Thursday, September 27th, 2007


Group plans to provide long-term flood help
Letters to the editor and other laments from local residents show the damage, both physical and emotional, from August's flooding is still taking its toll.
more >>
Disaster recovery center to shift focus
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Findlay disaster recovery center will shift its main focus from dispersing grants to granting loans, beginning Friday.
more >>
Teacher joins race for seat in Congress
Despite all of the public announcements about who is and who isn't running for the 5th Congressional District seat, only one person so far has officially filed a petition to seek the position.
more >>
Superintendent interviews to begin
The Hancock County Board of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities on Friday will begin interviewing its three candidates for Blanchard Valley Center superintendent.
more >>
Flood aid program detailed
CAREY — Village officials and residents on Wednesday learned more about the process of receiving a flood hazard mitigation grant through the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA).
more >>
Retirement community to open
Findlay area residents are gaining an additional option for settling down in their retirement years.
more >>
Governor to visit Findlay, Ottawa
Gov. Ted Strickland will be attending Democratic party fundraising events in both Findlay and Ottawa this Sunday.
more >>
Two men rob Family Video Tuesday night
Findlay police are continuing to investigate an "armed" robbery that occurred at a Blanchard Street video store Tuesday night.
more >>
Illinois pilot killed in plane crash near Defiance
DEFIANCE — A pilot was killed Wednesday when his plane, en route to Findlay from Illinois, went down just west of Defiance.
more >>
Public Record
Docket
more >>
Local News

Group plans to provide long-term flood help

By JOY BROWN

staff writer

Letters to the editor and other laments from local residents show the damage, both physical and emotional, from August's flooding is still taking its toll.

But a local committee comprised of about 40 individuals is now organizing in order to offer long-term help to those who still need it.

The group, tentatively called the Long Term Recovery Committee of Hancock County, began meeting this month at the suggestion of the Rev. Paul Stark, a local Methodist minister.

"He had been involved with long-term recovery efforts in New Orleans before he came here," explained Maile Doyle, the committee chair. "He recognized, with this being a federally-declared disaster area, that we really were in bad shape."

The committee is now shaping itself along guidelines advocated by NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) with the ultimate goal of helping individuals (not businesses) rebuild their lives.

NVOAD was formed in 1970 to coordinate response and communication among voluntary disaster response organizations.

The local committee plans to hire two part-time case workers, using funds offered by the Lutheran Disaster Relief Organization. "Our whole structure is based on case management," Doyle said.

The case workers will research the situations of those who have been referred to the group for help, and present their cases to the committee. The committee, in turn, will determine who is eligible for aid.

"We'll receive the names of people who have fallen through the cracks, people who might have received some aid through FEMA or the Small Business Administration, maybe through local churches or the Red Cross, but it's not enough to really make them whole," said Doyle. "Some people are more resilient than others, and some have the advantage of having family members and friends help them out, but we know we still have community members with unmet needs."

For those who need help, "We'll put work teams in individual homes to provide what's needed," Doyle said.

Aside from the case workers, the committee will be relying on local volunteers to help with flood relief measures and will be counting on donated money and materials.

Doyle said the committee itself represents a good cross-section of the community.

"We are highly representative of nonprofits, faith-based, the private and the public sector," she said.

Along with flood relief efforts, the committee is working to create a ministerial association that opens the lines of communication among different denominations.

While organizations like Hancock Christian Clearing House and CHOPIN Hall have interdenominational support, "the local, pastoral leadership of local congregations don't necessarily come together to talk about the community," Doyle maintained.

The committee will offer church leaders the chance to "touch base with each other" about helping parishioners.

Doyle noted that while well-seasoned volunteer disaster assistance groups like the Southern Baptist Men (who helped here after the flood) know all about how to help with cleanup and recovery, the local committee is still training and learning with NVOAD members, along with creating a managerial and administrative structure.

"We as a community have never activated long-term" recovery help for a disaster, Doyle said. "This is our first foray out into this particular world," and it's a venture that committee members intend to sustain.

Parkview Christian Church has donated office space for the group to use at 15035 Ohio 12 East, and a phone number (currently recording messages) has been set up at 419-423-0499.

Companies interested in offering space to house donated materials may call there and leave a message. The committee also has an e-mail address at hcltrc@gmail.com.

Once the committee hires case workers and feels it is organized enough to begin accepting donations and training volunteers, the Courier will report those details.

Contact staff writer Joy Brown at:

(419) 427-8496

joybrown@thecourier.com

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Disaster recovery center to shift focus

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Findlay disaster recovery center will shift its main focus from dispersing grants to granting loans, beginning Friday.

