Saturday, October 6th, 2007


County: Budget cuts on horizon
Hancock County government departments may be looking at 5 percent budget cuts next year -- if not more -- and that may lead to staff reductions.
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Local firms to answer flood repair questions
There are a lot of rumors and misinformation still floating around about how to pay for flood repairs, according to Bob Barkhurst, owner of Tri-Point Homes.
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Democrat drops out of race for House
A second candidate has exited the race to succeed Rep. Paul Gillmor in the U.S. House.
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Local Republican candidates speak out
Cliff Hite had just one question Friday for the candidates speaking at a Hancock Republican Party First Friday luncheon.
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Voters must register by Oct. 9
Anyone planning to vote in the Nov. 6 election will need to be registered, and provide updated address information, by Tuesday, Oct. 9.
more >>
Longtime Fostoria fireman steps down
FOSTORIA — Fostoria Assistant Fire Chief Pete DiCesare retired Friday after 25 years of service.
more >>
Findlay hosting band festival
The Findlay Music Boosters will host the 30th annual Findlay High School Band Festival at Donnell Stadium beginning at 4 p.m. today.
more >>
Public Record
Docket
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Local News

County: Budget cuts on horizon

By MICHELLE REITER

STAFF WRITER

Hancock County government departments may be looking at 5 percent budget cuts next year -- if not more -- and that may lead to staff reductions.

The county’s flood-related expenses are the main reason for the possible cuts.

“A 5 percent decrease could mean a person,” Hancock County Auditor Charity Rauschenberg said on Friday.

County officials are struggling to come up with early budget estimates for next year, without actually knowing how much they’re going to have to spend. They hope to find a way to come up with a budget of about $16 million.

But much is still undecided, like how much the county will have to spend on flood-related costs, and, most notably, whether the county will have another revenue source next year.

On Thursday, the county commissioners announced that they are considering building a new county administrative building, and funding the construction with a sales tax increase.

But on Friday the commissioners weren’t sure if they have enough time to impose a tax that would be collected starting in January.

The tax would have to be imposed by Oct. 26 in order to begin collections in January, and the county would have to meet all the legal requirements involved in imposing a tax -- including two public hearings -- by the 26th.

“I don’t even know if we can do it,” Commissioner Phil Riegle said Friday.

If not, the commissioners could impose the sales tax increase later, or put it on the March ballot. Either way, collections would then be delayed and no money would arrive until mid- to late 2008.

But it would be challenging for the commissioners to present to the public, within the next three weeks, a concrete list of expenses for which the added tax would be used, since the commissioners don’t yet know themselves.

They need a new administrative building, to replace county buildings that were severely damaged in the flood, but the cost of a new facility is unknown.

The county will be getting some federal and state reimbursement for flood damage, but those numbers are unknown, too.

As it stands, without an additional revenue source, county departments may have to cut their budgets 5 percent or more, county officials said Friday. Since budgets have been trimmed of fat in recent years, that’s likely to hurt.

And it may mean more layoffs.

“I don’t think a 5 percent decrease is unlikely,” Commissioner Ed Ingold said Friday. “In fact, it may mean 10 percent.”

Contact Staff Writer Michelle Reiter at: (419) 427-8497 michellereiter@thecourier.com

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Local firms to answer flood repair questions

By JOHN GRABER

STAFF WRITER

There are a lot of rumors and misinformation still floating around about how to pay for flood repairs, according to Bob Barkhurst, owner of Tri-Point Homes.

That's why Barkhurst and Bob Miller, owner of Miller Rigging, have arranged an informational meeting for local homeowners at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of Waldo Peppers, 411 S. Main St.

Local contractors and other businessmen will be answering questions.

One common misconception is that people with "substantial damage" (damage totaling at least half of the value of a home) think that if they accept any federal aid at all, they cannot rebuild their homes, Barkhurst said.

However, that's not correct.

The damaged home has to be demolished and the lot returned to green space only if certain grants, designed to allow the city to purchase the property, are involved.

Money from other grants and loans can be used to repair or rebuild.

