Local Archive June 2002
Marysville Council tables tax
Council support for tax hike seems thin
Young directors proud of achievements
OSP auxiliary faces declining numbers
Richwood residents oppose housing venture
School board sells land near Mill Creek
JDC future remains uncertain
Couple recounts steamy GOBA trip
Local retailers: tax on cigarettes unfair to smokers
Final campaign finance reports filed
Welcome to Marysville- pardon the odor
MHS grad in charge of Urbana U. band program
Mifsud's widow gets $3 million settlement
Auditor candidate makes numerous accusations
Richwood resident honored
Students attend new boot camp
Local residents raising a stink
Path cleared for Jerome development
3,000 cyclists begin tour
Marysville boasts full slate of Fourth of July activities
Union County Commissioners journal
Income tax issue stalls
Committee gets earful over Oakdale
Students improve on proficiency test
Pair of bird lovers desperate to find missing pets
Richwood P.D. takes steps to curb vandalism
Milford Center gets new council member
Piece of Milford Center history gets a needed facelift
Local woman doesn't let cancer disrupt her life
Residents don't want development
City council members clarify stance
Marysville Council tables
By RYAN HORNS
The hot issue of raising the Marysville income tax was cooled off at the city council meeting Thursday night.
Council members voted unanimously to table the issue indefinitely and to hold a special meeting before the next regular meeting in order to outline exactly what the city needs.
"I agree . there are a number of things that need to be improved in the city. But I have a very difficult time supporting anything right now," council president John Gore said.
He explained that he had agreed upon terms to work with the city administration and pursue a .5 percent tax increase plan. However, after reading Mayor Steve Lowe's letter to the editor in the Journal-Tribune, he understood that the tax ordinance was being withdrawn. He also cited his surprise over finding it was not only still on the table but had
actually been increased to .75.
City administrator Bob Schaumleffel explained the raise occurred because the .75 figure was the only way to cover the $4 million per year price tag for city needs outlined in Lowe's plan.
"I personally can't support anything right now," Gore said, "until we have a better understanding of where we are . I believe we need to figure out how to tighten belts a little bit more and figure out how to get things done."
Council member Mark Reams said, "I'm getting tired of this turning into a political game. This is a difficult matter as it is and it seems like right now we're getting into this finger-pointing, name-calling match." "It's not the mayor's problem. It's not the council's problem. It's the city's problem . we need to work together," he said. "This is difficult for everyone," Reams said.
"Well, Mr. Reams," Gore said, "I thought we had a meeting. I thought we were working together and I thought we had an agreement on how we could go forward. And a decision was made, not by council but by the administration, to change that agreement and not keep that agreement. So therefore, I think we did try to work together."
The date for the special meeting will be decided upon soon, to be held sometime before the July 11 regular council meeting.
Regarding two additional tax ordinances, one to establish fees for emergency medical services to establish funds for the fire division, and the other to enact a city-wide 3 percent excise tax on all hotel transactions, were discussed.
Gore said he had met with Fire Chief Gary Johnson about the EMS issue.
He said the city currently bills insurance companies for EMS runs going outside of Marysville. The new ordinance would bill local runs as well. Resident Lois Gruenbaum asked council if this would apply to mutual aid runs as well. Gore said he did not know but the issue will be looked into before its next reading on July 11.
The hotel tax issue was passed on first reading without notable discussion.
In another hot topic, council member Dan Fogt asked administration how plans are going to quell the sewage treatment odor prevalent in the city.
Schaumleffel replied he is waiting for sludge test results from the EPA, which could help get certification to permit sludge removal directly to a landfill.
Gore said he had met with the local EPA representative and invited him to come to Marysville to discuss the problem with Schaumleffel. He also added there are loans the EPA provides to help fix water treatment plant problems. An application form is on its way. "Everyone in the community will agree (the smell) is getting worse instead of better," Gore said.
Schaumleffel said the odor has become stronger as sludge has recently been hauled to area farms for fertilizer and the stir caused it to intensify.
Fogt asked about a past suggestion on constructing a roof over the sludge beds and if that idea was being pursued. City engineer Phil Roush said there is a new treatment process which could eliminate the sludge beds entirely and therefore investing roof money into something which may be phased out is not the best route. "Staying on top of (fixing the odor problem) is very very important," Gore said.
Two issues discussed Thursday night have both council and administration keeping quiet as litigation against the city may be imminent.
Harold Green of North Main Motors was present again to discuss what the city plans to do about trucks blowing damaging lime onto his vehicles. "The bottom line is that I don't think the city should discuss this in a public meeting," law director Tim Aslaner said. He added that it needs to be addressed in private or in executive session.
"I haven't sued the city," Green said. "I have no plans to sue the city." He said he just wants to talk the matter over and be given an update on what the city has done.
The issue of the flooding and choked drainage ditch in Quail Hollow was also referred to an executive session which was held during the meeting.
Resident Kerry Hughes read past minutes to council stating they had planned to force land owner Liberty Partnership to fix the issue. "Rest assured the city engineer and I have been in contact with the owners of the property," Aslaner said. However, he added, the matter is leading to litigation and it was discussed further in private.
In other news addressed:
. The sewer line project which has kept Mill Creek Park closed since winter is reportedly complete, however, work crews are waiting to fill in the asphalt until the trail grounds are completely dry in order to avoid problems later. The ground will be checked in about a week.
. Roush reported there is enough in the blind crossing fund to install three crossings. Councilman Nevin Taylor reported a citizen who had almost hit local blind resident Chris Beckley the other day was worried and felt it was time to do something.
. Council voted to change the time of city council meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will not take effect until the second meeting in July so that a notice may run in the media.
Council support for tax
hike seems thin
By RYAN HORNS
The Marysville income tax rate ordinance will be introduced to city council tonight but it is the new higher price tag that has added to the controversy.
According to the latest council agenda, instead of a .5 percent income tax increase as previously outlined, the city administration will now be seeking a .75 percent increase to put before voters in November. Members of council appear to be lined up against the proposed hike.
"Speaking only for myself," Council President John Gore said about the ordinance, "I flat out don't support it." Mayor Steve Lowe initially said, amidst council complaints over the proposed .5 tax hike, that the amount asked for lower figures than what he felt the city really needed.
The Marysville income tax, established in 1968, is currently at 1 percent and yields $5 million for the city.
Marysville director of administration Bob Schaumleffel said the increase to .75 percent would take the city income tax funding from $5 million to $9 million and make it possible for the city to pay all yearly debt service for projects outlined by the mayor. "I think it's a legitimate approach," Schaumleffel said.
Lowe's plan calls for a $17 million city hall and police station, a new $2.5 million fire station, $1 million for street improvements and various other items.
In total, it would cost the city $3,932,000 per year to cover all of those projects, which the .75 tax increase would provide. Gore has mentioned he does support street improvements, an additional fire station and ladder trucks as well as a better police facility. However, the majority of council does not think the city needs to spend $2.7 million on a new fire station or $18.25 million on the proposed joint city hall and police building. Another topic some members do not support is the need for $7,470,845 for parks and recreation outlined in Lowe's plan.
Gore said some members of council also feel like they are being taken by surprise by the new higher tax figure. "We had an agreement to go through the three readings on the .5 percent," he said. Gore said he does not expect the tax issue to pass through council as is. Schaumleffel noted that the .75 is not set in stone. It can be reduced if council decides to make cuts in the capital projects listed in the mayor's financial proposal.
The ordinance now faces council and voter approval before it could be imposed on residents in 2003.
Lowe is reportedly on vacation until July 1 and is not expected at tonight's council meeting. He has been unavailable for comment.
Young directors proud of achievements
By PATRICIA RENGIFO
Three recent graduates of Marysville High School are preparing for the finale of their tenure as directors of the Marysville Summer Theater Workshop.
Jenny Corzine, Mike McCarthy and Sarah Zacharias have worked together for the last four summers putting together theatrical entertainment for the community with the help of local children, parents and businesses. The trio were not always directors, though. When Lisa Minken and Kelsey Ludwig founded the program in 1996 the current directors, then 10 years old and 11 years old, were the prized pupils. "When they graduated (in 1999 from high school) they passed it on to us and we ran with it," said Corzine.
According to Zacharias, it was intimidating stepping in for Minken and Ludwig. "We had to show them that we could handle it," she said. The trio had several goals for themselves when they began in 1999. "We wanted to make it more professional," said McCarthy. In previous years many of the sets and props were hand made due to lack
of funds. They also wanted the performances to be better and have more participants.
"We try to top ourselves every year," Zacharias said. This year more than 40 children are performing in the production. The directors feel that they have exceeded their goals. "Every year it has gotten better and better," Corzine said. One of the most difficult things for the trio was learning how to work together. "We were friends before but we had to learn how to compromise and still be friends," Corzine said.
The group has also overcome adversity from parents and from the community. Businesses were wary of donating money to the program due to the youth of the directors.
"Parents thought that they were wasting their money, their time and their kids' time" Corzine said.
Adversity, however, only makes success sweeter. Corzine recalls times in past years when a parent would come and talk to her after the performance and praise the performance, the directors and all their hard work. "It just feels awesome," she said. Everyone has a different favorite memory from the years spent with the workshop.
Zacharias recalls a child from the production of "Cinderella" named Bobby.
"He was shy at the beginning of the summer and by the night of the production he was able to say his line." she said. Corzine's favorite production was "Charlie Brown." "The kids were so close and had so much talent," she said. McCarthy enjoys watching the dancing every year and being able to teach the children choreography.
As the curtain comes to a close for these three friends and directors the feelings are bittersweet. "It is hard to let go," Zachariah said. Corzine and McCarthy agree that it is difficult to leave something after seven years.
Although the trio has not disclosed who they will ask to continue as their successors they do plan to return next year to take a different role in the production - sitting in the audience.
The Summer Theater Workshop presents "Peter Pan" on July 12-13 at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Admission is by freewill donation.
OSP auxiliary faces declining numbers
By RYAN HORNS
The Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year but its numbers are steadily declining due to retirements.
"There is an active push to get the auxiliary program up and running again," said Sergeant John Payer of the Marysville Highway Patrol Post.
Created during World War II, the auxiliary officers assisted troopers with national security duties and provided support at traffic crash scenes and natural disasters.
The first official enrollment meeting was held in Franklin County on Feb. 8, 1942, and by April that year, 650 members were in auxiliary training. The 40-hour training course included desk work, patrol duty, convoy movements, first aid, evacuations, enforcement of blackout regulations, safeguarding concentrations of weapons and ammunition,
surveillance and observation duties. "Now the 'old salts,' as I like to call them, are retiring," Payer said.
The reason for the decline could be because being in the auxiliary requires a special dedication. The members of the auxiliary are not paid.
It also has not been aggressively promoted in recent years. The Highway Patrol is now taking steps to change that situation.
On May 18, 29 members of a new auxiliary graduating class were placed at posts throughout the state.
Three such graduates, Donald E. Ledley, Lawrence S. George and Larry Ropp, recently began their stint at the Marysville Highway Patrol post. "Getting involved as a trooper was just another way for me to get active in the community," Ropp said.
Auxiliary Officer Thomas Gerber of the Delaware Highway Patrol Post has been a volunteer since April 2000. Currently he is working his way through law school and is using his role as an auxiliary to set future career plans. "I got into the auxiliary in order to try it out and see if I wanted to go that route - to sort of test the waters," Gerber said. "It is a volunteer basis. Whenever you feel like going in to help out you just go down there." With a retired lieutenant with the Highway Patrol for a father, he said law enforcement was a natural choice for himself.
