promised to request help from federal disaster officials, possibly by Monday, after the cost of repairing the damage is added up.

Putnam County, which is one of nine Ohio counties included in a disaster declaration made by Strickland last week, was working on that figure over the weekend, with the help of officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"What I've tried to do and what we've all tried to do is let these folks know ... that we are working to get assistance to them as rapidly as possible," Strickland said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Boil advisory

Ottawa remained under a water boil advisory Sunday. The drinking water warning was in place for not only residents in Ottawa, but also those in Glandorf, Miller City and the Putnam County Water District until further notice.

All area water users should boil their drinking water. Water should be brought to a boil for a minute and cooled before using.

Oil spill

The U.S. EPA and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency on Sunday were investigating an apparent oil spill in the area of Ohio 65 and Perry Street in Ottawa.

Josh Walters, the assistant Putnam County EMA director, said the spill appears to be used motor oil, and is contained in Tawa Run.

Work was under way Sunday night to contain and clean up the spill. The oil did not reach the Ottawa water supply.

Help arrives

The county is receiving help from a lot of directions.

Capt. John Norris, a public information officer for the Shawnee Township Fire Department, was in Putnam County on Sunday, handling media calls and working to get information out to the public.

Also assisting in the recovery effort over the weekend were the Belmore and Gilboa fire departments, along with a hazardous material team from the Toledo Fire Department, and an incident management team from the Akron Fire Department. St. John's Fire Department was providing fire protection to the village.

Flood trash pickup

Norris said residents are already starting to remove flood-damaged items from their homes and pile them at the curb. Crews will work until at least Wednesday picking up the debris.

Flood trash bins will also be located on U.S. 224, on the eastern edge of town across from the Ottawa Veterinary Clinic, 4084 E. Main St., for homeowners outside of the city limits.

The county's transfer station will also be accepting flood debris. It is located at 11508 Road H-11.

No appliances or hazardous waste materials should be left at the curb, or taken to the bins or transfer station. Norris said officials are currently making plans for these items.

Donation site

A donation site has also been established in the county, and a relief fund has also been established at the Fort Jennings State Bank.

Donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, cleaning supplies and hygiene supplies for Putnam County flood victims are being accepted at the Educational Service Center, which is serving as a collection and distribution site. The ESC is at 124 Putnam Parkway in Ottawa.

People are being asked to not bring in prepared or perishable food items.

New or slightly used furniture is also being accepted at this site.

Operating hours at the ESC on Monday will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The center is still providing shelter for 14 people, and fed people on Sunday. About 500 volunteers have helped out at the shelter.

Volunteers are needed at the collection and distribution site. Interested people can call 419-523-3288.

In addition, a Putnam County flood relief fund has been established to benefit flood victims in that county.

Monetary donations are being accepted to help purchase cleaning supplies, bottled water, food, gas cards, and other flood relief items and services.

Tax-deductible donations may be deposited at all locations of Fort Jennings State Bank, or mailed to Putnam County Flood Relief Fund, P.O. Box 153, Glandorf 45848.

Additional information is available on the Web at and

Contact staff writer Denise Grant at:

(419) 427-8412

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Landfill collects 900 tons of trash



Nine hundred tons.

That's how much garbage the Hancock County Landfill received on Saturday alone, not only from this county, but from places still dealing with the immediate flood aftermath, like Ottawa.

"Today Putnam County's debris is just starting to hit us. A lot of this debris is stuff like plastic, and doesn't weigh a lot. But the sheer volume is huge," Hancock County Commissioner Ed Ingold said Sunday at a county elected officials meeting held at the Hancock County Sheriff's Office.

Ingold assured officials, however, that the landfill has "plenty of capacity" to handle more flood trash — which is good, considering that more is accumulating along roadsides.

County offices

Some of that flood trash is damaged goods from county offices, several of which were soaked by the high water that hit the downtown area last Tuesday and Wednesday.

The flooded buildings included the county commissioners' offices at 322 S. Main St.

Ingold said county offices will be open regular hours today — some at new locations — and that county employees would be winging it with less equipment, space and phone lines to work with.

The disabled may have a more difficult time accessing some county offices because of the flooding.

"Ten county buildings were impacted. Listed as severe are the board of elections, adult probation (both in the same building on West Main Cross Street) and the health department (on Broadway)," Ingold said.

