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Local Archived News  12/2005

 

12/31/05

     2005 was busy year in Union County

     County joins task force to fight threat of Internet predators

12/30/05

      Always room for one more
      Local couple will soon add 17th child to family

12/28/05

     Resident rewarded for helping sheriff's deputies make arrest

     Local authorities cracking down on drunk driving

12/27/05

     Blackburn scores first pro touchdown; then suffers season-ending injury

     Child, 1, killed in traffic mishap

12/24/05

     Memorial Hospital Christmas gift funds shared with local charities

     Youngsters weigh in on important Yuletide issues

12/23/05

     Marysville liquor permit information at a glance

     State explains issuance process for liquor permits in city

     Fairbanks community joins together to give students new playground
equipment at elementary school

12/22/05

     Former local builder pleads not guilty

     Scotts-Miracle Gro CEO explains smoking policy

12/21/05

     Huber named to Fairbanks board

     Milford Center has new mayor; Mitchell replaces Cheryl DeMatteo

     Unionville Center council reinstates services for '06

     Chorus to present Handel's 'Messiah' as part of local Christmas observances

12/20/05

     North Union creates new position

     Prayers and stares
     
Outgoing Jerome trustees offer final words

     Triad significantly reduces cost for pay-to-play

12/19/05

     Coach  may face weapon charge

12/17/05

     United Way campaign estimated to come up $65,000 short

12/16/05

     Council holds stance on liquor permit

12/15/05

     Gearing up for a white Christmas

     FCCLA hosts holiday party for children

12/14/05

     Thin ice a winter danger

     Business owner indicted on 59 counts

12/13/05

     Board to lose 39 years of experience

     School district will not buy land

     Solicitor to decide on Unionville issues

     Former deputy pleads not guilty to  sex charges

     Richwood to see tight 2006 budget

12/12/05

     Event posts big numbers

12/9/05

     Area woman involved in Amy Grant  performance

     Time Warner support crucial to Care Train of Union County

12/8/05

     Fire department gets new ladder truck

     United Way faced with tough choices

12/7/05

     North Lewisburg to re-apply for grant

     Unionville Center mayor refuses to resign

12/6/05

     Two-of-three absent at Jerome trustee meeting

     Fires damage two homes

     Holiday remembrance program offered by funeral homes

12/3/05

     Council hears of uptown needs

12/2/05

     Bar's liquor permit in jeopardy

12/1/05

     Care Train to serve more children than ever before

     ODA set to tangle with city


Always room for one more
Local couple will soon add 17th child to family

Area families have grown
By NATALIE TROYER
For two Union County families, bigger has proven to be better.
In the past year, both the Greens and the Hoeppners have expanded the
size of their clans and the square footage of their houses in order to
follow what they say is God's calling.
Greens
It was winter of 1985 when doctors told Kevin and Polly Green the news -
that they probably shouldn't have any more children.
The couple's second child, Gastin, had just been born and he needed to
be placed on a heart monitor. Any future pregnancies, doctors warned,
would most likely yield more complications and risks.
But the Greens refused to put a cap on their family's size after only
two boys.
"I knew that I at least wanted a girl," Mrs. Green, 42, said.
Fifteen years and four room additions later, this Plain City couple's
household consists of 16 children - 14 of which have been obtained
through international or domestic adoption.
And in a few short months, Braylon will become number 17.  Braylon,
named by his 17-year-old, Philippine-native, brother-to-be Ryan, is
currently living in an orphanage in the war-torn country of Liberia. The
Greens aren't sure how old Braylon actually is.
"We were told that he's 2," Mrs. Green said, bringing out a picture of
the child. "But here, he looks more like 4 or 5 years old."
 She explained that, in Liberia, there are no seasons or calendars and
thus no way of knowing Braylon's exact age. But he'll fit right in with
the rest of the Green children, whose ages range from 16 months to 22
years.  Mr. Green, 43, said he will most likely travel to Liberia to
retrieve the child and bring him to the states in late February or early
March, once they receive immigration approval.
Fifteen years ago, the Greens thought, for sure, that they'd only adopt
one child. But after 11-month-old Kyra, from Korea, joined the family in
1990, the couple felt God was calling them to use adoption as a
ministry.
"We just have so much and there are so many that have so little," Mrs.
Green said.
She wants for Braylon what she's wanted for the rest of her children.
"I want them to feel secure, loved and cared for," she said.  "And I
want them to know that they have a family."
When asked how she and her husband decide which children to adopt, Mrs.
Green said, "Through prayer."
"We receive tons and tons of pictures and e-mails of children looking
for families ... Prayer helps us know whether or not a child is meant to
be ours."
Sixteen of the 17 adopted children are from overseas - Cambodia,
Ethiopia, Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong and Liberia. Two and
one-half-year-old Caden, from Michigan, is the Green's only domestic
adoption.
A domestic adoption typically ranges from $15,000 to $20,000, but can
sometimes be as inexpensive as $2,000 or even free of charge.
International adoptions also typically cost around $15,000, but can
reach up to $50,000, which includes travel.
Honda of America Mfg., where Mr. Green has been employed for 23 years,
has an adoption reimbursement program that has helped with the expenses.

 Caden, who has Down syndrome, is one of nine children with special
needs or who have had disabilities upon arrival into the Green family.
Mrs. Green said she and her husband have a heart for adopting special
needs children.
"A lot of people want healthy kids," she said. "But these are the ones
that get left out because they're not 'perfect' ... They may require
more doctor's appointments and more time, but to us they're just as
special.  To us, they are perfect."
The Greens, who had a four-bedroom, two-story house before they started
adopting, have added another four bedrooms. They've transformed a foyer
into a bedroom that sleeps five and a full basement into two bedrooms.
They even have a custom-made, dining room table in their kitchen that
seats 20.
When asked how much they spend on groceries each week, Mrs. Green looked
at her husband and said, "I have no idea. He does all the shopping!"
Mr. Green, who said he spends hours cutting out coupons and making
grocery lists, only spends about $150 a week on groceries.
"My brother says I'm like Jesus because I can feed a lot of people on a
little," Mrs. Green added with a chuckle.
The family goes through about one box of cereal per day and six or seven
gallons of milk per week. They order in pizza once a week, but they
rarely eat out at restaurants.
Mrs. Green said the family tries to eat dinner together every night
despite conflicting schedules. The Green children are very involved in
sports, activities and with the Marysville Church of the Nazarene, which
the family attends. Eleven of the children are enrolled at Fairbanks
schools and Kyra, now 15, is home-schooled. The couple's oldest,
biological child Dustin, 22, is a recent college graduate of Urbana
University and Gastin, 21, is a junior at the University of Rio Grande.
When asked if they plan on adopting any more children after Braylon,
Mrs. Green said, "At some point we'll need to stop. But right now we're
able to provide for all our children's needs ... If we ever felt that
our children were lacking in anything, we would stop."
Denise Wrobel, marketing coordinator for A Child's Waiting, one of 88
private adoption agencies in Ohio, said that when a family is
considering a child for adoption, a certified adoption assessor will
make two visits to the family's home for a mandatory education and
assessment process.  Through this process the strengths of the family
are determined. These agencies are charged with the task of approving or
denying families for adoption placement.
For the Green parents, 17 kids isn't too much to handle.
"We're just a big family," Mrs. Green said.  "It's not overwhelming ...
we're just us."
And 12-year old Jesie Green agrees.
"I love having a lot of brothers and sisters," he said, eyes glued to
his new Nintendo game. "It's fun to play with them!"
Hoeppners
Yet another local family grew dramatically this year. The Hoeppners have
gone from no children to six, all in one day.
When Stephanie Hoeppner, 31, was diagnosed with cervical cancer two
years ago, she underwent a hysterectomy, ending the dream of ever having
children - biological children, that is.
Mrs. Hoeppner and husband Brandon, 31, started training in 2004 to
become foster parents and quickly became Mom and Dad to six children.
The children, ages 2, 3, 5, 9, 10 and 11, are all siblings who were
pulled from their biological parents' home 21/2 years ago and have lived
in a slew of temporary foster homes since then.
The Hoeppners, who completed the training in February and received their
foster parent license in March, said the whole process has been a
"whirlwind."
"It's all sort of fallen into place," said Mrs. Hoeppner, who teaches at
Hilliard Davidson High School.
When the Marysville couple received an e-mail in early October about
these six siblings who were up for adoption, their interest perked.
After praying about the decision for several weeks, they sent in
paperwork. Not more than two weeks later, the couple was contacted and
told that they were one of five families selected for an interview.
Following the interview, towards the end of October, the Hoeppners
received another phone call saying they were the "best match for these
children."
So a transition period began where the Hoeppners had the children on the
weekends and then returned them to a temporary foster care home during
the week. Thanksgiving allowed the children to spend five full days with
the Hoeppners, and on Dec. 23, they moved in permanently.
Mrs. Hoeppner said she feels blessed to have a big family in their
four-bedroom house that used to be a three-bedroom. The couple recently
added an extra bedroom and bathroom in the basement.
"It's been an adjustment," she said.  "But this is now a house full of
laughter, toys and occasional crying."
She continued, "We just want to provide these children with stability
and a sense of security. We want to show them how a family is supposed
to function."

 

2005 was busy year in Union County
From J-T staff reports
The year of 2005 was like no other in Union County.
A semi slammed into an apartment building after careening off the U.S.
33 bypass. The local radio station went Catholic. Mill Valley residents
considered open season on neighborhood cats. A Grinch returned loot
stolen almost a year after it disappeared and driving got a lot better
in Marysville after streets received well-needed repairs.
It was also a year of controversy, crime and calamity.
Darby Township voters said no to zoning changes. A former Richwood
builder was indicted on 59 counts for bilking residents. And Union
County opened its doors to hurricane victims, including one family that
was expecting the birth of twins.
It was also a year of loss and remembering after another local teenager
lost his battle with cancer and a law enforcement memorial statue became
a reality.
The Marysville Journal-Tribune staff reviewed the top headlines from the
past year and selected the top 10 stories.
Top story of the year
Marysville cleared a lot of ground in the name of growth during 2005.
The rise of local commercial development was a constant reminder that
the city is gearing up for growth.
Numerous articles focused on the progress of Coleman's Crossing. Once
farmland, the new development is expected to bring in 17 new commercial
businesses and provide what has been called a "gateway" to the city.
New roadways and traffic signals went up earlier in the year as part of
the infrastructure for the development, paving the way for the opening
of Home Depot and Honda of Marysville, as well as the soon-to-open
Wal-Mart Super Center which is still under construction.
Honda of Marysville owner Mike Dever set out with the simple goal of
trying to create a spot for his business in town. Dever said he soon
found that nothing was going to get done if he didn't get involved. He
found himself in charge of the whole Coleman's Crossing development.
The city reported that during 2006 Coleman's Crossing will bring an
Applebee's Restaurant along with new retail shops and more restaurants
and entertainment businesses. The Marysville Design Review Commission
will also hold the first discussions in January on a future Best Buy,
with the initial location planned for north of Home Depot on Coleman's
Crossing Boulevard.
Second
The second top story of the year was a county-wide drug sweep conducted
by the Union County Sheriff's Office in conjunction with local police
departments. The secrecy of the sweep resulted in many arrests and the
confiscation of large amounts of narcotics. In one raid, a homemade meth
lab was found in an apartment.
On April 6, county law enforcement gathered before dawn to begin the
operation. The rest of the day was spent going to the homes of suspects.

Third
For many years the city has discussed building a new Marysville
Wastewater Treatment Plant because the current one is inadequate.
The Ohio EPA was close to shutting the current city plant down for
numerous overflows into Mill Creek. If that happened, administrators
said growth in Marysville would come to a complete halt and service
rates would skyrocket.
Throughout 2005 the city made improvements to broken or clogged water
and sewer lines while plans for the future plant were finalized. As a
result, flooding in homes reportedly went down and the EPA was pleased
with the work.
The location of the future plant was announced for construction in
Millcreek Township on Beecher Gamble Road. Residents in the township
soon became upset that the plant was going on the land and Marysville
city council members and administrators were finding themselves the
targets at many heated and emotional meetings. The arguing gave way to
ongoing discussions between the city and Millcreek Township, in efforts
to make sure the plant is beneficial to everyone involved.
Marysville is currently dealing with how water and sewer lines are going
to be installed into the ground, leading from the current plant to the
Beecher-Gamble Road site.
Fourth
Scotts Miracle-Gro, based in Marysville, announced this fall that
smokers will no longer be employed at the company after October 2006.
"Smoking is not cost-free," James Hagedorn, the company chairman and
chief executive, wrote. "If it were, or if smokers did not expect their
co-workers and employers to bear the medical costs brought on by
smoking, perhaps associates' privacy rights would trump the basic human
concern over the painful illnesses and premature deaths caused by
smoking. However, smoking is a significant driver of medical costs for
any employer that provides medical coverage. As CEO and a shareholder of
Scotts, I decided to do something about it."
Hagedorn said he would offer smokers the tools to overcome their
addiction, including a $5 million fitness and medical facility for
employees.
Fifth
On May 23  a New Dover resident was shot by a Union County Sheriff's
deputy.
Union County Sheriff's deputy Thomas "TC" Underwood shot Michael P.
Ropp, 24, of 14159 U.S. 36 after a standoff.
Ropp was inside his parents home on U.S. 36 and refused to come out. He
was believed to be holding his girlfriend hostage. The woman was
eventually released. As deputies were attempting to set up another
telephone communication with Ropp, he suddenly ran out the back door of
the home. When he refused to stop, Underwood fired his weapon.
A Union County Grand Jury found Underwood was justified in firing upon
Ropp.
At this time, the Ropp family has a lawsuit pending against the Union
County Sheriff's Office for injuries their son sustained during the
standoff.
Sixth
Several serious crimes occurred for the first time throughout the
county.
Marysville police documented a significant rise in prescription drug
abuse within the city. Over a two-month period, two males overdosed and
died from abusing prescription drugs and a third person came close to
dying after overdosing.
A Dec. 8, 2004 fire at 10510 Fulton Creek Road in Richwood was ruled as
arson early this year and the deaths of two young boys were declared
homicide. To date, the arson remains under investigation and law
enforcement and state investigators have reported no leads in the case.
Area businesses were raided in February by the Ohio Department of Public
Safety's Liquor Enforcement Division. The Tack Room bar in Magnetic
Springs was charged with liquor permit violations and Smoker's Paradise
in Marysville was charged with gambling violations. The owner of the
Tack Room bar, Fred E. Ray III, 41, of Kenton was later sentenced to
five years in prison for selling drugs out of his establishment. More
than two pounds of marijuana and eight grams of cocaine were found
hidden in the ceiling of a storage room.
In May, Union County officials had to deal with their first case
involving a Serious Youth Offender, after a 14-year-old male was charged
with two first-degree felony rape counts and one third-degree felony
gross sexual imposition charge. The victim was reportedly a 4-year-old
female.
Two people were arrested in October for beating and robbing a woman at
Lewis Park in Marysville. A 17-year-old male from the 800 block of
Collins Avenue and William Troutman, 18, of 209 Windsor Court were
arrested for the aggravated robbery.
Also in October, a Marysville man held a gun to his head for four hours,
as he threatened to kill himself and police officers if they stood in
his way. Marysville police were attempting to serve a drug charge
warrant on Michael B. Queen, 36, of 1520 Valley Drive when he became
suicidal. Queen was cooperative with officers as they questioned him on
the warrant. Then he suddenly bolted upstairs and grabbed a handgun from
his bedroom. Queen was later stunned with a bean bag round fired by an
officer and  arrested. A search of the home revealed numerous weapons,
two pounds of marijuana, almost 30 grams of cocaine, steroids and
syringes and almost $1,000 in cash.
Seventh
Arno Renner thought his family's farm would be protected forever when he
donated an agricultural easement to the state in 2003, but this year
created doubts no only to him but whether the state easement program
could stand up to a challenge.
The city of Marysville threatened to dig a 40-foot trench across
Renner's farm for the proposed Marysville Trunk Interceptor Project. It
will run water and sewer lines toward the future wastewater treatment
plant in Millcreek Township.
City officials say they will use eminent domain. The Ohio Department of
Agriculture, however, is prepared to protect the agricultural easement.
"If an agricultural easement is threatened or violated, it is my duty to
act to protect it ... I must inform you that ODA plans to oppose any
attempt to take an easement of this property by eminent domain. My
recommendation is that the city of Marysville should consider other
alternatives," wrote Fred Dailey, director of the Ohio Department of
Agriculture, in a Nov. 23 letter to Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse.
Renner is the fourth generation to own and work the 231 acres of prime
farmland at 13260 Industrial Parkway.
Kruse, in an Oct. 31 letter to Dailey, wrote that the path through
Renter's farm was the most "cost-effective alignment," adding that if
the city does not obtain an easement to the Renner property by today
(Nov. 30), "the city will be forced to obtain the easement by eminent
domain."
Supporting the state are the Union County Soil and Water, Ohio
Department of Natural Resources, Union County Farm Bureau, Ohio Farm
Bureau, State Representative Tony Core and State Senator Larry Mumper.
Eighth
For a time this year it looked as if the historic village of Magnetic
Springs would be no more.
Members of the village council and mayor requested that the state of
Ohio step in and dissolve the village. Struggling finances and citizen
apathy finally led to the drastic move.
"We are unable to act as a governing board any longer," states a letter
to the Ohio Attorney General and signed by council members Carol Verity,
Rex Pierce, Rick Murphy and Kathy Cantrell and Mayor Robert L. Baughman.