Another misunderstanding: People think that many of the loans offered through the Small Business Administration come with a 6¼ percent interest rate, Barkhurst said. While that is true for some SBA loans, most of them sport a significantly lower 31/8 percent rate.

Many people aren't using the SBA loans because of the misunderstandings, Barkhurst speculated. They figure they'll just go with a bank loan, he said.

At Tuesday's meeting, he intends for reputable local contractors to provide reliable and practical answers to questions. Barkhurst has been building homes for 36 years, and Miller Rigging has been in operation since 1946.

"We're not storm chasers," Barkhurst said.

Another common problem that area residents seem to be facing, Barkhurst said, is the fact that flood insurance is not reimbursing people enough to replace things like furnaces or air conditioning units. That doesn't mean people have to go without them, though.

Flood insurance reimburses at the resale value of things, while the SBA bases its assistance on the actual cost of replacement. While the SBA assistance is a loan, rather than a grant, it can be used to make up the difference in the cost of new systems, he said.

"We're going to have real world examples, really roll up our sleeves and get into how the federal government can pay for this," Barkhurst said. "It's probably more affordable than people think."

The discussion also will focus on particular situations like looking at the cost of moving a home, versus raising it out of the flood plain or tearing it down and starting over somewhere else.

"Some of these houses are not worth fixing, at least not according to my standards," Miller said.

For more information, call 419-365-5884.

Contact staff writer John Graber at:

(419) 427-8417

johngraber@thecourier.com

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Democrat drops out of race for House

By LOU WILIN

STAFF WRITER

A second candidate has exited the race to succeed Rep. Paul Gillmor in the U.S. House.

Democrat Earl Campbell, of Perrysburg, on Friday pulled out of the 5th Congressional District contest, a day after the Wood County Democratic Central Committee endorsed Henry County's Robin Weirauch.

Earlier this week, Columbus Grove Republican Michael Reynolds was scratched as a candidate by the Wood County elections board.

In Reynolds' case, he had omitted his signature on a candidacy petition, nullifying it and all the signatures it contained. That error left him short of the required 50 signatures he needed to be a certified candidate.

In Campbell's case, his candidacy ended by his own choice ... sort of.

"If my central committee gives my endorsement to another candidate, that sends a message to me," he said. "They were quite influenced by the Weirauch machine."

Weirauch has already run twice for the 5th District seat. Gillmor defeated her in 2004 and 2006.

Weirauch and George Mays of Norwalk are the remaining candidates in the Democratic field.

The Republican candidates are Mike Smitley of Van Wert, Fred Pieper of Paulding, State Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green, Mark Hollenbaugh of Bowling Green, and State Sen. Steve Buehrer of Delta.

The primary election for Gillmor's successor will be on Nov. 6. The candidates who win party nominations will advance to a general election contest on Dec. 11.

With Campbell gone from the race, his name will not appear on Nov. 6 ballots in Wood County, Wood County elections board Director Debbie Hazard said.

However, it was not clear whether Campbell's name will be left off the ballots in the other 15 counties in the 5th District.

That will depend on how far along those counties are in preparing their ballots, said Jeff Ortega, assistant director of communications for the Ohio Secretary of State's office, Columbus.

Rep. Gillmor, who died Sept. 5, had represented the district since 1989.

Contact staff writer Lou Wilin at:

(419) 427-8413

louwilin@thecourier.com

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Local Republican candidates speak out

By JOHN GRABER

STAFF WRITER

Cliff Hite had just one question Friday for the candidates speaking at a Hancock Republican Party First Friday luncheon.

"Are you going to be able to work with the 76th Ohio House District representative?" Hite asked. "I don't know who it is, but ..."

The crowd of about 50 people roared with laughter.

While most of the Republican candidates, who were standing in a row at the front of the room, pondered that question, mayoral candidate Pete Sehnert came out with a straight, no-nonsense answer.

"As long as I don't get hugged," Sehnert said.

Hite represents the 76th District in the Ohio House of Representatives and is famous ... or infamous ... around capitol hill for hugging his comrades and calling the new spirit of bipartisanship in Columbus "a lovefest."

