Local Archived News December 2004 


Death, development ruled 2004 - Top local stories of the year listed
Richwood girl dies in plane crash
Council approves TIFs on third reading
Attorney General files suit against  area contractor
Holidays without the haze Memorial Hospital holds nonalcoholic drink competition
A new steakhouse for Marysville - Stockyard Steakhouse hopes to keep diners in town
City dealing  with snow removal
Area man honored by FAA
City set to handle income taxes in house
Council to consider fees for some car accidents
Prosecutor withdraws offer to Jerome
Fairbanks teacher is second in national contest
County digs out Nearly a foot of snow is dropped on area
Local girl wins Christmas Idol contest
Bonuses? - Bah, Humbug!
Some Christmas payouts get the Scrooge treatment

Number of  whooping cough cases climbs to 23
Veterans Memorial group gaining funds
Deadly arson - Authorities rule fire which killed two children was deliberately set
Jerome trustees considering more projects despite budget deficit
Fairbanks board takes steps toward improvements
Honda to build CR-Vs in Ohio
A mother's regret - Nathan Gale's mother  recounts son's mental illness, obsession with group Pantera
Council votes to repeal tax credit
Home destroyed in rural blaze
Patient navigator program moves into Memorial Hospital
Prosecutor offers services to Jerome Township
Council votes to repeal tax credit
Hospital changes alcohol, travel policy
UCSO has new canine unit
Area holiday church services listed
Triad will try again - Levy will appear on May ballot
Campaign finance reports finalized
Whooping Cough cases confirmed
Couple heads to Ukraine to help  oversee election
Marysville discusses alternative school
Richwood employees' raises offset by insurance payments
Threats made in connection with shooting
Who was Nathan Gale? - He had recently applied to be a bouncer in a local bar; claimed to be a brown belt in judo
Habitat for Humanity group forming
From pastime to passion
Local man kills four - Nathan Gale gunned down four at nightclub in Columbus before being killed by police
FCCLA plays Santa to 25 children
Names released of Richwood area fire victims
Young boys killed in fire
N.L. Council handles  procedural issues
Triad forced to cut staff
Jerome trustees rescind actions
Downtown continues to be priority
Income tax change debated
Jail  director to leave
Remains bring closure for family
Local resident remembers sister, Stacey Colbert

Council eyes rezoning three areas
A piece of home
Group to put on student-written play
City announces traffic pattern change

Death, development ruled 2004
Top local stories of the year listed
By JOEY SECREST
Journal-Tribune intern
Tragedy to development topped local news in 2004 as voted by the
Marysville Journal-Tribune newsroom staff.
Stories included a Marysville resident who committed murder in Franklin
County, the tragedy of an arson ending the lives of two young boys, the
development of Marysville's tax increment financing, the possible
construction of a railyard, plans for a Marysville sewer plant
expansion, a local business reaching its 25th anniversary and another
long-time business ending production, as well as the start of a new
business district in Marysville, a landmark school being demolished and
a mother being convicted of the death of her newborn.
1. A local man kills four
The top story of the year involved a Marysville man who killed four
people and then was gunned down by a police officer the evening of Dec.
8 at a night club in Columbus.
Nathan Gale, 25, walked onstage at Alrosa Villa and shot "Dimebag"
Darrell Abbott, 39, of the band Damageplan and formerly of Pantera,
during the first song of the show in front of more than 200 people. The
shooting of Abbott and three other victims was called the worst thing to
happen in heavy metal music history.
Gale's mother of Marysville reported that she had regrets regarding the
tragedy. She said she had purchased the gun he used years prior to the
shooting and later her son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia
while in the Marines.
2. Rural arson fire kills two boys
The story receiving the second-most votes regarded a house fire in
northern Union County that took the lives of two young boys. The arson
occurred in the early morning on the same day as the Gale shooting.
Brothers William "B.J." Channell, 8, and Brett Channell, 9, were trapped
in the house where they had lived for just more than a week. Northern
Union County Fire District Chief Todd German said that he received a
call regarding a house fire at 1:51 p.m. Dec. 8. Experts later said the
fire was set deliberately. Details of the fire investigation are still
unknown and an investigation is ongoing.
3. Railyard changes plans and TIFs developed in Marysville
The next two stories regarding Marysville's new tax financing policy and
the threat of a railyard coming to the county tied for third place.
Seven months after announcing plans to build a 200-acre intermodal
railyard in Union County, the Central Ohio Transit Authority announced
they were backing out of the proposed project. The $30 million
intermodal railyard was to be the key to extending light rail north from
downtown Columbus. COTA wanted to trade the planned Union County
railyard for an existing CSX rail line in the Buckeye Yard near Roberts
and Trabue roads in Columbus. A CSX official said his company has no
plans to construct an intermodal railyard. However, members of a
grassroots group that opposed the railyard said that they were still
concerned.
Marysville city council created seven new residential Tax Increment
Financing Districts (TIFs) by passing them on third reading Thursday
night.
TIFs have caused concern among social service agencies who could be cut
out of any increased taxes for the specific areas. Marysville City
Schools and the city of Marysville, however, would benefit from the
special taxing districts. School officials speculate that the TIF money
would pay for a new school building, while city officials said the TIF
funds would help with infrastructure improvements.
5. Sewer plant expansion planned
Marysville's growth over the years has not been kind to its sewer
systems. As a result, the wastewater treatment plant is too small to
meet the demands of the city and the Ohio EPA has been threatening
fines. In 2004 city administrators made headway on expanding the
wastewater treatment plant. Committees have worked on designs and
locations throughout the year and on Dec. 16 Mayor Tom Kruse announced
that the city has chosen the location of the new 100-acre site. The
location, he said, will be announced in January.
6. Honda celebrates 25th anniversary
Honda of America Mfg. Inc. and the state of Ohio began a partnership 25
years ago. The newspaper reported Sept. 10 that Honda received the
prestigious Ohio Commodores Honorary Membership at the Ohio Statehouse
from Gov. Bob Taft. The governor said the award is the highest he can
bestow in his position and that Ohio continues to support the presence
of Honda in Ohio.
7. Coleman's Crossing started
Work began in 2004 to breathe fresh life into the Marysville business
economy with a new commerce district called Coleman's Crossing.
Businesses planned in the district include the first local Honda of
America dealership, Super Wal-Mart and Home Depot.
8. Landmark came down
The county-owned Seventh Street Building, also known as the old West
School Building, was demolished and a parking lot will be constructed at
its location. The building at 330 W. Seventh St. was built in 1914 as a
school building. A public ceremony was held Aug. 28 to mark the end of
the three-story brick building.
9. Ranco ends production
All manufacturing ended at the Ranco facility near Plain City after
Sept. 30, eliminating approximately 220 jobs. Ranco's parent company,
Invenseys, announced that the cost of production led to the decision to
transfer work to a plant in China.
The plant made valves for commercial and residential heat pumps and a
smaller line manufactures refrigeration pressure switches, both under
the brand name Ranco.
10. Detlor sentenced for death of newborn
Amy L. Detlor, 20, was sentenced to five years in prison for the death
of her child almost a year earlier, stated a June 22 article. The
Milford Center woman allegedly placed her newborn son in a trash bag and
tossed him over a railroad trestle into some weeds.
Detlor was convicted of third-degree felony reckless homicide,
fifth-degree felony gross abuse of a corpse and misdemeanor child
endangering.

Richwood girl dies
in plane crash
MOUNT GILEAD, Ohio (AP) - A small airplane trying to land in fog crashed
Thursday near the county airport's runway, killing the two women and an
11-year-old Richwood girl aboard, authorities said.
"We believe the fog may have played a factor," said Lt. Robert Warner of
the State Highway Patrol Mount Gilead Post.
Marilyn "Jean" Bible, 72, who lived just outside Marengo in
north-central Ohio, rented the plane Thursday at the Morrow County
Airport for a sightseeing trip to look at snow covering the ground from
last week's storm, said the owner of the single-engine Cessna, Carl
Fisher Jr.
Her passengers were Denise Sanderson, 48, from near Cardington; and
Ashley Brown, 11, from the Richwood area in neighboring Union County,
the patrol said. Investigators have not determined how the three knew
each other, Warner said.
Bible was not qualified to fly in bad weather, when pilots must navigate
by instruments and not by sight, Fisher said.
The pilot apparently got disoriented when fog rolled in after takeoff,
suddenly reducing visibility from 4 miles to less than a mile, he said.
She turned the plane around soon after taking off but came in too fast.
Curtis Shoemaker of Round Rock, Texas, told The Marion Star that he saw
the plane emerge from the clouds and smash into the snowy ground.
The wreckage was found about 100 yards south of the runway, Warner said.

Fisher said he has been at the Morrow County Airport for 23 years, and
Bible was taking lessons and flying back then.


Council approves TIFs on third reading
By RYAN HORNS
The city of Marysville succeeded in unanimously passing all seven
ordinances creating the controversial residential TIF Incentive
Districts.
Mayor Tom Kruse said the move is expected to bring needed relief to the
city's financial status.
Thursday night council members voted to pass on final third readings the
incentive districts for Galbury Meadows, The Links, Keystone Crossing,
Chestnut Park, Adena Pointe, Walker Meadows and Mill Valley.
City administrators and council members have reported that the passage
of the ordinances marks a new way for the city to bring in money and
avoid raising taxes. The separate TIF Incentive Districts will require
annual service payments that go into a fund instead of taxes. The fund
will go toward providing infrastructure improvements to the area and
will provide additional funds for the Marysville Exempted Village School
District.
"It's a step forward," Mayor Tom Kruse said after the meeting.
"Essentially what we are doing is making growth pay for itself. Any time
you can do that it's a good thing. It will be going toward the schools
which is good for them and also toward paying for infrastructure."
While the meeting was brief, there was still discussion regarding three
ordinances designed to rezone parcels of land to pave the way for
upcoming developments. These include 64.597 acres at 14180 Route 38 from
Agricultural Zoning District to Suburban Residential Zoning District;
18.240 acres on Weaver Road from U-1 Township Zoning to Medium Density
Single Family Residential District; and 45.33 acres on Route 38 at the
junction of Route 736 from Agricultural Zoning District to Suburban
Residential Zoning District.
Columbus attorney Tonda Moore suggested that the Weaver Road parcel be
rezoned to Agricultural Zoning District (A-R) instead of Medium Density
Single Family Residential Zoning District (R-2). She told council that
the change would make the parcel more consistent with nearby parcels.
She worries about stormwater drainage and sees future flooding issues
for any development of that land.
Moore also requested that if the land is going to be rezoned R-2 that it
at least be changed to include 2.7 units of housing per acre instead of
3.5 units to reduce density and retain more of the land's current
agricultural feel.
Representing the Weaver Road parcel owners, Marysville attorney Dennis
Schulze said he disagreed with Moore. He pointed out that the rest of
the parcel is zoned R-2 and nearby parcels are zoned R-3 and R-4. He
said their plan was the best possible use for the land. The rezoning
choice has already been approved unanimously by planning and zoning
boards.
Regarding any flooding issues, Schulze said a residential street in the
area will provide a path, for rain water to follow and will ultimately
help with drainage.
All three rezoning ordinances, including the debated Weaver Road change,
will be voted on at the next council meeting on Jan. 13.
Marysville's new TIFs
. Keystone Crossing - Located on Chestnut Street, south and east of 10th
Street.
. Chestnut Park - Located between Walnut and Chestnut Streets.
. Adena Pointe - Located between current the Greenwood Colony
subdivision and Weaver Road.
. Galbury Meadows - Situated on the northwest corner of London Avenue
and Boerger Road.
. Walker Meadows - Located south of Boerger Road over to London Avenue.
. The Links (last phases) - Located on the east side of London Avenue,
near Route 736.
. Woods at Mill Valley (last phases) - Located north on Route 31.


Attorney General files suit against  area contractor
By RYAN HORNS
A Union County contractor will end up in court after too many shady
business deals landed him in hot water.
Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro reported Thursday that he filed a
lawsuit against Landon Building Systems Inc. and its principal owner,
Dennis Landon of Richwood. The lawsuit was for several violations of the
Consumer Sales Practices Act, including failure to deliver services
contracted and not refunding consumers.
"Bad business practices like this are the reason I believe we need a
home improvement contractor registration program," Petro said.
"Contractors scamming Ohio consumers would then face the possibility of
losing their license."
According to Petro's office, Landon offered pre-manufactured pole barns
and garages from his business located at 14 N. Franklin St. in Richwood.
Landon Buildings Systems advertised in Union County newspapers and had
an active Web site offering pole barns, garages and steel buildings for
sale and installation.
Union County Sheriff's Officer Lt. Jamie Patton reported that the
business has since closed.
"We are currently involved in a joint investigation that has been
ongoing with Richwood Police and the Attorney General's Office," Patton
said. "We have received three or four reports and we are currently
looking at where he's done it in other jurisdictions in central Ohio."
Patton said that investigators should know next week how many total
cases are being investigated concerning Landon Building Systems. He said
investigators are meeting with state representatives to go through cases
filed through the Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection
Division.
Richwood Police Chief Rick Asher reported that his department has had
two misdemeanor charges against Landon for writing bad checks that have
been filed through the Union County Sheriff's Office. He said they are
waiting to find out if those charges will proceed. Asher said the bad
check reports are unrelated to the bigger case involving Landon's
business practices.
The fact that Petro's office is pursuing litigation against Landon
raises the question of why the state is involved instead of the cases
being handled within the county.
"The way I understand it is that there were so many complaints against
(Landon) that somehow the state started investigating and saw there was
an active case on him," Asher said.
He explained that the investigation is attempting to put all the cases
together.
"It's pretty big," Asher said.
Petro reported that consumer complaints against Landon range from
incomplete, shoddy or improper workmanship to total failure to deliver.
They also allege Landon required consumers to pay a 25 percent deposit.
He also reportedly required other deposits as work was completed.
Some complaints stated liens were on consumer's homes for work not
completed or done shoddily, requiring them to pay someone else to
complete the work. Contracts consumers received from Landon were illegal
under Ohio law because of incomplete mandatory arbitration clauses.
Other complaints allege work was not done by the promised completion
date.
Petro is asking the judge in the suit to order Landon and his company to
stop business practices that violate Ohio consumer laws, pay back
customers who are out of pocket for shoddy work or work not completed
and fines of $25,000 per violation. He is also asking Landon to stop
performing as a supplier in any consumer transactions in Ohio until
Landon has satisfied all his monetary obligations.

A new steakhouse for Marysville
Stockyard Steakhouse hopes to keep diners in town
By RYAN HORNS
The Stockyard Steakhouse and Saloon has opened and the result is that it
might save people on the cost of gasoline.
"We're up and running now," co-owner Julia Andrews said. "We just wanted
to be sure all the kinks were worked out before we put the word out."
The word she hopes to pass around is that the Stockyard Steakhouse,
located at 404 S. Oak St. across the street from Eljer Park will offer a
choice over the drive to Columbus.
"We just wanted to create a place where people could come and relax and
enjoy a high-end steakhouse without the Columbus prices,"  Andrews said.

The restaurant offers certified Angus beef, along with chicken and fish
meals. It has a decidedly Tex-Mex flare with offerings such as jalapeno
poppers, nachos and its own Stockyard chili.
"Most of our menu is homemade," Andrews said. "We're trying to stay away
from  pre-prepared food."
General manager Linda Prosser said their main competition will be places
like the Brown Jug in Delaware, but by offering a high-end steakhouse
menu in Marysville, they hope residents will decide to avoid driving out
of town.
"We're working very closely with the Angus people on our menu
development," Prosser said. "We're trying to find the best promotional
development of their product."
Owners Jim and Julia Andrews and Craig Johnson opened Stockyard
Steakhouse for a practice run Dec. 9 and then opened for real Dec. 14.
The restaurant was initially slated to open in September but the owners
ended up involved in a several-month-long process of working with city
and county zoning and building officials to meet renovation
requirements.
Andrews said the inside has been completely updated in decor and design
since the building housed the Elevator Company restaurant. A completely
new bar was built, offering 40 domestic and imported beers, 20 wines and
liquors for mixed drinks. She said the decor incorporates a great deal
of historic Marysville items. The floors near the bar were salvaged from
the recently-leveled Seventh Street school building. When entering into
the project, they discovered that some of the wooden beams needed to be
replaced. A large saw decorating on the wall now was actually used to
cut the lumber for the new beams. The remainder of the historic items
were donated by local farmers.
Pointing to a large mural of two men marking cattle in a barn, Andrews
said it was painted by a local artist named Melissa Swabb.
"The two men in the painting are local as well," she explained.
Andrews said the Elevator Company Brewery is still operating next door
to the restaurant in a leased building. While the two companies are not
related, she said two of the Elevator Company's beers will be offered at
Stockyard Steakhouse - currently the pale and red ales.
When the weather warms up, she said, they hope to extend the front patio
and offer live music. Stockyard Steakhouse and Saloon will offer meals
Monday through Thursday, from lunch at 11 a.m. to dinner until 9 p.m.
Hours on Friday and Saturday will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Andrews said the hours are subject to change, based on customer demand.
The restaurant will also welcome in 2005 with a New Year's Eve party
with a live band.

