UP: Findlay and Hancock County have had a strong business relationship with Japan for more than three decades. But it could grow even stronger this week. Gov. Mike DeWine is in Toyko leading a business development mission of more than 50 regional government and economic development officials at the 51st Midwest U.S.-Japan Association (MWJA) annual conference. The Ohio contingent includes former Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, who is now director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, and J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. MWJA is comprised of the governments of 10 U.S. Midwestern states, eight prefectures in Japan, and about 100 Japanese corporations. Japan is Ohio’s top international investor, with more than 72,860 Ohioans employed at 852 Japan-owned businesses across the state. Japan was the fifth-largest export market for Ohio products in 2018, when state firms exported more than $1.67 billion worth of products to Japan. The connections to this part of Ohio and Findlay are significant. A major goal of the trip is to build on the strong ties that have been established with Saitama Prefecture, Ohio’s sister state in Japan. We hope the trip proves fruitful for all, but especially for northwestern Ohio. It’s important to continue to grow relationships with current and future investors from Japan.

UP: It took a while to get moving in more than one direction, but it appears Hancock County officials are taking a multi-faceted approach to flood control in the Blanchard River watershed. One creative effort of the Hancock County commissioners is a recent decision to obtain a permit from Ohio EPA to create a wetlands on seven acres of county-owned land along Liberty Township 89. The permit will designate land near the Blanchard River as a conservancy, which allows soil to be removed from the area for water storage during flooding. When the river overflows, the water will have a place to settle. The best part: The project will require no maintenance. Good for the Nature Conservancy of Ohio and the commissioners for thinking outside the box when it comes to flood control.

UP: The 2019 edition of the Hancock County Fair is now in the books and judging from attendance at the Old Mill Stream Fairgrounds, it would seem the annual farm-themed event was nearly as popular as ever. The total attendance for the week was 88,000, but it would have likely been closer to 100,000 if not for Sunday’s washout. Only 7,000 showed up that day compared to the Sunday average of 22,800. While this year’s version the fair wasn’t much different from last year’s, or even the one 10 years ago, the many traditions at the fair, including events, exhibits, and fair food, are still the main attractions for many. The addition of new buildings at the fair in recent years and the steady turnout of fairgoers has all but eliminated the talk about moving the fairgrounds to another location. That’s good. The Hancock County Fair wouldn’t be the same if it was held anywhere else.

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