Local Archived News February 2004

Mayer looks back on career - Will step down as Marysville chief of police  on March 6
Triad asking voters for .5-percent income tax
Kruse makes city staff decisions
Nicol will be interim police chief; Morehart will stay as head of finance

Parents charged in connection with injuries to baby boy
Prosecutor candidates trade barbs
Boggs, Phillips outline qualifications

Voters will decide fate of library levy
Lewis family business has been vital part of community for more than 60 years
Another school for Mill Valley?
Honda Federal Credit Union dedicated
Primary ballot slim on issues, contested races
Lawmen try to ensure school bus safety
Andrews is new warden at ORW
Chase ends near  New Dover
Attorney's actions questioned
Jerome Township trustees fail to hear resolution
Triad honors young scholars
Business brings family flavor to office environment
North Union approves bids for furnishings, technology
Fairbanks learns of need for band uniforms
Milford Center tables trash measure
Candidates at odds over signs
Getting railroaded
MPD chief to retire in March
Council passes URE measure
Surveying the field
Shelter has new attitude
Cook Real Estate is small by design

Residents want choice
Talk of super centers draws applause from crowd
Richwood council sets step raises for officers
Underwoods work as a team to better the community
Local pastor screens film
Says brutal depiction of the last hours of Christ is graphic but powerful
A question of funding
Jail, Memorial Hospital can't come to terms
Jerome trustees  discuss road resurfacing
Do we need super centers?
North Lewisburg to see water, sewer rate hike
United Way avoids cuts to member agencies
McAuliffe's Hardware has grown with Marysville
Family claims Lotto prize
Father sentenced for killing young son
Retail sales in manufacturing district discussed at Jerome
Zoning inspector blasts trustee
Lotto winner sold in Richwood
Schools hand out Good Apple Awards
Family member's struggle molds Viers' career

Mayer looks back on career
Will step down as Marysville chief of police  on March 6
Marysville Police Chief Eugene Mayer first became interested in law
enforcement after the funeral of his grandfather.
After 43 years associated with law enforcement, he will retire on March
"I've really have enjoyed this line of work. I hate to step down. I have
mixed feelings about it, but on the other hand I think it's time to
bring in some new blood, someone younger with new ideas. After awhile
your age starts to get to you," he laughed.
Mayer said he became interested in law enforcement as a boy. While away
with his family at his grandfather's funeral, someone broke in and
robbed their home. He decided he wanted to catch the person who did it.
"I was trying to help (the deputy) solve the case," he said, "and I
followed him around."
The sheriff's deputy later invited the young Mayer to ride along in a
cruiser and join him on a patrol.
"That's kind of how I got started," Mayer said. "As it went on I wanted
to join the force."
After graduating from Ohio State University, he worked at the Scott's
Company and became an auxiliary officer for the Marysville Police
Department on the side. That decision started a relationship with law
enforcement that resulted in him named chief on Oct. 27, 2000.
"Looking back 43 years doesn't seem that long ago," Mayer said. "It's
going to be difficult to just hang up the hat and walk out. I just plan
to go out gracefully and slowly and see what comes along."
Mayer said he will stay on as an auxiliary officer and go back to
consulting businesses on lawn and athletic field care as he did for a
year after retiring from Scott's in 1999.
It will be a switch to go back to taking orders at the department
instead of giving them, he admitted, but he has no problem with it. He
said with retirement comes the freedom for experiencing other things.
Mayer said that in 43 years he has watched both the city and the
department grow. As chief, he helped organize that growth in many ways.
"I tried to restructure things for efficiency and effectiveness," he
said. "People can sometimes be resistant to change but I think we tried
to change things for the better."
His main focus as chief, he said, was to bring the department's focus
back to serving and interacting with the community. Since 2000, he said,
citizen complaints with police have been drastically reduced.
Mayer also worked hard to update division policies, redesign position
requirements, increase officer training, expand department space, create
a larger tactical team and raise standards for new officers before they
are hired.
When he started as chief the department was lacking in man power. Many
cases were backlogged. He was able to hire more officers, dispatchers
and another detective. Today there is a higher rate of cases being
solved. Another addition, he said, was hiring two police chaplains to
help officers deal with cases involving death.
In 2001 Mayer's administration was able to secure a $250,000 grant over
three years to pay for two officers to patrol the Marysville High School
and middle school.
Other grants secured by the department consisted of $10,000 for the
D.A.R.E. program in schools, $6,000 for drunk driving studies and a
grant to provide officers with the MARCS radio system which has made
communication clearer and more organized for police.
One of the most memorable cases Mayer said he was involved in during his
career was when he was asked to join a law enforcement team organized to
raid a local Mafia hangout on Route 161 in Irwin. Officers arrested
several gangsters who ran the place, which was filled with gambling
tables and drug paraphernalia.
"You wouldn't think that kind of thing would go on in a sleepy town like
Marysville," Mayer said. "But it did."
He said he was thankful to learn the business from former police chief
Dick Simpson who ran the department from the early 1960s to the
"He shaped my career" Mayer said. "He was a good police officer. I
learned a lot from him. I still respect him very much."
He said, Simpson, now 88, still comes around to the department for
visits and hangs out with officers in the break room.
Mayer said that as he prepares to leave, there is still one case he had
hoped to see solved before he left. A few years ago Honda employee Patti
Adkins was reported missing. She left behind credits cards, all of her
identification and was never seen again.
"That case is frustrating," Mayer said. "We haven't been able to find
her and we are not sure what happened to her. We have spent hours and
hours working with outside forces to solve this. It's one case I had
really hoped to see come to an end before I left."

Triad asking voters for .5-percent income tax
On Tuesday, the Triad school district is going to the voters asking for
support on a .5-percent income tax levy that will help the district
maintain its current level of services. The levy is for a five-year
period and would raise $462,000 per year.
Superintendent Dr. Steve Johnson explained the reasoning behind the
proposed income tax levy versus a property tax renewal levy.
"We wouldn't be gaining anything by going the property tax route because
we would have to ask for about 11 mills to generate the money we need,
in part because we are now below the state minimum," Johnson said.
A district's millage is determined by the district's overall worth,
which includes all residential properties and businesses. The state of
Ohio requires that each school district receive a minimum of 20 mills.
Each year as more properties are purchased in a district, the millage
passed in previous years will decrease to factor in the area's growth,
however, the same amount of money is generated.
Johnson explained that 15 years ago the district passed a five-year
renewal levy of 6.7 mills but as the district has grown the millage has
been reduced to 4.4 mills. If a renewal levy were passed the district
would have to ask for more than 10 mills to get above the state-required
After meeting with the superintendent's advisory council, Johnson said
the overriding consensus was to put an income tax levy on the March
ballot. The council includes parents, community members, teachers and
one school board member who provide input to Johnson and his staff.
"We felt the income tax was more fair because it takes into account all
those who are working," Johnson said.
Johnson said he has been faced with many questions regarding the need
for more money. He said the reasons are many and a large contributor to
the bleak financial forecast is the state of Ohio.
The district was forced to borrow $1.3 million in 2002 after the
architectural firm of Blunden, Barcley and Robbie provided the district
with an incomplete assessment for the building of the new high school
and the renovation of the two existing school buildings.
The firm, which was hired by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, a
state agency, assessed properties as part of the state mandated
appraisal program. In 1999, the original assessment of $16 million was
given to the school district and dictated the amount put on the ballot
in November 1999.
After the issue was passed, the construction manager and the Triad hired
architectural firm concluded that there were many costs not addressed in
the original assessment. These added items totaling more than $5 million
included onsite sewage treatment, fire protection, a sanitary piping
upgrade, propane gas service loop and improvement of site circulation.
The Triad school board decided in January to file suit again Blunden,
Barcley and Robbie for the insufficient assessment. The suit was filed
on Jan. 14 in Champaign County. The law firm of Bricker and Eckler was
chosen to represent the school district.
In addition, overall state funding for schools has been cut and promises
of per student funding increases have not come through. "Sixty percent
of our funding comes from the state," Johnson said. "We were supposed to
get an increase of $400 per enrolled student which we never saw. With
1,075, students that would have generated approximately one half million
Other costs plaguing the district are the increased cost of electricity
and propane as well as the rising costs for supplies, salaries and
additional staff to accommodate a growing school district.
Johnson and his staff are looking for ways to cut spending and the board
will meet in executive session Thursday to discuss personnel issues.
High school principal Dan Kaffenbarger has assembled a group of teachers
and community members to discuss ways to save money.
Johnson said that regardless of the levy passing, the district will be
making as many cuts as possible in order to balance the budget without
hurting the students
"If we had the appropriate state funding increases, we probably wouldn't
be asking the people to pay additional taxes at this time," Johnson
said. "The community has been kind enough and fortunate enough to have
excellent facilities. It is imperative in order to keep our programs to
the level we have attained that this levy pass."

Kruse makes city staff decisions
Nicol will be interim police chief; Morehart will stay as head of
Mayor Tom Kruse made two announcments regarding his administrative staff
Thursday night.
During city council's meeting, he announced that assistant police chief
Glenn Nicol will be named temporary chief when current chief Eugene
Mayer retires on March 6. He also announced that city finance director
John Morehart will stay for the next four years.
Regarding the chief of police position, Kruse said the city has received
a significant number of applications from newspaper ads. All
applications will be looked into, he said, but he did not provide a time
frame for when an appointment will be made.
Council passed the final reading on an ordinance to cancel its services
with the Regional Income Tax Agency (R.I.T.A.). The change will go into
effect in 2005 and Morehart will be in charge of local tax collection.
Morehart said tax help sessions have been scheduled for residents from 5
to 7 p.m. March 23 and 31 and from 9 a.m. to noon April 3 in the finance
department at city hall. He said assistant finance director John Green
and council members are available to answer financial questions for
Tax collection in the city is reportedly up 6 percent from the previous
year, he said, thanks to R.I.T.A. and the city finance department's
increased efforts.
Council discussed at length the possibility for a CSX rail yard on
Scottslawn Road. Council vice president John Gore said he has heard from
many county residents about their opinion on the railyard coming to town
but has not heard from Marysville residents.
He hopes that many will come to a 6:30 p.m. March 10 meeting on the
topic at the county services building and voice their opinions. Kruse
said he has met with COTA on the issue and that the project is only in
its "feasibility and planning stages."
"There are a lot of questions to be answered," he said. "Nothing firm
has been presented to us."
Kruse plans to hear the "upsides and downsides" to the project and get a
better idea of any consequences before making his decision. The March 10
meeting could sway his decision either way.
Gore agreed with this stance and encouraged city residents to attend the
As a member of Citizens Against the Intermodal Rail Yard, resident Phil
Shandle had another question for Kruse.
"If the city and council decide the rail yard is not good for the
community," he asked, "will the city have the power to stop it?"
Kruse said ultimately CSX and COTA have eminent domain powers.
"If they really want it and are committed to it," he said, "it will be
difficult to keep it out."
He added that the companies probably do not want to be somewhere where
they are not wanted. He said this is why it is important for all
Marysville citizens to attend the meeting on March 10.
In other business:
. Kruse reported that union negotiations with the local fire union have
been extended another month and are going well.
. Local realtor Meg Michel advised council that new housing codes are
being applied to older homes when their owners try to make improvements.
She said applying new housing codes on older and historic homes is
"physically impossible." These homes have very different ceiling, stairs
and basements designs that do not apply to new housing codes. She
requested that the city enact separate zoning codes for older homes.

Parents charged in connection with injuries to baby boy
From J-T staff reports:
The parents of a 7-month-old boy brought to Memorial Hospital of Union
County for severe injuries were arrested Thursday night in Marysville
for their alleged involvement.
According to the indictments, the child's biological father, Marcus
Troglin, 20, and biological mother, Amber Troglin, 19, were taken into
custody from their home in the 600 block of Meadows Drive.
Marcus Troglin was charged with one second-degree felony count of
felonious assault and two third-degree felony counts of child
endangering. The indictment states that on or about Jan. 16 in Union
County he knowingly caused serious physical harm and recklessly abused
the child. He allegedly shook the child, causing the injuries.
Amber Troglin was charged with one third-degree felony count of child
endangering. Her indictment states that on or about Jan. 1 through Jan.
16 in Union County, as the biological mother, she created a substantial
risk to the health or safety of the child by "violating a duty of care,
protection or support." The violation resulted in serious physical harm.

Their arraignment is scheduled for March 8 in the Union County Court of
Common Pleas.
According to Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol, on Jan. 16
hospital emergency room personnel notified police of a possible child
abuse victim. The child had been brought in by Amber Troglin at around
8:30 p.m. that day and remained in critical condition until he was later
Medflighted to Children's Hospital in Columbus.
The boy reportedly suffered numerous broken bones and was released from
the hospital on Jan. 23.
Marysville Chief of Police Eugene Mayer reported later in January that
the child had been taken from his parents' home and was placed in foster
care. He said the Union County Office of Jobs and Family Services
handled that aspect of the boy's case.

Prosecutor candidates trade barbs
Boggs, Phillips outline qualifications

This primary race for the Republican nomination of prosecuting attorney
appears to be a repeat of the past.
Alison Boggs and David Phillips face off for a second time, except this
time Boggs is the incumbent and Phillips has four more years of
prosecutorial experience. In 2000, Boggs and Phillips were seeking the
county post after longtime prosecutor Larry Schneider stepped down.
Phillips had been an assistant prosecuting attorney in Union County for
12 years. Boggs had previously been a defense attorney.
In campaign literature, Boggs states that she has had jury trials and
convictions on aggravated murder and corrupt practices, had a part in
getting more than 102 years in prison for criminals after handling five
cases in eight and a half months, helped collect more than $5 million in
taxes, saved the veterans administration more than $35,000 demanded by
the state for PERS charges and collected a record of more than $300,000
in drug property and money in just one case. In addition, she said her
Victims of Crime staff provided services to more than 1,600 victims in
the past three years.
In addition, Boggs said her staff has aggressively tried and convicted
numerous sex cases and crimes against minors and mentally handicapped
On his website, Phillips states that as assistant prosecuting attorney
for Hardin County he is chief of the civil division, responsible for
most civil matters including zoning, contract and nuisance litigation.
He was lead prosecutor on many successful criminal prosecutions
including prosecution of aggravated vehicular assault, robbery, rape,
theft and forgery.
Phillips has also served as special prosecuting attorney in Franklin and
Delaware counties, including the highly publicized case of State v.
Michael Hoague, and led the investigation and successful prosecution in
State v. Edward Mills, the largest "white-collar" crime ever to have
occurred in Union County. In addition, Phillips was involved in
developing and implementing the Union County Domestic Violence protocol.