Holidays without the haze
Memorial Hospital holds nonalcoholic drink competition
By CINDY BRAKE
Let the New Year's Eve parties begin with the help of nonalcoholic
drinks featured at the first Mocktail Event sponsored jointly by
Memorial Hospital of Union County and the Union County Health
Department.
The winning drink, Mocktail Apple Pie, was created by registered nurse
Pam Bixler in the Behavioral Health Unit.
Some of the 140 individuals who attended the festive event recently
commented that the drink was "different" and not as sweet. Bixler's
inspiration came from a family recipe that originally included alcohol.
The winning drink is also available at Lee Dog's Locker room and Benny's
Pizza at a reduced price until Saturday.
Drink runnerups included the Health Center's Memorial Mock-garita and
the ICU's Kissed by an Angel.
Wellness coordinator Kelly Daum and administrative secretary Linda
Schwendenman said they went to the Internet for their inspiration. Their
goal was to create a drink that people are familiar with.
Daum said visitors to their display commented on how fun and festive the
drinks were, adding that it tasted like the real thing, only better,
because the drink was healthy.
A group effort went into the creation of the Kissed by an Angel drink
which included a unique display of what can happen to people who drink
and drive.
"As nurses in the hospital's critical care area, we have seen the
devastating effects of those who drive under the influence of alcohol.
Since nurses are called 'Angels of Mercy,' we offer this beverage for a
holiday alternative," said Cheryl Groehl.
The team of six registered nurses includes Christina Barnett, Julie
Lawson, Eva Byrd, Groehl, Tricia Clayton and Denise Scott.
They also created a second selection called I'm No Dummy Punch in honor
of crash test dummies.
Groehl said, "As critical care nurses, we have all seen the effects that
drinking and driving have on real people. As an alternative to alcohol
this holiday season, please try our I'm No Dummy punch and enjoy being
safe and sober this year."
The ICU department won the best decorated table contest with a dummy
that had multiple injuries the nurses often see in crash victims.
The event also included a raffle every 30 minutes.
Amy Wermert of the health department explained that one person in the
United States is killed every 31 minutes from an alcohol-related motor
vehicle accident and accidents injure someone every two minutes. Each
year alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51
billion.
Recipes for all nine nonalcoholic drinks created by various departments
at Memorial Hospital of Union County are listed below:
Mocktail Apple Pie
Created by the Lifeworks Department
1 gal. apple cider
2 large cans of apple concentrate (mix as directed)
2 c. sugar
2 cinnamon sticks broken into thirds
Bring ingredients to a boil, allow to cool at room temperature. Remove
from heat and add cinnamon. Chill.
Memorial Mock-garita
Created by the Health Center
1 c. lime sherbet, softened
6 oz. limeade concentrate thawed
14 oz. ginger ale chilled
1 c. water
1 c. crushed ice
sugar or salt
lime slices
Blend sherbet, limeade, ginger ale, water and ice together. Top glass
with sugar or salt and add a lime slice as a garnish.
Kissed by an Angel
Created by ICU staff
1 part grenadine
1 part orange juice
2 parts pineapple juice
4 parts cream
Mix and serve in mocktail glasses
I'm No Dummy Punch
Created by ICU staff
1500 cc bottles white grape juice
1500 cc cranberry juice cocktail
340 cc frozen pink lemonade thawed
750 cc bottle soda water
Combine grape and cranberry juices with thawed lemonade. Refrigerate
until needed. Put ice in punch bowl at serving time. Add juices and soda
water. Serves 35.
Tropical Sunset
1 large strawberry banana jello
2 c. hot water
2 c. sugar
1 large can of frozen lemonade
1 large can of frozen orange juice
1 large can of frozen pineapple juice
4 quarts of cold water
Mix ingredients and freeze till slushy. Add ginger ale.
Blue Lagoon
1 pkg. blue raspberry Kool-Aid
1 c. sugar
1 bottle white grape peach juice
1 2-liter bottle of 7-Up
1 can of pineapple rings
1 jar of cherries
Mix Kool-Aid per instruction on the package. Combine with ingredients in
a punch bowl and garnish with cherries and pineapple rings.
Jamaica Juice
Pineapple juice
Orange juice
Cranberry juice
Coconut
Crushed ice
Mix equal parts of the juices. Add crushed ice. Blend. Sprinkle with
coconut.
Orange Icicle
1/2 c. diet 7-Up
1/2 c. orange juice
Sweet and Low
Orange sherbet frozen
Mix all ingredients and add sherbet.
Event sponsors included Tastefully Simple (Jennifer Wolfe), Scheiderer's
Farms, Honda of America, Marysville Cinemas, Donatos, Monarch Sports,
Goodies Galore, Pottsie's BBQ, Lee Dog's Locker Room and Benny's Pizza.
Fatal vision goggle sobriety tests were administered by the Union County
Sheriff's Office, the Marysville Division of Police and the Marysville
Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol


City dealing  with snow removal
From J-T staff reports:
According to city administrators, the recent snow is still keeping City
of Marysville work crews very busy.
Snow plowing and removal are ongoing, especially in the highest traffic
areas.
"Due to the volume of snow we received," city administrator Kathy House
said, "some areas must have it hauled away to make streets parkable and
passable.
She is asking residents on side streets to move any cars that have
remained parked on the street and are snow covered to enable crews to
re-plow closer to the curbs.
An additional problem, House said, is fire hydrant burial. Hydrants
should be cleared of snow and readily visible.
House said the fire department tries to identify and correct this during
times of inclement weather but help from the citizens of Marysville with
this effort is greatly appreciated.
The city also requests the help of residents in clearing storm drains.
Most of the city's storm drains were covered by the recent snow and
crews are working to clear them but cannot get to all of them.
Forecasted rain creates a potential flooding hazard if the storm drains
remain covered.

Area man honored by FAA
By JOEY SECREST
Journal-Tribune intern
An area man has been honored by the Federal Aviation Administration for
his years of service.
Jim Craft, the husband of Marysville Journal-Tribune circulation manager
Carol Craft, received a surprise Dec. 10 when Lee Thiel, flight
standards director for the FAA in Columbus presented him with a
certificate of maintenance appreciation.
Craft, who lives in East Liberty, was planning to have lunch with one of
his friends that day but after his friend picked him up, he said that he
had to go back to his house to pick up flowers to deliver for his wife.
While they were sitting there a couple more of Craft's friends showed
up, including Thiel.
"That's when I knew something was going on," Craft said. "I have no idea
why they decided to present me with the appreciation award. Occasionally
at the inspector authorization meetings it was presented to other people
but I didn't pay attention because I figured I'd never get one."
Craft figured wrong. The FAA gave him the award in appreciation of his
support and dedication to aviation safety and education. Thiel said the
FAA wanted to give him a letter of appreciation so Craft will know what
his service meant to them.
"No one ever gets enough appreciation," Thiel said. "It was a token of
our appreciation of aircraft maintenance and aircraft safety. Jim has
always put out a lot of good work. He's a good man and a trustworthy
person."
Craft works on difficult projects that other inspectors turn down. Thiel
said he contacts Craft first whenever they have a project involving an
old airplane. With new technologies, inspectors are not willing to take
on work with older planes.
Craft does not limit himself to fixing old aircrafts. His expertise
allows him to work on new airplanes as well. No matter what job he comes
across, Craft does it from memory.
Craft said he grew up around planes and has been flying, inspecting and
fixing planes for years. He started flying at age 13, soloed at 16 and
has been flying for 34 years. In 1978, he got his airframe and power
plant certification and he received his inspector authorization in 1986.

"Jim worked for over 20 years at the aircraft maintenance field," Thiel
said. "We appreciate him for his aid and dedication to aircraft safety."

Craft owns his own plane and until February, he continued to fly at
least 50 hours a year. He worked as a civilian inspector for the FAA and
said the occupation carries a lot of responsibility.
"I'm proud of the award, I just don't know how to describe it," Craft
said. "You have to love it to stay in it for 20 years or more."

City set to handle income taxes in house
By RYAN HORNS
In 2005 the way Marysville handles its city income tax filings will
change focus.
The city will be dropping its ties to the Regional Income Tax Agency at
the start of the year to begin making more use of a new addition to the
city finance team.
City Income Tax Administrator Becky Arnott was hired in October to
manage the day-to-day tax filings from city residents, duties currently
handled by RITA. Since then she has been working closely with city
finance director John Morehart to get the income tax department
infrastructure organized before the new year.
"Nothing will change as far as what residents will need to do," Morehart
said. "The rates will still be the same."
He said filing income tax will still be mandatory and the tax will still
be 1 percent. The only change is that residents will now be dealing
directly with the city and Arnott instead of RITA, which is based in
Cleveland.
Arnott comes to Marysville with more than two decades of experience in
city accounting. She was previously with the City of Dublin Income Tax
Department and before that with the State of Ohio PERS department. She
graduated from the Ohio State University with an accounting degree and
received her masters in taxation degree from Capital University.
"She is the resident expert on taxes," Morehart said.
Arnott joked that if she didn't know the answer to a question, she
always knows what book to look it up in.
Morehart said after the first of the year some income tax activity will
still be going to RITA and that is all right. He stressed that tax
filings will be secure whether they are sent through RITA or if they are
mailed to the city of Marysville. He added that RITA will charge a 10
percent fee to the city for filings, whereas if they are mailed to the
city no fee will be in place.
He said city income tax clerk Rose Penhorwood will be working along with
himself and Arnott.
Marysville will begin placing advertisements in local newspapers
explaining the tax administrative changes and will provide information
and forms on the city Web site www.marysvilleohio.org. Tax sessions will
be held in the spring to provide information on filing correctly and for
answering residents' questions.
"If anyone feels confused and needs help they can feel free to call us
or stop by," Arnott said. "We're here to help."
Morehart said that if any residents are confused by the change from RITA
to in-house tax services, they can call the city finance department at
642-6015.
Arnott added that fourth quarter estimated payments for individuals are
due Jan. 31.

Council to consider fees for some car accidents
By RYAN HORNS
A controversial new service fee idea may have some Marysville residents
wondering what will happen the next time they crash their car in town.
During every injury accident that occurs on city streets the cost of
cleaning up wreckage, securing HAZMAT spills, dousing car fires, even
medical transport helicopter costs, are borne by the departments
involved. Costs for car repairs and hospital bills are usually paid by
residents' insurance.
The Ohio Insurance Commission reported that these motor vehicle accident
(MVA) fees fire departments have been paying are supposed to be paid
through insurance companies. Now departments are trying to correct this
oversight.
Marysville Fire Chief Gary Johnson said the fees will be charged to the
insurance companies of at-fault drivers and will be only for injury
crashes within city limits that require medic runs. For standard
non-injury fender benders, there will be no fees.
He said that for injury crashes, however, the at-fault driver's
insurance company could be charged around $435. This cost could escalate
if an injured person's needs require services such as MedFlight
transport.
"At no time should people be concerned about calling us. I don't want
anyone to think we're trying to make a profit," Johnson said. "If people
have any questions or concerns they can talk to me or someone else in
the department and ask questions."
To give residents an idea of what could happen if they are involved in
an injury accident, Johnson said the fire department will respond as
always to the scene and help victims. The department will later receive
the police report on the crash and find out who was at fault. If someone
is at fault and someone was injured, fees for services at the wreck
scene will be billed through the insurance company of the at-fault
driver.
Johnson said cities such as Cleveland, Dayton and Cincinnati and smaller
communities such as Parma and Forest Park have begun implementing fees
for crash scenes. Costs can range from several hundred dollars to well
over a thousand. The reason is that cities are growing and fire
departments are facing rising demands using the same equipment and
staff. To add to that, state and federal funds are shrinking.
Johnson explained that 93 percent of the Marysville fire department
budget goes toward personnel costs. The department currently has two
medical vehicles that should have been replaced long ago while at the
same time, the city is trying to find ways to construct a fire station
on the north side of the railroad tracks. Johnson said thousands of
dollars have been cut from the 2005 budget that should have gone toward
training firefighters.
With the help of 2004 federal grants, he said, a new ladder truck was
funded and is now on order and the city was able to step up its fire
prevention programs through a smoke detector grant.
Johnson said not many people realize that the city also takes a big
financial hit every time a crash is caused by an out-of-town driver. If
a man from Virginia causes an injury accident in Marysville, the fire
department foots the cost for this person who doesn't even pay taxes in
the city.
"The insurance fee is to offset the cost of doing business," he said.
"We're really hoping to capture that lost revenue to help bolster our
capital needs."
City administrator Kathy House said it will be hard to predict how much
the fees could bring into the city budget annually.
"You can't predict motor vehicle accidents," she said. "But based on
similar cities of similar size who have implemented similar fees, it
could bring in around $30,000 a year."
Critics have wondered if they are being forced to pay twice, between
city taxes and fees.
"What they don't understand is that they are already paying twice,"
Johnson said. "People are paying their insurance premiums and their
taxes. The at-fault party will have to file an insurance claim anyway.
If you're paying for that coverage you should be able to use it."
Another complaint is that the fees could raise insurance rates for
drivers. He said insurance rates might go up anyway because a person
caused an injury accident. Johnson said the only people who stand to get
hurt by the MVA fees are those driving without insurance. Then again, it
is illegal to drive without insurance in the state of Ohio.
Some critics are also wondering if the police are going to start
charging fees to arrest someone breaking into their home. Johnson said
he doesn't expect that is the route cities are going.
House reported that the fee legislation is expected to go before council
in early 2005. It is expected to be sponsored by at least two city
council members and reportedly has the support of city administrators.

Prosecutor withdraws offer to Jerome
By CINDY BRAKE
On second thought, Union County Prosecuting Attorney Alison Boggs and
assistant prosecutor John Heinkel don't want to work for Jerome Township
after the first of the year.
On Tuesday Boggs and Heinkel faxed trustee chair Sharon Sue Wolfe a
letter stating that they "respectfully withdraw our names from
consideration now and in the future for township administrator and legal
counsel."
Apparently the two had a change of heart after Monday's regular board
meeting. While two trustees said they were in favor of the hiring,
several citizens in the audience and one trustee questioned the move.
The Boggs/Heinkel letter states, "Following the meeting Monday, Dec. 20,
we have had an opportunity to reflect on some of the sentiments that
were expressed. It is clear that the community is very polarized, and
the appointment of either one of us to either of the positions discussed
would not, at this time, appear to be in the best interest of the
township."
Less than a week ago, Boggs and Heinkel submitted a proposal for Jerome
Township to hire them as full-time township administrators and legal
advisors for $68,000. They also presented options to provide only
administrator or only legal advisor services at another rate.
Boggs is leaving office after losing a re-election bid to David
Phillips, who was sworn into office Wednesday. Heinkel has taken a
position in the public sector while still working part-time for Boggs.
Approximately 30 individuals attended Monday's meeting with few speaking
in favor of creating the new positions.
Clerk Robert Caldwell questioned the need to incur additional costs when
the township is not charged for legal advice from the county
prosecutor's office. Other citizens commented that the cost of the
positions would push the township's deficit spending even deeper.
Trustee Ron Rhodes said he had very serious concerns and reminded
trustees Wolfe and Freeman May of past negative comments they had made
about Boggs and the numerous times they refused to follow her advice.
Even though Boggs and Heinkel are bowing out of the proposal, they state
in their letter that they still believe "it would be in the best
interest of the township to have a township administrator and
independent legal counsel."
During the Monday meeting Boggs and Heinkel said that Jerome had grown
to the point that they need the services of an administrator and
independent legal counsel. Heinkel said an administrator would take care
of the day-to-day details and let the trustees get back to handling
policy procedures. Boggs said Jerome monopolized a lot of the county
prosecutor's time.
"You're almost a full-time job," Boggs said.
Caldwell said after the meeting that he believed the board was "putting
the cart before the horse" with this proposal and that the trustees
should first determine what qualifications are needed for such a
position and the number of hours required. He also was concerned with
fixed fee payments for professional services. Caldwell said he had
suggested that the trustees forego their salaries if an administrator is
hired and the board takes on an advisory role.

Fairbanks teacher is second in national contest
By JOEY SECREST
Journal-Tribune intern
Fairbanks vocational agriculture teacher, advisor of Future Farmers of
America, National Honor Society and the senior class and volunteer
varsity softball coach Nevin Taylor has been named the Region One
Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical
Education (ACTE). He also achieved the runner-up award at the national
level.
The award was presented at the ACTE annual convention and career
technical exposition Dec. 9 to 11 in Las Vegas, Nev. Taylor was
accompanied by his wife, Deana Taylor, an art teacher at Marysville
Middle School.
"It was the first time in 25 years that my wife went to a leadership
conference or education convention with me," Taylor said.
The process of the award began a year ago when Larry Bettler, 2003 to
2004 interim principal at Fairbanks High School, and Chris Clark,
agriculture education instructor at Madison Plains High School,
nominated Taylor for the ACTE teacher of the year in the district, which
covers nine counties. Taylor completed a two-page application focusing
on civic involvement, civic leadership, classroom instruction,
curriculum development,  involvement with students outside the
classroom, cooperative work with the community and surrounding areas and
professional leadership.
Taylor won district teacher of the year and advanced to the state
competition.
He said that the teachers in the competition looked for more than the
student who will attend a four-year university ? not to rule them out.
The competition was aimed at public teachers that assist students with
career planning and technical preparation. He added that he loves to
help students accomplish more than they think they can.
Taylor was awarded the region teacher of the year award for the area
which ranges from Maine to Virginia to Michigan. The four other regional
winners and Taylor advanced to the national competition.
The national competition consisted of the application, a panel
interview, a television tape and radio interview.
The president of ATCE said that they were looking for the teacher
everyone says they want to be just like ? Taylor is one of those
teachers.
He came in second out of the five regional award recipients competing
for the national title. Although he did not win, Taylor put up a tough
competition for his opponents. He was tied during the competition with a
woman who is an English teacher, wrote a book and taught at the college
level. He beat her in three categories and she beat him in three. In
order to break the tie, the title came down to one element: the current
highest position of leadership in the state teacher's association.
"She is the current state president of the teacher's association in
Arizona," Taylor said. He added that he held the same position in Ohio
in 1990. Since she holds the position now, she was named the national
teacher of the year and Taylor won runner-up.
"The lady that won was very impressive," he said. "Her plaque is a
little bigger than mine."
Twenty-five years ago when he began teaching at Marysville High School,
he introduced new concepts in the agricultural education curriculum. He
recruited female students to the courses and to the chapter of FFA. At
FHS, he teaches class from scratch each year, without old tests and
lessons plans, to better himself for the needs of the students. Taylor
has 18 former students teaching in the state of Ohio.
"Right now (teaching) is not a job," Taylor said. "I have fun doing what
they call work."
Even though Taylor loves his profession, he plans to retire after
teaching 30 years, which is in five years.
In addition to his commitments at FHS, Taylor is also the president of
Marysville City Council and is active in his church. He is a lifetime
member of ACTE, Ohio ACTE, the National Association of Agricultural
Educators and the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators.
Although it is clear that Taylor is deserving of the honor, he does not
take credit.
"Even though it was my name on the plaque, it was really the students,
my parents and the community that won the award," Taylor said. "I owe it
to them."
The Association for Career and Technical Education is the national
professional association for the field of career and technical
education. In its 78th year, ACTE's membership numbers more than 30,000
teachers, counselors and administrators at the middle, high and
post-secondary levels.

 

County digs out
Nearly a foot of snow is dropped on area
By CINDY BRAKE And RYAN HORNS
Nearly a foot of snow dropped on the area in the last 24 hours leaving
roads impassible, residents snowed in and road crews working overtime.
Sgt. Christy Bennett of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in Marysville
reported that hundreds of vehicles have gone off the roads and into
ditches since the snow levels have steadily increased.
"I got stuck twice myself this morning," she said.
Her advice to motorists: If it isn't essential for them to drive
somewhere, then don't. But if someone has to drive the roads and ends up
going off into a ditch, she has some advice.
"First of all, leave the vehicle running so you can have that heat and
all that good stuff," she said. "Don't walk or leave the car, unless you
can see a house nearby."
Bennett said if the driver can call someone with a 4x4 to pull them out,
that would be a good idea.
"If not, give us a call and we'll try to do the best we can," she said.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson declared a level 3 snow emergency
early this morning.
Level 3 states that all township and county roadways are closed to
non-emergency personnel and no one should be out in these conditions
unless it is absolutely necessary to travel. All employees should
contact their employers about working and those traveling may subject
themselves to arrest.
The sheriff's office activated a weather line Wednesday for citizens who
want to keep up-to-date with the level alerts. The telephone number is
645-4100 and go then to option 7.
Sheriff Nelson said the level 3 is necessary so road crews are not
hindered by traffic. Accumulated snowfall was 11 inches as of 8:40 a.m.
today, according to the Union County garage.
County and city road crews have been clearing snow for more than 24
hours.
"There's a lot of snow," said Union County Engineer Steve Stolte, who
added that it was widespread. "The roads are bad in rural areas."
His department has 19 trucks plowing round the clock but with some
routes taking up to six hours to cover, Stolte said, drifting is a
problem. During the evening, one county vehicle rolled into a ditch
because of limited visibility and broke a windshield. Stolte said he
considered pulling the drivers in because of the limited visibility but
decided to keep them on the roadways.
He asked people to stay off the roads because they are making snow
removal difficult.
Drivers at the city garage said today that this was the "fastest and
hardest" snow they had seen in six years, with one employee saying it
was the most snow he had seen in 20 years.
This morning the sheriff's department was kept busy transporting medical
personnel to the hospital. All county and city offices were closed
today. The Union County Emergency Management Agency was on standby
today.
JoAnne Holliday, an employee at McAuliffe's ACE Hardware, said three
employees who lived in Marysville had made it to work by 9 a.m. She said
that as of 10 a.m. there were few customers but tons of phone calls from
people wanting snow removal necessities like snow blowers, shovels, salt
and even a sled.


Local girl wins Christmas Idol contest
Aashley Morgan, 15, a sophomore at Marysville High School, has been
named the Sunny 95 youth division Christmas Idol.
Aashley's mother entered her recording of "All I Want for Christmas Is
You" in the Christmas Idol contest and for the second year, she was
named a semi-finalist. Dino and Stacy played her song on Dec. 17 and
called her Monday morning, on the air, to tell her she had placed first.

