You never knew what stories would be told when you turned the pages of The Lima News during 2019. There were articles about people cleaning up a mess and others about folks making a mess. Some of our residents had plenty to say, and more than a few left us speechless.
It all makes for quite a list when selecting the year’s best of roses and the worst of thorns. So here we go, counting them down:
BEST OF ROSES
No. 10: For the first time, a student attending OSU-Lima was selected from among all Ohio State graduates to be the student speaker during OSU’s commencement ceremony at Ohio Stadium. Hats off to Melissa Martinez-Cuen, of Paulding.
No. 9: The idea Jane Whitney-Clark of Lima, submitted to the nationally-syndicated comic strip “Pluggers” was No. 9 on its Top 10 list of the year. Clark wrote, “A Plugger can’t remember exactly when her waist line began to resemble Aunt Bee’s more than Miss Kitty’s.”
No. 8: Ottawa resident Todd Rye, a manager at Walmart, won $60,000 before taxes on the TV game show Cash Explosion.
No. 7: Cameron Elwer, of Delphos, hit all 25 of his free throws to win the national championship in the Boys 12-13 Division of the Elks Hoop Shoot contest in Chicago. Cameron was representing Lima Elks Lodge No. 54.
No. 6: Drew Hubbard, 15, of Lima, ate 11 Kewpee hamburgers in 10 minutes to be crowned the champion of the Star Spangled Spectacular’s Kewpee Hamburger Eating Contest.
No. 5: Joe Hartman kept his cool in July as he endured one of the fears faced by all firefighters. The 30-year veteran of the American Township Fire Department drove a firetruck to a blaze at his own residence on West State Road. Fortunately, only his woodworking shop was on fire.
No. 4: Lima park rangers played a unique game of laser tag during the spring. The rangers shot geese with lasers to keep them from nesting in city parks. Without being harassed, the geese settle down, causing public safety issues.
No. 3: A woman not only can run a hospital — which is rare in the medical field — but can climb the ladder within the organization to become the president of the city’s largest employer. That’s what Ronda Lehman accomplished when named president of Mercy Health’s Lima market. The Lima native and Harrod resident began working at St. Rita’s Medical Center in 1995 as a pharmacy intern. In September, she was put in charge of overseeing operations for Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center and its various outpatient services.
No. 2: Lima firefighter Matt “Reggie” Hammons received an Ohio Heroism Award from the State Fire Marshal’s office in January. Hammons begged his superior officer to be allowed to enter the second floor of a fully engulfed house fire, saying he heard a child crying. Captain George Davis said Hammons kept insisting “let me go, I can hear him.’” Hammons entered the home, climbed the stairs to the second level and found 6-year-old Landyn Douglas in the hallway crying for help. Intense heat kept the firefighter from carrying the child back down the stairwell, so he located a window and passed Landyn — who at that point had become unresponsive — out the window to a fellow firefighter and into safe hands.
No. 1: When the neighborhood in which his mother lives on Biscayne Drive experienced three home invasions, Bill Mears of Lima went to the source — a house across the street where suspected drug dealers lived. “I told them ‘the dope house is closed, you’re not allowed to live here no more.’” It worked, as he chased the alleged culprits out of the neighborhood in which his mother lived for 35 years.
WORST OF THORNS
No. 10: Some Lima residents received their gas bills in Social Security envelopes in December due to an error by a third-party vendor.
No. 9: Vandals spray-painted hateful remarks on the walls of New Life Assembly Church on Kibby Street in Lima.
No. 8: A shooting took place at Levels Lounge in Lima on the same day city council was scheduled to debate whether it should recommend the state revoke the liquor permit of the bar.
No. 7: Work on the Elm Street underpass project was pushed behind schedule and not completed in 2019 because CenturyLink didn’t relocate its lines on time.
No. 6: It took nearly three hours to clean up potatoes that were spilled on Interstate 75 after two trucks collided just north of Wapakoneta over the noon hour on a cold January day.
No. 5: Individuals working on the fuel line of a car that was parked partially inside a commercial storage unit on Gannon Drive in Lima had an unexpected surprise. When they started the vehicle it burst into flames. The blaze caused fire damage to two of the nearby storage units and smoke damage to an undetermined number of other units. Initial damage estimates were set at $4,000 for the vehicle and $2,000 to the building.
No. 4: A century-old landmark in downtown Lima — a yellow brick church at 201 S. Union St. — surrendered to age. It was announced in March that the church would be demolished and that it was in such bad shape that no one would be allowed to enter to rescue historical items.
No. 3: Rumors spread quickly on social media that a bearded man driving a red Mini Cooper was trying to lure children around Kalida into his car. It turns out the man was a contractor getting estimates for home basement repairs.
No. 2: News came out in January that Municipal Court Judge Tammie Hursh placed Chief Probation Office Jeremy Fifer on administrative leave for allegedly pointing his service weapon at an assistant city prosecuting attorney. The weapon had its safety on, and Fifer later resigned his position.
No. 1: In July, off-duty Mercer County Sheriff Deputy Carla Baucher was giving her two children a ride on an ATV at her residence when her 2½-year-old son fell on the accelerator. It caused Baucher to lose control of the ATV, and strike Mary J. Stachler, an elderly relative.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.