Requirements for the auxiliary officer position include being a high school graduate, an Ohio resident with a driver's license and being in good physical condition. Applicants must be between the ages of 21 and 55 (except for retired Highway Patrol Officers), have no prior felony convictions and must be available for training and service. They must
submit to and pass a background investigation and have the ability to read and write. Applications for the position of auxiliary officer are available from any auxiliary member or at any post.
residents oppose housing venture
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Residents in the area of Cherry Street in Richwood aren’t letting a small problem turn into a big one.
A contingent of nearly a dozen residents was on hand at Monday’s village council meeting to express concern that a resident was planning to put modular homes on a piece of property at 27 Cherry St. Apparently one modular home has already been installed on the land and foundations are being readied for two more.
The problem, as far as Robin Lenox is concerned, is that putting so many manufactured homes on a lot that is less than an acre in size is against zoning laws. Lenox, who lives at 22 Cherry St., was the spokesperson for the citizens group.
She said that according to state law more than two manufactured homes on a piece of land constitutes a mobile home park. A manufactured home is considered to be any one that is built through an assembly line process.
Lenox said that according to her research, if a piece of property is considered a mobile home park it needs a minimum of five acres of land to operate. She said there are also minimum frontage requirements for homes erected in the village.
Lenox said that aside from zoning problems, that area of Cherry Street has sewer problems. She said the sewer lines routinely back up and three more homes would only serve to make the problems worse.
Council member Arlene Blue said that she has learned that some type of permit was issued for the construction on the land but she was unsure what the permit entailed.
Village solicitor Rick Rodger said such an operation, which would be deemed a mobile home park, would require a conditional use permit from the village board of zoning appeals before it could be built. He was told no such permit has been issued and advised village police chief Rick Asher to halt construction at the site today.
Rodger said he would need to find out exactly what is being built and then interpret what laws are applicable.
Lenox said the village needs to put a stop to this development because similar construction could occur in other areas of town.
In other business, council:
• Approved two loan payments to be made by the village.
• Heard a public hearing presentation from Ed Bischoff of Bischoff and Associates about a drainage and street improvement plan being handled by the engineering firm.
• Voted 6-0 to authorize Eric Phillips of the Union County Chamber of Commerce to apply for two grants for the village, once for $100,000 and the other in the $20,000 range.
• Learned from council member Peg Wiley that the village had received a $517 refund from the Union County Auditor on the village income tax.
• Voted 6-0 to authorize payment of a bill for $650 for window replacements at the village hall.
• Approved payment of $920 for engineering plans at the village industrial park.
• Learned from councilman Wade McCalf that the new lower phone rates to Marysville will take effect Sept. 10.
• Voted 6-0 to authorize a survey of land in the area of the girls softball diamond in Richwood Park to determine where the property line lies on the east side of the park.
• Learned from councilman George Showalter that boats used at Richwood Lake will soon be required to purchase a watercraft license.
• Heard that the owner of a downtown ice cream business was upset because of lost sales and ruined products caused when water to the business was shut off. Village administrator Ron Polen said the loss of water was caused when a valve broke during a fire hydrant repair project.
• Voted 6-0 to increase water rates, tap-in fees and water reconnection rates in the village.
• Voted to rescind a move approved at the June 10 meeting to sever a contract with the Union County Engineers Office for building inspection services. Rodger said the village may want to do further research to determine if it will be able to provide the services and what the monetary benefits would be.
• Held an executive session to discuss personnel.
School board sells land near Mill Creek
By JUDY BOEHLER
The Marysville Board of Education approved the sale of 11 acres on Amrine Mill Road to the city of Marysville for $200,000 Monday.
No one was available today from the city or school administration to provide more information.
The acreage is part of the 58-acre plot located between Mill Creek and Marysville High School which had been slated for development by Brookside Partners of Hilliard. The development proved to be controversial because of its proximity to a flood plain and because of the increase in traffic volume near two schools. Three lawsuits were filed in Union County Common Pleas Court prior to Brookside announcing that it would sell the land.
In September 2000 the school district, the city, Scotts and Honda purchased the land for $1,050,000. The school district received 47 acres and the city received 11 acres near Mill Creek Park. Honda and Scotts received no land.
The transaction will close later this week.
In other business, the board:
• Authorized the Metropolitan Education Council to advertise and received bids on behalf of the Marysville schools for the purpose of purchasing four or more 72-passenger bus chassis and bodies and one or more 48-passenger bus chassis and bodies modified for handicapped use.
• Approved a trip to Dennison University July 11-14 for the high school cheerleaders and an overnight trip to Cincinnati Oct. 4 for the varsity boys golf team.
• Accepted donations from the Memorial Day Committee to the high school and middle school band and the symphonic choir for their participation in Memorial Day activities; a donation from Nestle R&D to the Mill Valley Meet the Author program; a donation from Kmart to East Elementary School; a donation of 728 books from Judy Boerger, former kindergarten teacher at Mill Valley to the Navin Elementary library; a donation of a new piano to Navin Elementary from Mrs. Cam Rucker in memory of Cam Rucker; a donation of $500 from an anonymous donor to the Above and Beyond Award at Marysville High School.
• Approved the use of Harcourt Science for grades 1 through 6 and Glencoe’s Mathematics for middle school.
In personnel matters, the board:
• Accepted the resignations of John Hill, high school social studies; and Melissa Ruen; Edgewood Elementary School.
• Approved employment of intervention specialists Christine Todd, Creekview; Kathy Marshall, middle school; Tracie House, Navin; Stephanie Spiegel, East; Ann Ballinger, Raymond; and Jeanie Lomas, Creekview.
• Approved employment of Aaron Cook, middle school math; Karen Netto, Creekview assistant principal; Lacie Wrenn, Navin; Amy Smith, Mill Valley; Jennifer Stacey, East; Tiffany Herz and Elizabeth Ratliff, Edgewood; Kristen Porter, Navin music/intervention; Stephanie Hoehn, high school social studies; and Casie Mathews, kindergarten (1/2 time Edgewood and 1/2 time Navin).
• Approved Robyn Fillman to provide brailling and tutoring services to a blind student as needed in math anf foreign language for the summer months.
• Approved Ohio Reads Building Volunteer Coordinators Tamara Cox, Mill Valley; Elizabeth Humble, Edgewood; Julie Rumler, Raymond; Cathe Litzke, East; and Tina Murdock, Navin.
• Approved as summer school teachers Charlotte Blumenschein, Angela Baird, Kelly Gallmeyer, Heather Inlow, Lynda Allemang, Stephanie Spiegel, Victoria Parker and Paula Black.
• Approved supplemental contracts for Kari Ketter as fifth grade level chair and Terri Dunlap as sixth grade level chair.
JDC future remains
By CINDY BRAKE
The joint juvenile detention center on Route 4 is hanging out a vacancy sign and hoping the renters will help pay their bills.
A facility that was once the first of its kind in the state is now finding it hard to fill beds and pay bills. The problem is two-fold.
Today's courts are sending fewer children to the center, choosing instead grant-funded programs. One of the center's five counties is pulling out of the group. Logan County has decided to join Hardin County in creating their own juvenile detention center in October. That leaves the remaining counties - Union, Madison, Delaware and Champaign - to pick up the tab and fill the remaining beds. That is not an easy venture, considering that Logan was one of the center's top two users.
Logan County has had the greatest number of youth detained - 326 out of a total of 873 from January through May. Each county pays according to its usage, thus Logan has been picking up a significant portion of the center's budget that totaled $1.9 million this year. In the most recent breakdown of county annual shares, Logan County paid
24 percent or $399,943 of the total costs, second only to Delaware which paid 28.9 percent or $474,674. Union County came in third at 21 percent for a total cost of $356,620.
Board members met last week to discuss possible ways of keeping the facility open in light of the decreasing population and increasing budget. The center has bed space for 45 youths. The day the commissioners met at the center to discuss the situation it was less than half full with 22 youth detained.
It is a foregone conclusion that the budget must be tightened.
Superintendent Vikki Jordan presented a proposed budget for the coming year, saying she has cut expenses as much as possible so the center can still exist.
"We have to think out of the box if we're going to keep the facility open," said Union County Commissioner Tom McCarthy, who is chairman of the joint board that oversees the center's operations. "We have to be realistic. There are more beds than kids."
Board members discussed numerous options, including limiting intakes to one shift per day, meaning youths would be held in their local county until an intake officer was available at the center; closing one of the building's three wings; eliminating the girls wing; or no longer guaranteeing a certain number of beds to each county's judge.
"There are no easy answers," McCarthy said. "We can't afford to remain comfortable as the meter runs."
All five commissioners present agreed that closing the center is an option, but only as a last resort. Instead, Jordan was directed to seek contracts with other counties for eight beds at the center, charging $75 a day.
Jordan was positive she could attract some interest in the facility if the board dropped its previous fee from $100 a day to $75. The board will meet again July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at the center.
steamy GOBA trip
Jim and Dee Foeller, the couple highlighted in a story in the June17 issue of the newspaper, are back home after completing the 2002 Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA).
The Foellers and 3,000 other cyclists completed a weeklong tour that started in Delaware June 17 and stopped in Newark, Lancaster, Chillicothe, London and Marysville and ended back in Delaware Saturday. The Foellers camped with a group of about 30 cyclists who had met through Internet sites and made plans to camp together on the tour. The riders ranged in age from retirees to a 10-year-old and in experience from first timers to 14-year veterans of GOBA.
Jim said the tour got off to a good start for them. They had decorated their bicycle as a big banana on which was printed "GOBAana." That clever phrase won them second place in the bicycle decorating contest. Each stop on the tour offered good hospitality, the Foellers said, especially Chillicothe, which was a two-night stopover. That city hosted a lot of activities for children and young teens and also held a bicycle race.
The Foellers' 5-year-old daughter, Madison, stayed with them in Chillicothe but they did not take her on the remainder of the trip because of the heat.
"On a bicycle, you notice details a lot more than in a car," said Dee. She said they particularly enjoyed looking at the beautiful older houses along the route.
She said they would ride through a town and think, "This would be a nice place to live ? if we didn't love Marysville so much."
Tuesday they passed a house in the country where the family had set up tables with free water and cookies. The family even encouraged riders to use the bathrooms in their home.
Children set up lemonade stands along the route and others offered the hot riders a cooling spray from their squirt guns. The Foellers said one man had brought his garden hose to the road for the same purpose. Coping with the heat involved getting on the road early, drinking lots of water and using lots of SPF 45, the Foellers said. They usually left at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at the day's destination by 1 p.m. Dee said they stopped to eat often. "We learned that you can eat three meals before noon and still be hungry," Jim said.
Injuries were few, they said. They heard of one woman who flew over her handlebars and cut her chin and of another rider who suffered a broken arm.
Jim said the safety of the riders is very well monitored, with ham radio operators riding along on bikes and in cars in case an emergency occurs. He said law officers direct traffic at every busy intersection along the route.
The Foellers rode in last year's GOBA in southeastern Ohio but could not complete the tour because of the hilly terrain. They said they learned this year that they could do it. "It was a personal victory," Jim said.
tax on cigarettes unfair to smokers
By PATRICIA RENGIFO Journal-Tribune intern
Despite the cigarette tax increase taking affect July 1, two local businesses have seen no change in sales but have already started fielding customer complaints.
Residents are becoming vocal about the additional 31 cents it will cost to buy cigarettes in the state of Ohio, raising the existing tax to 55 cents.
