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Commissioners told to ‘stay the course’ on flood control

Hancock County’s commissioners were urged to “stay the course” on flood control this morning.

Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik and Kathy Kreuchauf, president of the Community Foundation, were among those attending today’s meeting, encouraging the commissioners not to waver in their dedication to flood control.

Kreuchauf attended the meeting as a representative of the former Northwest Ohio Flood Migitation Partnership. That private-public group, organized shortly after the flood of 2007, had a goal of completing the flood-control study within seven years.

Tuesday’s Republican primary race between Commissioner Phillip Riegle and his challenger, Steve Oman, a former commissioner, has been focused on flood control.

Earlier this week, Trustees David Bower of Eagle Township, and Jerry Wolford of Cass Township, delivered petitions to the commissioners. The petitions bear the signatures of trustees from nine of Hancock County’s 17 townships. They are asking that all logjams and islands be removed from the river, and that river banks be cleared and planted with grass. River cleanup work now underway is clearing the islands, but not removing them, and the river banks are not being cleared.

Both Bower and Wolford were highly critical of the flood plan being developed with the Army Corps of Engineers for the Blanchard River watershed, a position shared by Oman. The men encouraged the commissioners to dredge the river, even if it means breaking EPA rules that prohibit it.

Today, however, Mihalik cautioned the commissioners against “playing politics with the lives of thousands of people who live in the watershed.”

To disregard the EPA’s restrictions on the river, she said, “is taking on a battle we can’t win.”

Kreuchauf urged the commissioners to “stay the course” on flood-control efforts.

Courier Reporter Denise Grant will have more on Friday.

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