That means FEMA representatives are finishing up their work, while customer service representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will remain available to answer questions and provide help with applications for long-term, low-interest loans for homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes.

The center’s location will continue to be the Cube, 3430 N. Main St. The loan center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We’ve reached nearly all the people in the Findlay area who need help with registration and answers to questions about disaster assistance,” Federal Coordinating Officer Jesse Munoz said in a written statement. “We’re now ready to shift our focus to long-term recovery.”

Area residents who suffered damages or losses from the August flooding, but have not yet registered with FEMA, should still call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing impaired, or go online at www.fema.gov.

The deadline for filing for FEMA individual assistance is Oct. 26.

More than 1,000 people have visited the Findlay disaster recovery center since it opened Aug. 31. Altogether, more than 3,500 people have visited the nine disaster recovery centers serving the eight Ohio counties designated as disaster areas.



SBA goes door-to-door

To go the extra mile to help Findlay’s downtown businesses, SBA representatives are going door-to-door to explain disaster loans to local businesses.

SBA representatives are seeking out business owners who have not yet visited the downtown Business Assistance Center.

That center, located at the rear entrance of Commercial Savings Bank, 201 E. Lincoln St., was established to reach out to downtown businesses affected by the August flooding. It is open the same hours as the bank: Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

SBA representatives are working from a master list of businesses provided by GreaterFindlay Inc. If they cannot reach a business by phone, they make a personal visit. The door-to-door canvass also picks up any businesses not on the list.

“We understand that local business owners are working feverishly to get their businesses up and running,” said Business Assistance Center Team Leader Larry Bates. “Most don’t have the time to spend in line at a disaster recovery center. That’s why we come to them.”

Local businesses have about a month to decide whether to apply for an SBA disaster loan. Their deadline is Oct. 26.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Teacher joins race for seat in Congress

By JOHN GRABER

STAFF WRITER

Despite all of the public announcements about who is and who isn't running for the 5th Congressional District seat, only one person so far has officially filed a petition to seek the position.

Republican Mark Hollenbaugh of Bowling Green, a teacher in North Baltimore, filed a petition with the Wood County Board of Elections on Tuesday to run for the U.S. House seat left vacant by the death of Paul Gillmor on Sept. 5. Rep. Gillmor died after a fall in his Washington-area apartment.

Nobody else has actually filed, according to Wood County Board of Elections Director Debbie Hazard.

Candidates must file in Wood County because it is the most populous of the 16-county congressional district which stretches from suburban Toledo to northern Ashland County. The deadline to file petitions is 4 p.m. Friday.

The primary election for the seat is set for Nov. 6 and the general election will be Dec. 11.

Two Republican state legislators, Rep. Bob Latta of Bowling Green and Sen. Steve Buehrer of Delta, have announced they will seek the U.S. House seat.

Democrat Robin Weirauch of Napoleon has also said she will make another bid for the congressional seat. She lost to Gillmor in 2004 and 2006.

No Democrat has held the seat since the 1930s.

State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann and Gillmor's widow, Karen Gillmor, have said they will not seek election to the position.

Hollenbaugh, who teaches history and government at North Baltimore High School, figures his lack of political experience is the key ingredient he offers over his competitors.

"I'm running because I feel the government is not responsive to the needs of the people," Hollenbaugh said. "I feel people who have immersed themselves in politics, and are career politicians, are more interested in maintaining the status quo rather than making meaningful changes."

One of the biggest issues that elected officials should be considering right now is the large number of people who will be facing foreclosure on their homes in the next few years, Hollenbaugh said.

"We're talking about having a couple million Americans who are going to be financially destitute; we're going to have a bunch of homes on the market no one is going to be able to afford to buy," Hollenbaugh said. "I just feel it's better to do something about it now."

Hollenbaugh intends to provide more information about his candidacy on a Web site.

Buehrer's election Web site is at www.stevebuehrer.com. Latta's Web site is at www.lattaforcongress.com. Weirauch's Web site is at www.robinweirauch.com.

Contact staff writer John Graber at:

(419) 427-8417

johngraber@thecourier.com

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Superintendent interviews to begin

The Hancock County Board of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities on Friday will begin interviewing its three candidates for Blanchard Valley Center superintendent.

The candidates include Connie Ament, who is currently serving as interim superintendent at Blanchard Valley Center.

Also being interviewed are Susan G. Smith and David R. Carr.

Smith, of New Bremen, is currently employed by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in Columbus. She works as a Medicaid health system administrator. Smith holds a certification to work as an MR/DD superintendent.