Lou Kestella, a nonsmoker and the owner of Corner Carryout, believes the tax increase will hurt the state down the road. "They (Ohio lawmakers) are opening up a can of worms for a black market," Kestella said.
Kelly Bumbalugh, an employee of Corner Carryout, doubts that the tax increase will bother business. She thinks smokers will, in the strongest sense of the word, dislike the increase. "I hear people complaining now," Bumbalugh said. Smokers and nonsmokers alike feel that the tax is unfair. Lori Woods, manager of Smoker's Paradise, feels that the tax is discriminating against smokers. She said that because the money raised from the tax will benefit the state budget, everyone should be taxed.
"They (Ohio lawmakers) should have taxed something that everyone buys - like toilet paper" Woods said.
Michelle Cron, a customer of Corner carryout, agrees that taxing cigarettes is unfair and believes that Ohio lawmakers should tax something more universal. "It's a joke," she said.
Many people agree that the tax hike will not cause people to quit the habit.
"People will buy cheaper cigarettes," said Kestella He believes that once the price of cigarettes reaches $4 a pack people will think twice about buying premium brands.
"Some people will quit for a while but people will start shopping for something cheaper," Woods said
Kim Rogers, an employee of Corner Carryout, doesn't plan to kick the habit. "I don't think it will cause anyone to quit," she said.
The stores have known about the tax increase for about a month but have done little in preparation.
"We haven't done anything special," said Woods. Smoker's Paradise currently sells 1,000 cartons of premium cigarettes a week while Corner Carryout sells 200 cartons of premium cigarettes a week. If cigarette sales slow down both stores have other products to defray from the loss.
Smoker's Paradise has a variety of products, including pop and candy, despite its name. Soon the store will be adding alcohol to its inventory.
"We are planning on becoming a carryout type store," Woods said. Corner Carryout already sells a large variety of products and cigarettes make up only a small portion of sales at the store. "People shop here for all kinds of things," Bumbalugh said. Both stores agree that business will go on as usual once the tax increase goes into effect and while some people may cut back few people will stop smoking all together.
Final campaign finance reports filed
By CINDY BRAKE
Post-election finance reports filed with the Union County Board of Elections recently offered no surprises above and beyond pre-election reports filed in April.
Pre-election reports had to be filed by committees which received or spent $1,000 or more for the May 7 primary election through April 17, while post-election reports cover expenditures and receipts from April 18 through June 7 and were due Friday. All committees must file post-election reports.
It appears that money didn't sway voters in this primary election. The top spending candidate, Union County Common Pleas Judge challenger Jeffery Holtschulte, still came up short on votes in his attempt to unseat incumbent Richard Parrot, who was seeking his third term. Lisa Carroll, an employee with the Union County Auditor's office, also failed to unseat her boss, Mary Snider, even though she spent twice as much as Snider.
Common Pleas Judge
The Holtschulte for Judge Committee spent the most overall funds in this primary election. Holtschulte's committee spent approximately $15,000 with most of its financial support coming from outside the county - 34 of 47 contributors listed out-of-county addresses. Parrott, who was elected to a third term, funded his campaign totally with his own money and listed total expenditures at $7,000.
Among Holtschulte contributors was former area doctor Kathleen Bartunek, now of Kimbolton, and Janet K. Voinovich of Cleveland. Bartunek is the widow of Paul Mifsud who was former chief of staff for George Voinovich while he was governor. Mifsud pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges involving altering public records to cover up a Union County home remodeling job and was sentenced by Parrott to the Union County Discipline and Rehabilitation Center for six months.
Holtschulte's expenditures may be the largest spent in a contested Union County primary race, however,to it compares to the 1996 general election for two contested Union County Commissioner seats. Republican candidates Jim Mitchell spent more than $14,000 and Tom McCarthy had expenditures totaling $13,400 in that year. Democratic candidates John Anson, who was running against Mitchell, spent $14,000, and John Hoskins, who was running against McCarthy, expended $8,100.
The Committee to Re-elect Snider County Auditor reported spending $2,300, while The Committee to Elect Lisa Carroll Auditor lists total expenditures of $4,900. Snider received the majority of votes.
The two candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Union County Commissioner spent approximately $6,000 each. Incumbent Don Fraser is not to seeking re-election.
The Committee to Elect Charles Hall for Union County Commissioner listed $2,653 in expenditures for the pre-election report and $3,998 for the post-election report, totaling $6,600. Gary Lee for Commissioner listed $1,007 in post-report expenditures and $5,336 in pre-election expenditures, totaling $6,300. Lee won the race.
Expenditures for the two uncontested candidates for probate/juvenile judge varied widely.
Democratic candidate Charlotte Coleman Eufinger listed total expenditures of $226 and Republican candidate Dennis Schulze expended $1,700.
Friends of the Union County Health Department lists a $16,945 balance on hand with expenses of $155.98.
The North Union Levy Committee listed total expenses of $4,500 with a balance on hand of $1,450.
The Committee for the Preservation of Rural Living listed expenses of $781.49 and a balance on hand of $39.25.
The Union County Democratic Party listed no contributions and no expenditures with $1,716 on hand.
The Union County Republican Central Committee listed expenditures of $41,510 and no contributions with $21,475 on hand.
Welcome to Marysville-
pardon the odor
By RYAN HORNS
Much to the chagrin of neighbors of the Marysville waste water treatment plant, the odor escaping from that facility is increasing.
As a result, city administrator Bob Schaumleffel is looking into trucking sludge out daily to a landfill in Marion. He said EPA certification will be needed and its decision is expected in about a week.
This is by no means the first time this problem has been addressed and Mayor Steve Lowe and his administration are not the first city officials to attempt to tackle it.
However, Schaumleffel is hoping to approach city council with the idea of first contracting an outside company to do the trucking and then judging how effective the daily removal would be. If it does prove to be productive and inexpensive, the city would look into hiring its own truck and driver.
"A cost analysis is underway," Schaumleffel said. He said this won't be happening in the immediate future but could be placed in the 2003 city budget.
"That should take care of just about all of the smell, but potentially not resolve everything," Schaumleffel said. There would still be a slight aroma, he said, which would unavoidably escape from the plant stacks. He also said the daily movement of the sludge might end up creating more odor than before due to the stirring. Marysville City Council President John Gore said that he agrees something needs to be done. He said his interest is in pursuing a permanent fix to the problem.
Gore added that he feels a problem for Marysville is that no matter how pretty everything can be, or how beautiful the parks are, it doesn't matter much if the city smells.
"People will not move here (because of the smell)," he said. Two years ago, Gore said, there was an engineering study done into suppressing the sludge odors and as a result there was discussion over an apparatus which could be used to cover the sludge containers. Another idea was to find a location farther from town to move the plant, he said.
Schaumleffel added that for the past few years some area farmers have spread the sludge on their fields as fertilizer, however, this process is subject to farmers' needs which have declined over the last several weeks.
"As a result the drying beds are absolutely full," Shaumleffel said. As the trucking plan develops, it will be brought to city council for discussion. Shaumleffel added that a study for potential plant relocation is also underway.
MHS grad in charge of Urbana
U. band program
By PATRICIA RENGIFO Journal-Tribune intern
John Gore Jr. is helping Urbana University get its new band program off the ground as the first band director at the institution.
Gore graduated from Marysville High School in 1995 and continued his education at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. While there he earned a bachelor of arts degree in music education.
When Gore started at Marshall he didn't really know what he wanted to do. He had been involved with marching band in high school and in college but didn't know if he wanted to major in music. His interest in music grew over time.
Since college he has worked at Elgin Local School District in Marion County as the music teacher for grades five through 12 and as assistant band director.
In 2001 Gore was part of the Syracuse Brigadier Drum and Bugle Corps.
The drum and bugle corps is highly competitive with space for only 128 members. In September the Brigadiers won the Drum Corps Association world championship. (What does he play?)
Gore found the band director position at Urbana through pure coincidence. A co-worker of his mother brought the classifieds in to work, showing her the ad. Gore's mother told him about the position and he applied. "I was just in the right place at the right time," Gore said. When selecting a person to fill this new position there were several things Urbana University was looking for. "We wanted someone with experience," Dan Liggett, director of public relations for Urbana University, said.
He explained that Gore's resume clearly showed that he was able to take on this position.
"He has the skills necessary to build that program." Melissa Tolle, associate director of admissions at Urbana University, said Since Gore is starting from scratch with the band program his plan is to start small. His future goal is to have a marching band. Liggett says the program will be extracurricular but has potential to become an accredited class.
Gore hopes to have a core group of students who will grow with the program.
"Our new band students could be the ones who help to establish Urbana University's new band," he said. The trick is getting the word out, Liggett said. The university believes there is a lot of interest in the program and is offering full support to the students involved as well as to Gore. Substantial scholarships to students willing to take part in band are being offered.
Tolle said students can receive up to $5,400 toward a college education and the scholarships are renewable each year for up to four years. Gore believes that the scholarships as well as the opportunity to be a part of something new will help recruit students to the program. "The sky's the limit for the possibilities of where this program can go" Gore said.
Mifsud's widow gets $3 million settlement
From J-T staff reports:
The family of a former high-ranking state official has reached a $3 million wrongful death settlement.
Dr. M. Kathleen Rickey Bartunek, executor for the Paul Charles Mifsud estate, has accepted a $3 million offer from two doctors charged with failing to diagnose her husband's cancer.
Mifsud was chief of staff for George Voinovich when he was governor of Ohio. Mifsud and Bartunek had lived at 570 Park Ave. with their two children prior to his death on May 23, 2000. Bartunek has since closed her Marysville practice and moved to Kimbolton with her children. A statement in support of settlement dated May 2 filed with the Union County Probate Court details the arrangement.
Two radiologists with Mid-Ohio Radiology in Dublin, Dr. William E. McLemore and Dr. Steven D. Haas, are insured and offered their policy limits of $3 million, which Bartunek as executor accepted. The settlement comes shortly before a trial was scheduled to be heard in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. McLemore is affiliated with Memorial
Hospital of Union County, Haas is not.
The statement in support alleges that the two radiologists misread a cat scan in May 1998 delaying diagnosis of Mifsud's lung cancer until March 1999 when it was inoperable. In May 1998 the cancer was at stage I with a 70 to 80 percent chance of survival. In March 1999 Mifsud's cancer was at stage IIIB with a 15 percent survival rate according to court documents.
The Mifsud family will receive $1.8 million of the settlement, while their attorneys will receive $1.5 million in fees.
The distribution is as follows: Bartunek as surviving spouse, $647,500 cash; Caroline Susanne Mifsud, daughter born in 1994, $323,249 in trust; Paul Charles Mifsud Jr., son born in 1996, $323,249 in trust; Charles Anthony Mifsud II, adult son, $168,190 cash; Paula K. Funfgeld of Medina, adult daughter, $168,190 cash; Anthony John Mifsud of Columbus, adult son, $168,190 cash; George Mifsud of Henryville, Pa., brother, $25,000 cash; and Florence E. Mifsud, mother, $25,000 in trust. Prior to his death, Mifsud became a public figure locally after he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges involving altering public records to cover up a Union County home remodeling job and was sentenced to the Marysville work release center for six months by Union County Common Pleas Judge Richard Parrott.
More recently as Parrott sought his third term in office, Bartunek contributed significantly to Parrott's challenger Jeffery Holtschulte.
Auditor candidate makes
By CINDY BRAKE
A Union County employee has filed a civil rights complaint against the very office she wanted to head earlier this year.