In recent weeks, the race for prosecutor has heated up. Boggs said
Phillips is misleading the public. Phillips says Boggs isn't telling the
whole story.
For example, on her claims about being tough on criminals, Phillips
states, "It distresses me that Alison claims that she has convicted
serious criminals. I have had the records of these cases reviewed."
Phillips said the records show Boggs handled only three out of 20
witnesses in the Eric Jackson homicide trial, did not do the opening
statement or closing arguments. She did cross examine the defendant.
Phillips said records show the same is true in the Steven Horch rape
case. Of 14 witnesses called, Boggs handled one. She did not handle the
opening statement, closing argument or jury selection. A review of the
Sweetheart Swindler case reveals the same pattern, Phillips said.
"David Phillips continues to intentionally mislead the public,
attempting to discredit the good, solid work I have done in the last
three years. He is grasping at straws because he knows, as records go,
my trial record exceeds his patently plea-bargain style," Boggs said.
Phillips is aware of Boggs' accusations that he has attacked her
unfairly and personally.
"I do not believe that examining the prosecutor's record is either
unfair or a personal attack. How else are we to gauge the job that she
is doing in office?" Phillips asks.
"For example, on the Blaney Road death case, I have stated that Alison
made a mistake allowing the matter to be dismissed as a result of a
speedy trial violation. In that matter, an allegedly drunk driver killed
a man on Aug. 29, 2001. He was arrested and charged with aggravated
vehicular homicide. I have examined the Highway Patrol file and also
spoken to the officers who were at the scene. From that, I have learned
that in fact the matter was dismissed because of the speedy trial
violations," Phillips said.
Responding to his attacks on her record, Boggs said Phillips' statements
are false about the reason an aggravated vehicular homicide was
dismissed, as well as the dismissal of a sexual assault on a minor. She
said the case involving a sexual assault on a minor was not dismissed.
The case was transferred to Madison County and the accused was
To statements regarding a sentence recommendation that the State made
for a DUI offender, Boggs points out that the bottom line is the
defendant went to prison, adding that all sentencing is ultimately up to
the court.
Phillips states that Boggs did not speak to a drunk driving victim,
sending a plea bargain offer on this case only 11 days after the crash.
"The plea bargain was accepted a few days later. At the time, the victim
was still undergoing multiple surgeries. No one spoke to the victim
regarding the plea bargain or his injuries. It wasn't until May 1, 2003,
after the victim and I demanded an explanation of why his rights were
ignored, that a prosecutor finally met with Mr. Belli," Phillips said.
Another issue is the collection of delinquent taxes.
"Mr. Phillips makes the bold claim that we did not file one foreclosure
in three years and we are not doing our job to collect delinquent taxes,
and he is just wrong," Boggs said.
Boggs points out that she helped collect delinquent taxes in two cases
alone in 2001 that totaled more than $50,000.
As a comparison, Boggs said the previous prosecutor's administration, of
which Phillips was part, collected roughly $9,000 from two foreclosure
cases in three years and five other foreclosure cases appear to have
been dismissed.
"This is the best estimate we can determine because the foreclosure
files were destroyed before I took office," Boggs said.
Boggs agrees that he has said Boggs has failed to file tax foreclosure.
"While Alison claims to have helped to collect between $3 and $5.1
million in taxes, that is not the point. The Union County Treasurer is
the client of the Union County prosecutor. It is the function of the
prosecutor to serve the public official. If the treasurer desires that
tax foreclosures be filed against property owners who refuse to pay
taxes, tax foreclosures should be filed. The records clearly reflect
that Alison has filed only one tax foreclosure in three years. That is
not what the county treasurer wanted," Phillips said.
Concerning Phillips' endorsement by the Fraternal Order of Police, Boggs
said the endorsement was decided by a minority of the membership who
were present at the January meeting.
"It does not necessarily reflect the position of every member of the
organization," she said. "I have received words of support and
encouragement from individual members of law enforcement since the FOP
endorsement was announced."
Phillips counters that the FOP endorsement, as well as that of
commissioner Jim Mitchell, victim's advocates, Lt. Floyd Golden and his
colleagues reflect the quality of his job performance.
"My qualifications as a lawyer and prosecutor and dedication to Union
County speak for themselves. If elected to this position, I promise I
will serve with distinction, honor and professionalism so that Union
County voters can be proud of their prosecutor," Phillips said.
Concerning the criticism, Boggs said she believes she had done the job
voters asked of her.
"I believe I've done my job for all elected officials and realize I've
rendered some unpopular decisions," Boggs said.
The position of prosecutor pays $94,438 a year.
No Democrats are on the ballot. Independent candidates must file by 4
p.m. Monday and the deadline for filing by write-in candidates is Sept.
13 at 4 p.m

Voters will decide fate of library levy
The Marysville Public Library is trying again to pass a 1-mill operating
levy after a similar move was defeated in the November election. The new
levy will be for a 5-year period as opposed to the permanent levy asked
for at the last election.
Levy committee chairman Bob Whitman said two factors in the levy's
defeat in November were ballot wording and the request for a permanent
Library supporters believe the confusing ballot language led many voters
to think the levy was for the school district because of the words
"school district public library." The Marysville library system is a
school district library but that simply means that the school district
is the library's taxing agent. Neither entity is financially connected
to the other.
The ballot language for the March election is "proposed tax levy
(additional) Marysville Public Library." Whitman said it took a few
phone calls to the Ohio Attorney General's Office to get the language
The library board, after the defeat in November, decided to go back on
the ballot with a five-year levy as opposed to a permanent levy to
demonstrate to the public that they will use the funds efficiently and
The levy would generate $633,520 annually, according to the Union County
Auditor's Office, and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $31
per year. It would be the first levy for operating money that the
library has had.
In the past, all operating funds came from the state's Library and Local
Government Support Fund (LLGSF), with a small amount provided by fines
and donations. That state funding, however, has decreased at a time when
the population is growing and making more demands on library services.
In 2001 the library received $1,037,566 from the state and by 2003, that
figure had dropped to just over $800,000. The 2004 library budget is
$782,000, the amount allocated from LLGSF, which has frozen all library
funds at the current level.
In 2000, Marysville's population was just over 9,000 people and today is
it almost double that. Library users numbered 7,100  then and the
current number is 17,000. More than 700 people use the libraries each
day. Since 2000, a technology center has been installed at the main
library, computers were added in both buildings and material levels and
programming were increased in all areas. Staff positions were filled
with library professionals.
When funding decreased, cost cuts were put into place and the library
was able to break even in 2002 only by transferring $90,000 from the
building fund. With the failure of the levy in November, $140,000 was
cut from the budget by reducing staff, eliminating some positions,
cutting hours at both libraries and eliminating programs. Another
$30,000 was cut by reducing facilities and maintenance costs.
The additional money from the levy would bring the library's income to
$1.4 million, or $400,000 more than it received in 2001. The additional
funds would allow the library to restore programs, increase materials
purchasing, bring personnel back and plan for inflation and increased
programming and costs over the next five years.
If the levy passes, the money would not be collected until 2005, but the
library can borrow up to $500,000 to implement immediate changes.
The Marysville Public Library includes the main library in Marysville
and the Raymond Branch Library.

Lewis family business has been vital part of community for more than 60
In the late 1930s, Ray Harold Lewis Sr. moved his family from
Newcomerstown to Marysville to work for a company now known as Eljer
Ray continued to work there until his son, Harold, returned from the
Navy following World War II. Together they started a tool and die shop
in a garage behind their house at 233 W. Seventh St., which became known
as R.H. Lewis & Son.
Feeling growing pains, they built a Quonset building on their current
location at 916 Delaware Ave. in 1951, renaming the business Ray Lewis &
Son. In the early years the business expanded its zinc diecasting
operations to supply the plumbing industry, adding to the building which
now totals 75,000 square feet and employs more than 50 people.
In the past decade, the company's customer base has changed from 100
percent plumbing manufacturing sales to 45 percent plumbing sales,
initiating a more diversified zinc product line. In 2003, RL & Son
achieved ISO 9001 registration, enabling them to pursue new customers
who demand this type of manufacturing certification.
Both Ray and Harold remained active in the family business until their
deaths, Ray in 1971 and Harold in 1979. Robert Lewis became involved in
the operation of RL & Son in 1972 and is currently CEO.
Ray Lewis & Son became the springboard for several other businesses,
including the construction and operation of Marysville Mobile Home Park,
built in 1960 and sold in the early 1980s. Other businesses include
Grove Complex, a company for commercial rental space, Tuffco Sand &
Gravel, an aggregate business in Plain City, Timberview Golf Club, an
18-hole golf course in Marysville, and Timberview Development Company, a
real estate development company. Harold's other son, Charles, and Bob's
sons, Ben and Nathan, all work and manage the operations of these most
recent companies.
Bob Lewis said he learned two important lessons from his father Harold.
The first lesson is that in order to be successful, always "surround
yourself with people smarter than you." This is evidenced by the fine
group of people at RL & Son, many of whom presently and subsequently
retired after 25 to 50 years of service, contributing to its success.
The second important lesson is "give back to the community what it has
given to you." Over the years, the family has made significant
contributions to this community. Some of them include the purchase and
donation of the old Marysville High School football field as a permanent
Ray Lewis Park at the corner of Grove Street and Collins Avenue and the
donation of the land to the Union County YMCA and Harold Lewis Center
where their facilities are built. Other contributions have been made to
the Union County Foundation, Union County Humane Society, American
Legion and First English Lutheran Church and the preparation of the
meals for the past 12 years on Christmas Day for the Mobile Meals
program and others in Union County who may need a meal.

Another school for Mill Valley?
Zimmerman says no end in sight to population boom
The Marysville Board of Education discussed growth in the community in
the school district at Monday's regular meeting.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman told the board that student population
projections show a need for a new elementary school, probably in Mill
Valley, by the beginning of the 2006 school year, as well as a new
intermediate building or expansion of the present building.
He said that the following year, more space will be needed at the high
school and this can be done by adding a classrooms and changing school
schedules or by building a freshman wing or separate freshman building.
Before 2007, he said, the middle school will be over capacity. That
situation could be remedied by adapting the old vo ag area to four or
five classrooms, by building a new wing or by building a new middle
school and converting the building to an intermediate school.
He asked the board for their ideas and opinions for further discussion.
The board also heard about the autism preschool and elementary program
from special education coordinator Ellen Traucht, autism coordinator
Mary Anne Dimitry, speech pathologist Suzanne Fike and autism
specialists Cindy Gordon and Ryan Young.
The program was developed because many autistic children were being sent
out of the district for half-day services at a cost of $15,000 to
$20,000 per year plus transportation costs. The Marysville program
provides full-day classes. It is housed at Mill Valley Elementary School
but one classroom will be set up at Edgewood next year. Partial funding
comes from a $50,000 state grant for training and equipment.
In other business, the board:
. Heard from high school student Terri Spurlock about her trip to
Washington, D.C., to the National Leadership Conference as part of the
Jobs for Ohio Graduates program.
. Presented the December and January Employee of the Month awards to
Cindy Beil, Creekview Intermediate School aide, and Jeff Wargo, head of
maintenance, respectively.
. Approved the creation of the John Kauffman East Children's Fund, an
expendable trust fund in memory of Patricia Kauffman's father. Patricia
Kauffman is OT/PT therapist at East Elementary School.
. Approved a draft copy of preschool program policies and procedures
pending final board approval.
 . Approved the adoption of the textbook, "Ohio," for social studies.
 . Approved a May 15 trip to Kings Island for the seventh and eighth
grade choirs to participate in a performance competition.
In personnel issues, the board:
 . Accepted the resignations of Edwin Starling and Richard Weiskircher
for purposes of retirement and requests to be re-employed subject to the
outcome of a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. April 26.
 . Approved employment of substitute teachers Kever Maxwell, Denise
Nicol, Vanessa Orahood, Krista Place and Elesha Robinson.
 . Approved Linda Allen, Carla Baker and Megan Orr as After School Study
Session supervisors.
 . Approved a supplemental contract for Chris Hoehn as middle school
summer school director.
 . Approved Stephanie Gereluk to provide transportation services for
special education students placed out of the district.

Honda Federal Credit Union dedicated
From J-T staff reports:
The Honda Federal Credit Union, Marysville Community Branch on Echo
Drive, slated to open in mid-March, was officially dedicated with a
ribbon cutting ceremony Friday.
More than 500 people toured the facility during Saturday's open house.
This is the eighth office to open. It will employ approximately 30
associates, said Don Hensley of company communications.
Membership now stands at 44,500 worldwide with assets approaching $400
million. Honda Federal Credit Union began in 1966 in Gardena, Calif.
Board of directors include Carl Coe, chairman; Tim Degitz, vice
chairman; Sheri Bullock, treasurer; Sandy Morris, secretary; and
directors Paul Brumfield, Allison Dunlap, John Petas and Michael
"While our primary mission is to provide financial services to our
valued members, over the years we have become more than that," said Coe
during Friday's ceremony. "We also provide valuable services to the
Honda companies. And we are actively seeking ways to help Honda achieve
its corporate goals."
Services include Visa Business Cars for corporate travel, automated
expense reimbursement, corporate deposit accounts, Honda Cash programs
at cafeterias at American Honda, Honda Transmission Manufacturing, Honda
R&D Americas and Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, payroll origination for
Honda Access America, Visa gift cards for associate Christmas gifts at
Honda Power, disbursement of workers compensation payments for Honda of
America Manufacturing and rewards points on both Visa Business and Gold
Coe said the credit union is evaluating the possibility of providing
membership to members of the Honda Riders Club of America, as well as
motorcycle dealerships and negotiating with the Canadian government to
provide credit union services to Honda of Canada in Alliston, Ontario.
Friday's program included opening remarks by John Updike, president and
CEO of Honda Federal Credit Union. Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse was the
honored speaker.

Primary ballot slim on issues, contested races
Editor's note: This is the first of a four-day series of stories
highlighting issues before Union County voters on the March 2 primary
ballot. Today's installment will provide a roundup of county issues and
candidates which will not be featured in their own stories. Over the
next few days stories will feature the Marysville library levy, the
Triad school levy, the Union County Commissioner's race and the Union

County Prosecutor's race.
From J-T staff reports:
Several issues and candidates will appear before voters on the March 2
primary election.
The village of Richwood will see a pair of levies up for renewal. A
3.2-mill, five year operating levy will appear before voters, as well as
a 1-mill, five-year renewal levy. The levies were originally put on as
replacements but the village council opted to keep them as renewals. If
passed, the levies will not result in an increase in residents' tax
The Union County MR/DD is putting a 2.4 mill, six-year levy before
voters. The issue was narrowly defeated in November.
If it passes, the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $73.50 a
year, an increase of $27.54 per year.
The North Union School district is seeking the renewal of a 1.9 mill,
5-year emergency levy. If passed, the levy would not increase the tax
bill of school district residents.
The Buck Ridge Golf Course, 17483 Robinson Road, has an issue on the
ballot in the Darby North A precinct to allow Sunday liquor sales
between 10 a.m. and midnight.
Although the Union County Commissioner's seat vacated by Jim Mitchell
will see three challengers, incumbent Republican Tom McCarthy is running
Incumbent Republican Paula Pyers Warner is running for clerk of common
pleas court.
Recently-appointed sheriff Rocky Nelson is seeking to retain his
Teresa L. Markham is running for county recorder, a position being
vacated by longtime incumbent Beth Temple.
Incumbent Republican Tamara K. Low is running unopposed to retain her
seat as county treasurer while Steve A. Stolte, another Republican
incumbent, is running unopposed for county engineer.
Republican incumbent David T. Applegate II will also be running
unopposed for county coroner.


