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Local Archived News  February 2006

 

2/28/06

     Richwood deals with water woes

2/27/06

      Hospital CEO given 5-year extension

2/25/06

      Veterans monument design changed

      His father's friend: Roy Rogers

2/24/06

      City will buy land with lump sum

      Hospital board shuffles members

      Marysville Post Office unveils new look

2/23/06

     Pastor found guilty after Internet sting

2/22/06

     Commission rethinks field fees

     New rules enforced at Jerome meeting

2/21/06

     Fairbanks levy questions addressed

2/20/06

     County receives  emergency food, shelter funding

     Marysville swing choir dominates at Teays Valley

2/18/06

     Tax season brings new challenges

     MR/DD puts renewal levy on ballot

2/17/06

     The end of the road for Indi

2/16/06

     Sewer line route passes one hurdle

     Mayor lifts moratorium

     Triad teacher resigns after guilty verdict

2/15/06

     County budget jumps by $1.6 million

     Mortar in the court!

2/14/06

     Tap-in fee increase looms

     Richwood reverses decision  on incentive policy

2/13/06

     County finalizes purchase of former Heilig-Meyers building

2/11/06

      Bears are back at the library

       Street repaving  list set

2/10/06

      City suspends sewer tap-ins

2/9/06

     Crime rates reflect increased population
     Law enforcement officials say more residents result  in more calls

     N.L. council considers parking problem

2/8/06

     Changes costing city money Marysville officials maintain city looked at numerous options for sewer lines

     Explanation of routes considered

     JA levy defeated

     Eagle Scout award to be presented

2/7/06

     Sewer line route draws more debate

     Unionville Center mayor resigns

     Fairbanks board sets levy at 4.4 mills

     Scotts, associates give $150,000 to vets monument

     Police investigate death of baby

2/6/06

     Back at home safe

     Two weekend fires in the area damage homes

2/4/06

     New 9-1-1 plan hatched; Spirit of cooperation continues between city and county

     Date set for local Relay for Life

2/2/06

     Sheriff presents awards to staff

2/1/06

     Disappearing act
  GI Plastek gave employees a half hour notice that their jobs were gone, then company officials vanished


Richwood deals with water woes
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Richwood administrator Ray Miller's biggest headaches are coming from under the village.
Stormwater issues continue to plague the village, whether it be flooded
basements, swamped yards or blown out field tiles. Add legal issues to
the list after Monday's village council meeting.
Area farmer William Foos was at the meeting, as was his attorney David
Pennington of Dublin. Foos farms fields off Ottawa Street and Hoskins
Road and claims damage by two 24-inch stormwater tiles which service the
Ottawa Ditch. Pennington said the aging tiles are suffering blowouts, causing
sinkholes on the farm ground. These sunken areas then cannot be farmed
and create a danger to farm equipment.
In previous dealings with the issue, council has questioned if it can
legally fund repairs to a line if a portion lies outside of the village.
Pennington produced a 1991 easement for the property that granted the
village rights to run tiles across the ground. He said terms of the
easement not only allow the repair, they mandate it. He said the terms
of the easement state that the village is responsible for upkeep and
repair of any damage caused by the tile.
"It imposes an obligation on the village," Pennington said.
Village solicitor Rick Rodger said the easement pertains to only one of
the tiles running under the field. The other, he said, was installed in
the 1800s. Roger also said the easement requires investigation to ensure
that it was actually approved by council, because the copy Foos presented is unsigned.
Pennington said if the easement was not properly accepted, the village
will have a bigger problem on its hands. Negotiating a new easement for
the line may come with a price tag attached, he said.
Miller attempted to explain the corrective measures the village is
taking. He explained that the village has currently been approved for
state funding of a stormwater project which will serve the east side of the village.
While that project does not directly effect the tiles on the property
Foos farms, it will serve to reduce the volume of water that those lines
handle. This should reduce the number of blowouts on the Ottawa/Hoskins
tiles and could allow for a smaller, less costly tile to be installed in the area.
Ed Bischoff of the village's engineering firm, Bischoff and Associates,
said the stormwater issues the village faces are so vast that they must be corrected in phases.
Pennington asked when the east side project could expect to be
completed. Bischoff said the money for the project should be available in July.
After the money is released, engineering work will begin, followed by
the construction. Bischoff said the work should be completed in 2007.
Pennington asked what would be done about the blowouts and damaged field
tiles until they can be repaired. Miller said he was willing to work
with Foos to make improvements to the field, until a permanent solution can be found.
He said funding the replacement of the tiles is a dicey issue because
funding the project is tricky. He said the lines serve areas outside the
village, meaning that the village should not be responsible for funding the entire project.
Those funding questions must be addressed before permanent improvements
can be made to the tiles that run under the land Foos farms.
In other business, council:
. Voted 6-0 on third reading to vacate an alley off Ottawa Street.
. Voted 6-0 on third reading to vacate an alley off Bomford Street.
. Voted 6-0 on second reading on an ordinance to rezone 196 Beatty Ave.
from R1 to BI. At the last meeting the wrong address was listed for the
property and council voted to amend the ordinance before proceeding.
. Approved a $600 payment to the Logan, Union and Champaign Planning
Commission for annual fees.
. Learned that the village is dealing with a company attempting to scam
the village out of nearly $600 for hand cleaner that was not ordered or received.
. Learned that an invoice for $7,600 was received from Bob's Electric
for work at the village water plant. Miller is attempting to determine if the bill is accurate.
. Heard from councilman George Showalter that vandalism at the Richwood
Park has increased since the first of the year.
. Heard an update on police department projects from councilman Jim Thompson.
. Heard Showalter read several questions posed in an anonymous letter he
had received. The questions focused on the actions of council and the police department.

