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Local Archived News December 2006

 

12/30/06

     Top local stories listed

12/29/06

     Goodyear contract approved

12/28/06

     Pedestrian killed on U.S. 33

12/27/06

     Woman changes plea in overdose case

12/26/06

     VOCA has new leadership

12/23/06

    Perspectives on an American Christmas

12/22/06

     Water rate increase voted down

     Hospital sets 07 budget, buys property

12/21/06

     Vote on water rates set for tonight

     MR/DD considers name change

     Local man allegedly steals car, rams police cruiser in Columbus

     Arrest made in Richwood area stolen TV ring

12/20/06

     One killed in crash on Route 4

     Area Christmas services listed

     Local talent showcased in 'The Messiah'

12/19/06

     Tobacco use will be off limits on Marysville school property on Jan. 1

     City-owned house demolished

     E-textbooks may be in future for NU students

     Resolution details omitted from Jerome board minutes

12/18/06

     Business prospers at ORW

     No information released on fire

12/16/06

     Pro hoops team introduced

12/16/06

     Area family recalls tragedy

     City gets huge grant

12/14/06

     Mental Health Board buys armory

     Law enforcement, medical officials discuss prescription drug issues

12/13/06

     BZA debates Mill Valley sign issue

12/12/06

     Meteors will unveil logo, introduce coach on Friday

     Richwood moves toward building skate park

     Learning across the pond

     Unionville Center Council has special visitor

12/11/06

     Ferguson trial delayed

12/9/06

     Surgeon saying goodbye

12/8/06

     Water rate increase tabled

12/7/06

     Ohio workplaces go smoke free

     Trial of Vonda  Ferguson will begin Monday

12/6/06

     Vote looms on water rate hike

     North Lewisburg workers to get wage increase

     Recount continues

12/5/06

    Woman sentenced for role in teen's death 

     Jerome trustees questioned about access to meetings

12/4/06

     Child support roundup held

12/2/06

     The pride of two counties

 12/1/06

      Hospital grounds to go smoke free

      City to award CHIP grants

      Man arraigned on five counts of contact with a minor


Top local stories listed
Overdose deaths, subsequent charges top list for 2006

From J-T staff reports:
A lot happened in Union County in 2006, but what was the most important
to local citizens?
The Marysville Journal-Tribune newsroom staff pulled together a list of
19 possible top stories for the year and struggled with the question of
what were the 10 most important. Noah Webster defines important as
"valuable in content." The problem is that nearly every one of the 19
topics was valuable to our community.
In many years sensational stories of tragic murders or fires have
dominated headlines. What the newsroom found this year is that, while
tragic incidents still made the list, many of the stories are driven by
development and growth in Union County.
In the end, earning 57 out of 70 possible points, the most newsworthy
issue was a series of stories about recent overdose-related deaths among
teenagers and three women being charged as a result. The stories showed
a dangerous trend among young adults.
Union County Prosecuting Attorney David Phillips said the local
community has had a rash of so-called diversion cases. Diversion happens
when someone gets a prescription medication and then sells it on the
street. On Dec. 12 local law enforcement met with area health care
officials to discuss how to deal with the growing problem of this crime.

In March, Marsha Shoemaker, 45, of Union County was found guilty for the
drug-related death of Justin Phelps, 21. She was sentenced to 14 years
at the Ohio Reformatory for Women for deception to obtain dangerous
drugs, aggravated trafficking in drugs, involuntary manslaughter and
complicity to aggravated possession of drugs. The Third District Court
of Appeals unanimously confirmed the conviction.
"This is an important case and important decision," said Phillips. "The
appellate court affirmed what I told the jury, the person who was
responsible for trafficking in these drugs is responsible for the death
that follows."
 Because of pain, Shoemaker was reportedly prescribed morphine sulfate
by her Marysville doctor. Her son testified that she gave that morphine
to Phelps in exchange for marijuana.
Later in the year, two other Union County women pleaded guilty on
charges that they were responsible for the morphine overdose death of
15-year-old Corey Simpson. Hope Gordon Fisher, 37, of Marysville pleaded
guilty to permitting drug abuse and involuntary manslaughter. She will
be sentenced Jan. 12. Wyndi S. McDonald, 37, of Marysville was sentenced
to eight years for aggravated trafficking in drugs and involuntary
manslaughter.
Following are the remaining newsroom choices, beginning with No. 2 and
continuing through No. 10.
2. Couple faces 63 counts of child abuse
A Springfield couple, who once lived in Union County, are facing more
than 60 charges associated with endangering children, child abuse and
felonious assault.
A December trial for Vonda Ferguson, 43, was rescheduled for February
after her attorney withdrew stating that she was not cooperating. James
E. Ferguson, 46, is also scheduled to go to trial in late February.
Both are accused of using "torture" and "excessive abuse" toward their
five adopted children.
Vonda Ferguson is also being charged with first-degree felony rape. She
is expected to undergo a psychological evaluation.
3. Water rate hike contested
Earlier this month Marysville City Council voted down an ordinance to
raise water rates over the next two years. The increase would have
generated funds to construct a future reservoir.
The legislation caused some residents to ask why the city's water rates
are the highest in the region.
"I used to live in Dublin and I thought the rates were astronomical,"
said Deer Crossing Drive resident Gary Little. "I came to Marysville and
they are double. So, you can only imagine what I think about the water
rates here. I find it very difficult to even be amicable about a 5
percent raise in our water."
4. Thanksgiving day murder
Robert Timothy Conley, 46, was charged with allegedly shooting and
killing his neighbor on Thanksgiving night. He is being held at the
Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg on $1 million bond. No court
date has been set at this time. Conley has pleaded not guilty to the
shooting.
According to official reports, at 10:59 p.m. police responded to 220
Greenwood Blvd., building No. 1, for a reported shooting. The victim,
Charles E. Frazell, 53, of 220 Greenwood Blvd. Apt. 1A was found with a
gunshot wound to his chest. He was pronounced dead soon after being
found.
At his arraignment at the Marysville Municipal Court, Conley said he had
an ongoing dispute with Frazell. He told Marysville Municipal Judge
Michael Grigsby that Frazell had made fun of his beard and that his
family feared for their lives.
5. East Fifth Street rail crossing
In September, the Marysville City Council learned that warning devices
for the East Fifth Street railroad crossing will be installed at no cost
to the city and the crossing could be reopened in a little more than a
year.
The crossing was closed in April by Mayor Tom Kruse who feared it was
unsafe.
Questions then arose about where the crossing ranked on a repair list.
Kruse said it fell at number 5,075 out of 6,100 projects. City
Councilman Dan Fogt discovered those numbers came from an April 26, 2005
letter. Since then the East Fifth Street repair project had been moved
to 352 out of 6,500 projects for unknown reasons.
Area businessmen also questioned the administration's decision, adding
that the closing had created more traffic problems in an already
congested area.
"We shut off a road that people used. That's what bothered me," Lil'
Tykes employee Tiffany Sobas said. "I think we have made a big mistake."

The crossing currently remains closed.
 6. Wedding reception ends in stabbing
One local event made international headlines when a father and son, Rick
Diamond Jr., 18, and Rick Diamond Sr., 45, of 21244 Liberty West Road,
were stabbed a combined 13 times during an April wedding reception in
Raymond.
Eric D. Adams, 36, of Plain City claimed self defense, but was charged
with felonious assault. In August, a jury found him not guilty.
Adams' attorney said the Diamonds were "incredibly violent hoodlums" and
"you couldn't trust them as far as you could throw them. Juries can see
right through cases for what they are." The attorney added that Adams
tried to leave the party and the Diamonds wouldn't let him.
7. Ground broken for County Veterans Monument
Ground was broken Nov. 11 for a memorial to honor all Union County
military veterans.
"Today it is a national holiday to honor all veterans, past, present and
future. I want to emphasize all veterans. It is meant to honor and thank
all who served honorably in the military - in wartime or in peacetime,
and that is what this county memorial is meant to do, especially for all
veterans who have ever lived in Union County," said retired Maj. Gen.
Oscar Decker during the 11 a.m. ceremony on the courthouse lawn where
the memorial will be located. The memorial will be dedicated on Armed
Forces Day, May 19.
Decker said there are several memorials in the county, but each has been
for a specific group of veterans. This will be the first to honor all
county veterans. He said approximately 9,000 Union County citizens have
served since the Revolutionary War.
The idea for recording and memorializing all county veteran information
was started a number of years ago by Max Robinson when he was a county
commissioner, Decker said. The idea lay dormant for several years until
Ross Ingram, a World War II Merchant Marine veteran, was looking for
information about the WWII board that had been up in Milford Center with
the thought of re-incarnating it for Union County. That led him to
search for the WWII board that had been on the courthouse lawn. Neither
could be found. After talking with other veterans, and with the
encouragement of a number of people and the county commissioners, that
search suddenly became a countywide effort to begin back at the
Revolutionary War and honor all who served - past, present and future.
8. Marysville schools construction plans
Growth continues to be the number one challenge in the Marysville School
District, according to Superintendent Larry Zimmerman.
During a 10-year period between 1993 and 2003, the district built three
new schools and nine building additions. Currently, the new Northwood
Elementary School in the Mill Valley subdivision is under construction
and a new intermediate/middle school building is planned at Route 4/U.S.
36 near Southard Road. Marysville High School will soon undergo its
second addition.
Zimmerman said in August that first-day-of-school totals would reach
5,500 pupils.
The 550-capacity Northwood Elementary will open in the fall of 2007 and
is being built on land donated by Dominion Homes. It is sited adjacent
to Creekview Middle School on Marysville's northern edge and was named
by Marysville Middle School pupils.
The intermediate/middle school is scheduled to open in fall 2008 on 162
acres purchased from the Bunsold family. By combining intermediate and
middle school populations into one building, the school district can
save money, according to Zimmerman. The two age groups will be separated
into different wings, but one kitchen will service the entire building,
as will one heating/cooling system. The media center and 500-seat
auditorium also will be shared.
The newest high school addition will total 100,000 square feet and will
open in the fall of 2008. It will include additional classrooms and
administrative space, a new media center, a field house and an enlarged
commons area.
It is the second addition to the 16-year-old building; an addition in
2000 added 65,000 square feet.
Zimmerman said the new buildings and additions will provide for growth
through 2012 when he predicts additional classroom space will be
necessary.
9. Coleman's Crossing expands/City Gate announced
With the expansion of Coleman's Crossing underway and the announcement
of the future City Gate under construction, retail development was a key
part of Marysville's 2006. Both retail developments are located on the
east side of Marysville along Delaware Avenue.
At this time last year infrastructure and roadways were being completed
for the burgeoning Coleman's Crossing Development. Businesses expected
to open within the complex were nothing but rumors. Over the past year,
construction was completed and stores such as Home Depot, Applebee's and
Wal-Mart Supercenter opened and the structural framework for the future
Best Buy has begun.
Current and prospective tenants for the shopping center at Coleman's
Crossing include: Office Max, Petland, Maurices, Fashion Bug, Jackson
Hewitt Tax Service, Papa Murphy's Pizza (take & bake pizzas), Saturday's
Hair Salon, Sally's Beauty Supply, GNC, Dollar Tree and Mattress Mart.
Most on this list have already opened in 2006.
City Administrator Kathy House reported earlier in the year that a total
of 16 or 17 storefront businesses are expected to be included, offering
anything from entertainment, dining or business services.
"Coleman's Crossing is the largest commercial development the county has
ever seen," Economic Development Director Eric Phillips has reported.
"It should offer something for everyone."
Much like 2005, the close of 2006 has brought more rumors of additional
businesses expected to add on to Coleman's Crossing.
After much discussion over zoning issues, ground was finally broken in
October on the future City Gate commercial development on Marysville's
east side. Located just across Delaware Avenue and the expanding
Coleman's Crossing commercial development, City Gate is expected to
bring in even more retail and business opportunities to the area.
Connolly Construction is owner and developer of the project. Philip
Connolly reported that the current list of businesses committed to the
project include: White Castle, Walgreens, Bob Evans, Delaware County
Bank, two medical office buildings and an unnamed hotel. The first
businesses are scheduled to open in the summer of 2007.
Meanwhile, the city administration has secured state grants for
landscaping plans to freshen up the roadways and grassy areas heading
from U.S. 33 to the area of Coleman's Crossing and City Gate.
10.Pryce/Kilroy race
On Dec. 11, more than a month after the general election,  incumbent
Deborah Pryce was confirmed as representative for the 15th District,
winning over Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy.
Pryce ended election night ahead of Kilroy by 1,055 votes. Because of
the close margin, Ohio law required the district's three counties to
recheck results. The three counties include all of Union and Madison and
portions of Franklin.
Recount results showed a gain of 25 votes for Pryce to 110,739 and 18
votes for Kilroy for 109,677 - or a seven vote gain for Pryce.
In addition to resolving the race's outcome, the recount was viewed as
perhaps the largest and most significant effort thus far nationally
matching up electronic results against totals collected on
voter-verified paper audit tapes.
The official recount tally for Union County is 10,966 for Pryce and
5,623 for Kilroy. Write-in candidate Bill Buckel received 21 votes. The
recounted total in Madison County was 5,076 for Kilroy and 8,341 or
Pryce. The recount took approximately six hours for both the Madison and
Union County board of elections.
Other top picks
Other headlines that made our top list included:
. Construction of the Marysville sewage treatment plant
. Marysville and county officials sign a water deal
. The moving of the MacIvor medical building
. Changes in city/county 911 system
. Construction beginning on the U.S. 42 bypass project
. Marysville Schools changing the kindergarten schedule
. The Brown Internet child porn case
. Dealing locally with Issue 5, no smoking in public buildings
. GI Plasteks shutting the doors on employees.

Goodyear contract approved

Spokesman says local workers may return Tuesday
From staff and AP reports:
Some Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. workers said their new contract with the
world's third-largest tiremaker is a bittersweet ending to a 12-week strike.
About 10,000 out of 14,000 striking United Steelworkers members from 12
Goodyear plants in 10 states voted Thursday night on the three-year
agreement, which includes plans to close a Texas tire factory but
creates a $1 billion health care fund for retirees.
The contract was approved by all locals and by the overall membership by
a two-to-one margin, the union said early Friday. Exact totals were not
released. The contract needed to be approved by a majority of the locals
- seven out of 12 - plus a majority of the voters.
The vote means the strike that began Oct. 5 is officially over. Strikers
plan to return to work beginning Tuesday, the union said.
"They're ecstatic to get back to work and to get caught up on some
financial obligations," said Darryl Jackson, president of the union
local in Fayetteville, N.C., where membership voted 1361-95 to approve the contract.
Employees will return to work as soon as possible, said Ed Markey, vice
president of public relations and communications at North American Tire,
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.
"I don't know what Marysville's schedule is like vis-a-vis a New Year
shutdown," Markey wrote in an email today.
He added that the Marysville facility has been operating as the other
strike-affected plants by using salaried associates and temporary
workers. He is unaware of any residual effects from the strike to the local operations.
When asked if there have been retirements by older employees and if
their are openings, Markey wrote that "that will be sorted out in the coming days."
"It took a strike, but we achieved a fair and equitable contract that
protects quality health care for active and retired members," USW
executive vice president Ron Hoover said in a statement. "And by winning
major capital investment expenditures, it secures our jobs for the future."
Workers at four Goodyear plants in Ontario, where about 400 union
members are striking four plants, planned to vote Thursday and Friday on
a separate company proposal.
The contract with U.S. workers would allow the tiremaker to close a
plant in Tyler, Texas, but not immediately. It provides for a one-year
transition period in which the workers will have the opportunity to take
advantage of retirement buyouts. The plant employs 1,100 workers who
make unprofitable wholesale private label tires.
"It's a bittersweet outcome," said Kevin Johnsen, a union contract
coordinator. "We wanted to win Tyler protected status like the other
plants, but we only got it for 2007."
The union in Tyler also OK'd the deal and took down its picket line
Thursday night, said Harold Sweat, vice president of USW Local 746L.
Another key issue during the strike had been over a company proposed
health care fund for retirees.
Goodyear ultimately agreed to put $1 billion into the fund for retired
union workers' medical benefits, higher than the company's previous $660
million offer but less than the union's call for roughly double that amount.
The company said the pact will help it significantly reduce its costs.
"The end result is Goodyear will be a stronger company, a stronger
employer and a stronger overall global competitor," chairman and CEO
Robert Keegan said.
Before the vote, some union members at halls across the country
expressed concern about the proposal, saying they feared the retiree
health care fund was underfunded and that they questioned job security.
But many of them said they believed the pact was the best deal they could get.
Terry Huddleston, a 14-year Goodyear worker in Akron, said he voted for
the agreement but with some reservations, saying he believes the
rank-and-file have had to sacrifice too often.
"It's unfortunate," Huddleston said. "I love all these guys. God bless
them. We've managed to stick it out for three months, but a lot of
families are suffering."
The new contract covers plants in: Akron; St. Marys, Ohio; Marysville,
Ohio; Gadsden, Ala.; Tonawanda, N.Y.; Lincoln, Neb.; Topeka, Kan.;
Fayetteville, N.C.; Danville, Va.; Tyler, Texas; Sun Prairie, Wis., and
Union City, Tenn.
During the strike, Goodyear made tires at some of its North American
plants with nonunion and temporary workers as well as some managers. The
company counted on production at its international plants to help supply
North American customers, but some dealers said there was a shortage of
some specialty Goodyear tires.
Goodyear has about 80,000 employees and makes tires, engineered rubber
products and chemicals in 29 countries.