In response, approximately 40 residents packed the Leesburg Township
Fire House meeting room to say they didn't want their village to
dissolve and they were ready to help.
"It's going to take a miracle ... but I believe if we work together we
can save our town," said Tanya Crist.
Ninth
Two stories tied for ninth place - the drug overdose of a local man and
rate hikes by the city of Marysville.
The drug overdose death of Justin Phelps, 21, of Maple Ridge Road was a
story that caused concern among residents.
On July 2 at 10:37 a.m. Madison County sheriff's deputies responded to
11675 Debolt Road on a call about a non-breathing male. Phelps was found
at the scene and transported to Memorial Hospital of Union County where
he was pronounced dead an hour later. An autopsy revealed the cause of
death was from a morphine overdose.
In late November, Marsha A. Shoemaker, 45, of 24159 Route 161 was
charged with five felony counts related to her alleged involvement in
the death of Phelps. Specifically, she is charged with selling him the
morphine which may have caused his overdose. Shoemaker is expected to
have a trial before a Union County jury in early 2006.
The second story found Marysville city administrators raising utility
rates for residents in 2005. It was a move considered long overdue for
some and too drastic for others.
On October, 13 Marysville City Council finally approved a wastewater
rate hike. The ordinance increased rates over the next five years,
beginning in 2006 with a 17.7 percent hike. In 2007 the rates will
increase another 17.1 percent, then another 17.1 increase will go
through in 2008. The final stages of the wastewater rate increase will
add on another 2.3 percent in 2009 and another 2.3 percent in 2010. The
increase will finance the debt toward building the future wastewater
treatment plant and the expensive task of putting in new sewer lines.
Then on Dec. 15 city council approved a water rate increase of 5 percent
in 2006.
Both of the rate increases will become effective in January.
Tenth
Two new schools on the Malcolm MacIvor farm?
It seemed a possibility for a while after Marysville School Board
members agreed to purchase 41.376 acres in September for a purchase
price of $1,861,930.
The site, which the late Dr. MacIvor called Oakland Farm, is situated on
West Fifth Street. It was scheduled to house a second middle school and
a second intermediate school, which were to be connected to each other.
If all went well, the two schools would open in 2008.
But the site was not without problems, as an engineering survey
discovered. At question was an underground high pressure gas line,
possible traffic congestion and low water pressure.
Following Superintendent Larry Zimmerman's recommendation, board members
unanimously voted to terminate a contract between the school district
and trustee John M. MacIvor in December.
The search is now on for an alternative site, one large enough to build
a second intermediate and middle school together with shared facilities.
School district officials believe they could save $1.3 million on
construction costs and $175,000 in operating expenses each year with two
schools built in one location.
The Marysville School District opened its doors to more than 5,000
pupils this year, according to district information. Between June 2004
and June 2005, Creekview Intermediate (grades five and six) and
Marysville Middle School (grades seven and eight) showed the biggest
jumps in pupil enrollment.


County joins task force to fight threat of Internet predators
The Union County Prosecutor's Office recently joined a statewide task
force to fight Internet predators.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announced Friday that Union County
Prosecutor David Phillips' office joined with the Ohio Internet Crimes
Against Children Task Force.
Mason said the task force is comprised of numerous Ohio prosecuting
attorneys, sheriffs and chiefs of police, along with state and federal
authorities, whose goal is the apprehension and successful prosecution
of online predators.
"Internet crime has become the new wave of crime against children,"
Mason said. "Union County prosecutor David Phillips' participation in
this statewide task force will hold Internet pedophiles accountable and
ensure they are apprehended and punished."
Phillips said similar predators "have targeted Union County children
and, as we have seen in recent reports, even live in our community. Our
participation in this task force will give us tools necessary to
successfully ferret out and prosecute these individuals."
Mason reported that today children of all ages have access to the
Internet.
"Unfortunately, while the benefits are obvious and numerous, there are
dangers as well," he said.
The openness of the Internet provides pedophiles direct access to
children in the home. Online child sexual exploitation, both the luring
of minors into illicit sexual relationships and the production,
distribution or solicitation of child pornography - is a serious threat
to the nation's youth and families.
Mason formed the task force in 1999 to answer the rise of Internet crime
against children. Since its inception, the task force has identified and
unified sources of technological and investigative expertise throughout
Ohio to specifically target these crimes. Consequently, the task force
boasts a 100 percent conviction rate.

Resident rewarded for helping sheriff's deputies make arrest
A local business employee with a good eye was recently rewarded for
helping law enforcement make an arrest.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson and his staff awarded Jerry Horsley,
an employee of Bulk Transit located in Plain City.
In the late evening of Oct. 5, Horsley witnessed what he thought was a
suspicious vehicle driving on Memorial Drive. He saw the Ford truck come
into the area with an empty truck bed and saw it leave a few minutes
later with a load of steel.
Horsley reportedly followed the truck into the Dublin area and ended up
getting a good description of the driver and the vehicle - including the
license plate number - even as the driver was trying to elude him.
With the information on the suspect, Horsley contacted the Union County
Sheriff's Office.
Nelson presented him with a citizen's commendation for his actions and
cooperation that led up to the arrest. The commendation was presented
during a special ceremony at the sheriff's office library.
Nelson said that because of the details Horsley provided, the driver of
the truck was located the next day near Buckeye Lake and all of the
stolen items were recovered. On Nov. 2 a Union County Grand Jury
returned indictments charging Walter E. Keith, 39, of Buckeye Lake with
one count of theft and one count of breaking and entering.

Local authorities cracking down on drunk driving
From Oct. 1 through the Thanksgiving weekend, the Union County Sheriff
staff arrested 20 impaired drivers.
The Union County Sheriff's Office reportedly set a goal of not having
any fatalities or injury crashes caused by drunk drivers this holiday
season. The enforcement period runs through the first week of January.
"Again this year, our office will take a zero tolerance approach toward
impaired drivers," Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson said. "Our message
is simple; You drink you drive. You lose."
He said violators can lose their licenses, spend time in jail and pay
high fines and court costs.
"If you refuse a blood alcohol concentration test, you can lose your
driver's license on the spot and have your car impounded. You'll be
spending money on your bail and towing fees," Nelson said.
Nelson offers some simple precautions:
. Don't risk it - if you plan to drive, don't drink.
. Choose a sober designated driver before partying.
. Take a taxicab or ask a friend to drive you home.
. Spend the night where the activity is being held.
. Report impaired drivers to law enforcement.
. Always wear your safety belt - this is your best defense against an
impaired driver.
Nelson said the overtime enforcement operations are possible due to
grants received from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the
Governor's Office of Highway Safety.

Blackburn scores first pro touchdown; then suffers season-ending injury
By TIM MILLER
One moment he was experiencing the biggest thrill an NFL rookie could
ever have.
A few minutes later, one of the scariest thoughts known to man  - losing
feeling in part of his body - was probably going through Chase
Blackburn's mind.
As such, Christmas Eve 2005 will go down in the Marysville native's
memory as a day of ups and downs.
It certainly was a roller coaster ride from the get go.
One down side came from the fact that a 35-20 loss to the Washington
Redskins kept Blackburn and his New York Giants teammates from clinching
the NFC East title.
Although the loss was disappointing for the entire Giants Nation, the
contest will forever be etched in Blackburn's mind as the day he not
only scored his first professional football touchdown but also one in
which - if just for a brief moment - he might have wondered if he'd ever
play again.
Blackburn's touchdown came in the first period when he intercepted Mark
Brunnell's pass and returned it 30 yards into the end zone.
"I was playing a vertical shootoff of the No. 2 receiver," the New York
linebacker told the Journal-Tribune. "I looked up and saw the No. 1
going  on a slant route. I turned and the ball was right there."
Right there meant right where Blackburn put out his hands to snare it.
Once he recorded the interception, there was nothing but empty real
estate ahead of him.
Gathering up a head of 240-pound or so steam, Blackburn raced 30 yards
for his first NFL touchdown.
"I never intercepted a pass for a touchdown in college (at the
University of Akron), so in order to do that in the NFL, it was a
blessing," he said.
The euphoria of the moment was fleeting, as most things are in
professional sports.
Later in the first half, Blackburn went to make a tackle on Redskins
H-back Chris Cooley and saw his season come to an end.
"I was coming in to make the tackle and we just butted heads," Blackburn
said.
"My first thought was to get up for the next play but when I rolled over
to stand up, the left side of my body wouldn't move."
Blackburn lost all feeling in the port side of his body and didn't
regain it until hours later as he lay in the trauma center of a
Baltimore-area hospital.
He was taken off the gridiron at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on a
stretcher, X-rayed in the locker room and then taken by ambulance to the
hospital.
There, he underwent an MRI and additional X-rays until it was determined
there were no neck fractures.
What tests did show were several herniated discs and two bulging discs -
a serious enough injury to sideline him for Sunday's regular season
finale at Oakland and for the playoffs.
"I met with Coach (Tom) Coughlin today (Monday) and that's when he told
me I was going on IR (injured reserve)," Blackburn said. "I'm done for
the season."
Before the injury, Blackburn was making a name for himself as a free
agent rookie.
He had played most of the season on special teams until earning his
first starting assignment on defense last week.
Ironically, Blackburn got the starting nod as the result of an injury to
Carlos Emmons.
Blackburn is now the fourth Giants linebacker to go down with an injury.

"It hasn't been a good year for New York linebackers," he said ruefully.

Blackburn, whose only previous football-related injury was a pinched
nerve in his back while at Marysville High School, was fitted with a
neck brace upon his Christmas Day release from the hospital and was
scheduled to wear it until he checked in with Giants team doctors today.

Although no surgery is anticipated at this time, he will have to go
through a period of rehab.
"I'll be doing some exercises to strengthen my neck and shoulders," he
said. "Other than that, though, I really can't do anything for about
eight weeks."
That would put Blackburn's conditioning regimen off until about the end
of February.
Will that put him behind in preparation for the 2006 season?
"I don't think it will too much," he said. "I hit the weights pretty
hard during the season and I'm in pretty good condition. It shouldn't
set me too far back as I get ready for spring drills."
For now, though, Blackburn has been relegated to the role of
cheerleader.
"I'll just stay on the sidelines and cheer my teammates on," he said.


Child, 1, killed in traffic mishap
A  1-year-old girl was killed and six people were injured in a
two-vehicle crash in Jerome Township Christmas night.
Olissa Ann Isaacs, 1, of Woodstock was pronounced dead at Children's
Hospital in Columbus. The car she was riding in was struck at about 5:20
p.m. on Sunday when another car allegedly failed to stop at a stop sign.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Marysville Post, Hima B.
Chillakuru, 26, of Dublin was driving northbound on Cosgray Road in a
2001 Honda Odyssey. At the same time Dawn M. Barnard, 34, of Woodstock
was headed eastbound on Route 161 in a 1996 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
Chillakuru reportedly failed to yield at the stop sign on Cosgray Road
at Route 161 and struck Barnard's vehicle.
Both Chillakuru and her 7-month-old passenger Divya R. Nandigala, also
of Dublin, were transported to Riverside Hospital in Columbus.
In Barnard's vehicle several passengers were also injured.
Joseph R. Isaacs, 16, of Woodstock was transported to Riverside
Hospital. Passengers Timothy J. Barnard, 14, of Woodstock and
Christopher J. Barnard, 13, of Woodstock were both taken to Children's
Hospital in Columbus. Michelle L. Isaacs, 17, of Woodstock was
transported to Ohio State University Medical Center.
The OSP reported that Barnard was listed in stable condition at
Riverside. Michelle L. Isaacs remained in critical condition on Monday
and no update was available for Christopher Barnard, who was listed in
critical condition on Sunday.
Chillakuru was listed in stable condition.
Although Nandigala was transported by family members, the child
reportedly suffered no injuries.
At this time no charges have been filed on the crash, although it
remains under investigation. The Union County Prosecutor's Office
reported papers on the crash have not been handed over for
investigation.

Memorial Hospital Christmas gift funds shared with local charities
Memorial Hospital of Union County traditionally sets money aside in each
year's budget to provide nominal Christmas gifts to its medical staff,
board members and staff members. However, this year its medical staff
and board of trustees asked the hospital to reconsider its plans and
instead contribute those funds to two local charities, The Care Train of
Union County and Turning Point.
The amount equaled approximately $50 per person for the medical staff
and board members.
"The hospital team's gift made a great impact as we broke all records
bringing in over $76,000 to help local families," said Dave Laslow,
founder and organizer of the Care Train. "Their medical staff and board
teams have demonstrated what we are all about: Giving where we can to
make every child and family smile and enjoy the holidays together!"
For almost two decades, the Care Train of Union County has worked with
volunteers to help local families during the holiday season. Working in
cooperation with the Community Action Agency of Union County, the
mission of the Care Train is to identify those who are facing financial
difficulties and provide them with toys, food and other essentials to
help bring a sense of joy during the holiday season.
The highlight of the Care Train's year is its annual live auction at
McAuliffe's Ace Hardware, which this year was held Dec. 10. There and
via phone, hundreds of participants and supporters placed bids on
auction items donated by area businesses and individuals.
The other charity selected to receive funds from the group is Turning
Point, a shelter and program for those facing domestic violence in
Union, Delaware, Marion, Morrow and Crawford counties. To date in 2005,
Turning Point has sheltered 161 children and provided outreach services
to another 125.
The financial donation was directed specifically to assist the agency's
Adopt-a-Family Christmas Program. In sharing her thanks for the
hospital's gift, Paula Burnside, Turning Point's program director and
Christmas Program chair said, "The holidays can be a time of great joy,
but for many they are also a time of great stress. This is magnified for
families who struggle to be free of domestic violence." She said the
gift from Memorial Hospital will go a long way in supporting these
families through Adopt-A-Family.
"Memorial Hospital is pleased to be a sponsor of these two worthy
causes," said Chip Hubbs, Memorial Hospital CEO. "I am also very proud
of our medical staff and board members for redirecting those budgeted
dollars to help others during the holiday season. This act of generosity
is just another example of what makes Memorial Hospital such a caring
place to work."
Memorial Hospital, a 107-bed independent community hospital, is well
versed in giving back to the community it serves. Employees are
committed to serving on local boards and volunteering time to local
organizations. The hospital sponsors health fairs with businesses in the
larger community and subsidizes many programs like Mobile Meals that
serve ongoing needs.

Youngsters weigh in on important Yuletide issues
BY CORRINE BIX
With Christmas only one day away, local children are becoming anxious as
they await Santa's annual arrival.
Kindergartners at Mill Valley Elementary School had fun weighing in on
the important issues that plague average 5 and 6 year olds this time of
year.
Austin Clark said the average elf is about "two feet tall or
something."  Fellow classmate Jacob Wright said an elf has a green hat
and "weird boots." Megan Shoemaker felt an elf would dress more
practically complete with jeans and tennis shoes. Unlike her classmates,
she described elves to be tall.
Teacher Mary Davis agreed with the majority of her students and
described elves as "small and friendly with pointy ears and either a
green or red Peter Pan hat."
Next came the all-important questions about the man himself, Santa
Claus.
When asked how Santa gets into your house on Christmas Eve, the
kindergartners had different ideas.
For those homes without chimneys, Austin guessed that Santa would use
the door but showed genuine relief in knowing that his family home had a
chimney.
Jacob said without a chimney Santa would leave the loot outside, and
Kayla Newton suggested those without chimneys leave their doors
unlocked.
Takoda Simonson said that family homes without a traditional Santa chute
would still fare well on Christmas morning. "There's a secret chimney
that he can go in," Takoda said.
This chimney-less reporter was put at ease.
Mrs. Davis reiterated her student's thoughts.
"He touches the side of his nose, and he can get in through locks and
chimneys," the wise teacher explained.
Kayla said children must be asleep in order for Santa to come to your
house.
When it came to how reindeer learn to fly, most of the students stand
behind what they learned their first four months of Kindergarten,
practice makes perfect.
Mrs. Davis said, "They go to school of course!"
All the students felt the best snack to leave out for Santa would be
chocolate chip cookies and white milk. Most students also agreed that
carrots were the best choice for tired reindeer.
"Mostly my brother gets the reindeer food," Olivia Martin said,
"Sometimes he lets me do it, and we sprinkle it out his window."
She said that the reindeer food resembled Cherrios. A fellow classmate
suggested hitting the pet store for reindeer chow.
Takoda said that there's no need to leave anything out for the reindeer
because they will be staying outside.
"Reindeer can't come in the house, they are too loud," he said.
After he eats all those cookies, the children guessed what Santa's
weight may be.
"33 of me would make up Santa's weight," Megan said. Others guessed
anywhere from 13 pounds to 100 and 1 million pounds.
As far as Santa's age, the answers varied greatly.
"18 or something." Austin said. Kayla also guessed 18 and when asked if
that was old shook her head yes. "I'm five so 55 then," Olivia reasoned.