Before things turned amorous on Friday, though, Republican candidates running in contested local races were given four minutes each to introduce themselves.

Randy VanDyne, who is running uncontested for the 2nd Ward city council seat, was also allowed to speak because he is a political newcomer. Here's a brief description of what they said:



Deb Seng

Seng is running against Democratic incumbent Mike Eier for the 5th Ward council seat.

She listed city spending as her top concern. While on the campaign trail, she's been hearing people complain that the city is spending too much, though she did not list any specifics. What they're really worried about, she said, is whether all that spending will lead to higher taxes.

"They believe we've got a little out of hand," Seng said.

Her list of concerns also includes maintaining infrastructure like roads and sewers in the ward, flood mitigation, and cleaning the Dalzell ditch.

Finally, she said she is very concerned about rejuvenating the downtown after the August flood.

"My husband and I were walking around downtown and a lot of businesses have come back, but there were also a lot of empty buildings and that can have a domino effect," she said.



Randy VanDyne

VanDyne is originally from Orville and came to Findlay to take a position with the University of Findlay in 1976. He then took several positions in the private sector before returning to the university, where he is currently a vice president and the executive director of the school of emergency and environmental management.

That position has given him considerable experience working with issues like personnel and balancing budgets.

He wants to turn August's flood into an opportunity to better the city. It is "going to take some bold moves to do that," though he didn't say what those moves would be.

He also thanked outgoing 2nd Ward Councilman Rich Rowe for being helpful in getting him up to speed on issues facing the city.

"It's going to be impossible to replace that 10 years he's given the city," VanDyne said.



Mike Slough

Mike Slough is a Findlay native who is finishing his second term as 1st Ward councilman. He is running against Democrat James Madison.

His reason for running for council was simple: "I had taught government (at Findlay High School) for 32 years and I thought it was time to put into action the things I taught these kids," he said.

He listed his main accomplishment in office as working with Mayor Tony Iriti to create the Neighborhood Enforcement and Abatement Team (NEAT), which works to clean up rundown or littered properties around town.

He said he also got a number of streets repaved, sewers replaced and safety lights in front of schools in the ward.

Slough is also glad he was on council when Iriti brokered a deal to clean up the former Brandman tire dump on North Cory Street, when the Cube was remodeled, and when splash pads were installed at the Riverside Park pool.

His main goals for the next term would be to continue with flood mitigation efforts and try to ensure that businesses don't abandon the downtown. Simply abandoning and razing buildings because it's easy can be disastrous, he said.

"We'll look like a toothless giant on Main Street," he said.

He also wants to continue working on zoning issues specific to Findlay's older neighborhoods, many of which are found in the 1st Ward.



Randy Ward

Incumbent Republican Councilmen Randy Ward and Jim Slough, along with political newcomer John Urbanski, are running against Democrat Mario Bower for the three at-large council seats.

Ward is finishing up his seventh term on council.

He joked that he has gone from being on council committees to appointing council committees, because that is the job of the council vice president pro tem.

He does, however, also chair the appropriations committee and he noted that the city's 1 percent income tax has not gone up since he's held that position.

He also noted that the August flood could change a lot of things, including, possibly, the city's spending habits.

"That's something we need to take very seriously," Ward said.

He also asked people to practice patience when it comes to flood mitigation efforts. After all, he said, it took 12 years just to lower the Liberty Street dam.

He also noted that the city has instituted a "mercy rule" which he credited largely to Safety and Administrative Service Director Eileen Bensen. The mercy rule is intended to give people with zoning issues a break, as long as the zoning issue is not affecting others in the neighborhood.



John Urbanski

Urbanski defeated Republican incumbent Andy Peters in the primary election to get his name on the November ticket.

Urbanski said he has a "pretty basic" reason for why he's running for city council and why he wants to be a councilman-at-large: "I want what's best for the city, we all do."

He said he wants to be a consensus builder between various government agencies and the private sector.

"We have an opportunity to resurrect the downtown," he said.