Lawmen try to ensure school bus safety
In a program that started earlier this month, aggressive drivers
speeding around school buses will have to watch for police in the sky.
Lt. Marla Gaskill of the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway
Patrol said it is the third year local law enforcement has cracked down
on drivers going too fast and driving too close and impatient drivers
ignoring bus stop signs as children get off on their stops.
She said they have recently received a large volume of complaints from
residents and drivers worried about child safety.
"We thought this year we would step it up by adding a plane," Gaskill
On the afternoon of Feb. 11 OSP troopers, Union County sheriff's
deputies and local Marysville police met at the Union County Airport. An
OSP airplane later took off on the runway to follow buses from the air.
Law enforcement officers will be riding buses from the Marysville school
district again this year. But this year they will be aided by the
airplane. Officers following behind buses in patrol cars will be able to
stop aggressive drivers spotted from the air.
The plane will ensure sheriff's deputies will be able to keep an eye on
school buses throughout the county over a larger space at one time.
Gaskill said on Thursday that after one day in the air, a total of 12
drivers were stopped for speeding, one was stopped for ignoring a bus
stop sign, two for following too closely to a bus and one more for
improperly passing a bus.
Not all were given tickets, Gaskill said, but it gives law enforcement a
good idea of how many people are driving aggressively near buses on a
daily basis.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson defined aggressive driving violations
as excessive speeding, improperly passing, following too close behind
other vehicles and passing stopped school buses.
"One just happened last week," bus driver Renae Sabins said about
dealing with aggressive drivers. "I was driving on Route 36. I went to
stop and had four cars behind me. I had my red lights activated and I
could see the traffic trying to stop. One car went right on through."
Gaskill said it is one more way in which local officers are working
toward reducing the number of serious injury and fatal crashes that are
occurring in Union County. The goal of one fatality per 100 million
vehicle miles traveled by 2008 is a strategy that is being developed
nationally with the United States Department of Transportation.

Andrews is new warden at ORW
Once known as "The Farm," the Ohio Reformatory for Women opened in 1916
as a place for 34 female inmates to grow crops while serving their time.

Today, recently appointed warden Patricia Andrews said she has a lot of
plans for the local prison, now holding a population of around 1,800
"I always had the aspiration to come and be warden at ORW," Andrews
said. "I was really excited. There is really a lot of history and
tradition here."
Andrews spent the past 24 years involved in corrections and in November
she brought that experience to the ORW. After three months, she has
begun to define her role as the head of the largest women's prison in
The challenge for her administration, she said, is keeping tradition
intact at the prison while progressing into the 21st century.
"We have a total of 17 different capital projects in the works," Andrews
The prison recently completed construction of a water tower and a new
power generator to make ORW more self-sufficient. The list of future
improvements, she said, includes two inmate dorms and updates on the
sewage and drain system.
She hopes the changes will help keep ORW "a good neighbor" in
Andrews admits that she fell into her trade by accident. After earning a
degree in social service from Bowling Green University in 1979 she
applied for a job in her field. During the interview she discovered the
position was at a Columbus prison.
Skeptical at first, Andrews took the job anyway after they offered her
the position several days later. Since then she has worked her way from
social worker to parole officer to jail auditor to deputy warden before
becoming warden of The Franklin County Pre-release Center in Columbus in
The experience running the prison made her an excellent candidate when
the position of warden opened up late last year in Marysville.
"It's like running a little city," Andrews said about ORW. "We do a
little bit of about everything. It's actually kind of neat."
Running a female prison is different from running other prisons, she
said. Unlike many male-oriented facilities, the ORW has gender-specific
programs that cater to each inmate. They provide everything from
education, rehabilitation, business, horticulture, culinary arts,
business classes, office work and even dog grooming and cosmetology
"We try to replicate what would go on in a community," Andrews said.
Other non-traditional programs speak specifically to women's needs, such
as domestic violence, parenting, mental health, rape education, crisis
programs, domestic violence, depression and even Girl Scout groups.
"You have so many opportunities to do things working with a female
population," Andrews said. "We want to assist women so that their
transition can be as successful and productive as possible for when they
re-enter society."
Her objective, she said, is to get inmates out and make sure they never
come back.
Another aspect that differentiates ORW from other prisons is that it
offers minimum security, medium security and maximum security wings and
has a female on death row. The prison is also unique in that it caters
to juveniles along with adult offenders. Inmates range in ages from a
teenage girl to an 86-year-old woman.
The biggest surprise she found at ORW were inmates she refers to as
"lifers," criminals serving life sentences at the prison.
"I've met women who have been here for 18 to 20 years," Andrews said. "I
had never really thought about that, but they really care about what
goes on and really want to help and improve what goes on here."
Andrews said she hopes inmates will eventually gain something from
serving time at ORW and will adapt well to life after their release. By
creating a community atmosphere inside the prison, they can work toward
being involved in a community later on.
Because of this goal, she cares deeply about a faith-based program the
ORW has become involved with.
Rachel's House in Columbus is located on the west side and is associated
with the Church of Nazarene. She said the group has done an excellent
job mentoring inmates.
The people from Rachel's House offer inmates someone to lean on while
they serve time, she said. After their release, inmates can stay at the
house and continue their transition until they learn interviewing skills
and find a job. Some inmates stay for six months to a year, working to
  What happens, Andrews said, is that after inmates have a job and have
the start of a stable life, they often move into apartments or homes
near Rachel's House. The result is a kind of community the inmates have
created on their own, Andrews said.

Chase ends near  New Dover
From J-T staff reports:
A high speed car chase that started in Marion this morning ended with a
dozen law enforcement vehicles gathered at the scene and a very public
arrest in New Dover.
According to Marion Ohio State Patrol Lt. David Church, the chase
started in Delaware today at 8:16 a.m. and ended at 8:43 a.m. with the
arrest of Khalid N. Mahammad, 25, of Columbus.
He said little information is available on the suspect. The OSP is
reportedly investigating whether he was wanted on any previous charges
that could have caused him to flee police.
"(The suspect) was allegedly involved in some type of domestic
disturbance in the city of Marion," Church said.
He said that an OSP trooper attempted to pull Mahammad over on U.S. 23
in Marion after the disturbance when he sped away.
The chase led OSP vehicles south onto U.S. 42 into Delaware.
At that time, Church said, Delaware sheriff's deputies and local police
officers joined the chase.
"It finally ended up on U.S. 36 in Union County," Church said.
At that time Marysville police and Union County Sheriff's deputies
joined the chase and used road spikes to disable Mahammad's vehicle.
Church said the spikes blew out three of his four tires and he finally
pulled over.
"He was taken into custody after that with no further problems," he
Church said the OSP will continue their investigation and plan to
release an official press release on the pursuit later today.


Attorney's actions questioned
Jerome Township trustees fail to hear resolution
Jerome Township's Board of Trustees paid bills Tuesday and then seemed
to spend the rest of the night avoiding any official action.
Trustee Ron Rhodes attempted to present three resolutions but all three
failed for a lack of a second.
Two of the resolutions proposed refunding $1,000 each to township
residents who were incorrectly told they needed zoning hearings and a
third resolution proposed taking action against attorney Susan J. Kyte
who worked for the township as legal counsel in 2002.
For a second time, Rhodes attempted to bring a resolution to the floor
concerning Kyte. At a previous meeting, trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe denied
Rhodes the right to read a resolution concerning Kyte because she wanted
to know if it was a "legal" resolution. Rhodes returned this week and
said the prosecuting attorney's office had approved the resolution.
This time, Wolfe said she wanted a letter from the prosecuting attorney.

"I'm not going to get involved in this," Wolfe said.
Kyte made headlines twice in the past few weeks for alleged conflicts of
interest with a state office and political action committee. Rhodes'
resolution states that Kyte had a similar conflict when she was owed
monies by a political action committee that challenged township zoning
and also took money from the township to represent them on the other
side of the issue.
"In February of 2002, Susan J. Kyte accepted a position of legal counsel
for Jerome Township with a compensation of $1,500 per month and was
active counsel with the Jerome Township until Dec. 31, 2002. At the same
time one of her referendums she had written against a township zoning
amendment for the P.A.C. she represented was still active and yet to be
voted upon by the electorate," the proposed resolution states.
Rhodes also claims that Kyte did not complete her contract and failed to
turn all records over to the township.
Clerk Robert Caldwell said he did make a records request to Kyte and
believed she had returned everything to the township.
Rhodes then attempted to present a resolution to return $1,000 to Tara
Kunzelman and her husband who live on Hyland Croy Road. Mrs. Kunzelman
was present and also requested that the board refund her money.
The Kunzelmans purchased two lots in 2000 and decided in June to sell
one of the lots. Zoning inspector Norm Puntenney said they needed a
variance and that it would be a minor matter, she said. She and her
husband paid $1,000 for a hearing with the Board of Zoning Appeals and
in September were denied the variance 5-0 because the property was a
non-conforming lot and lacked frontage.
In appealing the decision, the Kunzelmans' attorney discovered that this
matter was resolved in 1983 and a hearing should never have been held.
The board of zoning appeals unanimously voted Feb. 11 for the board of
trustees to consider the Kunzelman request for a refund. In a Dec. 30
letter, Puntenney wrote to the Kunzelmans stating that property at 9860
Hyland Croy Road was a buildable lot upon which a single family
structure may be constructed. He based this opinion on a 1983 action of
the board of trustees.
Trustee Freeman May, however, said several times during the night that
the property was never split legally. He said he would "think" about
refunding the money only if the assistant prosecuting attorney comes
down and tells him to refund the money.
Wolfe said she had questions for legal counsel and that the topic would
be addressed at the March 1 meeting.
Kunzelman then told Wolfe and May that they could be personally
responsible. May said he has been sued twice and Wolfe said Kunzelman's
threats didn't bother her.
"I'll go away. I just want my money back," Kunzelman said.
The third resolution to return $1,000 to Steve Pegora also failed for
lack of a second.
In other business:
. May criticized media coverage.
. Rhodes voiced concern about an appointed employee who verbally
attacked him at the Feb. 2 meeting, noting that the employee was neither
admonished nor told he was out of order. No disciplinary action has been
. Wolfe defended her actions in threatening the removal of a citizen at
a previous meeting.
. Wolfe pointed out an administrative error in accepting the resignation
of Robert Seely.
. Wolfe suggested more extensive background checks for prospective
. A citizen asked about a Jan. 22 sheriff's report that alleged Rhodes
was extremely rude to a receptionist and the receptionist was told by
another trustee to call the authorities.
. A businessman raised concerns over the Igoe Development and improper
water drainage.

Triad honors young scholars
Triad School Board members congratulated and presented plaques to four
district students at Tuesday night's meeting for outstanding achievement
in the Champaign County DAR essay contest and spelling bee.
Fifth graders Tyler Wilson and Patrick Green placed first and second,
respectively, in the county DAR essay contest. Fifth grader Sidney
Martin was recognized for placing first in the county spelling bee and
Morgan Ryan, a seventh grader, was commended for placing third in the
Council president Rick Smith said, "This is the best part of the agenda
by far. These students are our future."
Jill Willams, treasurer, said she has recently revised the district's
five-year financial forecast from October and hopes to the end this
school year with $125,000 in the black.
The district is currently putting a freeze on spending and is working
with the Ohio Department of Education to approve a financial plan. The
biggest increase in the district's budget comes from fluctuating costs
such as electricity, phones and busing.
Craig Meredith, elementary school principal, reported to the board that
data regarding recent benchmarking has shown to be favorable. He said he
was pleased to see some increases in student performance.
Scott Blackburn, middle school principal, reminded the board of student
interest in a middle school soccer program. He said he has around 20
boys and girls who would like to participate and asked that the board
decide sooner rather than later if this will be an extracurricular
option for next school year.
Dan Kaffenbarger, high school principal, reported that a minor flood in
the high school's records room has been remedied. The ceiling has been
repaired and issues regarding insufficient insulation are being
submitted to the insurance company.
Superintendent Steve Johnson reminded the board of the community meeting
to be held at the high school on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. to discuss
the upcoming levy.
The next school board meeting will be held on March 15 at 7 p.m.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel and no
action was taken.
In other business, the board:
 . Accepted the resignation of Rich Kraemer as girls golf coach for the
2004-2005 school year.
 . Approved supplemental contracts for the following certified
personnel: Jason Malone, girls golf coach; Tina Campbell, head
volleyball coach and Lisa Hay, assistant volleyball coach.
 . Approved Ken Davis as substitute teacher.
 . Approved a consulting contract with Lou Lee Yen, to be paid from a
Title IIA FY04 PD grant.
 . Approved a S.T.E.P.S. grant in the amount of $4,500 for FY04 from the
West Central Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center.
 . Accepted the donation of an HP scan jet 5100C and HP photosmart 1000
printer donated by Rick Huffman in the amounts of $100 and $150,
 . Approved the amended certificate of estimated resources of $102,731
increase in the general fund and appropriation increases in 200 fund,
$10,000; 300 fund, $200,000; and 432 fund, $1,000.
 . Approved a certificate of completion for ADC Alarm Systems.
 . Accepted a $100 donation from Mr. And Mrs. Phillips for the first
grade field trip.

Business brings family flavor to office environment
Earlier this month the owners of the Marysville Office Center, the
Rupert family, celebrated the 31st anniversary of the opening of the
For years their business has been a fixture in the Marysville downtown
The business was founded in 1973 by Norman and Betty Rupert and was
originally located in the Liggett Building on East Fifth Street. Created
to fill a need in the area for an office supply retailer, the store
initially offered a selection of office supplies and some office
furniture which they delivered to customers in an old station wagon.
Some of their early customers included Rockwell and Honda, whom they
have worked with since before the plants were built.
At the start Norman and Betty ran the store by themselves, but in 1974
their son Alan joined the staff. In 1975 the business moved to the
location on South Main Street where it is found today, 29 years later.
Chris Rupert, Norman and Betty's grandson, worked in the store during
high school and returned to the business full time in 1992 after time
away at college. Two years later, Norman and Betty retired and the store
was passed to Alan who remains the owner today.
The store has seen many changes in the office supply and furniture
business. In their 31 years in business, the Ruperts have seen the sale
of the first electronic calculators, the introduction of the electronic
typewriter, the rise of personal computers and printers for home and
business, ergonomic furniture and even innovations in writing
Over the years the office supply field has become an increasingly
challenging environment. The store has been able to remain competitive
with the help of suppliers and the hard work and service of the
experienced staff. The business has added conveniences to help better
serve their customers such as free next-day or often same-day delivery,
free furniture assembly, business accounts and web-based ordering. The
business offers more than 35,000 items in its catalogs, giving customers
a huge selection of items that can be delivered free on the next day.
The family prides itself on the type of personal service that only 31
years of experience in the field can provide.
The Rupert family said the support of local governments, businesses and
individuals has allowed the store to thrive. The family feels that
support will translate into continued success in the area for many years
to come.
Marysville Office Center is located at 116 S. Main St. The business is
open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The store can be
contacted at 642-8893.

