Local Archive March 2002
district is discussed
County decides on renovation bid
Price of plots draws debate at Jerome Twp. meeting
Fire Damages U.S. 36
NU board approves use of high school for program
Fairbanks learns about Senate Bill 1
Marysville High School students enlist together
Memorial Hospital turns 50
Local schools close in on plan for redistricting
Meeting skipped by Jerome Trustees
Parsons resigns from Marysville Council
Mayor outlines five-year plan
Accident is blessing in disguise for area man
Memories of medicine
Kay Griffith honored for work worth 4-H clubs
Deputy hit by semi
A teaspoon of arsenic and just a pinch of cyanide
Administrators reflect on MHUC
Judge gives Kerns a break
Richwood council hears of EPA concerns over backflow
Thousands of bicyclists to stop in Marysville
Milford Center council handles routine business
Strong winds cause damage in county
Trails remain closed
New city hall plans detailed
Council discusses tax forms
district is discussed
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville City Council was full of debate over zoning and community redevelopment issues Thursday night.
The first public hearing was held on the Community Reinvestment Area, proposed by economic development director Eric Phillips, was held, followed by a long discussion. The plan proposes to energize new construction and general beautification in the core area of Marysville's historic district. It allows tax abatements in certain areas for taxes
assessed by the Union County Auditor.
Phillips showed a slide presentation explaining how a Marysville CRA has actually been in use since 1984. The original CRA was extended for another five years in 1991 and another five years in 1996 before it was ended in 2001.
"I ask that you renew this," Phillips said, "It would be a great tool for redevelopment."
In his presentation he mentioned four abandoned houses in Marysville. There are also four substandard and nine fair houses in the uptown area and 39 substandard and 14 fair in the newly-proposed CRA jurisdiction. Marysville currently has a 6.9 percent vacancy rate, he said. Because the city is comprised of 34.5 percent renters and 64.5 percent home owners, the CRA hopes to encourage home ownership. The new terms of the CRA expand the area, change the terms of abatements, provide more criteria for the housing officer to approve abatements, reduce the time during which a person can apply and reduce the time for review. It also provides the opportunity for city council to review the option to extend or stop the CRA on every even-numbered year, instead of on the five-year basis.
In detail, Phillips explained, the breakdown for commercial development requires a minimal investment of $15,000, which leads to $861 in annual taxes. After the proposed 75 percent abatement, residents would have to pay only $215 of that.
There was some speculation that the $7,500 minimum investment for residential, the $15,000 for commercial and the $500,000 for industrial were too high and would discourage the point of the CRA. Meg Michel, a resident of Linden Street, told council that in her 20 years of real estate experience she feels the biggest thing the city can do is improve streets and sidewalks. She questioned the size and the necessity of the plan. City administrator Bob Schaumleffel said it is the responsibility of the homeowners to keep up with their sidewalks, some of which, he said, have been untouched for 50 years.
He said the terms are a way of showing people the city would like significant improvements and he considers the CRA a great tool to work with a future property maintenance ordinance. To close the discussion, council president John Gore reminded everyone the CRA has been in existence since 1984 and the whole idea is whether to keep it going or not.
One ordinance which caused a great deal of debate was the second reading to rezone 0.579 acres from R4 zoning to B1 zoning in the Green Pastures area on Emmaus Road. The switch will make a non-commercial section match the overall commercial designation of the majority of the lot. Numerous residents who live near the proposed area came to voice their displeasure of the action.
James Loftus, 210 Emmaus Road, told council the neighborhood is aware of the zoning situation and their main concern is the instability of the business application.
Sargent Chamberlain of 200 Emmaus Road and Bill Marsh of 230 Emmaus Road added their concerns as well. Loftus said the possible increase of traffic in an already overflowing area and the threat of an unknown business going in other than the insurance company could depreciate properties residents have invested almost $250,000 in.
"(The ordinance) does not represent more than 10 homes which might be affected . until we know for sure who is going in," Loftus said. An unnamed insurance company has expressed the desire to build on the site, however, they can't sign the deal until the area is rezoned to include commercial property.
The property is under Heart of Ohio Title Company in name only, as it is being handled by Connolly Construction Company.
Owner Phil Connolly wished to clear everything up and told the room, "What we have here is a catch-22." He said it was a comedy of errors. "It is not our intent to do anything but something nice there," he said. "I don't like the feeling we're trying to cram something down somebody's throat."
He said the purpose of rezoning the section was to ensure a larger lot for the insurance building in order to make the proposed building and grounds even more aesthetically pleasing. Attorney John Eufinger, who has been working with Connolly on Green Pastures since its inception, added, "(Connolly) has had the foresight to make Green Pastures what it is." He feels residents can trust Connolly's decision to provide a high quality business buffer for a high quality area, because the man has stuck to his plans since 1993, Eufinger said. Gore summed up by saying, "It sounds to me like everyone here wants the same thing." The ordinance will go up for its third reading and second public hearing April 11 and residents of the area are asked to attend for clarification on the issue.
Council member Nevin Taylor wished to clear up the intentions of the first reading of an ordinance to amend chapter 373 which forbids bicycles and motorcycles on the downtown sidewalks to include skateboards, scooters, roller blades and roller skates. "I'm not talking about banning skateboarding in the entire city of Marysville," he clarified. The main idea, he said, was to prevent a dangerous situation in a specific area near the Elks Lodge where teenagers jump skateboards, causing damage to vehicles and threaten injury to drivers and pedestrians from unmanned skateboards flying around. The specific location proposed, Taylor said, is between Fourth and Sixth
Streets and between Court and Plum Streets in the business district only.
Council member Barbara Bushong said she had tried to get a similar ordinance passed before but was made to feel like a "horrible person." "The kids don't do it maliciously," she said but expressed her support of the ordinance.
With mass melting of snow throughout the region, Marysville has been hit pretty hard with minor flooding problems. "It's an issue that needs to be dealt with . it's a long term project in the budget," Lowe said, adding there are currently 20 to 30 sites all over the city that need attention. "What it is a shortage of funds," he explained. Gore felt that something should be done. "What project do I kill to pay for that project?" Lowe asked, "I would like to fix everything and pave the streets with gold." Also mentioned was the beginning signs of a sink hole near the 200 block of East Fourth Street. Temporary repairs were placed in the budget when it was discovered last year and the work will be done to include a ditch enclosure from Fourth Street to Fifth Street, Lowe said. "Right now it is dangerous," Bushong said. Michel told council told after the city paved the alley behind her home, rain water now runs into her yard. She said her house has sunk up to 1 1/2 inches in the center since then. Lowe said it will be looked into.
In other business:
. RITA sessions are ongoing, Schaumleffel reported. One meeting had three or four residents show up and the second meeting saw no visitors. Meetings are scheduled for April 6 and 10.
. The Union County Foundation's Vision Intersection Safety Fund for blind crossings has now reached $1,003.50 from local support. The Moose Family Center has also reportedly donated a large sum of money recently which will double the total.
. Council held the first reading of a resolution to authorize the mayor to file an application and enter into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of acquiring funds through the Division of Forestry's Urban Forestry Assistance Program, was held. "Basically that is to get trees the government has available," Lowe said, adding that it was attempted last year as well.
. The first reading was held to increase the hourly rate for part-time police dispatchers to $11.25 per hour. Shaumleffel said, "It is one of the toughest positions to fill. In the last six months three people have quit."
The idea is to stop the revolving door, he said, and to get the pay closer to full time status.
County decides on
By CINDY BRAKE
Union County's three commissioners struggled late Thursday afternoon before awarding a $1.4 million bid to Gutknecht Construction of Columbus for the Union County Government Building located on London Avenue.
The reason for the concern centered on two general contracting bids opened March 7. Contractors were to submit a base bid as well as estimates for three alternates.
The problem was that one local bidder appeared to have the low base bid, but failed to have any cost listed for one of the alternate projects. After the bids were opened that bidder said he was doing that alternate at no additional cost.
Gutknecht offered a total bid of $1,501,400 which included a $1.4 million base bid, plus $55,000 for Alternate A1/skylights, $13,900 for Alternate A2/lift for freight delivery and archive storage, and $12,500 for A3/ rear finish.
Williamson Builders of Plain City, on the other hand, had a total bid of $1,431,696, but their bid form was blank for Alternate A3. The Williamson bid broke out to be a base bid of $1.4 million, plus $40,861 for Alternate A1 and $14,294 for Alternate A2.
Gutknecht was considered the lowest responsive bid because it was complete and had all items of the bid form completed and all required documents attached within their bid, states a March 18 letter from Meacham & Apel Architects to Union County Prosecuting Attorney Alison Boggs.
However, Carlton Williamson of Williamson Builders called the architects March 18 to check on the status of the project and claimed that if the county accepts all the alternates, they would be the apparent low bidder. At that time - after the bids had been opened - Williamson said that his company would perform Alternate A3 for no charge in cost.