Pedestrian killed on U.S. 33

Victim walking  with wife after their car was disabled
From J-T staff reports:
A Marysville man was killed after trying to walk across U.S. 33
Wednesday night.
Rodney Spradlin, 68, of 289 Redwood Drive, was reportedly struck and
killed instantly by a westbound 1998 Honda Odyssey minivan driven by
Martin J. Moran, 46, of Columbus. No charges have been filed and none
are expected, according to Marysville police.
Marysville Assistant Chief Glenn Nicol said Spradlin was walking with
his wife along U.S. 33 westbound between Route 4 and U.S. 36 East after
their vehicle had become disabled in the eastbound lane of U.S. 33. At
approximately 7 p.m. Spradlin attempted to cross the roadway when he was
struck. His wife was not injured.
Marysville Police responded to the scene and continue to investigate the
crash, along with the Union County Coroner's Office. Troopers from the
Marysville Ohio State Highway Patrol Post also assisted at the scene.
Nicol said both westbound lanes of U.S. 33 were closed for approximately
one hour and 15 minutes while evidence was gathered at the scene. The
closure caused traffic to back up for miles along U.S. 36 and Route 4.
As a result of drivers trying to avoid the crash, traffic within
Marysville also became backed up as cars flowed onto Delaware Avenue exits.


Woman changes plea in overdose case

From J-T staff reports:
The second woman allegedly responsible for a Marysville teenager's drug
overdose death opted to plead guilty on charges instead of going to trial.
Hope Gordon-Fisher, 37, of 690 Milford Ave. was indicted on Aug. 25 for
one fifth-degree felony permitting drug abuse charge and one
first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter.
Sometime Dec. 22, 2004 to Dec. 23, 2004, 15-year-old Cory Simpson of
Milford Avenue reportedly ingested Roxynol generic Morphine while
staying at Gordon-Fisher's home. He died later in the night allegedly as
a direct result of taking those drugs.
Union County Prosecutor David Phillips had reported that Gordon-Fisher
faced more than 11 years in prison if found guilty and if the sentences
were to run consecutively.
According to court files, on Dec. 15 Gordon-Fisher changed her plea to
guilty on the involuntary manslaughter charge and her second charge for
permitting drug abuse was dismissed.
Details of why Gordon-Fisher changed her plea were not available before press time.
Wyndi S. McDonald, 37, of 700 S. Plum St. who allegedly sold the drugs
to Simpson was  sentenced earlier this month to serve the next eight
years in prison by Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott.
Parrot gave McDonald three years in prison for one third-degree felony
aggravated trafficking in drugs charge and another five years for the
first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter charge. He ruled that both
would be served consecutively resulting in the eight-year term. She
faced a possible 23 years in prison.
Phillips said the case against Gordon-Fisher was set to go to trial on
Tuesday and today, but those dates were canceled.
Court files show that Gordon-Fisher will be sentenced on Jan. 12 at 1:45 p.m.

VOCA has new leadership

By RYAN HORNS
New faces heading up the Union County Victims of Crime Assistance
Program (VOCA) are expected to bring extra diversity and growth to public service.
Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips recently announced the appointment
of Nancy Benedetti as the new program director for VOCA.
"The program needed some change," Phillips said. "She is someone with
experience and enthusiasm."
Benedetti has more than 20 years experience in the legal field,
including serving as the former director of the Logan County
Victim-Witness Program, criminal paralegal with the Logan County
Prosecutor's Office, security management and investigations at Honda and
executive assistant/ accreditation manager with the Union County Sheriff's Office.
"We always want to make sure that the victim's advocate has a great
working relationship with law enforcement," Phillips said. "She definitely has that."
Working for Benedetti in VOCA are Connie Sabins and the county's first
male victim's advocate Mike Palumbo. Another part-time advocate will be
added in 2007. Sabins has more than 25 years law enforcement experience
with the Union County Sheriff's Office as a detective with the
Investigations Division.
Palumbo comes to the program with more than 20 years of service in the
U.S. Army, several years working with the Union County Sheriff's Office
and 10 years working in search and rescue and deployment in Ohio Task
Force 1 which responded to the World Trade Center disaster on Sept. 11, 2001.
Benedetti said that VOCA is there to help victims of crime rebuild their
lives and have a voice in the justice system.
"They need someone to be there from the beginning," she said.
Phillips and Benedetti said the vision they have for the future of VOCA
includes not only meeting the statutory requirements of the program, but
also to expand its services. VOCA personnel help prepare victim impact
statements, gather restitution figures and provide support for the
victim when they appear in court.
"The landscape of domestic violence and rape has changed over the years
in that our culture is seeing more and more males becoming victims,"
Benedetti said. "Having both male and female advocates will allow us to
better serve our changing community needs."
"It will give us a little more diversity," Phillips said.
Benedetti said VOCA programs were created to focus on the victims; Their
needs and rights throughout the criminal justice system; Their physical,
emotional and financial recovery; and to help restore their sense of
security and control over their lives.
Phillips said that another way they are expanding VOCA services is by
having victims advocates go out and hold meetings with the public as a
way to educate them on preventative topics such as abuse of the elderly,
Internet crimes and more.

Perspectives on an American Christmas
Some from other cultures find  U.S. gift giving overwhelming

By CINDY BRAKE
Christmas is for children in Japan and a celebration of family in the
Philippines.
Marysville residents May Speicher, a native of Yokosuka, Japan, and
Lorli Patterson, a native of Ormoc City, Philippines, both share their
childhood memories of much different festivities than the traditional
American buying bonanza.
During their first Christmas in the United States, both said they were
overwhelmed by the generosity of gift giving.
"Too generous," Speicher said about all the gifts purchased by her
husband's family in 2005. She was also surprised at the number of family
celebrations they attended.
In Japan, Speicher explained Christmas is just another work day for
adults with a special evening meal that might include sushi, miso soup
and maybe chicken or turkey.
Children, usually under the age of 10, are the only ones to receive a
gift  - usually one - when they awake on Christmas morning. Santa Claus
will leave the gift near their pillow. Speicher remembers receiving a
bicycle and Barbie dolls.
Christmas is similar to Valentine and White days, she said. On
Christmas, parents give gifts to children. On Valentine's Day, a girl
gives a gift to a boy; and on White Day, March 14, a boy gives a gift to a girl.
Patterson, who is director of the International Family Center, came to
Ohio in the 1980s. She said her first Christmas in America was
depressing and overwhelming with all the gift giving.
Coming from a family of 10, she said her childhood holidays were filled
with music, worship, family, friends and food.
"It's fun," she said.
Christmas officially began on Dec. 1 with carolers coming to your door
and expecting to receive a gift of $1. It was not unusual to be
approached for money throughout the month.
"People think, it's Christmas time, you'll be generous ... relatives
come out of the woodwork," Patterson said. "They expect gifts ... money,
clothing or food, perfume, soaps."
The 12 days of Christmas were also observed. Members of the immediate
family would exchange names and then do something special in secret for
each other. The identity of the giver was discovered at midnight on Christmas eve.
Dec. 24 and Dec. 25 were holidays with no work. Patterson remembers her
family usually going to the beach around noon on Dec. 24, then to church
in the evening before attending four or five parties in the evening
hosted by friends. Fireworks were everywhere. She said it was always
important to end at your family's home with everyone trying to stay
awake to see Christmas arrive. The night was filled with music and
games. She and her siblings would play guitar, piano, trumpet, keyboard,
drum, violin and even spoons.
Then at midnight, parents would present one or two gifts to their
children - usually something they needed. Children would give their
parents a gift they had made.
After a good rest, the family would gather on Dec. 25, Patterson said,
for Christmas Day Mass and a special meal that might include roast pig,
embutido and empanada or flan. She said it was a much quieter day.
While both Patterson and Speicher have now adopted American traditions,
they find support at the International Family Center, 18000 Route 4
Suite C. IFC has more than 100 members who trace their roots to
approximately 20 countries including England, Ukraine, Thailand, South
America and Korea.

Water rate increase voted down

By RYAN HORNS
Thursday night Marysville City Council voted down an ordinance to raise
water rates over the next two years.
Against the increase were council president John Gore, Dan Fogt, Edward
Pleasant and Leah Sellers. Voting for the increase was David Burke and
Mark Reams. Councilman John Marshall was reportedly working out of town
and could not attend. The increase would have generated funds to
construct a future reservoir.
What the decision means for the city and the reservoir remains to be seen.
Reams said many people are going to read about how their water rates
aren't going up and they will be happy.
"But the same people will be complaining a year from now that we can't
plan for the future," he said. "We don't have the guts to stick to our plans."
Reams said he took issue with how the rate increase has become a line
drawn between two sides. If someone supports the rate increase they are
"on the mayor's side" and if they don't they are "on the council's side."
"This is the city's plan," Reams said. "We've chosen the route as a city."
He said Malcolm Pirnie engineers created a 2004 Water Master Plan at the
cost of $260,000. Out of all the options that plan presented, council
and the administration agreed that increasing rates 5 percent the first
year, then another 8 percent the two remaining years was the best route
to keep costs low for residents. He said other options would have been
worse, such as an increase of 7.3 percent for every year, or another
proposing double-digit increases.
Reams and city finance director John Morehart also said some statements
against the rate increase are not true. It has been pointed out in the
Water Master Plan that a drought situation would not become dire in
Marysville until 2020. Both men said that in 2020 the plan actually
refers to a second reservoir need. The plan is assuming that the city
would already have constructed its reservoir by then.
Reams said the need for the reservoir does not solely lie on providing
water supply purposes. The cost of treating well water is 10 times the
cost of treating stream water and the reservoir would provide better
quality more efficiently.
Burke said for everyone who voted "no" on the rate increase, he hopes
that they will be able to produce ideas to bring the city out of its problems.
"I will energetically work with anything they bring forward," he said.
Fogt said that people tried to find a middle ground on the rate increase.
"Some members of city council have recommended cost saving ideas within
the water department and we've offered a compromise of a 5 percent rate
increase for 2007 and 2008, while still beginning construction for the
reservoir," Fogt said. "But the bottom line is that Mayor Kruse has
rejected all these suggestions and it seems like there is no compromise there."
Kruse said he agrees with what Reams said, regarding how the rate
increase is a city issue, not a council or administration issue. He said
they had all worked together on the Water Master Plan over the past few
years. Everyone adopted increasing rates as presented in that plan.
"It was a cooperative effort," Kruse said. "It's important that the
public understands that."
He said the real question is why anyone would adopt a plan and then not follow it.
Reams said someone at work told him that everyone was waffling on the
water rate issue and that during the next election the man was not going
to vote for any of the incumbents.
Both Reams and Gore then accused one another of choosing to vote for or
against rate increases based on how it would get them elected easier.
Residents in attendance at the meeting spoke about the original reason
why the rate hikes had been questioned.
Esther Carmany of Rosewood Drive said "reasonable people" are asking why
the city's water rates are the highest in the region.
"The proposed water rates are too high," Carmany said. "And I'm asking
you to keep the lid on it. Make all development pay its own way."
Deer Crossing Drive resident Gary Little said he is against any hike at all.
"I used to live in Dublin and I thought the rates were astronomical,"
Little said. "I come to Marysville and they are double. So, you can only
imagine what I think about the water rates here . I find it very
difficult to even be amicable about a 5 percent raise in our water."
"Many of the existing residents need your help now and into the future
with their water bills," Carmany said. "It is no small thing to them."
In other business discussed, the first reading was held on two
ordinances to permit the annual indexing of the sewer and water system
tap-in charges.
Burke has said that indexing tap-in fees will help future growth pay for itself.
"I think this is very good legislation," Fogt said.
Burke explained that the finance committee has determined that both the
water and sewer tap-in fees need to be reviewed and adjusted on an
annual basis to keep up with inflation. Any adjustments to both will be
effective annually by May 1 and will only affect new development. A
feasibility study will be completed at least every five years by an
outside source to determine if the tap-in fees are adequate to fund
sewer capital projects and the city will make appropriate adjustments
based on the study.

Hospital sets 07 budget, buys property
By CORINNE BIX
Memorial Hospital of Union County announced on Thursday that the
purchase of 660 London Ave. and 388 Damascus Road is complete.
The two properties were purchased for a reported $3.675 million and were
formally owned by the now defunct MPI real estate group.
"The physicians who occupy these buildings are valuable to our community
and to our organization, so contributing to their stability, security
and financial viability is important to us all," Chip Hubbs,
CEO/President said in a hospital press release announcing the purchase.
The hospital plans to make capital improvements to both buildings. In
addition the hospital is in the process of hiring a management company
to lease and manage the day-to-day operation of each facility.
Additional information about the purchase may be found in a related
story on page 7B of today's newspaper.
The board voted to approve the 2007 operating budget and the 2007 capital budget.
The consolidated operating budget total was $2,133,026. The capital
budget total was $2,618,800. and included a $100,000 contingency fund.
The board voted to approve the final policy recommendations for the
tobacco free campus as presented at the November meeting.
Carman Wirtz, vice president of human resources, explained last month
that a short term plan was put in place to comply with the passage of
state Issue 5 for a smoke free Ohio, as well as a long-term plan to
promote a healthier lifestyle with a tobacco-free campus by Jan. 1, 2008.
Before State Issue 5 passed, Memorial was already smoke-free within the
buildings, although patients, visitors and staff could smoke outside. By
2008, no smoking will be permitted on or immediately around the hospital campus.
Wirtz said a yearlong program is in place to help educate staff,
patients and visitors about the tobacco free initiative. The hospital is
in the process of constructing a "smoking hut" to be accessed outside
the emergency room entrance to aid in the transition. The "smoking hut"
is located approximately 30 feet from the hospital building.
New exterior signage as approved in October should be in place by Jan.
8. The new signage reflects the hospital's updated logo introduced last year.
The hospital is working on a proposal with AMDC, a consulting firm
related to strategic planning for facility construction.
Hubbs said the hospital wants to explore how best to utilize space.
Robin Slattman, new chief nursing officer, was formally introduced at
last night's meeting.
Slattman replaced Jackie Haverkamp, former vice president of nursing.
Hubbs explained in October that only the job title has changed and that
Slattman will have the same duties. Slattman formerly worked for
Community Memorial Hospital in Defiance. She officially started working
at Memorial earlier this month.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss two pending court
cases, trade secrets of a county hospital and compensation for an
employee. No action was taken.
In other action, the board:
.Approved the following committee reports: operational team report,
finance and joint conference.
.Was updated on the upcoming Estes Park retreat to Scottsdale, Ariz.,
for the board and administrators.
.Approved the initial appointment of the following: Dr. Michael Borunda,
emergency medicine, third year, urgent care ? ERUC provisional; Dr.
Jonadab Uzoho, family medicine, third year, urgent care, ERUC provisional.
.Approved modification of privileges for Dr. Mahmound Qadoom to add
pulmonary core and non-core.
.Approved medical staff bylaws and related manuals as done annually.
.Approved Dr. Victor Trianfo as medicine vice chair.
.Approved capital expenditure for an ultra-sound machine in the amount of $40,000.