North Union approves bids for furnishings, technology
With the construction phase progressing nicely, North Union has now set
its sights on the next three pieces of its new elementary school -
staffing, furnishings and technology.
Neil Kirkpatrick of general contractor MKC Associates of Mansfield told
the North Union School Board Monday that the construction continues to
run ahead of its completion schedule and 90 percent of the project is
now under roof.
Todd Wrobleski, also of MKC, brought the board up to speed on bids
received for classroom and office furnishings and technology. He said
the bids came in favorably and will keep the project well within budget
Of the four bids for classroom furnishings, the board accepted the bid
of Tom Sexton and Associates of Walton, Ky., for $167,192. Three bids
were received for office furnishings and the low bid of Continental
Educational Environment for $118,258 was accepted.
The bids for furnishings totaled a little more than $285,000, well below
the estimated $365,000.
Wrobleski noted that the bids for technology work at the school were
greatly varied from a high of $656,000 to a low of $514,661. The low bid
from Comm Group of Pittsburgh was approved by the board.
The board also accepted job descriptions for an assistant elementary
principal and an elementary facilities manager. With the operations of
three buildings coming under one roof next year, the supervisory
positions are needed.
In other business, the board:
. Heard a report from Bruce Hoover on the alignment of the district's
curriculum with state tests.
. Received academic content standards for visual arts, technology,
foreign language and library.
. Briefly discussed school calendars for the coming year.
. Heard Carol Young give an update on enrollment in the district. Young
said that although open enrollment hurt the district a few years ago,
the district continues to remain steady in terms of student numbers.
. Heard first reading on a series of policy revisions.
. Authorized renovations bids for Jackson Elementary. The building will
serve as the district office after the new elementary school opens.
. Authorized a contract with MKC Associates for design services for the
high school renovation and addition project and the demolition of
Claibourne-Richwood Elementary.
. Approved a service contract with Metropolitan Educational Council for
Internet services for the coming school year. The contract is for
$42,840 and a large portion of the fees are reimbursable through the
OneNet program.
. Approved the unpaid medical leave of teacher Terra Byrd-Grupe through
the end of the school year.
. Approved Joel Smith and Buddy McMahon as volunteers in the baseball
. Voted to employ Terry Setser and Kristi Smith as co-assistant softball
coaches. Both are non-certificated and no certificated applicants
applied for the positions.
. Approved one-year supplemental contracts for Brent Chapman, varsity
boys track, Morgan Cotter, varsity baseball, Dawn Newell, varsity
softball, and Richard Rausch, assistant baseball. All are certificated.

Fairbanks learns of need for band uniforms
The Fairbanks Board of Education heard from band director Ben Keller
about music department needs at Monday's regular meeting.
Keller, who is in his 11th year at the school, said the marching band is
in need of uniforms and instruments because of the numbers expected next
year. He said the boosters organization raised funds for 50 uniforms
several years ago and there are 60 members expected in next year's band,
50 of them instrumentalists.
He asked the board to provide half the funding for 15 new uniforms which
must be ordered by March 1. The second half will be due when the
uniforms are delivered in August and that sum could possibly be raised
by the boosters by then.
Keller also asked for approximately $16,000 for instruments. When he
arrived at Fairbanks in 1993, he said, 85 percent of the instruments
were unusable. Over the years, investments have been made in new
instruments but the band is growing and more are needed.
The board approved Keller's request for half the cost of the uniforms
and will consider his other requests at the next meeting.
Athletics director Carleton Cotner approached the board to explain the
situation of the athletic department. He said costs are going up and
gate receipts are down and he asked the board to take over
transportation costs. He outlined the need for more coaches, proposed
hiring an athletic trainer and proposed several means to raise funds.
The board held a first reading on a policy change to allow open
enrollment beginning with the 2004-05 school year. The school will take
applications during a period in April and May. The policy is being
enacted because the district expects to lose students to the new
Dublin-Jerome High School, as well as several others in the area, and
hopes to attract students from other districts. Superintendent Jim
Craycraft said inquiries are already being made into enrolling in
Craycraft explained retirement incentives for teachers with 30 to 35
years service. Those employees could be rehired with no benefits or
replaced with teachers with less experience, thus cutting costs in the
Craycraft also presented a letter which will be sent to home school
families, explaining services the district can provide to them.
 In other business, the board:
 . Accepted donations of $3,000 for two digital video camera and $1,000
for a digital editing deck and monitor from the Athletic Boosters to the
athletic department.
 . Approved the disposal of media books.
 . Approved the acceptance of the two children of Hamidd Ossoli for the
completion of the school year and waived their tuition.
 . Approved the adoption of the high school course of study handbook.
 . Approved a list of media books.
  . Approved Paul Powers, Julia McGuire, Terry Miller, Angela Luke and
Erin LeMaster as substitute teachers.
 . Approved Jason McClelland as middle school boys track coach; and Mark
Geer as middle school Washington, D.C., trip coordinator.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel. No
action was taken.

Milford Center tables trash measure
From J-T staff reports:
Milford Center village council discussed at length a trash/recycling
ordinance during Monday's regular meeting.
Up for a second reading, a Pay As You Throw (PAYT) ordinance was tabled
due to numerous concerns until the March meeting when representatives of
the solid waste authority will be present. Ordinances require three
readings before they are enacted.
Several residents raised questions about how the program works; if it is
mandatory; and whether discounts will be available for senior citizens
or disabled residents.
Councilmen Jeff Paren and Chris Burger said PAYT will be less expensive
than private hauling.
The self-sustaining service will cost each single-family dwelling $8 a
month for weekly collection of solid waste and recyclables. In addition,
homeowners will be required to purchase PAYT bags or a sticker for trash
cans. Bags will cost 95 cents for 30-gallon and 60 cents for 12-gallon.
A village sticker will cost $3.60 for each 30-gallon can or 12 cents per
month per gallon. Bulky items will cost $5.
Charges, to be included in water bills, will be suspended automatically
whenever water usage falls below a minimum-occupied level for any
billing period.
A sheriff's representative informed council that speed limit signs along
Mill Street were changed from 25 to 35 miles per hour by the Ohio
Department of Transportation.
Corporal Matt Warden explained that the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit
signs should never have been posted because the village does not have
enough frontage in a business district to justify a reduced speed along
a state highway.
Warden also said a four-hour traffic blitz was held Feb. 4 with the Ohio
State Patrol in Milford Center and Union Township. Nine citations were

Candidates at odds over signs
One side feels court ruling is binding, other says city  ordinance
is rule
The race for Union County Prosecuting Attorney is heating up over the
posting of signs in the city of Marysville.
Incumbent Alison Boggs ran a paid political ad Friday citing a
Marysville ordinance that states no temporary campaign signs shall be
posted more than 17 days before an election. According to the ordinance,
signs could not be posted before Saturday. Signs for challenger David
Phillips began appearing prior to that date.
The Marysville ordinance, however, is unconstitutional and
unenforceable, according to Marysville law director Tim Aslaner.
In a memo to zoning inspector Barbara McCoy, Aslaner states that a
practically identical ordinance to the Marysville ordinance was
challenged and the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that this limitation on
the posting of political signs unconstitutionally limited one's freedom
of speech.
"Therefore, it is my opinion that Section 1143.10, as it is currently
worded is unenforceable, and for the time being the posting or display
of campaign signs on private property more than 17 days from the
election should not constitute a zoning violation. An ordinance more
narrowly drawn which imposes restrictions on all temporary signs,
including political signs, may be constitutionally enforceable," stated
Aslaner in a Feb. 9 memo.
Aslaner issued his memo to mayor Tom Kruse, city council members,
Phillips and Boggs.
Boggs contacted the Marysville Journal-Tribune the day after the memo
was issued and said today that she believes the Supreme Court ruling is
not a blanket decision.
"I don't know that ... it (the ordinance) is wrong," Boggs said.
Phillips said he contacted assistant law director John Eufinger prior to
posting any signs and was told it would be fine because the ordinance is
unconstitutional and not enforceable.
"The signs are absolutely legal. For her to imply they are illegal is
absolutely incorrect," Phillips said.
Phillips adds that every sign he has posted has been with the permission
of the property owner.
Mayor Tom Kruse said today that from his perspective the city will not
pursue this matter because the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the ordinance is
unenforceable and the city cannot restrict signs because of content.
Kruse added that in political arenas this issue has been talked about
for years, although no one has ever had to bring the issue up publicly.
Aslaner said the ordinance, as written, would fine property owners $100
if they did not remove a political sign after they had been notified.
McCoy sent a notice of violation to Phillips on Feb. 9, noting that
signs are permitted after Saturday.
It is uncertain just who raised the question about the signage.
Boggs said she did not contact the city, but had been approached by
people wondering why her signs weren't up yet. Dennis Schulze, a partner
with Phillips, said McCoy told him that Boggs approached her during the
Lincoln Day dinner and asked what she was going to do about the signs.
McCoy was not available for comment today.

Getting railroaded
Some area residents want to have a voice in decision over rail yard
Could Tuesday's toxic scare in Columbus be Marysville's future?
Phil and Linda Shandle of Marysville believe it could happen, as do more
than 200 other individuals who have signed petitions opposing the
location of an intermodal rail yard south of Marysville. A group called
CAIR - Citizens Against The Intermodal Railyard -  has recently formed.
"For the life of me, I don't understand why they would consider this,"
Mrs. Shandle said.
Union County is being considered as a site for a new CSX Intermodal Rail
Yard. The yard would include approximately 200 acres and be located in
an area west of The Scotts Company and north of Scottslawn Road to the
Union County Airport, said Mike Bradley of the Central Ohio Transit
Earlier this week, police closed roads and evacuated businesses near a
Columbus rail yard where a rail car leaked toxic acid, creating a white
vapor cloud. State health officials said the hydrochloric acid is more
dangerous as a gas and irritates the eyes and respiratory system.
Prolonged exposure to high concentrations of the gas can be fatal. No
injuries were reported.
 The Shandles and others wonder if the residents of Marysville, as well
as people living throughout the county, realize just what a proposed
rail yard could mean to not only the landscape, but lifestyles of the
"This doesn't have to be in your backyard to affect you," said Mr.
The Shandles, along with Bob and Peg Beck of Marysville, said rail yards
are "admitted polluters."
"What happens when we combine the environmental impacts of a rail yard
with the already, toxic cocktail that's been concocted in the ground
around Scotts? Is this really something city and county officials want
for Marysville? Near our schools, homes and places of work?," asked Mrs.
Fumes, traffic congestion, noise, smoke, odors and contaminated water
are some of the problems listed by people living in neighborhoods near
rail yards across the country. Mrs. Shandle said she has personally
spoken to people living near rail yards in Georgia, New Jersey and
Portland. She said they described the rail yards as a "nightmare."
Homeowners, she said, had to add extra insulation to their homes and
couldn't open their windows or even sit on their decks. All three
facilities are in litigation with community groups.
"We have yet to hear anything positive," said Mr. Shandle.
Besides the environmental impact, all three have voiced concerns that
Union County residents have no say in this matter.
The Marysville project is tied to a light rail transit system that COTA
wants in Columbus. The rail yard and transit system would be funded by
federal and state dollars and a Franklin County tax.
"To be clear, Franklin County will get light rail, it will not be
available to us in Marysville unless you want to drive to Polaris or
Worthington and park your car to ride the train downtown. Instead we get
the filthy, stinking rail yard in our backyard without any say," said
Mrs. Shandle.
CSX and COTA have the right to take property through eminent domain,
said Union County Economic Development Director Eric Phillips. Union
County Commissioner Gary Lee said COTA officials told the public
recently that they have never utilized eminent domain.
The Union County Board of Commissioners released the following position
concerning the proposed rail facility:
"At this time there is far too little factual information for any of us
to make an informed decision as to the viability of the proposed
inter-model facility, let alone the advantages and disadvantages of its
potential location in Union County."
The Shandles and Becks agree that there are many unknowns about the
proposed rail yard.
"We don't know what processes will take place," Mr. Beck said.
COTA officials have also been vague about how much truck traffic will be
generated by the rail yard. No one has offered answers of who will pay
to repair and maintain roads from the increased traffic. Then there is
the question of blocked rail crossings and how emergency services like
police, fire and ambulance can cross the town.
"People's lives could be affected," said Mr. Shandle.
At a community meeting this week, Mrs. Shandle said, she asked several
rail yard representatives if they would want something like this in
their neighborhood. She said no one said yes.
Commissioner Jim Mitchell mentioned this moment during his board's
regular meeting Thursday and said, "I wouldn't want this toxic stuff in
my backyard."
Commissioner Lee said, "The answer is nobody wants them next to them."
 "You have to balance this," said commissioner Tom McCarthy, adding that
nobody wanted Honda next to them. "The only thing we can do is find some
reason we have standing in this issue."
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said Thursday that he has taken no position
on the proposed project, but is just observing and listening.
"Some point, we'll have a forum to discuss this at some depth," he said.

A Scotts Co. spokesman contacted the Marysville Journal-Tribune Thursday
afternoon and left a statement that the company wanted to dispel rumors
that the company is in support of the "relocation of the Buckeye Rail
Yard," which was the site of this week's toxic spill in Columbus.
"Scotts has not yet taken a position on whether it would be in favor of
this relocation. We have been looking and gathering information and we
will not take a position without considering what is in the good of all
of Union County," said Chris Schmenk, director of Environmental
Stewardship and Government Relations.

MPD chief to retire in March
From J-T staff reports:
After 43 years of local law enforcement service, Marysville Chief of
Police Eugene Mayer has officially announced his retirement.
In his office this morning, Mayer said his last day as chief will be
March 6. He was appointed to the position on October 30, 2000.
Mayer began his service with the local department in February of 1961.
He said he has enjoyed his role as chief. While he will retire, Mayer
said he plans to continue on in the department as an auxiliary police
"I certainly wish him the best," Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said today.
"He has been an asset to the community."
Kruse said that he will now initiate the process of finding Mayer's
replacement by soliciting resumes and conducting an executive search.
Kruse said he will not be using a committee to make the decision, the
process by which Rocky Nelson was chosen as sheriff.
"Ultimately that is my decision to make," he said, " and I will make an
appointment, whoever that may be."
Resumes will also be taken from within the police department for those
who wish to apply and a background search will be done on every
candidate, Kruse said. He said the length of the search will depend on
how many responses he gets for the position. Because of this, he could
not specify when the new chief will be announced.