In the end, though, the county did not accept all the alternates. Reluctant to cut 27 holes into a new roof for skylights, the commissioners discussed extensively the possibility of false skylights, but ultimately after reviewing the architect's drawings decided to not include any skylights in the project. The commissioners also agreed to not accept Alternate A3 which would have finished the rear of the building that will be used for long-term storage of county records. Facilities manager Randy Riffle said his crews could do the work for less money and the bid had failed to include cost for caging. With those decisions made, the two bids between Gutknecht and Williamson were relatively close.
The Gutknecht base bid plus Alternate A2 was $1,433,900. The Williamson base bid plus Alternate A2 was $1,445,990. The county is required to accept the best and lowest bids.
In the March 18 letter the architects note that Gutknecht is well qualified.
They were the general contractors for the construction of the Dublin Justice Center, the renovation of LakeShore Cryontronics into offices for the city of Westerville Department of Development, West Side Fire Station for the City of Delaware, Brown Township Fire Station and various other projects that Meacham & Apel have designed.
Other bids accepted were from: Muetzel Plumbing and Heating for plumbing, $144,700; Simplex/Grinnell Fire Protection, $57,175; Romanoff Mechanical for HVAC, $598,000; Gaylor Group for electric, $344,833.
All told, the county project is still a good deal. Bids total $2,578,608 and are $1.2 million less than the architect had originally estimated. Because this is a slow time of year for
construction bids, timing was the apparent reason for the surprisingly low bids.
Future office occupants, however, didn't even wait for the commissioners to accept bids before starting to submit change orders. After accepting bids, the commissioners reviewed one bid to alter fire protection, which is required by the building code, and several change orders from the health department that included changing a wall.
Price of plots draws debate at Jerome Twp. meeting
By CINDY BRAKE
Anyone looking for a deal on a cemetery plot might want to rush to Jerome Township.
On March 4 two of the three trustees voted to increase the cemetery fees dramatically and said the increase was effective immediately. Trustee Freeman May, however, on the advice of clerk John Woerner, continued to sell plots at the old rate. Seven of the 16 plots sold were to May's family members, pointed out trustee Ron Rhodes.
Citizens present at Monday's regular meeting were clearly outraged at the news.
Bob Merkle likened it to someone on the Chicago Board of Trade having insider information. "Be fair to everyone," said Beth Day. "I don't like what I'm seeing." Rhodes said he was unaware the old rates were still in effect, while trustee Sue Wolfe said she thought they wouldn't go into effect until 30 days after the vote. May said he did what he was told by Woerner.
The trustees voted at Monday's regular meeting to extend the old prices until May 6. Voting in favor were Wolfe and May. Against the motion was Rhodes, who attempted to rescind the price increases. His motion died for a lack of a second. Ann McKitrick, a township resident since 1938, and Paul Henderlong both voiced concern about the dramatic increases. Henderlong offered some "post mortem comments about the cemetery," saying he was appalled by the manner the rates were derived. "There was no balance sheet, no cost estimate, nothing at all to justify the increases," Henderlong said. Wolfe admitted that she came up with the idea for the increases but offered no reasoning. May, however, presented the motion to increase the rates.
Woerner said today the resolution to increase the fees lacked a specific date and the question of what to charge arose the very night the legislation was passed.
Resident Jeanette Harrington of Plain City had stated prior to the March 4 meeting that she wanted to purchase cemetery plots but did not do so until after the meeting was over. Even though the trustees had announced at that meeting the rates were effective immediately, Woerner said May asked him what he should charge her since she had asked for the plots prior to the action. Woerner said it was his opinion the legislation was not effective until the minutes were approved at the next meeting. Woerner added, however, that this had never been an issue before. The Union County Prosecuting Attorney was not available today to clarify when legislation becomes effective. The meeting quickly took on a somber tone when resident Gilbert Carroll Fogle took the floor.
Holding an orange bag in the air, he said that he and 31 other people have been responsible for dropping the bags at 1,100 driveways in the township during the past several weeks. The bags hold a copy of township news articles from a neutral source, Fogle said, and a stick to weigh the bags down when throwing from a car. "The battle of the stick," is how he described his effort to inform the public about what is going on. He added that it is not illegal to distribute.
The problem, Fogle said, was that someone removed hundreds of the bags from driveways along Wells, Jerome, Brock and Hyland Croy roads recently and at least one person has been identified. Fogle said he has contacted an attorney and was told individuals removing the bags could be charged with theft. Assistant prosecuting attorney John Heinkel added that criminal trespass charges could be filed. One young lady may have to take the rap, Fogle said while fighting back tears. "If it's not yours, leave it alone," Fogle said.
Fire Damages U.S. 36
A fire on U.S. 36 kept the Marysville Fire Department up until the wee hours of the morning today.
At 1:56 a.m. a call came in concerning a residential structure fire at 12401 U.S. 36 and three minutes later a deputy arrived to find a second story engulfed in flames into its attic. A neighbor had noticed the smoke as he drove home from work and made the call. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire with a hand line hose and were on the scene until 5:09 a.m. No one was injured and no reports were filed as to the cause.
The owner had expressed some worry about the loss of power to the barn which housed some 40 horses who may be left without a water supply. The department contacted DP&L for services. Margaret Myers of the Red Cross reported that the family living in the burned home has been assisted with temporary housing.
NU board approves use of high school for program
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Seeking to take its message on the road, a representative of Catholic Social Services approached the North Union School Board Monday about hosting an abstinence awareness event.
Lowell Herschberger said the group would like to hold a Grow Fest Program at North Union. He said similar programs have been held in Marysville but the group wants to make the message accessible to youth around the county.
Herschberger said Grow Fest is an 11-hour event he likes to hold at the school. Each student who attends is encouraged to take a pledge of abstinence. Those students who take the pledge are given a ring with the letters "IWWF" on it. The letters stand for "I'm Worth Waiting For" and the ring is intended to be worn until it is replaced by a wedding ring, Herschberger said.
He said the event would be staffed by volunteers, some from Catholic Social Services and some from the school. He said the program counts on teachers and coaches to encourage students to consider the pledge. Herschberger said the event would run from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. He said program organizers have found the turnout is better for overnight events rather than ones that run during the daytime.
The volunteer staff would watch each door to ensure the students do not come and go as they please. Herschberger also said transportation will be available if a student needs to leave for any reason. Herschberger said the group would like to see about 50 youths attend the program. He said the program is open to students from across Union
County but obviously it will be easier for those in the northern end to attend.
Herschberger said no date has been set for the program yet but he would like to see it occur before the prom in May. Board member Steve Goodwin said he would rather see the event take place on a Friday night. He said if the event runs into Sunday morning there could be a problem because other groups have been denied access to school buildings on Sundays. The board voted 5-0 to allow the Grow Fest to take place at North Union High School.
In other business, the board:
. Learned that grants from the Department of Job and Family Services, Union Rural Electric and the Union County Foundation have allowed the district to continue its home-school liaison program.
. Heard an update on Title I programs and reading recovery from Cheryl Ellis Solomon, Jan Jerew, Cheryl Cooley and Maureen Handler.
. Heard an update from superintendent Carol Young about parent-teacher conferences. She noted that there is a problem at the high school where only 7 percent of parents participate.
. Approved the school calendar for 2002-2003.
. Finalized plans for summer school.
. Heard first reading on revisions to the Student Athlete Handbook and the Coaches' Handbook.
. Voted 5-0 to accept policy revisions in the areas of returned checks, tobacco use by students and truant students.
. Voted unanimously to accept the master plan for participation in the Expedited Local Partnership Program. A .5-mill levy was also approved for maintenance of the new buildings. These issues had previously been voted on but minor problems led the state to require that they be passed again.
. Approved, 5-0, that N. Carol Insurance Company be the vendor for student accident insurance for 2002-2003.
. Voted 5-0 to approve a transporter contract with Chelsea Gilliam for transportation to and from the Ohio School for Deaf. The reimbursement rate will be 26 cents per mile.
. Voted 5-0 to accept several donations.
. Approved the "Adopt-A-Highway" program as a community service project for the National Honor Society by a 5-0 vote.
. Approved 5-0 consultant service contract with Ilene Micha as the home-school liaison worker.
. Voted to allow the after prom committee to use the high school from midnight to 3 a.m. on May 5.
. Approved a list of substitute teachers, aides and custodians.
. Held an executive session to discuss personnel and pending litigation.
Fairbanks learns about Senate Bill 1
By JUDY BOEHLER
The Fairbanks Board of Education heard from high school principal Rich Peterson about the impact of Senate Bill 1 at Monday night's meeting.
That bill sets new educational standards, putting in place a schedule for setting those standards throughout the state. It eliminates the fourth grade "guarantee" which would have required fourth graders to pass the reading portion of the proficiency test; eliminates several tests and adds others; and sets time limits for the state board of education to establish new standards for grades K-12 in reading, writing, math, science and social studies.