Carr also holds a superintendent's certification. He has worked since 1997 as the fiscal services director at the Richland County Board of MR/DD.

Ament is a former official with the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities. She most recently served four years with the department as a deputy director and assistant director. Prior to that, she spent 12 years as superintendent of the Richland County Board of MR/DD.

Ament was named as interim superintendent in June as part of the board's effort to stabilize the program, following the forced resignation of Bryan K. Miller. The board began to pressure Miller to resign when it became clear that the BVC would fail to earn its state accreditation this year.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Flood aid program detailed

By JIM MAURER

Staff Writer

CAREY — Village officials and residents on Wednesday learned more about the process of receiving a flood hazard mitigation grant through the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (OEMA).

Drew L. Whitehair, mitigation specialist in the grants division of OEMA, and Pat Beck, a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), conducted the meeting in the Carey High School auditorium to review the grant process and get input from residents.

Whitehair said the flood mitigation grant program can provide 75 percent of the funds needed for projects designed to lessen damages from future floods. Such projects include conducting a hydrological study of the village or constructing water retention or detention ponds.

The village must file a pre-application by an Oct. 12 deadline. If determined to be eligible, officials would then submit a more detailed application.

A briefing session will be held today at Trinity Evangelical Church, Upper Sandusky, with OEMA personnel and area government officials to discuss the pre-application process and provide assistance in filling out those papers.

Whitehair said there are five mitigation options offered by the OEMA for the village to consider:

• Acquire/demolish residences damaged by the flood, which are purchased for fair market value based on either a pre-flood or post-flood basis.

• Elevate properties one foot above the 100-year flood plain level (base flood elevation) which could also reduce property owners flood insurance rates.

• Retrofit a property with such items as backflow valves on sewer lines entering the property, elevation of the plumbing, if necessary; moving heating/ventilating/air conditioning units to a higher floor in the residence. Generally, this option has a lower cost than acquisition of property, he said.

• Implement storm water management measures including increasing the size of storm water lines or building retention areas. The village has a storm water fund which currently has a balance of about $500,000 which is used for maintenance of the village's storm water program.

• Utilize vegetative management through plantings along the banks of storm water ditches in the village.

Applications are ranked by a review team in Columbus with acquisition projects receiving the highest priority, Whitehair said, "because it's the only permanent solution."

Much of the 90-minute session, held in the high school auditorium and attended by about 30 people, was spent seeking public input on village flooding problems and solutions to the problem.

Conducting the hydrological study is the first step toward finding solutions, and Mayor Dallas Risner said that is where the village should start.

When Whitehair inquired about where most of last month's flooding happened, those in attendance began listing various streets, but eventually decided there are flooding problems "throughout town."

Among other ideas suggested by the public Wednesday were to extend a ditch to National Lime & Stone quarry to capture storm water during heavy rains; divert water from Spring Run to Brown Ditch; relocate some structures; or construct "ring levees" around residences.

No decisions are expected to be made on any options until the proposed study is done.

The village has established a "flood committee" to work on seeking funds, meeting with local and state officials who can assist in the effort and help prepare an overall plan to mitigate the flooding problem. The committee's next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 in village council chambers at the municipal building.

Those in attendance Wednesday agreed it will be a multi-million undertaking for the village, which can't afford to fund the entire project.

Anyone who was unable to attend the session Wednesday will have a chance to complete a questionnaire which will be included in the utility bill which will be mailed out in late October.

Village officials want to know the amount of damage incurred and "anything that impacted you in the flood," Risner said.

Anyone with documented damage from previous floods may include that information.

Contact staff writer Jim Maurer at:

(419) 427-8420

jimmaurer@thecourier.com

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Retirement community to open

Findlay area residents are gaining an additional option for settling down in their retirement years.

Primrose Retirement Community, located at 8580 Township Road 237, is holding a grand opening celebration from 3-7 p.m. today.

The retirement community is located on 10 acres and consists of 12 town home villas, 36 independent living apartments and 32 assisted living apartments.

The town homes offer two bedrooms and two full baths, with an attached garage and sunroom.

The apartments will be available in a mix of studio, and one- and two-bedroom units.

Residents will have access to a variety of public areas including a wellness center, pub, billiards/game room, devotional chapel, library, movie theater, ice cream parlor and outdoor gazebo.

Daily meals and activities are scheduled to keep residents healthy, active and entertained.

