From Staff Reports

Part 1 of 2

It’s time to say goodbye to 2018.

The year had plenty of highlights. A number of new businesses opened around the county. Several groups are actively working to make the county a better place to live. High school sports teams and individual athletes had notable achievements.

Also, communities celebrated festivals, including the memorable fireworks during John Paulding Days and the expanded Merry & Bright Christmas event. New events were launched, such as Wreaths Across America. Many successful charity events are sponsored.

Residents have had their share of dark days, too. A wet spring and fall were challenging to county farmers. More people are becoming aware of a growing drug problem. Three homicide cases were investigated with one case from 2017 coming to trial.

Here’s a recap of the news stories as reported by the Progress:

JANUARY

Paulding County commissioners approve General Fund appropriations for the new year totaling $6.1 million, a marginal increase from 2017.

Paulding begins the Ohio Main Street program to help revitalize the downtown. A series of meetings are held to generate ideas.

Ohio Governor John Kaisch signs a bill into law that will establish the Paulding County County Court into a full-time municipal court.

The State places Grover Hill in a fiscal emergency after an analysis reveals a fund deficit and treasury deficiencies.

A Continental man faces criminal charges after pointing a gun at a sheriff’s deputy. The deputy fired three shots, but did not injure the suspect.

Emergency responders rescue a dog after it falls through the ice into Flat Rock Creek in Paulding.

Antwerp Lady Archers basketball coach Scott McMichael celebrates his 200th win as head coach.

Area residents remember the “Blizzard of ’78.”

FEBRUARY

The county commissioners host a successful courthouse tour as part of a Paulding Chamber’s Off the Clock event.

Five local wrestlers from Antwerp and Wayne Trace win GMC titles. Two Paulding wrestlers win NWC titles.

Wayne Trace eighth grader Faith Meraz captures the county Spelling Bee championship and advances her to her third regional Spelling Bee.

The Progress wins four awards from the Ohio News Media Association, including first place for Visions and for newspaper design.

Wayne Trace Raider boys and girls basketball teams both win GMC titles.

Wayne Trace Lady Raiders basketball coach Bethany DeJarnett is honored as District 7 coach of the year.

MARCH

The state fire marshal delivers a check for $327,000 to the fire departments in Paulding County to purchase MARCS radios.

Ryan Woodring and Logan Mudel from Paulding advance to the state wrestling meet.

Wayne Trace boys basketball team wins its fifth straight sectional championship.

Aiden McAlexander places third in the state at state wrestling competition.

Paulding County Hospital opens a new health center in Antwerp. The facility includes doctors’ offices and a fitness center.

The McDonald’s restaurant in Paulding closes for several weeks for renovations and redecorating.

APRIL

Paulding village administrator and utility clerk both resign.

Annual charity basketball marathon raises $5,000.

Wayne Trace names Brock Howe the new assistant principal for the junior/senior high.

Paulding Pride takes third place in the State basketball tournament.

Matthew Dempsey of Briceton is arrested in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Gina Mann, after fleeing the state.

Paulding County Carnegie Library launches a digital newspaper and yearbook archive site. Anyone can access this free archive from their home computer or mobile device.

“Stuff the Truck” food drive raises over $4,000 for area food pantries.

MAY

A new wind farm is opened around Haviland to power GM plants in Ohio and Indiana.

A field fire near Payne burns almost 100 acres of land.

William R. Miller II, a resident of the Five Span area, is arrested and charged for the shooting death of his grandson, Evan Andrew Holcombe.

A public forum is held to make the public aware of the drug epidemic in Paulding County.

Paulding County Vision Board (PCVB) presents its new Community Development Plan to community members from all over Paulding County during a public meeting.

Panther girls win the 400 relay at the Northwest Conference track and field meet.

Five county school teams advance in softball and baseball sectional tournament action.

Oakwood Dollar General holds its grand opening.

JUNE

Relay For Life celebrates its 25th year in the county and raises $65,481 for the American Cancer Society. The goal for the year was $50,000.

The Paulding County Fair is held June 11-16. The week starts out with rainy weather.

A multi-vehicle crash north of Antwerp claims the lives of two Antwerp men.

Stykemain Chevrolet wins the Mark of Excellence award from General Motors.

A Michigan-based company acquires the recently completed Northwest Ohio Wind farm in southern Paulding County.

OSU president Michael Drake visits McClure Farms in Grover Hill.

Next week: A continued look at the highlights of 2018.