Other students estimated Santa was anywhere from 23 to 93 and, of
course, all agreed that these ages were very old.
Most students referenced popular TV commercials as far as what Santa
buys for Mrs. Claus. Diamonds were the consensus, but other students
suggested a new shirt or skirt for Santa's special lady. The students
said they were looking forward to the gifts on Christmas morning.
Austin hopes for guitar picks. Olivia wants a Bella Dancerella. Jacob
will be looking for a Buckeye helmet under the tree. Becca Borawski
wants a Barbie and a purple dress. Kayla wishes for a "My Little Pony."
Megan wants a "Hide and Seek Holly" and Takoda is looking forward to
"lots of toys."
Mrs. Davis's Christmas wish is simple, and one that Old Saint Nick
delivers on every year. "Santa's gift to me is seeing how kind everyone
is to each other at this time of year - I would love for it to last all
year," Davis said.
After lots of questions, the little ones were out of answers and eager
to return to class.
Kayla summed it up best. "That's all I can tell you my mouth is tired."

Marysville liquor permit information at a glance
The Ohio Department of Liquor Control has outlined the status of permits
in Marysville. Class D permits are normally for bars and clubs. Class C
permits are used primarily for carryout businesses.
According to ODLC, the following permits are not available in Marysville
because of population restrictions:
. Class D3 - Spirituous liquor for on premises consumption only, until 1
a.m.
. Class D5 - Spirituous liquor for on premises consumption only, beer
and wine for on premises and off premises in original sealed containers,
until 2:30 a.m. One business application is currently on the waiting
list.
Only one permit is available in the following categories:
. C1 - Beer only in original sealed containers for carry out, until 1
a.m. Two business applications are on file.
. D1 - Beer only for on premises consumption and in sealed containers
for carry out, until 1 a.m. One business application is on file.
. D2 - Wine and certain prepackaged mixed drinks for on premises
consumption and in sealed containers for carry out, until 1 a.m.
Also available:
. C2 - Wine and certain prepackaged mixed drinks in sealed containers
for carry out, until 1 a.m. Only two permits remain and two business
applications are on file.
. D3a - Extension of issued permit privileges until 2:30 a.m. Three
permits remain open.
. D4 - Beer and any intoxicating liquor to members only for on premises
consumption only, until 1 a.m. Five of these permits remain open.
More information on Marysville and Union County liquor permits can be
found on-line at www.liquorcontrol.ohio.gov/liquor.htm.

State explains issuance process for liquor permits in city
By RYAN HORNS
The question is, what happens when there aren't enough liquor permits to
go around?
The answer is, Marysville residents have nothing to worry about.
According to the Ohio Department of Liquor Control (ODLC), there are
still liquor permits available in Marysville - just not very many.
ODLC's public information officer, Matt Mullins, said the number of
liquor permits allowed in each city is based on the population. The more
people means more liquor permits available.
With a population base of 16,787, he said that Marysville has roughly 40
liquor permits in use and 13 various types that remain open. As the
Coleman's Crossing commercial development unfolds in Marysville, a total
of 17 retail outlets including restaurants and bars that sell alcoholic
beverages are expected to move in.
With such a small amount of liquor permits available, could this become
a problem for businesses trying to locate to this new market?
"There aren't very many available," Mullins said about Marysville. "But
there are always ways around that."
The Ohio Department of Liquor Control offers permits for manufacturing,
distributing, retail, restaurant/night club, members only clubs, hotels,
shopping malls, river boats, marinas, museums, community entertainment
district, Sunday sales and temporary permits. Prices for permits can run
around $4,000 for manufacturing permits to $40 for certain kinds of
temporary permits.
Mullins said most restaurant and bar owners are hoping to get the D5
permit, which offers full alcoholic sale privileges. Marysville
statistics show there are none of these left in town.
He said business owners may also purchase several different liquor
permits, known as stacking. When combined, the permits would provide a
business with the same privileges as a D5.
Mullins said a city may also apply to create a Community Entertainment
District. The idea is a new one and the first was created in Columbus,
which later became the Nationwide Arena District. If a city has a
population of more than 20,000 the district can be made available.
Mullins added that not every liquor permit requires a population limit.
He said the Applebee's restaurant coming to Marysville applied for a
D51a permit which would allow it to bypass any population requirements.
The only other option is for business owners to wait in line. They can
apply for any permit they want, but will be placed at the bottom of the
list. Some people can wait indefinitely.
According to Marysville city administrator, Kathy House, a lack of
liquor permits has not been a problem yet.
"I have not heard of any restaurants considering locating here that have
been unable to get permits," she said.
Traditionally, Marysville liquor permits are handled by city clerks
Chris Moder and Connie Patterson. They receive permit requests and then
present them before Marysville City Council for approval. Council then
takes the requests and checks with Marysville Chief of Police Floyd
Golden to see if he has any complaints. If he has none, the permits pass
through for approval. If he receives complaints, the permits are not
approved.
Moder said that in the past, when liquor permits have been scarce, city
council permitted a transfer of an available permit from another county.
One in particular was for Philly's Bar andGrill.

Fairbanks community joins together to give students new playground
equipment at elementary school

By KARLYN BYERS
Pupils at the Fairbanks Elementary School in Milford Center have been
given a little "wiggle room," courtesy of new playground equipment.
Selected by the pupils and installed by almost 50 community volunteers
and Fairbanks Elementary PTO members on a bitterly cold Saturday this
month, the equipment, including spiral monkey bars, two slides and
walking bridge, offers active young people lots of opportunities to
climb, said principal Mark Lotycz.
There is even a "wiggly-worm" apparatus, he said, which allows
youngsters to ascend in a spiral.
The $17,000 purchase was raised by the PTO, which sponsored "lots" of
spaghetti suppers, bake sales and flower sales. Donations also were
received in various forms from Fairbanks Elementary staff members Lyndy
Wagner and Robin Stillings and area businesses. The PTO was given a 40
percent discount if it ordered the equipment before Dec. 1.
It was spearheaded by Janice Hovis, PTO treasurer. Hovis said
fund-raising efforts began in 2002.
Playground construction actually began with destruction, when local
firefighters Pete Lenhardt and Todd Simmons dismantled the old
playground equipment. Mike Adams, father of PTO president Jennifer
Wannamaker, pulled the remaining parts out with a backhoe.
On the actual day of construction, the PTO provided lunch for the
volunteers including homemade soups, salad, muffins, hot chocolate and
other beverages. Homemade cookies were contributed by the teaching
staff, and each volunteer was sent home with a plate of the cookies,
which was accompanied by a handwritten note of thanks from an elementary
pupil.
Wannamaker said the playground equipment should serve the community for
a long time, even if a new elementary school would be built elsewhere.
"It will not be affected by a school levy," she said with emphasis. "It
is a place for the kids to play in Milford."
"We can't leave the community without a playground ... it's not just a
school playground, it's a community playground," Hovis said.
The whole effort was "very well organized and very well put together,"
said Fairbanks school board president Kevin Green.
Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft, who was one of the volunteers
working that windy cold day, praised the PTO and community workers.
"It's just an example of the district working together to get something
done. Fairbanks has a lot of good things going for it," Craycraft said.
"We just wanted to get it done for the kids and give them a safe place
to play," said Wannamaker.

Former local builder pleads not guilty
A former Richwood builder, Dennis Landon, 40, pleaded not guilty to 59
counts including theft and fraud when he appeared in the Union County
Common Pleas Court Wednesday afternoon.
Landon, now of Evans, Ga., is charged with taking more than $100,000
from unsuspecting customers including the elderly. He operated Landon
Building Systems, formerly located at 13 N. Franklin St., in Richwood.
Through this business, he allegedly defrauded at least 27 victims from
11 Ohio counties and four other states offering home-improvement
services from February to August 2004.
Union County Common Pleas Judge Richard E. Parrott set bond at $25,000
cash or surety with waiver of extradition filed and 10 percent is not
allowed. A condition of the bond is that Landon is to have no contact
with the alleged victims.
Union County Prosecuting Attorney David Phillips had requested that the
court set bond at $50,000. He said Landon had no connection to Ohio or
Union County.
Landon's attorney, Gregory N. Finnery, told the court that Landon does
have ties to Ohio with two daughters living in Marion County. He said
Landon was no flight risk and that he had contacted authorities as soon
as he became aware of the charges. Finnery said Landon is in Georgia
because of the opportunity to work and make restitution on other
matters.
The court set a scheduling conference for Jan 24 at 9:50 a.m.

Scotts-Miracle Gro CEO explains smoking policy
By CINDY BRAKE
"Smoking is not cost free," writes James Hagedorn, chairman and chief
executive officer of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company in a Dec. 13 letter.

The letter is in response to recent criticism about the lawn and garden
company's smoking policy.
Earlier this year the company's 6,000 employees were told that after
October 2006 they can not smoke -  at all. If they do, they will be
fired. Random tests will detect violators, Hagedorn said.
Spokesman Su Lok said Scotts is the largest company to take such a
strong stand against smoking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that the
economic costs of smoking are about $3,400 per smoker per year.
Hagedorn said 30 percent of Scotts' health care costs go to pay for 3
percent of the subscribers.
"... Smoking is a very significant contributor to the skyrocketing
health care costs that all of us, whether company, individual or
taxpayer, are forced to bear," Hagedorn writes.
With a higher-than-average number of employees who smoke, he attributes
the problems of the costly 3 percent to three things - smoking, alcohol
and obesity.
Alcohol problems, he believes, will show in job performance.
Obesity is protected by discrimination laws and nothing can be done to
force those overweight to lose pounds.
"If I could be more radical about obesity, I would be," Hagedorn said.
But smoking - in Ohio - is fair game. So Hagedorn is determined to
eliminate smokers at Scotts, one way or another.
Soon, all employees will be given a questionnaire asking if they are a
smoker and if they want to quit. If so, the company is ready to help,
Hagedorn said. If not, then they need to be looking for another
employer. Persons choosing not to answer the questionnaire will pay
higher insurance premiums.
Scotts is offering free counseling, nicotine patches and classes on
quitting to workers who smoke.
The no-smoking mandate is part of a broader effort that includes a $5
million fitness and medical center. Lok said more than 800 of the 1,000
persons employed at the Marysville facility are participating in the
center.
"I care deeply about the health and well-being of our associates and
their families. We want them to lead long, healthy and happy lives,"
Hagedorn writes. "Smoking and long, healthy lives are mutually
inconsistent."
He speaks from personal experience. A former smoker, Hagedorn said his
mother died from smoking-related lung cancer and his daughter continues
to smoke.
"I know first hand the misery that smoking brings."

Huber named to Fairbanks board
By KARLYN BYERS
Weaver Road resident David Huber was selected to fill the vacancy
created by the resignation of Fairbanks School Board member Alan Phelps.

Huber was selected Tuesday night after the board came out of a 50-minute
executive session. During that session, board members also reviewed
administrative evaluations. No action was taken on that matter.
Phelps, a board member since January 2000, resigned in November, citing
"personnel issues and matters" as his reason.
A 23-year Honda of America employee and 1981 graduate of Fairbanks High
School, Huber has been a business administration coordinator at Honda
for eight years.
He is the father of five children, two of whom have graduated from
Fairbanks High School.
"I want my three younger children to have the same positive experiences
at Fairbanks as my older children did," he wrote in his application
letter.
"Now more than ever, both short and long term planning are essential to
the success of a school district, and many of my life experiences have
provided me with the skills to make a difference in this district," he
wrote.
Huber served on the St. John's Lutheran School's board of education for
six years where he helped start yearly teacher evaluations. He cited
"good, honest leadership skills" as one of his strong points, along with
problem solving and decision making abilities.
He is an Ohio High School Athletic Association licensed football and
basketball official. He was one of three candidates who applied for the
position, according to Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft. The other
applicants were Duane Daniels and Randy Rausch.
Board members also heard a presentation by Fairbanks Elementary
Principal Mark Lotycz about new playground equipment at the Milford
Center School.
Lotycz said a "lot of spaghetti suppers" raised the $16,000 necessary
for purchase, along with bake sales, flower sales and donations. The
money was raised by the PTO and the playground put together by volunteer
effort.
In other business, the board:
.Approved the expenditure of $4,022.92  for weight room equipment.
.Approved Teresa "Michelle" Scholl as a substitute educational aide for
the 2005-2006 school year.
.Approved athletic contracts for Gregory Anderson, volunteer wrestling
coach; Adam Boerger, volunteer freshman boys basketball coach; Mark
Geer, volunteer swim coach; and Carleton Cotner, assistant track coach.
.Selected Jan. 11 as the date for the board organizational meeting and
appointed Kevin Green as president pro tem from Jan. 1 until then. The
meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the regular monthly board meeting
to follow.

Milford Center has new mayor; Mitchell replaces Cheryl DeMatteo
The village of Milford Center has a new mayor.
Council accepted the resignation of mayor Cheryl DeMatteo during
Monday's regular meeting; elevated council president Robert Mitchell to
the seat of mayor; and appointed Jeff Parren to the open council seat.
Parren currently sits on council, but was defeated in the November
general election, receiving the fifth highest number of votes. The top
four vote getters were elected to council.
Councilman Ron Payne, who served as secretary protem, reported in an
E-mail message Tuesday that DeMatteo's resignation was prompted by a
business and personal schedule that does not allow her to fulfill her
responsibilities as she would wish.
Council scheduled a special meeting for Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m. to swear in
the mayor; fill the council vacancy; and consider a resolution on
water/sewer billing issues involving landowner responsibility for
delinquency of tenant accounts.
In other business, Payne reported that a request from an attorney at the
closing of the sale of a property caused the discovery of a very old
(perhaps original) plat map on which round abouts are described at a
number of street intersections. This unknown feature causes apparent
encroachments on supposed property lines at these intersections. The
village is proceeding to facilitate the vacating of the supposed
encroachments to the property owners involved.

Unionville Center council reinstates services for '06
 The Unionville Center Village Council voted to reinstate several
services in the 2006 budget at a special meeting held Tuesday evening at
the village building.
 Appropriations are included for brush pick-up in the spring, leaf
pick-up in the fall, Main Street cleaning and storm sewer drop cleaning.
Other budget items include an entrance ramp and floor repair at the
council building and an upgrade of the electrical service on The Green.
The temporary budget was approved.
 In the absence of Mayor Gary Drumm, the turmoil that has plagued recent
meetings was missing. Drumm left a long letter addressed to council that
was read by council president Becky Troyer who presided. Drumm stated
that he had not received attorney Jeffery Merklin's letter of advice
relating to several issues raised at the Dec. 12 meeting.
 Merklin's letter, dated Dec. 15, listed Drumm, clerk-treasurer Karla
Gingerich and all council members as addressees. All others received
their copies. The letter was shared with residents attending the
meeting.
 Merklin first addressed the issue of the vacant council seat which was
vacated by Norman Rice who wrote a letter of resignation dated Oct. 19.
According to Ohio Revised Code section 731.43, village council can fill
a vacancy during the first 30 days. If council does not act, the mayor
can appoint a replacement. It is Merklin's opinion that the special
meeting held by council on Nov. 18 to appoint Phil Rausch to the vacant
council seat was a validly scheduled meeting with a quorum.
 However, also at issue is Rice's qualification to take office in the
first place. Based on recent case law, Rice's right to keep his office
terminated no later than June 2004, five months after he took office.
Since this seat was technically vacant for well over 30 days, it is
Merklin's opinion that the mayor may fill the seat by appointment.
 At the Dec. 7 meeting, Drumm refused to recognize council's appointment
of Rausch. When Drumm attempted to swear in Nancy Salsbury-Rice,
objections were raised by council members and the residents in
attendance. Salsbury-Rice is a party in a lawsuit against council in the
Third Street litigation which is still pending. Merklin's opinion
regarding the appointment of Salsbury-Rice is that while there may be no
outright prohibition against it, it certainly opens up the possibility
that a complaint could be made to the Ohio Ethics Commission as set
forth in ORC 102.06.
 The position of clerk-treasurer and the location of the UAN (Uniform
Accounting Network) computer has been a major source of contention
between council and the mayor since the Nov. 7 meeting when Drumm
demanded that the computer be moved to the council building. The demand
was made despite a contractual approval with the Auditor of State that
the computer could be located at the home of clerk-treasurer Karla
Gingerich. Gingerich's written response the she would resign only "if it
is no longer possible to work from my home" was not in Merklin's opinion
a legal resignation, and if Gingerich wants to continue in her role as
clerk-treasurer, she may do so.
 Heeding Merklin's advice, council voted that Gingerich resume the
duties of clerk-treasurer. They also voted to have all computer
components and village records returned to Gingerich's home.
 Without council consultation or approval, sometime prior to the Dec. 12
meeting, Drumm took the (CPU) central processing unit to the Auditor of
State's office to have the hard drive checked for irregularities. At the
Dec. 12 meeting, Drumm said that he would be picking up the computer the
next day. He has not done so. Council member Ron Griffith said that his
call to Drumm regarding the return of the computer was not returned.
 Council president Becky Troyer contacted the auditor's office and was
told that since Drumm took the computer in, he must be the one to pick
it up. Council voted to make another request of Drumm to either pick up
the computer or give permission for another council member to do so.
Troyer was told that there were no irregularities on the hard drive.
Gingerich was authorized to pay outstanding bills and prepare the
temporary budget as best she can without the UAN computer.
 The next regular meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 9, 2006 at 6:30 p.m.