Primrose Retirement Communities is a family-owned and operated business. It has 17 facilities in seven states including North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio and Wyoming. Primrose’s other Ohio facilities are located in Lima, Marion, Mansfield and Lancaster.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Governor to visit Findlay, Ottawa

Gov. Ted Strickland will be attending Democratic party fundraising events in both Findlay and Ottawa this Sunday.

Strickland will first attend a Hancock County Democratic Fundraiser ice cream social from 1:30-3 p.m. at United Steel Worker’s Union Hall, 1130 Summit St. Tickets are $10 for adults and can be purchased at the door. For more information call (419) 425-0470 or (419) 423-9499.

The governor will then proceed to the Putnam County Democratic Party’s soup and sandwich lunch from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Glandorf Rod & Gun Club, 8585 Township Road 11, Ottawa.

Tickets will be $10 for adults, $5 for those under 16 and free for children under 3. Tickets can be reserved by calling Linda Jones Borton at (419) 523-3271.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Two men rob Family Video Tuesday night

Findlay police are continuing to investigate an "armed" robbery that occurred at a Blanchard Street video store Tuesday night.

Police said two males entered the Family Video Store at 707 S. Blanchard St. at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday and demanded money from an employee.One of the men was brandishing a crowbar.

The clerk complied with the demand for cash, and the suspects left the store with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.

Both men were described as being in their 20s. One was a black man with a goatee and wearing a gray sweatshirt and black baseball cap. He was carrying a black crowbar.

The other suspect was said to be Hispanic. He was wearing a black Oakland Raiders jacket.

The men were seen heading southbound through the parking lot.

A police canine was brought to the scene but lost the scent not far from the business.

Police said the suspects may have left the area in a large dark-colored vehicle.

Anyone with information about the crime should call police at 419-424-7164 or Crime Stoppers at 419-425-TIPS.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Illinois pilot killed in plane crash near Defiance

DEFIANCE — A pilot was killed Wednesday when his plane, en route to Findlay from Illinois, went down just west of Defiance.

Pronounced dead at the scene was Paul E. Harris, 57, of Wauconda, Ill., according to the Defiance post of the State Highway Patrol.

The single-engine Piper aircraft went down at 10:30 a.m. near Whetstone Road, a mile south of U.S. 24.

Harris was flying from Grayslake, Ill. to Findlay when the accident occurred, the patrol reported. The cause of the crash remained under investigation Wednesday.

Harris was a volunteer pilot for a charity that arranges free flights for patients who need to travel for medical treatment. He was scheduled to pick up a passenger in Findlay for Angel Flight Central, an organization that coordinates private volunteer pilots for health care and humanitarian flights.

Comments?
Back To Headlines


Public Record

Docket

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

Police Department

A domestic quarrel was reported at a Fox Run Road apartment Monday.

A vehicle passenger, age 18, was cited for underage consumption of alcohol and obstructing official business, while a driver was charged with not having a license, fleeing and eluding, and underage consumption, stemming from a Tuesday traffic stop on Ash Avenue. A second passenger was charged with having a drug pipe.

Windows were struck by projectiles at the Salvation Army, 509 N. Main St. This was reported Tuesday.

A window was broken on a Lexus parked in the 200 block of West Sandusky Street on Tuesday.

A Connell Avenue youth was taken into custody for domestic violence after an altercation with a parent Tuesday.

A cell phone was swiped from an unlocked Mercury at 1925 Tiffin Ave. on Saturday or Sunday.

An intoxicated Walnut Street man was arrested Wednesday for domestic violence after biting the arm of an infant, who did not require medical treatment.

A computer was stolen from a travel trailer Wednesday at 617 Frazer St.

Police were summoned to a Wednesday fracas at 137 Trenton Ave.

A truck was damaged Wednesday while two women were involved in a ruckus at 118 W. Lima St.

Sheriff's Office

An intoxicated Michigan man — who later registered a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.143 — was arrested for disorderly conduct Wednesday after vomiting inside a Greyhound bus at the Pilot Travel Center, Ohio 613. He attributed this condition to "an overactive bladder which sends an over-abundance of enzymes into the stomach, causing the vomiting."

Medication and rings were missing Monday from 14583 County Road 8.

Municipal Court

The following persons were sentenced in Findlay Municipal Court:

Joshua E. Haley, 217½ S. Main St., driving under suspension (DUS), display of license plates violation; $250 fine, 60 jail days suspended.

Joshua J. Baldwin, 333 Sterling Hill Drive, violating a protection order; $250 fine, 30 jail days with 23 suspended.

Roger L. Brim, 1221 Muirfield Drive, Thomas A. Henry, 605½ Tiffin Ave., Nicholas A. Rausch, rural Forest, David L. Williamson II, rural Rawson, all for speed; $105 fines.