Jim Slough

Jim Slough, who is finishing his sixth term on council, said it's time to get serious about flood mitigation.

"Out of the despair and tragedy of this flooding comes hope for a new and better city," he said.

He figures strong, experienced leadership on council is going to be more important than ever when it comes to flood mitigation, because the next mayor — Sehnert or Democrat Tom Knopf — will be a political newcomer.

Sehnert defeated Mayor Iriti in the GOP primary election for the right to represent the Republican party in the general election.

Slough said he wants to see Findlay and Hancock County work together to combine health departments and create a joint port authority — both of which are in the process of happening.

Slough is a Findlay native who admitted he couldn't wait to get out of town and go to college when he was 18. However, he came back and fell in love with Findlay somewhere along the line. That is why he has participated in various civic organizations and wants to continue on council.



Pete Sehnert

If successful at the polls next month, Sehnert admitted he's going to have some big shoes to fill.

"Following (Iriti) is going to be a hard job," Sehnert said. "(Iriti) is a good mayor. He's done a lot of good things for the city. I'm going to work to continue those things."

August's flood is a major issue for Sehnert because it has touched every aspect of city government — from communications to personnel to economics.

Sehnert, who has worked with the Agency on Aging to help clean up senior citizens' homes after the flood, promised to continue to work to address flood mitigation efforts in the future.

However, he admitted there's going to be a learning curve.

"I don't have all the answers," he said.

He related a story of his time on the Findlay police force when he went to New York City to help the police there after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was debriefing a room full of New York detectives who were all sitting there with their arms crossed until he asked what positive things can come out of the situation.

"I was sitting there waiting to be thrown from a 30th floor window, but all of a sudden arms started coming up." They all began talking about how the community could become closer because of the situation.

Other communities have dealt with disasters like floods, and Sehnert said he wants to look at things they did which were successful and unsuccessful.

"I think we can learn from those cities," he said.

Contact staff writer John Graber at:

(419) 427-8417

johngraber@thecourier.com

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Voters must register by Oct. 9

Anyone planning to vote in the Nov. 6 election will need to be registered, and provide updated address information, by Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Registered voters must be a United States citizen, 18 years old on or before Nov. 6, and a resident of Ohio for 30 days prior to the election.

To register, go to the Hancock County Board of Elections Office at 209 W. Main Cross St., which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The local board of elections also should be notified if voters are registered to vote but have changed their address or will move by Oct. 9, or if voters are registered but have changed their names.

On Oct. 9, the board will be open during its regular business hours, and will open again from 6-9 p.m. to allow people to register to vote and change their addresses.

Voters can also change their addresses at the McComb Library, Fostoria License Bureau, Fostoria library, Findlay License Bureau, Fostoria auditor's office, Hancock County treasurer's office, WIC office, Hancock County auditor's office, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health, and the Department of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities.

For access to online forms, and to see if you're registered to vote, go to www.hancockboardofelections.com.

The Hancock County Board of Elections is stationed in a modular unit in the parking lot at 209 W. Main Cross St. in Findlay.

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Longtime Fostoria fireman steps down

FOSTORIA — Fostoria Assistant Fire Chief Pete DiCesare retired Friday after 25 years of service.

DiCesare said the retirement was due to recent medical problems.

He had open heart surgery in January and doctors advised him that he can no longer do fire line duties, lift heavy objects or be around smoky environments.

The 52-year-old said he is unsure of his future plans, but he will find something else to do besides his volunteer efforts with the Lions Club and Knights of Columbus.

He said there are many things that he will miss about the department.

"I liked helping out people and working with the public, I'll miss the guys I worked with and the people I helped," he said. "I am going to miss working with Chief (Russ) Rife. I worked with him for 25 years. He has moved this department forward tremendously. We made a lot of progress together."

DiCesare had worked under four fire chiefs.

The process of appointing a new assistant chief will begin shortly. During the transition period, Rife has appointed Lt. Jerry Goodman as assistant chief.