The prosecutor's office on Broadway beside the library sustained little damage, but enough to affect its elevator.

The courthouse elevator is also out of service.

The county's first estimate of damage to county offices and buildings clocks in at $900,000, and that doesn't count flood damage to county voting machines that was reported last week.

One modular office unit has already been installed on the south side of the courthouse.

Three more modular units will be trucked into Findlay for the commissioners' office and the public defender's office use; the public defender is currently "without computers, phones, heating and air," Ingold said.

Three double-wide trailers will be shipped in, too, and located close to existing county offices so that phone and electrical lines can be hooked up.

In the meantime, some county offices will be "begging, borrowing and stealing" phone lines from other places to stay in business.

The adult probation office is temporarily lodged in the grand jury room of the courthouse, while the Hancock County Veterans Service Office has been moved out to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle's conference room on County Road 140.

Today, "we will probably also make a decision on where we'll relocate for the commissioners' meetings. We may have to be in the courthouse," Ingold said, until repairs are made, air quality tests are completed and the building at 322 S. Main St. is made habitable again.

Ingold said anyone who needs to call a county office and is unsure which number to call should simply contact the commissioners' office at 419-424-7044.

Area communities

Elsewhere in the area, other communities are beginning to clean up and assess damage, too.

Arlington Mayor Ed Solt, who attended a meeting of officials Sunday at the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center, said his village held an emergency council meeting Saturday night to fill out paperwork for assistance.

"I think we're on the right track," he said in terms of the cleanup.

But Solt said mental health service workers may be needed in Arlington. "Some people down on Wilch Street, in the hardest-hit homes, I think have some mental health issues that need to be addressed. They're kind of zombie-fied."

Arlington's sewage treatment plant, like Findlay's, suffered flood damage, Solt said.

At the same meeting, a Bluffton police officer said that village was continuing to "get lots of volunteers coming in from different organizations" to help with flood cleanup and recovery. "People from as far away as Georgia are helping."

Ottawa is still suffering from high water, hampering cleanup efforts there, according to officials.

Dr. William Kose said Blanchard Valley Hospital "is doing fine" in terms of treating flood injuries, but "some can't get in from Ottawa."

"If you go to Ottawa, it's a war zone. It's terrible over there," said State Rep. Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, who visited the village Sunday and met with FEMA representatives and the governor.

Contact staff writer Joy Brown at:

(419) 427-8496

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Flood victims crowd local stores

By Megan Schmidt

Staff Writer

Chad and Jody Guckes have already bought two dehumidifiers to dry out their flooded basement, two miles north of Forest, but they still need a lot of other supplies to restore their home.

The couple was searching for a furnace filter at Menards on Flag City Drive a couple of days after the flood.

"If moisture got into the old filter, it could grow mold," Chad said. "It's mostly precautionary."

The Guckes were just two of many who were out shopping at Findlay's home improvement stores, seeking tools and supplies they hope can be used to make the repairs.

"The traffic in our store has probably doubled over the past couple days," Ron Myers, store manager at Home Depot on Tiffin Avenue, said. "It's been overwhelming."

Among the most popular items sold since the flood have been sump pumps, fans, dehumidifiers and cleaning supplies, Myers said.

"At first it was the sump pumps that were going fast, now it's switched to things like disinfectants, trash bags, latex gloves," he said.

Mary Parkins, store manager at Lowe's on Bright Road, said that more than 1,000 dehumidifiers had been sold there since the flooding began.

She said delivery truck drivers have also been making midnight runs to a sump pump factory in Ashland to ensure the store has enough to sell to people coming in looking for a way to pump water out of their basements.

Inside the store, shopping carts filled with yellow rubber boots for sale lined the customer service desk.

Parkins said increased traffic in Lowe's has caused her to pull in employees from stores in Toledo.

"We're missing a lot of employees who are at home cleaning up like everybody else," she said.

Isaac and Brenda Shelton, who live south of Arlington, expect repairs to their flooded family room, bedroom and garage will cost them a few thousand dollars.

The Sheltons were purchasing a dehumidifier at Menards to help dry out those areas, which they said had been filled with 10 inches of water.

Dustin Rolofson, assistant store manager at Menards, said many customers also have sought supplies like cleaning brushes, bleach, gloves and trash bags in large quantities.

Rolofson said Menards has been staying open late to assist customers when cleanup issues arise.

