UP: The announcement that McLane Co. will open a $38 million grocery distribution center on the north side of Findlay in 2016 and employ over 400 people in good-paying jobs is the latest good news for the area. McLane will receive $3.6 million in job creation tax credits from the state and millions in property tax breaks from Findlay’s Community Reinvestment Area program. But the company will direct $500,000 of its property tax savings to infrastructure improvements at the site and $100,000 to enhance workforce development programs at Millstream Career Center. The financial assistance offered by state and local officials more than likely led McLane to pick Hancock County, but its investment, and ours, should prove to be good for the community in the long term.
DOWN: Ohio’s pain pill and heroin epidemic is still claiming an average of five lives a day. That’s reason enough to keep pushing legislation that addresses prevention, treatment, and reform. The Ohio House has taken the lead by introducing a package of opiate, addiction, and mental health-related bills aimed at different aspects of the issue, and has passed many of them. The legislation, now before the Senate, does not involve a partisan issue. The Senate should get to work as soon as possible so Gov. John Kasich can sign the bills so those addicted to opiates can get the help they need.
UP: Fostoria police “stole” the Fire Department’s top man, Keith Loreno, earlier this month to serve as the new police chief. So now it’s time to fill the fire chief’s position. The city will advertise the job opening and begin taking applications soon. Candidates must have at least five years of firefighting service at the lieutenant rank or above, or an equivalent combination of education, training and life experience. They must also have an Ohio Fire Safety Inspection Certificate, Firefighter’s Certificate, and valid driver’s license.
UP: It’s nearly Memorial Day, which means the State Highway Patrol, sheriffs and police departments have started an annual crackdown on seatbelt violations. Ohio officers have joined those from Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia in the “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign which runs through Memorial Day. The effort comes as traffic deaths are declining. Last year, a record low of 990 people were killed on Ohio roads and, so far this year, 270 have died, compared to 294 at the same time in 2013. Still, the focus on safety belts seems warranted considering that 59 percent of people killed in crashes in Ohio last year were not restrained.
UP: Unemployment rates, like any government statistic, are subject to interpretation. But the latest report showing Ohio’s jobless rate at 5.7 percent, down from 7.3 percent from a year ago, should be seen as another sign the economy is moving in the right direction. The rate has been consistently dropping so far in 2014 and decreased in all 88 counties in April. Hancock County’s rate, 4 percent, is the lowest among those in northwestern Ohio, and sixth-lowest in the state. Of surrounding counties, the highest rate is in Henry County, 5.8 percent, but even that is more than two percentage points lower than this time last year.