Vote on water rates set for tonight

By RYAN HORNS
The hike on water rates will officially go to a vote tonight during the
Marysville's City Council meeting.
The water rate hike ordinance was tabled at the Dec. 7 council meeting
so the Finance Committee could meet Wednesday to pursue grant
opportunities that would offset the water rate costs for residents. But,
according to engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie, the likelihood of getting
any of those grants is grim.
In a Dec. 7 letter to Marysville Public Service Director Tracie Davies,
Malcolm Pirnie Senior Project Engineer Chris Hill listed a summary of
funding sources for public water and wastewater projects in Ohio. He
listed the Community Development Block Grant Water and Sanitary Sewer
Program, the Economic Development Administration Grants and Loans, the
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers of Ohio Environmental Infrastructure
Program, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grants and
the Ohio Public Works Commission Grants and Loans.
"Marysville is unlikely to meet any of the criteria demonstrating
financial need," Hill wrote.
A second letter sent to Council President John Gore from Hull and
Associates government and community relations leader Kara Allison agreed
with Malcolm Pirnie's evaluation.
"Marysville is not of the distressed criteria," Malcolm Pirnie grant
writer Betsy Bowe said. "It will be very hard for you to get a grant."
Hill explained that the grants available to help are usually based on
economic need and the medium household income. According to the
Marysville 2000 census, the average income per household is $47,000
which exceeds the threshold for the grant programs. Marysville's poverty
level is at 5.5 percent, compared to levels such as 23 percent in Dayton
or 14.8 percent in Columbus.
Committee members Gore, Dan Fogt and David Burke said the point is that
they at least need to try.
Gore also wondered if Mayor Tom Kruse's administration had ever asked
Malcolm Pirnie to pursue grants.
"We were not asked to," Hill said. "There was no grant application for
the water reservoir."
He said Malcolm Pirnie was not asked to look for grants until Dec. 4.
Gore said he was disappointed that the water rate hike was already well
into its readings and no one had even looked into extra funding. His
problem with the words "unlikely to be eligible" is that he heard the
same thing from the administration when it came to finding grant funding
for a city railroad crossing. He said councilman Fogt finally "made a
few phone calls" and got the city a $180,000 grant.
"There are rocks out there that need to be turned over," Gore said.
He said it has become clear that the existing water situation is not as
dire as is being pushed on council. He does not disagree that Marysville
needs to construct the reservoir. If the city has as long as 10 years to
put off the reservoir and can use that time to put aside money for its
construction, then they should look into that.
Fogt said he is disappointed he did not ask the right questions until it
was three or four years too late.
Burke disagreed that anyone was at fault.
"That is why we are having this meeting," he said.
Burke said the problem is that every time council switches members or
administration changes, there is a "lack of continuum." The water plant
was purchased in 1993 and he is surprised at how much of that debt has
not been paid off. The city could lower water rates 20 percent if that
debt were paid off. He said the finance committee has already worked to
lessen the burden on residents.
Burke spoke about the Malcolm Pirnie Water Master Study completed in
2005. The study suggested increasing tap-in fees, which the city has
done. It also provided the city with numerous rate increase options. The
study pointed out that if the rates are not raised by 2009 or 2010
residents could see a double-digit rate increase. He said the hope is to
raise the rates for two years and then pursue any additional sources of funding.
Burke said that ever since the Water Plant was purchased, nobody has had
a plan to bring water rates down. When the Water Plant is paid for then
they can lower the rates.
"The citizens need a firm commitment to do that," Burke said. "Eliminate that debt."
Fogt said the Ohio EPA essentially promised to help Marysville find
funding options for the wastewater treatment plant and they didn't.
Perhaps now they could help with the reservoir. Not only does Marysville
have its own water problems, but the city is also dealing with Raymond
and Peoria adding to Mill Creek.
Gore asked what the committee plans to present to city council. Are they
going to have a compromise amendment to vote on, or are they going to
let the water rate increase go to vote?
Burke and Fogt both agreed that they are comfortable with allowing
Malcolm Pirnie to pursue grants and the water rate increase will go to a vote.
Gore said it is up to the administration to ask them to pursue grants.
"Yes, there may be something else out there," Bowe said about finding
funding. "But there is not a whole lot to impact a facility this size."
Bowe said she will re-do the list of grants available, but include
another section of how they specifically relate to Marysville. She will
also ask people within the Ohio EPA who have some 20 years experience
and invite the Ohio Department of Development to join in.
Malcolm Pirnie's Senior Associate Tom Bulcher said that he does not want
to make everyone too optimistic.
"If the effort was made and we can't get the money, then the effort was
made," Gore said.
He just wants to be able to look people in the eye and assure them that
every rock was turned over.

MR/DD considers name change
From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental
Disabilities is talking about changing its name.
The change, to remove the term mental retardation, is part of a national trend.
"Agencies with a national perspective have recognized this as an issue,"
said superintendent Kim Miller.
Miller informed the board that the premier national organization in the
country, formerly known as The American Association on Mental
Retardation had recently voted to eliminate the wording from its
organizational title. That organization is now called The American
Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
"As a parent of an individual with developmental disabilities, the word
mental retardation carries a certain stigma to it that is demeaning to
both the individuals and their families." said board member Steve
Streng. "We have a chance to make a difference in our organization
because we're not adding credibility to that title. We're on the cutting edge."
Board member Jim Kouri suggested that the board consider what the name
change would mean to the organization's business operation and community identity.
"We need to look at the effect of a name change on our business
operation and community identity. We need to gather more information on
this issue," Kouri said.
Superintendent Miller recommended seeking input from various
stakeholders and citizens and then bringing it back to the board. He
suggested talking with both Delaware and Washington Counties Boards of
Developmental Disabilities who had gone through this process. The board concurred.
"We need to hear from consumers, advocates and public leaders on this
issue to assess its potential impact," Miller said.
In other business during the regular December meeting, Miller reported
that work toward a new strategic plan is progressing.
The management team had held one planning session since the last board
meeting and had identified core values related to the mission and
vision.  A second meeting of the team will be held in the very near
future. A presentation to the Board is planned for March with action
expected in April. The planning process of the strategic plan will then commence.
 Collaborative plans for school to work options are progressing between
the Union County School Districts and the Union County MR/DD Adult Services.
"We're looking at a transition fair on April 9 to share numerous
resource opportunities to parents, guardians and potential consumers,"
said Jesse Roberts, adult services director, said.
 Transition plans for infants to preschool and kindergarten are moving
forward with the Marysville Exempted Village School District, Help Me
Group, Fairbanks School District Head Start and the Union County Board
of MR/DD. On-time transition is a point of emphasis to comply with
federal regulations. Another meeting with a group of parents/guardians
had been held and plans are underway to involve other groups in this forum.
The first joint MR/DD Board and U-CO Industries Committee met Tuesday.
Miller said the committee is new for Ohio with U-CO purchasing a new
facility without tax dollars. This purchase has well-positioned the
organization in meeting future needs of adults with special needs in Union County.
 In other business:
. Steve Streng, Bruce Davis, and Paul Whiteford have all been
reappointed by the Union County Commissioners for four year terms.
. The toddler group project  with the YMCA, Help Me Grow and  the Harold
Lewis Center will begin an eight-week session beginning on Jan. 9 with
two additional sessions by the end of the year
. November expenditures totaling $591,423.20 were approved.
. A series of routine contracts were approved for Medicaid management,
cost report, U-CO Industries,
Custom Staffing, dental insurance, ODMRDD Contract Addendum and a
supplemental newsletter contract.
Due to Martin Luther King Day holiday in January, the next regularly
scheduled board meeting will be held on Jan. 22 at 4:30 p.m. in the
Amrine Room of the Harold Lewis Center, 1280 Charles Lane.

Local man allegedly steals car, rams police cruiser in Columbus
From J-T staff reports:
A Marysville man was nabbed by Columbus police officers after he rammed
a car he allegedly stole locally into one of their cruisers.
Tahar Ramani, 21, of 17886 Woodview Drive, was arrested early this
morning by Columbus Police Department officers. He reportedly tried to
damage police cruisers in an attempt to escape.
According to Marysville's Assistant Chief Glenn Nicol, a resident in the
700 block of North Main Street reported his 1993 Buick Skylark was
stolen from his residence today at 3:40 a.m. The notice was sent out to
area law enforcement to be on the lookout for the car.
Nicol said the car was later located in Columbus at 4:20 a.m. and Ramani
reportedly tried to avoid his arrest.
"He may have run into a Columbus cruiser in an attempt to flee," Nicol said.
He said details on the crime are pending through the Columbus Police
Department. Ramani was arrested and auto theft charges are pending locally.

Arrest made in Richwood area stolen TV ring
From J-T staff reports:
Law enforcement officials released information this morning on an
investigation of stolen high definition televisions being sold by a
Richwood man.
Franklin County Sheriff Jim Karnes reported this morning that his
deputies were investigating a grand theft report from Dublin.
He said on Nov. 16, Ryan Logistics Trucking Company, located at 7570
Fishel Road in Dublin, commissioned driver Asad Aziz to deliver a
freightliner truck filled with 68 high definition televisions from
Douglassville, Ga., to Indianapolis. The televisions never arrived.
Karnes reported that the man known as Aziz was actually named Rodney W.
Geiger, 33, of Kentucky, who took the freightliner and trailer to an
unknown location. The truck was later reported stolen to the sheriff's office.
"When questioned by sheriff's detectives (Geiger) stated that he left
the trailer at the (Ryan's Logistics) lot and when he came back it was
gone," Karnes reported.
He said the total value of the televisions stolen is approximately $80,000.
Karnes said that on Dec. 12 the Union County Sheriff's Office contacted
Franklin County with information that lead to the recovery of 27 of the
68 stolen televisions, believed to have been sold by a local resident of
Richwood to residents in the area - some rumored to be prominent area
figures. Because the Richwood man is still under investigation and has
not officially been charged, his name has not been released.
Union County Sheriff's Lt. Jamie Patton said this morning that the
investigation has been a joint one, involving Union County, the Franklin
County Sheriff's Office and the Richwood Police Department.
"We would like to encourage anyone that may have purchased one of these
televisions to contact the Union County Sheriff's Office," Patton said.
"Local agencies are focusing on trying to recover as many of the stolen
televisions as possible."
He said he can be contacted at the Union County Sheriff's Office at
(937) 645-4129 for information.

One killed in crash on Route 4

From J-T staff reports:
A Richwood woman was reportedly killed Tuesday in a four-car crash south
of Pharisburg.
According to OSP reports, Sherry Fields, 55, of Richwood died as a
result of injuries sustained after being a passenger in one of the cars involved.
Reports show that at 3:30 p.m. driver Gerald Foreman, 47, of 13390 Route
347 was traveling north on Route 4. Behind him was a vehicle driven by
Pamela Shaffer, 51, of Prospect. Driver Randy Lee, 42, of Marion
followed behind the other two vehicles.
As Foreman and Shaffer stopped for traffic, Lee reportedly could not
stop and struck the back end of Shaffer's car, which caused her to
collide into the back end of Foreman's car. Shaffer's vehicle then
continued across the center line and into the path of minivan driver
Joseph VanCraft, 60, of Richwood with Fields, who was headed south on
Route 4. VanCraft reportedly struck Shaffer's car in the right side. All
the cars went off the sides of the roadway, with Shaffer's car striking a utility pole.
Fields was injured and transported by Marysville medics to Memorial
Hospital of Union County, where she later died. VanCraft suffered minor
visible injuries and was transported there as well. Shaffer was taken to
the same location by Northern-Union Township medics, and was later
transported to Grant Medical Hospital in Columbus. Foreman and Lee were
reportedly not injured.
Troopers are currently investigating the crash and Union County
Sheriff's deputies assisted at the scene.
The OSP reported that this is the fifth fatal crash in Union County this year.

Area Christmas services listed
First Congregational United Church of Christ, 124 W. Sixth St., will
hold two worship services Sunday, Christmas Eve.
The first, a family service at 4 p.m., is designed for children of all
ages. Weather permitting, live animals from the manger will greet
participants at the church entrance. Many Christmas carols will be sung
and special music will be featured. The highlight of the service will be
costumed actors recreating the events of the first Christmas. The Rev.
Richard Flynn's homily is titled "Changing the Baby."
A traditional candlelight service will be held at 7 p.m., with the
Christmas story told in song and scripture. Rev. Flynn's Christmas
homily will be "People of the Cave." The service will climax with the
lighting of the Christ candle, the passing of the Light of Christ to
those attending and the singing of "Silent Night, Holy Night."
Christian Assembly Church, 1003 N. Maple St., will hold a 7 p.m.
Christmas Eve Communion service in addition to the 10:30 a.m. worship.
Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Emerson House, 290 N.
Sandusky St., Delaware, will celebrate with the  Christmas Eve service,
"Christmas Eve in the Morning," during the 10:30 a.m. service. Seasonal
selections of instrumental music will be provided by an adult trio of
cello, flute and piano. Christmas songs will be sung and inspirational
readings will give candlelight deference to peace and hope. Children
will remain in the service.
First English Lutheran, 687 London Ave.: The Sunday school will present
the Christian message of the "12 Days of Christmas" as the sermon at the
10:30 a.m. worship service with Communion at the Christmas Eve morning
worship. The evening Communion worship will be at 7:30.
First Presbyterian Church, 210 W. Fifth St.: The 10 a.m. worship service
on Christmas Eve will be the Service of the Nativity. Through the
children, teens and young adults of the church, the Nativity pageant
will bring together Mary, Joseph, the Christ Child, the shepherds, and
the angels. And even though the wise men probably did not appear at the
manger, they are an important part of the Christmas story and will be
included to tell the full story of the birth of Jesus. Carols will be
sung to highlight the retelling of the babe born to Mary in Bethlehem.
A carols and Communion service will be held at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve
Sunday. Carols will include "O Come All Ye Faithful," "O Little Town of
Bethlehem," "The First Noel," "Good Christian Friends, Rejoice" and "Joy
to the World."
The 11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will include music and
scripture as presented by high school and college musicians. This time
celebrates the birth of Christ as heralded by the tolling of the bells.
Those attending should bring their favorite bell, any bell, wrapped
quietly in a bag or purse. At midnight, the congregation will sound out
the birth by ringing and singing. High school and college youth will
offer the special music for the evening.
Marysville Grace Brethren Church will hold a Christmas Eve day service
at 10 a.m. and a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 5:30 p.m. The
church meets in Navin Elementary, 16265 County Home Road.
New Dover United Methodist Church, 16637 Church St., New Dover, will
hold a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 5 p.m. Morning worship will
be held at 11 a.m.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1033 W. Fifth St., will hold a
Christmas Eve Mass on Sunday at 4 p.m. A children's Mass will be held at
6:30 p.m. and a solemn Midnight Mass with caroling will begin at 11:30
p.m. A Christmas Day Mass will be held at 9 a.m.
Masses also will be held Saturday, Dec. 23 at 4:30 p.m. and Christmas
Eve day at 9 and 11:30 a.m.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, 7960 Route 38, will hold its annual children's
Christmas Eve program, "From Heaven Above," Sunday at 7 p.m. A Christmas
Day worship will be held at 10 a.m.
Springdale Baptist Church, 18881 Springdale Road, will hold a Christmas
Eve candlelight service at 7:30 p.m. Sunday school will be held at 9:25
a.m. Sunday, followed by morning worship at 10:30 a.m.
Trinity Lutheran, 311 E. Sixth St., will hold a family service with a
children's presentation at 10 a.m. Sunday. At 11 a.m., a birthday party
for Jesus will be held, with crafts and snacks. A traditional service
will be held Sunday at 7 p.m., followed by a contemporary service at 9
p.m. and a second traditional service at 11 p.m. A Christmas Day service
will be held at 10 a.m.
Unionville Center United Methodist Church, 127 W. Main St., Unionville
Center, will hold a candlelight service of worship at 6:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve. It will include Christmas carols and Holy Communion.
Morning worship will begin with hymn singing at 9:15 a.m.
Vineyard Church, 913 W. Fifth St., will hold Christmas Eve services at
9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. A brief children's program will be presented in
both services and Communion will be celebrated.

Local talent showcased in 'The Messiah'
From J-T staff reports:
Marysville area musicians will present the Christmas section of G.F.
Handel's "The Messiah" Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The oratorio will be held in the First Presbyterian Church sanctuary,
Fifth and Court streets, and will feature Scott Underwood as conductor
and Caroline Ohnsman on piano and organ and Grant Underwood on the harpsichord.
The chorus will include voices from the church and community with
soloists from around the area, including Kylee Pfarr, Susan, Erin and
Ben Bunsold, Carolyn English, Mike Robertson, Elizabeth Neer and guest
soloists Andrea Weaver, David Wilson and Adrian Helser.
Other vocalists and musicians will include Delores Winters, former
Marysville Schools music teacher; Tom McLaughlin, tenor; George Zonders,
trumpet, Brass Band of Columbus; Brandon Koehler, trumpet, Columbus
Youth Symphony; Taylor and Katie Davis, Columbus Symphony Youth Chorus;
Natalie Bowshier, music education, Otterbein College; the Rev. Scott
Strohm, Westminster College, music education; Ryan Nicol,
pianist/organist; Duane Hammer, speech and theater, Capital University;
Sarah Clark, flute major; Elizabeth Ward, violin; Betty McVey, violin
and viola; Jennifer Dutter, clarinet; and Jan Thompson, mezzo soprano.
"The Messiah" is Handel's most famous work. Although the text is devoted
to resurrection and salvation and the work was conceived and first
performed for Easter, it has become traditional since Handel's death to
perform "The Messiah" oratorio during Advent.
  Christmas concerts often feature only the first section of "The
Messiah" plus the "Hallelujah" Chorus which is the most famous movement
of the piece. In many parts of the world, it is accepted practice for
the audience to stand for this section during a performance.
The harpsichord used in this presentation of "The Messiah" is owned and
handmade by Ben Bechtel of Columbus. It will be played by Scott
Underwood, an Ohio State University music major.
The harpsichord is a musical instrument whose strings are "plucked" from
a keyboard and which sits on a table or stand while being played. This
was the instrument for which the Couperins, J.S. Bach, Handel, Haydn and
other composers wrote.
Bechtel's harpsichord has been used for many years in churches and
theaters throughout the central Ohio area, including the Ohio, Southern
and Palace theaters.