Klay L. Conaway, Columbus Grove, reckless operation of vehicle; $150 fine.

Daniel A. Kramer, 1161 Claudia Lane, speed; $186 fine.

Veronica E. Leguire, 148 Larkins St., stopping for a school bus violation; $25 fine.

Anna D. Torres, 130½ Monroe Ave., criminal damaging, DUS: $650 fine, 90 jail days suspended.

Monnie K. Harden, rural Alvada, speed; $95 fine.

Benjamin J. Harmon, Bluffton, no operator's license (NOL), speed; $400 fine, 30 jail days with 20 suspended.

Matthew R. Barringer, 1401 Fleetwood Ave., Timothy L. Hosler, 110½ Walnut St., both for DUS; $150 fines, 60 jail days suspended.

Dustin E. Laney, Van Buren, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (OVI), and speed; $500 fine, 30 jail days with 18 suspended, license suspended 366 days.

Amanda M. Stollar, 1812 Blanchard St., speed; $100 fine.

Chad B.J. Whitely, 213 N. Blanchard St., DUS; $350 fine, 30 jail days with 20 suspended.

Courthouse

Common Pleas Court

The following activity took place in Hancock County Common Pleas Court:

Joshua L. Breyman, 20, of Findlay, was placed on community control sanctions for five years by Judge Reg Routson on a fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property conviction. He was charged after being found in possession of a Yamaha ATV on June 10 in Portage Township. The ATV had been stolen from a Findlay man. As part of his sentence, Breyman was ordered to pay $500 restitution to the crime victim. If he fails to complete his community control, he will have to serve a 16-month prison term.

Marlon T. Flowers Jr., 27, of Toledo, was sentenced to a total of four years in prison by Judge Routson on two third-degree felony trafficking in cocaine convictions. He was also ordered to make restitution of $275 to the Hancock METRICH drug unit. Flowers was convicted of selling between 10-100 grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of Heritage Christian School in March 2007, and within 1,000 feet of Northview Primary School in October 2006. Both charges were filed as second-degree felonies, but were reduced, and two other second-degree felony trafficking counts were dismissed as part of a plea bargain.

Jeremy E. Sherbrook, 20, of Findlay, was convicted of failure to comply with a police order (a third-degree felony) and receiving stolen property (fourth-degree felony) by Judge Routson, who ordered a pre-sentence investigation (PSI). Sherbrook was indicted for fleeing from a police officer and for being in possession of a stolen vehicle on July 8 in Findlay.

Armando R. Sanchez, 45, of Findlay, was convicted of two counts of trafficking in marijuana, both fourth-degree felonies, by Judge Routson. A PSI was ordered. Sanchez was charged with being in possession of less than 200 grams of pot within 1,000 feet of Findlay High School on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, 2005.

Kenneth L. Kindle, 37, of Findlay, was sentenced to six months in prison by Judge Routson on a fourth-degree felony conviction for trafficking in counterfeit controlled substances. Kindle had been indicted for selling a substance he knew to be counterfeit within 1,000 feet of Glenwood Middle School on Jan. 17, 2006.

Robert L. Ferdinandsen, 47, of Findlay, entered innocent pleas to two counts of breaking and entering (both fifth-degree felonies) and to two counts of safecracking (both fourth-degree felonies) at his arraignment hearing. His bond was set at $22,500 and a pretrial hearing was scheduled.

Real Estate Transfers

Hancock County sheriff, James R. and Mary Ann Bunch to National City Bank, Lot 315, Continuation of Vance & Corys Addition, Findlay.

Hancock County sheriff and Doris Ann Crislip to U.S. Bank, Lot 2594, Schwab & Others Addition, Fostoria.

Virginia J. Newcomer Trust and P. David Newcomer to Andrew R. and Allison J. Groman, Lot 28, Brookside Addition, Findlay.

Van Buren Festival Committee to Van Buren Village, Section 12, 2.108 acres, Allen Township.

Marjory A. Denson to Robin K. Ritchie, Lot 22, Northern Heights Addition, Findlay.

Aaron and Michelle Hibbard to Christopher M. and Beth Anne White, Section 4, 2.001 acres, Orange Township.

Aaron M. Hohman to Virginia L. and Lucille J. Kuhlman, Section 10, .41 acre, Marion Township.

Philip A. Cook to Robert P. and Jennifer M. Knobel, Lot 14, Hunters Creek 10th Addition, Findlay.

Comments?
Back To Headlines