Peterson told the board that the present seventh graders will be the first to take the new "graduation test" in the 10th grade. To that end, he said, the schools must begin now to prepare students for the test and he went on to explain methods of intervention, or help, for students who have trouble passing the ninth grade proficiency test.
He said that because Fairbanks is on a block schedule ? four 90-minute classes per day and no study hall periods ? intervention for students has involved taking them out of class to work with a teacher during that teacher's 40-minute planning period. Six to eight students work with the teacher for four to five weeks before the test is given. Next year, Peterson said, he is planning to set up an intervention block in which eight to 12 students will work with teachers on a regular basis, using material from previous proficiency tests to focus on each students weakness. He said there will be five to six teachers available.
Peterson said that if this program does not work out next year, the school may have to revert to periods, abandoning the block system, so more intervention can be given to students who need it. Peterson asked guidance counselor Barbara Croft to give her views on the block program. She said one of the problems is that students are called out of class for any number of reasons, including intervention, counseling and visits with the school psychologist. This takes time away from classwork, she said.
Croft said she is not convinced that students learn twice as much in one block period as they would in one period and she is concerned that, especially with special needs students, the concentration needed to focus on one subject is not within a student's ability.
Peterson said he is going to develop teacher groups to deal with these concepts during the next school year.
The board approved a recommendation to grant a high school diploma to the late Milton R. Nicol under the governor's proposal to award diplomas to World War II veterans who joined the service before they graduated. The diploma will be presented to his widow, Betty Nicol Boerger, at a future board meeting. The board also approved the 2002-03 school year calendar.
In personnel matters, the board:
. Approved the retirement of Carolyn Sue Lowery, effective April 1.
. Approved a three-year principal contract for Richard Peterson.
. Approved Kelli Stuckey, Rebecca Johnston, Larry Price and LynnMarie Ledbetter as substitute teachers for the current school year.
. Approved Jon Price as the long-term substitute for Sue Lowery for the current school year.
. Approved Emily Hinton as a home tutor for a Fairbanks Middle School student for the remainder of the current school year.
. Approved Steve Mangum as a volunteer baseball coach.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel and land purchase.
Marysville High School students enlist together
By CORINNE BIX
John Whitmore and Chris Backus are about to become members of the few and the proud in the United States Marine Corps.
Whitmore and Backus are slated to graduate from Marysville High School at the end of this school year but made the decision last fall to accelerate their studies and graduate in February. Both young men were eager to start their Marine training this spring.
"I wanted to be part of an elite group," Whitmore said. Whitmore has dreamed of a military career since middle school when he began to learn about his family's long history in the armed forces. "One of my ancestors is Nathaniel Green, the famous Revolutionary war hero," Whitmore said.
He added that for generations his grandfathers, uncles and father have served their country. However, Whitmore will be the first Marine.
Backus was not so clear as to what his future held. When contemplating his post-graduate plans just two years ago he felt very unsure. "I really didn't have any clue," Backus said.
This began to change after he met Whitmore. Backus explained that both young men found an immediate connection and fostered a great friendship. "John and I are like brothers," Backus said. Whitmore began to educate Backus about the Marine Corps and its benefits. Whitmore has been researching the Marines through the Internet during his high school years. For the last year he has been in contact with a staff sergeant from North Columbus.
Whitmore officially enlisted with the Marines in July of 2001. Backus made his final decision late last year. "I decided to join up in October of 2001 and officially enlisted in November of 2001," Backus said.
Both young men have been involved with the Delayed Entry Program which begins to prepare enlistees for the rigors of boot camp. The program meets once a month for four hours in North Columbus. "They would give us a taste for what boot camp was like to help prepare us mentally and physically," Whitmore said.
The decision to graduate early and begin boot camp has been a challenge.
Both young men have been involved with the Evening Alternative School Program at Marysville High School. Their decision to graduate early came late last semester so their accelerated programs began in January of last year.
The Evening Alternative School was created to meet the needs of all Marysville High School students as part of the district-wide goal for continuous improvement. The program started in January of this year. During the months of January and February both young men attended tutoring sessions with Jackie Underwood. Underwood, a retired teacher of 33 years, said both young men never made a grade lower than a B. "I knew it was Chris and John's desire to join the military by the middle of this month. We worked together and they were both delightful to work with," Underwood said.
Whitmore and Backus both had to complete course work in English, American government, math and science. When asked if they found the load of completing one semester of class work in two months daunting, they both agreed they didn't let negative thoughts get in their way. "We were committed to graduating early and we worked hard to get the work done. Mrs. Underwood helped us a lot and I owe everything to her," Whitmore said.
"Mrs. Underwood was a great tutor," Backus added. Whitmore and Backus said their early graduation wouldn't have been possible without the help of Underwood and dean of students, Becky Gala. Both young men left on March 11 for Parris Island, S.C., where they will undergo 12 weeks of boot camp in the buddy program. The buddy program
pairs two friends so they canl attend boot camp together and serve in the same platoon.
Although a little nervous, they both feel they are making the best decision. "I know it will be hard but I know it's for a good reason and a good cause, therefore, my family, friends and I will get through it," Whitmore said.
"I feel I am doing it for my family," Backus said. He sees his involvement with the Marines as his way of ensuring a safer country and life for his family and loved ones.
Underwood said she was glad to have had the opportunity to see both young men off at the airport. "They were both very emotional and each gave me a hug. It made my
teaching career worthwhile," Underwood said.
Memorial Hospital turns 50
By JUDY BOEHLER
A long-awaited event took place today at Memorial Hospital of Union County.
The hospital marked the 50th anniversary with a rededication ceremony on the south lawn of the hospital. About 100 people witnessed the event as Nancy N. Conklin, director of marketing and development, introduced master of ceremonies Daniel E. Behrens, editor and publisher of the Marysville Journal-Tribune and Richwood Gazette.
"Fifty years ago today, an extremely proud group of people gathered on this very site to dedicate Memorial Hospital of Union County. And oh, how proud they were! The opening of the hospital on March 15, 1952, culminated 10 years of planning and a lot of hard work and effort by hundreds of citizens in the area," Behrens said. "Today, another proud group has gathered to rededicate the hospital and celebrate its 50th birthday."
The Rev. Thomas Hackett of St. John's Lutheran Church led the invocation and Behrens read a letter of congratulations from Gov. Bob Taft who referred to Memorial Hospital as "one of Ohio's premier community hospitals."
Behrens gave the crowd a little history on the hospital. Ground was broken in June 1950 but harsh winter weather caused delays in construction. The doors opened March 15, 1952.
The hospital was a total community effort which included generous contributions. Local donations totaled nearly half the $600,000 construction cost. A 1945 bond issue raised $125,000 for the project and a .65-mill levy passed in 1951 provided operating funds. Behrens then introduced people who are or have been affiliated with the community hospital.
Dr. Malcolm MacIvor, one of the original members of the medical staff, gave the dedicatory address and State Sen. Larry Mumper also addressed the crowd.
Remarks were made by Frances Helmick, the first administrator of the hospital, board of trustees president Ann Allen and president and CEO Danny L. Boggs. The Rev. James Taylor of New Hope Community Church and hospital chaplain gave the benediction.
Boggs said the presence of so many people makes the day very special. "I especially want to thank those here today that were involved with the dream 50-plus years ago to make Memorial Hospital a reality for this community," he said.
Boggs also mentioned the support of area businesses and newspapers. "But certainly most importantly, I want to thank our patients and friends in this community for their many years of trust and support."
Behrens read from Col. Dana Morey's dedication remarks of 50 years ago. Morey said, "Today it is faith, tomorrow it will be performance. But we believe that as the wheels turn with the years, the record of performance will be in line with that faith ? proof positive that our Memorial Hospital has been well worthwhile." Behrens concluded, "To Col. Morey's memory and to you, ladies and gentlemen, I can say with assurance that it has been well worthwhile and hopefully will continue to be in the future."
Local schools close in on plan for redistricting
By JUDY BOEHLER
Close to 50 parents attended a meeting Thursday night at Edgewood Elementary School to hear about the nearly completed school redistricting proposal.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman first outlined school growth, both current and projected, to explain the reasons for moving almost 500 children in the fall when the new elementary school opens. He said the objective is to plan carefully now so moves won't be as drastic in the future.
Another aim of the redistricting is to achieve a balance in the number of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches. Zimmerman said this aim is to achieve equity in the schools. It is also, he said, because in two years the state report cards will begin comparing school buildings within districts and he does not want to see any of the Marysville schools labeled as "worse" than the others, Zimmerman said. Zimmerman said the redistricting leaves him and the others working on the plan in a dilemma.
As the plan stands now, no Raymond students will be affected. Students who will attend East Elementary next year will come from the area south of U.S. 36 west to Weaver Road and all incorporated areas east of Court Street inside U.S. 33.