Lisa M. Carroll, who sought the Republican nomination for Union County Auditor in the May primary election, filed a charge of discrimination with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission against the Union County Auditor's Office.
She is alleging gender and religious discrimination, as well as sexual harassment took place from Oct. 31, 2001, through April 16, 2002. Carroll states that she is a Roman Catholic who has been employed by the Union County Auditor since April16, 2001, most recently as an application developer/deputy auditor.
"On Oct. 31, 2001, and continuing I have been sexually harassed and denied equal terms and conditions of employment," Carroll claims. Specifically, she refers to one incident when she claims to have been ill and "had to leave briefly to get a caffeine-based beverage to subdue an asthma attack." Carroll states that she was "verbally harassed" when she returned because she did not offer to bring coffee to her co-workers. She also claims that a male co-worker left for non-emergency reasons and was not harassed as she was.
Specifically, Carroll levels sexual harassment charges against Union County Auditor Mary Snider. In particular, Carroll claims she was required to wear high heels and short skirts, while the male employees were not required to dress up.
She alleges the male employees were given raises, while she was not. One male co-worker also used compensatory time, although Carroll claims she was told the office no longer allowed the use of compensatory time. She also notes that the male co-workers received $300 bonuses each, while she received a $150 bonus.
In addition, Carroll claims she was told she could not pray at lunch breaks or hang a religious poster, while other employees were allowed to hang pagan objects such as pumpkins, witches, spiders, brooms, spider webs and noisy sadistic objects.
Carroll states that she voiced her concerns to Union County Commissioner Don Fraser and he allegedly told her she could put up with it or not. Fraser labels Carroll's allegations as "patently false."
"Mrs. Carroll's allegations that she voiced her concerns of sexual harassment by the auditor to me and that I told her to 'put up with it or not' and thereafter did nothing to prohibit the conduct are patently false. Lisa approached me on one occasion last year and stated that she was having problems with the auditor and wanted me to come to a meeting that she said she was having with the chairman of the Data Processing Board, Judge Parrott that afternoon. She did not disclose the nature of the alleged problem. I told Mrs. Carroll that I felt that it was Judge Parrott's call, as chair of the Data Processing Board, as to whether or not I should attend and that if he wanted me to I would attend. I was not contacted and heard nothing more until I became aware of this complaint. Mrs. Carroll is not an employee of the Commissioner's office," Fraser said today in a written statement. Snider said her legal counsel has advised her to make no public comment on the matter.
The complaint was filed May 20. What happens now is yet to be determined.
Cindy Stankiewicz, program analyst with the U.S. Equal Employment Oppportunity Commission, the federal agency which handles discrimination and harassment issues, said she can not acknowledge whether any charges have been filed, although she provided a general outline of how these complaints are handled. The average case is processed within 180 days.
Once a complaint is filed, Stankiewicz said, a copy of the charge is served by mail to the employer. At that time, if the employee has agreed to mediation, an offer of voluntary mediation is made. Stankiewicz said 65 percent of all complaints are settled by mediation. Mediation is generally a one-day meeting. She said the average mediation case is
settled within 90 days.
If mediation is not an option, Stankiewicz said, officials ask for information from the employer and evaluate it. If there is a finding of no violation, the charging party is offered a chance to provide additional information within 10 days, then a case is closed and a right to sue is issued, meaning the complaining party can take the matter to a court. On the state level, Stankiewicz said there are no limits on damages.
Another the path the original complaint can follow is to be "not conclusive." Then the investigators could review employer records, interview employers and request additional information.
If a violation is determined after the original complaint, the employer can provide information within 10 days of the finding. A letter of determination would then be issued if the decision stands and a conciliation meeting is set up.
Stankiewicz said possible remedies could include lost wages and interest, compensatory damages and a change in policy, as well as anti-harassment training for staff.
Richwood resident honored
By PATRICIA RENGIFO Journal-Tribune intern
Lee Sobas has left her mark on world of quarter horses by being the first woman inducted into the All American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame in October.
Sobas and her husband Stanley have lived outside of Richwood for nearly 35 years and have raised horses there for more than 30 years. "Our horses have been my love." Sobas said.
It is only natural that the couple were involved with the Ohio Quarter Horse Association (OQHA) which would later start the All American Quarter Horse Congress.
Little did Sobas know, but soon her life would take an unexpected turn and love of horses would become a full-time job. When her husband fell victim to a farm accident and could no longer provide for his family, Sobas naturally knew that it was her turn. She started working for the OQHA as secretary for the congress.
"When I started I told myself it would only be 10 years max." Sobas said. Those 10 years arrived sooner than Sobas had anticipated and she continued working. Before she knew it, 20 years came and went and then 25.
In all, she spent 27 years taking entries, preparing the rules, answering the phones and ordering pins and ribbons. Sobas recalls driving back and forth from Columbus to the office in Richwood before the days of computers and spending late nights at the office preparing for the congress.
"I was burned out," Sobas said. She knew it was time for her to retire. Sometime between starting at the congress and retiring she set a goal for herself. "I wanted to be in the hall of fame," said Sobas. The All American Quarter Horse Congress Hall of Fame was created in 1987 to honor those who selflessly promote the event. Since its creation eight men have been inducted. Sobas achieved her goal and was inducted into the Congress Hall of Fame as the first woman to be given the honor.
Since retiring from the OQHA in May, Sobas has been taking a much-needed vacation. While still working, Sobas turned to the television for relaxation, watching the popular serial "Highlander." It was this show which would lead Sobas halfway around the world.
From watching the show she became interested in Scotland and the history surrounding the country. Sobas took her first trip across the Atlantic Ocean to visit Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1998. "There's nothing like it," Sobas said
Since that first visit Sobas has been hooked and has traveled to Scotland and the surrounding area three more times. "It just grabbed me. I just wanted to see more and more," Sobas said. Sobas recently returned from her fourth visit to Scotland which included tours of Wales and England which she had never visited. She spent time in London visiting Windsor Castle, the Tower of London and other famous landmarks. "Your average tourist stuff," she said.
Halfway across the world Sobas still could not get away from horses. She made time on her trip to see some of the queen's horses. "They were beautiful, but I am biased," said Sobas
After returning from Scotland, Sobas has been adjusting to retirement. She keeps herself busy sorting old clothes and working on her garden. She and her husband recently brought home a puppy to keep them company. Sobas doesn't know what she will do next. She is planning to spend more time with her family and relaxing.
Students attend new boot camp
By RYAN HORNS
Alarms went off, then a door opened and thick smoked poured out along with several tired and sweating individuals, dressed in full firefighting gear. Many tumbled to the ground, drenched in sweat, and fumbled to take off their oxygen masks. Hey, it's better than being in school.
The Richwood Fire Department is giving young people, ages 13 to 21, a chance to cut their teeth in the business of fighting fires.
The program is the first of its kind in the area. Local residents as well as students from around the state have come to Union County to take part in the fire and rescue training from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day for two weeks.
The program began on June 10. Sponsored by the Explorers, a division of the Boy Scouts of America, it gives the teens a chance to explore career opportunities.
The out-of-county youths are paired up with a host family for the duration of the camp.
After riding with an emergency rescue squad during an Explorer program as a young man, Richwood Fire Chief Todd German knew it was something he wanted to pursue as a career. "I had an experience," German said. "So when I started here (as chief) a year and a half ago, I knew it was something I wanted to bring to the department."
Justin Snyder, 15, a ninth grader at North Union High School, now feels the same way about the program.
"A lot of my family members have been in the fire department," he said. "I've hung out a lot at the station and have been around them my whole life and so I figured I'd like to do it." He plans to go into fire training after he graduates. "I don't think there's a single man here who doesn't want to do the same," Trevor Frodge, 16, of Clermont County said.
Most of the participants had heard about the program through their high school guidance counselors or teachers. Some participants may end up going on to fire training after high school graduation.
There are 24 students involved in the program, sweating it out in the thick coats, masks and air tanks associated with fire fighting.
During the two-week exercise German, along with program director Walt Hamilton and assistant director Brent Sheares, runs the teens through the full gamut of the fire rescue experience. At the Allen Township Fire Department training facility, the focus was on search and rescue drills and ladder climbing, combined with classroom study later in the day.
"We're using increasingly difficult evolutions," German said, about the hierarchy of each drill.
As part of one exercise, the teens file into the four-story metal training facility and have to find a dummy victim somewhere inside despite the darkness and the rooms sometimes filled with theatrical smoke. They are divided up into companies of four people to get the job done.
"At the top floor visibility is zero," Snyder said. "This time we're going to add a little smoke." German explained about the next drill. "Also, instead of a dummy we are going to have a live victim on the fourth floor . their mission is to search for the victim, find them and take them to safety. Always as a team."
"They have 30 minutes of air. But that's only if a person is at rest. Obviously, they will be experiencing anxiety and more stress so that time is reduced," he added.
Searching each room one by one, among wooden debris on the floor, each group successfully found the victim.
"Honestly, you guys did better than some adults we've had here," German said to the group gathered around taking off the gear. "They sure seem to be dedicated," he added later on.
Local residents raising a stink
Deep in the basement of the Craven household lurks a unique and stinky plant known as the Amorphophallus rivieri, commonly known as a Konjac. The flowering bulb is kept in the basement of 385 Retreat Lane because of its odor,, said Howard Craven.
"I like different and unusual things," said his wife, Carol Craven, a certified flower show judge who also works in a local flower shop.
She believes the Konjac is native to Thailand. Her plant, however, came from a West Virginia friend who worked in the state department.
Mrs. Craven said she had a red Arum that bloomed one year and then she never saw it again. While talking to a friend about her disappointing red Arum, he parted with one Konjac bulb in the hopes that it might be similar to her red Arum. It wasn't, but has proved to be even more enjoyable for this flower enthusiast.
Konjacs take patience, said Mr. Craven. Bulbs are placed in a dark place over the winter. The Cravens keep their three bulbs in a plastic trash can with a lid in their basement and check regularly for growth. The bulb eventually grows a stalk with a calla lily-shaped leaflike bloom in a deep purplish red color and very distinct odor.
The "Botanica," a garden encyclopedia that describes more than 10,000 plants, states "In the case of Amorphophallus, it is large and often knob-like and is the source of the foul smell given off by many of this species' flowers."
The most famous and largest Amorphophallus, A. titanium, has been cultivated for more than a century at the Tropical House at Kew Gardens in London, England. It flowers every decade or so and may reach as much as eight feet tall and five feet across.
"Most of the 100 or so species come from tropical Asia and Africa. They are leafless in the tropical dry season, dying back to a large underground tuber. At the start of the wet season they send up their flowers, shortly followed by a single, deeply lobed leaf that may be quite large and long stalked. These plants are grown mainly as curiosities in botanical gardens, except for a few grown for their edible roots, such as the Konjac."
Konjac is sold as an herbal supplement for weight loss. The Cravens, however, grow their Konjacs for pleasure. Mrs. Craven said she has always wanted to enter a bloom in a flower show but has never been able to because of the bloom's short life.
The bloom usually lasts for three days and then dies back to the bulb. Then the bulb will be planted outside on the Craven's patio. Over the summer it will create a tree-like plant. "It's been interesting," Mr. Craven said about growing the unusual and stinky Konjac.
Path cleared for Jerome development
By CINDY BRAKE
Alan Shepherd's plans to commercially develop 4.364 acres in Jerome Township received a green light Monday night.
A referendum filed against the project failed to have the necessary number of authorized signatures, said Jerome Township Clerk Robert Caldwell at the township meeting.