She will perform at the Fawcett Center at 7:35 a.m. Friday on The
Old-fashioned Radio Christmas Show which will also be on the air.
Aashley's father is Brad Morgan.

Bonuses? - Bah, Humbug!
Some Christmas payouts get the Scrooge treatment
By CINDY BRAKE
Christmas might not be as merry for some county employees this year
after unbudgeted bonuses were denied.
The Union County Board of Commissioners cut appropriations to prosecutor
Alison Boggs that resulted in the denial of Christmas bonuses and the
Union County Budget Commission denied a transfer request for Union
County Health Department merit bonuses.
Boggs, who lost a re-election race, wanted to liquidate her salary line
item and award Christmas bonuses ranging from $1,623 to $4,650 to her
six remaining employees.
Commissioners Gary Lee, Tom McCarthy and Jim Mitchell, however, voted
unanimously to deny her request and directed the county auditor to
reduce the prosecutor's appropriations by $11,500.
Boggs did not return telephone calls from the Marysville Journal-Tribune
seeking comment. During her budget hearing with the commissioners, Boggs
explained that she had asked a lot of the employees and wanted to reward
them.
The commissioners, however, pointed to the significant pay raises she
had awarded throughout the year to five of the office's seven employees.

One employee began 2004 earning $13.50 an hour. On June 7 her hourly
rate jumped to $22. Another employee began the year earning $16.67 an
hour. On May 8 her hourly rate increased to $25.28.
Two employees received two pay raises this year.
One began the year at $19.54 an hour and on May 8 was bumped to $20.98
an hour, then on June 7 her hourly rate increased to $25.48 an hour.
The second employee began the year at $31.73 an hour and on May 8 his
hourly rate increased to $42.92 an hour. When he went to part-time
employment on Nov. 1 his hourly rate increased slightly to $43 an hour.
One employee, who left the office Nov. 19, started the year at $19.23 an
hour and on May 8 began earning $25.43 an hour.
Meanwhile, two employees didn't see any changes in their rates. One
received $10.50 an hour throughout the year and another received $15.15
an hour.
Boggs explained that it was her practice when an employee left and was
not replaced, to take the remaining salary for that position and
distribute it to remaining employees who took on additional
responsibilities.
Even though the prosecutor's employees may not be getting a Christmas
bonus, all are in line for significant vacation payoffs if they leave
public service. The payoffs range from $268.88 to $12,101.23. The total
estimated payoff is $21,319.54.
The Union County Board of Health voted Dec. 15 to transfer $35,000 from
the other expense line item to employee salaries. The other expense line
item includes approximately $100,000 set aside for epidemic disasters
and other emergencies. This is the first time bonuses were being
considered by the health board.
The transfer would have given the health department's 31 employees one
extra week of pay for the year as a merit bonus. The Budget Commission
includes the county auditor, treasurer and prosecutor. The county
auditor and treasurer met this week, found that the bonuses had not been
budgeted and denied the request.
Just because the prosecutor and health department employees are not
receiving bonuses does not mean that all county employees are not seeing
a little extra in their paychecks.
Bonuses of one sort or another have been part of the budgeted
compensation for employees of the engineer, sheriff, clerk of courts and
recorder over the years.
The engineer's 47 employees can receive a longevity bonus after three
years of continuous employment. Hourly and some salaried employees
receive $25 for each year of service, while members of the management
team receive $35 a year. The bonus caps out at 30 years of service.
Annual bonuses range from $75 to $750.
The recorder's four employees each received $100 bonuses this year,
which has been part of the office's budget for years.
Thirty-six of the sheriff's 61 employees receive a holiday check. All
are part of a bargaining unit (union) and part of operations that
require coverage 24 hours a day/seven days a week. The holiday check is
straight pay for the 10 legal holidays observed by the county or an
extra two-week paycheck during the first pay period in December.
The clerk of court's 10 employees receive end-of-the-year bonuses
ranging from $100 to $1,800. The bonuses are based on a combination of
longevity, productivity and responsibility.
County offices that do not give end-of-year bonuses include the
treasurer, auditor, probate/juvenile court, common pleas court,
commissioners and facilities.

Number of  whooping cough cases climbs to 23
From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Health Department reported Tuesday that pertussis
(whooping cough) cases now total 23, up from five one week ago.
Three adult cases have been confirmed and the others were found in four
schools and a daycare center. Letters have been sent to parents from
those locations and the health department has contacted the families of
almost 500 children age 6 weeks to 15 months and encouraged parents to
check their child's immunization records.
Director of nursing Dee Houdashelt said records indicate that an average
number of pertussis cases in Union County is three per winter.
 Houdashelt said that the cases being reported are very mild which may
be the reason for the high number. She said no one is "whooping or
barking" and even some doctors don't recognize the symptoms. In the
meantime, people with pertussis are spreading the disease.
The pertussis test can be done only by a doctor and is expensive, she
said, so doctors don't perform it lightly. However, she said anyone who
has been coughing for two weeks or longer should see a doctor and ask
for a test.
Pertussis is a bacterial disease, Houdashelt said, and reacts very well
to antibiotics, specifically erythromycin and one commonly known as
zpac.
Houdashelt said there is a strengthening feeling in the medical world
that the pertussis-preventing part of the DPT (diphtheria, pertussis,
tetanus) inoculation has a "waning" component. Just as the tetanus
component weakens over 10 years, it is thought that might be the case
with the pertussis preventer. That part of the shot, Houdashelt said, is
what causes the redness and soreness after a DPT shot so the thought of
a booster is not always welcome.
In addition, she said, the pertussis preventer is 85 percent effective,
thus, about 15 percent of those receiving it might not get any
protection.
A health department release reports that pertussis symptoms begin with a
low-grade fever and a mild cough that lasts one to three weeks.
Persons who have been in contact with an infected individual should be
monitored closely for respiratory symptoms for 21 days after the last
contact.
Symptomatic children should be excluded from day care, pending physician
evaluation. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended for household
contacts and anyone who has had more than three hours of face to face
contact with an infected person.
Children six months of age should have three doses of DTP vaccines and
children 12 to 15 months should have four doses.
More information about pertussis may be obtained at the health
department at 642-0801.


Veterans Memorial group gaining funds
From J-T staff reports:
Contributions are continuing to be received for the Veterans Memorial to
be constructed on the northeast corner of the Union County Courthouse
property at Fifth and Court streets.
Plans for the memorial were announced Nov. 11 at a special ceremony held
at Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The Veterans Remembrance Committee is
in charge of the project.
The memorial will consist of a 10-foot tall, 25-foot long monument of
solid Rock of Ages granite. It will sit on a pentagon plaza containing
6,000 bricks which are being sold to help raise funds to pay for the
estimated $425,000 cost of the memorial. Smaller bricks (four inches by
eight inches) are available for $50 each. Larger bricks (eight inches by
eight inches) are $100 each. An inscription can be etched into the
bricks.
According to Rowland Seymour, a member of the committee, "The veterans
committee needs support from all areas of the county to complete this
memorial which will be a landmark of beauty for Union County." He added,
"Contributions toward the project will be graciously accepted regardless
of the amount, and all donations are tax deductible." He suggested using
the brick purchases as Christmas gifts or for contributions before the
end of the year.
Anyone wishing to contribute or purchase bricks can make donations
payable to the Veterans Remembrance Fund, c/o Union County Foundation,
P.O. Box 608, Marysville. For more information, those interested can
call 644-8325 or 644-1907.

 

 

Deadly arson
Authorities rule fire which killed two children was deliberately set
By RYAN HORNS
The rural fire in northern Union County that claimed the lives of two
young boys earlier this month was reportedly set deliberately.
"We do have an arson on our hands," State Fire Marshal's office
assistant chief Dave Whitaker said. "No one is spotted yet. We are
talking to people now, but no one is ruled out."
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson and Whitaker made the announcement at
a press conference in the Union County Commissioner's Hearing Room at
10:30 a.m. today. Also present were investigators from both the Union
County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office. Northern
Union County Fire District Chief Todd German and Union County Coroner
Dr. David T. Applegate II were also on hand to answer questions.
Investigators reportedly were able to determine it was arson based on
evidence at the scene. What this evidence was they did not explain in
detail due to the pending investigation.
"Those are all things we're still trying to determine," Nelson said.
"We're just beginning our investigation on this," Whitaker added.
Whitaker added that investigators do not have a prime suspect and they
are ruling no one out - including family members.
The Blue Ribbon Arson Committee is offering a $5,000 reward for
information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible
for the fire. Anyone with information that could lead to an arrest is
asked to call either the Union County Sheriff's Office Crime Tip Hotline
at 642-7653 or the State Fire Marshal's Fire and Explosive Investigation
Bureau at (800) 589-2728. All calls will be anonymous.
Rumors have abounded since the deaths of 8-year-old William "B.J."
Channell, and his 9-year-old brother Brett in the two-story farm house
fire.
At 1:51 a.m. on Dec. 8, German said, he received a call about a large
fire at 10510 Fulton Creek Road just east of Richwood. He said it was a
fire that has hit many people in his small community hard, especially
during the holiday season.
He has said the boy's deaths were especially difficult knowing that one
of the family's young boys was able to escape the blaze but was forced
to run several hundred yards in his bare feet trying to reach a working
phone on his street.
Applegate reported that the final toxicology reports are not back from
the laboratory yet. Based on this, there is no way of telling whether
the boys died from asphyxiation or if they had been drugged.
"We have come to no conclusion," he said.
German reported that the bodies of the victims were found in a second
floor room.
"They appeared to have been awake and were attempting to exit the
structure," German said.
This information cleared up rumors that the boy's bodies may have been
found in separate locations in the home. Nelson said he could not
comment on how the rest of the family was able to escape and why the two
victims were unable to get out of their room.
The press conference cleared up other rumors concerning the fire. It was
initially reported that there was no phone in the home. Whitaker
reported that there was indeed a working phone in the home but it was
not accessible to the family because of the flames.
Contrary to initial reports, he said the front door of the home was not
nailed shut. He explained it was just difficult to open.
German reported days before the press conference that the cause of the
fire would not be what anyone expected. All that was known in the
community was that space heaters had been used for heat and that was at
first was being looked into as a possible cause. There were also rumors
that children had been sleeping on bales of hay.
German said there was hay in the home but only for animals in pens.
Regarding the WWII bazooka artillery shell found in the house, Whitaker
said it did not have anything to do with how the fire was started. It
appeared to have just been among random items on a shelf - possibly a
keepsake. He said military experts were called to take care of the
shell.
The Channell family had been living at the residence on Fulton Creek
Road for just over a week. The four oldest children had just enrolled at
North Union Elementary School on Dec. 1.
Whitaker said the Channel family is taking the deaths "very hard."
The victim's mother, Debbie Channell and her five children moved to
Florida from the Plain City area last summer. They soon returned to Ohio
because the children were reportedly not happy there. They then moved in
with homeowner and Scotts Company employee Ed Norris at the Fulton Creek
Road address.
"In this community it affects us all. Especially at this time of year,"
Nelson said. "We're doing everything we can."
Nelson said in his memory there has yet to be an arson in Union County
of this magnitude.
For residents wishing to send aid to the Channell family, investigators
reported that a fund has been established at the Richwood Banking
Company. The Freewill Baptist Church in Plain City is also providing
assistance.

Jerome trustees considering more projects despite budget deficit
By CINDY BRAKE
Jerome Township officials spent more money than the general fund
received this year.
Clerk Robert Caldwell informed the three-member board at Monday's
regular meeting that the township has an operating deficit of $150,643
to date. He projected the deficit earlier this year, explaining that the
township officials knew they would have to dip into general fund
reserves of $561,000 to cover costs.
"It shouldn't be a surprise," Caldwell said today.
He explained that at the beginning of the year he projected that the
township would not have adequate moneys to cover general fund
expenditures. The general fund, to date, has received $534,376 and
expended $685,019, Caldwell said.
Three primary factors have led to the current situation.
Caldwell said a decline in overall revenue is partly to blame for the
situation.
Specifically, he pointed to inflationary factors and declining interest
rates. Increasing health insurance costs and lost grants for the public
safety officer program also have led to the current situation. In 2000
the township was paying $15,000 for a public safety officer and this
year the cost is $115,000.
"Tough decisions have to be made," Caldwell said.
He projects that if officials continue at the current operating levels
the township's reserves will be depleted in five years with deficits of
$100,000 each year. The reserves were created over a number of years
with a significant portion of $200,000 realized in 2002 through estate
taxes, Caldwell said.
In spite of the deficit, the board of trustees is considering the
possibility of burdening the general fund with three new expenditures
for 2005 - creating a newsletter/Web site; hiring an administrator/legal
advisor; and hiring another public safety officer.
At Monday's meeting, trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe resurrected the idea of a
township newsletter.
In January, Wolfe estimated that a monthly newsletter would cost the
township approximately $5,800 each month. She suggested that two other
options to disseminate information were via e-mails or advertisers.
Creating a Web site was also discussed. Later in the year the trustees
appropriated $2,000 to create a Web site and a mock-up was created in
July. The clerk said he has repeatedly asked for input but has received
no information from the various boards. He explained that the Web site
was meant to make meeting minutes available and include a newsletter and
calendar notices.
Trustee Ron Rhodes added that he thought the Web site was meant to save
the cost of a newsletter.
One citizen present at the meeting questioned who would write a
newsletter and how slanted it would be. Another township resident
suggested that the board finish the Web site before considering other
methods of communication.
Wolfe, however, said she would like to issue a newsletter in January and
said she would seek donations in the next three weeks.
Opinions varied widely among the trustees about the hiring of a township
administrator/legal advisor.
Wolfe and May were in favor. Rhodes had "very serious concerns."
Prosecuting Attorney Alison Boggs and assistant prosecutor John Heinkel
presented a proposal to provide full-time administrator/legal advisor
services to the township after they leave the county's service. The
proposal was for $68,000 with other fee options for partial services.
Boggs was defeated earlier this year in a re-election bid and Heinkel
has now taken a job in the private sector while still working part-time
for the county.
Heinkel and Boggs both said the township has grown to the point that
they need these services. Heinkel said an administrator would take care
of the day-to-day details and let the trustees get back to handling
policy procedures.
Boggs said Jerome monopolized a lot of the county prosecutor's time.
"You're almost a full-time job," she said.
Rhodes and several citizens in the audience questioned why the township
needed to incur additional costs when the county prosecutor was
available at no additional fee. Several also commented that the position
would push the township's deficit even deeper.
Rhodes also reminded May and Rhodes of past negative comments they made
about Boggs and the numerous times they refused to follow her advice.
Caldwell said today that he believes the board is "putting the cart
before the horse" when it comes to hiring an administrator/legal
adviser. He said the trustees should first determine what qualifications
are needed for such a position and the number of hours required. He
added that he had problems with fixed fee payments for professional
services.
"Do we need an administrator to write agendas?" Caldwell said.
Caldwell said he suggested to the two trustees that they forego their
salaries if an administrator is hired, saying that he doesn't believe
the trustees should collect salaries if they are serving as advisors.
In other business:
.  Consulting engineer Mark Cameron asked the board to declare the Ketch
Road improvements as substantially completed. He recommended that a
$17,000 retainer not be released until numerous improvements are made.
The improvements include cleaning culverts, regrading and seeding
ditches, adding gravel, replacing a mail box and post, re-establishing a
driveway and removing dirt, as well as rebuilding a berm. He said other
issues can be added by contacting him. Cameron speculated that the work
would not be completed until spring. The board unanimously accepted
Cameron's recommendation.
. A special meeting with the Millcreek Township Board of Trustees is set
for Jan. 12 to discuss hiring an additional public safety officer.
. Wolfe presented the topic of creating an architectural review board.
Prosecutor Boggs said the township must first create standards. Rhodes
asked if the standards could be subject to referendum by the people.
Boggs was uncertain.
. In answer to a citizen's concern about the condition of Rickard Road,
May said only 200 feet of  the road is a township road and the rest
belongs to Plain City.
. A special board of trustees meeting was set for Jan. 3.
. Wolfe complained about printed media reports saying they were filled
with "bloated inaccuracies."
The lengthy meeting was oftentimes contentious and sometimes comical
with Wolfe verbally attacking various audience members and calling
Rhodes out of order numerous times.
During one heated exchange, Rhodes told Wolfe she was incompetent. Wolfe
ordered Rhodes to sit. Rhodes responded by saying, "No, your majesty."
Another time, Wolfe told Rhodes he was out of order and he responded
with "Yes, your majesty."
The exchange brought chuckles from several in the crowd of approximately
30, while others in the audience were disturbed.
During another heated exchange, May asked Sheriff Rocky Nelson if he
could remove people from the building. When all eyes turned to Nelson,
he suggested that everyone count to 10 and act like adults.

Fairbanks board takes steps toward improvements
By JUDY BOEHLER
The Fairbanks Board of Education took the first step in improving
district facilities at Monday night's meeting.
The board authorized the superintendent, working with the treasurer, to
begin the selection process for a design professional firm to recommend
capital improvements in the district, including possible construction of
a new facility.
That firm will assist the district in defining the overall project which
will be funded by a bond issue that could be placed on the ballot as
early as November.
Discussion on the project was limited as superintendent Jim Craycraft
was absent from the meeting due to a death in the family. More
information will be provided at the January board meeting.
In other business, the board:
 . Approved tuition reimbursements for Lynn Taylor, Joetta Shellabarger,
Mark Geer, Marion Boggs, Ben Keller and Kara Pinkerton.
 . Approved an overnight trip to Rayland for the wrestling team Feb. 4
 . Set the organizational meeting for 2005 as 7 p.m. Jan. 10, to be
followed by the regular monthly meeting; named Kevin Green as president
pro-tem from Jan. 1 until the date of the meeting; and    reappointed
Star Keith to the Tolles Technical Center board.
In personnel matters, the board:
 . Approved as substitute teachers Brenda Buffington, James Woolen,
Johnnie Hoover, Jeffrey Luxenburger, Michael Raney, Larry Miller and
Jessica Byrdsong.
 . Accepted the resignation of Jim McKenna as assistant softball coach
and approved Dennis Greenbaum as assistant softball coach for eighth
grade.

 

Honda to build CR-Vs in Ohio
From J-T staff reports:
Honda of America Mfg. plans to begin assembling CR-V sport utility
vehicles in Ohio starting in 2006 and a new entry-level Acura SUV. The
move should have no direct impact on the local economy.
"Adding CR-V production to Ohio is another example of building products
close to our customers," said Koki Hirashima, Honda of America's
president and CEO. "In addition, it demonstrates the flexibility of our
plants and the capabilities of our associates to meet the needs of our
customers for cars and light trucks."
Officials would not comment on whether the vehicles will be built at the
East Liberty or Marysville plant.
 Currently the 133,870 CR-Vs sold in North America are produced in the
United Kingdom and Japan, said Honda spokesman Don Hensley today. He
said production at the United Kingdom will shift toward diesel units
when production begins at one of Honda's two auto plants in Marysville
and East Liberty.
Hensley speculates that a production plan will be in place by early
2005. The plan will specify where and how many CR-Vs will be produced.
This year through November, the CR-V is the fourth most popular selling
vehicle for Honda in North America. The Accord, produced in Ohio, is the
top seller with 348,526 units followed by the Civic, 282,237 units
produced in Canada and Ohio, and the Odyssey, 138,551 units produced in
Alabama. The Pilot, produced in Canada and Alabama, has the fifth
largest sales with 112,199 units.
Nearly eight of 10 vehicles Honda sold in North America are built in
North America, states a press release.
Hensley said Honda's flexible manufacturing system will enable CR-V
production with no major capital improvements.
Honda's North American employment now totals more than 30,000 associates
at the company's 12 North American manufacturing plants, three major R&D
centers and dozens of other sales, parts and related facilities. Honda's
total North American auto production capacity is 1.4 million units,
states the press release.
Last year Honda of America produced 677,000 Honda and Acura vehicles,
108,500 motorcycles and ATVs and 1.1 million auto engines.
The CR-V and Acura SUV join a line-up in Ohio that now includes the
Honda Accord and Acura TL at the Marysville auto plant and the Honda
Civic and Element models at the East Liberty plant.