Hospital CEO given 5-year extension
From J-T staff reports:
Memorial Hospital of Union County's president/CEO, Chip Hubbs, has
agreed to a five-year contract extension.
"In a very short period of time, Chip has clearly and impressively
demonstrated the ability to take Memorial Hospital where we all want it
to go," said past board president Ann Allen. "We're excited that Chip
agreed to extend his commitment to Memorial Hospital and Union County.
All of us are enthusiastic about what the future holds for Memorial
Hospital with him as our leader."
The agreement, according to newly elected board president Dennis Stone,
includes an incentive bonus. The bonus is based on two conditions.
Stone explained that Hubbs must stay the full five years and maintain an
operating income of 3 to 4 percent annually. He is then eligible for a
bonus that is equal to 5 percent of his salary. Hubbs' base salary as of
Feb. 1 is $250,029. He receives a 6 percent increase annually. The
average compensation for all Ohio hospital CEOs in 2004 was $474,167, Stone said.
This year the hospital recorded its best operating income ever - 5.49 percent, Stone said.
"Mr. Hubbs' compensation was benchmarked against the 13 hospitals in
Ohio most similar to Memorial Hospital in terms of revenues, beds and
number of employees. Twelve of the 13 hospitals were compensating their
CEOs at a level higher than we were paying Mr. Hubbs. Even with the new
contract, seven of the 13 hospitals still pay more," Stone said.
Hubbs said he is pleased with the agreement and believes there is much
more work to be done. "It is always nice to feel wanted and appreciated, but more importantly,
this agreement can help provide our organization and its friends and
partners with a sense of stability and consistency for the next five
years," Hubbs said of his conversation with the hospital board.  "There
are always constituencies that support the status quo, and to be a
positive change agent, one needs to be able to address constituencies
that may stand in the way of our continued growth and success.
"There's a lot of important work left to be done here, as we strive to
meet the demands of a growing community," he said. "We're in great shape
as we exit 2005, and this was a good time to have this discussion. We
are fortunate to have outstanding employees and volunteers, a great
medical staff, and a community that supports us. With this behind us,
there is no uncertainty about the future as we address some significant
challenges that lie ahead, and continue to implement our multi-year strategic plan."
Hubb's original contract was due to expire next year. Stone added that
the current market for hospital CEOs is very competitive and truly
exceptional CEOs are very hard to attract and retain.
"Mr. Hubbs ... is consistently sought after by other organizations. We
regret that, as a county hospital, we cannot pay at a level that is
consistent with Mr. Hubbs' market value, and feel fortunate to have
retained his services for the next five years. We have the CEO that we
want and our board feels strongly that Mr. Hubbs should not be
economically incentivized to leave Memorial Hospital and go elsewhere.
His willingness to agree to these terms speaks volumes regarding his
commitment and passion for Memorial Hospital, and his desire to honor
the commitments he has made in our local community," states a press
release authored by Allen and Stone.
Hubbs has been involved in hospital administration since the early 1990s.
He is a graduate of Indiana University where he received a bachelor of
science in public health with a major in health administration and
master of hospital administration. He also completed a one-year post
graduate fellowship in health system administration at Sinai Health
System in Chicago. In addition, he served as evening administrator at
the University of Chicago Hospitals, and in numerous leadership
capacities at the Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne, Ind. Most
recently, Hubbs was president/CEO of Community Memorial Hospital in
Defiance County from 2000 to early 2004. Hubbs came to the Union County
hospital in March 2004. Earlier this week, Hubbs was elected president of the board of directors
for the Union County Family YMCA. He also serves on the boards of the
Union County Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Union County and two
committees of the Ohio Hospital Association.
Memorial Hospital is a 107-bed full service acute care hospital, with
operational authority for the 112-bed long-term care facility, The
Gables at Green Pastures. With nearly 750 team members, Memorial
Hospital is the third largest employer in Union County.

