The $153 million rebuilding of Interstate 75 through Findlay with a third lane and new U.S. 68/Ohio 15 interchange will start in late 2017 or early 2018. That is the same time frame state transportation officials in Lima forecasted when they unveiled their plans nearly two years ago. Reconstruction through Findlay will take about three years. A third lane will be added for both north and southbound traffic from Hancock County Road 99 to just south of the U.S. 68-Ohio 15 interchange, or about five miles. The biggest change in the I-75 interchange at U.S. 68-Ohio 15 will be the tight cloverleaf-type loop being replaced with a safer, broad, winding turn from I-75 to U.S. 68/Ohio 15. The Lima Avenue interchange also will be made safer with longer ramps to enter and leave the highway.
Findlay Law Director Don Rasmussen has decided that Fire Chief Tom Lonyo is retiring and is entitled to unused sick pay, and Auditor Jim Staschiak is being directed to pay it. Staschiak previously said he couldn’t compensate Lonyo for his sick time, because Lonyo’s decision to leave was more of a resignation than a retirement. Staschiak cited a previous case in which former city Engineer David Metzker asserted that the city owed him sick pay after he resigned, but the auditor at the time declined to pay him and a court sided with the auditor. In a legal opinion to City Council and Staschiak, Rasmussen said he does not believe the Metzker case is relevant, because Lonyo has indicated he is retiring from his city job and not resigning, as Metzker did.
Seneca County commissioners agreed during their meeting Tuesday to decide the location of a possible joint justice center by February 10, regardless of whether the East Tower study is completed. The City of Tiffin and Seneca County was recently awarded $500,000, no-interest loan from the state for the project.
A man who escaped from Northwest Community Corrections Center in Bowling Green this fall was sentenced to more than 3 1/2 years in prison in connection to the crime. Twenty-five year old year old Jhon Rosado, who has no listed address according to court records, pleaded in court to one count of escape in relation to the September 17, 2014, incident. He was also found guilty of a related community control violation. Rosado jumped over a fence at the Center and ran into a cornfield. Rosado, who injured his foot in the escape, was captured by police the next evening at the Fairview Manor apartment complex in Bowling Green, in the attic of Bobbie Merritt with whom he had been involved. She was sentenced to three years of community control last month after pleading guilty to a felony count of obstructing justice.
Greater Fostoria Community Foundation, Inc. has awarded $10,000 in grants to three community organizations. A $4,000 grant went to to the Fostoria Area Habitat for Humanity and will be used toward the local group’s next rehabilitation project in the community. A $3,000 grant was given to the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library and will be used to start a collection of Playaway Views for the children’s department. Another $3,000 grant went to Fostoria Jr./Sr. High and will be used to sponsor a year-end reward activity for the Red & Black Champs program. These GFCF awards bring the total distribution of grants to over $1,545,000 since the Foundation’s inception in 1998.
Tiffin’s new outdoor ice skating rink will be open for business this weekend beginning this Friday. The rink will celebrate its opening with kick-off events on Saturday. Ice sculptors will begin carving at 11am. Silver Blades of Findlay will perform at 2:30 and Elsa from Frozen will appear at three. Skating is open Friday from 5-10, Saturday from 11a – 10p and Sunday from 12p-6p from now to the end of February.
The Findlay-Hancock County Public Library and Blanchard Valley Center will each ask voters to renew five-year operating levies. The library’s 0.5-mill operating levy was first approved by voters in May 2010 to offset a loss of about $725,000 annually when the state cut library funding in 2009. Hours were reduced at the Findlay and Arlington libraries due to the funding cut. The levy revenue allowed the libraries to return to full operations. If renewed by voters in May, the levy is expected to generate about $725,792 yearly, or about 30 percent of the library’s budget. Blanchard Valley Center is seeking the renewal of its 1.9-mill operating levy. The levy, which expires in December 2015, was first approved by voters in May 2005. It was last renewed in May 2010 and generates about $2.3 million yearly.
American Electric Power has hired an investment bank to help with a potential sale of its unregulated power plants, most of which are in Ohio. The Columbus-based utility is working with Goldman Sachs to explore options for the plants. AEP has said for several years that it one day would look at a possible sale of the power plants. AEP is among the publicly traded electricity utilities that have raised concerns about the difficulty of owning power plants in Ohio's deregulated market. Unlike in many other states, Ohio power plants compete on an open market.