Council passes URE measure
Marysville City Council decided to officially create a more open market
for developers dealing with local energy providers.
The third reading on the issue was held Thursday night. The ordinance
was initiated in January by Isaacs Enterprises, the developer for
Coleman's Crossing. The company reportedly wished to deal with Union
Rural Electric for gas and electric services, instead of Dayton Power
and Light, which services the area the development is in.
Developer Darek Isaacs spoke at the Jan. 22 council meeting and said he
was told URE was outside of district lines so he pursued ways to change
that. He described the current state of DP&L's service areas as a
While the ruling was geared specifically for Coleman's Crossing, the
significance could mean future developers may have the choice between
energy providers in the future.
Roger Yoder, president of Union Rural Electric, said at the Jan. 22
council meeting that as Marysville continues to grow into URE's service
territory the "shoe could be on the other foot." This means the pressure
is on URE to perform well and if they don't, developers could choose
DP&L just as easily.
The third reading on another ordinance officially terminated
Marysville's contract with the Regional Income Tax Agency, known as
R.I.T.A. The city will now hire someone for the newly-created position
of tax administrator to take over tax collection duties after the
R.I.T.A. contract ends at the end of the year.
A new ordinance asking council to appropriate $280,000 for the
construction of a water well and water line at the public service center
on Maple Street. The money for the project will come from the
unappropriated water replacement and improvement funds.
According to the ordinance language, all bids for the project in Dec.
2003 were priced too high, based on their project estimates. Those bids
were  rejected and administrators decided to try again in 2004.
Kruse said the well is planned to go in the field behind the public
service center and lines will go underneath Mill Creek and will be
directed to the wastewater treatment plant.
He said the construction of the well was mandated by the Ohio EPA.
In other topics discussed:
. Kruse announced his administration has completed a six-year spending
plan for the city. The report will enable council to make decisions on
issues more easily, because they will know why future funds will be
. Economic development director Eric Phillips reported that public
participation has been great for recent meetings held on development.
He said around 80 local residents showed up for a meeting with Mid-Ohio
Regional Planning Commission in January. The meeting brings
representatives from the seven counties surrounding Columbus and they
discuss future growth management.
Phillips also said that Monday's meeting on super centers brought out
about 150 people.
. Clerk Connie Patterson reported that three liquor licenses were
applied for. The licensees will be for a future restaurant going into
the former Elevator Company building. She said a steak house, similar to
Longhorn, will be opening in the spring or early summer.

Surveying the field
Cupid's arrow hits its mark for couple after a few near misses

Cupid worked overtime to bring together Tim and Cheryl Guider.
The magic arrow hit the mark when Cheryl Cullman decided to build a
house with her daughter, Caitlin, on part of the family  farm and needed
a surveyor. The couple, however, can list three other times when they
were in the same place at the same time - and never met.
Their paths never crossed when they both were at The Ohio State
University from 1989-1990 or seven years later when they both moved out
west for jobs. And a month before she hired him as a surveyor, they now
realize that they were in the same restaurant in Put-in-Bay.
They finally met when Mrs. Guider took her father's advice. He said she
should personally interview prospective surveyors, rather than just make
telephone calls. Picking his name out of the telephone book, Cullman
found herself at Guider's front door in August 1997. She hired Guider
Surveying because he was the most reasonable and helpful of all the
surveyors that she had met.
In their mid-30s, both were divorced and neither was looking for a
spouse, however, each of their friends had been encouraging them to get
out and meet people.
Interested in the surveying process, she followed Guider and his
assistant, Dan McKean, around in the evening as they measured off her
parcel of ground. It was McKean who asked the all-important question and
discovered that she was single. With this bit of knowledge in hand,
Guider decided to hand deliver his bill to the "most attractive client
he had."
A couple of days later, he asked her out to dinner and she accepted.
Mrs. Guider now admits that she had booked tickets for a comedy club,
but purposely didn't pay for them until she saw how dinner went.
Needless to say, dinner went well and they did go to the comedy club.
After a whirlwind romance that included nights at the symphony and
theatre, as well as a forestry field day, the couple was engaged within
three months. He proposed on New Year's eve at the very first spot they
met - his doorstep.
They were married in February by a distant family member who was a
former surveyor and now a minister.
Employed as a risk manager, Mrs. Guider would help her husband in the
evening with the surveying. She first suggested that they go into
business together, but he was a bit hesitant.
"I finally wore him down," she said.
Almost a year after they first met, Mr. and Mrs. Guider went into
business together as equal partners. To her, it just made sense. She, as
secretary/treasurer, handles the business details, while he, as
president, manages the surveying side of things. Both agree that working
with a spouse is a real motivator, especially on cold winter days or
extremely hot summer days, and a blessing.
For this Valentine's Day the Guiders will enjoy a gourmet meal at home.


Shelter has new attitude
New executive director and  manager treat pets like family
During the first six months of her life, Heidi was surrendered by her
first family and returned by two other families.
The reason why her first family surrendered her has been lost, but the
first adoptive family returned her because they thought she barked too
much. The second adoptive family returned her because they didn't think
they had enough time to care for her.
Heidi, a cute black and white pooch, has since found a loving home and a
job at the Union County Humane Society on County Home Road.
Rachel Finney, the society's first executive director, adopted the
border collie mix and said Heidi is now a shelter employee who comes to
work with her every day. She said Heidi is a perfect example of the
excellent types of dogs that can be found at the shelter.
Finney and new shelter manager Laura Lynn Stephen say the shelter has a
new look and new attitude. They consider the shelter animals their
Every dog gets a platform so it can get off the concrete floor when in
their pens, something warm - a towel or blanket ? and something to play
with - a toy ? said Stephen. Cats have a windowed gym to play in.
Their goal is to "connect people with animals" and make the best choices
for everyone.
"We don't want the dogs to come back," Finney said.
Both say that the best animals are at the humane society.
"They know they are saved," Stephen said.
To ensure success, Finney and Stephen suggest that prospective families
think about themselves first before they visit the shelter.
Finney said families should first think about how much time they have to
devote to a pet, if they like to exercise, the size of their home and
yard and number of family members. She added that it is a good idea to
research breeds and have an idea of what size dog is desired.
Stephen adds that families should also realize that a pet will mean some
Only after finding answers to these questions is it time to walk through
the kennel, which can be a bit intimidating, Stephen said. She said
staff will then talk to the interested persons about what dog caught
their attention. Individuals are then encouraged to take the animal for
a short walk and spend a few minutes with the dog.
The shelter is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday
from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday by appointment.
Individuals can adopt immediately or try the shelter's foster program
which allows them to take a dog home for 72 hours. The cost of adoption
helps cover the shelter's operating costs.
In addition to a fee, new owners must sign a contract to have their dog
spayed or neutered. They must also purchase a dog license.
New owners not only get a dog, they also get a leash when they adopt an
animal at the Union County Humane Society, Finney said.
For anyone who finds or loses pet, Finney offers the following advice:
First check for a collar and dog tags or other form of identification.
If the animal has a tag, the owner might be located by going to the
Union County Auditor's website. Messages can be left with the Union
County Dog Warden Joab Scott, who is an employee of the county and is
responsible for picking up dogs. He can be reached at 645-3016.
If an animal is lost, call the humane society at 642-6716 and they will
make a report in case the dog is taken there. Finney adds that is
important to provide specific information about the missing pet such as
markings, color, breed, sex, disposition and whether it has been
neutered or spayed.
"We handle a lot of dogs that are never in our facility," Finney said,
referring to the times the shelter can match up lost and found dogs
through telephone calls.
For individuals who have an unwanted pet, Finney said, it is crucial
that owners are honest about anything and everything. The information
will assist shelter workers in finding a good home for the animal.
When an animal is brought to the shelter, it receives a
physical/behavioral assessment, is logged in, gets a vaccine and is held
for 72 hours before it becomes adoptable.
Anyone aware of animal cruelty, neglect or abandonment should contact
the society's humane agent. Finney said the society is currently seeking
a new humane agent.
Finney is quick to point out that the local humane society is a
"shelter," not a pound. She explained that a pound is a holding facility
that commonly practices euthanasia.
"A shelter is so much more than that," Finney said.
She explains that shelter workers get to know animals and prospective
owners and offer training. She hopes the public will think of the humane
society as a source of information, as well as a great place to find a
new family member.
"Good things are happening here," Finney said.

Cook Real Estate is small by design

Editor's note: This is another installment in a continuing series of
stories highlighting multi-generational family businesses around the
Cook Real Estate was founded in 1950 by the late Lorin W. Cook,
originally from Magnetic Springs. The first office was located in an
upstairs office in North Main Street.
"L.W.," as he was known, was joined in 1956 by his son, Donald E. Cook.
The office then moved to the corner of Fifth and Main streets in the
Oakland Hotel. After the hotel burned in a fire in 1975 the office moved
to its present location at 123 W. Fifth St.
Rose Marie Cook joined the office as an agent in 1979 and David Cook,
its present broker, in 1983. Dawn Marie Burns joined the firm as an
agent in 1985.
Besides being involved in real estate brokerage, the Cook family has
also been involved in the local and state business community. L.W. Cook
was a past president and founder of the Union County Board of Realtors.
Donald E. Cook was the second president of the Union County Chamber of
Commerce, local real estate board president and Ohio Association of
Realtors president in 1981. David Cook was president of the local board
in 1989, 1990 and 2002.
The company keeps its staff small by design to insure "personalized and
professional service." Real estate is the company's occupation and
full-time responsibility. The company's professional reputation is well
known in the community and results in repeat and referral business.
"We are interested in more than real property," David Cook said. "We are
interested in our clients."
Cook Real Estate is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and
Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. Other hours are available by
The company provides residential, commercial and agricultural real
estate sales as well as appraisal services.

Residents want choice
Talk of super centers draws applause from crowd
"I do a lot of shopping in Dublin," Eric Allen said to more than a
hundred Marysville residents Monday night, "and I know you do, too,
because I see you there."
The local pastor's speech was met with applause by those gathered at the
Union County Services Center on London Avenue. Allen said he is like
many residents who are tired of waiting in lines at local stores and
spending too much time looking for parking spaces. He said he leads a
busy life and many times he can save time driving to Dublin for
His speech tackled one aspect of why the members of the Marysville
Planning Commission have a tough decision ahead of them.
Planning commission members are trying to decide whether they need to
limit the size of super centers interested in building in Marysville to
100,000 square feet. A building this size would be larger than any
existing local store but not nearly as large as mega centers reaching
250,000 square feet which could come to town if no limits are set.
Marysville Planning Commission chairman Alan Seymour said the 100,000
square foot limit would not keep businesses such as Lowe's or Home Depot
from building in town but it would keep large combination
grocery/department stores out.
Based on applause, local crowd members liked the idea of having a super
center located inside the city. Several stood up and said limiting the
size of a business would hurt the city's opportunities.
Seymour reminded people that a super center can drastically change all
aspects of a city, leaving a large number of empty buildings. He asked
residents to remember how long Kmart sat empty before it became the
Union County Services Center.
Dan Fitzgerald said his family has been running McAuliffe's hardware
store in town for 80 years. He said when you compare 40,000 people in
Union County to more than a half million people in Columbus, the markets
don't add up. He said Marysville's market is underdeveloped but a super
center of more than 100,000 square feet is too big for the local market
to handle.
If Super Wal-Mart came to town and was followed by a Home Depot, he
said, the two business would have more square footage than all current
Marysville businesses combined. He recommends limiting the size of the
centers to benefit the city.
William Habig, executive director of Mid-Ohio Regional Planning
Commission, said the trend in stores today is to consolidate retail and
grocery stores for one-stop shopping. He said positives aspects of this
trend are that super centers create lower prices for customers, save
time, create local jobs and make a good tax revenue source. Satellite
stores nearby would benefit from their customer traffic.
The negative aspects, he said, could include a strong hit on local small
businesses, increased traffic in the city and the possibility of giant
abandoned buildings.
Habig recommended Marysville do a retail market analysis to find out
just how many local people go outside the city for services and what
those services are. Many others on the panel and in the crowd agreed
this must be done before any decision can be made on limiting retail
store sizes.
Seymour said this is one aspect the commission will discuss when they
meet Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for a special meeting on super centers.
Several residents said that the city has a tough decision ahead.
Limitations could make retailers open a super center right outside the
city limits. This would have the same negative effect on local business
and also take away much needed tax money.
Union County Builders Association spokesman Bill Bowman said that in the
past five years 1,181 new homes were built in Marysville and an
additional 1,372 in Union County. That is 2,553 new homes that add up to
$394 million in construction costs. The problem is that most of the
business for lumber, home appliances and other household needs are
located outside the city.
Chris Boring, owner of Boulevard Strategies, a retail consulting and
urban planning company, said Marysville could stand to create another
1,500 retail jobs just to be at the state average.
"They're going to get dollars into their stores one way or another,"
Marysville mayor Tom Kruse said. He explained that the city needs to
create a larger tax base to keep rates down for its citizens. Sooner or
later, businesses will get tired of the roadblocks. Rather than zoning
out super centers, he prefers dealing with the issues.
Marysville schools superintendent Larry Zimmerman agreed and said that
in 1990 the schools were getting 75 percent of every tax dollar from
commercial and industrial sources. In 2004 he said that changed to 50
"The schools lost 25 percent of their tax base," Zimmerman said.
"Residential growth has outpaced commercial growth. We have to keep
pace, otherwise the homeowners will have to carry the tax burden more
than ever before."
This comment was met by applause from residents.
"The schools superintendent doesn't get applause like that very often,
so mark that down," he laughed.
Allen asked everyone to think about how Marysville will not be the same
in another 10 years. He said he took a walk downtown Monday and saw that
business has already adapted for the future. If a super center came to
town, downtown businesses would be fine. Downtown there are antique
stores, dance studios, coffee shops and restaurants that would continue
to thrive.
The local manager of Wal-Mart spoke up near the end of the meeting and
said he has 146 people working at his store that he considers his
partners. For 14 years Wal-Mart has been in the city, he said. Since
then Marysville has grown and now Wal-Mart needs to grow to satisfy its
"McAuliffe's was not always in the building it is now," he said. "You
have to grow to meet up with your customer base."

Richwood council sets step raises for officers
Richwood Village Council enacted a step raise system that will save the
village money when hiring police officers.
Richwood Police Chief Rick Asher proposed the changes at Monday's
village council meeting. The top pay for all police positions will
remain the same but the time to reach the high end of the scale will
The starting wage for full-time officers will be $9.08 per hour with a
fifty cent per hour bump after every six months until the officer
reaches $11.58 per hour. Part-time officers will be hired in at $8.08
per hour and will receive fifty cent per hour raises each six months
until topping out at $9.08.
Asher said the raises are not guaranteed and are based on performance.
He said top raises are given to those with excellent performance
In the past, officers were paid a certain hourly rate, regardless of
years of service. Wade McCalf of the village police committee said the
move could save up to $3,000 per year.
Another pay-related request made last month by Asher was also discussed.
Asher has proposed to bump his salary from $40,000 per year to
$45,000and move the hourly rate for the department's sergeant from
$12.51 an hour to $13.25.
The reason behind the increase was to offset the two positions taking on
additional duties. The department's dispatcher had quit and the chief
and sergeant were going to take over the duties, meaning the position
would not be filled.
Asher had reasoned that the $15,000 in wages that were saved would be
enough to cover the raises. But after having performed the dispatcher
duties on top of his own recently, Asher rescinded the offer and has
decided to rehire the position.
In other business, council:
. Heard an update on village projects from Ed Bischoff of Bischoff and
. Heard a complaint from a village resident about a $400 water bill.
Apparently the resident's water meter had malfunctioned and recorded the
wrong water usage. An investigation found the actual usage to be a
higher volume, resulting in the higher bill. Village administrator Ron
Polen said he would double check the figures for the home.
. Learned that village solicitor Rick Rodger will be updating the
village tax codes to include lottery winnings. A recent Lotto winner in
the Richwood area claimed millions of dollars, however, did not reside
in the village limits. The update will ensure that any future winner of
a lottery prize who resides within the village will be subject to pay
the village income take.
. Voted 6-0 to allow Polen to obtain a village credit card with a $5,000
limit to make minor purchases.
. Learned from council member George Showalter that some residents are
plowing show into the street near intersections. The height of the piles
sometimes obstructs the view of motorists. Council members said
residents should keep snow piles at least 10 feet from intersections.
. Voted 6-0 to approve the new shelter house rental rules for Richwood
. Held an executive session to discuss personnel.