Tobacco use will be off limits on Marysville school property on Jan. 1

By KARLYN BYERS
Tobacco use of any kind is off limits on Marysville School District
property - or it will be as of Jan. 1.
Board members unanimously passed a policy amendment Monday night that
will prohibit the use of all tobacco products, including smokeless
tobacco, on district premises, including all school buildings, property
- including the stadiums and any outside locations on district property
- and vehicles which are owned, leased or contracted by the district as
well as school approved vehicles used to transport pupils to and from
school or school activities.
This goes beyond mandates in the Smoke Free Workplace Act passed as
Issue 5 in the Nov. 7 general election. That law says that any
establishment, including schools, that has employees or which invites
members of the public to enter its facilities will be completely smoke
free. Smoking outside of buildings is permitted, provided all smoking
areas are far enough away from doorways, windows and ventilation systems
that smoke does not enter a building.
"I think it's the right thing to do," said superintendent Larry
Zimmerman. "This sends a whole different message."
The general public, staff and parents will be notified in various ways,
including the school district's Web site, building newsletters and
through the Journal-Tribune. Smoking cessation programs also will be
advertised, including those available through the Union County Health
Department and Memorial Hospital of Union County.
Information about the Ohio Tobacco Quit Line is available at
http://www.ohioquits.com or by calling (800) QUIT-NOW. The service is free.
"We're not looking to wrestle (smokers) about this. We'll just looking
to make them healthy," said Neal Handler, assistant superintendent. "We
want to offer them (help)."
In other action, the board:
.Recognized Barbara Snodgrass as November Employee of the Month.
Snodgrass is Zimmerman's secretary. She was lauded for her enthusiasm,
dedication and commitment to the school district.
.Agreed to advertise for bids for proposed construction of the new
intermediate/middle school building.
.Awarded supplemental contracts to Harold "Sonny" Green, high school
assistant wrestling coach; Brock Walden, assistant varsity baseball
coach; and Ryan Sawmiller, freshman baseball coach.
.Modified the Marysville Education Association certified contract and
the classified handbook to reflect changes in health insurance benefits,
effective Jan. 1.
.Approved high school show choir overnight trips on Feb. 3-4 to Edgewood
High School, Elletsville, Ind.; Feb. 24-25, Twinsburg High School,
Twinsburg; and March 15-18 to Nashville, Tenn.

City-owned house demolished
By RYAN HORNS
A city-owned residential property was demolished today, marking a
reminder of a now defunct plan to build a city office complex in that area.
Marysville city administrator Kathy House said that the property at 410
S. Main St. was purchased on March, 11, 2002 for $70,000. The first
reading of an ordinance requesting $25,000 in order to remove asbestos
and tear the structure down was read at the Dec. 7 city council meeting.
The issue was passed on emergency.
House said the 2002 ordinance accepting the purchase agreement states
"the city desires to purchase the real estate. as a site for a City
Administration Building to be erected in the future."
Former mayor Steven Lowe's administration reportedly bought the property
for plans to purchase other homes nearby in hopes of constructing a new
city Justice Center. It was to be the home of court, police and city
offices. The plan was later scrapped so the city could get to work on
repaving streets and planning for the future wastewater treatment plant.
"We have no plans at this time for use of the lot after the house is
gone," House said.
Resident Ken Braden said he is disappointed the house is being
demolished because he had plans to purchase the building and
rehabilitate the structure. He said he offered the city $40,000 to buy
the home but the offer was declined.
"I felt it was really crazy to turn down that amount of money," Braden said.
He said between the $70,000 purchase price, the $25,000 cost to demolish
it and his own $40,000 offer, it looked like the city may have wasted $135,000.
City councilman Dan Fogt said the house had been advertised for sale for
more than a year, even though most city council members had wanted to
sell the property three years ago.
"The house continued to crumble over the years," Fogt said.
When the back roof of the house caved because of heavy autumn rains,
Mayor Tom Kruse finally requested it be torn down. City officials
determined it was time to get rid of what many felt was a health hazard.
Fogt said the options were either to sell the house and risk having it
remain unsafe and unsightly, or tear it down and improve the look of the street.
"Our concern was that (the house) would be moderately rehabilitated and
be rented out and would be an eyesore on South Main Street," Fogt said.
He said the person who offered the $40,000 might have done a wonderful
job of cleaning up the house and it's possible council and
administrators may have made a mistake.
"If the house would have become an eyesore, we did the right thing," Fogt said.

E-textbooks may be in future for NU students
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
In the future, pages in school will be turned with a mouse instead of a finger.
North Union Curriculum Coordinator Bruce Hoover gave school board
members food for thought Monday night as he outlined the idea of
e-textbooks. The future of learning, e-textbooks provide all of the
information of a traditional textbook in a digital format.
"Change is being driven by technology," Hoover told the board.
Hoover said the information provided to students can be viewed on
computers as well as a number of other electronic devices, although
pages can be printed into hard copy form. The information is accessed
through the Internet.
The format also has advantages over traditional books in that key text
can be highlighted, interactive maps are incorporated and practice tests
and video streaming are also used. The text can also be read to students
by the computer or provided in different languages to meet the needs of certain students.
The cost savings to the district would also be substantial. While the
district currently spends about $220,000 per year for textbooks,
E-textbooks, which offer a per pupil subscription fee, cost roughly 70
percent less, according to Hoover.
But the issue of access is a concern. A survey of students in all grades
of the district found that 80 percent of students have computers while
73 percent have Internet access.
Third grade teacher Helen Anderson said her quickly gathered concern is
that it puts students without computers at a disadvantage.
"Textbooks are a level playing field," Anderson said.
Hoover noted that devices called digital readers would have to be
supplied by the district for students without computers.
The issue of how the new idea would be filtered into the schools was
also addressed. Hoover said he would probably look at initially using
e-textbooks in a high school class outside of core subjects like math
and science. He said a course like business would be a good fit because
technology components factor into the course.
Board member Kevin Crosthwaite said, if approved, he would like to see
the district implement the e-textbooks in the elementary classrooms so
students grow up with the technology and see it as the standard, rather
than a new teaching technique.
Hoover said that currently 25 percent of the textbook market is
comprised of electronic offerings, with 1,000 districts currently
subscribing. He added that seven of the eight major textbook publishers
offer e-textbooks.
Superintendent Richard Smith noted that the move is not something the
board needs to consider immediately, but as the district's new buildings
become more and more technology friendly it is something to watch.
Hoover noted that even if the district opted to the move it would take
three to five years to implement.
The board also revisited the issue of the eighth grade's overnight trip
to Hale's Farm and the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland. The same
issue died for lack of a second two months ago as some board members
felt a trip to New York, Washington D.C. or other area would hold more
educational value.
At that time the board was told that financial and security constraints
made other trips unappealing. Since that meeting, middle school
officials have analyzed the issue and decided to put it before the board
again. Smith noted that a survey of parents showed the Cleveland trip was favored.
The issue failed by a 3-2 vote, with Dennis Hall, Crosthwaite and Bryan
Bumgarner voting no.
Hall said he still believes the $270 per pupil cost is too expensive for the cost.
"I'd like to see us aim a little higher," Hall said.
The board also heard a complaint from Anderson about the school
calendar. She said the board's decision to accept a school calendar
which required classes to meet until the Friday before Christmas had
upset some members of the staff.
She noted that the all-male board may not be sensitive to the holiday
duties of the female staff members, including preparing meals and purchasing gifts.
Smith said the district put a great deal of thought and time into the
decision to accept the current calendar. Board president Jon Hall also
noted that the current calendar was one of many suggested by staff members.
He also mentioned that the calendar was accepted earlier in the year
when the district was under the direction of a woman, previous superintendent Carol Young.
In other business, the board:
.Heard a proposal for a $24,000 upgrade to the high school baseball
field. The project would be funded by district, NUAC money.
.Learned that it may be financially viable to purchase new modular
classrooms, rather than leasing them. The difference in price would be less than $10,000.
.Heard an update on the Project Lead The Way program, which introduces
students to engineering classes.
.Accepted a contract with Labor Relations Solutions Inc. for calendar
year 2007 for labor relations/negotiations consultation.
.Voted to approve payment in lieu of transportation for Tom and Susan
Gray for their three children to attend Delaware Christian School.
.Heard Anderson voice support for Smith and his performance this year as superintendent.
.Heard a concern from current student/athlete Emily Davis involving a coach.
.Voted to employ Dawn Draper, head softball coach, Chad Russell, head
baseball coach, and Jessica Temple, co-JV softball coach, to limited
expiring supplemental contracts.
.Voted to employ Ryan Powell, JV boys basketball coach, and Terry
Setser, co-JV softball coach, as non-certified individuals to one-year
limited expiring pupil activity contracts.
.Voted to approve Carl Conrad, softball, Hannah Hoffman, softball, and
Rusty Lowe, boys basketball, as volunteers working with sports programs
for the 2006-07 school year.
.Renewed participation in the Ohio School Boards Association Legal
Assistance Fund for 2007.
.Voted to renew membership in the Ohio School Boards Association for
2007 at a cost of $3,218.
.Set the board organizational meeting for Jan. 2.
 with Crosthwaite acting as president pro tem.
.Held an executive session to discuss personnel.

Resolution details omitted from Jerome board minutes
By CINDY BRAKE
The Jerome Township Board of Trustees rewrote their past Monday and
offered no reason for the action.
The three-member board passed minutes for the Dec. 4 meeting that
deleted details from a resolution.
On Dec. 4 the board voted to go into executive session to discuss
personnel and imminent court action. The ORC states that an attorney
must be present to go into executive session for imminent court action.
No attorney was present when the board recessed.
The approved minutes state that the board recessed into executive
session only to discuss personnel matters. The board did not respond to
resident Jesse Dickinson, who raised the question.
The board announced that no action was expected Monday when they went
into executive session, however, after a two-hour session the board
returned to open session and passed a resolution.
Meeting with attorney Terry Hord to discuss imminent litigation, Robert
Merkle and Andrew Thomas passed a resolution that the township will not
be involved in a legal matter filed against trustee Ron Rhodes in the
Marysville Small Claims Court. Rhodes abstained. Merkle explained today
that no township funds will be expended in the matter. Earlier in the
meeting, Dickinson said a complaint was filed against only Rhodes and
questioned if public funds were being used.
Thomas offered an update about a recent meeting with the city of
Marysville concerning a "non-annexation agreement." He said the land use
subcommittee has met, but no details are available. Thomas is a member
of a multi-governmental group holding unannounced meetings.
Boy Scout Ben Karn discussed building a bridge over a drainage stream to
a pond in the Harry Wolfe Park along Industrial Parkway. The bridge
would be an Eagle Scout project for the 16 year-old sophomore from
Marysville High School.
"Great idea," said Rhodes. Trustees Merkle and Thomas agreed, adding
that the bridge will remove an unsightly portion around the pond. The
trustees agreed that the township will pay for materials.
Karn said he is working with an architect on the bridge design that will
meet the American Disabilities Act standards.
The trustees said they would approve a resolution when Karn returns with
more details.
Also concerning the pond, Merkle said he had released 12 White Amour or
Russian Grass Carp to control pond plants.
In other business:
. Clerk Robert Caldwell was absent from the meeting. Minutes were taken
by Merkle and the meeting was tape recorded. Numerous financial
transfers were approved without discussion and as submitted in writing.
. A record number of burials were observed in 2006 at the township
cemetery. Merkle said 26 burials were completed with an additional one
scheduled for Wednesday.
. The township hall interior is being painted.
. Ketch Road work is completed, however, there remains a question about easements.
. A tree on Weldon Road has been removed.
. Community Service workers have cleaned all township ditches.
. No public safety officer was present, nor was a report available.
. Fire chief Scott Skeldon was not present, but offered a written department report.
. The board set their organizational meeting for Jan. 2 at 7:30 p.m. All
regular meetings will continue to be held on the first and third Mondays
of the month in 2007 unless it falls on a holiday and then the meeting
will be held on the following Tuesday.

Business prospers at ORW

Shop is in high gear to meet heavy demand   for OSU flags
By CINDY BRAKE
Santa's elves can't be any busier than offenders at the Ohio Reformatory
for Women who work in the prison's flag shop.
Since October the women have cut, hemmed, appliquéd and trimmed nearly
1,000 flags featuring The Ohio State University for The Flag Lady in
Clintonville. Lori Leavitt Watson, The Flag Lady's daughter, said the
business entered into a contract with the prison system Oct. 1. She
supplies the materials and training for the offenders.
With OSU's national championship year plus a growing custom business,
Leavitt Watson said, "We could no longer keep up with the business. It
is delightful to work with the ladies ... they sew with great passion."
 OSU flags being constructed at the Marysville facility include Block O,
Alumni, Go Bucks and garden.In addition, the shop supplies all U.S. and
Ohio flags for federal, state and county offices in Ohio. In between,
there are special orders for Ohio University and Hilliard Davidson.
"People love our flags," said trimmer Susan Luff who has been sewing
flags for four years.
Others say they feel a sense of pride on game days to see their flags waiving.
One of the biggest OSU fans, seamstress Janet Larosa tells herself, "I
made that" when she sees a flag waving on television.
The ORW flag shop is unique for prisons in Ohio and one of the oldest
Ohio Penal Industry Shops. It has been in business for approximately 80 years.
Each flag is handmade from beginning to end by the women who range in
age from 21 to 60 years of age. Their crimes include murder, burglary,
robbery and drug possession. They work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.
to 4 p.m., although last week they worked 11 to 12 hours one day to
catch up on their orders.
Some, like Joyai Powell, had never touched a sewing machine before being
hired. Others, like Larosa, have years of experience.
Trimmer Marisel Sandoval said the job is a wonderful experience,
although there are times she gets "scissor excited" and nicks herself.
She has been working on flags since July.
Tom Frank, penal industry manager, oversees the shop's operation.
The seamstresses are all minimum or medium security inmates who have
either a high school or general equivalency degree. They must also
complete a formal interview and 30-day probation period to earn $30 to
$70 a month, ORW spokesman Elizabeth Wright said.

No information released on fire
Information on a structure fire over the weekend in Liberty Township was
unavailable today.
According to Marysville Fire Department reports, Sunday at 6:04 a.m.
local crews assisted Liberty Township Fire Department in responding to a
fire at 18393 Route 347.
Liberty Township Fire Department staff refused to provide information on
the fire due to the chief not being in the office.
No information was available on the type of fire, whether any injuries
resulted or if property was lost.