The Union County Board of Elections found problems with four of the 104 signatures submitted. Two were missing dates, one was illegible and one signature did not match. For the referendum to be valid and go before voters, 104 valid signatures are required.
The trustees unanimously approved a petition to rezone the land located at the corner of U.S. 42 and Industrial Parkway from rural to heavy retail on May 6. Shepherd agreed to attach restrictions to eliminate wholesale and lumber businesses from the site, build a privacy fence between the land and an adjoining property and survey residents for tenant preferences. Shepherd plans to build a metal structure similar to one in the New Albany area. His shopping center may house a pharmacy, dry cleaner and restaurant.
The proposed rezoning had received positive recommendations from the Logan Union Champaign Planning Commission, the township zoning board, the township planning and zoning task force and the Industrial Parkway Association Chamber of Commerce, as well as adjoining property owners.
It is also in agreement with the Union County Comprehensive Plan. Zoning inspector Norm Puntenney brought a precedent-setting dilemma to the trustees Monday night.
He said a Hindu temple is located in an area zoned for manufacturing. The decision to allow the temple was approved by the past administration, Puntenney said.
The problem is that temple members now want a custodian and his family to live in the building 24 hours a day, because the building is vacant six days a week. Puntenney said there are no deed restrictions to prohibit the request.
All three trustees - Sharon Sue Wolfe, Freeman May and Ron Rhodes - voiced concern with people living in M1 areas and passed a resolution against the request. A request to remodel the structure was discussed. The officials said the remodeling request is acceptable as long as it meets right of way and setback requirements.
The Union County Prosecuting Attorney's office, which represents the township in some legal matters, has requested that the trustees pass resolutions on all matters they want prosecuted or investigated, Puntenney said.
A resolution was passed requiring that all zoning violation complaints must be filed in writing. May voted against the resolution.
Consulting engineer Mark Cameron presented three options to improve Ketch Road from Taylor to Hickory Ridge.
The first option would replace the complete section that is two-thirds of a mile long and would cost $402,000. The second option is to extend the road's width at a cost of $297,000. Option three is to overlay the existing road and would cost $174,000. Cameron estimated that the first option would have a useful life of 20 to 25 years; the second option, 10 to 15 years; and the third option, eight years. The trustees must make a decision by July 12 in order to submit an application for Issue II funding, Cameron said.
In other business:
. A variety of permit fees were lowered effective immediately.
. Liability insurance was increased to $1 million from $300,000.
. The clerk is compiling the township's insurance policies. All will be reviewed and put up for bid.
. Informal township meetings will be held quarterly with the first planned for July 3. The meetings, May said, would allow "friends and neighbors to unite the township" by discussing things to be done. Trustees would be present at the meetings, but take no official action, May said.
. A feasibility study was approved for building a salt barn on township property along Industrial Parkway.
During the public comment period, Albert Schoby suggested one way to clean up the neighborhood by referring problem property owners to Jeff Hawkins, who will haul items away at no cost.
Jesse G. Dickinson Jr. presented a five-page document titled "a proposed method to achieve the development of a Jerome Township comprehensive plan and a zoning resolution approved by the residents/citizens." In past meetings, Dickinson has threatened that he will continue to referendum every zoning matter that comes before the trustees until his zoning plan is in place. The last line of the document also states that there would no longer be a need to referendum individual zoning issues if this plan were in place.
Referring to his Alabama roots, Lou Bedford read a prepared statement in support of the Dickinson document saying Jerome Township is experiencing its own kind of civil war over self-determination. "We are standing on the brink of our own Gettysburg." The trustees said they would review the document.
By JUDY BOEHLER
Watch out, Marysville ? the town is being invaded by 3,000 bicyclists Friday.
It's GOBA, the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure and the riders, ranging in age from 2 to 80, are from 44 states and Canada. They set off on the 350-mile tour Sunday morning from Delaware and their route takes them through Newark, Lancaster, Chillicothe, London, Marysville and back to Delaware.
Jim and Dee Foeller of Marysville are riding in the tour and will arrive home Friday on their tandem bike with their 5-year-old daughter in tow.
The Foellers, three-year residents of Marysville and three-year veterans of bicycle touring, took part in the opening ceremonies Friday night in Delaware, riding in the parade and attending the party in downtown Delaware. They left for Newark about 6:30 a.m. Sunday and will be camping overnight in each city and visiting sites of interest along the
way. They have arranged for their daughter to meet them at one of the stops and finish the tour with them.
The Foellers have ridden in three other tours and have prepared for GOBA by riding about 500 miles since February. They carry only emergency and repair items on their bikes. The rest of their gear travels in luggage trucks supplied by GOBA.
In each of the host cities, campers will set up their tents at fairgrounds, parks or schools. Churches, schools and other organizations will offer food for sale and the host city arranges entertainment and shuttle buses for transportation to restaurants, shopping and local attractions.
Riders who prefer not to camp in tents stay in motels or in camping vehicles. Local camper parking will be in the lots of the Elevator Company and the Marysville First Baptist Church on Chestnut Street. On Friday, cyclists will begin to arrive at Eljer Park about 10 a.m. By then, the luggage trucks will be here and portable showers will be set up. Food vendors will open at noon and Marysville school buses will offer shuttle service. A circus tent will be set up and information booths, a repair area, massage tent and medical booth will be operating.
Supper sales will begin at 4 p.m. and Arnette Howard and his Creole Funk Band will perform from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Breakfast sales will begin at 5:30 a.m. and by 8 a.m. most of the riders will be on their way back to Delaware to wind up this year's GOBA. Typically, GOBA generates $75,000 to $100,000 of extra business along its circuit and it is important to organize everything well to take advantage of the opportunity to bring in those extra dollars. Alan and Betty Rupert of the Union County Cycling Club and a dedicated group of volunteers have been working for months to see that everything is ready for the cyclists Friday. Betty said she spent most of her time working with food providers while Alan and the volunteers oversaw the logistics, working with the Marysville Parks and Recreation Department. "We want the people of Marysville to come out and participate," Betty said. "Come and enjoy the food and entertainment and meet the riders." GOBA is sponsored by Bob Evans Farms and conducted by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits. Participants pay $125 and the children's rate is $70. Proceeds go to benefit bicycle programs in Ohio.
boasts full slate of Fourth of July activities
Marysville's traditional Fourth of July activities will begin when the fairgrounds gates open at 11 a.m.
Admission will be $3 per person and children 12 and under are free. Flea market tables will be set up throughout the day. Parade units will line up at the County Office Building on West Sixth Street at 1 p.m. and the parade will begin at 2 p.m., proceeding north on Main Street to the Route 31 entrance to the fairgrounds. Former Prisoners of War Herman Blumenschein, Charles Riedmiller, Raymond Veley and Clarence Gamble will be the grand marshals.
Children age 5 to 12 are invited to decorate their bicycles and compete for prizes sponsored by the Union County Fourth of July Committee. Bicycles will be judged at 2:45 p.m.
Motorcross practice will begin in the grandstand at 2:30 p.m. and the Instep Dance Center will present an exhibition in the pavilion at the same time.
At 3 p.m., Children may register for the Kiddy Tractor Pull, the Windsor Singers will perform at 3:30 p.m. and the Kiddy Tractor Pull will be held at 4 p.m.
New this year are cowboy polo matches for children and adults at 3 p.m. Children under the age of 19 will be required to use a riding helmet and provide a release form. The only equipment required is a corn broom. Motorcross racing will start at 4:30 p.m. and the bicycle giveaway will take place at 6:45 p.m.
Dakota Ranch will present Dancind Steve with line dancing from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and the fireworks display will begin at dusk.
Union County Commissioners journal
. Met with Anne Davy and Gary McDowell, president of the Union County Health Department, to sign a memorandum of understanding between the commissioners and health department for building space in the London Avenue Government Building (old Kmart building). Cost will be $9 per square foot at 11,407 square feet.
. Met with Carl Blumenschein regarding a complaint of a dog running loose on his property.
. Approved a contract with Fresithler Paving Inc. of Sidney for the 2002 Union County Cold Mix Resurfacing Program. The contract totals $406,914.
. Transferred $30,000 within the M&G fund to cover bridge materials needed and $3,900 to payhalf for principle of OPWs
. Transferred $23,700 within JDC funds for first half of 2002 bond interest payment
. Transferred $17,000 in general fund for contribution to historical society
. Transferred $ 13,600 in general fund for April contracts
. Transferred $12,900 in P.A. funds for Medicaid outreach, Help Me Grow
. Transferred $900 in D&K funds because Shell gasoline was paid from the wrong account
. Transferred $45,000 in airport funds to pay interest and principal on 97 hangar debt
. Approved following personnel actions for the Union County Department of Job and Family Services - Suzanne Grady of Ostrander and Mary Cunningham of Marysville, both fulltime permanent positions.
. Met with Dick Brake of the Union Township Memorial Restoration Committee regarding money for the restoration of the Civil War Monument in Milford Center. Estimated cost is $17,000. Commissioners passed a resolution to contribute $17,000 to the Union County Historical Society for the restoration of the monument, per the Ohio Revised Code Section 5901.37.
. Commissioner Jim Mitchell attended the Senior Citizens meal at Windsor Manor May 21 and at the Plain City Bickham Center on May 22.
. Commissioner Don Fraser attended the Senior Citizens meal at Milford Center and a special Tri-County Jail meeting in Mechanicsburg.
. Transferred $4.7 million within bond retirement funds to pay June 2001 water and sewer notes
. Transferred $77,000 within bond retirement funds for debt interest payment transfer
. Transferred $54,000 within sales tax debt funds for debt interest payment transfer
. Transferred $10,000 within general fund for full-time clerk position being moved from juvenile court to probate court. Full-time clerk position in juvenile court is now a part-time clerk position.
. Transferred $3,000 within DTAC fund, prosecutor because the 2002 insurance account was under appropriated.
. Transferred $2,500 within the juvenile detention center fund to pay for equipment purchased during kitchen renovation
. Bids received for Claibourne Road bridge replacement - Shaw & Holter, Inc. of Lancaster, $446,182; Fort Defiance Construction & Supply Inc. of Defiance, $483,752; R&I Construction Inc. of Tiffin, $501,003; Eagle Bridge Co. of Sidney, $509,664; The Velotta Co of Sharon Center, $556,674; G.W. Melvin Contracting Co., $563,595; Complete General Construction Co., $564,328; and Maiden & Jenkins Cons., Co. of Nelsonville, $609,675. Awarded contract to Shaw & Holter.
. Approval given to Judge Gary F. McKinley for Leanne C. Stiers, director of Court Services/Chief Probation Officer, to attend the Train The Trainer update session June 19-21 in Columbus
. Approval given to Judge McKinley to attend the 2002 annual conference sponsored by the Ohio Association of Probate and Juvenile Court Judges June 10-13 in Cleveland. Estimated expenses $1,077.
. Transferred $2.65 million from unappropriated funds to contract projects for Kmart project contracts
. Closed Winget Road at the covered bridge on July 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the request of Laurie Caudill and Roy Justice, 10450 McBride Rd., for a wedding.
. Approved the notice of award for the CDBG FY 00 City of Marysville, Ninth Street Water and Sewer Project to D.E. Philips Excavating Inc. of Forest for $93,958.
. Met with Bill Schnaufer, CDBG grant consultant, regarding projects to be funded for FY 2001 - Unionville Center, $10,400 and the Richwood grant for $64,100 needs to be replaced for this year. The commissioners decided to have an elevator put into the Seventh Street Building with this money.