"We've been staying open a little late every night with people calling in with sump pump problems," he said.

"If they call in and let us know they're coming a few minutes before closing, we don't have a problem staying after."

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Flood volunteer detours to Findlay



Christina Drake recently decided to sell everything she owns, leave her home in Harrisburg, Pa., and devote her life to helping flood victims.

She intended to help the flood victims in New Orleans — but she ran into a few others on her way there.

"I sold everything except for my car," said the 43-year-old volunteer, who is helping out at the Red Cross shelter for flood victims at the Cube in Findlay. "Then I came to see my mom in Vanlue. I drove in Monday, then got up the next morning to hear how bad the flooding was" in Findlay and Hancock County.

By Wednesday, when hundreds of local flood victims were flocking to shelters, Drake decided that a flood victim was a flood victim, and she decided to pitch in locally.

"I thought, 'Why should I only help in New Orleans'?" she said. "And I said, 'Sorry, Mom, I really want to visit you, but I've got to go help.'"

Since then, she's been organizing paperwork, answering phones and doing anything the shelter needs her to do while workers attempt to deal with flood refugees.

She plans to work at Findlay's Red Cross shelter as long as they need her, and will head to New Orleans next week.

It's great training, she said, for what she plans to devote her life to for the next few years. She's signed up to be a full-time volunteer with the Louisiana Delta Corps, and plans to help rebuild houses destroyed by the flooding in New Orleans two years ago.

She said she wanted to volunteer when Katrina first hit the region, but she wanted to wait until her children were grown. But as soon as she was able, she packed up her life in Harrisburg and left town.

The volunteer job in Louisiana offers a small stipend and living quarters, but otherwise there is no salary.

Working long hours at the Findlay shelter is good preparation for her future life, she said.

"There's such a synergy to every event like this," she said. "You see people working around the clock, and you can see the strain in their faces. But they're still smiling."

She said the victims of the Findlay flood are also fairly upbeat, even those who have lost a lot.

However, volunteers are also bound to interact with people who are dealing with stress.

The first night she worked, she spoke with people calling from out of state trying to locate relatives.

"A lot of people were trying to call to locate the missing," Drake said. "They were under a lot of stress. One lady said, 'I can't believe you can't tell me whether my son is alive or dead,' and slammed down the phone."

Emotions run high during times of disaster, in both good and bad ways, but it's also a great chance to make a difference in others' lives, Drake said.

And that's what volunteering is all about for her. After all, she knows what it's like to have hard times.

"I've been through a few things myself," she said. "I was even homeless at one point. I can't be a recipient without giving back."

Sometimes that means leaving your mom to volunteer, but Drake's mom didn't want to stay at home. She came to help out at the Cube, too.

Drake said her mom is proud of what she plans to do in New Orleans. Even if her job there doesn't pay a lot, she expects it to offer her what most jobs don't.

"You get to feel like you're doing something to help, and people aren't looking over your shoulder to see if you're doing something wrong. They're just grateful you're helping. You can't pay enough to create that feeling."

Contact Staff Writer Michelle Reiter at:

(419) 427-8497

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Flood briefs

Marathon offices remain closed

Most employees of Marathon Oil Co. need not show up for work today due to water damage on the first floor of the company's headquarters in downtown Findlay.

According to Marathon spokesperson Angela Graves, "Marathon's offices will continue to be closed on Monday. Only employees requested by their supervisors to return to work should do so.

"We're just continuing remediation repair efforts at the office," said Graves. "Water did enter the first floor and it impacted the building's power and communications systems."

Free cleaning supplies available

Free cleaning supplies donated by International Services of Hope (ISOH/IMPACT) of Waterville will be available to Findlay residents to pick up today.

The supplies have been sorted by volunteers and will be distributed from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 2-5 p.m. at the Hurricane Express warehouse at 801 W. Hardin St.

Township plans flood trash pickup

Marion Township officials are asking residents to place all flood-damaged items on curbs for pickup by today.

One county road remains closed

Only one county road remains closed as the result of high water, according to the Hancock County Engineer's Office.

Only County Road 86 between Township Road 53 and County Road 16 is still closed.

However, there are five bridges in the county that have been closed as the result of damage caused by last week's flooding.

Those bridges are:

• County Road 54 between County Road 12 and Township Road 79.