Pro hoops team introduced

By TIM MILLER
"We're only 80 days away from tip-off."
With those words, Marysville Meteors owner Charlie Mitchell introduced
members of the community to the city's first-ever professional sports
franchise. The unveiling of the team's new logo and introduction of
players and coaches came Friday afternoon at Marysville High School.
The Meteors, a team which played the 2006 International Basketball
Association season as the Columbus Cyclones, will play 12 of its 22 2007
regular campaign games at MHS.
Mitchell moved the franchise after its inaugural season in Columbus in
order to get out from under the shadow of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
"We did an economic study and we feel that Marysville and Union County
can support a professional sports franchise," Mitchell said. "We will
field a very competitive team and will represent the city well. We hope
the community will wrap itself around the Meteors."
The IBL, which will begin its third season in just a few months, is a
spring-summer circuit which attracts high caliber athletes.
"Many of our players are currently with Continental Basketball
Association (CBA) teams or are playing professionally in Europe," said
Mitchell. "They will be joining IBL teams once their seasons are over."
The Meteors will tip off the 2007 campaign on Thursday, March 8 by
hosting the Jackson (Tenn.) Titans.
All home games (see schedule) will begin at 7:15 p.m., with the
exception of a 2 p.m. start on Sunday, March 25 against South Charleston (W. Va.)
Mitchell says local hoop fans will be attracted to the fast pace of IBL games.
"We have a 22-second shot clock (compared to the NBA's 24 seconds), an
eight-second time line (compared to the normal 10 seconds) and each team
is only allowed one timeout per quarter," he said. "There is also an
immediate in-bounds policy. IBL games are always fast and entertaining
as teams average about 130 points per game."
The franchise owner said the IBL is extremely fan friendly, with
affordable ticket prices.
"Our players have soft spots in their hearts, especially for children,"
he said. "Our players will stay after games (which generally last two
hours) to sign autographs."
Mitchell introduced several of the Meteor players, including Marysville
High School boys varsity coach Kenny Chaffin.
Chaffin, who played one year of professional basketball in France after
his graduation from Mount Vernon Nazarene, will join the Meteors after
the Monarchs' high school season concludes.
Chaffin had played for summer teams sponsored by Mitchell in years past
and helped pave the way, Mitchell said, for the franchise to relocate here.
Other players introduced included former Ohio State Buckeye Shun
Jenkins, Michael Bradley of the University of Charleston, Larry Drake
from Miami of Ohio and former high school all-star Estaban Weaver.
The Cyclones were coached by former Ohio State assistant coach Dave
Cecutti during the 2006 season.
Under his direction, the 'Clones posted a 20-3 record and lost in the
league championship finals to the Elkhart (Ind.) Express.
Mitchell decided to go another coaching direction with the shift of the
franchise. As such, he introduced former Buckeye Shaun Smith as the new
head coach.
"It is an honor to be the new coach of the Marysville Meteors," Smith
said. "Thank you for welcoming us to your home."
---
The following is the 2007 regular season schedule for the Marysville
Meteors of the International Basketball League (all games begin at 7:15
p.m. unless noted):
March 8: home vs. Jackson (Tenn.) Titans
March 9: home vs. Jackson (Tenn.) Titans
March 25: home vs. S. Charleston (W. Va.) Running Wild  (2 p.m.)
March 30: home vs. Battle Creek (Mich.) Knights
April 6: at Grand Rapids (Mich.) Flight
April 7: at Battle Creek
April 14: at S. Charleston
April 28: at S. Charleston
May 4: at Elkhart ((Ind.) Express
May 5: at Chicago Heights Soldiers
May 6: at Lake County (Ill.) Lakers
May 12: at S. Charleston
May 17: home vs. Grand Rapids
May 18: home vs. Grand Rapids
May 24: home vs. S. Charleston
June 7: home vs. Chicago Heights
June 8: at Battle Creek
June 9: at Grand Rapids
June 10: home vs. Chicago Heights
June 15: home vs. S. Charleston
June 22: home vs. Elkhart
June 23: home vs. Elkhart

Area family recalls tragedy
Lived near site of plane crash that killed 70 members of Marshall
football program in 1970

By TIM MILLER
It was a story that impacted an entire West Virginia community for a
long, long time.
Now, the entire nation will learn of the story surrounding the worst
sports-related disaster in American history.
For one Marysville family, though, it is a tragic walk down memory lane.
The movie "We Are Marshall" premiered in Huntington, W. Va., earlier
this week. It will be released nationwide on Dec. 22.
The film, which features Matthew McConaughey at the head of an all-star
cast, chronicles the Nov. 14, 1970 chartered jet crash that killed more
than 70 people associated with the Marshall University football team.
People in Union County at the time read the front page news of the crash
in the Nov. 16, 1970 edition of the Journal-Tribune. It was, however,
overshadowed by the banner headline proclaiming a merger of the Scotts
Company and ITT.
For a present-day Union County family, that fateful night in Huntington
was the major news of the day  ...  and the memory lingers even 36 years later.
Dave and Jan Canterbury, who reside on Boerger Road, lived near
Huntington in the small community of Sweet Run. At the time, they were
the parents of two young girls, Linda (6) and Becky (3) and they had
just welcomed a son, Dave, to their home a few months earlier.
Father and daughters were at home, about a mile from the Huntington Tri
States Airport, that evening.
Mom was staying at the Huntington Hospital with their four-month-old
son, who had just undergone surgery.
"It was around 8 p.m. and I remember the weather as being rainy ...
dreary, just foul weather," said Dave Canterbury, who moved his family
to central Ohio when he was transferred to this area as a project
manager for Ashland Chemical. "But I don't remember it being
particularly cold."
No one in the Canterbury home heard the plane  approaching the airport
as the Thundering Herd football team was returning from an afternoon
game at East Carolina.
"What I heard was the sound of wood breaking," said Canterbury. "It
sounded like a truck-load of axe handles had been dumped on dry asphalt.
I really don't know why it sounded like that, since it had been raining.
But I can still hear that bouncing sound."
"I remember the windows of our home started to rattle," said Linda (now
Fleisher). "I remember it was disturbing enough to Dad that his demeanor changed."
Shortly after hearing the noise and witnessing the windows shake,
Canterbury went outside.
"I looked to the western horizon and saw a familiar glow of a refinery
that was in the area," he said. "Then I saw another glow and some
embers, but no flames. That glow shouldn't have been there and I knew
then that something was wrong."
Although father and daughters had been playing and watching television,
there were no 24-hour cable news channels in operation.
Still, it did not take long for viewers to learn of the tragedy.
"First, there was news crawling across the bottom of the screen," said
Canterbury. "It couldn't have been more than 10 minutes after the crash
and that's when we knew it was the Marshall football team."
A 1963 Marshall graduate, the news struck Canterbury very hard. During
his last couple years as a student there, he tutored football players in
math and science, although that was several years before members of the
1970 squad were in school.
The next day, Canterbury and his daughters attended church. Law
enforcement officials had opened up their road to allow traffic through.
However, debris from the wreckage lingered for days.
"I remember seeing debris in the trees," said Becky (now Craig). "I
think it was one of my earliest childhood memories."
Over the years, there has been much speculation about what caused the crash.
Canterbury, who had flown into the Huntington airport numerous times in
the preceding years, said he doubts weather had much to do with it.
"I think the pilot may have been confused by the lights from the
refinery," he said.
"I know they didn't have any approach lights at the airport before the
crash," said Mrs. Canterbury. "They installed them shortly after."
Although Jan Canterbury wasn't home that night with her husband and
daughters, she witnessed first hand the agony that gripped the
Huntington community.
"I remember being at the hospital with our son and it was very quiet,"
she said. "I saw some nurses coming down the hallway and they were
crying. I asked what was wrong and they told me about the team plane
going down. The team doctor who was killed in the crash worked at the hospital."
Mrs. Canterbury remembers that an injured Marshall player was in a
hospital room just down the hall from her son.
"He had undergone surgery and of course didn't make the trip," she said.
"I don't remember his name but I believe he was one of three surviving
players who played on the next year's team."
That 1971 team is the focal point of "We Are Marshall." The movie
depicts how the school picked up the pieces from the tragedy and went on
to field a team the following season.
At the time of the crash, Marshall wasn't as renown of a program as it
would become in the 1990s.
"I believe they were (NCAA) Division I-A at the time of the crash but as
they were rebuilding, they downsized to I-AA," said Canterbury. "They
didn't win a lot in the 1960s. Back then, basketball was the sport at Marshall."
The rebuilding process gradually enabled Marshall to become a powerful
gridiron force.
The success included 20 consecutive winning seasons (two of them
undefeated), eight conference championships, two I-AA national titles,
five bowl victories and numerous players who went on to the NFL. Wide
receiver Randy Moss of the Oakland Raiders, and quarterbacks Chad
Pennington (New York Jets) and Byron Leftwich (Jacksonville Jaguars) are
among the Marshall gridiron alums.
In the movie, McConaughey plays Jack Lengyel, who became the head coach
after the crash. Lengyel, who later went on to serve as athletic
director at Navy for 13 years, was a driving force in getting the story
to the silver screen.
Production wrapped up this past summer on location in Huntington.
"A lot of the filming was done within the sight of my sister and
brother-in-law's (Ron and Linda Maynard) home," said Mrs. Canterbury.
"They could see Matthew McConaughey from their front porch."
Members of the Canterbury family plan to watch the movie. They may do so
privately, if it can be worked out at the Marysville Cinema.
"The owner told me that if he can obtain a copy of the movie, he will
give us a private showing, as long as we have at least 10 people there,"
said Linda Fleischer.
Although they anticipate viewing the movie, each family member admitted
it won't be easy.
"I've watched some of the (movie) trailers on my computer and I've
cried," said Canterbury.
For some, the film may open emotional wounds that were a long time in
healing, if they ever had.
"For me, it never has completely healed," said Canterbury. "It will
always be there and I think about it every time I watch a Marshall game."
"However, I think the movie is very laudable," he added. "The production
company went to Huntington and gained the confidence of the community."
"They didn't besmudge the school and its people and they did not trample
on the dignity of the movie."
The family agrees the movie could provide a catharsis for those who
lived through the nightmare.
"I think it will be healing," said Mrs. Canterbury.
"I believe it will provide some closure," agreed her husband.
"I'm sure it will help people deal with their feelings," said Linda
Fleischer. "Back in the 1970s, people weren't encouraged to deal with
them. Hopefully, this movie will allow them to do so."

City gets huge grant
$3.5 million will go toward site development near Scotts facility

By RYAN HORNS
Marysvile officials received word Thursday afternoon that the city will
receive a $3,568,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development.
"This is great news for the city of Marysville," Economic Development
Director Eric Phillips said.
The Jobs Ready Sites (JRS) Program grant is for infrastructure
improvements to the Metro Equities Industrial Park property located on
the north side of Scottslawn Road and west of Industrial Parkway and the
Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's manufacturing facility. The property is
currently being used for agricultural purposes, but has already been
zoned for manufacturing development.
Phillips said that the grant will open up 277 acres of manufacturing
land in Marysville and assist in the demolition of any structures,
including an abandoned farmhouse; replacement of the existing eight-inch
potable water main with a 16-inch main; installation of a new 36-inch
sanitary sewer line; extension of electric and natural gas to the
property; and engineering fees. Project costs are estimated to be $10.7 million.
Phillips reported that Marysville originally applied for $4.9 million
dollars of JRS funding, but ODOD reduced the award, removing the road
widening project on Scottslawn Road. He said the reduction was true for
a number of the applications that were submitted.
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said the grant work will prepare Marysville's
development for years to come.
"The grant will serve as a catalyst for economic development
opportunities in Marysville and clearly is in tune with our Economic
Development Action Plan," Kruse said. "Our main goal is to create jobs
and investment in Marysville, which will in turn lessen the tax burden
on our residents."
Voters approved the JRS grants in the November 2005 election as part of
the State Issue 1 "Jobs for Ohio Bond Initiative." The Marysville grant
is one of 18 recommended to receive more than $51.5 million in funding
through the inaugural round of the JRS Program. Pending the approval of
the Ohio Controlling Board, the funds will assist local communities to
prepare sites for large-scale industrial and business expansion.
Other cities and businesses approved for the JRS grant include
Springfield, the Columbus-based Science and Technology Campus
Corporation, Cincinnati, Dublin, Fayette County, Van Wert, Wapakoneta,
Lima, Middletown, the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority,
Wooster, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority, Reading,
Cleveland's Matrix Centennial, Akron, the Tuscarawas County Community
Improvement Corporation, and the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
ODOD provides grants in five identified high-impact project site
categories, including: Mega manufacturing operations of at least 1,000
acres; technical center/research laboratories; manufacturing operations
of at least 200 acres; existing industrial buildings and office
complexes. Within three years after receiving a grant award, approved
projects must be certified as satisfying the site attributes necessary
to accommodate one of these categories; the property will then be added
to a statewide inventory of available sites.
ODOD reported that the JRS program will provide up to $150 million in
grants over seven years to eligible and qualified applicants across the
state interested in developing job-ready sites. Grant recipients are
eligible to receive up to $5 million per project site, not to exceed 75
percent of the total project cost. Funds can then be applied to any
number of projects associated with the development of the property. Once
completed, the sites will be certified as possessing "high quality
development attributes" and will be marketed specifically to prospective
large-scale businesses.

Mental Health Board buys armory

By CINDY BRAKE
The historic red brick building which once housed the state's first
national guard armory at 124 S. Fourth St. has a new owner.
In November, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County voted
to purchase the building now known as the Victory Center for $186,500.
Former owner Teresa Roshon said it was an answer to prayer when Mike
Witzky, MHRB executive director, called two days before a deadline to
contact a realtor. The Roshons had mailed 250 letters seeking someone to
take over their nonprofit ministry to at-risk youth. No one responded.
Then Witzky called.
Unaware of the Roshon letter, Witzky explained that he was working on a
Saturday in August in his office at the corner of Fourth and Main
streets when he glanced out his large window and saw the Victory Center.
He had met with both Keith and Teresa Roshon over the years and even
heard before summer that they were thinking about not continuing their
ministry - a ministry he describes as one that reaches kids who need
things to do. Kids that aren't reached by the "normal kinds of programs."
After learning of the Roshon deadline, Witzky immediately went to his
board. A committee was created to look at the building. In September the
committee recommended the board purchase the building.
Witzky said the purchase price was a decent real estate investment, but
the real value is in programming.
Families and children are the fastest growing programs for the mental
health and recovery board.
Immediate plans are to begin offering a free, supervised, after-school
program similar to the one begun by the Roshons. Prevention specialists
from Consolidated Care Inc. will staff the program from 3 to 5 p.m.
Monday through Friday.
The Roshons said the ONG on the building's facade, which once stood for
Ohio National Guard, now stands for Our Next Generation. Teresa Roshon
said the Victory Center averaged 60 youth daily during the winter with a
maximum of 85 ranging in ages from 8 to 20 years.
"Keith and Teresa Roshon have been the inspiration and movers behind
this vital program for nearly 10 years. Their vision and work has
created a treasure to the community," Witzky said in a press release.
An advisory group is forming to look at ways to continue developing
programming and services to the community from this facility, Witzky
said. Anyone interested in participating in this vision should contact
Witzky at 642-1212.
"It is the Mental Health Board's hope that the Victory Center can become
a hub of activity for the community - especially for those who need
opportunities to grow and achieve their full potential."

Law enforcement, medical officials discuss prescription drug issues
By RYAN HORNS
Local law enforcement recently met with area medical community officials
to help combat prescription drug abuse in Union County.
At the annual Memorial Hospital of Union County medical staff meeting
Tuesday night, more than 100 physicians, pharmacists and law enforcement
officials brainstormed with prosecutors, pharmacists and Drug
Enforcement Agency agents to get to the bottom of the problem. Other
featured speakers included representatives from the Ohio State Medical
Board, a drug manufacturer and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. The next
seminar is scheduled for March.
"Several Union County residents have died from overdosing on
prescription medications, tragically including several young people."
Union County Prosecuting Attorney David Phillips said. "We've seen an
upward trend in deception as well as in the illegal trafficking of these drugs."
Marysville Police Detective Don McGlenn said the seminar was important
to help law enforcement meet face to face with medical professionals.
"The way the community is growing like it is, it is important for
everyone to be on the same page," he said.
As a result of several recent related deaths, Union County Coroner Dr.
David Applegate met with Phillips, Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden
and Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson to find a strategy to deal with
the misuse of prescription drugs.
"Almost every overdose death I have dealt with has been related to
prescription drugs and not to so-called 'street' drugs," Applegate said.
"People think that prescription drugs are safer than other drugs. The
truth is, if these medications are abused, they can be lethal."
"We figured once the cases got to our respective offices, it was too
late. We need to find a way to try and prevent the abuse and hopefully
save lives," said Phillips.  "To do that, we need the cooperation of the
medical community - the doctors and pharmacists working together with
law enforcement to identify potential abusers and traffickers."
Phillips said that locally, the drugs are being abused by teenagers. One
of the recent deaths was a 15-year old boy who overdosed on liquid
morphine.  He said there is an assumption that "prescription" means
"safe," which is not true. He has also become concerned over reports of
teenagers "Pharming,"  which entails the sharing, trading or mixing of
medicines at parties. Often, youth add drugs and alcohol to the mix. He
said one out of every ten high school seniors has reported abuse of
prescription pain killers.
"It's extremely dangerous, and can and will lead to more deaths,"
Phillips said. "We've had cases where teenage friends come over and
steal drugs from the medicine cabinet. The drugs are then sold or taken
by the teens. Securing medication is simple."
He said parents can help by storing all prescription drugs in a place
not accessible to teens or their friends.
McGlenn said a man formerly convicted of prescription drug thefts spoke
to the audience, helping to provide insight into how criminals get their
hands on these drugs. The man told the group how he had lied to doctors
to get prescriptions over a several year period by claiming false back
pain.  He told the doctors how easy it was for him to get thousands of
doses of Vicodin to feed his addiction from up to seven doctors during
that time.  When asked what helped him beat his addiction, he said going
to jail helped turn his life around.
Applegate said Mike Hilton gave an emotional story of how he was finally
caught abusing prescription drugs and was able to turn his life around.
Once sentenced to serve jail time, Hilton spent four days withdrawing
from his addiction. It was then he knew that he had to change.
"He actually gave a very touching story," Applegate said. "It took a lot
of courage."
Union County Sheriff Detective Mike Justice and McGlenn spoke to the
group about cases they have investigated and shared their techniques
needed for successful investigations.
Phillips said more intensive training on combating abuse will be offered
to physicians and law enforcement early in 2007. The Sheriff's Office
has made arrangements with Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the often
illegally abused OxyContin, to offer intense training to law enforcement
and medical professionals to help combat prescription drug abuse. The
company offers the training nationwide at no cost.
Applegate said the State Medical Board has told doctors not to be afraid
of treating patients for pain. The idea is for doctors to look for
warning signs and follow their instincts.
"You're going to be fooled occasionally," he said.
Applegate said the State Pharmacy Board also spoke about a new
monitoring system in which doctors can view every controlled substance a
patient has been prescribed in the past two years, what the drugs were,
which doctors provided the medication and when.
He said it is a good way to weed out the people using fake names to go
"doctor shopping" and trying to get as many prescriptions for drugs as
they can.