A mother's regret
Nathan Gale's mother  recounts son's mental illness, obsession with
group Pantera
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
On the wall of Mary Clark's apartment in Marysville is a wooden picture
frame containing odd-shaped pictures of her three boys ? typical
pictures of smiling children that a mother would cherish.
Carved above the pictures is the inscription "Children fill our lives
with love, laughter, mischief and memories."
Prior to Dec. 8, Clark, a mother of three boys, ages 30, 27 and 25, had
plenty of the first two intangibles listed on the frame. On that night,
however, the latter two, although painfully understated, stepped into
the forefront.
Clark's son, Nathan Gale, 25, who lived at 111 1/2 E. Fifth St., opened
fire at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus during a heavy metal concert,
killing a nationally-known guitarist and three other individuals before
a Columbus police officer ended his life with a single shot.
"I was shocked that my son was gone, but the damage that he did to
everyone else," Clark said. "My heart just goes out to them."
Clark is left with lingering doubts about failing to recognize her son's
mental illness, the outrage of fans and families on a national level and
the guilt of having purchased the gun used in the shootings.
Love
Clark loved her son dearly. She said he was a typical young man for most
of his childhood. He was good natured, enjoyed snowboarding and loved
sports. He even played semi pro football for the Lima Thunder.
According to his mother, he had many friends, an image that later was
reversed.
In his teenage years he had a battle with drugs but had apparently
fought through the addiction and was pulling his life together. He had
attended Benjamin Logan High School early in high school but later
transferred to Marysville and attended the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.
"I never covered for my children, though I love them deeply," Clark
said.
Laughter
Christmas was a happy time for Clark. Her family was together and the
spirit of the holidays was in the air. Her son, Nathan, wearing his
endearing thick glasses, was there taking part. He was a funny, peaceful
boy, by his mother's account, and took care to help his mother with the
holiday traditions. Each year Nathan, a hulk at 6 feet 3 inches and 260
pounds, would help his mother pack away the Christmas tree and
decorations because his she was too short to get them into their storage
spot.
Recent Christmases had been especially soothing for Clark, because her
son was growing into a man. Nathan had turned his life around. He had
kicked his drug habit and entered the United States Marine Corps.
"He wanted to do something more with his life," Clark said.
Clark said her son had an interest in target shooting at a Delaware
County shooting range. Upon completing basic training in 2002, Nathan
received a special Christmas present from his mother - a semi-automatic
handgun. She said the present was meant to show her son how proud she
was of his accomplishments.
"He was cleaned up," Clark said. "It was a reward for cleaning himself
up."
What Clark and others did not know was that Nathan was hearing voices in
his head. In 2003 the Marine Corps gave Nathan a medical discharge after
diagnosing him with paranoid schizophrenia.
Clark said she and other family members did not know of her son's
problem.
The Marines sent Nathan home with a prescription of pills and little
else. Once he returned home, Gale turned into a loner. He was a darker
person.
"They (the Marines) said 'we don't have the money to help with this,'"
Clark said.
Mischief
During high school Gale developed an obsession for the heavy metal band
Pantera. Although Clark cannot remember if he ever saw the group perform
a concert, Clark said her son did attend live heavy metal performances
and took part in "mosh pits," which involve violent masses of bodies
running into each other during such concerts. She remembered that during
one such event, Gale came home with a black eye.
Though Pantera split up, Gale remained fixated on its music. He dabbled
in music, trying to play guitar but having little success, his mother
said. He claimed at one point, prior to his diagnosis, that the band had
stolen lyrics from him. He said the ideas in songs by Pantera, which
performed songs titled "Death trap," "Clash with Reality" and "By Demons
be Driven," were his own ideas and experiences.
Beyond that episode, Clark said, Gale never had a bad word to say about
the band.
But on the night of Dec. 8, a deeply-hidden secret erupted from within
Gale at the Alrosa Villa nightclub.
The group Damageplan, comprised of two former members of Pantera,
including guitar legend "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, took the stage that
night. Gale was there. A short way into the first song he climbed onto
the stage, made his way over to Abbott and shot him repeatedly with the
gun that his mother had purchased.
He also used the weapon to kill three other people before Columbus
Police Officer James D. Niggemeyer entered the club without backup and
killed Gale, who was holding a hostage, with a single shotgun blast.
People across the country have hailed Niggemeyer as a hero. Clark said
the man who killed her son is indeed a hero.
"He was doing his job," Clark said. "You don't know how many lives he
saved with that shot."
Clark said she has purchased a card and intends to send a note to
Niggemeyer.
"That's a horrible thing for him (Niggemeyer) to have to do," Clark
said. "He was a hero  - I agree with everyone on that."
Memories
Memories are all Mary Clark has left of her son.
Because of national media attention and fear of retribution, a private
ceremony was held at an undisclosed funeral home after Gale was
cremated. Though funerals are supposed to help the survivors deal with
grief by accepting the condolences of friends, Clark and her family
could not take the risk of opening the doors to the public.
Clark has read of threats against her family on the Internet. And,
though the family has no relatives in the city, she knows of a local
woman with the last name of Gale who has been threatened repeatedly over
the phone.
"The mentality of some people is ridiculous," she said. "They think I
should be shot with the same gun."
Clark said she has tried to keep a low profile since the shootings.
Immediately afterward, she packed a bag and stayed at a friend's house
to avoid the media spotlight. Her phone rings repeatedly with requests
for interviews.
She has tried to avoid local public places because she does not want to
attract any attention. Though some locally have offered support and
condolences, any attention brings her thoughts back to the events and
her son. But even venturing out of town to eat dinner cannot give Clark
an escape. Recently over a meal, a group at a nearby table was making
jokes about the shooting.
"I know I'll have to hear things but it's not a joking matter," she
said. "They don't know who they're sitting next too."
Clark said she intends to get back to work next week and hopes to settle
back into a routine.
What stays with Clark is the guilt of having purchased a gun that was
used to kill four innocent people. It was a simple token meant as a
reward and it was used to end four lives.
"I'll pay for that one day," Clark said.
Since the shootings, Gale has found journals that her son used to keep.
The writings are somewhat free flowing, almost in a
stream-of-consciousness manner. Topics are varied but the journals point
to Gale's mental illness. He describes an inability to be able to hear
his own thoughts.
"He just wanted something to break through to make him normal," Clark
said. "I think he was searching for answers just as we are now."
What is left?
Under the family photos on the picture frame on Clark's wall are a few
more words: "Children make a life complete, cherish them forever."
Clark is left with a life that is less than complete. She shoulders some
of the blame for the tragedy on Dec. 8 that ended five lives, including
the life of one of her children. Through doubts about purchasing the
weapon, Clark is left with a deeper regret about failing to recognize
her son's mental illness. She said her son kept his struggles a secret.
She said he never confided in her about the voices in his head.
"He kept it very well under control around me," she said. "If he hadn't
gone in the Marines, we may never have known."
Clark can't say if her son took the pills prescribed to him by the
Marine Corps. She also cannot say if her son relapsed into drug use in
the months leading up to the end of his life. Toxicology reports ordered
by the police will paint a clearer picture on that issue.
Clark said many of the problems of young adults are filed away as drug
addiction, when deeper causes could be the root. She noted that
schizophrenia often manifests in the early adult years.
"You just don't blame everything on drugs," Clark said.
What Clark does know is that her son had a problem that wasn't fixed or
controlled. She said her son never sought to use the mental health
services offered in Union County - services that could have helped him
calm the voices in his head.
"We all wonder why you can't help these people before it's too late,"
she said.

TIFs pass another hurdle
Second reading is heard by Marysville City Council
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville city council is one step away from creating seven new
residential Tax Increment Financing Districts (TIFs).
The seven ordinances almost went completely through third reading to
resolve the matter but council president Nevin Taylor and councilman
David Burke voted against waiving the third reading. Six votes were
needed to pass it and it received only four.
Burke said it would not affect completing the districts in time for the
New Year and therefore he saw no reason to take away time better spent
discussing the TIFs.
The majority of the three-hour council meeting Thursday night included a
lengthy discussion of what the TIF incentive districts will bring to the
city. Several critics voiced their warnings about the potential for
creating imbalance between the city and county.
Mayor Tom Kruse, economic development director Eric Phillips, legal
representative Price Finley and Marysville schools superintendent Larry
Zimmerman addressed the issue that would create incentive districts for
the future residential developments of Keystone Crossing, Chestnut Park,
Adena Pointe, Galbury Meadows, Walker Meadows, The Links and the Woods
at Mill Valley.
The presentation was intended to help explain what TIFs are to those
still unsure. Finley explained that property taxes are assessed based on
current value of the land. When that land is placed into an incentive
district and the property value increases, the increased taxes go
directly to the city and schools while social agencies with levies do
not see an increase.
Finley said if Property X is currently valued at $10,000 and adds $180
annually to the tax base through TIF fees, of that $180: $117 might go
to city schools; $19 to MR/DD; $15 to the city of Marysville; $11 to the
county; $7 to Ohio Hi-Point; $4 to the county health department; $3 to
the public library; $2 to county 911 emergency response; $1 to Mental
Health and $1 to Paris Township.
"I don't know any other piece of legislation that does more for the
community without raising taxes," Zimmerman said. "What it does is make
growth pay for growth."
He said that he doesn't like how the use of TIFs has been referred to as
greedy.
"I don't see this as a tax grab," he said.
The money going to the school district from these residential TIFs will
help build more schools for the growing number of kids coming into the
city, Zimmerman said. All this can be done without asking for another
tax hike in the form of a levy.
"These dollars act like bond issues to us." he said. "If we stubbed our
toe and didn't do this, shame on us."
Kruse said the city will use the TIF funds mainly to upgrade and replace
the wastewater treatment plant and meet the Ohio EPA's mandates for the
system. This will benefit the entire city's future as well as county
areas that are tied into the system such as Milford Center, parts of
Union County and Honda of America. Without the TIF money, sewer rates
might have to go up more than 85 percent in the first three years,
instead of an increase of over 30 percent in that time.
He said the city would still pursue grants from the federal government
and other measures to help decrease costs.
Eric Phillips, economic development director, said based on the median
household income in Marysville of $51,000, with a 1 percent income tax
rate, the homes in these incentive districts could generate more than
$800,000 annually in income tax revenue.
"With a growing number of households our work force base also grows,"
Phillips said. "This means more workers for business and industry
looking to locate in Marysville."
Kruse said the city would be foolish not to get moving on the districts.

Union County Commissioner Gary Lee said there are a few losers in the
residential TIF equation. The biggest fall outside the Marysville school
district, he said.
"That concerns me. It isn't all cream and cherries. There's a little bit
of sour tart in there," Lee said.
Lee said he can appreciate how the schools plan to share the increased
revenue but offered a warning.
"I caution that you only use this tool so many times," he said. "It has
the potential to create an imbalance and it won't work for the county. I
recommend you use a huge amount of discretion."
"I would agree with the commissioner," Kruse said. "I would be very
reluctant to use this."
Kruse reminded Lee that without the city's TIF funds going into a new
wastewater treatment plant there wouldn't be growth for anyone.
Both Mike Witzky of the Mental Health Recovery Board and Kim Wilson,
superintendent of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center also had cautionary
tales for the city. Neither has a say in the matter. Both stated they
would try to make the best of it.
Wilson said Zimmerman has already opened the door for partnering
Hi-Point with the schools to better serve more students and benefit the
14 districts her school covers.
Witzky said he only hopes none of these new families coming into the
incentive districts will experience family problems such as divorce,
depression, alcoholism or drug addiction. If so he will be doing what he
can with a board which has already been dipping into its reserves for
years. He said it means he will have to go back before the voters and
ask for a levy increase in the future.
"I hope at that time you will support me and our board helping to
increase our social service delivery," Witzky said.


Patient navigator program moves into Memorial Hospital
The American Cancer Society and Memorial Hospital of Union County have
teamed up to better serve the community through a partnership that began
almost a year ago between the society's Patient Navigator Program and
the hospital's social services department. Every Thursday, Amy Smothers,
a society patient navigator, will spend the day at the hospital's cancer
clinic located within the Ambulatory Care Center.
"Our partnership will provide a much needed service to our patients,
their families and caregivers as they try to navigate the systems and
resources on their cancer journey," said Amy Higinbotham, nurse director
of the Ambulatory Care Center. Trained Patient Navigators link those
dealing with cancer to needed programs and resources.
The program is a collaborative effort between the American Cancer
Society and partners such as hospitals and cancer centers around the
state of Ohio. This community-based partnership provides outreach to
those most in need during the cancer experience.
Smothers is one of 14 patient navigators in Ohio. She serves Delaware,
Knox, Marion, Morrow and Union Counties. Excited about the enhanced
partnership with Memorial Hospital, she said she's looking forward to
being closer to patients in that community.
Memorial Hospital is a 92-bed independent community hospital located 25
miles northwest of Columbus. Central to the hospital's mission in being
the community's link to quality healthcare are the provision of current
medical practices with up-to-date technology. Memorial Hospital's staff
place equal emphasis on delivering personal care with respect and
compassion.
The American Cancer Society is the nationwide community-based voluntary
health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health
problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering
from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
The American Cancer Society supports efforts to give all patients access
to patient navigators. The federal Patient Navigator Outreach and
Chronic Disease Prevention Act would create federal Patient Navigators.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Deborah Pryce, would focus on underserved
areas by teaming federal Patient Navigators with local hospitals. The
federal Patient Navigators would have the expanded duties of providing
education, prevention, and screenings for cancer, heart disease,
diabetes, and other common illnesses.
For more information about the Patient Navigator program or about
cancer, those interested may call (888) ACS-OHIO or visit the website at
www.cancer.org <http://www.cancer.org.


Prosecutor offers services
to Jerome Township
By CINDY BRAKE
Union County Prosecuting Attorney Alison Boggs is looking for work in
Jerome Township after she leaves office at the end of the year.
Boggs lost a second term bid in the May primary to David Phillips, who
will be sworn into office Wednesday.
Boggs is proposing that the Jerome Township Board of Trustees consider
hiring her and assistant prosecuting attorney John Heinkel as fulltime
township administrators and legal advisors for $68,000 a year.
"After working closely with Jerome Township over the last four years, it
has become increasing apparent that with the growth of the township, and
the resulting changes and issues the growth brings, the township would
benefit from having a township administrator, an independent legal
advisor or both. We are interested in being considered for one or both
of those positions," Boggs and Heinkel state in a Dec. 17 e-mail
addressed to trustees Freeman May, Sharon Sue Wolfe and Ron Rhodes.
The letter asks that the topic be placed on the board's agenda for
Monday.
A proposal for employment suggests that Heinkel and Boggs would act as
fulltime township administrators for $55,000 a year or as part-time
legal counsel for the township for $21,000 a year or they would perform
both functions as a single position for $68,000.
Administrator duties would include assisting the trustees in writing
agendas, drafting resolutions and attending meetings; assist the clerk;
act as a liaison between township and other municipalities; keep the
calendar for the township hall; and act as parliamentarian at trustee
meetings.
This is the second time two of the trustees have considered hiring
outside legal counsel, rather than relying solely on the prosecutor's
office for legal representation.
Trustees Wolfe and May hired attorney Susan Kyte of Columbus in 2002 to
work 15 hours a month for the township at a cost of $1,500. Her one-year
contract was not renewed.
Kyte also authored numerous referendums concerning the township for
political action committees.
In November Kyte, 47,  pleaded guilty to 19 felony counts in the
Franklin County Common Pleas Court admitting that she wrote 119 checks
to herself for more than $221,000 from nine political candidates'
accounts. The original charges of embezzling that were filed in August
included money laundering, election falsification, theft and filing of
false state income-tax returns. She is slated to be sentenced on Jan. 7
and could face up to 30 years in prison. She remains free on a $50,000
bond until her sentencing.


Council votes to repeal tax credit
By RYAN HORNS
It's official. Marysville city commuters will not have the luxury of an
income tax credit.
Marysville city council voted Thursday night to pass an ordinance
repealing the credit for taxes paid to other municipalities. The change
means residents who commute to places like Columbus for employment will
be paying 1/2 percent more in city taxes to make a full 1 percent as
other city residents do.
Several city residents spoke out against the credit removal during the
meeting. According to council members, the decision was not an easy one
to make but they explained that it is best for the city in the long run.

"We take to heart the comments expressed here tonight," councilman Dan
Fogt said.
He said new homes bring in less money to the city tax revenue stream
than the city spends on services to them. It's a no-win situation unless
the city can utilize more ways to generate funds creatively and avoid
raising taxes. He said 2,000 more homes are slated for construction. The
city is in a hole and yet streets need to be repaired or built, but
there is no money to do it.
Mayor Tom Kruse reported at the beginning of the meeting that during the
recent snow squalls five city trucks were already out of commission for
transmission problems. There were only two trucks to treat the roads and
there are no funds to replace trucks.
Councilman John Marshall said if there had been two feet of snow the
city would have been in big trouble.
"I don't like to raise taxes. I don't," Fogt said. "But that's some of
the reasons."
The purpose of removing the tax credit is for these new residents to pay
their share, he said.
"I'm afraid some longtime residents got caught in the middle," he said.
Council President Nevin Taylor and councilman Ed Pleasant said the
income tax credit might not be a permanent thing. A subcommittee would
be formed after the approval to look into ways of reinstating the tax
credit at some point as well as finding ways to decrease the overall
city income tax. One way to do this could be imposing an additional
license plate tax, which has been considered.
Before the vote was cast, Grand Avenue resident and commuter Larry Young
told council members they will make a mistake voting the ordinance
through. He represents the type of Marysville citizen who always votes
for providing more tax money to anything the city asks for, from MR/DD
to city schools.
"I don't know why you would do something that would turn someone like me
into an automatic 'no' vote from now on," Young said. "I'm starting to
wonder when the truth is the truth."
He said he remembers reading that there would be no additional taxes
from this administration. Instead this new tax is going to affect many
people. City financial director John Morehart reported that more than
3,100 resident tax payers who commute will pay more, resulting in around
$400,000 more annually for the city.
Young said he questions how this ordinance is fair to commuters when
they earn money in other communities and spend it in town. He also
criticized council members for adding an emergency clause to the
legislation, which took away the right of referendum, meaning residents
would not be allowed to vote on the matter.
"The fairest way would have been to have the people vote on it," Milford
Avenue and lifelong resident Nancy Cowgill said, "instead of just you
people voting on it. It's always hikes, hikes, hikes and I don't feel
that it's fair."
Ash Street resident Adrea Comer said she wishes she could find a job
making similar pay inside Marysville, then she wouldn't have to pay 2
percent in taxes to Columbus. But that is not an option. Between gas and
taxes, she is taking a hit.
"Marysville does not value us," Comer said.
Milford Avenue resident Dave McCarty said he agrees the city could use
more money. While he has always tried to be a good neighbor, the city
can barely provide services as it is. A street light near his home
doesn't work part of the time and there are still no sidewalks.
"All I see is grow and build," he said. "It sounds to me like you're
closing the barn door after all the cattle got out."
In other business:
. An executive session was held to discuss land acquisition for the
city. At the end of the meeting Kruse announced the city has chosen a
location for the new wastewater treatment plant. Information on where it
will go will be released in January.
"We have a potential contract with the owners of the property," he said.