• Township Road 31 between Township Roads 66 and 68.

• Township Road 32 between Township Roads 66 and 68.

• County Road 26 between Township Roads 165 and 190.

• Park Street in Arlington between West Liberty Street and Adams Street.

State flood relief isn't for everyone

Flood relief offered through Hancock County Job & Family Services is not available to everyone, agency director Judy Wauford stressed Saturday.

"We have had 80 percent denial (for relief)," Wauford said, "because everybody came."

But not everyone should come.

Eligible residents who apply for disaster-related loss or damage relief must be within 200 percent of the poverty level, live in Hancock County, and have dependent children under 19.

Families with limited income are eligible for up to $1,500.

Disabled residents or residents over 55 without dependent children also may qualify for up to $750 to assist with immediate needs related to disaster loss or damage.

Funds may be used for emergency shelter, home repair, moving expenses, insurance deductibles, and items to be used in flood cleanup.

Applications will be available until Sept. 23 at the Hancock County Job & Family Services offices, 7814 County Road 140. Applications can be picked up today from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and other hours by appointment.

All applicants must be able to provide proof of income, proof of loss, and Social Security numbers for all members of the household. For more information, call 419-424-0198.

Want to volunteer?

People interested in volunteering at the shelter which has been set up at the Cube in Findlay, and people interested in helping in the city flood cleanup effort, can call the Volunteer Center at the United Way of Hancock County, at 419-429-7325.

City call center reopening today

The Findlay city emergency call center will reopen at 8 a.m. today. The number for the center is 419-424-7000.

Allstate sets up mobile respnose unit for customers

In response to the flooding, Allstate Insurance has set up a mobile response unit in Findlay to begin processing customer claims on-site.

The mobile claim center is located at the Home Depot, 1981 Tiffin Ave. Hours today will be 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Emotional, psychological support available

Anyone who needs emotional or psychological support as a result of the flooding can call Family Resource Centers (for children and adolescents) at 419-422-8616 or Century Health (for adults) at 419-425-5050.

A toll-free crisis hotline number is also open: 1-888-936-7116.

Volunteers interested in helping others cope can call the Volunteer Action Center at 419-423-1432.

For more information, call the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services at 419-424-1985.

Donate items to Salvation Army, Red Cross

The American Red Cross is asking those people interested in making donations of clothing or household goods for flood victims to take them to the Salvation Army office, which is located at 301 Center St.

However, donations of water and non-perishable food are being accepted at the Red Cross shelter, located at the Cube.

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2 tractor pulls highlight Hancock fair



It won't be long now until the Old Mill Stream Fairgrounds will be filled with the sounds of clucking chickens, frying tenderloins, screaming carnival riders and roaring tractors.

After last week's flooding, fair workers and volunteers have been working hard to ready the fairgrounds for the Hancock County Fair, which will run from Wednesday through Monday, Sept. 3.

Dave Thomas, the fairgrounds operations and facilities manager, said Sunday that the fair will be ready to go on Wednesday.

This year, the biggest change in the fair schedule will be that tractor pulling will replace a headlining musical act on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Beginning at 7 p.m. that evening at the south grandstand, a pull sanctioned by the National Tractor Pullers Association will feature four pull classes, including light super stock tractors, four-wheel-drive trucks, super farm tractors, minis and super semis.

This event will be the first of two days of pulling at the fair.

Thomas, who was hired this past spring, announced in March that the extra pulling competition would be taking place based on the success of the fair's traditional Sunday pull.

"The motorsports committee, Tom Higbee and Scott Lewis, have done a tremendous job of putting this (NTPA pull) together," Thomas said. "They really started in November, talking with NTPA people and finding out exactly how things went. Some businesses have really stepped up and supported this financially."

The regular Sunday pull will start at noon with farm, stock, and pickup pulling. Modified tractor and truck pulls start at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Equestrian demonstrations

Another new fair event will be Friday and Saturday demonstrations by University of Findlay equestrian students in the north grandstand, in celebration of the school's 125th anniversary.

"That's free of charge and that'll be a very exciting venue," Thomas said. "The English riders will be riding on Friday and western students on Saturday," both at 5 p.m.

"We'll see how that (UF exhibitions) goes this year. If it's something that's really positive, there's been talk of having it again in the future," Thomas continued.