Income tax issue stalls
By RYAN HORNS
Regarding the issue of raising taxes within the city, no action was taken on the proposed income tax raise at the Marysville City Council meeting Thursday night.
Ordinances concerning the specific tax issues were expected to be read this week by council, as was reported after the last meeting, however, City Council President John Gore said no legislation will be read before the members until the next meeting on June 27.
He did add that council will come forward with two ordinances to generate money for the city coffers. The first will pursue the proposed EMS fees, which were to be covered by victim insurance and would not be much of a burden to the public.
Another ordinance Gore said council will proceed with is for a luxury tax on city hotels, which is added only to the bills of transient guests and would not affect citizens to the degree of other issues.
Gore said he thinks something needs to be done about getting a better building for the police department and that a fire building on the north side of town is also needed, but did not mention any legislation council would be bringing to the table.
Mayor Steve Lowe is currently out of town and was not at the Thursday meeting.
The administration had been expected to bring forth the income tax issue this week but Gore reported that the Mayor has not come forward with the legislation.
As Lowe stated in a June 7 letter to the editor in the Journal-Tribune, "My administration does not understand what the goals of city council are in solving the funding of capital projects that have been identified for the past two years as in need of being completed." "Council's current position is not one that I agree with," Lowe wrote. "Council has changed my proposal so drastically that I cannot support it. I will not submit legislation asking for an income tax increase until council has clarified its position."
One resident voiced opposition to some of the proposals before council. Local resident and business owner Greg Buck said he has 12 years experience running a $35-50 million company, and approached council to speak about the proposed tax increase in the city. "The increase would be a burden," Buck said. He also referred to the issue of building a new fire house. "If you can't get there in five minutes within Marysville," he said, "then you must be going backwards. So there is not a real need there."
He additionally offered the option of doing taxes within the community to save money instead of handing it to companies like RITA. "The government seems to think we are all made of money and we're not," Buck said. "I just ask that you try to keep it to a low budget."
In other topics discussed, the issue of lime spillage at the city water plant onto the car lot of North Main Motors was mentioned. Council member Dan Fogt asked the administration how things are going with business owner Harold Green and his disappointment over the damage to his vehicles.
Attorney John Eufinger, filling in for law director Tim Aslaner, reported that he has spoken with Green.
"It's being resolved," he said. "He seems pleased something is being done and is prepared to wait until it is resolved." Eufinger said the city has arranged for supervisors to be present during lime unloading periods at the water plant to hopefully eliminate the spills. While he would not address the issue of liability, Eufinger said progress is being made.
The issue of flooding in Quail Hollow found its way to council again this week. The problem is that a drainage ditch clogged with debris on a property owned by Liberty Partnership is causing flooding around other homes upstream.
Resident Jason Harrison spoke to council about it, asking for a report and also if there would be an easement installed to prevent future drainage problems.
Council decided to give the company owner two weeks to clean the debris from the ditch before it would go in and do the project itself and bill him.
Gore reported it has been nine weeks since the city passed the resolution and seven weeks since it issued the two-week deadline. Eufinger said that Liberty Partnership has threatened the city with a potential injunction to prevent workers from coming onto his property to do the work. The owner claims the retention pond drainage ditch was placed on his property without permission in the first place and therefore the company should not pay for its maintenance. The issue has now evolved into legal matters.
"If it comes down to an administration issue, we can get it done," city administrator Bob Shaumleffel told Harrison. However, he said, if it becomes a legal issue progress could be tied up for awhile. "I wish I could be more specific," Eufinger said to Harrison, "We have to get something resolved."
One question on Gore's mind Thursday night concerned RITA and the tax money of the city of Marysville. The money is held in the company's account until tax papers are finished and funds can be distributed. Gore is mainly concerned about the interest being accrued on Marysville money ever since RITA enacted a 30-day delay on its services due to an influx of paper work being completed.
"Is RITA making money off of the city's tax money?" Gore asked. "I'm sure they factor in the cost of doing business," finance director John Morehart said. "It's probably factored into the rebate we get next spring." "I'll be visiting RITA next month and will express our concerns," he said. "I was very troubled it would be delayed 30 days as well." Eufinger was asked by Gore if he could look into the RITA contract.
In other business, the hope for a completed city employee manual to hand over to new Human Resources Director Brian Dostanko hit a snag.
The city administration had pushed to move the manual along earlier this year to get things ready. But as council read an ordinance to amend the benefits of a military leave policy in the manual it was discovered there were mistakes found by Dostanko. "It's a minor change," Dostanko said.
This was not good news to council, considering that if one page of the manual had problems then it could mean more. "I emptied out a red pen on it the other night," Dostanko said. "It's very embarrassing to adopt (the manual) and find out it's not correct," Shaumleffel said.
"At the very least," Gore said, "We need to contact the consultant to see about getting a refund since they did not do what we paid them for."
"This process of going forward and then cleaning it up later," he said, "it is becoming very frustrating to me."
It was decided Dostanko would clean up the military leave details and then work on a report of changes to give to city council regarding the manual.
Also during the meeting, economic development director Eric Phillips said the city's economic development plan is nearing its final stages. "We finished the final rough draft," he said, "and we will hold the final presentation at a later date."
Phillips also handed council a new brochure putting in layman's term what the Community Reinvestment Area is all about. It will enable citizens looking to making improvements on their homes in the core of Marysville an easier fact sheet to get information about the CRA.
He also displayed the application sheet for residents to get started. There is no application fee, Phillips reported.
In other topics discussed:
. The city discussed an ordinance to amend landscape requirements in the city and mentioned a possible $500 fine for property owners who let their yards get out of control.
. Gore announced council is putting together a committee to review the four voting wards of the city after the new federal census figures. Nevin Taylor, Mark Reams, and Gore will form the group as they are all council members at large and will not be in the position of reelection in the near future.
. Council passed the ordinance to create the ER and SR districts to provide large land lots without agricultural use, therefor allowing greater housing variety within the city
earful over Oakdale
By RYAN HORNS
One after another, plot owners at the Oakdale Cemetery stood before the Marysville City Public Works Committee to once again speak against the new enforcement of regulations on graves.
The issue began last fall after Mayor Steve Lowe and Marysville City Council decided to enforce and update the cemetery rules which have reportedly been in effect since March 25, 1965. The new enforcement started after Lowe signed the ordinance on April 25, 2001.
In response to resident complaints, council president John Gore proposed starting a committee to go over the new ordinances for possible changes at a meeting on Sept. 20. It was made up of council members Nevin Taylor, Ed Pleasant and John Marshall and citizens Kirk Rounds, Barb Daniels and Donna Webb.
A sore spot for some residents is that it took nine months before the committee actually met for the first time on May 22 this year.
During the last public works meeting held on May 22, committee member Nevin Taylor stated he would request someone from the Oakdale maintenance crew or the mayor to be at the next meeting. However, none of the representatives chose to attend Wednesday night.
One thing becoming clear from the cemetery discussions is there are certain requests that many grave owners share.
Points regarding the consistency of the enforcement of regulations, the placement of shepherd's hooks, maintenance neglect and destruction, the concept of what is considered tacky and what is not, grave owners never being given the rules, a possible grandfather clause, and even the confusion over space issues allowed around the graves were all highlighted.
But mainly plot owners want to know: Why the rules and why now? Dover Township resident and senior citizen Paul Low told the committee, "I believe I must have more relations buried in Oakdale than anyone else in Union County."
His relatives, he said, have been in Marysville since the 1800s and now he is worried a cast iron urn which has been on a relative's grave will be taken.
"That cast iron urn has been painted and filled once a year for the past 70 years and now people are thinking about removing it . it is older than most monuments in town," Low said. "I kind of expect it to be gone every time I go out there"
"I'm not totally against change," he said, speaking about the cemetery regulations, but added there is still a law in the books about driving horses more than 15 mph through town. Does the city plan on enforcing that now too?
"It's too big of a jump in just the past year," he said, "(City council and the mayor) have overstepped their bounds." Resident Doug Webb received a round of applause after he spoke. "I think it's rather disappointing this meeting is even necessary . Oakdale has been here before any of us," he said.
Regarding the issue of gaudy grave decorations, Webb said if you were to look hard enough you could find something tacky all over town. This is a good thing, he said, because it represents our individualism within the community and in the cemetery.
"Maybe some lots are over-decorated but to me that's a sign those people are really loved,"Janet Johns said.
"Our elected officials don't seem to be representing the people," Webb said.
Several residents are even considering removing their family graves from Oakdale and placing them somewhere else.
"I chose Marysville because it was a family place," Kathy Phillips said. Her son was killed in an auto accident and she was never given a set of rules when he was buried, she said. She had not heard about the regulation changes going into effect last fall and then discovered that all the objects she had placed on the grave were gone.
"I thought they were stolen and then I looked around and saw that all the others were all gone . I was upset," she said. Phillips decided she now wants to get her son exhumed from the Oakdale Cemetery in favor of cremation.
"I used to feel good about going to the Marysville cemetery," she said. She explained that people are trying to do whatever they can to maintain contact and communicate with their loved ones buried there. "Now they are taking it away from us . city council members and the mayor are taking that away from us," she said.
"I am very seriously thinking about having my wife's remains taken out of there,"Bob Daniels added.
"You can't believe a word the mayor tells you," Daniels said. "He told me it would be taken care of. I voted for the man at the time because I thought we needed a change. He has one thing to remember - he will be coming up for reelection."
On the topic of favoritism, resident Betty Claire owns six plots at Oakdale and stated, "People aren't being treated equally . Why were (our objects) removed?"
Some graves with local prominent names have flowers and objects all over them, Claire said, while others have been made bare and have been bumped by mowers. Even the Memorial Day flowers used for the town celebration were against the new ordinance enforcement, yet remained untouched. Respect for the monuments and headstones by the maintenance crews is also lacking, some noted.
"I saw 15 monuments which had been hit with a mower and turned sideways," Claire said. "Even an eternal light had been knocked over onto the ground."
Denise Lashley reported that last year maintenance crews broke the military monument on the grave of her husband. After she discovered it had occurred she made attempts to contact the cemetery administration to no avail. "They would not even return my calls," she said. "They didn't have the decency to call and tell us they broke it." "We had to wait over a year (for the replacement stone) and then they misspelled his name," Lashley said.
Other issues were also addressed, such as Sandy Markin who requested a first-year leniency be given to graves which have been recently placed. "They say the hardest part of someone dying is the first year," Markin said emotionally. Her sister passed away two months ago and the headstone has not been erected yet. Now the items placed around the grave have been removed.
Her sister's best friend Judy McDaniel, who put the items there, said, "It's pretty hard to go out there and not put anything up . we would like to be able to do something. A little rock that says 'Friends are Forever.' That is all we have left of her."
Wanda Bishop summed up the night when she stated things need to change. "I don't really feel like anything is being accomplished," she said. Her efforts to meet with mayor Lowe have not been fruitful, she said. "All the meetings we are having. Nothing really changes it all just comes back around," Bishop said. "Not until last year was this a problem."
As no residents or administration member spoke in favor of the ordinance enforcement, committee member Ed Pleasant read a letter from citizen John Foster, which stated simply, "The ordinance should be left as is." "The rules have been on the book since 1965," John Marshall explained. "I think the reason is because the past management - I don't want to say they picked and chose the rules they did not enforce - But now the rules have swung to the extreme. The rules are being followed to the letter . I feel some frustration as to how we should fix this." At the end of the meeting, Pleasant stated the next step for the committee is to draw up language for an ordinance to be given to city council, which will attempt to amend the current cemetery regulations. However, no date was given as to when the ordinance might be ready.