Chorus to present Handel's 'Messiah' as part of local Christmas observances
A countywide chorus presentation of Handel's "Messiah" will be held
Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.
Local soloists and the chorus will present the Christmas portion of
George Frideric Handel's "Messiah," including the chorus selections "For
Unto Us A Child Is Born," "Glory to God," "O Thou That Tellest Good
Tidings to Zion," and solos "He Shall Feed His Flock," "Rejoice, Rejoice
Greatly" and "Comfort Ye, My People."
Soloists include Erin and Susan Bunsold, Duane Hammer, Carolyn English
and Ryan Nicol and Andrea Weaver.
Scott Underwood will be conductor, with Grant Underwood playing
harpsichord and piano. Caroline Ohnsman will be organist.
Three Christmas Eve services also will be presented at First
Presbyterian, including traditional carols at 4 p.m., the chancel choir
at 7:30 p.m. and an 11:30 p.m. service with college and high school
student musicians.
Christmas Day worship will be held at 10 a.m., with a "Happy Birthday,
Jesus!" party at 9 a.m.
Other special Christmas services are listed below:
.Allen Center Baptist Church will hold a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m.
Saturday.
.Calvary Baptist Church will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service at
7 p.m. Saturday and a 10:30 a.m. Christmas cantata Sunday.
.Christian Assembly Church will hold a 7 p.m. Christmas Eve Communion
service at 7 p.m. Saturday. A Christmas morning service will be held at
11 Sunday.
.Mary Alice Dillman will present "Holiday Reflections" Sunday, Christmas
Day, at Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Readings will
include excerpts from John Grisham's "Skipping Christmas" and Robert
Frost's "Christmas Trees." Featured music will include organ medleys of
Christmas carols by William Stickler. There will be no children's church
school. The Fellowship meets at 10:30 a.m. at Emerson House, 290 N.
Sandusky St. in Delaware.
.A Living Nativity will be staged in front of First Baptist Church, 101
E. Ottawa St., Richwood, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and
Saturday from 6 to 7 p.m. A Christmas Eve candlelight service and
Communion is planned at 7 p.m. A Christmas Day worship service will be
held Sunday at 10:40 a.m. There will be no Sunday school preceding the
worship.
.A 45-minute Christmas Eve worship service designed for the entire
family, especially children of all ages, will be held Saturday at 4 p.m.
at First Congregational United Church of Christ. Weather permitting,
live animals from the manger will greet participants at the church
entrance. Christmas carols will be sung and special music will be
featured. The highlight of the service will be costumed actors
re-creating the events of the first Christmas, as attendees visit the
Bethlehem stable and hear the story of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
The Rev. Richard Flynn's homily is titled "Without Wax."
A traditional service of lessons and carols will be held Sunday, with
the Christmas story told in song and Scripture. The Rev. Flynn's
Christmas homily is titled "One True Friend." The service will climax
with the lighting of the Christ Candle, the passing of the Light of
Christ to everyone and the singing of "Silent Night, Holy Night."
.First English Lutheran Church will have no Sunday school classes on
Christmas Day. It will hold a regular Sunday worship service with
Communion served at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Day.
A candlelight service with Communion will be held Saturday, Christmas
Eve, at 7:30 p.m. Pre-service music will begin at 7 p.m.
.First United Methodist Church, 18 S. Fulton St., Richwood, will hold a
handbell choir performance Christmas Eve at 7:30 p.m. That will be
followed at 8 p.m. with a worship service. On Christmas Day, one Sunday
worship service will be held at 10:30 a.m.
.Marysville First United Methodist, 207 S. Court St., will hold five
Christmas Eve services Saturday using the message "How the Cross
Connects with Christmas," based on Luke 2:25-38 and Galatians 3:13. The
first service, at 5:30 p.m., will be held in the Burnside Family Life
Center for families with younger children. At 7:30 p.m., a contemporary
service will be held in the Burnside Center. At 9 p.m., walk-in Holy
Communion will be served in the chapel, with special Christmas music in
the sanctuary at 9:30 p.m. At 10 p.m., a traditional service will be
held in the sanctuary.
A Christmas Day special family worship time will be held Sunday at 10
a.m. in the sanctuary. The message will be "How Long Can Christmas Day
Love Last?" and will be based on John 4:7-12.
.Milford Center United Methodist Church, 55 E. State St., Milford
Center, will hold a 10 p.m. Christmas Eve candlelight Holy Communion
Saturday. A Christmas Day "Festival Worship" will be held Sunday at
10:30 a.m.
.Ostrander Presbyterian Church will hold a Christmas Eve service
Saturday at 7 p.m. A Christmas Day worship service will be held at 10
a.m. There will be no Sunday school.
.Riversong Worship Center, 339 N. Maple St., Marysville, will hold a
special Christmas Eve Communion service Saturday from 6 to 7 p.m.
.Resurrection Mt.-Marysville Foursquare Church, 654 Raymond Road, will
hold Christmas Eve services from 7 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Christmas Day
services from 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday.
.St. John's Lutheran, 12809 Route 736, will hold a combined worship
service Christmas Day at 10 a.m. There will be no Sunday school.
.St. Paul Lutheran, 7960 Route 38, will hold a children's Christmas Eve
program, "God's Family Tree," Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Christmas Day
worship with Communion will be held at 10 a.m. It will be preceded by
Sunday school and adult Bible class at 9 a.m. Sunday.
.Springdale Baptist Church, 18881 Springdale Road, will hold a 7:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve service. Christmas Day services will be held Sunday at 10
a.m. There will be no Sunday school.
.Trinity Chapel, 77 W. Center St., Milford Center, will have a family
Christmas celebration tonight. The evening will begin with dinner at
6:30 p.m., followed by worship at 7:15 p.m. It will conclude at 8 p.m.
with Holy Communion. There will be no services at the church on Sunday,
Christmas Day.
.Christmas worship at Trinity Lutheran Church, 311 E. Sixth St., will
begin with a family service at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. The Christmas
story will be shared through the church puppet ministry and is intended
to appeal to young families. Immediately after the service, everyone is
invited to Cana Hall for a Birthday Party for Jesus, which will include
a light supper and birthday cake. Nursery will be available for infants
to age 3 during the 4 p.m. service.
Regular worship will continue at 7 p.m. with a traditional service; 9
p.m. for the contemporary service; and 11 p.m. for a second traditional
service. A candlelight service and Communion will be included during
each of these worship times and children are invited to attend worship.
Fellowship between services will include Christmas cookies, hot
chocolate and coffee served in Cana Hall.
A Christmas morning service of lessons and carols will be held at 9 a.m.
Sunday.
.Vineyard Church of Marysville, 913 W. Fifth St., will hold a Christmas
Eve family worship service at 7 p.m. A Christmas family worship service
will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday.
.Woodstock Free Will Baptist Church will hold a Christmas Eve
candlelight service at 6 p.m. There will be no service Christmas morning
or evening.

North Union creates new position
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
In a move to ensure that North Union receives every penny of state money
it deserves, the district has created a new part-time position.
Following a 5-0 vote at Monday's board meeting, the district will begin
the process of filling the newly created student services coordinator.
Superintendent Carol Young explained that the position is being created
to take pressure off of an employee in the district treasurer's office.
The employee had been trying to keep up with state filings in order to
ensure that the district received the appropriate state dollars for
various programs.
For example, filing the appropriate reports to the state to ensure that
the district received the appropriate funding for vocational agriculture
was a duty of the treasurer's assistant.
"This is not something we do lightly," board member Kevin Crosthwaite
said.
If forms were filled out incorrectly, error reports were sent back to
the district and the process had to be performed again, chewing up large
blocks of time for an employee that already had other duties dealing
with payroll.
Now, with the number of reports exceeding 100 and filling criteria
changing constantly, the district felt that it was time to create a
position that handled these duties exclusively.
Young explained that the position, which will pay $12.75 per hour, will
not be a traditional part-time job. When state deadlines for reports
loom, the employee will work full-time hours. Other weeks when the
deadlines are not near, the employee will not work as many hours.
Young explained that the non-teaching position will require a worker who
with fine attention to detail. The responsibilities will include great
volumes of data entry as well as keeping up-to-date on changes in state
filing procedures.
In other business, the board:
.Observed teacher Belinda Nauman received a Citizenship Award from VFW
Post 870.
.Heard a presentation on a the elementary school Easy Tech program which
teaches computer skills to students.
.Signed letters of appreciation for individuals and groups who have
contributed to the athletic programs.
.Heard first reading on new and revised board policy items.
.Approved an agreement with MKC Inc. for design of a high school stadium
bleacher replacement project and authorized the project to be put out
for bids.
. Approved a contract with Labor Relations Solutions Inc. for
negotiation consultation for 2006.
.Approved leave requests from Ingrid Britton and Jennifer Willis.
.Approved Bruce Hoover as Drug Free Schools District Coordinator.
.Approved participation in the Ohio School Boards Association Legal
Assistance Fund for 2006.
.Renewed the Self Help and Web-based Policy service agreement with the
Ohio School Boards Association for 2006.
.Appointed Bryan Bumgarner as the board liaison to the North Central
Ohio Educational Service Center.
.Renewed membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for 2006.
.Appointed Crosthwaite as president pro tem for the annual
organizational meeting on Jan. 9.
.Recongnized board member Marcy Elliott who participated in her final
meeting after four years of service.
.Held an executive session to discuss personnel.

Prayers and stares
Outgoing Jerome trustees offer final words
By CINDY BRAKE
Two Jerome Township trustees got in parting shots during the final
regular board meeting of the year.
One outgoing trustee said he prays for his enemies daily. Another
outgoing trustee told the remaining incumbent that she would be watching
him closely.
"I'm putting you on notice. You're going to be watched and watched
closely," said one-term trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe Monday to trustee Ron
Rhodes at her final regularly scheduled meeting.
Wolfe and Freeman May were unseated at the November general election by
Andrew Thomas and Robert Merkle. After telling Rhodes to "sit there and
shut your mouth," Wolfe said he was the hardest person in the world to
get along with.
When Rhodes attempted to respond, Wolfe adjourned the meeting.
Prior to Wolfe's parting comments, May told the group of 17 present that
he prays every night for those who are against him.
"They need it," May said.
Friends and family offered thanks and praises to May and Wolfe.
May's son-in-law Kent Anders, who is a township resident, thanked May
and Wolfe for bringing things out in the open, adding that they set a
higher standard for future trustees.
During the meeting, the three-member board unanimously voted to approve
bi-weekly pay periods and authorize the clerk to issue checks without
board action. Rhodes explained that this will eliminate a problem
created recently when May and Wolfe did not attend a regular meeting.
Zoning funds will now be absorbed into the general fund, as mandated by
the state. Rhodes and Wolfe voted in favor of the action.
May and Wolfe voted to change township building locks on Dec. 28. Rhodes
suggested the board wait until Jan. 4 when the new board is in place.
Currently Rhodes said he has eight keys for the building. He suggested a
better system would be to have a master key to the exterior doors and
install electronic codes for the interior doors. He said the township
pays $300 every time locks are changed and locks have been changed three
or four times in the past four years. The electronic locking system
would cost $1,850. Wolfe called the cost "astronomical" and a waste of
taxpayers' money.
The reading of minutes were waived and approved for two special, one
emergency and one regular meeting - all held since Nov. 9.
Clerk Robert Caldwell was absent from the meeting with his secretary
Carol Marshall keeping minutes.
The 2006 organizational and regular meetings will be held Jan. 3.

Triad significantly reduces cost for pay-to-play
By CORINNE BIX
Outgoing board president and vice-president, Rick Smith and Jim Reid,
had the opportunity Monday night to help pass a motion that will change
the pay-to-participate fee to $50 per sport, per athlete for the
2006-2007 school year.
Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger said the current pay-to-participate fees
ranged from $200-$400 per sport, per athlete. The pay-to-participate
program was put into place for the 2005-2006 school year as part of a
cost reduction plan for the district due in large part to the lack of
state funding.
The school district's finances have improved within the last six months
with the passing of a 0.5 percent income tax levy in May.
Kaffenbarger presented Smith and Reid each with a clock and plaque
commemorating their past 16 years as board members.
"They've done a tremendous job and have always acted with their hearts
for the kids," Kaffenbarger said.
Since 1990, both men have seen the district through two building
programs along with various renovations and classroom additions.
"It's been a good 16 years," Smith said, "It takes a team to do it and
Triad's got a great team."
Smith said the highlight of his board service has been watching students
grow and graduate.
"Hopefully we've given them the tools they need to start their lives,"
Smith said.
He added that he had the opportunity to sign and hand each of his sons
and his daughter-in-law their high school diplomas.
Smith currently has a granddaughter in third grade at the elementary
school.
Reid has also served on the JVS board at Ohio Hi-Point for the past four
years in addition to serving as Triad vice-president
"I do appreciate the district giving me the opportunity to serve," Reid
said.
Both men congratulated board members-elect, Brad Wallace and Annette
Rittenhouse, who were present at last Monday's meeting.
The board adjourned into executive session at 7:30 for the consideration
of employment. They reconvened at 8:05 p.m.
The board approved a partial year contract for Keith Hyland as social
studies teacher at the high school for the remainder of the 2005-2006
school year.
Hyland will be replacing Richard Kraemer who unexpectedly resigned last
month.
Kraemer's other duties as eighth grade tour advisor, senior class
advisor and high school National Honor Society advisor were also
reassigned.
The board approved Vinnie Spirko as eighth grade tour advisor, Doug
Kitchen as senior class advisor and Mandy Alexander as high school
national honor society advisor.
Spirko, Kitchen and Alexander were approved on a two-thirds prorated
contract for the remainder of the 2005-2006 school year.
Kaffenbarger reported that the district is requesting a list of
delinquent taxes from the county auditor's office.
The district has also researched the problem with the concrete and tile
cracking in the high school lobby.
The original concrete and tile was laid incorrectly and was repaired in
2003 after the building had been opened.
The contractor who repaired the floor said that he was authorized by the
district in 2003 to use self-leveling concrete, despite his opinion that
the use of the self-leveling concrete was an incorrect fix.
The district has nothing in writing from the contractor stating this
claim. However, they also don't have a warranty in writing guaranteeing
the work.
Kaffenbarger explained that the plan is to first try to patch and
re-tile the problem area at a minimal cost to the district. An initial
estimate to completely re-lay the floor came in at about $30,000.
The tax budget hearing will meet at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9 followed by the
organizational meeting at 6:45 p.m. The regular board meeting will
follow at 7 p.m. in the middle school library. Board member Jacqueline
Watson was approved as president pro-tem for the January meeting.
In other action, the board:
.Heard a presentation from Jennifer Reminder and Sue Hughes detailing
the progress of the behavior portion of the OISM grant at the elementary
school.
.Approved the following resolution - As the Triad Board of Education has
declared that transportation by school conveyance is impractical, the
Triad Board of Education will reimburse Jason and Jennifer Patterson in
the amount of $10 per day for transportation to and from school for
their elementary-aged child for the remainder of the 2005-2006 school
year.
.Elected Jacqueline Watson as representative pro-tem for the Jan. 7
organizational meeting of the JVS.
.Accepted a bid for a 72-passenger bus from Cardinal Bus Sales with
options noted in the superintendent's report.
.Approved depository agreement for active interim and/or inactive public
funds with Fifth Third Band from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2010.
.Accepted the following donations - PTO donation of four DVD players to
the middle school; PTO donation of $2,400 to the middle school principal
fund; Triad Boosters donation of $1,986 to general fund to cover
shortage of funds for pay to participate.
.Approved the use of the elementary gym and cafeteria on Dec. 10 for the
PTO Breakfast with Santa. Use of building fee to be waived as money
collected directly benefits students in Triad School District.
.Approved the use of the elementary and middle school gyms and restrooms
from Dec. 5 to March 12 for the purpose of intramural games and
practices. Custodial expenses will be covered by the Intramural
basketball fund.
.Approved membership to OSBA for 2006.
.Approved the following resolution - Whereas, the Triad Local School
Board of Education wishes to support the efforts of other boards of
education to obtain favorable judicial decisions and, established for
this purpose, Therefore the Board hereby resolves to join the OSBA LAF
(Legal Assistance Fund) for calendar year 2006 and authorized the
treasurer to pay the membership fee.
.Approved the additional appropriates for FY06 retroactive to July 18,
2005.