Underwoods work as a team to better the community
Scott and Holly Underwood would choose camaraderie as one of their
favorite words. The local couple has worked as a team over the past 17
years to participate in community events, raise a family and run a local
service all in the hope that they would help to generate goodwill among
Together, the couple has founded a successful fund for foster families
and Scott has helped to direct various shows over the past 28 years with
one of the purposes to help raise funds for non-profit organizations.
Foster Friends was started in 1996 after the Underwoods learned of the
gap in funding for foster kids and foster families.
"This was our way of being part of the foster care system in Union
County," Scott said.
The fund generates money for costs that Human Services or other sources
are unable to cover. The Underwoods classified the costs covered by
Foster Friends to be extras but at the same time extras that every child
deserves to have.
"Every child deserves to have the proper football cleats or a prom dress
or a yearbook or even a warm winter coat," Holly explained, "So many
times foster children do without these items and Foster Friends helps
fill the gap."
Within the last year, Foster Friends has become a part of the Union
County Foundation. Scott said that many people have given to the fund
through the years, including church groups, individuals and memorial
"The fund has very minimal administrative costs so all the money goes to
the kids," Scott said.
Scott and Holly's volunteer work extends past working behind a desk.
Scott is active in local community productions for charity. Both the
Underwoods have some musical background from their days at Ohio State,
playing in the University's band programs.
Scott's love of music has led him to direct various pit orchestras over
the years. In fact, before the couple began their family, Scott even
directed his own wife on French horn in the Pontifical College
Josephenium pit orchestra in Worthington.
Scott refers to his directing of local musicals as a "nice hobby." "It
promotes family unity, it's a way to support the community and furthers
ties between different generations," he said.
His list of directorial credits is long and starts back in the seventies
when he worked for Memorial Hospital and directed productions there.
In recent years he has assisted in producing musicals to help fund local
charities. This past holiday he helped with "The Best Christmas Pageant
Ever" as a Rotary Club fundraiser to help raise money for the group's
literacy program. "The Music Man" performed last summer helped raise
money for the library levy.
He has directed "Annie" twice over the past 13 years, once to raise
funds for the high school's grand piano and Children's Inc. and a second
time for the United Way's parks and recreation grant program.
Scott sees the musicals as a beneficial fundraiser for all those who
participate. "It provides an opportunity for adults and children to
'play' together and I enjoy the camaraderie," he said.
Holly said her role in the local productions is to keep things going
behind the scenes in the family's work life and personal lives.
"We are very aware of each other's strengths and weaknesses and together
we use our strengths, minimize our weaknesses and it balances out well,"
Holly said, "I really feel lucky that we work so well together."
Overall the Underwoods give back to their community because they like
living here and they consider Marysville to be a nice place to raise
their three children.
"We enjoy being involved because we live in this community and it's our
home," Holly said.
The Underwoods have started another fund through the Community
Foundation. The new fund would help to fund local cultural arts and
provide moneys for books and supplies for local students seeking higher

A question of funding

Some feel MR/DD is not hurting for money; Buerger touts necessity of
A board that helps some of the county's most vulnerable residents is
asking voters to replace a levy, but some are questioning the need for
additional money.
The Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board
superintendent said inflation and cost of services are outpacing what
the local levy generates. The Union County Board of Commissioners and
some MR/DD board members, however, have voiced concerns.
What they want
The Union County Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board
is asking voters for a second time to replace a 2.4-mill levy that runs
out at the end of the year. The first levy request failed in November.
The current levy provides 29 percent of this year's budget or $1,893,500
out of a total budget of $6,582,144. The replacement will be based on
new property values and bring in about $700,000 more than the current
If this levy does not pass by the end of the year, superintendent Jerry
Buerger said, the board will have to scale back services by closing the
Harold Lewis Center. The closing means that about 99 children under the
age of 5 years must receive services from other county institutions.
Union County MR/DD provides services and support to 404 county residents
who have mental retardation or developmental disabilities. Eligible
people of all ages can receive services through the Harold Lewis Center,
U-CO Industries, WorkNet and/or support services. The board's mission is
to "increase opportunities for a quality of life, community membership
and personal achievement for people with developmental disabilities."
County Board of         Commissioners Position
While supportive of the MR/DD staff, volunteers and the families who
receive services, the Union County Board of Commissioners issued a
position Friday that voices concern about recent board decisions that
offered a significant benefit package to employees while some
individuals are on a waiting list for services.
"And while we support the levy request, the Commissioners have expressed
concerns about a newly enacted sick leave buy-out plan by the Board of
MR/DD. In our opinion, it is ill-advised and self-serving for the
administration to benefit from a significantly greater employee benefit
while at the same time families are kept waiting for services."
Currently, 15 adults are on a waiting list for services (eight of the 15
are seeking additional services) and 14 families are waiting for respite
In May, the MR/DD board expanded the sick leave policy beyond what the
Ohio Revised Code mandates. The MR/DD policy offers certain long-term
employees a buyout of 100 percent of their accrued/unused sick leave at
retirement or resignation. It also offers benefits sooner than the ORC
Buerger, who is in line to receive a personal buyout of $30,000,
defended the policy at a board meeting in 2003 by calling the buyout
"inconsequential." Buerger said the overall buyout money would pay for
only three days of operation.
"You have to equate the savings," he said at the December board meeting.

Board president Bruce Davis called the sick leave policy an enticement
to retain employees. He said a consultant presented the idea early last
year when the board was reviewing the whole salary package.
In addition to the sick leave buyout enticement, the coming year's MR/DD
budget includes one of the higher pay raises in the county, 4 percent,
for their 78 employees. Raises would be effective in July and have yet
to be approved.
A comparison of other entities in the county reveal that county
employees received an average 3 percent pay raise this year and
non-union city employees received an average of 3 percent after going a
year without any raise. One major business in the county which was
contacted reports no raises in the past year to employees, while another
reports a 3.1 percent raise to production associates.
Board member Steve Streng voiced a concern about the benefit package
during a December board meeting.
"We approved as a board several fairly expensive benefits for our senior
associates ... that certainly is low-hanging fruit." He later added, "If
I was a taxpayer or a consumer, I certainly wouldn't look favorably on
cutting services at a time that we are generating incremental expenses
to our last year budget to buy out sick leave ... I don't know if that's
Carryover funds
As of Jan. 1, MR/DD had a carryover or reserve fund of $2.6 million.
Buerger said the board needs to have a third of the annual budget in
reserve to pay for the first three months of expenses until taxes are
collected in March. Expenditures for the first three months of 2003
totaled $1.9 million.
Buerger adds that MR/DD is not the only public entity to maintain a
carryover or reserve account.
School districts, the county and health department have carryover or
reserve accounts ranging from 14 to 80 percent of their total budgets,
Buerger said. MR/DD's carryover is 28 percent of the 2004 budget.
Other concerns
Adding to the question are MR/DD board members such as Streng and Dr.
Helen Ahlborn, as well as board president Bruce Davis who said that the
local agency is financially in good shape.
"We're not sick," Davis said during a recent interview. He said the
reason for seeking a replacement, rather than renewal, levy was to keep
the levy current.
During a discussion after the failure of the first levy attempt in
November, Streng and Ahlborn said MR/DD is in good financial shape.
"It is my opinion that we are not in that dire of straits just yet,"
Ahlborn said.
Streng said, "We'll be a little better off than last year."
Buerger is concerned about misinformation that is circulating about his
agency. He released the following statement via email:
"Based on information and questions that have come into my office, it is
evident that there is a concerted effort by some citizens to utilize
various groups of people to spread misinformation about the Union County
Board of MR/DD finances and its operations.
"These actions disturb all of us. It is truly a shame that any person in
this community would be willing to jeopardize the quality services and
assistance provided for persons and families with disabilities in order
to attain their own personal agendas.
"This agency continues to be completely accountable for all expenditures
and services provided based upon the directives of the Union County
Board of MR/DD, along with the rules and regulations of various local,
state and federal agencies. Citizens are welcome at any time to contact
the agency to receive answers and explanations to questions or concerns
that they may have.
"Upcoming levy advertisements in the local print media will provide
answers to many questions they have asked. I urge everyone to collect
the facts to enable them to make an informed decision prior to casting
their ballots on election day."
MR/DD is holding a town meeting Tuesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the
Harold Lewis Center gymnasium. Child care will be provided.
The three-member commissioner board said they agreed that the
replacement levy should go before voters after reviewing the fact that
the MR/DD system had a waiting list for families to receive services, as
well as a projected increasing demand for services in the coming years.
Inspite of concern about MR/DD finances, the Union County Board of
Commissioners is asking the public to support the levy.
"Without the levy passage, valuable services including the Harold Lewis
School Pre-School Program will likely need to be cut. It would be
unfortunate that families who are dependent upon the system for
essential services would be hurt by the failure of the levy passage,"
states the commissioners' position.

Jail, Memorial Hospital can't come to terms
Negotiations regarding an emergency medical services contract between
the Tri-County Regional Jail Commission and Memorial Hospital of Union
County appear to have stalled
At Thursday's commission meeting Union County Commissioner Gary Lee
reported that he and jail director Dan Bratka met with Memorial Hospital
officials on Jan. 20. As a result of the meeting, the commission will be
working with other area hospitals on providing emergency medical care.
Lee said he discovered at the meeting that Memorial Hospital had a few
issues with the jail medical services contract proposal and they were
not prepared to move forward until those roadblocks were cleared up. The
hospital's main concern was reportedly having a way to cover its back in
the deal.
"If a prisoner is taken to the emergency room and is then admitted," Lee
explained, "the county that has him incarcerated can ask the judge that
sent him to prison to release him until such time as his health allows
him to be sent back to jail."
The problem for hospitals, he said, is that once a judge grants a
release, the inmate is not covered by prison health care anymore.
"So the hospital could get stuck with the bill," Lee said. "And that
could mean a few thousand dollars in a few hours for them."
Jail commissioners made a point to add that only non-violent inmates are
ever released by judges in situations of emergency hospital care. This
prevents any security issues for hospital staff.
Madison County Commissioner Bob Hackett, who attended the meeting, said
it can also become even more difficult for a hospital to deal with three
counties instead of just one when trying to get those bills paid.
"It puts hospitals in a bad situation," Madison County Commissioner
David Dhume said.
In addition, Lee said, Memorial Hospital will be expecting its new CEO
on March 8 and hospital officials feel it would be best to wait on a
decision until that time. He said that for the next couple of months it
would be best for the jail commission to hear offers by other interested
Hackett said Madison County Hospital has a well-respected history of
dealing with prison system medical care and its administration is
interested in seeing a "quasi proposal" from jail commissioners.
"I think we have a very positive situation with Madison County," Dhume
Lee said the Madison County Hospital CEO will attend the March meeting
and discuss the proposal. By April, the issue of medical costs for
hospitals could be cleared up and the commission will have its final
offer ready. At that time the jail commission can have the option of
comparing Memorial Hospital with Madison Hospital and then go with the
better deal, Lee said.
Medical costs for inmates has doubled in recent years for the Tri-County
Regional Jail, commissioners reported in past meetings. They found that
a large chunk of their budget was going in that direction and something
needed to be done about it.
One aspect that is helping the costs, Bratka reported, is that the
jail's new in-house doctor has cut down the number of inmates sent out
for emergency medical care.
"It was a bigger problem before we got the new doctor," Lee said. "He's
worth his money."

Local pastor screens film
Says brutal depiction of the last hours of Christ is graphic but
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole and with
his stripes we are healed.
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own
way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all."

--Isaiah 53: 5, 6
This is the basis of the movie, "The Passion of The Christ," said Clancy
Cruise, pastor of Grace Brethren Church in Marysville.
Cruise traveled to Chicago late in January to see a rough cut screening
of Mel Gibson's controversial film. He and 4,500 other pastors from
across the country viewed the feature-length film and had an opportunity
to question Gibson who was present for the screening.
"This is not a movie you will enjoy," Cruise said, "but it's a movie you
need to see."
He said the film is an accurate New Testament account of the 12 hours of
the Passion of Christ.
"As I watched the beating and crucifixion," Cruise said, "I hoped that
wasn't how it really was ? but I was afraid it was."
Cruise said the setting of the film is very authentic. He, himself, has
visited Jerusalem and walked the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus walked to
"It's as if God had allowed 20th century cinematographers to be there,"
he said.
The story includes the apostles, especially Judas, the betrayer, and
Peter who denied Christ.
"When the cock crows three times," Cruise said, "it's as if you denied
Gibson, a devout Catholic, told the audience in Chicago that he
conceived the idea about 13 years ago and began work on it three years
ago. His motive is to get a biblical account of the Passion on film
because many films do not do it justice. The actor who portrays Jesus,
James Caviezel, is also a man with strong Catholic beliefs.
The movie has raised criticism and questions in many quarters, mainly a
charge that it is anti-Semitic. Abraham Foxman, head of the
Anti-Defamation League, Cruise said, has not called the film
anti-Semitic but fears that the film could fuel hatred, bigotry and
anti-Semitism. That charge stems from the inclusion in the film of
material from the gospel of Matthew.
In a scene in the movie, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, does not
think Jesus should be put to death and asks the crowd and the Jewish
officials several times what they want. Each time, the mob asks for
Jesus' death until, finally, Pilate tells them, "See to it yourselves."
The next passage is the crux of the issue: "And all the people answered,
'His blood be on us and on our children'."
Throughout the making of the film, that statement has been challenged
because it seems to place the fault on all Jewish people forever. Foxman
and others asked Gibson to delete the passage but until early this week,
he refused.
The New York Times published a story Monday saying that Gibson has
decided to delete the scene, according to a Gibson associate. Gibson,
however, has made no statements and the film is still being edited.
Cruise and several other Marysville pastors are working with Chris
Weikle of Marysville Cinemas to bring the movie to Marysville.
Originally, there were to be only 500 prints released for debut on Feb.
25, Ash Wednesday, but as Gibson traveled the country to attend
screenings, he has decided to release 2,000 prints.
Local pastors have asked Weikle if he would air the film if they can get
a sufficient number of names of those who want to see it. They have set
up a website ? www.marysvillegrace.org. ? which states that they hope to
get 2,500 names listed and that Weikle is 95 percent sure that he can
get a copy if he has enough public support.
The film is not a Hollywood version of Christ's death, Cruise said, and
does not deserve the antagonism that is being shown. The film is rated R
and Cruise said he would not recommend it to anyone under the age of 15
because of the brutality depicted.