Kruse added that engineers are working on Phase I of the EPA study on
the land as well as geotechnical work. The property consists of 100
acres valued at $2.7 million.
Taylor said it will be interesting to find out how the city is going to
pay for the land and that a lot of questions need to be asked.
. Kruse reported that the city came to an agreement with the Ohio
Department of Transportation which will now add turn lanes to the Route
4 bypass at Collins Avenue. A traffic signal will come later.
Speed limit signs on Route 38 around Boerger Road were changed Thursday
to 35 mph.
. In other city work, 1,000 feet of sewer work is ready to go south of
10th Street on Chestnut Street.


Home destroyed
in rural blaze
A fire in central Union County Thursday night destroyed a home but
caused no injuries.
Liberty Township Fire Chief Lloyd Segner reported that at 7:46 p.m.
Thursday his department received a call that a fire was raging at 16640
Martin Welch Road. He said the call was made by the family's 15-year-old
son.
The family, made up of three to four people, was able to escape in time.

"When we arrived at the scene the fire was rolling out of the roof,"
Segner said. "There was a lot of severe damage. Most of the ceiling was
off of it."
He believed the fire started in a back bedroom or possibly in the attic
and the winds were a factor in its spread. The cause is still under
investigation, although he does not expect arson.
"We don't think it's a 'funny' fire," he said.
Segner said several of his investigators are going through the rubble to
learn more about why it started.
Mutual aid was provided by Northern Union County, Leesburg, and
Marysville fire departments. He said the Union County Emergency
Management Agency also provided assistance for rehabilitation on the
house.
The Union County Red Cross reported they are assisting the family with
living arrangements.

 

Hospital changes alcohol, travel policy
By JOEY SECREST
Journal-Tribune intern
The Memorial Hospital of Union County board officially changed its
policy on the reimbursement of alcohol purchases and spousal travel
during the Wednesday evening regular meeting with one board member
dissenting.
Hospital administrator/CEO Chip Hubbs explained that the auditor of
state does not approve public funds to be used on the purchase of
alcohol and spousal travel. Only 12 of the 196 hospitals in the state
are public and Memorial Hospital is one of them.
"Board members should receive no compensation by reimbursing them for
spousal travel," Hubbs responded.
Hubbs added that the hospital is a public entity and its board members
and employees are viewed just as any other public official.
There are exceptions to the policy, Hubbs said. Alcohol is allowed at
certain events but the purchase of alcohol cannot be reimbursed. He said
it is acceptable to have alcohol at certain events, but it must be from
a cash bar or sponsor. Also, he said, spousal travel can be
pre-approved.
For example, if the hospital were hiring a physician, it can pay for the
whole family to come to town.
Board member Bud Westlake opposed the new policy. He said that
volunteers, like hospital board members, should be allowed spousal
travel reimbursement.
"People expect something back," he explained.
After the discussion, the motion carried with Westlake casting the only
dissenting vote.
In other business, the hospital will have an updated Web site in 48
hours. Melanie Ziegler, marketing and communications coordinator,
presented the new site to the board and said it focuses on graphics, is
intelligible and is more representative of the hospital. The Web site
can be viewed at www.memorialhosp.com or www.memorialhosp.org.
Hubbs said the hospital hopes to fill the position of vice president of
human resources by the end of next week. A field of 11 candidates has
been narrowed to four. The process of interviewing will carry on until
Tuesday. Hubbs said all four candidates have hospital human resource
experience and have been in charge of organizations at hospitals and
other industries.
The hospital is going to take its time on the recruitment process to
fill the position of administrator at The Gables at Green Pastures.
Shannon Kellogg, previously admissions/social services designee at the
Gables, was appointed interim administrator. She is a licensed long-term
care facilitator and has more than nine years of long-term care
experience. Over the next few months, Hubbs said, his goal is to bring
together the team members of the hospital and The Gables. Kellogg will
be considered as a candidate for administrator, but is not guaranteed
the position.
In other matters, the board:
 . Approved the annual resolution for bidding procedures and purchasing
policies.
 . Approved revisions to auxiliary bylaws.
 . Approved revisions to the medical staff credentials manual.
 . Approved the annual medical staff bylaws.
 . Approved Fred R. Leess, M.D., otolaryngology, as active staff in the
department of surgery and Elaine A. Beed, M.D., hematology/oncology, as
consulting staff in the department of medicine.
 . Approved medical staff appointments of Matthew J. Sanders, D.O., as
emergency medicine provisional staff in the department of medicine;
Connie Jo Warren, M.D., family practice-adult, as active provisional
staff in the department of medicine; Tasos Manokas, D.O.,
gastroenterology, as consulting provisional staff in the department of
medicine; Adam C. Tzagournis, M.D., gastroenterology, as consulting
provisional staff in the department of medicine; Michael A. Tzagournis,
M.D., gastroenterology, as consulting provisional staff in the
department of medicine; Gordon Y. Kim, D.O., gastroenterology, as
consulting staff in the department of medicine; Paul W. Kolodzik, M.D.,
emergency medicine, as ER provisional staff in the department of
medicine; Louis G. Salib, M.D., anesthesiology, as locum tenens in the
department of surgery and Peter K. Bauer, M.D., pathology, anatomic and
clinical, as consulting provisional staff in the department of medicine.

 . Approved medical staff officers.
 . Postponed organization of ethics revised policy.
 . Approved the patient safety plan.
 . Approved the recommendation of planning committee of strategic plan.
 . Reviewed the leadership team's approved community leadership
projects.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss pending litigation
and the employment of an employee.


UCSO has new canine unit
By RYAN HORNS
On Nov. 27 a man trying to get away from police in Union County drove
his car home and then ran out with a female passenger. They both hid
underneath the house while deputies arrived. It wasn't long before they
were in custody.
What made the difference was a new deputy that arrived at the Union
County Sheriff's Office (UCSO) Sept. 21. He's 3 years old and has four
legs. Jordy, pronounced "Yordy," is part of the new Law Enforcement
Service Canine Unit.
His handler, deputy Scott Robinson, recently went through the
Wachtmeister Canine Training Ltd. with Jordy and is now certified by the
state of Ohio in law enforcement patrol work, drug detection and
searching.
Robinson explained that Jordy is a Belgian Malinois, which has become a
popular breed for law enforcement agencies. The breed is a mixture of
what appears to be a German shepherd and another canine with the speed
of a greyhound. Since Jordy came from a breeder in Holland, he mainly
responds to Dutch orders.
"But he's learning a few English phrases now," Robinson said, "just from
being around and picking it up."
Jordy's personality is highly active, yet he snaps into attention at
Robinson's command. During training the two spent a lot of bonding time
together so they could learn to trust one another.
"He stays with Robinson around the clock," Union County Sheriff's
Office's Lt. Jeff Frisch said. "It's so they become attached to each
other."
The new canine unit at the Sheriff's Office joins a unit already in
place at the Marysville Police Department. Both will serve the Union
County area.
Frisch said that Sheriff Rocky Nelson hopes to expand his canine unit as
funds will allow and at some point add another officer and dog team. He
said the new unit has been working together on patrol for the past three
weeks and has already assisted in the arrest of the 18-year-old male on
Nov. 27 who was caught speeding on Route 739 and tried to allude
deputies.
"Sometimes the presence of the dog is all it takes," Frisch said about
apprehending criminals.
He said the suspects hiding under the house heard deputies talking about
the dog and immediately surrendered.
Robinson said having Yordy is invaluable for other reasons. The hope is
that through the canine, deputies can safely apprehend criminals and
protect themselves better.
"I can only compare it to walking into a room where there's a pizza," he
said. "We might walk in and smell a pizza, whereas Jordy can walk in the
room and smell every separate item that makes up that pizza."
Walking into a scene with drugs involved makes Jordy a valuable asset to
the sheriff's office, Frisch said.


Area holiday church services listed
Springdale Baptist Church will hold a Christmas Eve candle lighting
service at 7:30 p.m. The church is located at 18881 Springdale Road.
The church Christmas program will be presented at the 10:40 a.m. service
Sunday at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 309 S. Oak St. A Christmas Eve
service will begin at 6 p.m.
The First Baptist Church of Marysville, 645 S. Chestnut St., will hold a
special candlelight service at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve.
A Christmas Cantata, "Go Tell," will be held Sunday at 10:30 a.m., a
candlelight serve will be held Christmas Eve at 7 p.m. and a musical
Christmas celebration will be held Dec. 26 at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary
Baptist Church, 17376 Route 347.
Union Baptist Church, 16623 Route 739, Richwood, will hold a candlelight
service at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.
A Christmas Eve service will be held at 7 p.m. at Allen Center Baptist
Church, 17124 Allen Center Pottersburg Road.
First Baptist Church, 101 E. Ottawa St., Richwood, will hold "The
Surprising Christmas Pageant" by the junior choir Sunday at 10:40 a.m. A
living nativity will be performed in front of the church Christmas Eve
from 6 to 7 p.m. and a worship service will begin at 7 p.m.
Sunday school will be held at 10 a.m. and a worship service at 11 a.m.
followed by a potluck Christmas dinner at Marysville Free Will Baptist,
280 N. Cherry St., Sunday. The children's Christmas play will be held at
7 p.m.
The chancel choir at First English Lutheran Church will present a
cantata during the 10:30 a.m. worship service Sunday and a candlelight
worship service with communion and special music provided by the Sunday
school and the chancel choir will be held at 7:30 p.m. A candlelight
worship service with communion will be held at 11 p.m. Christmas Eve.
The church is located at 687 London Ave.
Christmas Eve services at Trinity Lutheran Church, located at 311 E.
Sixth St., will include a family worship service at 4 p.m., a
traditional candlelight service at 7 p.m., a contemporary service at 9
p.m. and a spirited traditional candlelight service with special music
at 11 p.m.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, 7960 Route 38, Milford Center, will present a
children's Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m. called "The People of
Christmas" and a Christmas day worship service at 10 a.m.
A Christmas Eve family worship service will be held at 7:30 p.m. and a
candlelight worship at 11 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church, 12809
Route 736. A Christmas Day worship service will be held at 10 a.m.
A German Christmas service at St. James Lutheran Church, 5660 Trabue
Road, Columbus, will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve services
will include a youth-led candlelight and communion service at 5 p.m. and
candlelight and communion services at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m.
A Christmas Eve Service with communion at 8 p.m. will be held at the
First United Methodist Church, 18 S. Fulton St., Richwood.
Marysville First United Methodist Church, 207 S. Court St., will hold a
worship service titled "Everlasting Father - Miracle on 34th Street"
Sunday at 8:20, 9:30 and 10:45 a.m. and the Kevin Mabry and Friends
Christmas Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight
services for families will be at 5:30 p.m. and a contemporary service at
7:30 p.m. in the Burnside Family Life Center. A candlelight service will
be held in the sanctuary at 10 p.m. with a prelude of music at 9:30 p.m.
Holy communion will be available in the chapel from 8:40 to 9:40 p.m.
Community caroling will be held Sunday and Christmas Eve at 6:30 p.m. at
the Milford Center United Methodist Church, 55 E. State St. A
candlelight Christmas Eve service will be held at 10 p.m. and worship
for the first Sunday of Christmas will be Dec. 26 at 10:30 a.m.
Gathering music will begin at 5 p.m. and a Christmas Eve worship service
at 5:30 p.m. at Caldwell Memorial United Methodist Church in Irwin.
Unionville Center United Methodist Church, 127 Main St., will have
gathering music at 6 p.m. followed by a worship service at 6:30 p.m.
Gathering music will be held at 7 p.m. at the New Dover United Methodist
Church, 16637 Church St., and the worship service will begin at 7:30
p.m.
The Jerome Methodist Church, 10531 Jerome Road, will hold four services
on Christmas Eve. At 5 p.m., children will reenact the Christmas story
and the church praise band will perform and a blended service with music
by the praise band will be held at 7:30 p.m. Traditional candlelight
communion services will be held in the sanctuary with music by the
chancel choir at 9 p.m. A contemporary candlelight communion service
will begin at 11 p.m. in the sanctuary with young adults providing the
music and scripture reading. Nursery will be available at the 5 and 7:30
p.m. services and refreshments will be provided before and after all the
services.
A worship service will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Trinity Chapel, 77 W.
Center St., Milford Center.
Classes will begin at 9 a.m. and worship at 10 a.m. with the theme "Drop
'til you Shop" Sunday at the Marysville Church of Christ, 18077 Route
31.
The Richwood Church of Christ, 29063 Sivey Road, will hold Sunday School
at 9:30 a.m. and morning service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. The Christmas Eve
candlelight service will be held at 8 p.m.
The choir will present the Christmas musical "Emmanuel Celebrating
Heaven's Child" Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Christian Assembly Church. The
Christmas Eve communion service will begin at 7 p.m. The church is
located at 1003 N. Maple St.
Community United Calvary Church, 117 E. Ottawa St., Richwood, is
performing Christmas program Sunday at 7 p.m. The church will be open
for Christmas Eve communion from 6 p.m. to midnight.
A Christmas pageant, "The Bells of Glocken," will be presented Sunday at
10 a.m. with direction by Scott Underwood, Caroline Ohnsman as pianist
and a choir of adults and children at the Marysville Presbyterian
Church, 210 W. Fifth St. Christmas Eve services will be at 4, 7:30 and
11:30 p.m. The 11:30 p.m. service will be a half-hour of carols,
scripture and candlelighting.
Resurrection Mount will hold a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. with
special music and a message. The church is located at 654 Raymond Road.
Caroling and communion are planned for the Marysville Church of the
Nazarene Christmas Eve service beginning at 6 p.m. The church is located
at 1126 N. Maple St.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1033 W. Fifth St., will offer a
variety of Christmas Eve masses beginning with caroling at 3:30 p.m.,
followed by the 4 p.m. Children's Mass. A 7:30 p.m. Mass is planned,
along with caroling at 11:30 p.m. and a midnight Mass. Christmas Day
Mass begins at 9 a.m.
The Sunday School division of the Apostolic United Pentecostal Church,
18838 Paver Barnes Road, will present a Christmas program titled "The
Judgment" Sunday at 9:30 a.m. T.J. Curl is acting the part of God and
Cory White will portray Satan. Bradley White and Tom Curl will play the
part of angels at the throne. Evangelistic services begin at 6:30 p.m.
and Wednesday Bible study begins at 7:30 p.m.
Vineyard Church of Marysville, 913 W. Fifth St., is planning a
children's Christmas program, "The Advent Tree," Saturday at 6 p.m. and
Sunday at 10 a.m. Christmas Eve services are from 7 to 8 p.m.
A Christmas Eve service of song, message and communion will be held at 7
p.m. at Shiloh Chapel Evangelical Friends Church, 16435 Square Drive.
The First Congregational United Church of Christ, 207 N. Main St., will
host a family Christmas Eve service at 4 p.m. with animals from the
manger to greet participants at the church entrance. Favorite carols
will be sung and costumed actors will recreate the events of the first
Christmas.
The traditional service at 7 p.m. includes lessons and carols bringing
the true meaning of Christmas and the Christmas story will be told in
song and scripture. The Rev. Richard Flynn's Christmas homily is
entitled "4 Men and a Baby." The service climaxes with the lighting of
the Christ candle, the passing of the Light of Christ to everyone and
the singing of "Silent Night, Holy Night."

Triad will try again
Levy will appear on May ballot
By CORINNE BIX
Three times might be the charm for Triad schools as they plan to ask the
voters for a third time to pass a .5 percent income tax levy in May.
On Monday night, the board took the first step in putting the levy on
the spring ballot by passing a resolution of intent requesting
certification of alternative tax rates.
Within the past two weeks the board has made more cuts to the district
budget due in large part to the failed levy last month. Cuts have
included staff along with initiating a pay to participate program for
co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
Superintendent Kaffenbarger gave an informational presentation on the
structure of the local report card as issued by the state.
"The presentation shows the evolution of the current report card - our
trend performance over the past few years and a brief synopsis of how
the card will change this year and beyond," Kaffenbarger explained.
Changes to the report card include the addition of achievement tests in
reading and writing at grade four, reading at grade five, math at grade
seven, reading and math at grade eight and the addition of the Ohio
graduate test (OGT) at grade 10. The state is phasing out the
proficiency tests at grades four, six and nine.
Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year the local report cards will be
based on achievement tests and the OGT as opposed to proficiency tests.
Kaffenbarger said this has changed in response to the federal No Child
Left Behind act.
The board also approved a one and half-hour early release for staff and
students on Friday, the last day before the holiday vacation begins. The
high school will dismiss at 12:50 p.m., the middle school will dismiss
at 1 p.m., and the elementary school will dismiss at 2 p.m.
The next regular board meeting will be on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. An
organizational meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
In other business, the board:
 . Approved 2005 membership with Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA).
 . Approved a resolution for the OSBA legal assistance fund.
 . Approved Rick Smith as president pro-tem for the January
organizational and regular board meeting.
 . Accepted the resignation of Kyle Huffman as 2004-2005 Mock Trial
advisor effective immediately and approved Jacquie Smith as Mock Trial
advisor for the 2004-2005 school year.
 . Accepted a Professional Development grant in the amount of $2,925.
 . Accepted a donation in the amount of $2,715.35 from the Triad PTO
 . Approved Marge Haney to assist with curriculum testing. Compensation
will be paid by grant money.
 . Approved a continuing contract for Sherri Crowder beginning the
2005-2006 school year.
 . Approved recommendations from NEOLA including the ability to give
diplomas to Korean War veterans whose schooling was interrupted because
of the war. There is already a similar policy in place for World War II
veterans.