Students improve on
By JUDY BOEHLER
It's that time of year again for the Ohio education world - the fourth and sixth grade proficiency test results were released Friday by the Ohio Department of Education.
With only a few exceptions, Union County schools showed improvement over last year's test scores. That is especially important when it comes to the fourth grade reading test which has been the focus of a great deal of attention.
Standards set by the state require that 75 percent of a district's fourth graders must pass the test for the district to be considered proficient. Several years ago, the Ohio Legislature passed a law requiring fourth graders to pass the reading test before being advanced to the fifth grade. That law was changed a little more than a year ago, however, a great deal of effort has gone into identifying those students who need help to improve their reading.
Third graders were given the opportunity to take the test last year and that may have contributed to the increased passing level on the most recent tests. Another reason might well be the literacy programs which have been instituted, ranging from Gov. Bob Taft's Ohio Reads initiative to numerous grants available for reading programs.
Larry Zimmerman, superintendent of the Marysville schools, said the improved test scores show that the district is going in the right direction. The fourth grade reading test scores rose from 55 percent to 70 percent, indicating that the literacy programs initiated almost three years ago have begun to take effect.
Gregg Stubbs, who formerly worked with the Ohio Department of Education, came on board with Marysville in November of 1999 specifically to write grants for the school system. Since that time, the district has received 11 grants, amounting to almost $1 million, to provide teacher training, acquire materials and implement reading programs.
Stubbs said it typically takes about three years for teachers to learn new techniques and integrate them into their teaching practices. That appears to have been the case in the Marysville schools. Zimmerman said the opportunity to give the tests in third grade helped the fourth graders, adding that children in a testing situation need practice. He anticipates continued improvement.
"We're not in a sprint," he said. "This is a long distance run." North Union superintendent Carol Young said she is very, very pleased with the test results, especially with the sixth grade results. She said the sixth grade teachers show a cohesive team effort and she pointed out that they are using reading and writing teaching methods in all subjects.
North Union fourth graders improved only 1 percent over the 2001 results on the reading test. Young said she was disappointed in the 57 percent passing rate, but, noted that the score is an improvement. "It's the second year of very steady, significant improvement," she said. "It shows that we're heading in the right direction." Young said the literacy programs they have started are still new and the teachers are working hard to implement them. She said there will be two week-long sessions for children in kindergarten through fifth grade prior to the July proficiency testing.
Fairbanks' scores on the sixth grade tests showed general improvement. The passing rate in the fourth grade reading test went from 65 percent to 73 percent and most other tests improved. Curriculum director Gloria Werline said she is very pleased with the results. "The teachers did a good job," she said.
Fourth grade reading test scores rose from 65 percent to 73 percent passing but the math score dropped dramatically from 71 percent to 46 percent. Werline said she has no idea what happened in the math test but she pointed out that in a small school district, poor performance by just a few students can change the percentage of passing significantly. For that same reason, Werline said, it is possible to raise the 73 percent passing rate to the targeted 75 percent at the July testing.
Pair of bird lovers desperate to find missing pets
By PATRICIA RENGIFO Journal-Tribune intern
Marysville seems to be full of birds who are flying the coup.
In recent weeks Marysville resident may have noticed numerous posters, signs and ads pleading for the help locating missing bids.
Rynechia Norris of Sixth Street and Melinda Anderson of Allenby Drive are two of these people who are in need of assistance.
Anderson is the owner of a Muloccan cockatoo valued at $2,000 which has been her closest companion for eight years. Sarah the cockatoo escaped on May 31 when she knocked out the screen door of her home while attempting to follow the family on a walk.
Melinda and Sarah were united eight years ago when she was working at the Columbus Zoo. Sarah's previous owner tried to donate her to the zoo but the zoo wouldn't take her. Melinda stepped in and took the bird home with her.
Norris has owned cockatiels for more than a year and a half. She owns six cockatiels, two of which have been missing since May 18. Cockatiels are valued between $75 and $120, depending on the breed. Baby and Cinnamon flew the coup when Norris went outside to get something for her husband. The birds were perched on her and normally do not mind going outside but on this occasion the screen door slammed, frightening the birds and causing them to fly away.
The birds gave both women a sense of companionship. When her son grew up and moved out the house, Norris, like many parents, was faced with empty nest syndrome. That is when she and her husband decided to get a pet.
"Having birds gave me something to take care of." Norris said. "It is just like having another kid in the house." said Melinda. Norris and her husband, Rodney, first decided on birds because he is allergic to cats and dogs. Their son already owned birds and helped them pick one out.
Like every family, Rynechia, Rodney and their birds have special rituals and traditions. Every Saturday morning the birds get a special bird treat. They are rewarded with a snack for making it through another week. Rynechia admits that her birds are spoiled.
"I keep all the treats in a certain cabinet and as soon as I even stand in front of it all of the birds get excited - they know it's coming." Every bird also has favorite foods. Baby loves strawberry kiwi Gatorade while Cinnamon adores spaghetti.
Norris thinks that birds get a bad rap because they are seldom thought of as affectionate but she said she feels differently, saying that cockatiels are very loving. Her birds fly freely around the house and perch on shoulders. She recalls one occasion when one of her birds perched on the shoulder of an infant. "She just sat there, quite content," Norris said.
Anderson agrees that birds are very loving.
"Sarah loves being rubbed under her wings," Anderson said. Sarah the cockatoo also has free run of the house and is house trained to use newspapers. She loves corn on the cob and cherries.
Norris said cockatiels are very smart. Two of her birds can speak short phrases. Cockatoos are also very intelligent, Anderson said. Although Sarah cannot talk she does know how to communicate. "She wakes me up in the morning by sitting next to me and rubbing me," Anderson said.
The main difference between the two types of birds is size. Cockatoos are larger, therefore louder and messier. "Sarah can screech. Sometimes she's so loud she could break windows." said Anderson.
Sarah has also been known to be obnoxious and throw seed if she isn't being given enough attention. "She's my kid," Anderson said. Every morning and every night the Norrises, their son and his wife walk the streets in their neighborhood hoping to find their missing family birds.
"We've been to Ohio Grain, every park and all along the railroad tracks," says Rynechia.
Norris said the other birds are also sad about their missing friends. "They chirp out the window - I can tell they're sad, too." Norris said. Anderson also stays up late and does not sleep well, worried about her pet. She spends many hours walking the streets trying to find Sarah, who has been ill.
"She has a liver problem and needs her medicine," said Anderson. The Norrises and the Andersons have not lost hope yet, though. The Norrises have posted ads in newspapers as well as on two Internet sites. Both families have also plastered signs and posters in the area. "Birds have been known to come home after three and four weeks." Norris said.
She has had help from concerned neighbors and has even received a phone call from a person willing to give her two new cockatiels. "I'm not ready...there will never be another bird who loves strawberry kiwi Gatorade like Baby does," she said.
The Norrises put a bird cage on the front porch as well as one in the back yard in hopes that the two fly-a-ways will remember where they live.
Anderson, who moved to Marysville three months ago to live with her son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren has been overwhelmed by the response. "This town is so wonderful," she said, "We've had a amazing response from stores letting us put up signs."
Any information regarding the missing birds can be directed to Norris at 644-8643 or Anderson at 642-3047.
Richwood P.D. takes steps to
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Vandalism at Richwood Park is becoming widespread and downright dangerous.
Richwood Police Chief Rick Asher told village council Tuesday night of two recent incidents.
One involved more than $1,000 of damage to the new restroom facility at the park. The women's side of the facility had graffiti spray painted in it, mirrors broken and light fixtures damaged.
On a more dangerous note, Asher reported that someone set a homemade bomb, using a plastic container with some household items in it, in a trash can at the park, causing damage to the can. Asher also noted that houses in the area were shaken by the explosion.
Those are some of the more serious incidents of vandalism at the park but smaller incidents are also reported.
At a previous meeting council discussed putting video cameras in the park, primarily to keep an eye on the new restroom facility. Asher said he looked into the cameras and found them to be expensive. He said a quality camera that would capture usable images would be pricey but would have a nearly flawless ability to catch vandals entering and exiting the facilities. Some council members were worried that such a camera would then become a target for vandals. Asher said that could be true but the vandals would be captured on tape.
The chief then noted that he had another solution that he was going to try. Beginning today, a Richwood police officer will be stationed in the park for long periods of time.
The officer's cruiser, with video camera running, can be parked near the restroom while he patrols the park on foot. Asher said the officer was stationed in the North Union Schools during the school year but can now be used for patrolling the park during the summer months.
He said the officer will be stationed in the park at varying times. Council also learned that its zoning application fees are "woefully" behind what other incorporated areas are charging.
Zoning inspector Jim Thompson said the application and variance fees for zoning currently range from $25 to $75. He had a copy of Plain City's zoning fees which proved to be higher than Richwood's and he noted that Jerome Township charges $1,000 to file for a zoning variance. He said increasing the fees for variance applications would cut down on the number of individuals attempting to bend the zoning laws without good reason.
Council noted that the village zoning codes are currently under review and the fee schedule can be updated as part of that process.
Council also voted 5-0 to dissolve an agreement by which the Union County Engineer's Office provides building permit and other similar inspections. Thompson will now perform the function, meaning the village will receive the fees for the services.
In other business, council:
. Voted 5-0 to approve an updated noise ordinance on third reading.
. Heard from resident Paula Jordan that an alley in the area of 119 N. Franklin St., which receives a lot of foot traffic, is in need of a stop sign to slow down motorists.
. Heard from Blagrove Street resident David Williams that he is being harassed by Richwood Police when his band practices. He said the music is not that loud and can barely be heard outside his home. Asher said he would look into the situation.
. Learned from village administrator Ron Pollen that plumbers and contractors are mandated by law not to touch village curb boxes or water and sewer lines. Some individuals are apparently turning on village services, meaning the resident does not receive a bill for the usage.
. Learned from council member Wade McCalf that Sprint and Verizon will be enacting a drop in long distance charges for calls to Marysville in the next six months.
Milford Center gets new council member
By CINDY BRAKE
Ron Payne joined the Milford Center Village Council as its newest member during Monday's regular meeting.
Payne will serve on committees for equipment and building and grounds, as well as safety, labor and finance.
A community garage sale is planned for June 29 with State Street closed from Mill to Railroad streets from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents will be responsible for their own signs. A church cruise-in is June 30. The all-day event includes lawn mower races, a cookout, band and car show. Council learned bids are out for a new water tower.
Consulting engineer Gary Silcott said bids are sought for two styles of towers, a pedasphere and a four-legged tower. Bids will be opened at the July meeting.
Silcott said water lines will be checked for leaks Monday.
Comparing water bills for the past two months, Silcott said there is a large discrepancy between what is produced and what is sold. The average production was 80,000 gallons a day, while the average sold is 30,000 gallons a day, leaving 50,000 gallons a day unaccounted for. "At $2.80 for every 1,000 gallons, it adds up," Silcott said.
He speculated the problem could be threefold, beginning with the water plant's meter needing calibration, home meters being inaccurate and water lines leaking.
A low bid to demolish a village-owned house on the bend along Railroad Street was accepted by the four council members present. The bid is for $9,350 from Segner and Sons of Marysville.