Coach  may face weapon charge
From J-T staff reports:
A Marysville High School teacher and girls basketball coach has been
temporarily relieved of his duties after a weapon was found in his car
on school property.
Michael T. Francisco, 39, of Marysville is facing fifth-degree felony
charges for the illegal conveyance of a weapon on school property.
According to Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol, on Dec. 12,
the department received a tip from Francisco's estranged wife that the
part-time Marysville school teacher and junior varsity girls basketball
coach was routinely carrying a weapon in his car on school property.
Nicol said at 2:47 p.m. that day, officers stopped Franciso in his
vehicle at the high school parking lot near the baseball diamonds on
Amrine Mill Road. Inside the vehicle, behind the passenger seat, police
found a 40 caliber handgun in a case that also contained ammunition.
The fact that Francisco was carrying the weapon was not the main
problem, Nicol said, it was that he was carrying it on school property.
Francisco reportedly had a permit to carry the weapon, but state law
prohibits guns being taken near the school.
Francisco has reportedly been placed on administrative leave by
Marysville schools, pending the outcome of the police investigation.
"I'm relying on the police and their investigation," Marysville
Exempted  Village Schools Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said this
morning. "It's an unfortunate situation."
Nicol said the case has been forwarded to the Union County Prosecutor
David Phillips for potential charges.

Council holds stance on liquor permit
Word of sale does not sway members from opposition
By RYAN HORNS
A local bar owner, facing trouble from law enforcement, asked Marysville
City Council for some help. They said no.
Steppin' Out bar owner Charles Freeman was at the meeting, along with
his real estate agent Meg Michel, to discuss the possibility of allowing
the liquor permit to be renewed. Michel explained that Freeman plans to
sell the building and would like to sell the liquor permit along with it
as a package to prospective buyers.
She said problems arose with the bar because Freeman is primarily a
musician and the Steppin' Out bar had been operated by his wife until
she died two years ago. At that point his father began running the bar,
until he died three months ago.
Currently, Freeman has misdemeanor charges pending against him by the
Marysville Police Department after he allegedly stole liquor from the
Community Markets and then sold it in the bar for profit. The Ohio
Department of Liquor Control and police are investigating the charge.
Michel said by keeping the liquor permit with the building they could
ensure the city can keep "good vibrant business in the downtown area."
She said the building offers a lot to the city because of its available
parking and historic stature.
"It could send a bad message if you don't support a license in that
location," Michel said.
Two local business people have expressed interest in the building for
future bar opportunities, she said.
Ultimately, council decided that its job is to pass a resolution based
on the recommendation of the local police department.
Council president John Gore said that the status of the liquor permit
does not change based on council's resolution. Whether the permit is
renewed or not is up to the Ohio Department of Liquor Control, which has
indicated it may seize the permit because of Freeman's unlawful actions.

Councilman Mark Reams suggested that council pass the resolution as it
is, and if a local business person would like to purchase the building
council would still have time to write another resolution withdrawing
its objection before Feb. 1, when all city liquor permits have to be
renewed.
"I have no intentions of being in business after Feb. 1," Freeman
assured council.
During Thursday night's meeting, council passed a resolution objecting
to the renewal of the liquor permit owned by Cincha, Inc., which does
business as the Steppin' Out Bar on East Fifth Street.
By passing the resolution, council has done nothing more than tell the
state liquor board that the Marysville Police Department has issues with
Steppin' Out's current owner and the city does not support renewing the
bar's liquor permit.
In other discussions, the final reading was passed on an ordinance to
raise water rates for the city Public Utility Division.
Councilman Dan Fogt said he does not like the idea of raising rates
again, but it will allow the city to provide a safe water supply to
residents. The money raised from the rate increase will be used to build
a reservoir and install the latest technology for water treatment.
"I think that is essential for our citizens," Fogt said. "I support it."

Council passed the ordinance raising the city water rates 5 percent for
2006. Essentially, it would mean a homeowner with a $40 water bill would
see a monthly increase of $2.
In growth news, planning commission chairman John Cunningham spoke about
three pieces of legislation on Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) in the
city zoning codes. The commission spent the past 18 months pouring over
the zoning codes for PUDs and is finally in agreement that these
proposed changes in the ordinances will help the city.
Essentially the changes streamline the process of working with
developers who pursue a PUD plan. He added that PUDs are the best option
for ensuring that whatever is planned for an area is at the utmost
benefit to the city.
"We're very happy with it," Cunningham said. "We didn't have that
previously."
Cunningham said that Marysville has gained a lot of attention from other
communities for the work planning commission has completed on PUDs.
Councilman David Burke said he is impressed with what has been done and
that it will help with the process of developing Coleman's Crossing.
In other news:
. Council members celebrated the service and dedication of member Nevin
Taylor. Thursday's meeting was his last as part of council, as newcomer
Leah Sellers is set to take his spot. Taylor acknowledged the citizens
for allowing him to serve, his wife for her support and council clerk
Connie Patterson for her expertise during his term.
. Council held an executive session to discuss litigation. No action was
taken.
. Councilman Fogt said in 2006 he looks forward to working on uses of
tap-in fees for residential development connecting to city services.
Specifically, he would like to see about raising fees for multiple
tap-ins being done by apartment complexes. Fogt added that he would like
to pursue creating impact fees to make developers pay for the growth.
. Audience members and city officials commended city street workers and
streets director Joe Tracy for an excellent job clearing snow away from
the roads. City administrator, Kathy House, said the city has received
some complaints from residents who live on cul-de-sacs or secondary
roads. She said those areas will be cleared as soon as workers can get
to them, adding that there has to be a priority for main roadways to be
cleared first from the heavy snow fall.

 

United Way campaign estimated to come up $65,000 short
Editor's note: The following article is supplied by Dave Bezusko of the
United Way.
One step forward, one step back.
That's not the kind of dance United Way of Union County officials were
hoping to celebrate upon completion of their annual fund drive. But
after establishing an ambitious $775,000 goal that built upon a
record-setting 2004 campaign, the 2005 effort will likely show results
more closely resembling those earned in 2003.
Nearly $581,000 in pledges have been received by United Way as of press
time, with 27 workplace campaigns accounting for a projected $128,145,
mostly from outside Union County, still to report. Final results won't
be known until April, but officials are projecting the 2005 campaign to
total nearly $710,000, about $65,000 shy of the goal. United Way raised
a record $740,805 last year to provide programs and services for 16,000
Union County residents.
An irony of this year's campaign is the fact that when all reports are
in, more individual donors will have given to United Way than last year.
United Way projects that the donor count will exceed the 3,500 mark of a
year ago. Nine of the top 10 employers in Union County conduct United
Way campaigns. Twenty-five workplace campaigns saw increases in giving
by at least $500, with Nationwide (up $8,833 to $81,788), Marysville
Schools (up $5,186 to $13,000), and Nestle R&D (up $4,625 to $27,313)
leading the way. Associate giving at Honda of America was at an all-time
high ($160,122).
United Way acknowledges that the gains won't be enough to make up for
losses suffered within its two largest accounts. In 2004, Honda
contributed a special 75-cent match for every associate dollar given in
tribute to the company's 25th year anniversary, accounting for an extra
$40,000 that was not there this year. Contributions were also down at
the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, where final campaign totals are still
being tallied.
"We set an extremely ambitious goal that required just about every chip
to fall our way in order to reach it," said Dave Bezusko, United Way
Campaign and Public Relations Director. "It's hard to raise $710,000 and
call that a disappointment because no one owes us a dime. We go into
each year with a clean slate, having to prove our value to the
community. Based on the outpouring of support we received from thousands
of households this year, I'd say people realize the impact United Way
programs make in their neighborhoods."
By falling $65,000 short of the goal, cuts will have to be made to some
programs, as the dollars United Way can allocate to its Member Agencies
come directly from the campaign. In addition, a campaign shortfall ties
the hands of United Way to award grants to worthy projects through the
course of the year. United Way volunteers comprising the Budget and
Admissions Committee that reviews agencies' requests will be forced to
make difficult funding decisions in January. United Way funding is
critical to support the local programming of agencies like the American
Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the Union County Cancer Society,
Consolidated Care, and 20 additional Member Agencies.
"We're down, but we're not out," said Tony Eufinger of Marysville
Schools, United Way's volunteer Campaign Co-Chair. "We're still going to
make a big impact in the community and every dollar given will make a
difference. We're not done trying to raise money either. $65,000 is what
we're projecting the gap to be, but we're not giving up because the
needs of the agencies are so great.
"There's still an opportunity for people to give to United Way, and if
you give before December 31, you can take a tax deduction. I still want
to encourage people who have the authority to run a workplace campaign,
even at this late stage. The people who already support United Way can
continue to support United Way year-round through "fun-drives," such as
potluck lunches, casual dress days, raffles, with proceeds going to
United Way. These activities can help us close the gap and go straight
to programs that benefit citizens."
United Way officials say it is difficult to measure how much of an
impact Hurricane Katrina had on its campaign efforts, though it
undoubtedly hurt pledging. Two weeks into the United Way campaign, the
historic storm blew through the Gulf Coast, taking attention and donor
dollars away from local needs.
"The timing could not have been worse," Bezusko said. "There were
literally situations at workplaces where there would be one table of
volunteers collecting United Way pledges and another one right next to
it collecting for hurricane relief. After seeing the images from New
Orleans on TV every night, how could you not reach out to help our
fellow Americans? Still, in the weeks that followed, so many people dug
deep into their hearts to take care of people in our community who
experience their own personal Katrinas everyday, whether it's a fire
that devastated their home or a family broken by domestic violence."
To date, $4,306 of this year's United Way pledges are designated by
donors for hurricane relief. But Bezusko says the hurricane's real
effect on the campaign are the unknown dollars that donors planned to
earmark for United Way that ended up going to other charitable
organizations in the hurricane's aftermath instead. Many donors
decreased their pledges from a year ago, perhaps in response to
spreading out their charitable giving among numerous organizations.
In collecting about $30,000 less than last year, the local United Way
finds itself in a position similar to its neighbors. United Way of Logan
County is projecting to collect $50,000 less than last year and the
United Way of Delaware County says without unexpected increases in
giving at Nationwide, that it would be projecting a $100,000 shortfall.
Two new workplace campaigns, Franke's Unlimited in Marysville and
Technology Site Planners in Plain City, joined the United Way campaign.
Nine area businesses (Buckeye Sports & Family Chiropractic, Dave's
Pharmacy, e-Waves Wireless, Family Time Video, Funtrail, Hickory Lane
Farms, House Medic Handyman Service, Marysville Cinemas, and the
Stockyard Steakhouse) partnered with United Way to provide discounts and
giveaways for all United Way donors who pledged $100 or more.
Individuals or companies wishing to still participate in the 2005 United
Way campaign may do so by contacting the United Way office via phone at
644-8381; in person at its Marysville office located at 232 N. Main St.,
Suite UW; by mail at P.O. Box 145, Marysville, Ohio, 43040; or online at
www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org.

Gearing up for a white Christmas
County greeted with five inches of snowfall
From J-T staff reports:
Union County was under a level one weather advisory with five inches of
snow blanketing the area this morning.
Under a level one, roads are considered hazardous with blowing and
drifting snow and ice. Motorists are advised to drive cautiously.
Advisories are determined by the Union County Sheriff's department.
Chief Deputy Tom Morgan is recommending that motorists avoid traveling
if at all possible today. State and U.S. routes are barely passable
because snow plows are having trouble keeping up with the snowfall.
Morgan added that the county is under a heavy snow advisory.
The Ohio State Patrol, Marysville Post, personnel report that since 4
a.m. today 15 cars had gone off the road in Union County.
Classes were canceled at Marysville, North Union, Fairbanks, Triad and
Jonathan Alder school districts today.
Fairbanks' varsity and junior varsity girls basketball games at
Ridgemont for this evening have been postponed. The freshman boys home
basketball game against Gahanna has also been postponed.
No makeup dates have been set.
Mobile meals were canceled today, as was the holiday open house for
volunteers. The open house has been rescheduled for Wednesday from 1:30
to 3 p.m. at the County Office Building. Debbie George of Memorial
Hospital of Union County said this is the second cancellation in a week
for the mobile meals program that provides 210 to 240 meals a day to
home-bound individuals. George said individuals have been given blizzard
bags that include foods meeting required daily allowances.
The Marysville Water Department, which documents local weather
conditions for the National Weather Service, said that as of 7 a.m.
today there was .24 inches of melted snow and two inches of new snow
with a total of five inches of snow on the ground. Temperatures are
documented at midnight and as of Wednesday the daily high was 33 degrees
Fahrenheit and the low was 19.
Area utilities have not been effected by the snowy conditions, according
to spokesmen.

FCCLA hosts holiday party for children
From J-T staff reports:
Less fortunate children in the community received a bountiful Christmas
Thursday, thanks to the efforts of students enrolled in the FCCLA
(formerly FHA) classes at Marysville High School.
This was year 33 of the party, and 23 children under school age enjoyed
frosting cookies, singing songs, making snowman puppets, playing "Put
the Nose on Rudolph" and making cards for their parents. A special
highlight was getting to sit on Santa's lap.
Chosen through the Union County Department of Job & Family Services and
Community Action and adopted from the Care Train list through Jim Cesa,
the children benefited from the more than $1,600 raised by community
organizations.
Each received a large gift from Santa, a personalized filled stocking,
hats and mittens, coloring book and crayons, a reading book, tree
ornament, candy cane Rudolph, reindeer dust, angel sucker, candy cane
mouse and the cookies he or she decorated.
Families also were remembered, with each family receiving a picture of
their child with Santa, and a turkey, bag of applies and bag of oranges.

The following organizations donated money and gift items: Nelson Auto
Group and Cannizzaro, Fraser, Bridges, Jillisky Law Firm, $200; Moose
Lodge, $500; Goodies Galore, $200 in stuffed animals; Tom and Amy
McCarthy, $125; Pat Niple, $150; Natural Accents, 30 plastic boxes to
package items to be sent home with the children; Kroger, $200 in applies
and oranges; and $100 from an anonymous donor.
FCCLA advisors are Nancy White, Faith Still, Jacquelyn Yoast and Nancy
Streng.

Thin ice a winter danger
By CINDY BRAKE
Tragedy was averted this week when a helpful neighbor came to the
rescue, drawing attention to the dangers of thin ice in the winter
months.
Pam Beckman was preparing Christmas cards around noon after letting her
two dogs, Dasher and Frisco, out for a romp on her six-acre property
along Gibson Drive in Millcreek Township. She didn't give a second
thought to the ice-covered pond that stretches 3/4 of a mile and is 12
feet deep in places. However, the sound of something like snowballs
hitting the house drew her to her feet to check on the dogs.
What she saw was 85-pound Dasher, a 9-year-old rescued greyhound,
floundering in broken ice on the pond. Puppy Frisco, a boxer, was on the
pond's edge but had not fallen in.
Beckman immediately called 911 for help and then ran with telephone in
hand to the home of next door neighbor Tom Gabel Jr. After hearing about
the disaster, he immediately threw on clothes to handle the frigid
temperatures and headed to Beckman's pond.
Beckman said she talked to her dog whose head was above the water.
"He could not get out," she said. "Dasher wasn't responding."
Beckman first attempted to reach the dog with a pool net. When that
didn't work, Gabel formed a human chain by sliding out onto the ice with
his wife holding onto him and Beckman holding onto Gabel's wife. Gabel
grabbed Dasher's collar and pulled him to safety.
"I have no idea how long it took," Beckman said. "He saved my dog. I'm
in shock."
She wrapped the dog in a blanket and warmed him with a blow dryer. A
trip to the veterinarian later in the day found that Dasher had suffered
only a few abrasions and bruises.
The rescue was especially meaningful to Beckman who had lost one dog,
Brutus, earlier this year to bone cancer.
"Ice is never safe," states Tim Smalley of the Minnesota Department of
Natural Resources on a Web site about ice safety tips.
Marysville Fire Chief Gary Johnson recalls a child dying in 1992 after
falling through ice in the Richwood area.
"There are inherent risks involved in recreational activities on frozen
bodies of water ... As a general rule of thumb ice should be at least
four inches thick to safely support people on foot. 'Safe' ice is clear
to bluish in color while white or cloudy ice means danger. It is
impossible to determine the strength of ice simply by appearance,"
states information provided by Johnson. "Generally new ice is stronger
than old ice."
Wildlife specialist John Rockenbaugh said he has fallen through ice a
couple times, but never gone completely under.
"It's dangerous," he warns, especially hypothermia, loss of body
temperature, which he has experienced.
A skating rink at Eljer Park in Marysville offers a safe skating option.
Because of weather conditions the rink has not yet opened for the
season. City ponds are never open for skating.
Ice safety tips
. Wait to walk on ice until there are at least four inches of clear,
solid ice. Thinner ice will support one person, but since ice thickness
can vary considerably, especially at the beginning and end of the
season, four inches will provide a margin of safety.
. Go out with a buddy and keep a good distance apart as you walk out. If
one of you goes in the other can call for help.
. Snowmobiles and ATVs need at least five inches and cars and light
trucks need at least eight to 12 inches of good clear ice.
. Carry a pair of homemade ice picks or even a pair of screwdrivers tied
together with a few yards of strong cord that can be used to pull
yourself up and onto the ice if you do fall in. Be sure they have wooden
handles so if you drop them in the struggle to get out of the water,
they won't go straight to the bottom.
. Remember you take a risk anytime you go out onto the ice.
. Ice thickness is not consistent.
. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker
areas that signify thinner ice.
. Assemble a personal safety kit no larger than the size of a man's
wallet and carry it on your body. The kit should include a lighter,
waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, pocketknife, compass and
whistle.
. Carry ice picks, a rope and cellular phone. These items could save
your life.
. Always keep pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice, do not
attempt to rescue your pet. Go for help.
. Partially submerged obstacles should be avoided because ice is usually
weaker in these areas.
. Ice can be 12 inches thick at one point and one inch thick a distance
of 10 feet away
. Schools of fish can create thin ice spots as well as open water by
congregating in one spot, ciculating the water.
. Snow can either insulate the ice and keep it strong or insulate it to
keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracked or weak ice and open
areas of water. Strong winds can adversely impact the strength and
formation of ice.
If a companion falls through the ice, remain calm; do not run up to the
hole, two victims will further complicate the rescue; throw or extend
something to the individual; and call the fire department.
If you fall through the ice, don't panic, place your hands and arms on
the unbroken surface of the ice; work yourself forward while kicking
your feet to pull yourself to safety; once out, don't stand instead roll
away from the hole, then crawl back to your tracks and follow your
footsteps to shore.
The Marysville Division of Fire maintains two boats and a selection of
rescue equipment to assist in water and ice rescue.

