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Storm Damage To Bell Tower Closes Ohio Courthouse

A windstorm that twisted a 150-foot bell tower has forced abandonment of a western Ohio courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places. Structural engineers say the June 29 storm moved the wood-and-steel tower several inches off its base atop the Logan County Courthouse in Bellefontaine making the 142-year-old building unsafe. Court employees are working out of back rooms and hallways around the city about 60 miles west of Columbus. Officials hope the tower can be taken down, rebuilt and put back. But they say it's too soon to estimate the cost or how long it would take. County commissioners are trying to find a temporary location where at least some courthouse operations can be consolidated again while they determine what to do.