DOWN: As predicted last year, the Hancock County jail is continuing to run well over the facility’s 98-bed capacity. That means as many as 20 or 30 inmates a day have to be held in jails in Putnam, Wood and Van Wert counties instead of at the corner of Crawford and Cory. If the trend continues, and it could even get worse than it is now, the cost could exceed the $386,080 spent on outside housing in 2017. Projections, based in large part on the rising number of people being indicted here, show 160 inmates could be in jail on a single day by the end of 2018. The solution to overcrowding won’t come easy. The commissioners had proposed a jail addition last year as part of a sales tax increase, but the issue was soundly defeated by voters. Plan B has yet to be announced, but the options appear limited. We continue the status quo, find a way to finance a jail expansion, or send fewer criminals to jail. The jail population peaked on April 25 at 140. Tuesday, it was 118, still 20 over capacity. One thing seems certain at this point: Jail overcrowding is more than a short-term problem, it’s a public safety problem.
UP: The University of Findlay western equestrian program put another notch in its saddle earlier this month when it won its sixth Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) national championship in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Oilers scored 28 points to outdistance runner-up Ohio State University. The U of F has won national titles in 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010, but the latest effort was the first under first-year head coach Spencer Zimmerman. The Oilers got a standout performance from Hanna Hedderick, who finished as the reserve champion in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) High Point rider standings, while in team competition, Charity Thacker, Bryant Fox and Charlotte Chubb also captured national titles in their respective classes. Well done, Oilers.
UP: When it comes to the state’s drug problems, all prevention and awareness tools should be utilized. Hancock County has a new resource in “Hidden in Plain Sight” to educate parents and make it easier for them to start a conversation with their children about drugs. A trailer, featuring a mock youth bedroom, is the class project of the 2018 Hancock Leadership class. The bedroom is filled with examples of locations where youths can hide or disguise hiding places for cigarettes, alcohol or other drugs, including heroin. The trailer was designed to provide clues to parents as to whether a child is using drugs. Hancock Leadership acquired the trailer, raised funds, decorated it and marketed it. The display is now available free of charge for community presentations. We would hope it is put to frequent use.