The Mill Valley school will house students from that development and the students from the Meadows apartments. Edgewood students will come from the area west of Maple Street to U.S. 36 and Route 4 on the west and all of Route 38 south of Stocksdale Drive, including Greenwood Colony, Timber Trails and Timberview. "We need to move 100 kids out of Edgewood. What's the best way?" he said.
Although nothing is "written in stone" yet, Zimmerman said those 100 children to be moved will come from the "undecided" area. That includes Milford Avenue from Community market to U.S. 36/Route 4; Vanover Village Apartments; London Avenue to Stocksdale Drive; Stonebridge Apartments; Payne Road; Colman-Brake Road, Collins Road; and Court Street to Maple Street from Third Street to Ninth Street.
Students in that area could be sent to the new school or East Elementary or could stay at Edgewood. He emphasized that the plan will not be finalized until the four redistricting meetings are held. Thursday's meeting was the last.
A parent who lives on Southwood Drive said it takes her child two minutes to walk to school. If she is bussed to the new school, she will have to ride the bus at least 20 minutes. Another parent said the ride would probably be closer to 45 minutes when all the stops are factored in.
One couple said they built their house two years ago in the Edgewood district. They were assured by the real estate agent that their children would go to that school and they feel the value of their house will go down if the redistricting affects their child. They also pointed out that the child will not go to school with the children he plays with. Several suggestions were made by people attending the meeting. One was to send the Greenwood Colony students to East and not move the children in the undecided area. Another was to send all the children in Green Pastures to the new school.
Zimmerman welcomed the suggestions, saying that all those ideas, and more, have been considered over and over. He pointed out that the district holds open enrollment in April when parents can request that their child attend a school although they do not live in that school's district. He said the administration will make every effort to keep third graders at their current school as long as it does not make class sizes too large.
The plan will be finalized in the next 10 days and will be presented to the board of education at the regular March 25 meeting. Zimmerman said he hopes to have it on his website prior to that date. The web address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the parents asked if the public can attend the meeting. "Yes," Zimmerman said. "Come to all of them." He said the board meeting location will have to be moved and that information will be made public.
by Jerome Trustees
By CINDY BRAKE
Jerome Township's three trustees were conspicuously absent from Thursday's Industrial Parkway Association meeting. "Three no shows," was how one of the more than 50 businessmen present described the situation.
"I am very disappointed to say that we do not have at least one trustee here," said Bob Whitman of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. "Their absence is a clear indication of what they think of the business community," said another Industrial Parkway businessman. After the election of two new township representatives, the association first invited all three trustees in January to a special joint meeting to discuss concerns, specifically about annexations.
The joint meeting was canceled after trustee Ron Rhodes informed the other two trustees that the quickly-arranged meeting in January would have violated the state's open meeting laws. At that time, trustee Freeman May said he didn't see anything wrong in attending the meeting if he was invited. May, however, did not attend that meeting or any other with the business the association. Rhodes did attend the regular January association meeting as a representative of the township and trustee Sue Wolfe attended the February meeting.
This week's meeting had been announced eight weeks ago and the trustees had been asked to advertise the meeting. The meeting location had been changed to the township building and the association had submitted an advance copy of questions they wanted to discuss with the board of trustees. The meeting, however, was not advertised.
Today, Wolfe did stop by the township building prior to the meeting to say her schedule had changed at the last minute and she would be unable to attend. She did, however, leave a six-page typed statement. Wolfe's statement states that she supports the right of referendum by residents.
"It is the only chance for the people to say to their elected officials, you are not in sync with us, you are not listening to us." She also states that she has never been against development. "Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not now, nor have I ever been against development. But I am against development that is not part of a comprehensive community plan or design." Wolfe states that she would like to see a citizen's group design a township development plan. Concerning annexation, Wolfe states that Dublin cannot on its own annex any of the township. Only landowners can ask to be annexed.
During Thursday's discussion, Union County Engineer Steve Stolte explained that most landowners seek annexation because they want something - water, sewer and no referendums. He explained that properties not interested in annexation could potentially be annexed if their land is included in a petition. Union County Economic Development Director Eric Philips said a "blue line" currently exists that divides a section of the township between Columbus and Dublin.
The association was seeking answers to four questions:
. "As trustees, where do you stand with the referendum?" . "Is there a movement on Dublin's part to annex the Industrial Parkway area for tax purposes? What is the trustees' position? If for the annexation, why? If not for the annexation, how can we deter it?" . "What is the trustees' position on the upcoming Jonathan Alder School District levy?" . What do the trustees want to see in their beautification project?" Unfortunately, there were no trustees present to offer answers.
The next Industrial Parkway Association meeting is April 11.
Parsons resigns from Marysville Council
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville City Council found itself with a vacancy once again as another of its members stepped down.
During Thursday's regular meeting, councilman Jack Parsons submitted his resignation to be effective today.
In a written statement to council president John Gore, Parsons wrote, "Personal, professional and other responsibilities have not permitted me to be engaged to the degree I would like to be in city council affairs."
Gore thanked him for his more than five years of involvement on city council. "In that time he contributed quite a bit to the development of Marysville," he said. "I understand this was a difficult decision and I respect and support his decision." He added, "I wish him the best of luck."
Council will follow the same procedure as it did with the resignation of Bill Sampsel by placing an ad asking for all interested residents to submit a letter of interest along with a resume. The vacant spot on council must be filled by a person from the Ward One area of the city.
Further details regarding the application process will be published in the near future. For additional information contact Connie Patterson, clerk of council, at 642-6015, ext. 227.
In other business, the first reading in title only was held concerning the newly developed Community Reinvestment Area.
According to economic development director Eric Phillips, who commented on the ordinance prior to the meeting, the CRA will be an important part of the future value of Marysville's core downtown and historical areas. The ordinance focuses on encouraging development, structure maintenance and remodeling in localities which have aged over time.
The CRA will offer a seven-year 75 percent tax abatement on any new improvements to the historical core of Marysville, Phillips said. "Most people hear the word 'abatements' and they immediately have negative feelings," Phillips said. Residents think of it as a gift or freebie, he said, but it's not really a gift.
Phillips said the abatements on taxes are a way of investing in future development and maintenance. "In the long run it is better for the community," he said. The abatements do not mean a total lack of taxation. All the CRA does, Phillips said, is offer residents or businesses help on the cost of making community improvements through remodeling or building new structures.
When those improvements are complete, he said, the improved properties will have a higher value and therefore their property taxes will rise, adding additional funds for city use. Currently there are two zones .
The first is the Enterprise Zone which is dedicated to encouraging industrial development in Marysville, Union Township and parts of Paris Township because it brings in the most benefit from a job and monetary standpoint, he said. The second is the CRA. Either way, it is a good way for residents to make home improvements at a lower cost once the CRA is in effect. The ordinance will be back for its second reading to be held publicly at the next regular council meeting. Ordinance sponsor, councilman Mark Reams, will make the formal presentation. During the meeting's hearing of citizens, resident Claire Williams brought Sarah Hawke, her 9-year-old daughter who is blind. Williams said she has been following the work to update the city with audible crossings for the blind and appreciates their efforts. "I would like to encourage council to keep them in mind," she said. In a letter to the Union County Foundation, which started the Vision INTERSection Safety Fund after local blind resident Chris Beckley first approached council with his concerns, Hawke stated she was helping as well.
"I would like to help Mr. Beckley get safe crossings for the blind in Marysville," she wrote. "My mommy helped me count the money in my piggy banks and our penny jar. I am sending you $68.50. I hope this will help. I am happy there is this fund because one day I will be crossing these streets by myself."
Later in the meeting John Gore announced council will also contribute to the fund by making sure the amount raised will at least reach $1,000. If the funds do not, it will kick in the extra necessary money . "We would really like to show our support for the project," Gore said. City law director Tim Aslaner reported on his efforts to look into cleaning up abandoned and dilapidated homes in the city.
Referring to the structure in front of the Trinity Lutheran Church on Walnut Street, he said there is currently no city law to correct it. He has filed an injunction and also has asked the health and fire departments and the building inspector to look over the property. "(The owner) is not taking any steps to correct that," Aslaner said, adding the house has been vacant for around 20 years. Two structures on South Court Street have also won council's attention for being run down and will be looked into as well for paths to correct their situation.
In other discussions:
. John Cunningham and Bruce Limes were re-appointed to the Planning Commission.
. Wendy Nuspl was appointed to the Architectural Review Board.
. Council will hold several help sessions for those residents having trouble filling out their RITA forms. An open public meeting will be held for this reason on March 27 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 125 E. Sixth St.
. City administrator Bob Shaumleffel reported he signed a contract for grant assistance services, costing $9,000, to identify potential grant moneys the city could earn. Over the next 10 to 11 months the city will see how successful the efforts are.
. A Taste of Marysville will be held on April 27 at 6 p.m. at the Catholic Community Center.
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville Mayor Steve Lowe finally had his opportunity to sit down with members of Marysville city council to start talks on the city's financial future.