BZA debates Mill Valley sign issue
By RYAN HORNS
Can the success of a development hang on the size of its sign?
As the future Mill Valley Plaza on Route 31 makes its way through zoning
meetings toward construction, the development may have hit a snag when
it comes to the size of its sign. Monday night the Marysville Board of
Zoning Appeals (BZA) tabled a variance request filed by Sign Com, Inc.
of Columbus, for owner/developer Jim Casto, to place a 70 square foot
sign at the entrance. The issue was the sole item agenda for the meeting.
The problem is that Casto's designers originally proposed a 100 square
foot sign and board members have been trying to scale that down.
According to Marysville zoning codes, signs are not permitted to be
larger than 40 square feet.
City zoning inspector Barb McCoy said that some members of BZA felt that
the request for the larger sign may not be in the best interest of
residential housing located behind the development. She said the
variance request doesn't exactly set any precedents, but the board is
going to take some time to see what can be done.
The BZA will meet again on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss the sign again.
In the meantime, Casto's designers are going back to the drawing board
to make a new proposal.
McCoy said the BZA hopes to find a compromise between sizes, but any
compromise does not ensure the variance would be granted.
According to city councilman John Marshall, who presides over Mill
Valley's Ward One district, the current city sign limits should be respected.
"I am personally not in favor of allowing the variance," Marshall wrote
in a recent notice to Mill Valley residents.
According to the city code, variances can be authorized by the BZA.
However, members will not grant a variance "on the grounds of
convenience or profit, but only where strict application of the
provisions of this zoning ordinance would result in unnecessary hardship."
Sign Com designers explained their hardship at the Nov. 13 BZA meeting,
stating that the Mill Valley Plaza development has a far set back from
the roadway and the sign would lack visibility unless it was allowed to
be larger. Nearby McDonalds also prevents visibility from the south.
They said the sign has different components and the section including
the names of the businesses joining into the development falls within
the allowable 40 square foot limits. The remaining square footage would
be broken up and utilized for plaza identification and some decoration.
Meeting minutes also show that some BZA members not only wanted a
smaller sign, but suggested designers change the development name from
Mill Valley Plaza to the abbreviated "MVP."
Sign Com, Inc. designer Bruce Somerfel said it is important to get some
visibility for the plaza tenants out on the major thoroughfare. If the
sign is reduced, it would give limited visibility to traffic and drivers
would miss the sign and the turn, then would be forced to backtrack.
While a 20 square foot sign would be appropriate for a single use,
trying to identify 12 tenants within 100 square feet is hard enough.
Trying to identify them within 40 square feet is "virtually impossible."
"Neighbors are concerned about the signage in the area," BZA member
Nevin Taylor said. "No signs would be great to them."
Taylor said a good saying he heard was that "less signs are the best
signs." For that reason alone, he said he cannot support anything more
than the standard 40 square foot.

JA updated on Battelle program

By CORINNE BIX
Jonathan Alder School board members viewed a video presentation from
Battelle for Kids at Monday night's meeting.
Battelle for Kids is self described as a non-profit organization
committed to enhancing student learning by bringing clarity to school improvement.
Jonathan Alder's elementary students have been participating in the
Battelle for Kids program for the last five years and the high school
has recently become involved with a pilot project through Battelle.
The organization offers educators nationwide an array of professional
development training and consulting, innovative school improvement
solutions and research and evaluation services.
The video presentation "Survive or Thrive" focused on creating a better
learning environment and re-examining the traditional curriculum as a
means to prepare students for the global marketplace.
The video urges educators to think globally and act locally to help
shape students that will be successful as well as adaptive to changes in
a highly competitive and technological world.
Elizabeth Beach, director of teaching and learning, and Bobby Moore,
principal Canaan Middle School, provided the board with a presentation
showing how the Battelle for Kids data is being used to better track
student progress and make changes.
The board approved Jim Phillips to serve as Tolles Technical and Career
Center board of education member for the following two-year period
beginning Jan. 1, 2007. Phillips is the current Tolles representative
from Jonathan Alder. Phillips explained that his Jonathan Alder school
board term is up in 2007 so if he were not re-elected he wouldn't be
able to complete the two-year Tolles term.
Plain City principal Lynne Farmwald will be retiring in June after 32
years with the district. The position will be posted internally within
the next several months and if the position isn't filled it will be
posted externally in the spring.
The board commended the football team, Coach Coate and coaching staff
for a history-making season, regional championship and a state runner-up finishes.
The board adjourned into executive session to consider the appointment,
dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public
employee. No action was taken.
The next regular board meeting will be Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. A
work session will precede the meeting at 5 p.m.
In other news, the board:
. Approved the financial report for November 2006
. Approved the resignations of Gail Bates as fall cheerleading advisor
and Chris Neptune as freshman boys' basketball coach
. Approved various employment.
. Commended various student athletes for fall sports awards.
. Commended Megan Dowdell for winning a $750 grant for her classroom
from the Union County Chamber of Commerce. The Business Education
Workforce Team Grant Committee selected her multiple disabilities
project.
. Approved maternity leaves for Erin Farmwald, Rene Cramer and Molly Sperling.
. Approved a contract with the Franklin County Educational Service
Center for a student with autism.
. Approved in-lieu of transportation request for Alexandra and Charles Phinney.

Richwood moves toward building skate park
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
A group of motivated parents and teens met with Richwood Village Council
Monday night and left with the answer they wanted to hear.
Debbie Skaggs spoke on behalf of the group and told village officials
that the youth of the town need a skate park.
"They have absolutely no place in town to develop their skills," Skaggs said.
Skaggs said that the children in town have very few places to skate and
nowhere to find equipment commonly used in the pastime. She presented
council with photos of skate parks in Marysville and Marion, noting that
Richwood would not need facilities as elaborate as those.
She also presented council with a four page petition containing the
signatures of those who would support such a project.
Council member Jim Thompson informed the crowd that council was actually
already working on such a project. He said the village is attempting to
get grant funding for construction and then design work will begin.
He encouraged members of the group to participate in the planning phase
if funding is secured.
Village financial officer Don Jolliff said solicitor Victoria Stone
Moledor has found that going after residents who owe back taxes is no
easy task. Currently, about $19,000 in back taxes are owed by village residents.
Jolliff said the solicitor has discovered the process to be overwhelming
and feels the job could be better performed by experts in the field.
Jolliff said the Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA), which collects
the village income tax, has an agency which specializes in pursuing back taxes.
Jolliff noted that the agency would take a percentage of the collected
money as a fee, but he was unsure what that percentage would be.
Thompson noted that the village is currently receiving none of the money
owed, so any portion which is collected would be an improvement.
Council voted 6-0 to authorize RITA to pursue those who owe back taxes.
In other business, council:
.Heard second reading on an ordinance establishing village building
department regulations.
.Heard second reading on an ordinance authorizing the Union County
Building Department to enforce the building codes established by the village.
.Voted 6-0 to update the village pay ordinance to reflect a 3 percent
pay increase for village employees for next year.
.Voted 6-0 to authorize numerous transfers within village funds.
.Heard from Thompson that the police department has started writing
parking tickets under the village's newly updated codes. He said
warnings have been issued in some cases and also noted that new focus on
parking code enforcement comes at the direction of council.
.Learned that a new village police cruiser should be in service after
the first of the year.

Learning across the pond
Fairbanks  students interact with counterparts in England

By KARLYN BYERS
Their backgrounds, curriculum and hobbies might be dissimilar in many
aspects, but Fairbanks middle schoolers and pupils at Knowles Hill
School in Newton Abbot, England, found they also had many things in common.
The schoolmates talked to each other for 20 minutes Monday on a computer
linkup engineered by Garrett Davies, a vice-principal/teacher at the
Knowles Hill School located in the southwestern part of England. Davies
has been a guest of Fairbanks Middle School Principal Pat Lucas and her
husband for the past six weeks.
He is participating in a Fulbright Administrator Exchange Program. In
January, Lucas will travel to England for a six-week stay with Davies
and his family as part of the same program.
What do the pupils on the two continents have in common? The weather for
one thing. Both locations registered temperatures in the mid-50s on
Monday, although the pupils in England said it was "freezing," and the
Fairbanks pupils were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures.
Like the Fairbanks middle schoolers, pupils at Knowles Hill enjoy
"hanging out with our mates." They also enjoy munching on fast food,
including that found at McDonald's, Subway and KFC.
Knowles Hill School houses 1,150 pupils ranging in age from 11 to 18 or
19. It is located near Plymouth, England, near the English Channel.
Monday's electronic visit occurred about 1:45 p.m., English time - 7:45
a.m. at Fairbanks Middle School. The English pupils taking part in the
project ranged in age from 11 to 16. Fairbanks participants were Jeremy
Noland, Ryan Rausch, Samantha Robinson, Lyndsey DeRoads, Angel
Wilkinson, Shelly Trivisonno and Matt Ferryman.
When the Fairbanks pupils were asked to describe their school, some
replied, "It's small and out in the middle of nowhere."
The Fairbanks pupils were shocked to find that one of the Knowles Hill
students, a thin, dark-haired youth named Adam Jones, walked a
considerable distance to school each morning.
"I live a half hour away from school so I walk," Adam said.
Other English pupils said they rode public transportation - buses or a
train - or school buses owned by a company which the school district
hired to transport students.
The English pupils were blown away by the fact that the Fairbanks pupils
had lockers. They have to carry their books "everywhere," the Knowles
Hill pupils said.
The Fairbanks pupils were envious of the double-decker buses the English
youths get to ride.
All the pupils discovered Christmas is celebrated similarly in both
countries, with Christmas trees, "lights and decorations everywhere" and
the sending of Christmas cards.
But the British pupils don't share the Americans' passion for shopping.
"You're rich and constantly going shopping," Adam teased.
"We're 20 minutes from the mall and there are four malls around us,"
countered two Fairbanks females.
The British pupils also found little common ground with their Milford
Center counterparts when it came to the discussion of sports.
"We just play sports, we don't celebrate them," one Knowles Hill pupil said.
They were curious about rodeos - "Have you ever been to one?" and "What
are they?" the English youths asked - and said dog shows were about the
closest thing England offered that compared with 4-H, fairs and
livestock competitions.
Speaking of livestock, the English youths said "sheeps in the road ...
get the right of way because they are more important than the drivers."
"All of the animals who walk on our road get hit on the road and die,"
answered a female Fairbanks pupil.
The two groups exchanged e-mail addresses and the Fairbanks males were
curious about the ages and names of the English girls.
The English asked about Thanksgiving. And the Fairbanks pupils didn't
know that Tony Blair was prime minister of Great Britain. There was a
lot of giggling on both sides, and brief silences when the two groups
ran out of things to say.
Davies, an educator for 26 years, has continued to teach his class at
Knowles Hill through the computer hookup. He is scheduled to leave for
England today and will resume classes at Knowles Hill on Thursday.
As a vice principal, he wears two hats - he teaches classes in
literature and linguistics in additional to his administrative duties -
a practice that is common in all English schools. Principals in a
majority of English schools also teach classes, Davies said.
Educators in England are paid slightly more than in the U.S., according
to Davies, although that is hard to distinguish because of the exchange
rate between the English pound and the American dollar.
Right now, the pound is stronger than the dollar, a fact that caused
Davies to do "some serious shopping" last weekend at several Columbus malls.
His stay at Fairbanks was the first time Davies has traveled to
America's Midwest region. Previous journeys have taken him to
California, Florida, New York and New England.
"Everybody has been extremely welcoming," he said of his Fairbanks stay.
"The teachers have been very happy to have me in their classrooms and
the students have been great."

Unionville Center Council has special visitor
By AUDREY HALL
Santa Claus was a special visitor prior to the Unionville Center Village
Council meeting Monday.
Many village children stopped in to tell Santa Claus what they would
like to have him bring them for Christmas and receive a candy cane.
Refreshments were also served to the parents who accompanied their children.
Chairman of the Charles W. Fairbanks Family Festival Committee Michelle
Blevins informed council about plans for the summer festival.
Entertainment will be provided by Arnett Howard, Joe Boxer from WCOL,
Mollie McIntire and a band named 3 Wheel Drive. The children's area will
feature a rock climbing wall and inflatables.  There will be a Corn Hole
Tournament but no car show or street dance this year. In an effort to
avoid conflicts with other same day events, the date for 2007 will be
Saturday, May 19.
Council has appropriated $1,000 in the 2007 budget toward the festival.
The entertainment and children's activities will remain free and family friendly.
Sheriff deputy Matt Warden and deputy-in-training Chris Catalonga
explained that the county policy on golf carts is being finalized. All
golf carts will have to meet the same safety requirements as vehicles
according to state law. The village has tabled the enactment of a golf
cart ordinance until the county policy is established.
Public safety officer Pete Lenhardt is now assigned to Darby Township
and Milford Center.
In answer to a resident inquiry about children being out late at night,
Warden said there is a curfew for children under the age of 18. The
curfew is 11 p.m. on week nights and midnight on Friday and Saturday.
The council building has a new look. Lawns Plus completed the partial
floor replacement and removed the old, unused chimney from the middle of the room.
Fairbanks Elementary School fifth grade student Kailin Wile told council
members about the People to People Student Ambassador program instituted
by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. She was nominated to participate
in the program and will be joining 40 other central Ohio students for a
20-day trip to England and Scotland in late June.  As a student
ambassador, she must raise $6,000 to cover her expenses.
Kailin is soliciting sponsorship from organizations and businesses.
Council was unable to commit to a sponsorship at this time but will take
it under advisement. Kailin is the daughter of Mark and Angie Wile.
In other business, council approved the 2007 budget.
The next meeting will be on Monday, Jan. 8.

Ferguson trial delayed

From J-T staff reports:
The child abuse trial expected to last five days this week for a woman
accused of using "torture" and "excessive abuse" toward her five
adoptive children was re-scheduled.
Vonda Ferguson, 43, of Springfield and her husband, James E. Ferguson,
46, are both facing more than 60 charges associated with second-degree
endangering children, third-degree permitting child abuse, second-degree
felonious assault.
Vonda Ferguson was also being charged with first-degree felony rape, and
her trial was expected to begin today at 9 a.m.
According to the Union County Common Pleas Court, Vonda Ferguson's
attorney George Wolfe asked to formally withdraw his services for her
"due to a failure to cooperate with counsel and other reasons."
The trial is reportedly set to be continued to Feb. 26 at 9 a.m. In the
meantime Vonda Ferguson is expected to undergo an psychological evaluation.
Vonda Ferguson has reportedly declined to  cooperate with Wolfe, making
his abilities to defend her in court impossible.
"Presuming Mrs. Ferguson is competent, she and the undersigned have a
fundamental disagreement about what is in the client's best interests.
Mrs. Ferguson refuses to follow the reasonable advice (come and review
the evidence) and simple requests (keeping appointments) of counsel,"
court reports show. "Such a situation cannot result in competent
representation and will deprive Mrs. Ferguson of a fair trial."
Reports also state that Ferguson has failed to pay her obligation beyond
her initial retainer for Wolfe's services. He reported she failed to
meet with him on three separate occasions.
"Not only is this conduct not in the client's best interest," court
papers report, "it places an unreasonable burden upon the attorney, who
has done his best to prepare a defense despite the limitations.""
The third reason for withdrawing his services, Wolfe reported to the
court that if he stays on as her attorney "it will place an unreasonable
financial burden" upon him. This would be equal to him working for free
during the entire week-long trial, not including jury deliberations, as
well as travel and other expenses such as exhibits, experts and witness fees.
"No lawyer and no indigent client facing life imprisonment should have
to go to trial unprepared," Wolfe wrote.