Veterans monument design changed
Fund drive continues; start date may be pushed back
From J-T staff reports:
It has been a long road  trying to make the Union County Veterans Memorial monument a reality.
Memorial committee member Rowland Seymour, said that recent changes in
the design may help the process along. He also hopes that Marysville
administrators will lend a hand.
Seymour updated Marysville City Council on where the project currently
stands during Thursday night's meeting. He also asked the city for help
in raising funds to finish the monument on schedule.
"We feel the city would want to be a part of this project," Seymour said.
He said changes are being made to the overall design of the memorial
plaza. The aesthetics have been altered to be more compatible with the
Union County Courthouse. The size will be reduced and the monument will
be lowered into the ground, so as not to block view of the courthouse.
Seymour said the memorial would represent Union County veterans who have
served in wars from the first Revolutionary War to the present.
Because of the reduced size of the monument, he said, the cost may be
reduced anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000.
But Seymour said his reason for speaking to council was to ask for its
support. He said the project has some 500 donors, ranging from
California to New York to Canada. Those donors have raised $160,000 in
cash and another $180,000 in pledges. Seymour said that the plan was to break ground in May.
"But that plan may change due to a luck of funds," he said.
During the meeting, Marysville City Council President John Gore decided
to refer the matter to the city's Public Affairs Committee, so that it
can discuss in detail what can be contributed.
Seymour said that to date a total of 1,170 Union County veterans have
been registered in the record database. He said the committee has sold
575 paving stones that will make up the ground around the memorial.
"We're working daily to bring this thing to a reality," Seymour said.

His father's friend: Roy Rogers
Local man  investigates his family's ties to famous cowboy
By CINDY BRAKE
Longtime Marysville resident Roger Hiles took a trip down memory lane
recently and it brought him to the former home of the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers.
Hiles and friend Ken Hoover recently drove two hours to Scioto County
where Roy Rogers' grew up near Hiles' father, the Rev. Roy Hiles. The
Marysville resident had always known that his father was a boyhood
friend to the cowboy great even though his father was never one to say much.
"He was not celebrity struck," said Roger Hiles about his father. Roger
Hiles said his father preached several funerals for the Slye family and
there was a time when the Rev. heard a familiar voice and discovered
that Roy Rogers had come to town unannounced to pay his respects.
Hiles said his mother, Eunice, knew Rogers' sister who lived in
Portsmouth which claims to be the hometown of Roy Rogers. He recalls her
saying that one of the star's favorite things to do when returning to
Ohio was to sit on his sister's porch with a ball cap on and watch people walk by.
The white clapboard farm house that was once the home of the movie
great, Hiles discovered with the help of a relative in the area, was
located at the corner of two deadend roads - Roy Rogers and Sly roads.
Slye was Roy Rogers' surname. He was born Leonard Franklin Slye, but
adopted his childhood dentist's name, Roy Rodgers, as a stage name,
states a biography. Hiles recently purchased an autographed book, "King
of the Cowboys," online that was written by Rogers and wife Dale Evans.
On page 35 he discovered that his family purchased the Slye family farm.
Hiles said he has discovered several coincidences since looking into the
connection between his family and that of Rogers.
One detail is his name and that of his father - Roy and Roger. Then
there is the fact that the Hiles family purchased the Slye farm when
they decided to leave Ohio and move to California. Roger Hiles also
points out that Roy Rogers died on his birthday, July 6.
Wearing a gold chain with cowboy star pendant, Hiles said he grew up
with an admiration for Roy Rogers because he was a cowboy hero.
He recalls that when he was 8 years old he wrote a letter to Roy Rogers.
He wrote about his dad and asked for a gun. What he got was a hand
written letter, an autographed photograph and a miniature gold-plated
gun. He has since lost the gun and letter, but treasures the memories
even more after learning that Rogers paid out of his own pocket for all
correspondence to fans. He said the studio provided no support. Rogers
reportedly once received 75,852 fan letters in a single month.
Now, Hiles said he admires Rogers because he was "very down to earth."
He believes Rogers, much like his father, came from humble beginnings and respected everybody.