Thursday night before the regular Marysville City Council meeting, administrators and council members went over Lowe's five-year plan. The meeting was not to go over the 27-page plan in great detail but instead to give Lowe the opportunity to offer council a brief rundown before they took the time to read the booklet.
The financial problems the city is facing now stem from a practice which began during the 15 years he spent on city council. "A practice started of borrowing money," Lowe said, "hoping at the end of the year they would have money left over to pay off the notes." "It's got to change," he said. Some positive points, he added, are that the water and sewer rates and funds are in the black, whereas before they were not. "We've probably paid down $2 million on the debt since I've been mayor," he said.
"We can't do streets until we identify where the funding will come from," Lowe told council. "We can't keep borrowing unless we have a revenue source to pay it off."
Some of the details include a list of revenue enhancements which the city has put in effect in order to boost its financial status back into the black. For example, the switch to mandatory income tax filing and using the services of RITA will increase city revenue.
. The fee the city charges developers for parkland was raised from $200 to $1,000 per lot. Those fees are used for capital-related expenditures in the parks and are paid by the developer, not the residents.
. The cemetery fees were increased last year, reducing the financial burden on the general fund.
. Water and sewer fees were increased as well, enabling the city to keep pace with capital-related projects from the utility funds.
. The fees for refuse pick up were recently increased because the sanitation fund had been operating in the red for the past three years.
Topics discussed ranged from a city needs assessment to discussions about a possible new fire department aerial tower and a second fire house. The current aerial tower is 29 years old. A new one is expected to cost $730,000.
Council and the administration will meet later to discuss the details of the plan in an open public forum.
Accident is blessing in disguise for area man
By CINDY BRAKE
Mitch Collier knows what it is like to not have a leg to stand on.
The 46-year-old Milford Center-area man broke both legs on Sept. 12 when he slipped and fell 12 feet while roofing his father's North Lewisburg home. Collier's right ankle and left leg were broken below the knee joint when he landed on the bottom of his feet. Breaking his legs, however, has turned out to be one of the best things Collier could have done for himself.
Prior to his accident, this 22-year employee of Honda was a bit stout, weighing 298 pounds and standing 5 feet 9 inches tall. In working to regain the use of his legs Collier has lost 60 pounds and hopes to lose another 40. His doctor says his heart is better than ever.
Getting back on his feet and losing the weight hasn't been easy.
After his fall Collier was transported by the North Lewisburg Emergency Squad to Memorial Hospital of Union County where he was admitted for six days. The day after the accident he had two screws and a plate put into his left leg to hold it together. The ankle was put into a cast. Then for 3 1/2 months he was in a wheel chair and not allowed to put any weight on either leg. Collier said he could do nothing except turn on the television with the remote control. His family had to help him in and out of bed, go to the bathroom and dress. A cousin would take him for car rides.
Anxious to get moving on with life, Collier started with home therapy and bed exercises before graduating to crutches and beginning physical therapy in December - three days a week for 1 1/2 hours.
The first day of physical therapy Collier was able to stay on the Stairmaster for one minute and looked like he had seen a ghost, jokes Mark Ramsey of Marysville Physical Therapy, who has coached Collier back onto his feet.
Last week Collier was on the Stairmaster for 24 minutes and did 120 leg presses on a slide board with both legs, in addition to 12 minutes of bike warm up plus stretching. Collier said it has been the most painful and hardest thing he has done in his life.
Collier is drinking more water than ever to aid in his weight loss. He tries to drink two gallons a day. During his physical therapy, Collier has been an inspiration for others
and taken the time to visit with others who are dealing with injuries. One in particular is a 12-year-old boy who was injured in a car accident and had a steel rod put his upper leg. Ramsey said the boy didn't want to get out of his wheel chair, so he asked Collier to stop by and talk to the boy. Collier said he told the boy he had to get up and then
shared what he had to overcome. Now done with physical therapy, Collier is planning to continue his exercise program and is looking forward to returning to work soon.
Memories of medicine
By RYAN HORNS
It was a family reunion of sorts at the Memorial Hospital of Union County's 50th Anniversary gathering Friday.
Past employees mingled with the current, hugging former co-workers and meeting the new.
Mary Jane Crothers was even applauded by those gathered as the only remaining original nurse from the hospital's original staff.
Two of the day's speakers specifically brought the hospital's anniversary back full circle as they commented on how things were in their day.
Presenting the dedicatory address was original staff member Dr. Malcolm MacIvor who reflected back on the past 50 years and some of his colleagues who are now "walking the golden shore."
MacIvor lived up to his reputation of a master of the English language, which was how he was introduced.
He spoke about working with the hospital's first administrator, Frances Helmick, comparing his memory of those times to that of Stan Laurel's quote about working with Oliver Hardy: "Oh, how we laughed." Things were much different back then, MacIvor said.
MacIvor said that after the hospital opened, he continued to deliver babies at home because his father, the late Dr. Angus MacIvor had told hime that babies are meant to be delivered at home. But after about a year, he said, his guardian angel suggested he was pushing his luck. He had not lost a baby or a mother in home births but he felt it was time to stop the habit.
MacIvor felt a hospital has to accommodate its community, "and I think we've done that."
He gave recognition to President/CEO Danny Boggs for "maintaining our head above water while many other hospitals were drowning in a sea of red ink."
"The more I think about it, this isn't a dedicatory speech," MacIvor said. "It's more of an affirmatory speech." "I wonder if 50 years from now some young doctor will be here," he said, "and can look back with as much joy as I have had."
MacIvor received a standing ovation for his speech when he finished. "I can't believe today," Helmick said during her speech, "and I guess I couldn't believe 50 years ago today."
She thanked the Woman's Auxiliary for its efforts with Memorial Hospital. "We couldn't have done it without them," she said. "I can't say enough about that."
Helmick said there is one thing that made the hospital what it is. "Loyalty," she said, "You've had loyalty since 1944."
Kay Griffith honored for work worth 4-H clubs
From J-T staff reports:
Kay Griffith of Raymond was inducted into the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Hundreds of young people have graduated from Griffith's club and gone on to active public service as 4-H volunteers or active members and volunteers for other local organizations. Currently an adviser for the Taylor Country Bumpkins 4-H Club, Griffith has been an active advisor for 30 years.
"Kay enjoys working with teens and tries to instill in them a respect for hard work and commitment to community service through her own example and involvement," said Christy Leeds, 4-H agency for Ohio State University Extension in Union County. "She makes teens feel appreciated and valued."
Leeds describes Griffith as:
. "A no-nonsense kind of person who sets high expectations for young people ..."
. "An extra mom and mentor to many 4-H teens beyond her own club ..."
. "A valuable link for 4-H to many other community groups such as schools, the Chamber of Commerce, FFA, Balloon Rally Festival, Fourth of July Festival and many others." Griffith has also been a mentor for many new 4-H advisors and has helped recruit adults into 4-H volunteer work
"In this community," Leeds said, "Griffith could be known as Mrs. 4-H. She does as much to promote and support 4-H as any marketing campaign we could ever conceive. Many other community organizations and businesses know about 4-H because of her widespread involvement."
Beginning in the 1970s Griffith was involved in the development and writing of the Ohio 4-H Rabbit project books. In 1987 she was a 4-H Salute to Excellence delegate from Ohio to Washington, D.C. and as a result of her participation a program was developed. From 1982 to 1994 she served as county representative to the District 4-H Committee and was involved in discussion of many 4-H issues and program development topics. Griffith participated in nine North Central Regional Leaders Forums and was delegation chairperson in 1999.
Induction into the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions of service to the 4-H program. The Hall of Fame was initiated in 1977 during the 75th anniversary of 4-H. The first inductees were A.B. Graham, the founder of 4-H in Ohio, and the living charter members of the first 4-H club. This year, Griffith was one of four recipients of this honor, joining Sarah James of Butler County, Vada Kitts of Lawrence County and Robert Walter of Fairfield County.
The honors were presented at the Bob Evans Farms Ohio 4-H Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in Columbus. The luncheon was part of an all-day 4-H volunteer education conference helping to mark 4-H's 100th year.
Deputy hit by semi
From J-t staff reports:
The Ohio State Patrol, Marysville Post, is investigating an injury crash that left a Union County Sheriff's deputy in the hospital.
Union County Public Safety Officer Richard Crabtree was struck by a semi-tractor box trailer truck while he was assisting victims of an accident on Route 4. At approximately 3:33 p.m. Wednesday on Route 4 south of the intersection to Kinney Pike, a two-car accident occurred. Crabtree was the first on the scene and was caring for the victims with
another PSO assisting with neck care on a second victim.
The semi truck was traveling northbound on Route 4 when it hit Crabtree in the back while he was leaning over outside the crash victims car when he was hit. The semi reportedly left the scene, continuing northbound. Crabtree was transported by squad to the Memorial Hospital of Union County and was later flown to the Ohio State University Medical center for treatment of a non-life threatening injury.