Business owner indicted on 59 counts
By RYAN HORNS
An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Richwood builder after he
allegedly stole more than $100,000 from unsuspecting customers,
including the elderly.
Dennis Landon, 40, now believed to be living in Georgia, was indicted
Tuesday on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and
multiple counts of theft, money laundering and telecommunications fraud.

"We have issued a warrant for Mr. Landon's arrest," Union County
Prosecutor David Phillips said. "We are actively seeking to locate him."

The investigation was carried out with the combined effort of Ohio
Attorney General Jim Petro's office, the Union County Prosecutor, The
Union County Sheriff's Office, specifically the work of detective Jeff
Stiers, as well as the Richwood Police Department's initial
investigation and the Marion Police Department. All organizations
assisted Petro's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission with the
investigation.
Phillips said that the investigation of Landon has been going on since
February this year.
Landon operated Landon Building Systems, formerly located at 13 N.
Franklin St. in Richwood. Through this business, he allegedly defrauded
at least 27 victims from 11 Ohio counties and four other states in a
home-improvement scheme that ran from February 2004 to August 2004.
The 59-count indictment against him includes the single charge for
violating the Ohio Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(RICO), which is a first-degree felony. Additionally, he was charged
with 21 counts of theft, all fifth-degree felonies; four counts of grand
theft, felonies of the fourth-degree; a count each of grand theft and
theft, with enhancement as theft from an elderly person, felonies of the
fourth and third degrees; 26 counts of money laundering, all
third-degree felonies; and five counts of telecommunications fraud.
Phillips said Landon could face up to 10 years in jail, just for the
first-degree felony RICO charge. This doesn't include up to 130 years of
potential jail time for the 26 third-degree felony charges, which each
bring up to five years prison time.
The charges are serious, Phillips said, but he does not expect Landon to
serve a lifetime in jail. He said he was involved in the indictment of a
man named Ed Mills in 1995, who had actually stolen more money than
Landon through the Hunter's Run subdivision construction scheme in 1992.
Mills ended up with a 15-year prison term.
Phillips said the prosecution will be asking for a longer sentence than
that.
Petro said the victims referred to in the indictment lost approximately
$108,000 to Landon.
Of the 27 victims, six are from Union County; five from Marion County;
two each from Crawford, Logan and Morrow counties; and one each from
Auglaize, Champaign, Delaware, Franklin, Medina and Wyandot counties and
the states of Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
"Landon required his customers to pay a deposit equal to 25 percent of
the bill before any work was done," Petro said. "In most instances, he
failed to do even 25 percent of the contracted work, if he did any work
at all."
Petro said that Landon subcontracted much of the work to install his
pre-manufactured pole barns and garages, but failed to pay for the labor
or the materials. As a result, many of the subcontractors placed liens
on some of the victim's homes.
"Because the work was shoddy or incomplete, the customer would have to
pay additional money to someone else to complete the job," Phillips
said. "In many of these cases, the victims got nothing for their money."

Several of Landon's customers have secured judgments against him, but he
has not paid any refunds for the incomplete work.

Board to lose 39 years of experience
By KARLYN BYERS
The Marysville educational community and the public came together Monday
night to bid a fond farewell to board members Steve Ader, Jane McClain
and Michael Guthrie.
The three, with a combined 39 years of service to the Marysville school
system, are retiring. Thomas Brower, James Scott Johnson and Jeffrey
Mabee were elected in November to fill their vacancies.
The three were honored at a reception prior to Monday's school board
meeting.
Ader, a human resources person at Scotts, has served on the board 16
years. He said the formation of the district PIE (Partnership in
Education) Committee was probably the most important event to happen
during his tenure.
PIE represented a group of community leaders who came together to work
on issues related to the school district.
"It was that whole effort that helped the school district move forward,"
Ader said. "It changed the atmosphere completely and allowed the school
district to move forward."
McClain, a retired sixth grade science teacher at Buckeye Valley Middle
School in Delaware County, served 15 years, or "just short of four
terms," she said.
She credited a good school board and a wonderful staff for making
Marysville "a good school district."
Guthrie has been a board member eight years. He retired from the U.S.
Army after serving 21 years and works for Cummins Engine Company. He
lauded the people in the Marysville community.
"People in the community have been so good to the school," he said. "If
I'm going to pick one thing, that is probably what I'd pick."
All three retiring members had children who were educated in the school
district, and Ader has a grandchild now attending Marysville Schools.
Board president Roy Fraker thanked Ader, McClain and Guthrie  for being
good mentors for him.
"I could serve for another 20 years and not have the (wisdom) that you
people have," he said.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said serving with the three "has been a
tremendous journey."
He presented each with a plaque, a wooden school bell that, when wound,
plays "School Days," and a small desk clock. The latter, Zimmerman said,
represents "time well spent."
A standing ovation was given, at which McClain quipped, "We just thought
we might get pizza."
District treasurer Dolores Cramer administered the oath of office to
Brower, Johnson and Mabee. Though sworn in Monday night, they cannot
conduct official school business until Jan. 1.

School district will not buy land
Gas line is one factor in decision not to purchase MacIvor property
By KARLYN BYERS
A contract between the Marysville School District and John M. MacIvor,
trustee will be terminated, after Marysville School Board members
unanimously decided Monday night to follow superintendent Larry
Zimmerman's recommendation.
A recent engineering survey uncovered "a couple issues which might
increase the construction price," according to Zimmerman, including an
underground high pressure gas line, possible traffic congestion and low
water pressure.
Zimmerman said he still "loved" the property, "(but)  right now we're
going to move on; we're going to look at other sites."
"We appreciate the sellers giving us ample time to thoroughly research
this site," Zimmerman said in a press release e-mailed to the
Journal-Tribune after the board meeting. "As much as this would be a
great schools site, we have to consider other alternatives. Our existing
schools will be bursting at the seams by the time the second
intermediate and middle school buildings are due to be completed in
2008. It is imperative to find a good building site now so that we can
be ready for this growth."
In that press release, Zimmerman said the expanded site search will
focus on identifying a single location large enough to build the second
middle and intermediate schools together with shared facilities. Initial
estimates show the school district could save $1.3 million on
construction costs and $175,000 in operating expenses each year with two
schools built on one location.
In September, board members entered into a real estate purchase
agreement with MacIvor to buy three parcels, or 41.376 acres, of the
late Malcolm MacIvor's Oakland Farm for a total purchase price of
$1,861,930. At that time, Marysville Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said
the land represented "a great piece of property for us."
MacIvor's farm offered easy access to Fifth Street on the city's west
side. Its conservation area would make a great land laboratory and its
lake could be used to drain the property, it was said.
The school district planned to build a second middle and a second
intermediate school there. The two were to be connected. If necessary,
it even could house an elementary school, Zimmerman had said.
The board also heard a presentation about the new math initiative at
Creekview Intermediate School by principal Tim Kannally; Carla Steele,
K-6 curriculum assessment, staff development; Gregg Stubbs,
administrative assistant; and Mary Jo Browning, fifth grade math and
science teacher and math-specialist/math department head. The program
will be funded for the next three years by the Ohio Department of
Education. Creekview will receive $80,000 a year.
"We're very excited about this," Kannally said. "It's going to make our
teachers better."
In other action, the board:
.Approved a $20,000 payment for Creekview Intermediate sixth-graders to
attend camp this fall. The pupils paid for the camping experience. The
board needed to approve the bookkeeping procedure.
.Recognized receptionist Dawn Terzis as employee of the month. Terzis,
who works in the board office, was praised for doing "nice things for
people" and for completing her job "with much enthusiasm, dedication and
commitment."
.Accepted the resignation of Ryan Young, intervention specialist, at the
end of the 2005-2006 school year.
.Employed Catherine Jensen, Leslie Kinney, Ashley Robinson and Tiffany
Sohner as certified substitutes; Melissa Rofe as home instructor; and
Pam McCracken, Gwen Murray, Cindy Priday and Sherry Williams as
classified substitutes.
.Awarded supplemental contracts to Maryann Lange, Creekview Destination
Imagination team manager, and Marcia Easton, speech/language district
department chair.
.Accepted a donation of $200 from the Marysville United Methodist Women
to Raymond Elementary,
.Approved Creekview Intermediate sponsoring the ski and snowboard club.
.Approved the sale of CDs of the Creekview Drama Club play "Wonderland."

.Accepted the donation of fall decorations to Creekview from the Big
Lots store in Marysville.
.Approved a trip to Fairfield by the Marysville Middle School
Mini-Swingers to participate in competition on March 4. The group will
be accompanied by Mike Robertson, MMS choral director.
.Approved 10 students to attend the Western Livestock Expo in Denver
Jan. 10-16. Students will be accompanied by FFA instructor Shari
Moffett.
.Entered into an executive session to discuss land acquisition and
personnel matters. No further action was taken.

Solicitor to decide on Unionville issues
By AUDREY HALL
J-T contributor
 Heated discussion involving council, the mayor and a standing room only
crowd of residents dominated the Unionville Center Village Council
special meeting held Monday night at the Village Building.
 Village attorney Jeffery A. Merklin made a valiant effort at keeping
the discussion focused on four distinct topics.
 The first topic was whether a letter written by clerk-treasurer Karla
Gingerich was actually a letter of resignation. Gingerich was at the
meeting briefly and when questioned said that she did not want to
resign. When mayor Gary Drumm insisted that the UAN (Uniform Accounting
Network) computer be removed from her home and installed at the council
building, her written response said "if it is no longer possible to work
from my home, I will be resigning effective as soon as you find someone
to replace me." Without council approval, Drumm had the computer removed
from Gingerich's home.
 Council members insisted that they do not consider the letter a
resignation and will not accept it as a resignation. They unanimously
asked Gingerich to remain clerk-treasurer. They also insisted that Drumm
had no cause for removing the computer. He reportedly acted on advice
from Merklin who was responding to Drumm's inquiry about a government
computer being located on government property.
 Council members felt the inquiry was misleading because Drumm did not
inform Merklin that there was a signed agreement with the Auditor of
State's office stating that the computer will be located in Gingerich's
home. Council contends that Drumm did not give Merklin all the facts.
Drumm admitted, "we had a conversation of what ifs."
 Merklin said he was not familiar with the UAN system until he checked
with the Attorney General's office. Drumm insists that the letter is a
valid resignation. Merklin said that he will research the matter to see
if it constitutes an effective resignation.
 A vacant council seat was filled at a Nov. 18 special meeting called by
three council members. Drumm claims that he did not know about the
meeting and disputes that a quorum was present. Therefore, he has
refused to recognize Phil Rausch who was named at that meeting. Merklin
agreed with council that three members can call a special meeting but
said he needs to research how many constitute a quorum in this
situation.
 Tied to this is whether or not Norman Rice needed to actually resign or
could miss three consecutive meetings and automatically be removed from
council. Rice was asked to resign and did turn in a letter of
resignation dated October 19. Drumm insists that Rice's removal was
final because of missed meetings. The October 19 resignation letter is
key because according to the Ohio Revised Code 731.43, council has 30
days to fill a vacant council seat. If they do not act, the mayor can
appoint. Merklin will also research whether Rice's removal should have
been automatic or required a resignation.
 Regarding the Third Street extension litigation, Merklin said the
dynamics changed drastically when it was learned that the majority of
the property involved was actually outside the village. A settlement was
prepared but Nancy and Norman Rice would not agree to the settlement and
countersued the village. Mandatory mediation has been ordered by Common
Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott for Jan. 19, 2006.
 The Darby Township Trustees have asked, through their attorney Terry
Hoard, to be dismissed from the lawsuit. Council passed a resolution of
agreement.
 Merklin was initially hired for the Third Street litigation. The fourth
topic discussed was Merklin's bill. He said this was his first chance to
represent a public body. He wanted to help and give something to this
county that has been good to him. "The amount of time that has been
spent on this thing is way beyond what anybody considered," he said. "I
am willing to talk to you about it (the bill)." The bill is currently
about $6,000.
 Regarding all issues discussed, Merklin said: "There are two completely
different sets of facts being given to me as to what really happened or
what didn't happen. I'm going to try to make the best judgment I can
based on the information that I have." Merklin will inform council
members of his advice by the end of the week. There will be a special
meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. to plan the 2006 budget.

Former deputy pleads not guilty to  sex charges
From J-T staff reports:
The arraignment of a former Union County Sheriff's deputy suspected of
sexually molesting three female juveniles was held Monday afternoon.
Terry Wertz, 47, of 310 S. Oak St., pleaded not guilty before Union
County Common Pleas Judge Richard Parrott. As a result of the hearing, a
scheduling conference was set for Jan. 24 at 9:15 a.m. A trial date has
not been set.
Wertz was indicted Nov. 30 on three counts of gross sexual imposition.
Between the spring of 2003 and early 2005, he is suspected of sexually
forcing himself on an 8-year-old female, a 16-year-old female and a
14-year-old female.
It has been reported that because he was not arrested, no bond has been
set. To date, Wertz remains free on his own recognizance as the court
case progresses.
"This is not preferential treatment," Marysville Assistant Police Chief
Glenn Nicol, said this morning.
He said that the department has had previous cases of gross sexual
imposition crimes and individuals were not arrested prior to being
convicted.
"We have had others treated the same way," he said. "It is common."
Nicol said in the past there have been Marysville criminal cases where
suspects had allegedly broken into several homes to sexually molest
complete strangers. In these incidents the suspects were arrested
because the person posed a threat to the entire community.
He said Wertz does not pose the same threat.
In the terms of the arraignment, Parrott ordered Wertz to have no
contact with the victims or their family and he is not allowed to leave
the county.
To this, Wertz said that he did not know who the victims are. He was
reportedly referring to court papers, which only list the victims by
first names followed by the anonymous last name of "Doe."
Nicol said courts often do this to protect the identity of  victims.

Richwood to see tight 2006 budget
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Rising energy costs will leave Richwood Village officials keeping a
close eye on the funds in 2006.
Village financial officer Don Jolliff said that the projected income for
next year is conservatively set at $2,136,438, while expenditures are
estimated at $2,144,355. Jolliff said the shortfall in the figures will
be made up with carryover funds, but was quick to point out that this
cannot be an ongoing practice as the carryover will dry up.
Village administrator Ray Miller said the water and sewer departments
are bracing for hikes in gas and electric costs.
Jolliff said that while the general fund looks solid in its ability to
support the police department, street department and parks, the water
and sewer funds are shaky. Income and expenditures are projected to run
close to even in the water department. The sewer department is
projecting an $8,000 shortfall.
Next year's budget includes a 3 percent pay increase for all village
employees.
Council member Scott Jerew asked how some of the utility projections
were derived as some see an increase of 25 percent while others jump 300
percent. Miller explained that the utility costs are based on actual
2005 expenditures rather than budgeted figures. He said he took 2005
expenditures and figured in a 50 percent increase.
In other business, council:
.Voted 5-0, with Wade McCalf absent from the meeting, to allow Jolliff
to take over the payroll duties for the village. The ADP company had
been performing payroll services for the village at a cost of $4,500.
Jolliff will perform the duty for $2,500.
.Heard from village police chief Rick Asher that he has no objections to
any annual liquor permit renewals.
.Heard an update on village projects from engineer Ed Bischoff.
.Discussed reworking the village parking and traffic ordinances.
Increasing the fines for parking violations could be included in the new
codes. The village may use the city of Marysville's recently reworked
traffic and parking codes as a guide in the process.
.Told Asher that that residents have requested a police officer be
present as school is finished each day. Asher said he would have an
officer in the area.
.Discussed an unsightly debris pile which is growing on West Bomford
Street.
.Presented council member Arlene Blue with a certificate for her years
of service on council. Blue will leave office at the end of the year
after losing her seat to Jim Thompson in November's election.
.Learned from Mayor Bill Nibert that there are vacancies on the village
board of zoning appeals and planning commission. Anyone interested in
filling one of the vacancies may contact the mayor or any council
member.

