Thursday Night
17°
Mostly Cloudy
2%
Friday
30°
Mostly Cloudy
16%
Friday Night
25°
Mostly Cloudy
12%
Saturday
40°
Partly Sunny
7%
Saturday Night
28°
Partly Cloudy
10%
Sunday
40°
Rain Showers Likely
56%
Sunday Night
34°
Cloudy
19%
Monday
43°
Mostly Cloudy
13%
Monday Night
36°
Mostly Cloudy
19%
Tuesday
45°
Slight Chance Rain Showers
20%
Tuesday Night
27°
Mostly Clear
7%
3 Day
Extended
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Landowners settle cases out of court

State agrees to pay undisclosed amounts for damages caused by spillway flood

By Nancy Allen
GRAND LAKE - Two landowners suing the state over flood damage to their farmland caused by Grand Lake's West Bank spillway have settled their cases for undisclosed amounts.
The action canceled trials that had been set this month and next for Magda Post, widow of Leo Post, and Emily Minch, widow of Jack Minch. Leo Post and Jack Minch are two of five farmers who filed the lawsuit against the state in 2001.
"The landowners were offered settlements and after brief negotiations, both sides reached an agreeable amount," their attorney, Bruce Ingram of Columbus law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, said Tuesday.
Ingram said the State Controlling Board must approve the settlements, which he expects to happen in the next few weeks.
Jury trials for two other farm couples, Terry and Theresa Linn and Richard and Trish Baucher, were held in recent months in Mercer County Common Pleas Court. In both trials, juries found in favor of the couples, awarding the Linns $1.038 million and the Bauchers $240,873.
The payments were in addition to state payments of $219,892 to the Linns, and $82,499 to the Bauchers. The state also paid Minch $180,954 and Post 332,934.
The farmers were awarded more money through jury trials or the recent settlements after they appealed their initial compensation amounts, saying the state calculated the figures much lower than land values.
A jury trial for the fifth landowner, Stephen (Virginia) Zumberge, is scheduled in May, Ingram said. The Zumberges were awarded $213,938 by the state in December 2008.
All five farmers have cropland along Beaver Creek and/or the Wabash River, which receives overflow from Grand Lake via the spillway.
The farmers won the lawsuit in 2005, with the judge agreeing that their land floods more regularly and to a greater extent because the state's 500-foot-long concrete spillway, built in 1997, discharges a larger amount of water at a faster rate than the former, 39-foot-long spillway built in 1913. The farmers also won the state's appeal of the case in December 2006.
Additional online stories on this date
Preparing for steep state funding cuts put Mercer County in good financial shape to weather Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget for 2012 and 2013, local officials say. [More]
A countywide alliance of chambers of commerce and local businesses has formed to promote shopping in Mercer County.
The Shop Mercer County effort i [More]
Subscriber only stories on this date
Ag Dept. to see staff reduction from budget
Prosecution says body tells of earlier death
Defense says soot in home from wife's candles
New principal at Marion Local
Council discusses state budget cuts
Council passes 2011 budget ordinance
Mercer County Commissioners award road material contracts
Houston finds revenge against Minster in tourney
Four local girls hoops players earn state honors