Campaign finance reports finalized
By CINDY BRAKE
Election campaign finance reports have been filed with the Union County
Board of Elections.
The four-member bipartisan board has approved the early reports. The
deadline for filing post reports was Friday. The post reports are not
yet approved.
The Fairbanks Levy Campaign appears to have been funded almost totally
by school district employees. A board of elections staff member stated
that payroll deductions are permitted by law as long as the employee
specifies the money's use.
Superintendent Jim Craycraft said he asked staff members to contribute
because they are the ones who know what is needed at the schools and,
since 75 percent or more of school funds go to salaries and benefits,
they will benefit. He said he did this at Tri-Rivers when he was
superintendent there. Craycraft said staff members also worked on all
the levy committees.
The pre-campaign finance report states that contributions to the
Fairbanks Levy Campaign totaled $7,543.39 plus $711.54 from a chili
supper. Total expenses were $6,094.17.
Individual contributions of $100 or more were:
. $500 - Jim Craycraft of Marion; Keith and Kimberly Conroy, 10181
Watkins Road
. $250 - Brett Short, 11755 Smith Place
. $200 - Darla Hall-Barrett of Columbus
. $164 - Tom Goodney of Plain City
. $150 - Pat Lucas of Columbus; Mark Lotycz of Plain City
. $140 - Rob Riddle of London
. $125 - Alan Phelps of Milford Center; Sherry Shoots, 10160 Boerger
Road
. $120 - Nancy Dunn of Hilliard
. $115 - Scott Coon of Milford Center; Patty Pease, 17120 Paver Barnes
. $100 - Ann Arthur of Columbus; Joy Ballard, 15429 Fladt Road; Sandy
Bunsold, 18721 Boerger Road; Nancy Bowman of Milford Center; Brenda
Brill of Milford Center; Dale Bymaster, 11480 Route 36 E., Lot 58;
Denise Creamer of Columbus; John Moore of Hilliard; Larry Morris, 20618
Orchard Road; Ruth Nicol, 200 Taylor Ave.; Lynn Taylor of Dublin; Debbie
Hegenderfer, 1820 Boerger Road; Nevin Taylor, 232 W. Fifth St.; Holly
Peiffer of Columbus; Aaron Johnson of Columbus; Gloria Werline of Powell

Contributions of less than $100 were received from 67 other individuals.
The Fairbanks Levy Campaign did not file a post report.
The Union County Republican Central Committee pre-report lists $7,510 in
contributions plus $36,160 brought forward from past reports. Total
expenditures were $4,543.64. The post report lists contributions of
$524.20 with expenditures of $19,943.45 and a balance on hand of
$19,736.77.
Contributions of more than $100 were received from:
. $5,000 - The Scotts Co. PAC of Marysville
. $500 - Citizens for Jim Petro of Columbus
. $250 - Joseph Ewing of Richwood; Tom Cavender of Richwood.
. $125 - Robert DeGroot, 543 Crown Drive; Frank Smith, 21500 Westlake
Lee Road; George Gilbert, 419 Hickory Drive; Freda Kyle of Richwood;
Rocky Nelson, 15440 Meyers Road; David Weaver, 19055 Poling Road; John
Gore, 875 Lantern Drive; Gary McDowell, 11698 Leeper Perkins Road;
Christopher Runyan, 361 Wilderness Road; Phylis Scheiderer, 690 Parkway
Drive; Jeff Stauch, 15550 Scottslawn Road
. $100 - Larry Mumper of Marion; Dan Fogt, 225 Todd Court
Six contributions of less than $100 were also received.
The Union County Democratic Party filed only a pre-report showing
$1,419.78 brought forward and contributions of $5,185.73 plus $165.06 in
other income for total funds available of $6,770.57. Total monetary
expenditures were $2,581.40 with $4,189.17 balance on hand.
Contributions of $100 or more were:
. $1,000 - Thomas L. Kruse, 712 Grove St.
. $500 - Jack Foust, 22646 Holycross Epps Road
. $200 - Steve Merriman of Raymond
. $100 - Theresa Hook of Richwood.
The Union County Republican Party (Judicial Fund) reported no
contributions and no other income in both the pre and post financial
reports. Funds brought forward, available and balance on hand all
totaled $912.40.
The Union County Republican Party (Political Party Fund) reported
contributions of $285.32 from the Treasurer of the State - Consolidated
Warrant Fund and Ohio Political Party Fund through three payments in
April, July and October. Expenditures totaled $4 and $749.89 is the
balance on hand.
Citizens for Schools filed a post-election campaign finance report
listing $217.80 brought forward and $232.20 in contributions.
Expenditures total $450.
Buyers Electronics Inc., 16600 Square Drive, contributed $232.
A post-election campaign finance report for Keep Rocky W. Nelson Sheriff
listed $694.04 brought forward and expenditures of $108.
Citizens To Elect David Phillips Prosecutor reported no expenditures in
the pre-financial report with an outstanding loan of $3,075 and $200 in
contributions. Total funds available and balance on hand totaled
a$446.57. Contributions of $100 each were received from Bill Lowe, 20721
Springdale Road, and Mark Stemm of Dublin.
The Committee to Elect Charles Hall - Union County Commission filed only
a post-financial report listing $419.07 brought forward and
contributions of $50 plus $150 in other income. Total expenditures were
$619.07.
Teresa L. Markham reported $587 in contributions from herself to cover
expenditures of the same amount. Markham filed only a post-election
report.
Candidates filing only post-financial reports with zero totals were
Tamara K. Lowe, David T. Applegate for Coroner, Paula Pyers Warner,
Steve Stolte for Engineer and Citizens for Tom McCarthy.

Whooping Cough cases confirmed
From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Health Department reported Tuesday that five
lab-confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping) have been found in the
county. The cases were from a local daycare, two county schools and one
adult. The three locations have sent letters home with all children to
inform parents.
Pertussis is spread via close contact with respiratory secretions.
Infected people are most contagious when they show mild symptoms of
respiratory infection, making prevention prior to infection difficult.
Symptoms begin with a low-grade fever and a mild cough that lasts one to
three weeks. The disease is usually diagnosed when the cough becomes
more severe and sudden uncontrollable burst of coughing occur.
Persons who have been in contact with an infected individual should be
monitored closely for respiratory symptoms for 21 days after the last
contact. Symptomatic children should be excluded from day care, pending
physician evaluation. Treatment with antibiotics is recommended for
household contacts and anyone who has had more than three hours of face
to face contact with an infected person.
Children six months of age should have three doses of DTP vaccines and
children 12 to 15 months should have four doses.
More information about pertussis may contact the health department at
642-0801.

Couple heads to Ukraine to help  oversee election

By JUDY BOEHLER
A Marysville couple, Meg Michel and Matt Smith, are leaving today for
Ukraine on a business trip that was supposed to last until Dec. 23. Now,
however, they will be staying until Jan. 2 because they will be serving
as international observers at the presidential runoff election Dec. 26.
Michel and Smith are familiar with Ukraine because  they have been
developing property in Lviv after becoming part of the state
department's Project Harmony 10 years ago. Project Harmony brings
Eastern Europeans to the U.S. to learn how to run businesses.
The couple's planned trip offered them this unique opportunity. Michel
said they have visas to enter the country and it is very difficult to
obtain them. Many people who want to volunteer as observers will simply
not be able to enter the country.
Michel and Smith will be required to carry flashlights, cell phones and
cameras and will be stationed at polling places to observe and record
activities. They will stay with the ballot boxes of their station as
they are transported for tabulation and will record any harassment or
illegal activities during the voting and counting. They were told they
would not get to sleep during the night since the vote counting will
continue into the next day.
The Nov. 21 election runoff between Viktor Yanukovich and Viktor
Yushchenko, won by Yanukovich, was declared invalid by the Ukrainian
Supreme Court and Parliament due to documented widespread election
fraud, especially in the eastern part of the country. Thousands of
volunteers are needed to insure that it does not happen this time
around.
Since the November election, stories about the blatant fraud have
abounded. It has been reported that electricity was shut off at polling
places, voting supplies were stolen and voting boxes were carried off
and returned after the polls closed. Voters were given pens with
disappearing ink, absentee ballots were sold on the street, buses drove
voters around to vote at multiple sites and observers noticed voters
shoving multiple ballots into the boxes.
Yanukovich is the eastern Ukraine candidate backed by outgoing President
Kuchma and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is from the
Russian-speaking part of Ukraine and wants closer ties to Russia.
Yushchenko, the opposition candidate is from western Ukraine which
identifies more with Europe. Ukrainian is the language in the western
part of the country.
Prior to the November election, polls showed Yushchenko ahead by 10
percent, and when Yanukovich was named winner, more than 2 million
Ukrainians took to the streets to protest. The government in Kiev was
shut down for more than two weeks and proof of fraud spurred the court
and parliament to nullify the vote and call for a repeat election.
Michel said that eastern Ukrainians relate much more closely to Europe
than to Russia because it was part of Austria from the 1600s and wasn't
taken over by Russia until 1945. Ukraine became independent in 1991.
Michel said that if Yushchenko is elected, Ukraine will almost certainly
become part of NATO, something which Yanukovich and Putin do not want.
She said Ukraine is very important to both Europe and Russia, as 80
percent of Russia's oil moves through there on its way to European
markets and Ukraine produces a great deal of the food for both Europe
and Russia.
 Current polls show Yushchenko with 55 percent of the vote and
Yanukovich with 40 percent.

Marysville discusses alternative school
By JUDY BOEHLER
An alternative school for students in the Marysville school district
with behavioral and emotional problems is a distinct possibility, the
board of education heard at Monday's meeting.
"This has just fallen out of the sky," said superintendent Larry
Zimmerman. He said the administration has been considering the issue for
about two years and very recently a person came forward offering to
build a building and lease it to the district.
In addition to students who fit the criteria now being served at the
high school and middle school level under special education services,
the alternative school would allow the return of students who are served
outside the district at institutions such as the Mac-A-Cheek Learning
Center and Adriel School in West Liberty and Ventures in Delaware.
When students are sent elsewhere, their State Foundation money goes with
them, Zimmerman said, and furthermore, the county pays for residential
costs. He said he has talked with the county commissioners, the
Department of Job and Family Services and other agencies to find room
for an alternative school but has met with no success.
"This is a dream of mine," said Ellen Traucht, director of student
services.
She said the school would start out with about 50 students from grades
six to 12 and eventually increase to 100. State guidelines dictate that
no more than eight students with a maximum age range of five years can
occupy a classroom under the guidance of a teacher and an aide.
Traucht said students will receive a general education aimed at getting
them a high school diploma and training to hold a job, raise a family
and be a good citizen. Students will receive mental health counseling,
enter a job training program and have a job coach.
"These middle school and high school students need a reason to come to
school," she said.
Zimmerman said that the program will cost the school district money but
in the long run will keep those students who are now headed for failure
from becoming a drain on the county economy in the future. He said
students who are now suspended or expelled will be sent to the school
instead of being turned loose to get into trouble.
Students will be selected by teachers, counselors and principals and
their parents will have to approve the placement into a more restrictive
environment, Traucht said.
The board approved a resolution to participate in a contract with the
city of Marysville. The measure involves a real property tax exemption
for certain residential districts using a Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
program established by the city.
Zimmerman said a contract will be made with the city and a payment
schedule to the school district will be set up. City council will vote
on the agreement at its Thursday meeting.
In other business, the board:
 . Heard a presentation from Creekview staff and students on the Junior
Achievement program, Exchange City.
 . Presented middle school head cook Michele Griffith with the Employee
of the Month Award.
 . Approved the addition of an automated external defibrillation
protocol to the Board Policy Manual.
 . Accepted a donation of $200 from Honda to Edgewood Elementary;
playground equipment for Mill Valley from the PTO; $200 from the United
Methodist women for Christmas gifts for needy families to Navin
Elementary and $200 to Creekview Intermediate; $375 to Raymond
Elementary from the PTO for digital cameras, card readers and batteries
from the PTO; and $1,350 from eight businesses and individuals to the
FCCLA for its annual party for needy children.
 . Approved overnight trips for the show choir Jan. 21-23 at Zion High
School in Decatur, Ill., Feb. 12-13 at DeKalb High School in Waterloo,
Ind., and Feb. 25-26 at Twinsburg High School; and a trip for the Ski
Club Jan. 13-17 to Keystone, Colo.
In personnel matters, the board:
 . Accepted the resignation of Teri Heard as health consultant,
effective Jan. 5.
 . Approved Denise Branton, Adam McCampbell, Christine Miller and Andy
Watson as substitute teachers; and Sara Reville as home instructor.
 . Approved Wendy Eggleston as high school head winter cheerleading
coach; and Michelle Moffett as middle school Outdoor Education Club
co-advisor.
The 2005 organizational meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Jan. 10.

Richwood employees' raises offset by insurance payments
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Over a span of about two minutes Monday night, employees of the village
of Richwood were given a raise and then saw it erased by a mandatory
insurance payment.
Faced with appropriations figures that are approached by projected
revenues, Richwood council members were forced to clamp down on the 2005
budget. Projected revenue for the village in the coming year is
$1,860,000 while appropriations are at $1,813,000.
With only about $47,000 in projected carryover, there is not much left
if the village should incur an unforeseen expense.
"It's better than nothing but it doesn't put much back for a rainy day,"
village financial officer Don Jolliff said.
Village employees were promised a 2-percent pay increase for 2005 and
with that in mind, council members set their sights on dealing with
exploding insurance costs.
Council member Arlene Blue said the village has recently experienced an
18-percent increase in insurance premiums. Currently the village absorbs
the entire cost of the premiums, which run  more than $100,000 annually.

Jolliff noted that a single family plan costs the village more than
$1,000 per month.
Because of this the village opted to charge village employees $25 from
every paycheck for an individual and $50 per paycheck for family plans.
Village employees receive a paycheck every two weeks.
Acting village administrator Jim Thompson said the 2-percent pay
increase won't cover the new insurance payments.
"We've lost money," he said.
Blue said corners have to be cut if the village is to stay out of a
spending deficit. She said the council has done every thing it can to
keep from cutting staff.
"If we're going to run the village we've got to run it like a business,"
she said.
 Council voted 5-0 to approve the pay raise, insurance payments and 2005
budget. Council member George Showalter was absent from the meeting.
Council also approved the creation of the position of village financial
officer. Although Jolliff has served in that capacity for quite some
time, council made the move official Monday with a 5-0 vote. The move
allows the village to hire someone who is not a village resident to
oversee the village bookkeeping.
The position of clerk/treasurer was dissolved by a 5-0 vote, as Mary Gay
Mowery is set to resign at the first of the year. She had not performed
treasurer duties since Jolliff was hired.
In other business, council:
 . Held an executive session to discuss personnel.
 . Decided to restrict parking on the west side of Maple Street
following a citizen complaint.  Parking had been restricted on the east
side in the winter months to allow for snow removal.
 . Discussed a property owner complaint in regard to a water bill.
Apparently a homeowner was left with a large water bill when a
land-contract tenant moved out. Council said the village code stipulates
that the property owner is responsible for the bill.
 . Approved several transfers from the general fund.
 . Received cost estimates from council member Scott Jerew on a
cul-de-sac for Kells Lane. The cul-de-sac would cost $16,000 while an
extension of the street to connect with the Richwood Industrial Park
road would cost $14,000. Council took no action on the matter.
 . Heard from Blue that she received citizen complaints about
construction work at the industrial park beginning at 5:10 a.m.

Threats made in connection with shooting
From J-T staff reports:
A Marysville resident with the misfortune of having the same last name
as Alrosa Villa gunman Nathan Gale reported that she has received
threats on her life.
According to reports from the Marysville Police Department, the woman,
who lives in the 600 block of Windsor Drive, began receiving phone calls
from an unidentified man at 3:30 a.m. today.
It is not clear how the caller obtained her telephone number or from
where he was calling. The caller allegedly believed the woman was a
family member of Gale's and threatened to shoot her in retaliation for
the murder of heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbot Wednesday
night.
Reports indicate the resident attempted to convince the caller that she
is no relation to Gale, but to no avail.
The caller's last few messages - left at approximately 6 a.m. -  were
captured on an answering machine. Local police officers are reviewing
the tape as part of their investigation.
Gale was the 25-year-old Marysville resident who gunned down Abbott and
several others in the Columbus nightclub on Sinclair Road Wednesday
evening.
Abbott was the lead guitarist for Damageplan. The group had just begun
its concert when Gale stormed the stage and shot the guitarist. Gale
killed three others before he was fatally shot by a Columbus police
officer.



Who was Nathan Gale?
He had recently applied to be a bouncer in a local bar; claimed to be a
brown belt in judo
By RYAN HORNS
A phone rang unanswered all day Thursday in the empty Marysville
apartment of the man who shot and killed four people at the Alrosa Villa
music venue in Columbus.
People across the world are wondering who Nathan Gale is.
Gale, 25, of Marysville forced his way onstage at the Alrosa Villa
nightclub Wednesday night and shot "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, 39, of the
band Damageplan and formerly Pantera. He fired three to four bullets at
Abbott's head during the first song of the night, in front of more than
200 people. The shooting of Abbott and three other victims has been
called the worst thing to happen in heavy metal music history.
The Columbus Police Department has now released all the victims' names,
including audience member Nathan Bray, 23, of Grove City, Erin Halk, 29,
of Upper Arlington and Jeff Thompson, 40, a Damageplan employee. Gale
then threatened to shoot a hostage before he was fatally shot by
Columbus police officer James D. Niggemeyer.
Searching for people in Marysville who knew Gale has led to an
impression of his being a typical loner no one knew but one who
reportedly was capable of being violent. Many people knew him but none
knew him well. Columbus police reported that no one will ever know why
Gale went to Alrosa Villa that night unless some type of note is
discovered.
As recently as Dec. 1, Gale walked into Lee Dog's Locker Room in
downtown Marysville and filled out an application to work as a bouncer.
In the application, Gale described himself as a student of Benjamin
Logan grammar school for two years, Marysville High School for two years
and Ohio Hi-Point for two years. He wrote that he was a soldier in the
United States Marine Corps and had a brown belt in judo.
Oddly enough, one week after trying to become a bouncer to protect
patrons at Lee Dog's Locker Room, Gale would kill patrons and fight
bouncers at the Alrosa Villa. Business owner Lee Alderson said the
application was unsolicited and Gale was not hired.
In the application, Gale wrote he had been employed at Minit Lube from
Oct. 30, 2003 until March of this year, was a landscaper with a company
in Plain City from March to July of 2004 and more recently worked
numerous odd jobs for Manpower.
Maggie's Restaurant waitress Emi Walden said she waited on Gale two
weeks ago. He often came down from his upstairs apartment at 111 1/2 W.
Fifth St. to eat.
"He was a big guy but he was very soft spoken," Walden said. "He was
always very nice."
She said Gale came in and hung out, sitting on the floor and playing
with toy cars with the children there. What she does know is that he
always ate alone.
Gale made a different impression on the owners and patrons of the Bear's
Den Tattoo Parlor across the street from his apartment. He often made
people feel uncomfortable there by reportedly staring at them or forcing
them into odd conversations.
Patron Travis Organ said Gale was always very interested in making
friends with people who played guitar. That meant he spent a lot of time
hanging around Bear's Den tattoo artist and guitar player, Bo Toler.
Toler said Thursday night that he may have been the last person to
encounter Gale before the shooting. He said Gale came into the shop
around 6 p.m. Wednesday as he had done on many other occasions.
"He was asking about how he could buy a tattoo machine," Toler said. "I
told him it is illegal to own a tattoo machine without a license. He
swore at me and starting shouting 'You're a liar.' Then he left with a
lot of attitude. It was the first time I ever noticed his temper."
Toler said Gale used to hang out with him in his apartment.
"I used to play guitar for him," he said. "He told me he was a bass
player long ago and that was about the only thing we could connect to."
Toler said he never really got to know Gale very well and that he never
once mentioned Pantera, nor did he ever talk about being in the
military.
"He never really said much," Toler said. "I'm extremely disappointed .
At this point, I wish he was still alive so I could ask him why he did
it. It's a big question mark."
Bear's Den co-owner Lucas Bender said he always tried to keep Gale's
time in the shop brief. He said Gale gave people a weird feeling.
"He was always looking around at the floor and when you talked to him he
would snap up quick and look surprised, like he was stepping out of some
kind of trance," Bender said.
He said Gale would just be around for no reason and when he left people
would ask, "What was up with that guy?"
Organ said he once witnessed a bit of Gale's obsession for the band
Pantera.
"One time I told him I hated Pantera and he kicked me out of his
apartment," Organ said.
Some Marysville residents may have their opinion of what kind of person
Gale was and why he ended up killing four people at Alrosa Villa on
Sinclair Road in Columbus. However, the only people who may truly know
why Gale did what he did is his immediate family. To date, Gale's mother
and two brothers have not issued any statements.