Event posts big numbers
Care Train auction smashes old record
From J-T staff reports:
Care Train of Union County set a fund-raising record with Saturday's
auction.
The annual benefit raised more than $75,000. The past benchmark was set
in 2004 at $56,000.
All proceeds stay local, said volunteer Karen Page, with the majority of
funds purchasing food. At last count she said 681 needy families are on
the list including1,100 children.
Care Train founder Dave Laslow credits increased sponsorships totaling
$20,000 in helping boost this year's total.
He adds that no one in the organization is paid and no one in need is
turned away. Individuals still needing help for the holidays can call
Community Action at 642-4986.
"Every dollar we get, we give," Laslow said outside of production and
advertising costs.
With more than 200 items up for auction, Laslow said there were more
people on hand than ever. Page said they even ran out of chairs with
some watching all day.
"It was very exciting," Laslow said.
He said someone in the audience commented that watching the auction was
"contagious."
In addition to the individuals on hand, the 12 telephone lines were lit
up regularly. People manning the phones couldn't keep up at times, said
Dan Fitzgerald, Care Train sponsor.
Laslow said support for the auction was truly community wide.
Laslow is already thinking about next years Community Care Train. He
hopes to pull out all the stops and raise $100,000 during the 20th year
of the fundraiser.

Area woman involved in Amy Grant  performance
Rumors of local concert unfounded
From J-T staff reports:
Amy Grant in Marysville?
No, but a Marysville resident did have lunch with the national recording
artist and television host last week in Columbus.
"Have you heard anything about Amy Grant coming here?," asked a woman in
a Tuesday e-mail to a Marysville Journal-Tribune employee.
"I heard that Amy Grant was coming to Marysville - is that true? Is she
doing a 3 wishes concert? If so, when and where?" wrote a woman from the
city of Delaware in a Monday message.
Lisa Huelskamp of Marysville said she is almost 99.9 percent certain
that Grant never made it to Union County last week. Grant along with 30
to 40 production staff taped a segment of the Three Wishes television
show at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus on
Wednesday.
Huelskamp should know. She ate lunch with Grant ? a salad ? and shared
her cell phone.
As a coordinator of the Future City Competition and gifted coordinator
for the Westerville School system, Huelskamp said she thought someone
had dialed the wrong number when she picked up the telephone on Oct. 6
to learn that producers from NBC were planning to grant a wish to a
student she works with.
"It was very exciting," Huelskamp said.
The wish is that of 12-year-old Stevie Moon who wanted to go to space
camp but his family couldn't afford the expense. At COSI's Extreme
Screen, the Genoa Middle School seventh-grader was given the mission to
create three colored flames - red, green and yellow - in 15 minutes by
figuring out which of 12 chemicals to combine - all in front of 310
fellow students. The segment is part of Friday's season finale show
which Grant hosts.
A former science teacher, Huelskamp enlisted the help of a colleague who
works at COSI to create Moon's mission for the television show. Moon's
success meant a prize for his class.
Huelskamp said Moon has had a couple of whirlwind weeks with a trip to
space camp, the COSI taping and then a flight to California for the
show.
Taping for the COSI segment began a couple days prior to the event and
encompassed most of Wednesday, Nov. 30, Huelskamp said. She added that
Grant then left immediately for California.
She also taped a segment of the television show in New Philadelphia.

Time Warner support crucial to Care Train of Union County
By JOEY SECREST
J-T intern
The Care Train of Union County Auction requires effort and participation
from the entire community for the event to be a success. Time Warner
plays a key role in making the auction possible.
"Without them, it would be very hard to even have an auction," said Dave
Laslow, founder of the Care Train.
Time Warner has been broadcasting the auction live from McAuliffe's Ace
Hardware for nine years. This year's Care Train auction will be held
Saturday at 9 a.m. and will raise funds for food vouchers and gifts for
the less fortunate. The auction will also be broadcast on 1270 St.
Gabriel Radio.
"We chose this event as an excellent opportunity to give back to the
community in any way that we can," said Barry Border, system operations
manager of Time Warner.
A fiber optic link was installed at McAuliffe's to enable Time Warner to
air the auction live. According to Laslow, the link was a large
investment and its sole purpose is to broadcast the auction once a year.

"We are able to get the auction to people who can't get out because of
Time Warner," Laslow said. "The community is able to turn on the T.V.
and participate."
Time Warner's dedication to the auction does not end with the broadcast.
The employees also donate a lot of time and money. During the broadcast,
the employees are involved with set-up and man the cameras. At the Time
Warner office, the employees collect money for the entire year for the
Care Train. The funds that are raised are donated to the Care Train in
the form of a large check from the Time Warner employees during the
broadcast.
"All of us at Time Warner Cable are proud to be part of such a wonderful
event that gives back to the community," Border said.
In addition, through affiliates Time Warner provides on-site
entertainment for children during the live auction. This year, children
will be able to get a photo taken with characters from Nickelodeon's
"Fairly Odd Parents." The photo shoot will be held between 9 a.m. and 1
p.m. at McAuliffe's.
"If it wasn't for (Time Warner) we wouldn't be so successful. (The
auction) is a group effort. The community gets so involved," Laslow
said.
He added that the number of people that come together to put on the
auction every year is incredible. More than 200 items were donated, the
sponsors help put on the auction and the community provides funds to
take care of those in need.
Laslow said that since the auction is available through so many
different forms it makes it enjoyable.
"Knowing that we're doing something for those in need while having fun
is really something," Laslow said.
For an updated list of auction items, go to www.caretrain.org after 7
p.m. tonight.

Fire department gets new ladder truck
By RYAN HORNS
Last year a large Homeland Security check was presented to the
Marysville Fire Department for a new ladder truck. The new vehicle
rolled into the city for operation this week.
Marysville City Administrator Kathy House reported that the Marysville
Division of Fire recently received its brand new Sutphen SPH 100-foot
Aerial Platform Truck. This purchase was made possible through a grant
of $675,000 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a $75,000
local match from the city of Marysville.
The new vehicle replaces the aging 1973, 85-foot Sutphen aerial platform
truck.
Marysville Fire Chief Gary Johnson said this morning that the new truck
has a lot more innovative features because of the custom design. The
Sutphen business, located in Amlin, Ohio, has built fire apparatus since
1890.
Johnson said instead of a 85-foot platform reach, the new truck has a
reach of 100 feet. There is even a camera and radio located in the
platform basket so the operator can see a panoramic view of everything
going on from above and below. The turning radius on the vehicle is
shorter, making it easier to maneuver on smaller residential streets.
But he said what really makes the design functional are the increased
safety features such as lighting, an indoor cab so firemen don't have to
sit outside in the cold, and electronic gear operated by switches.
"We had a lot of guys adding a lot of input and we came out with a great
product," Johnson said about the new ladder truck.
The next step for the Marysville Fire Department will be the process
leading up to a new fire station branch to help store the new truck.
During Thursday's Marysville City Council meeting, House said the new
truck was in town and pointed out that the vehicle fits into the station
garage by as little as two-inches.
Assistant Fire Chief Johnie Meyers wrote the grant request that made the
purchase possible in March 2004 and at the time thought the city had a
50/50 chance of being awarded the money.
"(The Federal Emergency Management Administration) FEMA started buying
vehicles last year," Meyers said. "We thought we might have a pretty
good chance."
After learning the department had won the grant, Meyers explained that
ever since Johnson became chief and he became assistant chief, replacing
the ladder truck had been their top priority. However, the city was in a
financial bind and could not afford to replace the truck.
The office of U.S. Senator Mike Dewine announced in August 2004 that the
Marysville Division of Fire would receive $675,000 as part of the
Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement Act which provides
competitive grants to assist local fire departments. The grant was made
possible by the Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement Act (S.
1941) that Dewine authored and passed in 2000. The city matched the
amount by 10 percent, or $75,000, in order to make the truck purchase a
reality.
Marysville firefighters were being trained on use of the new truck
equipment Wednesday and Thursday.
House said the truck was then sent back to Sutphen on Friday for the
filming of a fire department training video on this model of ladder
truck. It was returned on Saturday to Marysville so it could be shared
with the public for the first time during the Christmas parade on
Sunday.
The process leading up to the arrival of the new ladder truck was not an
easy one. The ladder trucks are built from scratch at Sutphen, often
custom-made to fit the needs of the department. Johnson often joked that
if was like building a house.
The Marysville ladder truck is the only one of its kind in Union County
and is used in mutual aid runs throughout the county. Meyers said they
were able to show in their application how awarding the money to the
city would benefit eight other fire departments.

United Way faced with tough choices
One member agency will not be funded this year
By CINDY BRAKE
Child assault prevention programming is changing in Union County.
"This year, United Way was presented with two options for educating
children on assault and abuse," said John Waite, United Way president.
"While the two programs share the same focus, they varied significantly
in the format for sharing the information with children. The decision
was difficult to make and was the result of vigorous discussion by the
Budget and Admissions Committee and the Board of Trustees."
The United Way board of trustees voted recently to not fund the Child
Assault Prevention Project (CAPP) and instead shift funds to
Consolidated Care Inc. (CCI) to provide child assault prevention
programming in 2006.
Shari Marsh said this is the first time in her 15 years with United Way
that the board has decided to not fund a member agency.
This year CAPP received $19,112.26 from United Way or 69.6 percent of
its annual budget. In 2004, CAPP received $25,000 from United Way or 84
percent of their annual budget. CAPP had received United Way funding
since 1985.
A volunteer-based program, CAPP trained volunteers to conduct classroom
workshops about emotional, physical and sexual assault to children.
During the 2004-2005 school year, CAPP volunteers were in 105 classrooms
with the Marysville school system and instructed 2,205 children,
according to information in the 2006 United Way application for funding.

Dave Bezusko with United Way likened the change to switching from
satellite television to cable. CCI staff include trained professionals
who already work in the Marysville, Fairbanks and North Union school
systems.
Children have regularly scheduled contact with CCI staff, states a
United Way press release, and that will build a more comfortable, secure
relationship with the adult staff member, enabling a child to more
readily disclose difficult information.
Bezusko and Marsh both state that CCI will maximize United Way funding
earmarked for child assault prevention programming by adding it to
funding it is receiving from other sources.
Donors who had pledged to CAPP during the recent campaign have the
option of designating their pledge to CCI's prevention program or
redirecting it to another cause, states the press release.
The amount of United Way funding has yet to be decided for the CCI
program. It is also uncertain exactly how the CCI program will function,
Marsh said.
The recent United Way campaign has reached 60 percent of its $775,000
goal or $468,602.80. More funds are expected. Bezusko said United Way is
projecting to reach 90 percent of their goal or $705,000.
This year's campaign chairmen were Tony Eufinger and Ellen Pond.

North Lewisburg to re-apply for grant
By CORINNE BIX
The Village of North Lewisburg council voted to give it another go with
the Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant program.
In 2004, the village applied and was awarded funds through the program
that allows municipalities to sponsor the preservation of waterways in
exchange for a lower interest rate on money borrowed for wastewater
treatment.
However, due to holdups related to the Ohio EPA, most specifically,
changing the classification of Spain's Creek to an exceptional
cold-water habitat, caused the wastewater treatment plant to come to a
halt.
In August, council members were made aware that the village had lost its
.25 percent interest rate reduction because of the various environmental
issues that were slowing the project down.
Tuesday night, council members agreed to re-submit an application for
the Natureworks/ODNR grant to be considered in the next round of funding

"We have a 99 percent chance of receiving the funds," Barry First,
village administrator said.
Robin Livesay, a representative with Miami Lighting, gave a presentation
on proposed additional street lighting for the village.
In February, Dave Scott, council member, reported to the council on
increasing lighting in the city limits and identified 34 areas around
the village that are insufficiently lit.
Livesay brought a detail map of the municipality with a proposed 30 more
street lights.
The initial cost of the project would be around $6,700 and lighting
costs would increase per year by $4,500 with electricity to be provided
through Dayton Power and Light.
The council will consider the proposal over the next few months before
making a final decision.
Chris Woodard, council member, took time to say goodbye to fellow
council members as he completed his last meeting. Woodard took over and
completed Dwight Thompson's term from August 2004 through December 2005.

"I would like to thank everyone for their support and if you need help
in the future let me know," Woodard said.
Jason Keeran, council member elect, is a lifetime resident of the
village.
Keeran, 33, said he wanted to serve on council to help the village grow.

"I want to assist citizens with any concerns that they may have," Keeran
said.
Gary Silcott, village engineer, reported that bids for the water meter
project are rolling in. Some of the bids for the actual cost of the
water meters are coming in well under the original estimate however it
is the installation bids that continue to be very costly. Silcott said
they are exploring the option of possibly leasing the meters.
The finance committee will meet on Friday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. to discuss
wages and benefits.
Officer Glenn Kemp gave the Champaign County Sheriff's report for the
month of November for the village. There were 20 traffic citations
issued, eight warnings issued for traffic violations, 11 incident
reports, 26 cases of assistance given to citizens, 13 arrests made, four
civil and criminal papers served, 38 follow-up investigations completed,
three open doors, five instances of juvenile contact and one auto
accident report taken.
The next regular council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 7:30
p.m.
In other news:
.Council will sponsor a float in the Christmas Parade/Winterfest to be
held on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m.
.Passed resolution no. 12-06-05 accepting the final plat for Jackson's
Landing sub-division (section one)
.Heard the second reading of ordinance  number 238 approving/adopting
county-wide all natural hazards mitigation plan.

Unionville Center mayor refuses to resign
Council, residents call for him to step down
By AUDREY HALL
Journal-Tribune correspondent
  There were repeated requests from council members and the standing
room only crowd of residents for Mayor Gary Drumm's resignation at the
regular meeting of the Unionville Center Council held Monday evening at
the Town Hall.
 Complaints cited included his boorish treatment of council members and
residents. Resident Norma Kuhn said, "You need to resign, Gary, because
you are causing too much trouble in town."
 Drumm's response throughout the meeting was to ignore the comments and
other direct questions and to read from the Ohio Revised Code. He read
almost every section of the ORC relating to municipal government.
Finally, at the end of the meeting, Drumm stated, "I haven't done
anything. I am not resigning."
 At a special meeting called by three council members for Nov. 18, as
prescribed in the Ohio Village Officers Handbook, Phil Rausch was
elected to the vacant council seat and sworn in by Council President
Becky Troyer. All members of council were informed of the meeting which
was announced in the Marysville Journal-Tribune and posted outside of
the Unionville Center Post Office.
 Drumm claims that he did not know about the meeting and disputes that a
quorum was present. He would not recognize Rausch as a council member.
Drumm wanted to appoint Nancy Rice to fill the vacant council seat. Rice
became upset during the discussion and said, "there is no way I would be
part of this (council)."
 Council members objected because the position is no longer vacant and
Rice is a party to a lawsuit against council in the matter of the Third
Street extension. Drumm still asked Rice to stand to be sworn into
office resulting in loud, vocal objections from council and residents.
Rice then left the meeting.
 A heated discussion about the council vacancy ensued. Following an
outburst by councilman John McCoy, sheriff deputy Matt Warden warned
McCoy that if he made any more threats, he may be arrested. Warden
recommended that village attorney Jeffery A. Merklin be asked to attend
a meeting and provide answers.
 Council passed a motion to hold a special meeting on Monday, Dec. 12 at
6:30 p.m. with Merklin in attendance.
 The most recent contention between the mayor and council concerns
Drumm's treatment of clerk-treasurer Karla Gingerich regarding the UAN
(Uniform Accounting Network) computer. At the Nov. 7 meeting, Drumm
ordered that "legally" the UAN computer equipment could no longer remain
at the clerk-treasurer's home and that it must be moved to the village
council building. Drumm did not at that meeting explain what the legal
reason was nor did he allow for discussion.
 At Monday night's meeting, he reported that Merklin instructed him to
have the computer removed, but he still refused to give a reason. No
vote was taken by council regarding the computer.
 The UAN service is a computerized, integrated, financial management and
information system administered by the Ohio Auditor to serve local
governments. According to the UAN brochure published by the state
auditor: "The Auditor of State is the owner of the hardware and
software. The hardware and software remains with the local government
for as long as the local government continues to operate under the
conditions of the program."
 In answer to an inquiry, a UAN staff member stated: "Where the
equipment is housed is up to the local government. If a clerk-treasurer
maintains an office in her home, the equipment can be located there." It
was reported that there is an agreement signed by all council members
that the UAN equipment will be located at Gingerich's home.
 It was reported that currently, the council building is unheated except
when a meeting is being conducted. Moving the UAN computer to the
council building would require constant heat incurring a higher electric
bill and installation of a phone line and a monthly business rate phone
bill.
 As a reaction to Drumm's demand for the removal of the UAN computer
from her home, Gingerich sent a conditional resignation letter dated
Nov. 7 to the mayor with copies to all council members stating: "If it
is no longer possible to work from my home, I will be resigning
effective as soon as you can find someone. I will continue working from
my home, until you find someone to replace me, or until the computer and
things are taken from my home."
 Drumm's response was to call the sheriff's department to have the
computer removed. Council president Becky Troyer accused Drumm of
bullying the clerk-treasurer into quitting.
 Currently, the computer is sitting in the unheated council building. It
was reported that no village bills can be paid nor can the 2006 budget
be prepared until the accounting system is operational.
 Heather Blevins attended the meeting and was instructed by Drumm to sit
in the clerk's chair. He did not introduce her to council nor announce
that he had appointed her to fill the clerk's position. Toward the end
of the meeting, he asked her to stand and repeat an oath. It was not the
official oath from the Ohio Village Officers Handbook. Council members
questioned Blevins concerning candidacy requirements but did not object.