With the village administrator absent, mayor Cheryl DeMatteo reported that hydrants will be flushed every other week for a month and then every three months. Next week, work begins to repair pot holes and curb spraying is planned, as well as repairs on London and State streets. Four truckloads of debris were collected recently when streets were mechanically swept. Council is considering a monthly pickup of yard waste.
Reporting for the absent zoning inspector, DeMatteo said Jack Phillips, 32 E. Center St., has agreed to move a portion of a pole building he built without a permit or variance by the July 4 weekend. Solicitor Charlotte Eufinger said a case filed against Phillips is still pending. Eufinger distributed suggested motor vehicle ordinances. A working
session is set for June 24 at 7 p.m.
Council went into executive session to discuss real estate for 10 minutes and took no action before adjourning the meeting.
Present at the meeting were councilmen Payne, Bob Mitchell, Jeff Parren and Chris Burger, mayor DeMatteo and clerk Tammy Hardy. Absent were councilmen Roger Geer and Josh Combs.
Piece of Milford Center history gets a
By CINDY BRAKE
Piece by piece, 129 years of history was disassembled Friday morning at the Union Township Cemetery in Milford Center.
About six people watched as the county's oldest civil war monument was taken apart by four employees of Columbus Art Memorial Inc. and loaded onto Big Blue, a blue truck equipped with a crane lift.
While still standing tall, the 17-foot monument had begun to lean and show signs of wear. Made of Vermont duro marble it will be restored and returned by May 2003 as part of the state's bicentennial celebration. "It needs restored. We were afraid to lose a big hunk of history," said Union Township Trustee Dick Brake, who is a member of the Monument Association of Union Township.
Carmine Menduni of Columbus Art Memorial Inc. estimated that the monument weighs between 15,000 and 20,000 pounds. The heaviest section weighed approximately 4,000 pounds.
The monument, topped by an eagle, was dedicated May 30, 1873, and cost $500. Monument association members have unearthed old newspaper articles that tell how local citizens raised funds by holding auctions with items up to the value of a horse.
The white monument was hand cut in Marysville by stonecutters Moore and Blue. Today the monument would cost $100,000.
The monument lists 39 names of civil war soldiers from Union Township who died in the war. On some names the soldier's company is recorded, as well as the location of their death. Decorations include downturned cannons symbolizing that the men died in action, a draped flag and 23 stars. In addition to those listed on the monument, the cemetery is the final resting place for 160 civil war veterans.
Randy Poland, vice chairman of the association, and LeRoy Holt, association chairman, both recall that as students in the brick school building across the street from the cemetery their teachers talked about the monument and those who died in the Civil War.
With scaffolding in place, workers began taking the monument apart around 9:30 a.m. with the eagle being removed first. Association members commented that it was perhaps the first time that human hands had touched the eagle in 129 years. As the heavier blocks of stone were raised centipedes scurried out from between the pieces, while the masons pointed out the detail work of the original carvers. Bits of flint were found between the pieces. Menduni explained the flint is needed because marble placed on top of itself will shift.
Once each of the monument pieces were removed and loaded on the truck bed, the workmen moved two solid sandstone rocks that had served as a base for the monument. Workers wrapped cloth belts around the first stone and wedged pieces of wood underneath before lifting it a few feet off the mounded area. Menduni finally told his crew they would have to resort to "Egyptian style" to move the final piece that laid on the ground. One worker began shoveling dirt from the rocks corners as other workers wedged a belt underneath. Eventually three men had to use some muscle to help the crane move the final section.
By 12:30 p.m. a few association members anxiously grabbed a shovel and pick to began digging at the monument's foundation in hopes of finding a time capsule or relic. Initially all that was to be found was a lot of marble scraps, thought to be pieces cut from the monument's original stone, and field stones.
Association members plan to prepare a new foundation when the restored monument is returned. The new foundation will include two rings of pavers. A wrought-iron fence that had encircled the monument has also been removed and will be restored before returning to the cemetery.
Members of the association include Poland; Holt; Brake; Doile Lama, association treasurer and an Army veteran with 35 years of active service; Roger Geer, Milford Center village council; and Barry Dunn and John and Beth Crabbe, civil war re-enactors from the area.
The restoration will not correct any misspellings that exist. The restoration is expected to cost $30,000.
Local woman doesn't let
cancer disrupt her life
By CINDY BRAKE
Celia Irwin of Marysville is too busy living life to dwell on her history of cancer.
"I don't dwell on it," Irwin said about her bout with colon cancer in 1995. Instead she is busy living life with her positive attitude. She plays cards twice a week - pinochle on Tuesdays and euchre on Thursdays - with anyone who shows up. "We play for fun," she said and there are "no refreshments, just ice water."
Another routine Irwin added to her life after cancer is a daily walk at 7 a.m. with a couple of friends. She also celebrated her recovery in 1997 with a trip to Alaska with family and friends. Cancer, however, slowed her down in December 1995 after she had ignored warning signs that included a pain on her side.
"I've always been healthy," Irwin said. The only time she had ever been in the hospital prior to her cancer was to deliver her five children. Irwin's doctor told her to go to the emergency room. She drove herself there. The next day, Dec. 21, she underwent surgery.
"I learned Christmas can come and go without you," she said. Chemotherapy began in February 1996 and Irwin was determined to live life.
And she did, thanks to a low dosage of chemotherapy. One week when she had chemo every day, Irwin celebrated her daughter's wedding on Sunday. And against her doctor's advice, she babysat for her twin grandsons in spite of his warnings about infections. "I'm not hiding in the closet," Irwin said. "I'm not quitting living." She even made the most of her doctor's visits by making up names for her one doctor who she called Dr. Gloom and Doom behind his back. When left alone in a doctor's office, she would hop off the bed and roll around on the doctor's stool.
She even told a doctor once that "this affliction is pretty neat."
When someone would ask her to do something, she could use her cancer as an excuse. It allowed her to do whatever she wanted to do. Irwin knows she is fortunate.
She recalls one medical professional telling her that one-third of the people with cancer will be cured by surgery, one-third will be cured by additional chemotherapy and one-third cannot be helped no matter what. The American Cancer Society is planning a fundraising Relay for Life Friday and Saturday at Marysville High School.
The event begins with cancer survivors taking a ceremonial first lap. A luminaria ceremony is held after dark to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their battle against cancer. Candles line the track and are left burning throughout the night. Last year's walk raised $26,586 in Union County.
Residents don't want
By CINDY BRAKE
A crowd at the Allen Township Zoning Board meeting Tuesday night voiced concerns over a proposed development.
Four of the five board members met to consider a request to rezone 135.96 acres from U1, agricultural, to R1, residential. The property, owned by Leonard C. and Barbara E. James, is located at 17740 Allen Center Road.
The board's job is to offer a recommendation to the township trustees as to whether this is the best use of the land. The township trustees then hold a public hearing before making a final decision about the rezoning.
Both U1 and R1 districts in Allen Township have a minimum density of one home per two acres. Developer Louis P. Bonasso, president of Universal Management Solutions, has an option to buy the land and his preliminary plans are to prepare no more than 43 lots.
The board never did make a decision Tuesday night, instead agreeing to delay a vote until Aug. 8 so the developer, property owner and three resident representatives could meet. This is the second time the board continued the hearing which began originally on May 9.
Approximately 50 residents, who live near the property on Holycross Epps, Allen Center and Bear Swamp roads, objected to the two-acre lots and were concerned about increased traffic and drainage problems. Officials at the meeting said the crowd was getting ahead of themselves.
"You're putting the cart in front of the horse," said Robert P. Baronti Jr., director of the Logan Union Champaign Regional Planning Commission.
Baronti told the group that this meeting was to discuss rezoning and that any discussion of lots is moot. A certified planner with substantial experience in land use, Baronti said the rezoning would enhance the area and that the development is not out of character. "This is not high density," Baronti said.
While the plan is seeking a maximum of 43 lots, Bonasso and Paul Pryor of the Union County Environmental Health Department both said the number of lots is yet to be determined and will depend upon a lot of factors including soil type.
"This is only a preliminary step in a very long process," Bonasso said. Pryor predicted that other properties will be better off than before. "This is a formal subdivision that requires a formal procedure," Pryor said. "Better things come out of the process."
He explained that properties on five-acre lots are created through lot splits and require no approval from authorities for drainage or road control.
Board member Gary Wallace noted that in spite of the concerns, this property will be sold. The property is surrounded on all sides by residences of lots that range from two to 10 acres. "This property will get sold sooner or later. The next developer that comes along may not be as agreeable," Wallace said.
council members clarify stance
By RYAN HORNS
In an effort to clear up their stance on a proposed income tax increase, two Marysville City Council members want to make a few points clear. Council president John Gore and council member Dan Fogt have different opinions on the issue. Gore supports bringing the issue to council for further discussion, while Fogt feels the plan needs more work before that can be done.
Fogt is also the only council member who supports charging the $5 auto license fee, which makes the possibility of its passing through council unlikely.
However, both can agree that the city has projects the need to be done. Additional city council members Ed Pleasant, John Marshall, Mark Reams, and Barbara Bushong all agreed at the May 28 financial strategy meeting to further discuss Mayor Steve Lowe's five-year financial plan.
However, just because council has voted to bring the income tax issue on the table as a proposed ordinance, it does not mean it supports the current plan in full.
According to Gore, the issue was approved in order to let the people decide for themselves as the ordinance prepares to go through its designated three readings starting June 13. Only if it is passed after further discussions will the issue go before voters.
According to Lowe, just voting for the plan into council at the last financial strategy meeting doesn't mean that now the administration can automatically start spending. They still have to come back to council on each item and have them in the budget for borrowing and would have to go to bond counsel for the amounts needed.
Gore stated he specifically supports street improvements, an additional fire station and ladder truck and a better police facility. "I invite anybody in this community that doesn't think we need to do something for the police department to come visit our police department," he said.
However, Gore doesn't think the city needs to spend $2.7 million on the new fire station. He also disagrees with the $18.25 million proposed for building a new city administration building and the $7,470,845 in total parks and recreation funds being asked by the plan. While Gore shares the same vote with four other council members to proceed with the tax ordinance, he would not speak for their individual stances on issues.
"I believe (streets, the fire station/ladder, and the police facility) need to be done for the city. But I also believe once that plan has been put together that all the citizens in the city of Marysville will have the opportunity to decide," he said. "If they choose not to then we will try to get by the best we can. If they choose for it then we'll move forward and continue the planning. That's what this is all about. It is to take it to the people and let them decide."
"The administration will bring an ordinance to us, telling us what they want with the .5 percent income tax. That is coming to the council on June 13. We will then go through three readings as we do any other ordinance or resolution that comes to council. Then we will have a public reading on the second reading and we will give everybody the opportunity to come in and voice their oppositions or concerns," he said.
Only if the ordinance is passed will the income tax rate increase go before the voters.
Fogt, while differing with Gore on the topic of bringing the 5-year-plan ordinance to council, agrees things need to be done for the city as well.
He supports a new fire station, just not to the degree stipulated in the plan. He feels the station and ladder truck can be attained at a lower cost.
As for the new city administration building/police station, Fogt has other plans.
"I think they have the wrong location. I don't agree with that location, because of some discussions I have had with citizens since we've purchased that property," he said. The proposed site is in the area of Memorial Hospital of Union County. The original intent for the land, he said, was to leave that site open and not for the inclusion of a building. On June 13 at 7:30 p.m. Mayor Lowe and his administration will bring the ordinance on the .5 percent tax increase before council and residents will have the opportunity to voice their opinions and will be the deciding factor on if the issue will come before voters.
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