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Findlay hosting band festival

The Findlay Music Boosters will host the 30th annual Findlay High School Band Festival at Donnell Stadium beginning at 4 p.m. today.

The festival is an adjudicated event sanctioned by the Ohio Music Education Association and will serve as a qualifier for state marching band finals at the end of October.

Participating bands will include Bellefontaine, Crestview, Findlay, Fort Recovery, Milton-Union, Ottawa-Glandorf and Versailles.

The Findlay Trojan Marching Band will also give an exhibition performance of its state-qualifying show, "Chaos and Order."

Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students and senior citizens. Full concessions will be available.

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Public Record

Docket

The following incidents were reported to the Findlay Police Department:

Domestic disturbances were noted Wednesday at households on G Street, Oakland Avenue and Center Street.

A man was questioned Wednesday about taking numchucks from the Goodwill store, 7430 Timberstone Drive.

Garage door windows were smashed Monday at 615 Center St.

An engine computer was removed from the passenger side kick panel of an unlocked Honda Civic at 1025 Cedar Ave. on Sept. 25.

A wallet, cell phone and Nintendo Gameboy were missing Thursday from a Ford Explorer outside 2409 Foxmoor Road.

A purse was pulled from a vehicle inside a garage at 2319 Foxfire Lane on Thursday.

A semi snagged a cable line Thursday over G Street.

A laptop computer was pilfered from an unlocked Lexus at 2749 Foxfire Lane sometime Wednesday or Thursday.

Charges were pending Thursday against a Findlay youth who took a BMX bike from a back yard at 714 E. Sandusky St.

Two females were involved in a Thursday fracas in a parking lot at 750 Bright Road.

A motorist, age 20, was arrested Friday for speeding and driving while under the influence in the 1000 block of Hurd Avenue.

Municipal Court

The following persons were sentenced in Findlay Municipal Court:

Fredrick R. Ansel II, 217 Clinton Court, driving under suspension (DUS); $250 fine, 90 jail days with 85 suspended.

Michael L. Beall, 1121 Putnam St., operating a vehicle while under the influence (OVI); $650 fine, 60 jail days with 30 suspended, license suspended 731 days.

Steven E. Brooker Jr., 8256 Kenwood Court, 50, reckless operation of a vehicle; $150 fine.

Michael A. Butler, Leipsic, sale to/use by underage person; $150 fine, 10 jail days with five suspended.

Houston Coney, 1341 Byal Ave., using firearm while intoxicated; $350 fine, 30 jail days with 15 suspended.

Kevin L. Cooper, 611 W. Hardin St., disorderly conduct; $100 fine.

Karri J. Dickenson, 816 W. Melrose Ave., obstructing justice; $250 fine, 10 jail days with seven suspended.

David L. Helms, 231 E. Foulke Ave., OVI and failure to maintain control of vehicle; $600 fine, 60 jail days with 45 suspended, license suspended 366 days.

Jessica L. Lentz, 607½ Second St., falsification; $250 fine, 90 jail days.

Timothy W. Ludwig, rural Sycamore, DUS; $300 fine. 30 jail days with 15 suspended.

Mark A. Okuly, 2712 Hollybrook, no operator's license (NOL); $50 fine.

Jeffery Pelfrey, 118½ E. Sandusky St., disorderly conduct; $150 fine.

Miriana Roddy, 233 E. Bigelow Ave., A, aggravated disorderly conduct; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 25 suspended.

Timothy J. Shaw, 8250 Silverwood Drive, violating a protection order; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 25 suspended.

Neale M. Smaltz, 2749 Crystal Ave., failure to stop after an accident; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 25 suspended, license suspended 181 days.

Jessica L. Stinehelfer, Fostoria, OVI; $400 fine, 30 jail days with 23 suspended, license suspended 366 days.

Trever W.K. Unsworth, 1131 Claudia Lane, endangering children; $250 fine, 30 jail days suspended.

Ryan W. Vealey, 414 N. Cory St., NOL; $150 fine, 30 jail days with 25 suspended.

Troy R. Anast, 213½ S. Main St., 5, domestic violence; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 25 suspended.