Soccer tournament

This year's fair will feature a different kind of sport, too — on Saturday at 9 a.m., a portion of the Sandusky Street parking lot will be roped off for a youth 3-on-3 soccer tournament.

Thomas said plans for that are still in the works, but it will be organized similar to the traveling Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament held in downtown Findlay each year.

Horseshoes move

Another change will involve the popular horseshoe tournaments. The venue for that has been moved from near the Sandusky Street parking lot to an area by the Wyandot entrance, near the race horse barns.

Open class horseshoe singles pitching will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

In another location change, the Danger Zone tent has been moved to the south side of the education building.

Ag Olympics expand

Also, Thomas said, the junior fair is planning to expand its "Ag Olympics" event, which includes things like barrel racing, to include more activities. This event will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the north grandstand.

"That's become sort of a new thing. They had a good response to it last year. The kids put this together themselves," he noted.

Big Cat returns

Thomas noted that this year's fair also will feature many of the same offerings as in years past, with food, contests, rides and various activities.

Returning this year will be Kay Rosaire's Big Cat Encounter, a free educational program featuring lions and tigers.

"That's a very popular venue for the kids," Thomas said. Families regularly arrive early to the shows, offered at least twice each day of the fair, in order to snag good seats.

Fairgrounds upgrades

According to Thomas, fair officials, workers and volunteers have been steadily working throughout the year to improve the fairgrounds.

Visitors to this year's fair will see the main entrance at Sandusky Street decked with American and Ohio flags (as it has been at other events held there this year), a freshly-painted fence, and a completed new roof on the 4-H building.

The Miller Draft Horse Barn also has a new roof thanks to donations by Hancock County Homebuilders Association and Gordon Lumber Co., and cooperation between the fair board and Friends of the Fair.

The Buckeye Valley Horse Association has refurbished the gates of the north grandstand show arena and replaced the windows and intercom in the announcer's tower.

New plumbing was installed in several areas throughout the grounds, and the restrooms were repainted.

There is also new paint on the rabbit barn, goat barn, 4-H and education buildings. 4-H groups painted several trash barrels, too.

And Derek Browneller is building a portable announcer's stand, to be used at the various auctions and events, for his Eagle Scout project.

"We have more flowers than we've ever had, at the main entrance and at the front of every building," Thomas said, and the Healing Field Coalition donated 100 flags which will "be displayed in proper places so we'll be getting back to the good old patriotic theme."

Thomas also said the fairgrounds obtained an education trailer from the Hancock County Educational Service Center, which had been used as a modified classroom at one of the county schools.

"We leased it for a very minimal fee and are using it for extra office space for concessions and grounds. It's directly behind the Junior Fair building."

Thomas also noted that the fair has been working with GreaterFindlay on marketing and planning for events, and that has been successful.

"The goal of the board and all the employees is to get this facility more inviting to the public, to get caught up on much-needed repairs," said Thomas. "We're making a very serious attempt to improve. And with all the donors, contributors and volunteers, we've had a good response with people willing to help keep the grounds nice and clean.

"People know that the staff and board of directors is moving in a new direction. Not anything drastic. We just want to get back to basics and get a solid facility. There's new energy around here, you might say. People have been responding very well."

Although Thomas is pleased with the success of the other events that have been held at the fairgrounds this year, such as the farmer's market, he is now focusing on the Hancock County Fair and its importance to the community.

"For those six days, tradition sets in. It's nothing to see three generations of family here," and sometimes four or five generations, Thomas said. "Tradition starts at the fair."

Contact staff writer Joy Brown at:

(419) 427-8496

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Hancock County Fair ticket prices

While many events and happenings at the 2007 Hancock County Fair will be free, there will be an admission charge to get into the fair, and to attend certain events.

Daily admission to the fair will cost $7, which will admit one adult and the children of the family who are 15 years old and younger.

Membership tickets, on sale through Tuesday only at the Senior Fair Office, are $17. They admit one adult and all children of the family 15 years old and younger, throughout the fair. Membership tickets are needed to make fair entries, and to vote in the election for the fair board of directors.

Season tickets also cost $17 if purchased by Tuesday. They will cost $20 once the fair starts. Season tickets also admit one adult and all children of the family 15 years old and younger, throughout the fair.

Season tickets can be purchased at the Senior Fair Office and at selected county locations. They cannot be exchanged for a membership ticket.