According to information received by Senior Sgt. Jamie Patton from OSU Hospital, Crabtree is "resting and is being kept for observation." Patton also reported the victim of the initial crash was transported to Memorial Hospital.
The only information known about the semi is that it is a conventional tractor with a box trailer, both white in color and with little or no markings on the trailer.
The incident remains under investigation. Anyone who has information regarding the identity of the semi or the driver is asked to contact the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Marysville Post at 644-8811.
A teaspoon of arsenic
and just a pinch of cyanide
"For one gallon of elderberry wine, I take one teaspon of arsenic, then add a half teaspoon of strychnine and then just a pinch of cyanide," Martha Brewster tells her nephew Mortimer.
She was explaining to him what happened to the man in the window seat. The cast and crew of "Arsenic and Old Lace," the Marysville High School Drama Club's production this weekend, must be having a lot of fun with the classic comedy.
Catherine Boylan and Dennis McKee are directing the production, along with student director Aleshia Morley. Boylan and McKee have put on eight plays together.
Cast members include Danielle Feurer as Abby Brewster, Amy Skelton as Martha Brewster, Mary Snyder, Adrian Young and Shaun Hinds as their nephews Teddy (who thinks he is Teddy Roosevelt), Jonathan and Mortimer. John Wimmers portrays Dr. Einstein, Kaysi Morgan is Elaine Harper and Stephanie Skelton is Mr. Witherspoon.
Police officers are Aleshia Morley, Chris Clark, Paul Conklin and Sarah Demming and Allison LeMaster is "The Body." Jen Nelson plays Mrs. Harper, Kelliegh Kaminski is Mr. Gibbs and Adam Flemming portrays the Rev. Dr. Harper.
Members of the Drama Club and their parents made most of the costumes and the father of Drama Club president Danielle Feurer built the set. The stage crew painted and furnished the set. Crew members are Aya Walraven, stage manager; Ben Vollrath and Brooke Parsley, lights and sound; Lindsey Price, prompter; Jen Nelson and Svetlana Pavlyuk, props mistresses; Nikki Ghent and Jessica Hull, hair and makeup; and Pat Anderson, Nick Skelton, Liz Erickson and Rob Boerger, crew members.
The show will begin at 7 p.m. tonight and at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Administrators reflect on MHUC
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Frances Helmick and Danny Boggs are on opposite ends of the history of a 50-year-old Union County landmark.
Helmick was the first administrator at Memorial Hospital of Union County when it opened in 1952 while Boggs has been in charge since 1986 and guided the facility through some of its most massive expansions.
While the two administrators found themselves decades apart on the history roles, parallels exist regarding the circumstance each faced when coming to the area.
They found themselves as new faces in charge of a rapidly-changing facility which was struggling in the ever-changing field of medicine. Both found a community that was willing to work with them to achieve a set of goals. Both administrators will speak at a special 50th anniversary celebration at the hospital Friday.
Opening the doors
When Helmick came to Memorial Hospital from a hospital in central Illinois, she found a lot of cards stacked against her. She was only in her early 30s, was in charge of a facility with no set of established procedures and was hired only a few weeks before the doors opened.
She was also a woman in a period of history where women weren't always trusted in management positions. In 1952, only eight facilities in the state had women with nursing backgrounds as their administrators, with most employing men with business experience. "I was very nervous about it," Helmick said.
But despite a few minuses, Helmick found an overwhelming number of pluses that made her 10 years at MHUC productive, exciting and fun. The first advantage Helmick found was a hard-working staff that wanted the facility to succeed. She said the first few weeks the facility was open there were some snags but, in general, the long hours put in by the entire staff ensured that day-to-day operations were smooth. "I think everyone was so pleased to be a part of a new hospital,"
Helmick said. "Everyone on the staff was willing to help, whether it was in their department or not."
Helmick herself found out about wearing two hats, as a director of nursing was not hired until the facility had been open for more than a year. Fortunately, her extensive nursing background helped her pull off both jobs.
Another advantage Helmick had was the assistance of a knowledgeable consultant. Forrest Ostrander of Chicago had actually been the person who called and told Helmick about the job opening at Memorial Hospital. He stayed in close contact with Helmick for two years after the doors opened to help with questions that arose.
She said the women's auxiliary and the community also pitched in to make her 10 years at MHUC run smoothly.
Operations ran so well in fact that the hospital received American Hospital Association accreditation after being open only one year. Helmick admitted that she wasn't sure the hospital could meet the weighty standards of the association so quickly.
"I couldn't believe it," Helmick said of news of the accreditation. "It was definitely a highlight." Helmick recalled that the community was much smaller and closer to its farming roots when she came here.
Those farming roots extended into the Amish community and Helmick recalled one incident when three girls approached her about becoming nurses. They were Amish, however, and were not supposed to work on Sundays.
That didn't sit too well with Helmick who told the girls that people still get sick on Sunday so they would have to work. Some type of solution was reached and the girls began working at the facility but their parents were not pleased that they were occasionally working on Sundays
Then one of the girls' fathers came into Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery - on a Sunday. "He said 'well Mrs. Helmick, I guess people actually do get sick on Sundays,'" she recalled.
Helmick was at MHUC for 10 years before leaving to take over at the Madison County Hospital as it prepared to open its doors. She said that possibly her favorite memories of work in Marysville were of making rounds each day and meeting every patient staying in the hospital. She said those talks allowed her to know her patients and improve service. "I guess it gave me perspective," she said.
The times of change
When Boggs came to Union County from the Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz in April of 1986 he found Union County to be a slice of small town America. He remembered stopping to eat at a restaurant downtown and having no trouble finding a parking spot. "It seemed almost like a sleepy little town at that point," Boggs said. But that didn't label wouldn't hold true for very long and Boggs knew it. That led him to begin implementing change.
"We started methodically picking off problem areas," he said. The first order of business for Boggs was to establish a plan for recruiting new doctors into the area. Upon making initial calls to doctors in the community, Boggs found that most of them had no room for new patients.
With no room at local physicians' offices, residents were traveling to Columbus for care. Boggs said getting young talented doctors into the community became a priority for the hospital. Beyond that, Boggs focused on getting the finances in order and building a strong relationship with the community.
The plan worked. While other community hospitals struggled, MHUC flourished. Several expansion projects increased the size and capabilities of the hospital as the population in the county exploded. Boggs attributed the local facility's success to a simple premise - offer the best services you can but leave the big procedures to the
bigger hospitals in Columbus.
"We concentrate on doing what we do well," Boggs said. "The absolute most important thing in medicine is knowing what you don't know."
Boggs said the MHUC staff concentrates on primary care and a few other specialized areas but does not invest its time or money in trying to do too much. Patients who require special care are referred to Columbus hospitals for treatment.
By doing this, Memorial Hospital benefits twofold, Boggs said. The Columbus hospitals are satisfied because they get their portion of work from Union County residents and local citizens trust MHUC because they know the facility will not try to give treatment it does not specialize in.
The next 50 years
Both Helmick and Boggs felt that Memorial Hospital should have no trouble marching toward its 100-year anniversary. While the medical field and financial climate constantly shifts and changes, another factor should keep Memorial Hospital safe, both agreed. The community.
Boggs said the tremendous support of local residents and the trust that has been established is what makes Memorial Hospital a success. That trust led to more than 100,000 outpatient visits last year, Boggs noted.
Helmick agreed and added that the support from the community has been there since day one. "I just think this community has to be so proud that this hospital has maintained this status for so many years," she said.
Judge gives Kerns a break
By RYAN HORNS
In a mixture of tears and sighs, the public in attendance at the Tuesday afternoon sentencing of former Richwood village solicitor Mary Kerns was filled with conflicting emotions.
A resident of the Marion County Jail since Jan. 7, Kerns will be heading back behind bars after Marion County Common Pleas Judge Robert Davidson sentenced her to four years and 11 months for the more than $1.2 million she stole from her clients' estates.
Prosecuting attorney Jim Slagle had asked the court for the full five-year sentence recommended by the state so Kerns would be unable to apply for early release until four years had been served. However, because the sentence was less than five years, Kerns will be eligible for parole after six months in prison.
"The court has opened a door for you," Davidson told Kerns, saying her obligation to repay her victims was a large one. "I don't know how you are going to do it," he said, "but I want to see an effort to take care of these people." When the sentence was read some of her victims felt it just wasn't enough.
Patrick Poling, mother of Pearl Poling who lost more than $100,000, said afterwards that all his family hoped for was knowing that Kerns would receive the full sentence as they did not expect to get any money back from her. Poling was also the only victim to speak about his loss before the court.
"The last two months have been confusing," he said.
The result of meeting with lawyers, he said, went from a recommendation to put Kerns into bankruptcy to advising against it because monetary retribution would be impossible. "A million is a lot of money to pay back," Poling said. "Today would be our restitution and we just wanted to make that known."
The courtroom was full of elderly couples with family members who came to witness the proceedings concerning their empty estates. "We just came to get some closure," a woman said, who stated she was related to one of Kerns Logan county victims. She wished to remain anonymous.