Michael M. Medley, 8247 Maplewood Drive, obstructing official business; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 20 suspended.

Justin L. Patterson, 10294 Parkwood Drive, carrying a concealed weapon; $150 fine, 30 jail days suspended.

Kenneth R. Bateson, Wayne, NOL; $100 fine.

Thomas M. May, 629 Davis St., use of unauthorized plates, and speed; $225 fine.

Jason R. Shaver, 1530 S. Main St., OVI; $450 fine, 30 jail days with 23 suspended, license suspended 366 days.

Courthouse

Marriage Licenses

Jeffrey L. Horton Sr., 712 Cherry St., laborer, to Karie L. Barrow, 712 Cherry St., homemaker.

Jason R. Eisentrager, 1300 Glen Haven Drive, laborer, to Stephanie L. Sweet, North Baltimore, nurse.

Andrew W. Diamond, Columbus, student, to Meredith Anne Browning, 2213 Willow Drive, student.

Ernest W. Gable, Millbury, tool and die, to Patricia Ann Babcock, 10336 Parkwood Drive.

Adam J. Lewis, 2525 Hollybrook Drive, automotive technician, to Ashley M. Egbert, 2525 Hollybrook Drive, surgical technician.

Bruce A. Wilcox, 2801 S. Main St., Time Services employee, to Christina L. Reza, 2801 S. Main St., Lowe's Distribution Center employee.

Curtis J. Hancock, 11459 County Road 180, tire sorter, to Dawn N. Hardwick, 11459 County Road 180, college student.

Divorces, Dissolutions

Allen Lutes from Brandy Lutes, divorce.

James Bentley from Helen Bentley, divorce.

Amelia A. Ornella from Gregory A. Ornella, divorce.

Gregory A. Ornella from Amelia A. Ornella, divorce.

Renee Andrus from Kenneth H. Andrus, divorce.

Cathy J. St. Myer and Wilbur R. St. Myer, dissolution.

Daneen L. Haggard and Philip E. Haggard, dissolution.

Belinda K. Lenhart and Steven J. Lenhart, dissolution.

Real Estate Transfers

Norma Jean Gill to Charles S. Gill, Section 3, 55 acres, and Section 4, 40 acres, Delaware Township.

Richard E. Litzenberg to Kyle J. Major, Lot 2492, Strother Addition, Findlay.

Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center to Ryan C. and Melinda J. Kidwell, Lot 3785, Chamberlin Hill Addition, Findlay.

Bonnie J. Thomas to Bonnie J., Billy R., Marc R. and Ashley M. Thomas, Lot 275, Hillcrest Estates 5th Addition, Liberty Township.

Billy R. Thomas to Billy R., Bonnie J., Marc R., and Ashley M. Thomas, Lot 275, Hillcrest Estates 5th Addition, Liberty Township.

Gilbert R. Garza to Mary L. Garza, Lot 10734, Wyoming Place Addition, Findlay.

Virgil W. Borkosky and Carolyn A. Mihalus to Timothy and Mary E. Snoke, Section 14, .517 acre, Union Township.

Eleanore J. Fisher to Eleanore J. Fisher and Delmer R. and Eleanore J. Fisher Trust, Lot 2629, Mills Addition, Findlay.

Fire Calls

Thursday

4:32 p.m., 464 E. Sandusky St., traffic accident.

7:48 p.m., 1105 S. Blanchard St., medical assist.

Friday

3:56 a.m., 15100 Birchhaven Lane, alarm malfunction.

10:15 a.m., 1300 Broad Ave., EMS call.

11:36 a.m., 1928 Tiffin Ave., traffic accident.

12:01 p.m., 701 W. Sandusky St., EMS call.

1:04 p.m., 1100 Broad Ave., false alarm.

1:26 p.m., 463 Tiffin Ave., EMS call.

1:31 p.m., 1008 East-View Drive, EMS call.

2:55 p.m., 207 E. Foulke Ave., EMS call.

3:42 p.m., 200 N. Main St., EMS call.

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