Surgeon saying goodbye

Dr. Timothy   Pelfrey leaving private practice
By CINDY BRAKE
After more than 20 years of caring intimately for the people of Union
County, Dr. Timothy Pelfrey is retiring from private practice.
"Medicine should be practiced as a form of friendship," Pelfrey said
this week as he walked the halls of Memorial Hospital of Union County in
Marysville. Frequently he was stopped to get a hug from a former patient
or share a kind word with a hospital employee. "It's important to be
part of the community."
He figures that one way or another, he has gotten to know just about
every family in the county after averaging 400 surgeries a year. He
remembers his first patient - an older lady from Mechanicsburg who
needed a skin graft. He also operated on her daughter and a grandson.
His favorite type of surgery is "any kind where the patient does well."
Every case is different, he said, and that is the challenge and fun part
of his work.
"Surgery can be very, very intense .... patients need to trust you," he said.
He said he has seen some miracles along the way and believes life is
about leaving a place better than you found it.
"The good Lord takes care of us ... we're just instruments."
Pelfrey also knows what it is like to be on the other end of a knife,
although he doesn't quite remember the procedure - he was two months
old. Rattling off the clinical name of the medical problem, Pelfrey
explains that he had an enlarged stomach muscle that caused projectile
vomiting. Much has changed since his infant surgery. After reviewing
documents about the surgery, he discovered that the doctor used whiskey
and Paregoric as the anesthetic. The use of silk sutures, rarely seen in
modern hospitals, has also left a marked scar.
Pelfrey says he doesn't want to sound sappy or whine, yet he repeatedly
returns to thoughts about how nice the people of Marysville have been to
him and his family.
"It's been home."
He is originally from Cold Spring, Ky. When he was young, he said, he
wanted to be a missionary doctor. But his plans changed when he was a
high school freshman and his father died of a heart attack. He went to
college - the University of Cincinnati - where he earned a bachelor's
degree from the College of Education and Arts and Sciences. From there
he became a teacher of German and Math at Woodard High School located in
the inner-city of Cincinnati and known as the oldest high school west of
the Allegheny Mountains. He also coached baseball and basketball.
A few years into his teaching career, his dentist asked what had ever
happened to his plans to become a doctor. The dentist then added that if
Pelfrey never tried, he would always regret it. Pelfrey took his advice
and began pre-med courses at night.
After sending out applications, he recalls opening letters of acceptance
from two medical schools and wondering what he should do. Without his
wife Betsy, he said, he could never have done it. The "long, long
process" of medical school at the University of Kentucky included peanut
butter sandwiches, chips and coke every day for lunch for four years.
Five more years followed at Wright State University where he served his
surgical residency. "You don't eat that much," he joked about those
years. So when he began practicing general surgery at Memorial Hospital,
he said, he gained 10 pounds the first month because the homemade food
was so good.
Along the way to becoming a surgeon, the Pelfrey family grew with son
Todd born when he was in medical school and daughter Tess born when he
was in residency.
Pelfrey said he originally thought about entering family medicine, but
time spent on a surgery rotation made him see a group that was having
fun. It also was a form of medicine where he said "people get better"
and "you could do something" to help people.
He had planned to return to Kentucky and practice in a small community,
but his plans changed when Marysville Dr. J.W. Sampsel began looking for
a new doctor that wasn't committed. The Pelfreys came to Marysville and
have never looked back. Long-time members of the Lutheran denomination,
Pelfrey said he and his wife felt like they had "died and gone to
heaven" when they arrived in Union County to find four Lutheran churches
and three Lutheran schools.
His official last day is Dec. 18. The Pelfreys are planning a move to
Fort Wayne, Ind., where he will work for the Veteran's Administration
and forever say goodbye to the 24/7, 365-day schedule he has known for
years.

Water rate increase tabled
Residents will have to wait two weeks before knowing if their water
rates are going up.
At Thursday night's regular meeting, members of Marysville City Council
voted to table a water rate hike ordinance until council meets again on
Dec. 21. The ordinance proposes to raise the current water rates 8
percent in 2007 and then another 8 percent in 2008. The rates were
raised 5 percent in 2006.
Councilman David Burke proposed tabling the issue so the Finance
Committee can meet Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers to find
additional sources of funding that could help offset the rate burden on
residents. The committee will hire someone to seek out the grant and
double check the Water Master Plan.
Burke said that it is a concern to have to table the water rate
ordinance again. Councilman John Marshall said he hopes they don't all
come back in two weeks and have the same exact meeting.
In order to table the ordinance, councilman Ed Pleasant first had to
withdraw his amendment proposal. He requested a compromise by changing
the rate increase to collect 5 percent in 2007, subsidizing the other 3
percent from the General Fund for one year. The rates collected would
equal the 8 percent proposed by the Water Master Plan During that time
council could pursue grants and other sources of revenue needed in
future years.
Mayor Tom Kruse said he would veto Pleasant's proposed amendment if it
passed. He explained that without a plan guaranteeing two years of
steady funding, banks would not provide the money.
The ultimate tabling of the water rate ordinance did not come without
plenty of discussion ? discussion that sometimes became heated.
Kruse reminded council members that they had agreed last year on the
rate hikes proposed in the Water Master Plan, after the city paid some
$260,000 to have the plan created. Two council members were on the
committee that voted to approve it. He said not following the plan would
be like "pouring $260,000 down a rat hole. Not passing these increases
is a formula for disaster."
Gore said he remembered the meetings. He also understood that the city
would pursue ways to help offset the costs and keep the rates down.
"As far as I know, we did not," Gore said.
Gore said he has not seen one copy of a grant application that the mayor
has sent out to find more funding. The situation has deteriorated into
an issue of trust.
"Recently a lot of things we've been told by your administration turned
out to not be true," Gore said.
During public comment, resident Lloyd Baker reiterated his recent talk
with a Columbus water official. He said Columbus does not subsidize
water costs from its General Fund, as the mayor has said.
Baker said that even if Marysville doesn't pass the water rate hikes,
his water bill will be 97 percent higher than in Columbus. Factoring in
Marysville's proposed rate changes, that goes up to 120 percent.
"I feel concern about what would account for that much of a margin of
difference given that there is no subsidy involved in Columbus," Baker said.
Councilwoman Leah Sellers shared her concerns that all funding options
have not been explored.
Kruse said that the water rate increase is not for growth purposes as
critics have said, it is for capital improvement. The reservoir would
get the city through a possible nine-month drought. He said the city
wells have "been dropping at times."
After the meeting, Sellers said central Ohio is known as having some of
the highest rainfall in the nation. She also pointed out that the city's
own Water Master Plan states that a drought in Marysville would not be a
big concern even by 2020 standards.
Resident Esther Carmany said Marysville's rates have gone up so high it
is causing "reasonable people to ask why."
 "I just feel we need to find ways to save money," Councilman Dan Fogt
said. "That is why I am not supporting the ordinance."
Kruse warned that if they put off the reservoir construction, the
general cost of it would go up.
"When council bought the land to build the reservoir, the estimated cost
was $10 million to $12 million," he said. "The cost now is up over $22
million to build that same reservoir and it will increase next year."
Without rate increases, he said, the city will not be able to build the
reservoir. If that happens he will suspend hook-ups to the city's water
system for areas outside the city limits. Since the only thing
Marysville brings to the table in discussions with other political
entities is possible water and sewer services, any further discussion
with these entities would be useless.
Resident Lloyd Baker said that the mayor has spoken about the
repercussions of altering the proposed water rates, stating that local
industry would shut down and that the city wouldn't be able to pay for
needed projects.
"Many of those things can also happen to individuals," Baker said.
When residents can't afford something, he said, they have to save or do
without. But when governments can't afford something they make the
residents pay for it anyway.
In other news:
. Council voted to pass an ordinance appropriating $25,000 to pay for
the demolition of the city-owned abandoned house at 410 S. Main St. It
has become a public safety hazard.
. An ordinance was read for the annexation of 114.007 acres in Paris
Township to the city of Marysville for the future school property.
Questions arose from the audience and council members about who will
have to maintain Route 4 in that area.
Sellers also asked about how students in nearby areas will walk to
school ? are there walkways proposed?
Kruse said those were not in the annexation agreement and the city has
no say about that.
Sellers said it was fully within the city's rights to have sidewalks or
walkways included in the annexation agreement.

Ohio workplaces go smoke free

Voter-approved act takes effect today
Editor's note: The following information is supplied by the Union County
Health Department.
The Smoke Free Workplace Act, better known as Issue 5, takes effect
today, bringing an end to smoking in public areas across the state.
While the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) continues to create the
specific rules that smokers and business owners will have to follow,
Issue 5 officially became part of Ohio law this morning.
That means almost all businesses, organizations, and associations that
have an employee(s) will be required to:
.Prohibit smoking
.Post "No Smoking" signs that include the telephone number for reporting
violations, (866) 559-OHIO and
.Remove all ashtrays and all other smoking receptacles.
"We are confident the business owners in our community will put forth a
good faith effort to comply with the spirit of the law," said Martin
Tremmel, Union County Health Department health commissioner. "And since
57 percent of Union County voters voted in favor of Issue 5, I think our
local businesses will be pleased at the support they are going to
receive from happy customers."
The Union County Health Department presented general information about
Issue 5 at a meeting sponsored by the Union County Chamber of Commerce
Monday evening. The meeting was designed to help local business owners
understand what implications the new law will have on their agencies.
Approximately 25 attendees were given templates of acceptable "No
Smoking" signs, a summary of the law, and a fact sheet on frequently
asked questions state and local health officials have been receiving.
Health officials also discouraged businesses from making permanent signs
or structural changes until ODH finalizes the rules and enforcement
specifics of the Smoke Free Workplace Act. ODH is expected to have a
draft of the rules ready for public comment by the end of January, and
hopes to have the rules completed by June 2007.
"The Smoke Free Workplace Act is a big step in protecting the health of
Ohioans, and we are eager to work with our community to achieve the full
benefits this legislation offers us," Tremmel said in a Wednesday press release.
The Union County Health Department will make another presentation
regarding the Smoke Free Workplace Act on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m.
at the North Union County Fire Department, 602 N. Franklin St.,
Richwood. The meeting is open to businesses and the public.
Additional information on the Smoke Free Workplace Act may be obtained
by contacting the Union County Health Department at 642-2053.

Trial of Vonda  Ferguson will begin Monday
From J-T staff reports:
A lengthy trial will begin Monday in a case involving parents who
prosecutors alleged used graphic "torture" and "excessive abuse" toward
their five adopted children.
The trial for Vonda Ferguson, 43, of Springfield is set to begin Monday
and is expected to last through Friday.
Vonda Ferguson and her husband, James E. Ferguson, 46, are both facing
more than 60 charges associated with second-degree endangering children,
third-degree permitting child abuse, second-degree felonious assault and
first-degree rape against Vonda Ferguson.
The crimes allegedly took place during a four-year period between July
24, 2000 through Nov. 19, 2004 between any of three homes in Union and
Clark counties, namely 1126 N. Fountain Blvd. in Clark County, 23237
Holycross-Epps Road and also 1505 Patricia Drive in Marysville.
Union County prosecutor David Phillips reported that Union County Common
Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott decided to turn the cases against the
Fergusons into two separate trials. The trial date for James Ferguson
has not been set.

Vote looms on water rate hike

By RYAN HORNS
Thursday marks the final reading of a water rate hike some critics say
will ensure Marysville's place as having the highest water rates in the region.
The reading will be held at the 7 p.m. Marysville City Council meeting.
The ordinance was tabled after criticism arose from residents. On
Monday, Nov. 27, city council and administration officials met at a
finance committee meeting to take a hard look at proposed water rate hikes.
Mayor Tom Kruse stands by the hike, citing debt service payments for
numerous large scale projects in the works as well as continued and
ever-increasing operational costs.
The 2006 water rate increase is currently set at 5 percent. The
ordinance proposes to raise that another 8 percent for 2007, increasing
another 8 percent for 2008. Based on a 500 cubic feet per month average
usage rate, a water bill would be $40.58 in 2006; $43.81 in 2007; and
$47.32 in 2008.
Reports show that Marysville water rates top the list when compared to
those in other cities. Marysville's average monthly water rate is
$48.28. Lancaster is next at $38.94; Columbus at $31.55; Delaware County
at $31.11; Delaware City at $27.21 and Urbana at $13.09.
Kruse said comparing Columbus to a city like Marysville is comparing
apples to oranges.
"I disagree with that approach," he said. "Columbus subsidizes their
water and sewer rates out of the general fund."
Kruse added that Columbus has a higher income tax than Marysville too.
"I am unfamiliar with where the mayor is going with that (statement),"
Assistant Director of Columbus Public Utilities Rick Tilton said on Thursday.
Tilton said Columbus does not subsidize its water rates through the
general fund, as the mayor said. It comes from its own independent
enterprise fund, which is operated and funded outside of the general fund.
According to recent reports, Columbus approved a 15 percent increase for
its water and sewer rates.
Marysville resident Lloyd Baker said he spoke with Tilton about
comparing Columbus water rates to those in Marysville and learned that
even including the 15-percent increase, Marysville still pays 120
percent more on water and sewer rates than Columbus does. It is this
drastic difference that has him concerned for people living on fixed incomes.
Tilton said he worked with Baker to come up with those comparison figures.
City Council president John Gore told the mayor that residents are
repeatedly asking the city to make growth pay for itself.
"That's a great buzzword for everyone to say: Growth needs to pay for
itself," Gore said. "Every time there is a need to expand we go back to
the people who have been here 20 or 25 years and we raise their (rates)."
Gore recommends using some of the $3.5 million in reserves to help
offset the water rate impact by transferring cash into the water fund.
The general fund crosses more of a segment of all Marysville taxpayers,
even the non-residents who only work in town.
Kruse said he "vigorously opposes" that option. The reserves are used to
provide security on debt service payments so the city can construct its
wastewater plant and reservoir. He has to pay for city services such as
emergency, police, fire, streets and other costs that go up every year.
"Past councils were reluctant to make the lower rate increases that were
needed at the time because the public got noisy," Kruse said.
Because they didn't, he said, the city's needs compounded.
Gore said he supports the development going on in Marysville and
projects such as the reservoir.
"I'm just trying to find a way to stop the bleeding for the folks that
have lived here, that continue to pay for the new houses that are going up," he said.
Gore said reserve funds keep growing and he wonders what the point of an
8 percent water rate increase would serve over a 5 percent increase ?
other than build the reserves up more.
Councilman Dan Fogt said they need to come up with $150,000 to make up
for the difference between the 5 and 8 percent rate increase.
"I'm trying to take a different approach and that's to reduce spending," Fogt said.
An example, he said, is a semi truck that the city plans to buy. By
focusing on finding a used semi truck it could mean the difference
between spending $80,000 and $138,000. By doing things like this, the
city could offset the rates.
Kruse warned that it won't solve the overall problem of paying down the
debt services and paying for the reservoir. He said that if anyone has
any questions about where he came up with the recent water rate increase
proposals, they may check out the minutes to a Dec. 7, 2005 special city
council meeting, which included a presentation from the engineering firm
Malcolm Pirnie. The company's study indicated certain rate increase
percentages. The presentation included three alternatives for rate
increases and city council members voted for Alternative 2.
City finance director John Morehart said that in 1993 Marysville
purchased its water system. Prior to that it was privatized. The
purchase price was in excess of $12 million. One of the major reasons
why the rates are higher than in other communities is because the city
has had to pay about $900,000 per year for the debt service on that alone.
Morehart said that Malcolm Pirnie ran scenarios, based on what would
happen if the city enacted a 5 percent, 6 percent or 7 percent increase
over the next several years. They determined that if the city went with
5 percent, then by 2009 they would need to raise the rates to more than
11.5 percent. At 7 percent, rates would need to be 9.1 percent by 2009.
Gore said he is trying to think of Marysville's senior citizens living
on fixed incomes and then having to deal with rate increases they may
not be able to afford.
"I get a little nervous about all the looking at this thing and what the
impact is on the senior citizens," Kruse said. "I happen to be one ? for
some time now. I'm fully capable of paying my water bills."
"You have been fortunate," Gore said.
Kruse said the majority of senior citizens in the city have the ability
to pay their water bills.
As a visitor to the recent committee meeting, Baker said he was
disappointed the public did not get a chance to speak. He was also
offended by the mayor's remarks toward senior citizens.
"I think he is pretty removed from reality," Baker said.
Gore said that he knows people who live on fixed incomes, who would have
a hard time affording the rate increases. These people also have to deal
with expensive medications and putting food on the table.

North Lewisburg workers to get wage increase
By CORINNE BIX
North Lewisburg Council members unanimously passed a 4 percent wage
increase for all eight village employees during their regularly
scheduled meeting Tuesday night.
Barry First, administrator, said the total cost to the village would be
just under $5,900. The pay increase will be reflected in the first pay
period of 2007.
The village will host a hometown Christmas Sunday, Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.
with a tour of homes. Other activities planned include caroling, a live
nativity, horse and wagon rides, cakewalk and parade. There also will be
food, a visit from Santa and a holiday concert at 7 p.m.
The council passed a resolution which requests an amendment be made to
the county all hazard mitigation plan. The amendment would request that
a shelter or emergency operation center be considered for North
Lewisburg in the case of a weather related or homeland security emergency.
First explained that the request would be the first step towards
applying for funding for a multi-purpose building which would serve as a
emergency operation center for residents in northeast Champaign County.
Council was updated on the wastewater treatment plant project, the
installation of water meters. The new water meter rate schedule is
planned to take effect in the late winter or early spring, about two
months later than originally expected.
The bike path is open and the final phase of the project is almost
complete. Signs and motorized traffic barriers still need to be installed.
The village will receive between $5,000 and $6,000 in state emergency
management agency funds for the December 2004 snowstorm and ice and
flooding in January 2005.
First thanked council for its combined efforts during 2006.
"We've had a challenging year with lots of projects constantly going,"
he said. "I want to commend council for being supportive and keeping
things positive in the community."
The next regular council meeting will be Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.
In other news:
.Heard the monthly North Lewisburg activity report for the month of
November: 10 traffic citations issued; 10 incident reports; 23 cases of
assistance given to citizens; 20 arrests made; four civil and criminal
papers served; 24 follow-up investigations completed; one instance of
juvenile contact; one civic activity completed and four auto accident
reports taken.