"I came here to support my mother," she said. When he adressed the court, Kerns' attorney Don Jillisky sent a clear message that people were hurt and people were disappointed by what she has done.
"Some people would have this court lock up Mary Kerns and throw away the key," he said. "Do people always measure up to the standards the state or our community
put upon us?" he asked, "The answer is no. People fail for a number of reasons. Does that mean we are all bad people?"
Jillisky asked the court to understand that a combination of rationalization and self deception caused Kerns to fail her clients. "When a person is a drug addict, do they step right up and say 'I'm gonna be a drug addict?'" he said. "Mary Kerns robbed Peter to pay Paul, believing there always was going to be another Peter who would turn into another Paul."
He stated that she deceived because she was frail. "She deceived herself into believing that everything would catch up," he added.
Jillisky painted a picture of a woman who will be permanently disbarred from her profession in a few weeks, who has lost all her property, who has completely lost her good name and whose family has been torn apart. In contrast to her business suit and calm demeanor at the Jan. 7 arraignment, Kerns was clad in the state issue orange jumpsuit, complete with leg and hand shackles, and spoke through tears as she gave her apology speech for her several felony charges concerning misappropriation of funds.
"I am very sorry," a visibly shaken Kerns said. "I know there are people in the courtroom, in my hometown and in the surrounding community who think I'm the devil. I also know I have friends and former clients who have tried to make me out as a saint."
"I'm not the devil and I'm sure not a saint," she said. "I'm a human being and I made the biggest mistake of my life." "We were all friends," she said to her victims. "You trusted me and I breached your confidence. I never meant to hurt you and I never meant to take your money. It started out so innocent."
Jillisky asked the court to consider rendering community service of 500 hours per year. He also said that if the state recommends a 60-month prison term, he would ask for 59 months as a way of showing they are thinking about her family and what she has already gone through. Slagle stated, "Her victims literally have given up their life savings."
"Her conduct is inexcusable," he said.
Slagle asked the court for the full five-year sentence, as well as asking her to pay the attorney fees she charged her clients as they were bilked of their money.
Davidson described his preparation for the case as "one of the more extensive pre-sentencing investigations I've ever encountered." After the hearing, Poling commented on Kerns' apology speech. "It sure sounded good, didn't it?" he said, and added, "I can't shed a tear for her." "We've been through hard times but we didn't go out and rob a bank," Poling said.
Mildred McGinnis, 87, a relative of Kerns, reported that she lost $339,000 and is considering litigation against the Richwood Bank for allowing Kerns to enter her lock box to take her money without her permission.
All they can hope for right now in monetary restitution, she said, is $50,000 in damages.
Richwood council hears of
EPA concerns over backflow
Backflow issues have become a priority for the Ohio EPA and, consequently, they are now important to the village of Richwood. New village administrator Ron Polen told council that during a recent inspection of the water plant, the EPA official made it clear that his organization is putting backflow concerns near the top of its priority list.
Backflow occurs when there is a pressure drop in water lines. When that happens the water lines connecting to homes and businesses can pull water from those structures, rather than force water in. This becomes a problem for businesses such as car washes and funeral homes that deal with chemicals. When backflow occurs at these types of
facilities, chemicals can be pulled into the water lines, causing contamination.
A device called a double-check valve is needed to ensure that backflow does not occur at such facilities.
Polen said the EPA is pushing for municipalities to set up programs to regularly test such businesses to ensure that appropriate measures have been installed to eliminate backflow. He said former village administrator Dennis Latimer had begun to implement a plan to test backflow but the plan was never carried out. Polen said no one on the village payroll is currently qualified to test anti-backflow measures at businesses. He said he did find a four-day training class in Columbus, at a cost of $545, that would bring a village employee up to speed on ways to monitor backflow.
Ed Bischoff of the Bischoff and Associates engineering firm said the state may be starting with business backflow issues but it could soon require residential testing. Polen didn't think residential testing was coming anytime soon.
Polen said testing for backflow prevention measures would cost the village nothing. He said state law allows municipalities to pass the expense on to the customer.
Council member Wade McCalf said he felt the training would be important because the village could see increased need for the service if the industrial park takes off. Other council members agreed.
Council also learned from Mayor Bill Nibert that he received confirmation that the village had been approved for an Ohio Public Works grant for $396,900. The money is to go toward phase II of the village water line improvement plan.
That phase of the project will improve water lines on the west side of the village. The village will not be responsible for local matching funds for the project.
Thousands of bicyclists to stop in Marysville
By JUDY BOEHLER
Marysville is going to be invaded June 21. Don't panic. This will be a good invasion.
Marysville has been chosen to be the stopover for the last night of the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure, or GOBA. Up to 3,000 bicyclists will ride from London to Marysville on that Friday and will set up camp at Eljer Park. The next morning they will ride to Delaware to end their adventure.
GOBA is an annual event which began in 1989 to spotlight Ohio attractions. Nearly 20 percent of the participants are children traveling with their parents. Participants are from 40 states and Canada and significant numbers of them are more than 70 years old. This year's tour, the first ever in central Ohio, begins in Delaware and continues to Newark, Lancaster, Chillicothe, London and Marysville.
Attractions along the way will include the Perkins Observatory, Heisey Glass Museum, Octagon Indian Mound, Dawes Arboretum, Sherman House, Tarlton Cross Mound, Adena, Jonathan Alder log cabin, London Fish Hatchery and museums, covered bridges and nature areas. Participants will also have the opportunity to see the Tecumseh outdoor drama and visit the Hocking Hills.
Each day, the bicyclists travel about 50 miles. They are provided with a place to camp each night, showers and a baggage shuttle, as well as maps and emergency medical and repair services. A campground is set up in the host community, information booths are readied and shuttle systems are organized. Typically, local groups offer food for sale for supper and breakfast and entertainment is provided.
Many of the riders leave the previous night's campground at daybreak, arriving at the next destination as early as 10 a.m. By that time, the tour's organizers have set up toilet facilities, portable showers and other facilities. The cyclists spend the day visiting local attractions, shopping and eating in local eateries.
GOBA is sponsored by Bob Evans Farms Inc. and conducted by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits, a non-profit organization. Union County organizers are Alan and Betty Rupert.
Betty Rupert said they would like to hear from organizations and individuals who would like to help the cycling club with this project. She said they plan to organize tours of industries, historic houses and other county attractions.
Not all of the riders set up tents, Rupert said. Some stay in motels and host community residents and churches offer shelter to the cyclists. Non-profit organizations are encouraged to participate by holding bake sales and other money-making projects.
Anyone who would like more information on GOBA may contact the Ruperts at 644-1707.
Milford Center council
handles routine business
Legislation moved forward Monday night at the Milford Center village council to reduce the speed limit on West State Street at the corporation limit.
Council members heard second reading of an ordinance that will reduce the speed limit from 55 miles per hour to 35 mph. The reduced speed, however, affects only the eastbound land or inbound traffic. The outbound lane is owned by the county and requires a move by the county commissioners to decrease the speed limit.
Council then approved a resolution updating construction permit fees. A new topic before council included the need to establish an overall plan for replacing/repairing village sidewalks and curbs. Consulting engineer Gary Silcott will be consulted.
Zoning inspector Leroy Holt will meet with solicitor Charlotte Eufinger to update village zoning regulations.
Councilman Roger Geer volunteered to assist Holt in a joint township project to refurbish two war monuments in the local cemetery. In addition to seeking funds and coordinating the project, the newly-formed group is attempting to locate a plaque which formerly hung on the side of a town building and listed soldiers who served from Milford Center and Union Township. Holt said the sign will confirm names that are not legible on the monuments.
Council recessed into executive session for 15 minutes to discuss pending litigation and real estate. The meeting then adjourned. Attending the meeting were council members Chris Burger, Jeff Parren, Josh Combs and Geer, mayor Cheryl DeMatteo, sheriff's liason Rocky Nelson, zoning inspector Holt and solicitor Eufinger.
winds cause damage in county
Dorothy and her dog Toto may be safe and sound after Saturday's high winds, but Donna Brown's mobile home was relocated.
The Hillcrest Trailer Park home at 33 Woodcrest Drive was blown off its foundation Saturday between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Two people were in the home at the time, however, neither was injured.
"It was just a very windy day," said Brad Conley, Union County Amateur Radio Emergency Services Director.
The National Weather Service issued a high wind advisory Friday and a high wind warning on Saturday. A warning calls for sustained winds above 50 miles per hour.
Conley said winds peaked at 77 mph at 5:53 p.m. in Ostrander and 73 mph at Claibourne at 5:40 p.m. Tornados have winds above 74 mph. Saturday's winds, however, were not a tornado.
The difference between Saturday's winds and a tornado is the direction they were moving. Saturday's wind was a straight line wind, Conley said, while winds in a tornado spin.