Jerome trustees  discuss road resurfacing
Two Jerome Township trustees met Wednesday morning to discuss road
repairs, the cost of signs and the future use of two township vehicles.
No decisions were made.
Not present at the meeting were clerk Robert Caldwell and trustee Ron
Trustees Sharon Sue Wolfe and Freeman May reviewed cost estimates
prepared by the Union County Engineer's department to resurface certain
township roads. The three-year plan presented roads that were
recommended for hot or cold mix.
Instead of hot or cold mix, May suggested using a slurry seal on the
township roads and having the work done by a township business. He
volunteered to find out the cost for the specific roads, as well as the
cost to resurface by another entity other than the engineer.
Several times May referred to the county's practice of charging for the
cost of the job plus 30 percent. May said he had problems with the
engineer making money off township work. Wolfe agreed that it was a good
idea to bid the jobs independently.
While reviewing the list of roads, Wolfe noted that Weldon was not
listed and needed work more than some of the "new" roads. May said he
thought Mitchell Dewitt, Currier and Weldon roads were in the greatest
need of resurfacing.
Contacted after the meeting by the Marysville Journal-Tribune, a
spokesman at the engineer's department explained that Weldon was not on
this list because it is a chip and seal road.
Both May and Wolfe commented several times about "new" streets on the
engineer's list. May suggested that the zoning board create PUD rules to
mandate that contractors resurface roads.
Wolfe said all trustees need to create a list by Tuesday of roads they
think need resurfacing this year and she will then check with the
township clerk about available funds. She said the trustees will take
action at the next Wednesday meeting.
May said the township plans to use grant money to repair Ketch, Wells
and Hill roads.
Following up on Monday's meeting when trustees discussed a
recommendation by the engineer to change speed limits on certain roads,
May said a private business charges $52.71 per stop sign. The township
is looking at purchasing 31 signs to post on the roads where speed
limits will be reduced to 25 or 35 miles per hour. He did not have
specific costs for the county to replace signs.
May said the township's smaller dump truck is having hydraulic and
electrical problems. He said the truck is 14 years old.
A bit of confusion apparently arose with the recent replacement of the
township's pickup.
Fire Chief Scott Skeldon said that when he and the clerk met in December
to plan the fire department's budget, they discussed the transfer of the
township's road truck into the fire department's inventory. The pickup
would replace a prevention bureau car that has 235,000 miles on it.
May and Wolfe, however, had other plans for the retired township road
vehicle. They want to begin providing a vehicle to the township's zoning
inspector. May said the fire department could borrow the truck.
During citizen comments, one individual asked what the trustees had
decided to do about purchasing a welder. May said he needed to talk with
the township employee.
Another citizen asked about minutes from the Monday meeting. Wolfe said
the clerk had not prepared them yet.

Do we need super centers?
City officials will discuss limiting size of commercial buildings
Are super stores the future for growing cities such as Marysville or do
they represent the death of the family store?
Union County and Marysville administrators will sit down and talk about
it Monday night for a discussion called "Are retail super centers right
for Marysville?"
The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Union County
Services Center, 940 London Ave. It will include discussion from
planning commission members, city council and administration, Union
County companies, real estate brokers, the Union County Chamber of
Commerce and the Marysville Business Association.
More importantly, Marysville planning commission director Alan Seymour
said, city officials hope to hear from Marysville citizens who will
offer their opinions on super centers.
Seymour said Tuesday afternoon that the recent debate on super centers
stems from planning commission discussions about setting limits to the
size of new business construction coming into Marysville. If regulations
are placed on size, super centers such as Lowe's and Super Wal-Mart
could not locate inside the city unless their buildings were under
100,000 square-feet in size.
He said that figure came about after the commission discussed what would
happen if the local Wal-Mart underwent an expansion. The current
building has 65,000 square feet of space and an addition might add
another 35,000.
To contrast, he said, super-stores such as Super Wal-Mart, Meijer and
Lowe's can be anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 square feet.
Seymour said the commission recently began reorganizing zoning density
regulations to deal with development and has created the Commercial
Business District. He said the design review process is another facet
the commission has for handling density problems. The super center issue
falls in these realms of zoning.
At one point, Seymour said, planning commission members decided to ask
themselves how they would vote on the issue of super centers at a past
meeting. They discovered that they were divided.
"We would just like to come out of the meeting with a collection of
ideas we can use to pursue legislation," he said.
One aspect of the discussion is that interest groups will reportedly be
there in full force. Those with a focus on land sale and business growth
will reportedly debate with interest groups more focused on keeping big
corporation competition away from their local stores.
Director of the Union County-Marysville Economic Development Partnership
Eric Phillips said whether or not a business chooses Marysville depends
on rooftops and population in the area. He said the number of people in
the city has retailers interested.
"Marysville is on the radar screen for major retail development,"
Phillips said. "Now we need to decide where we go from here."
He said cities such as Westerville and Powell have already decided
against super centers, whereas London has voted for them.
One way super centers are perceived, he said, are as "category killers"
which come into cities and undersell existing businesses. There is also
the threat that if large-scale retailers build in town they may decide
to abandon the city's market and leave behind a large vacant building.
"The other side of that," Phillips said, "is that (super centers) offer
consumer choice."
He said the centers can create friendly competition by coming to a city
and allow existing businesses to become stronger.
"I just plan to try and educate myself as much as possible," Marysville
mayor Tom Kruse said today.
Kruse said he does have some reservations about the predatory nature of
some large retailers.
"I have always considered myself a free market individual," he
explained. "But I do have some concerns for local business."
He also said that he wonders if it should be the role of city government
to get involved in what could be construed as enacting a protective
"The city has grown without super centers based on our own merit and
charm," he said.
The planning commission has scheduled another meeting for Feb. 11 in
order to absorb what they take away from Monday's meeting, he said.

North Lewisburg to see water, sewer rate hike
North Lewisburg Village residents will be paying more for their water
and sewer utilities as early as March 1.
The council authorized a 3 percent increase for water and sewer
utilities, which would be rounded to $52.50 a month. In addition, the
water and sewer deposit will be increased to $57.75.
Council members were made aware of a possible 3 percent proposal at last
month's meeting. Barry First, city administrator, explained to council
in January that in order to continue with wastewater improvements it
would be beneficial to move forward sooner that later.
Gary Silcott, village engineer, presented to council information on a
new water filtration system, membrane technology, which was developed in
Japan 12 years ago. It is relatively new in the United States but
considered to be very cost effective.
The new technology would more than likely work with the village's
current tanks and provide for a much more compact operation. Silcott
shared several of the benefits, including lower maintenance and less
sludge. The system does require more electricity but the overall
benefits would offset this cost.
Overall, the membrane technology doubles the standards set by the EPA.
Silcott is planning to do more research and will report back to council
at a later meeting.
Barry First, asked council to consider a proposal for a new HVAC system
for the village municipal building. The village has acquired two
proposals from heating contractors and First recommended a proposal that
would cost $14,980. Council members agreed to look over the information
to prepare for a decision at a later date.
Patty Woodruff, clerk, asked council to adopt the final appropirations
for 2004. The total budget for the village is just over $1.2 million
which is down by around $260,000 from last year. The appropriations are
as follows: general fund - $432,200; street construction - $69,200;
state highways - $8,000; impact fees - $50,000; local road tax -
$15,000; water - $208,198; sewer - $422,250; utility deposit fund -
In other business, council:
 . Heard from officer Kemp the Champaign County Sheriff's Office report.
Monthly activity in the village of North Lewisburg included six traffic
citations, seven warnings issued for traffic violations, nine incident
reports, 14 cases of assistance given to citizens, two arrests made, six
civil and criminal papers served, 13 follow-up investigations completed,
four instances of juvenile contacts and zero auto accidents.
 . Authorized a 4 percent pay increase for all employees as recommended
by the finance committee.
 . Received information on the Auditor of State Local Government
Officials Conference and the Ohio Municipal League 2004 Training for
elected officials.

United Way avoids cuts to member agencies
The United Way of Union County made no funding cuts to its member
agencies this year despite the fact that the local organization did not
reach its campaign goal for 2003.
Allocations that maintain the 2003 level of funding to the United Way's
23 Member Agencies were recently approved by the board of trustees.
The 2003 campaign goal was $750,000. To date, $626,120.85 has been
collected in pledges, with the projected final outcome for the campaign
totaling around $700,000. That is near the 2002 campaign result of
$702,000 but short of meeting the funding requests of all 23 Member
Agencies. The United Way of Union County isn't alone. Seventy-seven of
the 93 United Way's located throughout Ohio have not met their 2003
campaign goals.
"In light of the fact that other United Ways have had to go through the
process to reduce agencies from their 2003 levels of funding, I think
that we're in good shape," said Shari Marsh, executive director of the
United Way of Union County. "Our agencies should still be able to
provide quality services to meet the needs of people in our community."
Twenty-seven percent of the money raised to date has been designated by
United Way investors to a specific agency or cause.
In the fall, United Way volunteers visited all 23 member agencies to
make sure that the agencies are efficient and effective in their use of
United Way dollars and the services they provide. The committee then
prioritized these agencies based on the needs that they meet. For
instance, the emergency assistance, disaster relief and bloodmobile
services provided by the American Red Cross earned a top priority.
Much time, thought, research, discussion and consideration go into
making these decisions. Number crunching is a routine exercise and the
fact that agency requests are often higher than the money available to
disperse makes the task difficult.
"I personally feel a great deal of accountability for the decisions
made," said Barb Nicol, volunteer chair of the B&A committee. "Committee
members frequently say 'I can't justify this to the community' or 'yes,
I can defend this to the residents of Union County'."
"We are responsible for allocating over half a million dollars of money
donated by the community, our friends, neighbors, and associates," said
fellow committee member and Marysville resident Brian O'Kane. "The
responsibility is enormous."
The 2004 United Way of Union County Allocations:
As part of its commitment to improve the quality of life in Union
County, the United Way funds additional programs and services as needs
arise throughout the year above and beyond the 23 member agencies.
In 2003, the United Way also used investor dollars to help fund the
following through one-time grants:
City of Marysville Pool - $5,000
Elite FC, Inc. Soccer - $500
Fairbanks Elementary PTO - $496
Friends of the Marysville Public Library - $450
Marion Shelter Program - $4,500
Marysville Junior Baseball/Softball - $1,270
Marysville Victory Center - $12,000
The Salvation Army Housing Assistance Program - $11,500
Union County Military Family Support Group - $1,000
Union County Summer Youth Program - $1,764
Village of Plain City Pool - $1,500.00
Total - $39,980
The United Way of Union County's 2004 operating budget has been
established at $137,338. In 2003, only 15 percent of the money raised
during the 2002 campaign went to cover United Way's administrative
costs. A non-profit organization meets one of the new charitable
accountability standards of the Better Business Bureau if 35 percent of
the money raised goes toward administrative costs.
For more information about agency allocations, please call the United
Way at 644-8381.

McAuliffe's Hardware has grown with Marysville
McAuliffe's has operated from several locations on both North and South
Main streets as well as a location on West Fifth Street.
The business was founded in 1920 and in March the company will mark its
84th year of continuous operation within the McAuliffe/Fitzgerald
Founding the business in 1920 were Jerry and John McAuliffe. McAuliffe's
first location was a small shop on South Main Street that they rented
for $9 per month with the understanding that if the pair remained in
business for 11 months, the final month of the year would be free.
In the early years, McAuliffe Bros. was primarily a plumbing and heating
contractor, with John McAuliffe running the sales and Jerry McAuliffe
managing the installations. John remained with the company until his
death in 1957. Jerry was active in the company until his retirement in
the late 1960s.
Neither brother had any children but in 1947 they invited their nephew,
Larry Fitzgerald, into the company. He was responsible for transforming
the company into a retail hardware operation and moving the company to
North Main Street where McAuliffe's served the Marysville community from
1964 to 1995.
Today, Larry Fitzgerald has retired from active management of
McAuliffe's and the company management has been turned over to a third
generation, his sons Dan and Jim. In 1995 Dan and Jim Fitzgerald moved
McAuliffe's to its present location on West Fifth Street. From the
present location the brothers operate McAuliffe's Ace Hardware and
McAuliffe's Industrial.
McAuliffe's Ace Hardware offers a large inventory of hardware, tools,
plumbing, electrical and paint products. It also features a large gift
and seasonal selections department as well as a complete lawn and garden
section and an outdoor nursery. To help with other projects, McAuliffe's
has a full rental department with everything from tools to tents.
"We like to think that we are more than an average hardware store," Dan
Fitzgerald said. "Over the years we have just tried to provide goods and
services that the people of Union county have told us they want."
Meeting local needs has led to McAuliffe's newest addition, McAuliffe's
"Our industrial customers have very different needs from our retail
customers," Jim Fitzgerald said. "But we feel that as a locally-owned
family business, we are uniquely positioned to work with all of our
Though McAuliffe's has continued to evolve in the last 80 years, the one
consistent feature of the company has been good employees. McAuliffe's
has enjoyed a core group of good people who have worked for the company
for many years. While one employee stayed with them for 57 years before
his retirement, several have been with the company for more than a
decade. The Fitzgeralds feel that this loyalty by so many of its
associates is a big reason why they have been able to be successful.
"We know that in our business we have to always be helpful so we try to
keep good people working for us who care about our customers," Jim said.

The brothers also feel that it helps that the owners are involved in the
day-to-day management of the business.
"So many retail stores today are owned by out of state companies who
have no real understanding of the local market," Dan said. "We have
always felt that by living in Marysville and making our business
decisions locally, we could better serve the Marysville community."
In the future, the Fitzgeralds want to continue to strengthen their
relationship with Marysville
"Our growth has always depended upon our local market and upon what
Marysville has wanted us to be," Dan said. "We have always felt very
blessed to be in Marysville and we want to stay right here."
McAuliffe's operates from its location at 1299 W. Fifth St. and retail
business hours are Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and
Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The industrial hours are Monday through
Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Family claims Lotto prize
From J-T staff reports:
George Smith Cox of Marysville and his children claimed a $28 million
Super Lotto Plus jackpot Monday morning at the Columbus regional office.

Cox's family includes Gary Richard Cox of East Liberty, Kenneth W. Cox
of Marysville and Carol C. Miller of Richwood.
After mandatory federal and state taxes totaling 28.5 percent are
deducted, they will split a little more than $10 million. The winning
numbers were 1-3-7-37-40-45. The bonus ball number was 42.
The winning ticket was purchased at Richwood Cardinal Supermarket.
The store will receive  a $28,000 payout as an agent bonus for selling
the winning ticket.
A spokesman for the lottery said the Cox family has requested they not
be contacted by the media.