City will buy land with lump sum
Rather than paying for the wastewater treatment plant over time, it will be purchased outright
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville's administration announced the city will buy the future
wastewater treatment plant site in one shot, instead of paying it off over time.
City council president John Gore explained at Thursday night's meeting
that the administration placed a resolution on the consent calendar to
spend just under $2.5 million to purchase the land in Millcreek
Township. Essentially, the previous legislation on the purchase of the
land will be amended to reflect the new cost. The previous cost for the
city was around $2.7 million. Initially, Gore said, the city planned to purchase the land and then pay
for it with tap-in fees. "There has been a little shift in the wind with this process," Gore
said, referring to problems the city has faced trying to gain permission
from Millcreek Township to use easements to connect the lines extending
from the current plant to the future site. "We need to just outright buy the land."
But paying for the land in one lump sum, Gore said, the city will save
around $200,000 in interest costs. It is a move that some critics felt
the city should have done in the first place. "I think it is a pretty good deal," he said.
Gore added that a recent Columbus newspaper article referred to how
Marysville was losing $6,800 a day because of having to wait for
approval from Millcreek Township. He said members of council were
"offended" by the statement. He explained that city finance director,
John Morehart, had invested the $55 million going toward the wastewater
plant, through 5/3 Securities. "We didn't just put it in John's desk drawer," Gore said.
Morehart said by reinvesting the money the premium generated helps to
offset "most of the 2006 interest expense."
However, this morning Morehart would not answer specifically how much
money the city is losing per day.
Council waived second reading on the resolution, meaning the issue will
come back at the first March meeting for third and final reading.
Gore also spoke of a the recent Millcreek Township Trustees meeting
earlier in the week. He said for all that has been written of the rift
between the township and the city, he "couldn't have been treated better."
He said everyone at the meeting was very respectful and he looks forward
to working with the township and with councilman David Burke toward
resolving the issue of easements for the wastewater treatment lines.
In other discussions, after a group of local coaches opposed a possible
city sports field rate increase, the issue was finally resolved.
City council voted unanimously to table the proposed fee increase of $5
more per game for baseball and softball teams to use city fields and $20
more per game for football and soccer teams. As a result, fees in the city will stay the same.
The coaches Tim Hites, Roger McIntyre, Tim Messer and Marc Kirsch spoke
their case to the Marysville Parks and Recreation Committee, who then
decided to ask council to table the proposed rate increase. The reason
was due to the hardship it would create for area non-profit
organizations struggling to meet the needs to afford helmets, balls,
equipment, and umpires for the players. With their fees already paid for
by parents, the organizations would be in a bind.
In other discussions:
. Planning Commission chairman John Cunningham reported to council the
result of "a very busy month" of meeting regarding new development. He
said March is expected to be even busier.
In February member discussed updates on a development set for the old
Producers Livestock business property on Route 4 and Galbury Meadows has
it final development plan coming up. The Oaks development will be
discussed on March 6, the initial sketch plan for the City gate
development across from Coleman's Crossing, the Northwood School, the
future Pro-Rite Muffler location on Ninth Street has been approved.
. City administrator Kathy House said that the future skateboarding park
equipment has arrived and will be assembled in Eljer Park on March 6.
The items were bought with funds from a Nature Works grant.