Habitat for Humanity group forming
By CINDY BRAKE
Overall property values increased in Union County from 5 to 10 percent
within the past three years.
Union County Auditor Mary Snider recently mailed letters to all property
owners showing reevaluations on land and buildings in the county. The
letters she sends are not required but she hopes they will assist
property owners in planning their budgets.
The revaluation is actually the triennial update mandated by the Ohio
Revised Code and Department of Taxation, Snider said. A brochure from
her office states that "the revaluation helps assure that each person
pays only their fair share of the tax burden. One of the program's
primary purposes is equalizing the value of each parcel as it compares
with other properties."
Overall, Snider said, values of Union County's more than 23,000 parcels
increased from 5 to 10 percent, although CAUV (agricultural) land values
dropped an average of 30 percent depending upon the soil type. Values
are meant to be close to market value.
The reevaluations were conducted by Appraisal Research Corporation of
Findlay over the past six months.
Susan I. Maag, a manager of technical services with Appraisal Research,
explained that the update did not look at each individual house but
conducted a statistical analysis instead of looking at neighborhoods and
sales.
Snider said this update is the smallest increase that she recalls, with
past increases averaging between 30 and 40 percent.
A comparison of tax duplicates shows that the county's total value was
$1,101,996,120 in 2003. The estimated 2004 value is $1,251,757,800.
The largest percentage increase, 17 percent, is in residential parcels.
The 2003 value was $538,701,000. The 2004 estimated value is
$631,019,670.
Values of agricultural parcels decreased 6 percent from $128,542,750 to
$120,597,740.
Commercial values increased 16 percent. The 2003 value was $96958,810.
The 2004 estimated value is $113,149,260.
Industrial values increased by 14 percent from $82,198,590 to
$93,530,160.
Liberty Township, Marysville School District, has the highest valuation
of agricultural parcels. Paris Township, Marysville, has the highest
valuation of residential and commercial parcels. Allen Township,
Marysville, has the highest valuation of industrial parcels.
Parcel values and taxes are two different issues, Snider points out.
She welcomes any taxpayer to contact her office if they have questions
about the value change and are able to correct clerical errors. Her
office telephone number is 645-3003 or (800) 258-8278, extension 3003.
Appraisers will be in the office Thursday and Friday.
Taxpayer questioning the appraisal need to contact the board of revision
between Jan. 1 and March 31 and complete a complaint form which is
available at her office.
Information on individual parcels is available via the Internet by
accessing the county website (www.co.union.oh.us) and going to the
auditor, then click parcel search, fill in the parcel number and go to
appraisal information and levy information.

From pastime to passion
By CINDY BRAKE
Eleanor Gay of Ostrander is a bronze lifemaster in the card game of
bridge. She is also a good example of the old adage that 'practice makes
perfect.'
Gay is the first to admit that the game of bridge is very complicated
but that hasn't stopped her from trying to master it. She said she
wasn't very good for a long time but that hasn't stopped her from
gaining more than 500 points in competitive play. This is monumental,
considering that the average number of points she earns a week ranges
from one-half to one point.
Her venture into bridge began with the help of her mother when she was a
high school student in New Jersey. While a student at Ohio Wesleyan in
Delaware, she played socially -  on and off - but very badly, she said,
adding that it was just a way to pass the time.
"I was never very serious," Gay said about her bridge playing.
Over the years, she married, raised two daughters, taught third and
fourth grade, worked as a principal and spent 20 years as a school
guidance counselor.
She remembers playing"duplicate bridge for a couple years, but said her
bridge skills were "terrible, terrible ... just guessing."
Out of frustration, she decided to take a lesson. One lesson led to
another and another and another until she had taken classes in
introductory bridge, defense, declarer play and advanced defense. She
has taken the advanced defense class four times and says she still has a
lot to learn.
"You never stop learning," Gay said.
After one of her first classes, her teacher told her to go to a club and
start playing with other people. So she went with her daughter and lost
a lot but she said she was hooked and eager to earn points in black,
red, gold and silver.
"We were thrilled to get third," Gay said.
Once-a-week games turned into twice a week and then four times a week.
Attending one of the two bridge clubs in the Columbus area, Gay found a
whole new world of bridge of friendly competition with strict rules that
included no talking and the use of bidding boxes. Average games last
three hours
After retiring as a guidance counselor and with the death of her
husband, Gay decided she was going to do the things she and her husband
had always wanted to do so she began traveling all over the world. Her
first trip was to Eqypt and the Mediterranean. Her favorite trip was to
southeast Asia. This year she went to the Black Sea.
She has combined her love of travel and bridge to include several
tournaments across the United States every year. She spent this past
Thanksgiving in Orlando at a tournament with friends. It is only by
attending tournaments that serious players can reach the landmark
lifemaster rank.
When asked if she had any good luck charms, Gay presented a lot of
novelty items she has purchased at various tournaments but said bridge
is not about luck as much as it is about thinking.
To earn the title of lifemaster, Gay passed through the ranks of rookie,
junior, club, sectional and regional with points ranging from zero to
300. She is very modest about her achievements and readily points to
others who have earned the honors of silver, gold, diamond, emerald and
platinum.
"Every card tells a story," Gay said.

Local man kills four
Nathan Gale gunned down four at nightclub in Columbus before being
killed by police
By RYAN HORNS
A Marysville man was shot and killed by Columbus police Wednesday night
after he allegedly opened fire on a national band performing at the
Alrosa Villa on Sinclair Road in Columbus.
Nathan Gale, 25, of 111 1/2 E. Fifth St. reportedly jumped on stage at
the nightclub just after 10 p.m. during the Damageplan concert and began
firing a hand gun. Five people are now reportedly dead as a result,
including Gale who was killed by police.
A Columbus police spokesman reported that Gale forced his way on to the
stage and shot members of Damageplan in front of about 200 people.
Damageplan guitarist Darrel "Dimebag" Abbott, 39, a former member of the
group Pantera, was reportedly killed first. Three others were killed
before a Columbus police officer arrived at the scene.
The officer entered the club and confronted Gale, who was reportedly
holding a hostage.
The officer shot and killed Gale.
Police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio reportedly identified three of the
victims as Abbott and two other men, fan Nathan Bray, 23, and Erin Halk,
29. The fourth victim's name has not been reported.
Damage Plan contained two former members of the widely popular metal
band Pantera. The group disbanded and Damageplan started in its place.
Witnesses reported that Gale was shouting about the band breakup before
the shooting.
Marysville assistant police chief Glenn Nicol said this morning that he
went to Gale's apartment with Columbus police investigators to search
for evidence and speak with Gale's mother, Mary Clark, also of
Marysville.
Clark may have lived there because her name and contact information are
written on the apartment mail box. She was unavailable for comment this
morning and did not return phone calls. Nicol said Gale lived alone.
Nicol said all information on what the search revealed had to come from
Columbus police, who were not available for comment before press time.
What Nicol could provide was a list of Gale's involvement with
Marysville police which stretches back to 1999. None of the offenses
were serious and police did not have a mug shot on file. He said that
Gale is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs approximately 225 pounds.
"We had involvement with him generally on non-custodial arrests," Nicol
said, "which means he was just cited and then released."
Nicol reported Gale was charged in August 1997 for criminal trespassing
after skateboarding at the Kmart on North Main Street; June 1999 for
criminal trespassing after continually sleeping in a local park; and
October 2000 he was charged with driving under suspension; later that
year he reportedly stole a balance scale from his work place at
Industrial Ceramics; in December 2002 he was a witness in a vandalism of
a store window and in October of this year, he was a witness in the
vandalism of a window kicked out of a downtown business; last month he
was charged again with driving under suspension.
Gale is a 1998 graduate of Marysville High School, although he took
classes through Ohio Hi-Point Joint Vocational School in Bellefontaine.
He reportedly studied and completed the construction trade electrical
program there. He transferred to Marysville from the Benjamin Logan
School District in mid November of 1996.
Gale reportedly enlisted in the United States Marine Corps but
unconfirmed reports indicate he was discharged. Nicol said Gale had
reportedly been out of the Marines for a year.


FCCLA plays Santa to 25 children
From J-T staff reports:
Family, Career and Community Leaders of America held their 32nd annual
Christmas party for less fortunate children at Marysville High School
Wednesday afternoon.
Twenty-five children under school age attended and received a large
Santa gift, personalized filled stocking, hats and mittens, coloring
book and crayons, reading book, tree ornament, a dozen cut-out cookies
that they decorated and frosted, a present from an FCCLA member, candy
cane Rudolph, reindeer dust, angel sucker and a candy cane mouse. Each
family received a turkey, bag of apples, bag of oranges and a picture of
their children with Santa.
At the party the children made a card for their parents and a snowman
puppet, sang songs, played "Put the Nose on Rudolph" and sat on Santa's
lap.
FCCLA received donations from the community. Those who donated were
Nelson Auto Group, $200; Moose Lodge, $300; Pat Niple, $200; anonymous
donor, $100; Mother's Study Support League, $100; Pocohontas Lodge
Number 32, $50; Cannizzaro, Fraser, Bridges, Jillisky Law Firm, $200;
Kroger, $200; Tom and Amy McCarthy, $400 in stuffed animals, and Big
Lots, $15 in coloring books, which was a total of $1,765.
The advisors of FCCLA are Nancy White, Faith Still, Kristen Scott and
Nancy Streng


Names released of Richwood area fire victims
From J-T staff reports:
Victims from Wednesday morning's fire near Richwood have been identified
as William "B.J." Channell, 8, and his 9-year-old brother, Brett.
Both were killed in the fire at a home on Fulton Creek Road, east of
Richwood.
The Channell family had  been living at the residence for just over a
week, according to reports.
The victims' mother, Debbie Channell, and her five children moved to
Starke, Fla., near Jacksonville from the Plain City area last summer.
They soon returned to Ohio because the children were reportedly not
happy there. They then moved in with Fulton Creek Road homeowner and
Scotts Company employee Ed Norris.
The four oldest children reportedly had enrolled at the North Union
Elementary School on Dec. 1.
The fire remains under investigation by the Northern Union County Fire
Department, the Union County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire
Marshal.
The home was reportedly heated only through the use of space heaters.
However, authorities have not stated whether the heaters were connected
to the fire.

Young boys killed in fire
By RYAN HORNS
An early morning fire in northern Union County claimed the lives of two
young boys today.
According to Northern Union County Fire Department Chief Todd German, at
1:51 a.m. his department received a call about a large fire at 10510
Fulton Creek Road, east of Richwood. The blaze ultimately took the lives
of 8-year-old and 9-year-old brothers who were reportedly trapped inside
the home. The two victims were recently enrolled students at North Union
Elementary School.
German said this morning that he was unable to release the names of the
victims until the remaining family members had been contacted. He
expected later today he would be able to provide that information. He
also reported that investigators are unsure at this time how the fire
started. It resulted in a total loss of the home.
"The cause and origin of the fire are totally under investigation," he
said.
German said a problem with residents finding a telephone to call
dispatchers delayed emergency response.
"We suspect there was some difficulty in finding a telephone," German
said, "There was no telephone in the house. One of the young male
occupants ran to the nearest house, which was some 100 yards away but
that home didn't have a telephone, either. So he must have just run
until there was a house with a telephone."
German said at about the same time a Battle Run Fire Department employee
was on his way home from Marion, witnessed the house in flames and
called emergency responders. That call ended up reaching the Richwood
Fire Department shortly after the young male was able to reach a home
with a telephone.
Upon arrival of the fire department, German said, the two-story house
was "well-involved" in flames. He said four of the occupants were able
to make it outside to safety but the two young male victims were still
inside in a second floor bedroom.
"Crews were able to gain access to the second floor window," German
said. "But then the fire flashed over and (firemen) were forced to
retreat. They sustained some minor injuries from that."
German said firefighters were then forced to deal with the fire from an
outside attack with hoses and later were able to remove the victims.
He said that mutual aid was provided by Leesburg Township, Marysville,
Allen Township, Raymond Township, Battle Run and Radnor fire
departments. The fire is being investigated by the Ohio State Fire
Marshall, the Union County Sheriff's Office and the Union County
Coroner. The Union County Red Cross has been contacted to help the
family.
At around 11 a.m. fire crews were still on the scene tending to hot
spots. At that time a grenade was reportedly found in the burned home
and German said that had to be dealt with.
"I understand they did find that," German said. "So we called folks in
from the military to find out if it is a relic or a dud. Basically,
we're just playing it safe."
No further information on the grenade or its relation to the fire was
available at presstime.
North Union Elementary school nurse Cheryl Skeins said this morning that
she went into classrooms with the school's guidance counselor to talk to
students about the deaths of the two boys.
"We went into the classrooms and told the class what had happened and
let them know if they have any questions we would be there to talk all
day," Skeins said.
She also reported some of the younger second graders had more questions
about what happened and were having a harder time dealing with the
deaths than older students.

N.L. Council handles  procedural issues
From J-T staff reports:
North Lewisburg City council passed a resolution on Tuesday night that
will require the public to give 48-hour notice prior to a meeting in
order to be included on that meeting's agenda.
The village has made area residents aware of this new policy in the
community newsletter. The mayor and council members always encourage
public attendance at all regularly scheduled meetings.
Council president, Steve Wilson, reminded everyone about North
Lewisburg's "Winter Wonderland" celebration on Sunday, December 19. The
schedule of events includes food to be served at 5 p.m. featuring chili.
There will be a cakewalk at 6:30 p.m. and the parade will begin at 7
p.m. Other events include a scavenger hunt, caroling, live nativity
scene and visits with Santa.
Wilson also asked for volunteers to help illuminate the trees along
Route 245 west of the village square down to Steve's Deli. Volunteers
will gather to light the trees on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
Barry First, administrator, presented information to council on the
honoring of Max Coates, former village mayor, as the American Red Cross
Champaign County Chapter 2004 Humanitarian of the year.
Coates, a lifelong North Lewisburg resident, served as mayor of the
village from 1974 to 2003. As described by the Champaign county chapter,
the Humanitarian award is intended to celebrate Coates' voluntary
service and philanthropic support for the local organization.
Mayor Dick Willis gave the Champaign County Sheriff's office report for
the village. In November there were five traffic citations issued, four
warnings issued for traffic violations, 12 incident reports taken, 22
cases of assistance given to citizens, three arrests made, eight civil
and criminal papers served, 35 follow-up investigations completed, five
open doors and five instances of juvenile contact.
The next council meeting will be Jan. 4.


Triad forced to cut staff
By CORINNE BIX
Deep regret was the resounding sentiment at last night's special meeting
of the Triad school board.
Board members met to approve more cuts to the district budget in light
of the failed levy attempt last month.
"Nothing that I'm going to propose is good," superintendent, Dan
Kaffenbarger said. "Everything I give you (on the agenda) this evening I
do with a great sense of regret."
The board approved to cut three certified personnel, which include Holly
Hall as elementary music teacher, Carrie Mason in middle school guidance
and Jacquie Smith as high school intervention specialist. Linda Hixson
in the classified position of nurse's aide will also be eliminated for
the 2005-2006 school year.
The board accepted the resignation of Erin Andrews as middle school math
teacher effective as the end of the 2004-2005 school year. This position
will not be filled with a new hire.
Two position reassignments were approved for William McDaniel as
part-time athletic director and part-time high school science and Orrin
Stanforth as part-time high school science and part-time middle school
math.
The board also approved the co-curricular/extra-curricular athletic
policy change to a pay to participate policy for the 2005-2006 school
year. Lastly, the board approved to not replace the vacated middle
school custodial position.
Kaffenbarger made the board aware that the district is currently out of
compliance with the state of Ohio administrative code by not having a
full-time high school principal. Kaffenbarger currently serves as the
high school principal in addition to serving as superintendent for the
district.
Treasurer Jill Smith treasurer explained that even though the state has
the power to shut down the district because it is not in compliance, in
all likelihood that wouldn't happen given the dire financial restraints
that forced the board to approve the sharing of positions last spring.
However, the district's legal advisors have instructed the
administration and the board to hire a full-time high school principal
soon.
Kaffenbarger said the district must submit a cost reduction plan to the
Ohio Department of Education (ODE), Area 2, by Jan. 21. The district
will have to submit a course of action that will put them in the black
by fiscal year 2006.
The ODE does have the power to not approve the current cost reduction
plan if they feel the district is not allowing for a sufficient cushion
of funds. Smith said the district didn't anticipate any problems with
the plan being accepted because of plans that were accepted in years
past.
Kaffenbarger also shared with the board that the original proposed
closing of the high school cafeteria would not save the district any
money.
"It didn't seem prudent to shut something down that was paying for
itself," Smith explained.
Kaffenbarger closed by telling the board that despite the cuts made
there was no way of knowing what the year would hold, given unforeseen
expenditures.
"There is no guarantee that the cuts we are going to make tonight will
see us through the year," he said.
If the district is forced to make additional cuts in the coming months,
personnel will again suffer. Kaffenbarger said that in 26 years of
education the eliminating of jobs is the hardest thing he has had to do.

The next regular board meeting will be on Dec. 13.


Jerome trustees rescind actions
By CINDY BRAKE
No new attorney, no cemetery fence, no referendum - the Jerome Township
Board of Trustees rescinded three resolutions at Monday's regular
meeting.
Each resolution was rescinded for different reasons.
Trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe said the township's zoning commission cannot
hire an attorney for legal advice and thus a November resolution
approved by herself and trustee Freeman May to appropriate $10,000 to
the zoning commission to hire an attorney is invalid. Trustee Ron Rhodes
voted against the original resolution. All three trustees voted to
rescind the resolution. Wolfe said Union County Prosecuting Attorney
Alison Boggs had advised the board that the zoning commission could hire
an advisor but not an attorney for legal opinions.
Wolfe said there were problems with another November resolution passed
by herself and May to spend $48,102 for a three-sided fence and electric
gate at the Jerome Cemetery. Wolfe said the project must be bid. All
three trustees voted to rescind the resolution.
The third resolution to be rescinded concerned a referendum petition.
Township resident Jesse Dickinson had filed two referendum petitions.
May and Wolfe approved two resolutions to accept the petitions.
The petitions concern the same property which is 108.315 acres along
Industrial Parkway and was referred to as the Preserve in New
California. The township's zoning commission's recommended rezoning the
land from U1 to PUD.
At a Sept. 17 special meeting, trustee Rhodes abstained from voting on
the recommendation, trustee May was absent and trustee Wolfe voted
against the zoning commission's recommendation. On Oct. 4 the resolution
for rezoning was again presented at a regular board meeting with Rhodes
voting yes. May and Wolfe voted no.
Monday night attorney Don McTique, representing New California Woods
Limited, asked the board to rescind one resolution, explaining that the
referendum on the Sept. 17 resolution was filed on a "non action." Boggs
agreed.
"Legally I am advising the board again you didn't act" on Sept. 17,
Boggs said Monday night. "This did not happen. It is a void resolution."

McTique said the Sept. 17 meeting also was a violation of the state open
meetings act.
After much discussion and inquiries into the Ohio Revised Code, May and
Rhodes voted to rescind the referendum made in the Sept. 17 meeting and
Wolfe abstained.
After a 30-minute executive session to discuss pending litigation with
Boggs, Wolfe and May voted to pay $1,400 to township resident Fred Yoder
for use of his storage building. Rhodes voted no, saying the offer was
not a fair and adequate settlement of the account.
In August Yoder attended a regular meeting saying he was making one last
effort for the township to make good on an oral agreement made almost
three years ago. He said the township had stored road salt at his barn
for 34 months at a cost of $130 a month. At that time, he said an offer
of $1,400 from the trustees for the $4,400 bill was a "slap in the
face."
Monday night during the public comment time, Yoder called the most
recent offer "disingenuous."
Another citizen, Bob Long, said the situation was "really sad,"
considering the fact that the township has an $800,000 surplus of funds
and used Yoder's property at a low rate.
Yoder also asked why no repairs had been made on Rickard Road. He said
that he believed he knocked his truck out of alignment this week while
traveling on the road and reminded the board that he had raised a
concern six months ago about the road's poor condition. May, who
oversees the road division, responded by saying he thought the public
road should be condemned.
The board also discussed extensively a general zoning question about the
business subdivision. Boggs explained that the B1 definition does not
exist anymore but businesses created under that definition are
considered pre-existing, non-conforming uses. The B1 uses remain with
the parcel, although they cannot be enlarged, regardless of the sale of
the property or any change in zoning by the township. The only reason
the B1 business could be removed is if it ceases operation for more than
30 days.
In other business:
. Wolfe said the board would discuss creating an architectural review
board at the Dec. 20 meeting.
. Jerome Township Fire Chief Scott Skeldon said a new hospital planned
for the area will include 250 beds and 20 emergency room beds. He said
the emergency room would provide basic care, although he expects
services to escalate. He said no trauma, burn or pediatric care is
planned for the emergency room. Skeldon said the new facility would cut
transport time for the local emergency services.
. The township received a $49,100 grant for communication equipment,
Skeldon said.
. Wolfe voted to approve minutes for a meeting she was not present at.