 Drumm announced that there is a pre-trial meeting on Jan. 19, 2006,
regarding the Third Street lawsuit. This is actually a mandatory
mediation for all parties concerned. Council members questioned this
action. Troyer asked why the lawsuit is going further, and Ron Griffith
pointed out that Merklin said that the village couldn't open the Third
Street extension. Drumm's response was that it is on track to go to
court. Council members have expressed concerns about the mounting
attorney fees.
 In other business, council voted that the mayor can no longer display
the sign announcing meetings in his yard, that all attorney bills must
be delivered only to the council post office box not to the mayor's
personal post office box, and that Drumm cannot contact the attorney by
phone or in person.

Two-of-three absent at Jerome trustee meeting
From J-T staff reports:
Monday's regular Jerome Township Board of Trustee meeting was canceled
for lack of a quorum.
Trustee Ron Rhodes and clerk Robert Caldwell, along with several
citizens, were present at 7:30 p.m. when the meeting was slated to
begin. Trustee Freeman May had reportedly called prior to the meeting
and said he had a conflict. No word was received about the absence of
trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe, board chairman.
Wolfe and May were soundly defeated at the November general election.
Their terms end Dec. 31. Andrew Thomas and Robert Merkle were elected to
the board.
Rhodes said he will attempt to schedule a special meeting so township
business can be conducted. Of particular concern, Rhodes said, it the
fact that township employees cannot be paid without approval by a
majority of the board.
Wolfe sent an e-mail today at 9:42 a.m. calling an emergency meeting for
Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the township hall. The purpose of the meeting,
according to the message was " to pay the bills, no other business will
be conducted."

Fires damage two homes
By RYAN HORNS
Firefighters in Union County had two blazes and icy temperatures to deal
with Monday night.
No injuries reportedly resulted from either blaze, but homes suffered
extensive damage.
Marysville Fire Department reported this morning that at 8:41 p.m. a
call was dispatched to 12605 Route 736 for a chimney fire. As crews
arrived it was discovered the blaze had already spread to the remainder
of the home.
Reportedly, the large 2 1/2-story home that was on fire was set far off
of the roadway in a gated area. Crews had to be led to the scene through
a private drive by the homeowner. Large flames were reportedly visible
from the roadway, as the fire vented through the roof.
Aside from the logistical problems firefighters faced, the Marysville
Fire Department reported that firefighters also had to deal with a
limited water supply because of the remote location of the house.
Marysville Fire Department Lt. Joe Daniels reported this morning that a
second alarm was called for area departments, who then provided mutual
aid.
Crews from Jerome, Union, Liberty and Allen townships helped out, along
with the Plain City department and the Union County EMA.
Daniels said the cause of the fire is still under investigation,
although it appears to have started in the chimney and then spread to
the interior walls and roof of the home.
He said crews were on the scene dealing with the fire until 12:06 a.m.
Daniels said that the home suffered light smoke damage, along with a
hole in the roof and a collapsed chimney.
In another Monday incident, Liberty Township crews were called to 20700
Raymond Road for another fire after a chimney fire got out of control.
Liberty Township Fire Chief Lloyd Segner said this morning that crews
were at the home from 4:45 p.m. to about 7 p.m. on Monday, fighting a
fire that began in the chimney and spread to the surrounding walls. He
estimated the blazed caused $30,000 to $35,000 in damages.
The Red Cross of Union County is reportedly helping out the family with
living arrangements while the home is being repaired.
Segner said fire departments from Marysville, Allen Township, Richwood
and Leesburg Township responded with mutual aid.
The chief also warned Union County families that they should get
chimneys inspected on their homes before using them.
Because of the fuel prices going up this year he suspected there may be
a rise in fire runs this winter. Because many people have not used their
chimneys in years, there could be bird nests, mortar problems or any
other objects inside that could potentially cause fires.

Holiday remembrance program offered by funeral homes
From J-T staff reports:
Mannasmith Funeral Homes of  Marysville and West  Mansfield will again
be hosting their annual Holiday Remembrance Program on Sunday,  Dec.
11,at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary of the Marysville First United Methodist
Church.
The Holiday Remembrance Program, in its 11th year, continues as an
inviting service for those in the community who have suffered the loss
of a  loved one. The gathering supports mourners of all ages and
embraces those who are bereaved with fellow bereaved individuals and
families.
The keynote speaker will again be Todd Little.
Little is one of only a few full-time licensed professionals in the
field of aftercare in the state of Ohio.  He serves as the Director of
Bereavement  Services with Toland-Herzig Funeral Homes in the New
Philadelphia area and has served more than 25  years in the social and
human service "helping" professions. He is a graduate of the University
of Akron and has completed additional graduate level work at Kent State
University and  Penn State University.
Little is a resource to the families of Tuscarawas County, and his work
with the bereaved has received statewide, national, and international
acclaim. He is a highly sought after speaker and  has been the featured
writer in many national and professional publications.
With much  professional experience, nothing has prepared him more than
his own personal journey through grief. In 1994 his wife died just nine
days after delivering triplet boys. The compassion offered by his
funeral director and a reflection of his own experiences encouraged
Little to consider this important calling to the bereaved.
"Todd was so well received  last year, and the fact that he has walked
the same path that our families are  traveling made us very happy to
invite him back this year." said Roger Mannasmith, owner of Mannasmith
Funeral Homes.
In addition to the speaker, the service will welcome those in attendance
to decorate the Holiday Remembrance Tree with memorial keepsake
ornaments in honor of their loved ones. A candle lighting ceremony will
take place, and local musician Steph France will once again be the
featured vocalist. Refreshments and  fellowship will follow the program.

"The Holiday Remembrance Program is such an important service for us to
offer. Families are given the opportunity to celebrate their loved one
and formally remember them again long after the funeral. Everyone always
seems to leave feeling a little better," said Derric Brown, funeral
director with Mannasmith Funeral Homes.
This is a service for the community. Anyone who has experienced a loss
may attend. Transportation will be made available. Reservations to
attend should be made by Dec. 9 by calling Mannasmith or Brown at
642-1751 or 355-3341

Council hears of uptown needs
By RYAN HORNS
The Uptown Renewal Team came before city council to ask how local
government can help revitalize the heart of Marysville.
Thursday night URT members spoke with council about facilitating the
search for grants and asked for help with other financial routes to
speed the process. The group is made up of concerned citizens who have
become known for their passion for bringing more life to the uptown
economy.
Chris Boring, of Boulevard Strategies said he has started the first
phase of the Downtown Marysville Market Analysis, which consists of
interviewing local merchants, property owners and shoppers about what
kinds of businesses they would like to see in the city, as well as any
positive and negative traits of the local economy.
To date, Boring said he has interviewed 28 people. He will be conducting
even more during the Marysville Christmas parade, when he will speak to
local shoppers.
The current owner of the Henderson House, located at 318 E. Fifth St.,
asked council members what they are currently doing to help people
invest in the city's uptown.
Councilman Mark Reams said that the city provided Community Reinvestment
Areas and recently expanded those areas to help more people get
involved. Unfortunately, no one takes advantage of this.
He said that several years ago the city cleaned up the uptown streets,
adding bricks and placed all the utility wires underground. The city
hoped property owners would take the next step to make improvements.
Councilman Nevin Taylor said that the entire council is in favor of the
work URT is doing and wondered how they could further assist.
Boring said council can help by seeking out grants for the downtown and
providing incentives for local business owners to make repairs to their
buildings and generally make their stores more attractive.
Councilman John Marshall said that as the URT does its best to control
growth in the uptown area, he hopes one aspect will remain.
"I'd like to keep that Marysville feeling, circa 1975, but with Easton's
new and fresh feel," he said.
Keeping a uniquely Marysville feeling to the uptown is something that he
hopes will be achieved.
"I think it can be done," Boring said.
He cited the work that has been done for cities like historic Dublin and
the area of Grandview. Just 15 years ago, those areas did not have much
going for them.
Marshall also brought up the important point of how Coleman's Crossing
is going to effect uptown business.
"There is a very high risk that the center of the city will shift to
that corridor," he said. "When that happens it just kind of kicks the
life out of downtown."
The entire identity of Marysville for visitors would end up being Home
Depot and Wal-Mart.
Marshall said another problem is that neighborhoods such as Mill Valley
don't even know uptown Marysville even exists. They get off from the
U.S. 33 exits and never feel the need to go anywhere else but Columbus.
Reams said he is concerned about how long it could take for local
revitalization. The competition from Polaris and Easton retail areas is
only going to increase.
"We have to get some momentum going," he said.
What has made Easton and Lifestyle Communities so successful are
"investors with deep pockets."
"I don't see them coming to Marysville," Reams said.
Marshall said that it is also important to look for ways to open up the
top floors of downtown buildings to create apartments for people to
live. Many top floors are abandoned.
Boring said he will be coming back to council in the future to update
them on the progress being made and so they may work together at the
common goal of URT.

Bar's liquor permit in jeopardy
Marysville P.D. opposes renewal; city council may as well
By RYAN HORNS
Coming on the heels of a state investigation, the Steppin' Out bar faces
another problem from Marysville City Council.
During Thursday night's meeting, Clerk of Council Connie Patterson
reported that on Feb. 1 all city liquor permits must be renewed.
As it turns out, she said, the Steppin' Out bar located at 225 E Fifth
Street, was the only business whose permit renewal was not supported by
the Marysville Police Department.
On Nov. 10, the Ohio Department of Public Safety raided the bar with a
search warrant, culminating a month-long investigation. The owner was
charged later in the month for allegedly stealing alcohol from Community
Markets grocery store and then selling the items in his bar for profit.
Council president John Gore explained that as part of the Ohio
Department of Public Safety's ongoing investigation, council must submit
a resolution and letter from the city law director indicating its
support or opposition for renewing the liquor permit.
Gore said if Marysville Chief of Police Floyd Golden is against its
renewal, then council should support his decision.
Law director Tim Aslaner said that before he can make any decision of
opposition he will need to meet with Golden and learn more about the
issue.
"I have no idea that I will support that yet," Aslaner said.
Gore said they would discuss the issue again at the Dec. 15 council
meeting and a resolution may be added to the agenda. They would also
need to notify the owners of Steppin' Out about council's decision.
Councilman David Burke said he understood that the owner has not yet
been found guilty of any charge.
Gore said that he understood there are a "number of other things" law
enforcement and the state are concerned the establishment. He did not
elaborate on those issues.
Councilman John Marshall pointed out that council does not have the
final say on whether or not the bar loses its liquor permit. That is up
to the state. Council's resolution only offers an "input or stance" on
the subject for the state to consider.
Regarding city government issues, the final reading was held on an
ordinance to adopt the annual operating budget for 2006.
Marshall told city administrator Kathy House that he still has two
concerns with the budget.
First, he wondered if the price tag for the future water line was still
the same. He also wanted to know if there is money set aside for any
legal issues concerning the Arno Renner property on Industrial Parkway.
The city's water line and wastewater lines are planned to go through the
Renner farm, which has a state protected perpetual agricultural
easement. State officials have already reported they would fight the
city if eminent domain was attempted.
House said that there is a lump sum of money included within
construction costs for all easements.
"It sounds as though those moneys are going to evaporate rather
quickly," Marshall said.
He added that a legal problem seems inevitable.
"Time will tell," House said.
Councilman Dan Fogt said issues with the budget concerned him as well,
specifically his disappointment over multiple residential tap-in fees
for apartment complexes.
Fogt has previously described the current city codes for these
structures as discounts.
Since the last council meeting, he has looked further into the issue and
learned that if apartment complexes were charged tap-in fees similar to
those for individual homes, then the city could have made an estimated
$666,000.
"That's a serious loss of revenue for the city," Fogt said.
He doesn't understand why this hasn't been changed and that council
should fix the problem before more developers come in and bring more
discounted tap ins.
Gore said that he agrees with him to a point, but added that saying the
city lost the money is unfair. The current zoning codes for tap-in fees
are in line with most cities in the region.
The annual operating budget was then passed, with members Fogt, Nevin
Taylor, and Marshall voting against and Gore, Ed Pleasant, David Burke
and Mark Reams voting for the issue.
In other discussions:
Economic Development Director Eric Phillips provided an update on the
Union County Economic Incentive Policy. He said the county commissioners
and the Marysville and Fairbanks school districts have signed on. He
added that the village of Richwood did not approve, possibly because of
some "misunderstandings."
Phillips said he will bring the policy back to Richwood in January and
express his desire to have them on board.

Care Train to serve more children than ever before
From J-T staff reports:
The Care Train of Union County is serving more county children than ever
before.
This year the Care Train will serve 1,000 children. According to
executive director of Community Action Organization Jim Cesa, who is
spearheading the Care Train efforts this year, more applications will be
turned in by Christmas. Last year the Care Train served 877 children.
The Care Train is an organization that raises funds and collects
contributions to distribute toys and food vouchers to those in need
throughout the community for the holiday season.
Cesa said that the increase in families that are being served could be
because of an increase in population throughout Union County or could
just be because more people meet eligibility to receive donations.
The total number of people receiving donations makes up about 4 to 5
percent of the total population of Union County.
"It means that we must work a little harder this year," Cesa said.
"Donations are wonderful and we need a lot of participation in the
auction."
The Community Care Train Auction will be held Dec. 10 at McAuliffe's Ace
Hardware. The target is to raise $50,000. The broadcast of the Community
Care Train auction will be carried on 1270 WUCO.
"(The Care Train) is bigger, better and serves more people in need,"
Cesa said. "It's a community effort to provide gifts and food vouchers
at this time of year."

ODA set to tangle with city
If Marysville tries to take ground by eminent domain it could face legal
battle
By CINDY BRAKE
The Ohio Department of Agriculture is prepared to protect an
agricultural easement on the Arno Renner farm.
In spite of the easement, the city of Marysville is scheduled to dig a
40-foot trench through the farm. The trench is for a 78-inch sanitary
sewer line, part of the proposed Marysville Trunk Interceptor Project
(TIP), a new wastewater treatment plant the city is planning to begin
building next year.
"If an agricultural easement is threatened or violated, it is my duty to
act to protect it... I must inform you that ODA plans to oppose any
attempt to take an easement of this property by eminent domain. My
recommendation is that the city of Marysville should consider other
alternatives," Fred Dailey, director of the Ohio Department of
Agriculture, wrote in a Nov. 23 letter to Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse.
Kruse reported Tuesday that he does not have any comments to add to the
Renner discussion at this time.
Renner is the fourth generation to own and work the 231 acres of prime
farmland at 13260 Industrial Parkway. In 2003 he was the first Union
County resident to create a perpetual agricultural easement.
The easement, donated to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, was valued
at $3 million.
Kruse, in an Oct. 31 letter to Dailey, wrote that the path through
Renner's farm was the most "cost-effective alignment," adding that if
the city does not obtain an easement to the Renner property by Nov. 30,
"the city will be forced to obtain the easement by eminent domain."
In response, Dailey wrote that he is not alone in believing that the
city's proposed sewer line will cause irreparable harm to the farm.
Supporting his opinion are experts from Union County Soil and Water and
Ohio Department of Natural Resources, representatives from the Union
County Farm Bureau and the Ohio Farm Bureau and Rep. Tony Core and
Senator Larry Mumper from the Ohio Legislature.
"All expressed their belief that the installation of the TIP line would
cause irreparable harm to Mr. Renner's farm," Dailey wrote.
He adds that soil scientists from ODNR have determined from information
submitted that Renner's farm would suffer from drainage and compaction
problems if the soil strata was disturbed and that this damage would
have a long-term negative effect upon the productivity of the impacted
land.
"They also foresee the possibility of additional problems resulting from
the need to gain access, at some future point in time, to the
underground concrete manholes," Dailey wrote.
Renner's easement was unanimously supported by the Millcreek Township
Trustees and the Union County Commissioners, Dailey states.
He adds that the agricultural easement was created by the state
legislature to insure that productive farmland would be preserved for
future generations by creating a legal prohibition against the use of
the land for anything other than agricultural purposes.
"The people of Ohio have entrusted their grants of deeds of agricultural
easements with ODA. As the Director of Agriculture, it is my duty to
enforce the agricultural law of Ohio by protecting the rights of the
people of Ohio. I do this in part by ensuring that property interests
generously donated to Ohio, by citizens such as Mr. Renner, remains
farmland for future generations to benefit from and enjoy...," Dailey
wrote in the two-page letter.