School tickets cost $12 before the fair, and $15 once the fair starts. A school ticket admits any student 17 years old and younger, and can be purchased ahead at the Senior Fair Office and at selected locations.

On Wednesday, senior citizens over age 60 and veterans will be admitted to the fair for $2.

Admission to the National Tractor Pullers Association-sanctioned pull at the south grandstand at 7 p.m. Saturday will cost $10 for those 16 and older, $5 for those age 6-15, and will be free for children 5 and younger.

The horse team pulling contest to be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the north grandstand will cost $2. Junior Fair members will be admitted free with proper identification.

The traditional truck/tractor pulls, which begin at noon Sunday at the south grandstand, will cost $3, which will admit one adult and dependent members of their family under age 16.

Everyday wristbands for Burton Brothers Amusement carnival rides will cost $15 and will be good from 1 p.m. to close on Wednesday. Kids Day will be Thursday, with wristbands costing $10 for those age 10 and younger to ride rides from noon to 5 p.m. and the chance to win a bicycle.

Friday will be Junior Fair Day with wristbands costing $10 only for Junior Fair members who have proper identification, with rides operating from 1 p.m. to close.

Saturday will be Kids Day with $10 wristbands for rides from noon to 5 p.m. for those 10 and younger. Sunday rides will run from 1 p.m. to close and next Monday’s rides will run from 1 p.m. to close.

Wristbands are not good on inflatable rides.

Individual ticket prices for rides will cost $1 each for single tickets, $15 for 20 tickets, $25 for 40 tickets and $40 for 60 tickets. Parents must have tickets or wristbands to ride with children.

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Fair begins Wednesday, runs through Monday, Sept. 3

Hancock County Fair schedule:


4 p.m. — Judging in education building of Junior Fair art, industrial arts and ag engineering.


7 a.m. — Gates open for livestock.

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Weigh-in all hogs, swine barn.

6 p.m. — Weigh-in Junior Fair poultry, followed by Junior Fair rabbits.

6:30 p.m. — Weigh-in dairy feeders followed by finished dairy steers, steer barn.

8 p.m. — Weigh-in goats, swine barn; Judging of Junior Fair vegetables and pumpkins, youth building; All Junior Fair livestock and still projects in place.


Senior Citizens and Veterans Day, $2 admission for adults 60 and over and veterans.

7-9 a.m. — Gates open for livestock.

8 a.m. — Junior Fair horse show, north grandstand; Junior Fair swine show, south show arena.

9 a.m. — Opening ceremonies at flag pole; Open class judging in Grange building (farm products, horticulture, woodworking, domestic arts and crafts, hobbies, collections, Granges and baking department); Junior Fair booth judging, youth building; Judging of Junior Fair FFA, home economics in education building.

10 a.m. — Junior Fair poultry judging, poultry barn; Junior Fair rabbit showmanship, Brown Show Arena; Horseshoe pitching (Hancock County residents only); Junior Fair dog show in show tent.

1 p.m. — Open special draft horse show, north grandstand.

2 p.m. — 4-H In Action; Weigh-in Junior Fair market lambs in steer barn.

3 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

5 p.m. — Baked goods auction, Grange building.

6 p.m. — Photography judging.

6:30 p.m. — Junior Fair king and queen coronation, followed by county band show, north grandstand.

7 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

7:30 p.m. — Sojourner Quartet in gospel pavilion.

8:30 p.m. — Adult swine showmanship followed by band show.


7:30 a.m. — Open class lamb carcass, south show arena.

8 a.m. — Junior Fair sheep show, south show arena; Junior Fair horse show, north grandstand.

9 a.m. — Poultry showmanship, poultry barn; Judging of antiques and canning in Grange building.

10 a.m. — Open class poultry and waterfowl judging in poultry barn; Weigh-in of market steers.

12:30 p.m. — Ag Credit dairy feeder show, north show arena.

1 p.m. — Theme basket, Grange building.

2 p.m. — Creative fun for kids, youth building.

3 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; Junior Fair draft horse decorating in barn followed by Junior Fair draft horse show in north grandstand; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

3:30 p.m. — Junior Fair goat show, south show arena.

4 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

5 p.m. — Open class rabbits in Brown Show Arena; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

6 p.m. — Harness racing in south grandstand, super stakes.

7 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; Ag Olympics in north grandstand.


