Area faced COVID-19 pandemonium in 2020


Staff report



Marilyn Gryca FaceTimes with family at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Nearly all visitors had been banned from nursing homes due to COVID-19.

Marilyn Gryca FaceTimes with family at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Nearly all visitors had been banned from nursing homes due to COVID-19.


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Swanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time. Swanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time.


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Emma Crow competes in the Global Amazing Shake competition.


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A hay bale was decorated by Allison Herr during the early stages of the pandemic.


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Area residents walk in Wauseon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.


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Monica Rose Betz


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At Wauseon High School’s commencement, students stand outside their vehicles while practicing social distancing for the moving of the tassel.


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The coronavirus pandemic dominated local news in 2020, forcing school and business closures and causing pandemonium within every aspect of life for Fulton County residents. Here is a look at the first six months of the year.

JANUARY

Logan Guess of Delta was sentenced in Fulton County Common Pleas Court to two years of community control after she drunkenly abandoned her Chevy Tahoe after it became stuck on railroad tracks near Main Street in Swanton the previous June and was struck by a Norfolk Southern train. The accident caused the train to derail, over $1.4 million in damage, and an electrical outage affecting more than 4,000 customers.

Metroparks Toledo and the Northwest Ohio Rails-to-Trails Association announced work to extend the paved section of the Wabash-Cannonball Trail six miles by summer.

Schmidt Brothers, a Swanton greenhouse in business for more than 70 years, was purchased by Foertmeyer & Sons Greenhouse Company of Delaware, Ohio.

Visitors arrived in droves at an open house for the newly-renovated Fulton County Courthouse in Wauseon. The 10-month, $4.2 million project included restoration and technological advances.

Eleventh-hour fire service cancellations by Chesterfield, York, and Pike townships in Fulton County left the Wauseon Fire Department in a questionable position regarding its response to their fire calls.

A former Swanton PNC bank branch was purchased by Soaring Software Solutions, Inc.

Swanton’s, Delta’s, and Wauseon’s school superintendents balked at an Ohio Department of Education voucher program some of their schools a qualified for, saying it could financially affect their school districts.

Four suspects faced possible charges in an arson fire at a vacant structure on North Shoop Avenue that caused an estimated $20,000 in damage.

Fulton County administrators announced that North Star Bluescope Steel in Delta would receive a 10-year tax abatement on a $700 million addition to the steel plant in exchange for donations to several Fulton County entities.

Conagra Brands in Archbold announced the addition of a $40 million production line that would add about 100 new jobs.

FEBRUARY

Fulton County’s Emergency Medical Services proposed a cost-cutting measure to dispense emergency supplies through three vending machines customized to hold supplies used by first responders during emergency runs.

Fulton County’s 46th Annual Heart Radiothon was poised to reach a four-decade milestone of over $1 million in donations.

The Fulton County Fair Board announced plans to construct a $350,000 office building north of the grandstand at the fairgrounds.

Incumbent Fulton County Commissioner Jon Rupp and Wauseon resident Dale Morgan went head-to-head for Rupp’s commissioner seat in the March 17 Republican primary. Rupp handily won re-election.

Wauseon City Council voted for a 5% hike in city water rates.

Rupp Furniture, a 112-year-old Archbold business, closed its doors permanently.

A fire at Scottdel Cushion in Swanton led to partial demolition of a company building.

Swanton’s Spirit of the American Doughboy statue in Memorial Park was chosen to be featured in a World War I Centennial Commission coffee table book.

MARCH

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker announced the facility’s operations would transfer entirely to electronic.

Candidates Nick Rubando and Xavier Carrigan challenged Fifth District Congressman Bob Latta in the March primary election.

Wauseon City Council told three Fulton County townships that canceled their fire service contracts with the city they would no longer get free assistance.

With the emergence of a novel coronavirus – which leads to COVID-19 – the Fulton County Health Department advised that residents take proactive measures to avoid the potential threat.

A second fire at MetalX in Delta in six months began in a scrap metal pile and required assistance from multiple departments.

Fulton County’s school districts prepared for a potential local outbreak of COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 647 confirmed cases and 25 related deaths in the U.S.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued orders banning mass gatherings and closing dine-in areas of restaurants and bars in an attempt to stave off COVID-19. The Fulton County Health Department recommended taking specific precautions to help prevent the virus’s spread.

Due to COVID-19, Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner declared a state of emergency for the city.

Coronavirus caused the postponement of the March 17 primary election until June 2.

Gov. DeWine issued a stay-at-home order for Ohioans to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Fulton County Health Center began taking precautions in anticipation of an influx of coronavirus patients.

Fulton County’s Emergency Management Agency requested more personal protective equipment, supplies, which were in short supply.