"It has to look like a top," Conley said about tornado winds. Not only were Saturday's winds significant, they were sustained. The wind jumped above 30 mph at 1:05 p.m. Saturday and did not drop below 30 mph until 10 p.m. Conley said the wind picked back up at 12:40 a.m. Sunday, peaking at 45 mph at 7:55 a.m.
Wind began peaking Saturday at 3:15 p.m. with 68 mph winds at the Anna Engine Plant. At 3:25 p.m. the weather station at the Union County Sheriff's Office in Marysville recorded 55 mph. Other weather stations recorded the following peaks: Bellefontaine's Logan County EMA, 64 mph at 5:15 p.m.; Tri-County Jail in Mechanicsburg, 56 mph at 5:40 p.m.; Honda Auto Plant, 56 mph at 6:15 p.m.
In its wake the wind blew barns and a chimney down, damaged cars and knocked down power lines, tree limbs and signs. Conley, also an insurance agent, said he was taking calls about wind damage until 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
Shirley McDonald who lives next door to the Brown home said she heard a roar Saturday afternoon and knew something was wrong when her lampshade and ceiling fan began to rattle. Then she heard "an awful crash" and skirting was going everywhere.
She was spending today calling adjusters to get insurance estimates. McDonald said they had holes in their siding, roof damage and their cars were scratched.
Another victim of Saturday's storms was the Fifth Street Short Stop sign.
Owner Bud Griffith said his employees saw a gust of swirling wind that blew the thick plastic panels out of the metal frame. Pieces of the sign scattered onto Maple Street and the business's parking lot, scraping a pickup truck. "Fortunately no one was injured," Griffith said. "It could have been bad."
Authorities reported a high volume of calls when the wind was at its worst and the Union County Sheriff's Department called in extra crews to handle the additional calls.
Wind-related calls began coming into the Marysville Police Department at 5:15 p.m. and continued until 7:31 p.m. A tree limb came down on London Avenue and a power line on Plum Street. A tree was in power lines at Buckeye Street and a flag pole fell on a vehicle on Vine Street, while a transformer was reportedly sparking on Industrial Parkway.
Trails remain closed
Residents looking forward to running the trails of Mill Creek Park will have to sit tight for a little longer.
According to Marysville City Engineer Phil Roush the walking paths won't be open until all the sewer and water work has been completed.
"It probably will not be real soon," he said.
There have been a couple of issues because of this, he added. The school practice fields may be ready but it will be some time for the walking trails.
"At this point all the underground work has been completed," he said. The last work will be finished on Monday as the High school switches sewer lines to the new pipes.
The next stage is the restoration process, he said.
"It will take another couple months for that," Roush said, "It's looking more like late May or early June if we get lucky. "We have been pretty much on schedule" he said, adding the particularly mild winter has offered more time to work the site. The only minor set back was the flooding which occurred in early winter.
Until then, he said, school practices and games in the area have been rescheduled to other fields until all the grass grows back.
New city hall plans detailed
By RYAN HORNS
In the real estate business "location, location, location" is the catch phrase, but city officials would rather cry "money, money, money" when it comes to building a new city hall.
Now that a site has been set for a new city hall, across from Memorial Hospital of Union County, all that's left is getting the project in motion. That however, according to Mayor Steve Lowe, could take time. "We have many things we need," he said, "and one of our city needs is a new city hall."
The courtroom and the police department are cramped and the administrative offices are too small, he said. Repairs are needed and one significant problem is laying out just what needs to be done when considering a future move. Money cannot be thrown into something which may be phased out sometime in the near future. "The building is totally inadequate," Lowe said. "It's a bad situation."
The current city hall, he said, will be torn down and the property will be used as a parking lot to add spots to the downtown area. According to outside advisors, the city streets need work as well. Lowe said they recommended yearly expenditures of up to $800,000 in street upkeep, which the city cannot afford. Currently the city has been able
to put aside only $250,000 a year for streets.
Regarding the new city hall site, Lowe said he originally had other ideas than to place it near Memorial Hospital. A previously discarded idea was to put new city offices within the county-owned former Kmart building on London Avenue.
"I wasn't privy to firsthand knowledge," Lowe pointed out, "I was not on council at the time." Nevertheless, he came to understand that the Union County Commissioners
planned to split the Kmart site to include both new county and Marysville City offices. They offered a certain amount of square footage which was not enough for city needs.
Lowe has two criteria for the project. Those issues involve keeping the new building in the downtown area and putting it on land already owned by the city.
"I wanted to put it in the parking lot across the street," he said, referring to the current city hall parking area across from 125 E. Sixth St. "I wanted it close to the downtown area."
Those plans fell through as problems arose in cost, Lowe said. The new plans therefore were directed toward land already in the city's possession. The solution was to place it on the property at the intersection of London Avenue across from Memorial Hospital. "It used to be the old Marysville Lumber Yard," Marysville City Administrator Bob Shaumleffel said. That site, however, also had problems. "But we didn't have parking space," Lowe said. The snag led to the purchase of the former Penn Oil site Plum Street
for $105,000. Unfortunately, Lowe said, residents near the area came to the wrong conclusions. A local woman approached council at the Feb. 28 meeting with talk of eminent domain.
"I don't want to take people's homes," Lowe said, "They can live there as long as they would like to." "The four houses that sit along Main Street - we don't really need
them," Bob Shaumleffel said. However, Lowe said, should one of those homes come up for sale, the city would buy the property as it became available in the hopes of creating a park area around the new city offices for employee and public use. "We're not going to take the properties," Lowe stressed. In the end, plans for the development of these properties is still years ahead.
Lowe said he preferred not to release details on the cost and designs of the future project until he can sit down to discuss them with council. Shaumleffel added that the new building will consist of the courts and police department, taking up two-thirds of the space available and one-third for the future administrative offices. Financial plans and
public support will have to be in effect before any progress can be made. Lowe said he hopes to sit down with council and the public to discuss his five-year plan sometime around the next council meeting in mid-March.
discusses tax forms
By RYAN HORNS
Conversations on RITA, land acquisition and the ongoing blind crossing issue were discussed during Thursday's Marysville City Council meeting.
City director of administration Bob Shaumleffel said he has been hearing both negative and positive things about the new tax forms. Mayor Steve Lowe agreed.
"I've heard anything from it taking two minutes to two hours," Lowe said.
"If you don't like the one here you should take a look at Cincinnati's eight-page one," city engineer Phil Roush said. Peter Lunder, who was appointed to the Joint Recreation Board at the meeting, commented he had trouble with the RITA form as well. Although he found the web site user-friendly, he said, "If I weren't a trained professional I'd think it would be kind of hard."
It still took him, he said, over two hours to complete his RITA form. Shaumleffel believes that once residents get beyond the first year, the complaints will decrease as people become familiar with the process. "If you are upset," Lowe said, "I would ask that residents specify what part is more difficult, so we can be more specific in our critique to
In other news, city engineer Phil Roush gave his update on the blind street crossing issue to council.
He said he spoke with a Columbus company which installs the devices, however, the cost might pose a problem. To install them, he reported, it would cost $1,000 per crossing.
"I'm sure it's a doable project," Roush said, adding that funding through private donations will more likely be the feasible route. Concerning the second reading and public hearing of an ordinance regarding the proposed future city administration building real estate purchase, a local woman had a few words to say.
Resident Jill Glass of 127 E. Eighth St. addressed council to discuss an ordinance to buy acreage on South Plum Street and East Ninth Street, the site of the former Penn Oil station. "My home is on that block," Glass said, "It is not for sale and it will not be for sale in the near future. I don't want it taken by eminent domain. I ask that council table this issue and hold a public meeting."
"It is not the intent of this administration to use eminent domain," Lowe said. "We don't need that property where the houses are sitting to build a city building." "What we were lacking," he said, "was the Penn Oil site for the parking."
Council then voted to pass the ordinance and the issue will return for a third reading at the first regularly-scheduled meeting in March. In city communications news, Lowe reported that the city has three information pages up on cable channel 25 doling out information on city topics.
"It will be another way we can communicate to the public," he added. Lowe also addressed the city newsletter which was bulk mailed to the residents of Marysville.
"The intent is to do two of them. The other will come out in the fall," he said, "to make it a timely document."
The new addition to Marysville City Council, Ed Pleasant, was on hand for the Thursday meeting as well. "I would like to welcome Mr. Pleasant," council president John Gore
said, "our newly appointed council member." "I certainly appreciate the opportunity to serve," Pleasant said. "I'm kind of excited about it."
Other topics touched upon:
. Law director Tim Aslaner spoke about his involvement with the Marysville High School Mock Trial team and the abilities of its director, Richard Smith, at molding the students to reach the state level each year.
. Jim Wimmers Jr. was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Committee during the meeting. He will begin today on the position. His term will end on Nov. 30.
. The Shade Tree commission has an open position. Lowe reported he has heard from an interested party.
. Shaumleffel reported that the city sewer and water line construction is coming along. The sewer line is completed and there are 240 feet left of the water line to install.
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