Recount continues
From J-T staff reports:
Union and Madison counties recounted votes Tuesday for Ohio's 15th
district representative, while the recount continues in Franklin County today.
Democratic candidate Mary Jo Kilroy gained an additional six votes -
three in Union County and three in Madison County, while incumbent and
Republican Deborah Pryce picked up seven votes in Madison County.
The official recount tally for Union County is 10,966 for Pryce and
5,623 for Kilroy. Write-in candidate Bill Buckel received 21 votes. The
recounted total in Madison County is 5,076 for Kilroy and 8,341 for
Pryce. Kilroy trails Pryce by 1,055 votes in the 15th congressional district race.
The recount took approximately six hours for both the Madison and Union
County Board of Elections.
Franklin County's recount is reportedly expected to be completed by Dec. 24.
An automatic recount was triggered when the difference between the
candidates is less than one-half of one percent. Three percent of the
ballots in Union County were handcounted to verify the tabulating
machine. The official count resulted in Pryce receiving 50.2 percent or
110,711 votes. Kilroy received 109,657 votes.
The Kilroy campaign has sued one of three elections boards conducting a
recount in her race, asking for the names of voters whose provisional
ballots were rejected.
The campaign doesn't want to view the roughly 2,600 ballots, but check
whether the Franklin County Board of Elections rejected them in error,
attorney Don McTigue said. The suit was filed Tuesday in Franklin County
Common Pleas Court.
The board follows a federal law that shields voters' identities, rather
than a state law that tells elections officials to compile a list of
rejected voters' names, director Matthew Damschroder said.

Woman sentenced for role in teen's death

By RYAN HORNS
The woman who allegedly sold the drugs that took the life of a Union
County teenager will spend the next eight years in prison.
Wyndi S. McDonald, 37, of 700 S. Plum St. was sentenced to serve those
years in the Ohio Reformatory for Women Monday afternoon by Union County
Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott.
Parrot gave McDonald three years in prison for one third-degree felony
aggravated trafficking in drugs charge and another five years for the
first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter charge. He ruled that both
would be served consecutively resulting in the eight-year term. She
faced a possible 23 years in prison.
In August McDonald was indicted on three felony counts related to the
death of 15-year-old Cory Simpson, of Milford Avenue.
According to court papers, on or about Dec. 22, 2004 to Dec. 23, 2004,
McDonald allegedly sold Roxynol generic Morphine to Simpson. Police have
reported that Simpson died as a direct result of using those drugs.
In a letter to the court, Simpson's mother Crystal issued a statement to
be read by her niece Sara Hecker. In the statement, Crystal wrote that
she is still looking for closure after the death of her son.
"I need to know everything about that day," she wrote.
Cory Simpson's father, John Simpson, also provided a statement to the
court, as read by his wife Jean.
"You had everything to do with his death," he wrote.
John Simpson said that the look on Cory's face when he lay there dead
will be forever stuck in their minds. Because of heavy snows the night
of his death, medical crews had difficulties getting to the home.
"How could you have not thought what that drug would do to those kids
you sold it to?" he asked McDonald.
Defense attorney Perry Parsons said Cory Simpson was a friend of
McDonald's daughter, which is why the boy was at their home.
Parrot asked her if she had any response for the court on the death of
Cory Simpson.
"I'm sorry that this happened," McDonald said.
Court files also show related charges have been filed against Hope
Gordon-Fisher, 37, of 690 Milford Ave., who was also indicted on one
fifth-degree felony permitting drug abuse charge and one first-degree
felony involuntary manslaughter charge. She allegedly permitted Cory
Simpson to take the morphine in her home and faces more than 11 years in
prison if found guilty and the charges run consecutively.
Union County prosecutor David Phillips said the case against
Gordon-Fisher is still pending. The next court date is set for Dec. 26 and 27.

Jerome trustees questioned about access to meetings
By CINDY BRAKE
A former Jerome Township trustee is questioning whether the current
board is following the law when it comes to notifying the public about meetings.
Freeman May asked the three-member board about a special meeting held
last week with the Marysville council and administration.
The Jerome Township Board of Trustees and Marysville City Council and
mayor met Nov. 29 to discuss future development along Industrial Parkway
from the city limits to Route 42. The two full boards approved a
subcommitee's recommendations to hire a consultant. A land use
subcommittee, with members from both jurisdictions, has been gathering
in unannounced meetings to work out an annexation plan.
Members of the subcommittee include Jerome Township trustee Andrew
Thomas, city council members Dan Fogt and Dave Burke and mayor Tom
Kruse. Also involved in the subcommittee are Jerome Township zoning
officer Kathleen Crowley and Marysville planner Greg DeLong.
In answering May's question, Jerome Township Trustee Bob Merkle Monday
that a meeting notice did appear in the Marysville Journal-Tribune, but
that no legal notice appeared because there was not enough time to get
it printed prior to the meeting.
May questioned why a notice had not been posted on the township hall
bulletin board or why an e-mail had not been sent to him. He added that
he has a request on file with the township office to receive notice of all meetings.
The Ohio Revised Code states that "the notice requirement for a special
meeting is that public bodies must establish by rule a reasonable method
that allows the public to determine the time, place and purpose of a
special meeting. The rule must require at least 24 hour advance
notification to all media outlets that have requested such
notification," states information in an "Ohio Sunshine Laws Update"
distributed by Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro.
Merkle said today that notification was not given because meeting was
not confirmed until the day before Thanksgiving, township staff was out
of the office and he was leaving town.
The joint subcommittee has since held another unannounced meeting on
Monday. Minutes are not yet available, said council clerk Connie
Patterson, who added that she had been advised by legal council that the
subcommittee meetings did not require public notice.
Also during Monday's regular trustee meeting, trustees Merkle, Ron
Rhodes and Thomas approved a recommendation by clerk Robert Caldwell to
transfer and accept funds.
Fire Chief Scott Skeldon said his department has been involved in
pandemic flu planning, parades and training. He said the department's
request for funds from the federal fire act were turned down. He has
also acted as a state representative to update Governor-elect Ted
Strickland about homeland security . The trustees approved a
recommendation from Skeldon to accept a mutual aid contract with
Washington Township Fire Department, Franklin County.
The board recessed into executive session to discuss personnel matters
and imminent court action. The ORC states that an attorney must be
present to go into executive session for imminent court action. No
attorney was present Monday when the board recessed.
Merkle said today that no action was taken after the 45-minute executive
session and no discussion took place about imminent court action because
legal council was not present.

 Child support roundup held
By RYAN HORNS
A statewide roundup of deadbeat parents resulted in several local arrests.
Union County Prosecutor David Phillips reported this morning that his
office issued nine criminal nonsupport indictments and sought the arrest
on 20 civil and felony warrants for men and women who owe child support
totaling $355,022.53. He said seven of the nine people indicted were
arrested by law enforcement over the weekend and appeared in Union
County Common Pleas Court this morning starting at 9 a.m. The names of
those arrested are expected to be released later today.
Phillips said one defendant pleaded guilty during court sessions and was
sentenced to 11 months in prison at his arraignment.
"Parents who choose not to support their children are facing the
consequences," Phillips wrote in a press release.
He said his office was joined by the Union County Child Support
Enforcement Agency, the Union County Sheriff's Office and the Marysville
Police Department in looking for the suspects.
"Ideally, we'd like to have the deadbeat parents pay their court-ordered
support," Phillips said. "But, as a practical matter, we exhaust most
civil remedies prior to indicting the cases. The Union County Child
Support Agency aggressively pursues contempt and other civil remedies
before requesting criminal charges."
Joe Float, of the Union County Department of Job and Family Services
also took part in the roundup and agreed that the indictments are the
last step.
"We do everything we can before seeking felony charges," he said. "Our
caseworkers suspend parent's driver's licenses, freeze bank accounts,
report obligors to credit agencies, suspend passports, intercept income
tax refunds and through Mr. Phillips' office, seek civil-contempt orders."
Float said that law enforcement officials were very cooperative and
always are willing to participate, despite their busy schedules.
Phillips explained that parents under court order to pay child support
can be charged with a felony if they fail to pay for 26 weeks out of a
two-year period. Each count carries a 12-month sentence. A conviction
for felony nonsupport means that future indictments can be enhanced one
level from a fifth-degree felony to a fourth-degree felony - which can
lead to more prison time for each new conviction, or 18 months instead of 12.
Counties participating in the Ohio nonsupport roundup include: Ashland,
Butler, Coshocton, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton,
Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Harrison, Henry, Huron, Knox, Lake,
Lawrence, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Madison, Mahoning, Marion, Mercer,
Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Muskingum, Ottawa, Pickaway, Richland, Ross,
Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Union, Van Wert, Warren,
Wayne and Wood.
Last year 359 people were reportedly arrested during the roundup. Ohio
collected around $2 billion in child support in state fiscal year 2006.
There are nearly 1 million child support cases in the state. Ohio has
the third largest child support caseload in the nation. It ranks third
in total collections and first in collections for non-public assistance cases.

The pride of two counties
Loss in state finals doesn't detract from what JA football team
accomplished

By TIM MILLER
Although the 2006 high school football season ended on a disappointing
note for the Jonathan Alder Pioneers on Friday, there is plenty for
which the school and community should be proud.
"The kids certainly came to play," said boys athletic director Chris
Piper as he watched the waning minutes of JA's 26-12 loss to Youngstown
Cardinal Mooney during the Division IV state championship game in Massillon.
Piper said the Plain City area easily embraced the team.
"The night we got back late from the Oak Harbor game, people lined the
streets as the team buses returned," he said.
Scanning the crowd which was announced at 7,840 at Paul Brown Tiger
Stadium, Piper said, "Just about all of Plain City is here."
Indeed, it would have appeared as though a "Closed" sign should have
been posted on the front door of the Union-Madison counties community.
"Everybody believed in these kids," Piper said. "We've been to the
playoffs for six straight years and all the kids' hard work paid off
with a trip to the state finals."
"I don't think this is the last time folks will see us in the playoffs,"
he added. "The coaches just do a great job of filling in the holes (from
players who graduate)."
Head coach Steve Coate said he believes the program is on very solid
footing. However, he added the challenge for next year's players has
become even stiffer.
"This team raised the bar of expectations for future Jonathan Alder
football teams," he said. "The standard is now a lot higher."
"We'll enjoy this season for a couple of weeks but then we've got to get
back to work."
"This game and season should be a tremendous motivater for us to get better."
The Pioneers will  lose 21 seniors from this year's team. Two of them,
Zach Fleming and Tim Beachy, offered their thoughts during a post-game
press conference.
They both agreed that being underdogs to Mooney motivated them to play
as hard as they could in their final high school game.
"We're disappointed with the loss but it was amazing to get here," said Beachy.
"It's been an amazing run," said Fleming. "Jonathan Alder has made the
playoffs six straight years and we seniors have been a part of it for four years."
"We've been a family the entire time."
The Pioneer Nation will say good-bye to Fleming, Beachy and the other
seniors. However, they may not be waving adios to a continued playoff run.

Hospital grounds to go smoke free
By CORINNE BIX
Memorial Hospital of Union County will be a completely smoke-free campus
by Jan. 1, 2008.
Carman Wirtz, vice president of human resources, said that a short-term
plan is in place to comply with the recently passed State Issue 5 for a
smoke-free Ohio, as well as a long-term plan to promote a healthier
lifestyle with a tobacco-free campus.
Currently, Memorial is smoke free within the buildings although
patients, visitors and staff can smoke outside. Modifications will be
made to the current policy in order to comply with the Dec. 7 deadline.
By 2008, no smoking will be permitted on or immediately around the
hospital campus.
The only exception will be for residents at The Gables at Green Pastures
nursing facility. Issue 5 allows smoking inside only if it's within a
residence. All staff and visitors to the Gables will be restricted to a
designated area away from entrances and windows.
Wirtz said a year-long program is in place to help educate staff,
patients and visitors about the tobacco free initiative. By Dec. 7, the
hospital will construct a "smoking hut" to be placed outside of the
emergency room entrance to aid in the transition. In addition, the
hospital will continue to offer smoking cessation classes.
The hospital board of trustees and the medical staff awarded checks to
four local organizations as part of the second annual holiday charitable contributions.
The board agreed to reallocate $8,000 in gift funds to support local
charities. Robin Wright accepted a check for $800 on behalf of Special
Olympics, Dave Laslow accepted a $4,000 check for the Union County Care
Train, Barb Snodgress accepted a check for $1,200 for the Personal Needs
Pantry and $2,000 was donated to the Union County Family YMCA.
The hospital has decided to shift to a new advertising agency after
almost two years with Sterrett Dymond marketing. Storandt Pann Margolis
marketing and communications will now represent the hospital.
Chip Hubbs, CEP/President, said it was time to make a change.
"We just weren't on the same page," Hubbs said, "We feel with the new
firm we will be spending our money more wisely along with taking our
marketing up a notch."
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss three issues
dealing with pending court action and to discuss a matter required to be
kept confidential by federal law and/or state statutes. No action was taken.
The next board of trustees meeting will be Thursday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.
In other news, the board:
.Accepted committee reports for quality review, finance and joint conference.
.Was updated on the upcoming Estes Park retreat to Scottsdale, Ariz.,
for the board and administrators. The hospital will pay for 15 people to
travel and attend the four-day conference in January. Board members were
given some initial scheduling information.
.Discussed whether to have a meeting in January given the scheduling of
the Estes Park conference. Board members discussed meeting for the
purpose of medical credentialing only while in Arizona or by
telephone-conference. Hubbs said he would need to consult the Ohio
Revised Code before a final decision could be made.
.Approved resolution 11.30.05.02, which gives authorization to finance
loans through National City Bank for the purchase of 388 Damascus and
660 London Avenue. This repeals an earlier resolution that allows the
use of bond financing to purchase the two properties.
.Approved completed practitioners applications for Dr. Christine Hudak,
Dr. Mahmoud Qadoom, Dr. Saul Scott Polsky and Rene Stover, scrub tech.
.Approved Dr. Victor Trianfo to sit on the credentials committee as a
representative for inpatient care.
.Approved the capital expenditure of $33,148 for an ENG machine for the
speech and hearing department.
.Approved the bidding procedures and purchasing policies with the county
commissioners which allows the hospital to enter into contracts with the
state of Ohio. No changes were made from last year's policy.

City to award CHIP grants
From J-T staff reports:
The city of Marysville is once again looking for homeowners ? in need of
free money.
The city has again been awarded the Community Housing Improvement
Program (CHIP) state grant to provide housing assistance for residents
who qualify based on their income. For those who apply and meet the
standards, it could mean free funding for home repairs.
According to Kathy Werkmeister, director of Housing and Weatherization
Services for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, last year the
CHIP grant helped some 27 Marysville families make roof repairs, update
plumbing, complete new electric systems or replace heating systems and
more. Homeowners may receive a grant up to $5,000 to make those needed
but expensive repairs.
"If you are a first-time buyer looking to buy an existing home, down
payment and rehabilitation assistance are also available to purchase
existing homes within the city limits," Werkmeister wrote.
She said to qualify, homes must be valued at less than $144,000 for all
programs. If a home is in need of major rehabilitation, residents may
qualify for a forgivable loan for up to $35,000 to repair or replace all
major systems in the home, including roof, plumbing, electrical and
structural and will address lead-based paint if present. The loan is
made at zero percent interest and requires no monthly payments. The
funding for these programs is provided by the Ohio Department of
Development and the city must pass out the funds by Aug. 31, 2007.
Werkmeister said there are guidelines: A family of four must make less
than $51,000 per year. Applicants are required to provide source
documentation for all household income and the determination is made on
gross annual income. Self-employed applicants are allowed to deduct
business-related expenses.
For more information and to see if you qualify, call Kimberly Kellogg at
1-800-886-6772 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The
program is administered by the city and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

Man arraigned on five counts of contact with a minor
From J-T staff reports:
A Union County man could spend 25 years in prison if convicted of
charges for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a minor.
Ramon J. Francis, 27, of 10045 Ketch Road, was reportedly arraigned
Tuesday on five third-degree felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct
with a minor in the Madison County Common Pleas Court. The crimes
allegedly occurred in Plain City against a 14-year-old female victim.
Francis has also been charged with misdemeanor offenses such as
contributing to the delinquency of a minor and obstructing of official
business in Union County, the Plain City Police Department has reported.
It was also reported that Francis has not had prior felony convictions
and has pleaded not guilty. He was reportedly arrested Oct. 17 by Plain
City Police. Their investigation began earlier that month after a
truancy complaint was filed by Canaan Middle School. The victim's father
then followed up that complaint with a missing persons report after she
was discovered to be missing from home.
According to a  article, Plain City Police investigated and learned
Francis may be a suspect. They arrived at his Union County home on Ketch
Road, where Francis answered the door. He denied that the victim was inside.
Reports show that when Francis' mother arrived home soon after, she
allowed police to search inside. The victim was then found hiding in the basement.
Francis has been released from custody on his own recognizance. A trial
date has been set for Jan. 29.

 

 

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