The Fulton County Health Department reported that two Fulton County residents tested positive for COVID-19.

APRIL

Gov. DeWine ordered that K-12 schools across the state close until May 1 due to the coronavirus. School districts hustled to establish remote learning.

Fulton County governmental meetings and programs were canceled or moved online, organizations closed their doors, and the Delta Chicken Festival was canceled, all to avoid COVID-19. One to five confirmed cases were reported in the Swanton zip code area.

Gov. DeWine extended the statewide stay-at-home order until May 1.

Ohio House Bill 197 was passed to set up a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election.

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission announced 2020 construction plans, with multiple projects set in Fulton County.

Easter events in Wauseon and Swanton were canceled due to the threat of COVID-19.

Wauseon City Council approved a major street project for Shoop Avenue.

The Wauseon Board of Education discussed how to hold a commencement ceremony during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio in Stryker vowed to take precautions to prevent spread of the coronavirus after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

The pandemic began to alter funeral services in the county.

Gov. DeWine ordered that remote learning for grade K-12 continue for the rest of the school year.

Fulton County instituted a Mortgage, Rent, and Utilities Business Loan Program to offer financial security to small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

MAY

Wauseon’s 86th Annual Homecoming event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

Fulton County retail businesses prepared to reopen May 12 after a state order closed them in March due to the coronavirus.

The City of Wauseon announced plans to open its community pool in the summer despite the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 restrictions would be put into effect.

Fulton County’s five largest school districts were expected to lose at least $237,000 due to a $300 million COVID-19-related Ohio schools budget cut announced by Gov. DeWine.

Fulton County meat processors and retailers report a thriving business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Area restaurants began to reopen after forced closure due to the pandemic but with uncertainty that business could be maintained.

The Swanton Board of Education reviewed an energy project proposal that would place a solar field at Swanton High School to help with energy costs.

Wauseon schools approved replacing an expiring emergency levy with a continuing substitute levy on the November ballot.

Fulton County Commissioners approved a request for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to upgrade Delta’s infrastructure on County Road H for the Nova Tube and Steel plant industrial plant scheduled for construction.

The Swanton Board of Education braced for a possible 10% reduction in state funding and a 5% reduction in income tax collections, which would mean a decrease from $14.4 million to $13.9 million in revenue.

Wauseon High School held an altered commencement ceremony despite the coronavirus pandemic.

JUNE

The Village of Swanton’s Fireworks Fest and Corn Fest were canceled due to COVID-19.

Fulton County COVID-19 cases were slowly increasing, according to reports.

Northwest State Community College announced plans to hold in-class instruction in the fall but with restrictions.

The City of Wauseon asked residents to lower the millage of an ongoing levy for the community swimming pool.

The Fulton County Health Department reported 44 COVID-19 cases.

The Fulton County Fair Board advised that the 2020 fair faced significant changes due to the coronavirus.

The county’s annual Relay for Life event went virtual due to the pandemic.

County entertainment venues poised to reopen as Gov. DeWine eases COVID-19 restrictions.

The Fulton County Health Center eased COVID-19 visiting restrictions.

Pettisville Local Schools Superintendent Steve Switzer announced his retirement after 38 years with the school district.

Wauseon Public Library reopened its doors after being closed due to the pandemic.

The Swanton Board of Education approved a solar project at the high school.

The City of Wauseon canceled its July 4th fireworks display due to COVID-19, but the Village of Delta approved fireworks for July 11.

Marilyn Gryca FaceTimes with family at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Nearly all visitors had been banned from nursing homes due to COVID-19.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_swanton-Valley1.jpgMarilyn Gryca FaceTimes with family at Swanton Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. Nearly all visitors had been banned from nursing homes due to COVID-19. File photo

https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_FCHD-sign.jpgFile photo

Swanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time. Swanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_SHS-grad.jpgSwanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time. Swanton High School held an outdoor graduation ceremony due to COVID-19, with one family on the podium at a time. File photo

Emma Crow competes in the Global Amazing Shake competition.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_Crow-at-computer.jpgEmma Crow competes in the Global Amazing Shake competition. File photo

A hay bale was decorated by Allison Herr during the early stages of the pandemic.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_Hay.jpgA hay bale was decorated by Allison Herr during the early stages of the pandemic. File photo

Area residents walk in Wauseon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_Ful-Co-march.jpgArea residents walk in Wauseon in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. File photo

Monica Rose Betz
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_Monica-Betz.jpgMonica Rose Betz File photo

At Wauseon High School’s commencement, students stand outside their vehicles while practicing social distancing for the moving of the tassel.
https://www.swantonenterprise.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/23/2020/12/web1_IMG_1123-1-.jpgAt Wauseon High School’s commencement, students stand outside their vehicles while practicing social distancing for the moving of the tassel. File photo

Staff report