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Riegle refutes river dredging idea at State of the County address

The State of Hancock County address got political today, when Commissioner Phillip Riegle stepped to the podium and began lobbing facts aimed at his rival’s campaign in an attempt to discredit it.

Riegle, of 22525 Delaware Township 184, is finishing his second, four-year term as a commissioner.

Riegle’s challenger, Steve Oman, of 13123 Hancock County 9, is a farmer. He served two terms as a commissioner before losing his seat to Ed Ingold in 2004. He has tried twice before to get it back. He ran for an open commissioner seat in 2006, losing to Riegle. He then challenged Commissioner Emily Walton in the 2008 primary election and lost.

Oman has insisted that the river needs to be cleaned first as part of the effort to control flooding along the Blanchard River.

Riegle, and commissioners Mark Gazarek and Brian Robertson, took turns at the podium during the address. It was left to Riegle, however, to talk about efforts to clean the river.
Riegle said the Blanchard River is already being cleaned. The plan is to remove all log jams and some leaning trees.

“For the first time it also proposed removing trees/vegetation from islands and begin to remove dead Ash trees, making it the most aggressive clean-out we have done,” said Riegle.

Riegle also challenged Oman’s calls to dredge the river.

Oman attended today’s speech, but didn’t question Riegle when the floor was open to the public.

Courier reporter Denise Grant will have more on this story in Friday’s edition.

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