Father sentenced for killing young son
From J-T staff reports:
A father's regrets in court were reportedly not enough to keep him out
of jail after pleading guilty to shaking his baby to death.
Ronald D. Stollings, 21, of 180 Jackson St. in Plain City, pleaded
guilty to killing his 2-month-old son, Devin, on Friday, Nov. 21.
Stollings was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison on Friday and
could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
He was indicted by a Madison County Grand Jury on one count of
aggravated murder, which carries a penalty of 20 years to life. That
charge was later reportedly amended to a lesser charge in a plea
Madison County Prosecutor Steven Pronai sought to change the plea from
aggravated murder to murder. The reason he reportedly gave was that
shaken-baby syndrome can either take days to set in or can happen
immediately. He reported that prosecutors would have had to document
Stollings contact with Devin on an hour-by-hour basis and the only
witnesses they had were his mother and sister who are not entirely
reliable because of their association with him.
Defense attorney J. Michael Murray said Stollings feels remorse for the
death of his son but did not intend to kill the baby.
Before proceeding with the lesser murder charge, Madison County Court of
Common Pleas Judge Robert Nichols reportedly said he did have some
concerns about changing the plea because the lesser charge was not
considered by a jury.
According to reports, Pronai told Nichols that he had already discussed
the plea change with the victim's mother before the offer was made to
Stollings. He said she had agreed during a discussion to the lesser
While Stollings was spared being tried for aggravated murder, members of
his wife's family reportedly continue to voice their anger at Stollings
over the murder.
Plain City Police received a 911 phone call at 3:38 p.m. on Nov. 21,
from 147 Jackson St. The caller reported a baby was not breathing. Plain
City Police Sgt. James Hill and Officer Tharon Prather arrived at the
scene and saw the child lying on the floor.
Medics transported the baby to Union County Memorial Hospital and soon
after, the boy was pronounced dead.
An autopsy report confirmed that the baby had been shaken to death.
Dorothy Dean of the Franklin County Coroner's office filed in her report
that Devin had sustained a non-accidental head injury from being shaken.
There was reportedly brain swelling, blood on the brain and bleeding in
the eyeball nerves. She also reported that her investigation revealed
that the death occurred immediately after the baby was shaken.
Shortly after the child's death, police reports indicate Stollings
admitted to hitting the child.
Authorities reported that Stollings was the only adult in the house with
the child, which may have been a violation of an ongoing investigation
in Franklin County. Prosecutors have said Stollings has a violent
history, including a recent domestic violence conviction.

Retail sales in manufacturing district discussed at Jerome
Zoning inspector blasts trustee
Jerome Township's Zoning Inspector Norm Puntenney didn't have much to
say at Monday's regular meeting but what he said was explosive.
Puntenney sat silently through most of the meeting as officials
discussed how to solve a long-standing zoning problem. Only at the end
of the meeting during the public comment time did Puntenney say, "If I
could, tonight, resign I would."
Saying that he was caught in the middle, Puntenney said trustee Ron
Rhodes had made his "job a living hell." Walking out of the township
hall, Puntenney told Rhodes that he could "go straight to hell."
Puntenney ran unsuccessfully against Rhodes for a seat on the township
As Puntenney left the building, Rhodes asked if this meant he had
resigned. Trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe entered the discussion and said
Puntenney was not resigning, but just letting off a little steam.
Several times during the meeting, officials and members of the business
community addressed a longtime problem where businesses located in an
area zoned for manufacturing have retail sales. Puntenney mailed a
letter Jan. 18 to owners of retail sales businesses in the M1 zoning
district that threatened citations if they did not respond by Feb. 4.
The zoning board recommended a temporary reduction in fees for 60 days
to allow businesses to come into compliance, however the three trustees
shot down the proposal but for different reasons.
Believing that this is a change in zoning, Rhodes said the matter
required a public hearing. Wolfe and trustee Freeman May said the
businesses had had plenty of time to come into compliance and should pay
the fee.
Representatives of the Industrial Parkway Association reasoned that at
least two of the businesses have been doing business for at least 20
years and found it unreasonable to have to pay a $1,000 filing fee. Tom
Ireland of Dublin Building Systems also pointed out that the township's
zoning code fails to define wholesale and retail.
Even clerk Robert Caldwell had an opinion on the issue. He reasoned that
compliance was the goal and that a temporary reduction in fees would be
a quick and easy solution.
In the end, no action was taken to change the current procedure.
Also during the meeting, Wolfe told a citizen that he could not come to
any more trustee meetings. His sin was speaking out of turn.
Bob Long was attempting to defend Rhodes, when Wolfe told him that he
was out of order and threatened to kick him out of the meeting. Long did
not leave the meeting, even though Wolfe crossed the room and stood
beside him. After the meeting, Wolfe told Long's wife that he was not to
return to another public meeting until she authorized it and if he did
she would have an officer remove him.
Several times during the meeting, Wolfe accused Rhodes of making
misleading and derogatory comments. She also refused him the right to
present a resolution, claiming that it was "illegal."
Twice during the meeting, Rhodes raised the question of censorship. The
first time was when he was denied the right to read his resolution and
the second time was in reference to an e-mail from Mike Buchanan,
chairman of the township zoning commission.
Buchanan's e-mail states that "personal opinions or comments from
individual members to public-at-large are ... inappropriate actions
...therefore grounds for dismissal and other legal action for any who
violate these conditions of committee participation."
It further states that "this is not an attempted gag order or
suppression of free speech, but is a restatement of committee workplace
rules regarding an intolerance for self-appointed spokespersons.... If a
person cannot operate within this framework, then they should resign
Wolfe said she "totally agreed" with the procedure.
The e-mail also mentions the zoning commission's decision to disband a
subcommittee created for public communication/outreach. Barb Long, who
chaired the subcommittee, said her group's work is not yet finished.
Long has questioned how a land use survey was created and distributed.
In other business, the trustees:
. Tabled a recommendation from the Union County Engineer to set and post
25 and 35 mile per hour speed limits on specific roads. Wolfe wanted to
check the cost of signs from sources other than the engineer.
. Accepted labor rates for 2004 from the county engineer.
. Approved spending up to $3,000 for a new computer and printer to be
used by the assistant clerk.
. Learned that no work has been done on the wetland delineation study
because of weather.
. Learned that half of the cost for $700,000 of improvements at the
Route 161 and Industrial Parkway intersection are committed by Union
County, the city of Dublin and the Ohio Department of Development.
. Heard a letter from Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Heinkel
stating that "it is our opinion that we have yet to see anything illegal
or inappropriate about the meetings." He was referring to the trustee's
meeting schedule for this year. Rhodes has questioned whether newly
established Wednesday meetings for the trustees are ethical.
. Authorized the board president to call special and emergency meetings.
Rhodes voted against the measure because he said it violated the Ohio
Revised Code..
. Established a procedure for meeting notification.

Lotto winner sold in Richwood
From staff and AP reports:
A Richwood business sold the only winning Super Lotto Plus game ticket
from the drawing Saturday night.
The winning ticket, sold at Richwood Cardinal Supermarket in Richwood,
is worth $28 million, payable in annual installments of $933,334 over 30
years, before taxes.
The Super Lotto Plus combination: 1-3-7-37-40-45. The ticket was an auto
pick which means that the numbers were selected by a machine.
As of this morning, no one has come forward to claim the prize, said a
lottery spokesman. Winners have 180 days from the drawing date to
contact the lottery.
Denice Luscaleet, owner of Richwood Cardinal, said this is the first big
winner the Blagrove business has sold in the 20 years she and her
husband, Jim, have sold lottery tickets. She said they have yet to be
officially contacted by lottery officials about the winning ticket.
She said a winning kicker was sold by the store, however, that
individual never turned in the ticket.
It is unknown the type of payout the winning ticket holder will choose.
A cash option would be approximately $10 million after taxes, said a
lottery spokesman. The last winning Super Lotto Plus game ticket was
claimed Dec. 30 and the largest was $75 million.
For more information on the Ohio Lottery go to www.ohiolottery.com
Sales in Super Lotto Plus totaled $1,873,478 and players shared
$28,420,237. Sales in the Kicker totaled $295,676 and players shared
$102,240. Sales in Buckeye 5 totaled $213,578 and players shared
There were 90 Super Lotto Plus tickets with five of the numbers, and
each is worth $1,500. There was one ticket with five numbers plus the
bonus ball, and it is worth $10,000.
The 1,967 Super Lotto Plus tickets with four of the numbers are each
worth $100 and the 72 tickets with four numbers and the bonus ball are
worth $500. There were 2,075 Super Lotto Plus tickets with three numbers
plus the bonus ball.

Schools hand out Good Apple Awards
From J-T staff reports:
The Good Apple Award is presented annually to recognize volunteers who
contribute to the Marysville schools. Each building nominates its own
Good Apple Award winners and the presentations were made during Friday
night's basketball game.
Tina Murdock is East Elementary School's Good Apple recipient this year.
She volunteers by helping in classrooms, going on field trips and
tutoring students. Murdock has been an Ohio Reads tutor for the past
four years and coordinates the program at East this year. She has been
co-president of the PTO for the past two years and has chaired more than
10 committees, including the book fair, carnival and fundraising
committees. Tina ad her husband have four children, two of them at East
this year.
Edgewood Elementary School named Kim O'Neil and Doug and Amy Smith as
its Good Apple winners this year. O'Neil is one of the vice presidents
of the PTO and has been treasurer and candy sale chairman for several
years. O'Neil is committed, dependable, child-centered and hardworking
and is known as the detail person. Her communication skills and
approachable demeanor have allowed her to accomplish many things that
have had a positive impact on the lives of children.
Amy Smith, whose daughter entered kindergarten at Edgewood this year,
has volunteered in the classroom and organized dinners for staff members
as they worked late on special assignments. She became involved in the
PTA and serves as secretary. Amy and Doug Smith worked on the tax levy
in August, with Doug spearheading a campaign that reached all voting
parents in the Edgewood attendance area. He worked weekly to communicate
with team captains to keep campaign literature flowing.
Mark and Carol Reed were named Mill Valley's recipients. Carol Reed has
organized the school directories for the past two years and both have
been actively involved with PTO, helping with the school carnival, book
fair, staff appreciation week, read-a-thon and other activities. Both
volunteer many hours in the classroom and worked on passing the levy in
August. They are the parents of Matthew, Michael and Susie.
Navin nominated Shelley Williams for the Good Apple Award this year.
Williams is co-president of the PTO, works as a classroom aide in her
daughters' classrooms, organized the first Navin fall carnival and
created a student of the week display. She has also organized the spirit
wear, school supply and candy sales and the student directory. She is at
Navin so often that she is mistaken for a staff member.
Kimber Saunders is Raymond's Good Apple. She has served as PTO president
for two years and volunteers in the accelerated reader store. She has
assisted the guidance counselor with the Games Club, tutors children,
prepares materials for teachers and helps with parties. She has worked
at the Fall Festival, regularly attends PTO meetings, assisted the art
teacher with a quilt project and has created hall displays for many
teachers over the last four years. Saunders is a wonderful worker, going
above and beyond expectations, and is dependable and efficient and works
with a positive attitude.
Barb Sattler is one of Creekview's Good Apple this year. She is always
smiling and sharing encouraging thoughts and compliments. She serves as
PTO president and during candle distribution she and her family worked
more than 15 hours in two days to ensure that the fundraiser ran
smoothly. She is the mother of Andrea, Emily and Chip and in spite of
the many long hours she spends for the benefit of Creekview, she
demonstrates a family first belief.
Melissa Sullivan, the second Creekview Good Apple nominee, is a working
wife and mother of two sons, Derik and Aaron. She holds an executive
position with the Ohio Funeral Directors Association and still finds
time to head up activities such as Donuts with Dad and Muffins with Mom,
teacher and staff appreciation, the fundraising committee and represent
Creekview on the Superintendent's Advisory Council. She has donated time
and money on her own behalf, as well as that of her husband and his
family's company, Sullivan Insurance.
Marysville Middle School's nominee is Charlotte Blumenschein who donates
her time and talents each year to direct the MMS mock interview days.
Blumenschein puts students and community members at ease and her
presence at the event allows classroom teachers to carry on as usual
while the interviews go on.
Marysville High School named Joni Izzard and Melissa Cunningham as their
Good Apples. Izzard is recognized for providing free printing at her
business, the Copy Source, for junior class needs and at least three
proms. She is presently serving on several prom committees and chairing
the Thank You committee. Her contributions have been essential to the
success of past and present proms.
Cunningham was nominated for the finer and performing arts department at
the school for fostering spirit and enthusiasm for the programs. She
chaperones every show choir performance, made 40 costumes for the recent
musical production and participates in the Choral Boosters. Cunningham
has worked with every school theater production for the past two years,
folding programs, making pictorial CDs, taking photos and donating
materials. Last year, she sewed floor-length costumes for 29 girls on
the Mock Trial team and arranging the donation of 12 tuxes for the men
on the team.

Family member's struggle molds Viers' career
Don Viers has used his experience of watching a parent deal with cancer
to help create a business he can guarantee comes from the heart.
Viers, 49, owns United Patient Care in Marysville, a distributor of home
healthcare supplies. It is Viers' own life experience of watching his
mother fight breast cancer that has taught him the importance of making
the sick comfortable at home.
"My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was a freshman in high school,"
Viers explained.
He and his family have always called Marysville home. Viers is the
youngest son of Homer and the late Flo Viers. He grew up with three
older sisters, two of whom are twins.
Viers said his mother's diagnosis in 1970 seemed to come about almost
overnight. As a three-sport athlete at Marysville High School, he had
the kind of parents most kids wished for. He said his parents were
always very supportive and attended all of his sporting events.
The first game his mother ever missed was after her cancer diagnosis
when Viers was a freshman. The game had been a basketball tournament and
he was given the MVP award.
"It was the greatest feeling to give that award to my mom in the
hospital," Viers said.
His mother was always a strong opponent in her battle against cancer.
"She never complained and was a real trooper," Viers said.
Viers' father was also an amazing support to his ailing wife and the
family's four children.
Viers said his mother's illness took a large toll on the family. "It
about destroyed me," Viers said. However, the combined love and support
of all the family members brought them all through. Flo died in 1998.
It was in 1993 that Viers combined his life experience and his business
know-how to start United Patient Care. He had previously worked for
another home healthcare company. Viers' business provides hospital
respiratory equipment for home use.
"I saw a big need for setting up equipment in the home setting," Viers
said. "It allows patients to remain more independent and normal in the
home setting with family as they deal with their condition."
He said the importance of family in a time of illness is what helped
everyone work through his mother's cancer. Therefore his goal is to help
facilitate family support by keeping the patient in the home.
Viers said his family's history in Marysville has also been an asset to
the business. "Most of the people I work with know me and my family," he
His business has grown to three locations and five full-time employees
over the past 11 years. Overall, Viers said, he enjoys his work and
likes the fact that he has an opportunity to really get to know his
He said the move to start his own business was daunting at first.
"Anytime you have a career change it is scary but I had confidence from
what I learned at my former employer," Viers said.
He attributes his successes to a wonderful childhood. "I was very
fortunate to have the childhood I had. I couldn't have asked for better
parents," he said. " My mom and dad are my heroes."
Viers spends time away from the office coaching and spending time with
his 12-year-old son, Conner.