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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Henry County: Husband, wife make run for county offices

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Napoleon husband and wife are running for office - the husband for prosecutor and the wife for recorder - in the only contested local races on the Henry County ballot.

It's the first time in at least 25 years that a married couple has appeared on the same ballot in Henry County, board of elections Director Ruth Fuhrhop said.

Thomas Manahan, a Napoleon attorney who has been a Municipal Court prosecutor and represented area villages, is challenging the incumbent prosecutor, John Hanna. Mr. Manahan is running as an independent against Mr. Hanna, a Republican.

Mr. Manahan's wife, Karen, is running as a Republican against the incumbent county recorder, Sara Myles, a Democrat.

There's another link: The Manahans' opponents worked together in the Napoleon law firm Hanna, Fisher and Rosebrook before Ms. Myles was appointed recorder in the fall.

In the prosecutor's race, both candidates are keying in on experience.

"My opponent has had the job for nearly three decades and that is long enough: it is time for a new prosecutor," Mr. Manahan's advertisements say, mentioning that he has 20 years of legal experience.

Mr. Hanna's ads counter with: "The prosecution of felonies is too important to turn over to inexperience. Henry County had seven murders in nine months in 1999-2000. We needed an experienced prosecutor then. Fortunately, we had one."

Mr. Manahan, who is the prosecutor for the villages of Florida and Malinta and in the past has represented Deshler, McClure, and Holgate, said he does mostly real estate work in his private practice. He's also done defense work, and he said he believes there is more satisfaction in the prosecutor's job.

Mr. Hanna touts a record of more than 1,500 successful felony prosecutions and says that in comparison, "My opponent has absolutely no experience."

Mr. Hanna is endorsed by the Henry County Sheriff's Deputies Association, the Napoleon Police Officers Association, and the local child welfare caseworkers' group.

His biggest challenge in the job that he has held for 28 years is a larger caseload, he said. "Unfortunately, crime seems to be a growth industry," he said.

When Ms. Myles worked with Mr. Hanna at Hanna, Fisher, and Rosebrook, she was a legal assistant for the private firm and the prosecuting attorney's office.

Ms. Myles received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and served as command information officer in the Army. She also graduated from the University of Toledo's Community and Technical College legal assisting program.

Mrs. Manahan took the same program at UT before getting a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies and then her law degree, all from UT. She does not intend to practice law, she said, and got her juris doctorate because she loves going to school.

That extra education, however, is one way she differentiates herself from her opponent. She said she wants to put more historical documents on the Internet so researchers could look back at least 40 years without going to the recorder's office.

Ms. Myles said she has made the recorder's office more consumer-friendly by offering charge accounts for copy bills and updating plat slides and tract index books, as well as making the office's current documents accessible on the Internet.

Also on the Henry County ballot are three levies each from townships and villages:

• Ridgeville Township trustees are asking for a new 2.7-mill, five-year fire levy. Damascus Township trustees are asking voters to replace a 2-mill, five-year operating levy.

• Flatrock Township trustees want a 2-mill, five-year road levy renewed.

• Liberty Center council is asking for a new, 0.25 percent, permanent income tax for operations. Holgate wants a 3.4-mill, five-year street lighting levy renewed.

• New Bavaria is seeking the renewal of a 3-mill, five-year operating levy.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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