Last updated: August 25. 2013 12:57AM - 770 Views

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One of the most talked about stories in The Lima News last week involved a father and son who decided to hitchhike from their home in Rittman to California and back.

Michael Gibson and his 18-year-old son, Scott Fritts, began their journey with nothing more than $105 and two backpacks filled with supplies. Sixteen days, 80 rides and 7,500 miles later, they returned to their home near Akron with a new appreciation about the good in humanity.

“It changed us,” Gibson told Akron Beacon Journal Reporter Paula Schleis. “People are a lot kinder than you think.”

The story did have one hitch though, pardon the pun. According to the Beacon Journal reporter, the two hitchhikers were stopped in Van Wert County by a lawman who refused to allow them to go any farther, even though they were within 170 miles of their final destination. The hitchhikers were forced to call a family member to pick them up.


Why did it have to be one of our local lawmen who put an end to such a great journey? Why didn’t he cut them a little slack? It was a telephone call worth making. And as the legendary radio announcer Paul Harvey would say, “Here’s the rest of the story …”

According to Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach, a motorist on U.S. Route 30 called his office shortly after midnight July 1, saying he almost ran over two hitchhikers who were walking along the white line. A deputy was dispatched, and while looking for the hitchhikers, he too nearly hit the hitchhikers.

The two hitchhikers told the deputy about their journey and said a relative was on his way to pick them up, according to Riggenbach. The relative instructed the two men to keep walking along U.S. Route 30 and he would find them.

“Our deputy recognized there was a safety issue and gave the men a ride to McDonald’s, where they eventually met their relative,” Riggenbach said.

So, the story has a little different ending than first reported. However, one thing didn’t change: Michael Gibson and Scott Fritts had the adventure of a lifetime.

Playing with numbers …

Mortgage rates in the Lima region have jumped one percentage point since the beginning of the year, with a 30-year fixed rate now available at 4.25 percent compared to 3.25 percent on Jan. 5.

What does that mean to homebuyers?

A person in the Lima region seeking a $100,000, 30-year home loan today will pay $57 more a month than he or she would have paid at the beginning of the year. That’s based on a $492 monthly payment compared to a $435 payment at January’s rate. It also means the person will be paying $20,424 more in interest over the course of the 30-year loan.

A 15-year loan can be found at 3.5 percent today compared to 2.5 percent on Jan. 5. On a $100,00 loan, that’s a $715 payment compared to $667, or $8,657 more over the course of 15 years.

Not surprisingly, the increasing rates are motivating potential homebuyers to close a deal more quickly. June home sales numbers showed an 11 percent increase over last year’s numbers. The average home in West Central Ohio sold for $95,453 compared to $93,147 a year ago.

All that said, the rates still remain historically low.

More numbers …

… Ohio was the ninth-cheapest state for car repairs in 2012, according to CarMD’s third-annual report. The rankings examined 160,00 repairs made after the “check engine” light came on for vehicles from the 1996 to 2012 model years. The average cost of repair in Ohio was $328 — $40 less than the national average. While Ohio was one of the cheapest states for repairs, the cost to fix vehicles did rise 9 percent.

… The recent Husky Energy Charity Golf Outing was expected to raise $100,000. That would bring the total raised by the outing in seven years to $550,000. Receiving grants this year were the Teddy Bear Fund, Health Partners of Western Ohio, Allen County Educational Service Center, Council on Aging, West Ohio Food Bank, the Children’s Developmental Center, Family Promise, Northwest Ohio Literacy Council and the Hope Visitation and Exchange Center.

… Americans raised their borrowing in May by $19.6 billion from April, the fastest increase in a year. A big part of that increase, the Federal Reserve says, comes from more people using their plastic. Credit card debt hit its highest point in nearly three years.

… Wal-Mart brings in three times the revenue for grocery sales than Kroger, according to the Wall Street Journal.

… No surprise here. If you want see a Major League baseball game, you have a better chance of getting a good seat in Cleveland, where the Indians are only drawing 19,369 fans per game. The average attendance for the Cincinnati Reds is 31,778 and the Detroit Tigers is 37,452. That’s according to figures released Wednesday by Major League Baseball.

ROSES AND THORNS: A woman on East Third Street in Lima was caught growing a different herb then you’ll find in the rose garden.

Rose: To Taylor Miller, Brayden Truex and Cheyenne Skinner, of Lima, who competed at the All-American Soap Box Derby held in Akron. Taylor finished fourth in the Super Stock Division and Cheyenne finished 27th in the Masters Champions competition. Brayden finished third in a heat of the stock division.

Rose: To Carter Bowman, of St. Marys, and Emily Knouff, of Fort Loramie. They won Player of the Year honors in the Lima Junior Golf Association’s Tournament of Champions held at Shawnee Country Club.

Rose: To Command Sgt. Maj. Clifton Johnson, of Lima. The 1980 Lima Senior graduate is in charge of the Army’s largest noncommissioned officer academy at Fort Lee, N.J.

Thorn: To former OSU president G. Gordon Gee, who negotiates a $5.8 million retirement package from Ohio State. This comes from a man who said a way needs to be found to keep college tuition more affordable.

Thorn: To Maria Chirino, 50, of Lima. Police officials said she turned the backyard of her East Third Street home into a marijuana garden. Bedsheets were hung from fencing surrounding the yard so no one could see inside, officials said.

PARTING SHOT: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

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