8:30 a.m. — In north show arena: Ag Credit finished dairy steer show, Ag Credit finished dairy steer showmanship and beef feeder show, beef feeder showmanship, Hancock County Calf Club steer show, Born & Raised finished beef show, independent steer show, open class steer show, beef showmanship competition, beef showman show-off, lunch break, Junior Fair beef breeding.

9 a.m. — Junior Fair dairy show, south show arena; Open class dairy show following Junior Fair dairy show; Open class saddle horse and pony in north grandstand.

After lunch — Open class beef breeding following Junior Fair beef breeding.

1:30 p.m. — Fun with Fabric in youth building.

2 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

3 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

4 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

5 p.m. — University of Findlay English equestrian exhibition, north grandstand; Goat obstacle course, south show arena.

6 p.m. — Harness racing, south grandstand, super stakes.

7 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; 4-H freestyle riding, north grandstand, followed by "Battle of the Barrels."


8 a.m. — Open class draft horse and draft pony show, north grandstand; Open class sheep show, south show arena, followed by Junior Fair born and raised sheep show.

9 a.m. — 3-on-3 soccer tournament.

10 a.m. — Junior Fair dairy feeder base bid auction; Horseshoe pitching, open class singles; Tractor operator's contest, south grandstand infield.

Noon — Coloring contest judging in youth building; "Danger Zone" in large show tent.

12:30 p.m. — Junior Fair rabbits in south show arena.

1 p.m. — Open draft horse and draft pony hitch; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

2 and 3 p.m. — On the Spot flower arranging.

2 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

2:30 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

3 p.m. and 4 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

4:30 p.m. — Cookie eating contest in mini park.

5 p.m. — University of Findlay western equestrian exhibition, north grandstand; Big Cat Encounter; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

5:30 p.m. — Best dressed goat contest, south show arena.

6 p.m. — Junior Fair beef obstacle course, north show arena.

7 p.m. — NTPA tractor pull, south grandstand.

7:30 p.m. — Horse team pulls, north grandstand; Big Cat Encounter.

8 p.m. — Adult beef showmanship, show arena.


10 a.m. — Church services in gospel pavilion; Exodus performs.

11 a.m. — Jericho Road; Special horse show in north grandstand.

Noon — Junior Fair livestock judging, south show arena; Tractor pulls in south grandstand, three tracks: farm, stock, and pickup; Horseshoe pitching, open class doubles.

1 p.m. — Small animal showman contest, small tent, followed by best dressed small animal contest.

2 p.m. — Goat milking contest in goat barn; "Danger Zone" in tent near education building; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

2:30 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

3 p.m. and 4 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

5 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; OSU Extension program in Grange building.

5:30 p.m. — Guys and Gals lead show, south show arena; Stewardship award presentation, south show arena.

6 p.m. — Showman of showmen contest, south show arena; Modified tractor and truck pulls, south grandstand.

7:30 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

8 p.m. — Gospel concert in north grandstand — Skyline Boys, and Exodus.

Monday, Sept. 3

9 a.m. — Junior Fair livestock sale starts, show arena.

10 a.m. — All day gospel sing, gospel pavilion.

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Election of fair board directors.

11 a.m. — Youth pedal pull, large show tent.

12:30 p.m. — Northwest Cheerleading Invitational.

1 p.m. — Shopping bag contest, youth building.

2 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange building.

2:30 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter.

3 p.m. and 4 p.m. — OSU Extension program in Grange Building.

5 p.m. — Big Cat Encounter; OSU Extension program in Grange building; Demolition derby, south grandstand.

6 p.m. — All open class and Junior Fair livestock, small animals and Grange building exhibits released; Premium checks disbursed in Grange building.

Tuesday, Sept. 4

9 a.m. — Fair cleanup begins, all volunteers welcome.

2-7 p.m. — Youth and educational building exhibits released.

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Public Record


The following incidents were reported to the Findlay Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff's Office:

Police Department

Bank checks were swiped from a vehicle Friday outside 229 W. Main Cross St.

An unlawful entry was reported at 601 Cross Ave. on Friday.

Lottery tickets and cigarettes were reported missing Friday from Circle K, 710 S. Blanchard St.

Money and a cell phone were taken Friday from 215 Howard St.

A male — who had asked to see a gun and magazine from a display case — left Al Rose Pawnbroker, 821 Londonderry Drive, without paying for the .45 caliber Beretta on Friday.