Hospital board shuffles members
By CORINNE BIX
Thursday was an evening of hellos and good-byes at Memorial Hospital of
Union County's board of trustees meeting.
The board welcomed Chris Schmenk who will be completing the last three
years of former board member Sue Alderman's term and said farewell to
retiring board member Gregory Traucht.
Schmenk, 46, was officially sworn in by county commissioner Tom
McCarthy. She is the director of government affairs for Scotts Miracle
Gro Company. Born and raised in Union County, she graduated in 1977 from
Marysville High School, attended Ohio Northern as an undergraduate and
graduated with a law degree from the Ohio State University.
"I want to see the hospital succeed," Schmenk said, "and I hope to be a
good liaison between Scotts and the hospital."
Traucht has served 12 years, the maximum allowed, on the board of
trustees. He will be officially recognized at a retirement dinner this weekend.
"I wish you well, God speed, and thanks for the memories," Traucht said.
Memorial CEO/President Chip Hubbs updated the board on the potential
purchase of properties from MPI Real Estate. The properties are 388
Damascus Road and 660 London Ave. If purchased, the properties will
serve as medical offices. Hubbs reported that it would be another two
weeks before the final appraisals are completed.
"We should have more information on the potential purchase of those two
properties next month," Hubbs said.
Board trustees also were made aware of grant money received from the
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in the amount of $57,781. Hubbs
explained that this is a significant increase from last year's grant
amount of $25,175. The money will be used toward expanding mammography
screening and breast cancer awareness throughout Union County,
specifically providing services for uninsured and underinsured women.
The board voted to endorse the Smoke-Free Ohio Campaign as requested by
the Ohio Hospital Association. Hubbs said Memorial Hospital is already
smoke-free inside the hospital. Offering an update on Senate Bill 126, Hubbs said the bill is aimed at
unifying and eliminating inconsistencies in the Ohio Revised Code in
regard to county hospitals. There are 13 county hospitals across the
state. Memorial Hospital of Union County is the second largest.
Hubbs has testified in support of the bill before the Senate committee.
He has also met with the county commissioners to discuss the potential
impact in Union County. Hubbs said he didn't see the bill going very far
because there wasn't a consistent bond in the issues raised between all
the hospitals that would be affected. The bill is also not being
supported by the state association of county commissioners.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss the compensation
of an employee and to distribute an attorney-client privileged update
from the hospital attorney to board members regarding imminent court action.
The next board of trustees meeting will be March 30 at 8 p.m.
In other news:
. Marian Jacques of Big Brothers Big Sisters presented a Silver Partners
certificate of appreciation to the hospital recognizing its continued
support of the Bowl for Kids Sake Program. This year's Bowl for Kids Sake will be April 8.
. Approved the initial appointments of Steven Robinson, MD, plastic
surgery, department of surgery consulting provisional status; and Marc
Wise, MD, convenient care, emergency medicine convenient care provisional status.
. Approved the conclusion of provisional privileges for Abha Gupta, MD
rheumatology department of medicine active status; Sanjay Yadav, MD,
hematology/oncology, department of medicine, consulting status; and
Louis Salib, MD, anesthesiology, department of surgery, consulting status.
. Approved a one-year leave of absence for Karen Morrow, CNM.
. Approved bylaws 6.4-1 medical records.
. Approved credentials manual education 2.2-1.
. Approved the election of officers for March 2006-February 2007 -
Dennis Stone, chair; Chad Hoffman, vice-chair; and Bud Westlake, secretary.

Marysville Post Office unveils new look
From J-T staff reports:
The Marysville Post Office lobby has a new look with a touch of the past.
Post office supervisor Mike Long said the month-long lobby renovation
was made with the customer in mind and has kept a touch of the old.
Continuing to look down on customers are the painted mural of a farmer
and cattle which were part of the original 1938 building.
Long said 200 new post office boxes have been added to the existing 541
boxes and the service counter has been relocated to improve traffic flow
and access to retail products.
The cost of the renovation was not available. Long was uncertain whether
this was the third or fourth renovation of the building.
The renovation began Jan. 14 and was completed Feb. 22. Service
continued through the work. During the renovation, the counter service
area was relocated in a temporary trailer in the parking lot.
More improvements may be in the near future.
Long said the local post office is on the list for a new automated center.
The local post office adds 300 to 400 new deliveries a year, Long said.
Currently the Marysville office has 12,000 deliveries with 61/2 city routes and 14 rural routes.