Downtown continues to be priority
By RYAN HORNS
A group of volunteers known as URT exist to pull Marysville back in
time, back to when the city's downtown was something more meaningful.
City economic development director, Eric Phillips, spoke on behalf of
the group known as the Marysville Uptown Renewal Team Thursday at a
special meeting involving several city council members, county
commissioner Gary Lee and numerous URT members.
During the city council meeting later that night, council members voted
to adopt a resolution appointing URT as the official downtown
revitalization committee.
"It exists to revitalize the downtown area and make it what it once
was," Phillips said.
In April 2005 the Downtown Ohio team, made up of people associated with
Heritage Ohio, spent two days touring Marysville. The groups help Ohio
cities organize their economic development and make their downtown
businesses flourish.
Since April, volunteers and city officials have spent numerous hours
laying down the foundation for URT, Phillips said. He explained that
their first priority was to adopt a "Can Do" spirit outlined by author
Jack Schultz in his book, "Boomtown USA." Phillips said the group has
grown to include numerous "energetic individuals" who care about the
city.
Phillips said that throughout the remainder of 2004 the URT group
accomplished its goals to set up its infrastructure and to create four
related committees to meet once or twice a month on revitalization
issues. Now they will begin designing plans with help from the
Architectural Review Board and county zoning inspector Sonny Montgomery.

Phillips said their goals for 2005 will include creating signage on the
highways leading into Marysville which will clear up which exit takes
drivers directly downtown - long a complaint made by visitors. The new
signs will also label the downtown as Marysville's Historic District.
There will also be signs directing drivers to public parking.
Other projects underway will create a Marysville Historic Walking Tour
created by the Union County Historical Society, he said and their goal
will be to place the tour on-line.
Another plan for URT is to reorganize what exactly the downtown is by
expanding the area by several blocks.
A part of Marysville's heritage comes from its business association with
The Scotts Company, he said. URT would like to place a historical marker
on the first Scotts building in Marysville.
In other plans, URT has redesigned its newsletter, created bookmarks
explaining its goals and will begin passing out buttons supporting the
group.
Downtown Ohio's Pauline Eaton also spoke at the meeting and explained
why Heritage Ohio has been working for communities. She said it's
programs have been bringing an average community investment ratio of
$50.95 for every one dollar put into revitalization since 2000
One of the great things she learned about Marysville is that people like
to be outdoors.
"Every time I have been here all of these people want to walk
everywhere," Eaton said.
Their goal is to help Marysville create more community pride and
increase the quality of life. But she said it takes a partnership and it
is beneficial to have city council members, city administrators and
county commissioners on board supporting URT.
 Eaton said, as a council member in the city of Galion, funds were
appropriated for revitalization efforts every year.
"You need to support programs that benefit the downtown," she said.
In Lorain County, she said, commissioners set aside $100,000 of CDBG
grant funds for help fund downtown renewal for a three-year trial
period. When the trial was over they voted overwhelmingly to keep the
process going because it had resulted in a $12 to $1 ratio on their
investment.
Eaton said there were sometimes commissioners who felt it wasn't in
their best interest to help one city over another but, she said, a
county needs to take pride in its county seat.
"You should never have to apologize for making the birthplace of your
community important," Eaton said.
Council president Nevin Taylor assured the group the city was on board.
"We believe in the program and we think it will fly," he said.


 

Income tax change debated
City wants commuters to pay same rate as those who work in Marysville
By RYAN HORNS
Is Marysville trying to sneak a disguised tax in for commuters or is it
a justified tweak to help the city prosper?
Marysville resident Mark McGinley spoke to city council Thursday night
on behalf of residents who live in the city but commute to jobs in other
areas. He disagrees with the ordinance amending and repealing certain
sections of Chapter 141 of the codified ordinances of the city to remove
the credit for taxes paid to other municipalities.
In essence, McGinley said, the ordinance is just a tax increase for
commuters.
"We really don't need more taxes right now," McGinley said.
With gasoline prices up 40 percent, he said commuters are already facing
tight budgets. He feels the city wants an image more attractive to
higher income homeowners. If this is the case, what is to stop commuters
from building homes outside Marysville and avoiding the excessive taxes?
He said he understands the city is trying to fill its deficit budget but
he would like them to reconsider.
"What's going to happen next year when there is another budget deficit?"
he asked.
Council president Nevin Taylor said this ordinance is about finally
putting all residents on the same tax scale. Commuters technically are
away from the city one-third of their time and spend the remaining
two-thirds in town, they use city utilities just the same and they were
getting a tax credit. He also noted that the ordinance is not just about
balancing the budget, it's about fixing city roads that everyone travels
on and paying for a new wastewater treatment center and stormwater
repairs. He said he supports the ordinance.
Councilman John Gore said he also commutes to Columbus for work everyday
and the ordinance affects him as well. He noted that he understands and
agrees with some of McGinley's points.
"But the time has come when people have to decide what kind of community
they want to live in," Gore said.
The needs of the city, he said, require the funds to make a strong
infrastructure in order to attract businesses and grow.
"This is something we have to do," Gore said.
He noted that many people also don't understand that from city property
taxes, Marysville does not receive much. The majority of it goes to the
schools and the county.
The second reading of the ordinance was then passed by council. The next
reading will take place at the Dec. 16 meeting.
The city added seven ordinances at the top of the meeting to the consent
calendar. The reason given was that the items came too late to add to
the final agenda list. All seven deal with setting up additional
controversial 30-year Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) for new
developments such as Galbury Meadows on Route 38 at Route 736; The Links
going into the same general area; Keystone Crossing; Chestnut Park as a
through street for Keystone Crossing; Adena Pointe off Weaver Road; the
Walker Meadows development at Boerger Road and Route 38; and one in Mill
Valley.
Mayor Tom Kruse said the TIFS will pay for the developments' impact on
the city, provide funding for the new wastewater treatment plant and
lessen the economic impact on residents. He also noted that the TIF near
Mill Valley alone will be able to fund the construction of a new school
for that area.
"That's a pretty astounding thing," Kruse said.
More discussion on the TIFS will take place during the public hearings
for the ordinances at the next council meeting.
In other discussions:
Planning Commission chairman Alan Seymour said the design review
discussions with Wal-Mart are going well.
"I think we're making very good progress and working hard to end up with
a statement that is not just another Super Center," he said.
There have been two meetings so far with Wal-Mart architects to come up
with a design plan that will compliment the Coleman's Crossing
development and provide a nice entrance to the Marysville community.
"Are they responding to your requests?" councilman Ed Pleasant asked.
Seymour said the architects have responded by adding more brick and a
more natural-looking fašade. He said the commission got its point across
Wednesday night that they are also looking for a different variation in
style. The two groups will meet again on Dec. 20

Jail  director to leave
By RYAN HORNS
The Tri-County Jail will head into the new year looking for a new
director.
Members of the Tri-County Corrections Commission accepted Dan Bratka's
resignation Thursday afternoon.
"I have been offered and accepted a position that I could not turn
down," Bratka wrote in his resignation letter. "Effective Jan. 3, 2005,
I will become a magistrate in the Juvenile Probate Court of Logan
County."
Bratka turned in his resignation last week. Commissioners will now begin
the process of advertising to find a replacement. His last day in office
will be Dec. 31 and he will use three weeks of vacation time until Jan.
21. Commission members have not announced if there will be an interim
director in Bratka's place.
Champaign County judge Roger Wilson said that it was with reluctance he
voted to accept Bratka's resignation.
"He has done a fine job," Wilson said, "especially since his return from
active duty in the service . He has really moved the jail forward."
Champaign County Commissioner Bob Corbett said he too accepted the
resignation with regret. He added that running the Tri-County Regional
Jail is no easy job.
"He truly knows this jail inside and out. He has been here since
construction," Union County Commissioner Gary Lee said. "We're going to
lose a lot of internal knowledge."
"Would it do any good to vote no on a resignation?" Madison County
Commissioner David Dhume joked.
"The decision to leave did not come lightly," Bratka wrote in his
letter. "I want to sincerely thank the present Tri-County Corrections
Commission and all former board members for the opportunity that you
have given to me. The almost seven years that I have been here were very
enjoyable and enlightening, although filled with highs and lows, such as
the fire during construction."
Commission members also thanked Madison County Sheriff Steve Saltsman,
commission chair, who will be leaving as well. Saltsman said he has
spent the past 44 years in public service and will be leaving his
position after the new year. Bratka pointed out that Saltsman was on
duty in the FBI when President John Kennedy was shot, as an example of
his history.
In discussions during the meeting, commissioners commented that there
have been improvements in jail finance areas.
"I equate the good budget with the kitchen," Bratka said. He explained
that work has been completed with the kitchen to provide better meals
and save money at the same time.
"I see a lot of improvements," Corbett said. "Not just in the
cafeteria."
Lee pointed out that the jail appears to be in better shape on overtime
pay than in years before.
"Two years ago it was a real concern," he said.
Bratka said it was partly due to a freeze policy which provides that if
there are fewer than seven people on staff and someone calls in sick,
the overtime is taken over by seniority. If employees do not take the
overtime they can be given a freeze on their shift.
He said the changes are also due to the fact that since July the jail
has had a full staff.
In other discussions, Bratka reported the jail was experiencing sewage
problems in the line leading to the Mechanicsburg plant.
"Over the past two months there have been massive amounts of everything
but what should be going down the toilets," he said.
Anything from bed sheets, shirts, underwear and towels have been flushed
regularly by inmates.
He said steps have been taken by taking away the inmates' use of the
commissary and having staff be more careful in clothing and bed material
exchanges. For the past two weeks it appears to have been working.
"It's amazing to me how a full sheet can get flushed down the toilet,"
Bratka said.
"They've got 24 hours a day to figure it out," Saltsman pointed out.


Remains bring closure for family
Local resident remembers sister, Stacey Colbert
By RYAN HORNS
The skeletal remains found in Delaware County last weekend have brought
closure for a Marysville resident.
According to reports released Wednesday by Delaware County sheriff's
officials and Columbus Police, the remains found near Radnor in Delaware
County were those of a missing Columbus woman named Stacey B. Colbert.
Colbert has been missing since March of 1998. She was 23 years old when
she disappeared and despite intensive searches, was never found. She was
described by family members as a hard working person who balanced her
work ethics with a delightful personality.
Colbert's sister Danielle Nusbaum, 32, lives in Marysville and said
Thursday morning that it was difficult to hear the news but it is a
relief to know that there are finally some answers.
Local law enforcement agencies had been trying to determine if the
remains belonged to missing Marysville resident Patricia Adkins, who has
been missing since 2001. After the identity of the Delaware victim was
revealed, it was a surprise to find the news still affected a Marysville
resident.
After Colbert disappeared, her sister said her family knew right away
something was wrong. She said her sister was a very goal oriented person
who never went longer than one or two days without contacting the family
and who always showed up for work.
But Nusbaum said Colbert was last seen by a pizza delivery man at her
apartment on Kenny Road on the northwest side of Columbus. Police also
told her Colbert's neighbor reportedly heard a scream.
"You just know something is wrong," Nusbaum said. "Me and my sister were
only two years different in age and we just lived 2.1 miles apart. We
were very close."
In the meantime, her family continued to hold on to some hope she would
be found and Columbus police homicide detective David Morris was busy
investigating the case.
After many years of hearing reports of victim's remains found throughout
Central Ohio, Nusbaum said this time around it was different. She was
driving in the car with her husband when they learned that remains had
been found in Delaware County.
"It was more of a surprise," she said. "I had been really busy and I
wasn't monitoring the newspapers."
Their hopes were also low because law enforcement believed the body
belonged to a woman possibly in her 40s.
"But you always think, 'What if this is the one?'" Nusbaum said. "There
is always a glimmer of hope in the back of your mind."
Then on Wednesday forensic dentists at the Ohio State University matched
Colbert's dental X-rays to the teeth in the skull and skeleton found by
hunters Saturday afternoon.
The information provided by forensics also brought closure to her family
and ended almost seven years of searching. Now Nusbaum hopes to learn
who could have killed her sister so many years ago and if there will be
justice served.
"I hope that they find the person - some forensic evidence," Nusbaum
said, "so that whoever did this can't do it to anyone else - so it can
bring our family some resolve."
For now Nusbaum would like people to know that the imprint of Colbert's
life was felt by many.
"She was such an energetic bubbly person, very happy go-lucky," she
said.
Her sister was a person who overcame an eye problem from a disability
and ended up going on to high school and later Ohio State University.
She was then hired by American Electric Power and became a very
successful marketing person.
"She overcame a lot," Nusbaum said. "I just want people to know how much
of a wonderful, loving person she was and that many people will hold the
imprint she left in life very close."
Nusbaum also said there is a web site people can view at
www.staceybethcolbert.com where many friends and family have written
about her.
"There are a lot of memories out there from over the years," Nusbaum
said.
Authorities have listed Colbert's death as a homicide and now hope the
discovery of her remains will bring out new leads in her case. Anyone
with information about the murder of Colbert is asked to contact the
Delaware County Sheriff's Office at (740) 833-2895.

Council eyes rezoning three areas
By RYAN HORNS
The topic of rezoning for developments coming into Marysville was a hot
topic at council Thursday.
Three ordinances on the agenda will attempt to rezone land in the city.
The first rezones 64.597 acres at 14180 Route 38 from Agricultural
Zoning District (A-R) to Suburban Residential Zoning District (S-R). The
ordinance was forwarded to council at the request of the planning
commission. Commission chairman Alan Seymour said the rezoning would
compliment the surrounding area as well as Boerger Road.
The second ordinance would rezone 18.240 acres on Weaver Road from U-1
Township Zoning to Medium Density Single Family Residential District.
Resident Larry Ahlers spoke out against the ordinance. He explained that
the land has been used agriculturally and should stay that way. Five
years ago, he said, the same property went up for rezoning and was
struck down by council and remained agricultural.
"Things haven't changed from then," Ahlers said.
He also explained that the property is a natural catch basin for large
volumes of rain water coming off surrounding developments. The situation
will only get worse as more homes go in.
Seymour explained that the current U-1 Township zoning is outdated and
could allow for a developer to put in numerous multi-family residential
lots with up to four units per building. This rezoning would allow for
only single-family residences to be constructed.
Council members wondered why the property could not be rezoned to A-R
and remain agricultural, especially since the land was not fit for home
construction due to flooding.
Councilman Mark Reams pointed out that all the adjacent property owners
live outside of Marysville, except for Ahlers.
"They don't have quite the vested interested," he said. "I think we
should think of Larry."
The third reading will take place at the Dec. 30 meeting.
The third rezoning ordinance regards 45.33 acres on Route 38 at Route
736. Victor Steinfels spoke on behalf of the Galbury Group which is
developing the property.
Steinfels explained the process of how designs have changed at the
request of Boerger Road property owners. Originally, designs called for
small lots with high-density housing. This idea was slowly picked away
by Boerger Road resident complaints and has now become a low-density
condominium development. Because of the change, he said, Boerger Road
residents seemed happy. The development also plans to take the Boerger
Road intersection at Route 38 and move it farther up on the top of the
hill, which will eliminate the dangerous intersection.


A piece of home
Local woman compiles video for husband in military
From J-T staff reports:
Finding the perfect Christmas gift for a loved one can be challenging.
Finding the perfect Christmas gift for a spouse living and working
half-way around the world in Kosovo could be even more of a quest,
unless you are Tonya Samsel of Marysville.
Samsel's husband, Jeremiah, has been part of a NATO peacekeeping force
in Kosovo since June.
In early November she decided that for Christmas she would send her
husband some video reminders of home.
"I started the project to send some familiar faces and places to my
husband for the holidays," Samsel said. "The movie will be going to
soldiers currently deployed to Kosovo and Iraq."
Her 15-minute film now includes comments from a variety of Richwood and
Marysville businesses. She isn't done yet.
"I will be at the Christmas parade on Sunday in downtown Marysville, and
will be available to take pictures or video messages before completing
the project," Samsel said.
She is planning to send the video to her husband next week.
She is also willing to share copies with anyone who would like to send
the tape to their loved ones serving in the military. Requests can be
sent to tsamsel@columbus.rr.com.
"Hopefully, the movie will be shared with many others once it reaches
those destinations."
Samsel's husband is with the 1-137th AVN BN whose home base is
Rickenbacker in Columbus. He is currently at Camp Bondsteel. He is
expected to return home in March.

Group to put on student-written play
By CINDY BRAKE
Alex Bisker is a small town girl with big city plans.
The Fairbanks High School senior spent the summer at New York
University's Tisch School of the Arts honing her dramatic writing
skills. More than 800 teens from across the country applied for the 21
open spots.
"It was fantastic ... very intense," Biskar said about the four-week
program that included a screen writing class from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
every day and play writing class from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Evenings were
filled with trips to off and on Broadway shows, visits to parks and just
hanging out.
A key lesson she learned was that inspiration comes from different
things, even a game of ping pong.
With the passion of her youth, she has returned to her Ostrander home
with a desire to major in dramatic/film writing in college next year.
"I hope to affect how people view the world," Bisker said.
She has already begun to live her dream with the production of her first
play. She hopes the audience will have a good time, while "looking at an
interesting way of how people are quirky, but that quirkiness is better
than greediness.".
Bisker and a friend, Jenn Dautartas of Irwin, wrote a play this summer
and it will be presented Dec. 11-12 by Fairbanks students. Tickets are
now on sale at the high school.
Both girls admit that their lack of singing talent helped to inspire
them in writing the two-act comedy "Check-In."
With musicals planned for every other year at the school, the girls
didn't have much hope of playing key roles in this year's production
which was scheduled to be a musical. At first they tried to acquire
rights to "The Princess Bride" but were unsuccessful.
So they wrote their own play this past summer while sitting on a bridge
by a brook, Bisker said. Each took turns creating a scene and then
editing the other's work. The second week of school they presented their
play to art/drama club advisor Mitzi Noland. Bisker said the name for
the play came to them the day before they made their presentation.
Bisker said the 1 1/2 hour-play features 12 characters who are attending
an annual gala at a "quirky" hometown hotel and a suspicious inspector
who wants to shut the place down.
They've been conducting auditions and holding practices since October.
Dautartas said directing the play has been "stressful, but rewarding."
This isn't Bisker's first attempt at writing a play.
As a founding member of the Piratical Theatre Company in Plain City, she
was involved in writing a 45-minute play. She has also acted and
assisted in sets for high school plays and is an active member of the
school's mock trial team. Since fourth grade, she has spent her summers
at various Ohio colleges taking classes in theatre and comedy
improvisation.
Bisker credits her parents, James and Patricia Bisker, for being
extremely supportive by "pushing me to push myself."


City announces traffic pattern change
From J-T staff reports:
The city of Marysville is updating residents about the current
construction resulting from the Coleman's Crossing development.
Beginning this week and continuing through the month of December the
access point into the eastern portion of Charles Lane and the facilities
located there (YMCA, Children Inc., MR/DD) has been temporarily
repositioned. Access to these facilities can be gained using two
alternatives:
. Via the temporary drive located along Delaware Avenue near the U.S. 33
on-ramp and traffic light. Traffic will be permitted to enter this
access point using a right turn only off eastbound Delaware Avenue.
Traffic exiting this point will be right turn or eastbound only.
. Via the current easternmost portion of Fifth Street and a portion of
the new roadway within Coleman's Crossing.