An air conditioning unit was pilfered recently from 1111 Brenda Court.

A man in a black Ford truck left Jerry's Drive Thru, 306 W. Bigelow Ave., without paying for three cartons of cigarettes Friday.

A license plate was pulled Friday from a Ford at 130 Monroe Ave.

Two juveniles were nabbed for shoplifting makeup Friday from Kroger, 1996 Tiffin Ave.

A man was taken into custody for obstructing official business and domestic violence Friday after running from a Woodridge Crescent residence where he had assaulted his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the girlfriend, who registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.104, was arrested for drunken driving after admitting to crashing her Mercury on Martin Luther King Parkway and leaving that scene.

A man carrying two cartons of cigarettes ran from Site, 1303 N. Main St., without paying for those items Saturday.

A woman with a BAC of 0.190 was charged with driving while impaired in the 100 block of South Main Street on Saturday.

An inebriated Findlay man was charged with disorderly conduct Saturday after a disturbance on Ely Avenue.

An intoxicated city man, passed out on a lawn at 438 Howard St., was cited for disorderly conduct Saturday.

Money was missing from a safe after a break-in at Rocking U, 318 W. Main Cross St. The theft was reported Saturday.

A Chevy Blazer was egged at 303 Washington St. on Saturday.

A garage was spray-painted Saturday at 631 Central Ave.

A male was caught running from Kohl's, 2310 Tiffin Ave., after shoplifting several store items Saturday.

A door was damaged Saturday at 411 Howard St.

A youth assaulted another boy at Eagle Creek skate park Saturday.

A domestic disturbance occurred inside a Marshall Street residence Saturday.

A drunken person who fell from a bicycle Saturday in the 1900 block of Broad Avenue was charged with disorderly conduct.

A driver was arrested for drunken driving after swerving in the 2300 block of South Main Street on Sunday.

A window was broken Sunday at the Mad Hatter, 1022 Blanchard Ave.

A license plate was pulled from an auto at 242 E. Pine Ave. on Sunday.

Sheriff's Office

A cable box was taken outside 200 N. Main St., Vanlue, on Aug. 19.

An outdoor mirror was damaged on a car and its fender was dented Friday at 301 E. Main St., Vanlue.

An air compressor and electric meters were taken Saturday from a barn at 15855 County Road 216. Bank checks, cash, a class ring and six carved figures were also missing from the residence.

Two people were admonished Saturday for discharging fireworks in the 1900 block of Oklahoma Court.

A domestic disturbance occurred in a Jackson Township Road 45 residence on Aug. 17.

Anyone with information about a crime can call Findlay/Hancock County Crimestoppers

between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays at (419) 425-TIPS, or visit the Web at www.

Callers may remain anonymous.

Fire Calls


5:52 p.m., 945 Central Ave., steam.

6:03 p.m., 1205 Chateau Court, EMS call.

7:01 p.m., 600 W. Trenton Ave., medical assist.

8:56 p.m., 625 E. Front St., EMS call.

10:33 p.m., 1305 W. Main Cross St., hazardous condition.


12:23 a.m., 1010 Fox Run Road, EMS call.

3:23 a.m., 810 Fox Run Road, EMS call.

8:08 a.m., 12000 County Road 99, lock-in.

9:38 a.m., 531 College St., electrical wiring/equipment problem.

10:32 a.m., 840 Maple Ave., EMS call.

2:22 p.m., 501 Barnett St., power line down.

5:26 p.m., 1014 Plaza St., EMS call.

6:01 p.m., 1310 Kennsington Drive, gas leak.

6:22 p.m., 611 W. Front St., good intention call.

6:51 p.m., 1901 Broad Ave., rescue call.

7:26 p.m., 1161 W. Trenton Ave., rescue call.

10:47 p.m., 130.5 Monroe Ave., rescue call.


4:27 a.m., 2107 Greystone Court, carbon monoxide report.

11:38 a.m., 422 W. Sandusky St., unintentional alarm.

11:59 a.m., 149 Madison Ave., EMS call.

12:41 p.m., 640 Hemphill Blvd., gasoline spill.

1:25 p.m., 840 Maple Ave., EMS call.

2:18 p.m., 344 Hardin St., EMS call.

2:55 p.m., 228 18th St., carbon monoxide incident .

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