Pastor found guilty after Internet sting
Entered no contest plea to two felony sex counts
By RYAN HORNS
A Milford Center pastor was found guilty Wednesday for sex crime charges
stemming from an Internet police sting.
Roy B. Burton, 55, of 25 W. State St., Milford Center, pleaded no
contest to one fifth-degree felony charge of importuning and one
fourth-degree felony charge of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a
minor Wednesday in Greene County Common Pleas Court, according to Clerk
of Court's Terri Mazur. Burton reportedly faces a maximum of 21/2 years
in prison and $7,500 in fines.
Greene County Common Pleas Court Judge J. Timothy Campbell found Burton
guilty on both charges. Prosecutors will "proceed with judgment and sentence immediately."
Court rules state that a "no contest" plea is a considered a guilty plea
without the admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the
indictment. A judge may then rule guilty or not guilty depending upon
the circumstances. Burton was represented by attorney David Orlins.
Mazur's office said the matter has been referred to the Greene County
Adult Probation Department for a pre-sentence investigation and report.
The final disposition and sexual classification hearing for Burton is
set for 10 a.m. on April 4. At that time Campbell will hand out either jail time or probation.
As a result of being found guilty of a sexually oriented offense, Burton
will now have to register annually with the Union County Sheriff's
Department. During the April 4 hearing, the court will determine whether
Burton will be found to be a sexually oriented offender, a habitual
sexual offender, habitual child victim offender, sexual predator or
child victim predator. The finding means he could face registration from
10 years to life. He must also report any address changes within five
days and the intent to move within 20 days or risk further criminal prosecution.
According to information provided by the Fairborn Police Department,
Burton was arrested on Nov. 1 at 2:30 p.m.
"Over a five day period Mr. Burton had engaged in chats with who he
thought was a 15-year-old female on the Internet," police reports reads.
"The 'teen' was actually an undercover Fairborn detective. During the
chats, Mr. Burton did solicit sex from the teen and made arrangements to
meet for sexual activity." Police reported that on the day of his arrest, Burton had traveled to
Fairborn to meet with the teen. He was followed and arrested without incident.
"Mr. Burton has advised that he is a pastor of a small church in the
village of Milford Center, near Marysville, Ohio and has been a minister
since 1983. He is married with grown children," reports also state.
The Fairborn Police Department said that Burton has been cooperating
with detectives in the investigation. The Fairborn Internet crimes Unit
has arrested nearly 50 offenders since October 2003

Commission rethinks field fees
By RYAN HORNS
Tuesday night a handful of coaches may have helped stop proposed
legislation to hike fees for the use of public sports fields.
The Marysville Parks and Recreation Commission met primarily to discuss
ball park user fees after receiving numerous complaints from coaches of
teams who use the parks. The coaches were able to raise their concerns,
and the commission voted to recommend that the Marysville City Council
table the ordinance indefinitely when it meets this Thursday.
"I'd like to thank everybody for their time and open minds and
thoughtfulness," baseball and softball coach Tim Hites told the commissioners.
The issue first arose in January when council began discussing an
ordinance to amend fees for various services provided by the city. Both
council members and parks and recreation commissioners decided to charge
an extra fee for the use of the fields. The reason was to "align (the
fees) with the Union County Joint Recreational District." The
legislation was set for third reading at a city council meeting Thursday.
The fee hike translated into $5 more a game for baseball and softball
usage and $20 more per game for soccer and football usage. There are
currently eight public fields in Marysville.
At the Feb. 9 city council meeting, Hites spoke about his concerns and
council decided to discuss the fees further.
City councilman John Marshall said the "overwhelming feeling from
council" was that it needed to be "looked into deeper."
Marysville Junior Baseball Softball Association president Tim Messer
spoke at the Tuesday night commission meeting. He said that three years
ago the city used to donate money to the MJBSA. When that stopped the
organization made do, but now the city wants a non-profit organization
to give more money in order to play on tax-payer funded public fields
that are mostly maintained by the teams. He doesn't understand what the
city is going to do to deserve those extra fees.
Messer said that by enacting the new fees for Marysville fields, coaches
would be forced to go back to the parents and ask for more money. He
said parents have already paid their fees and to mail that request out
to around 500 families ends up in $195 extra cost for stamps and another
$100 in letters - all extra costs that the MJBSA cannot afford.
He added that comparing Marysville fields to those on County Home Road
is not "comparing apples to apples," because they are very different.
The coaches and their families are the ones who put lines on the fields,
pay for all the equipment for the players, hire the umpires and
officials, take care of flooding on the fields by adding more dirt, drag
the dirt to keep the fields level, schedule the roster of teams who play
on the fields and report it all to parks superintendent Steve Conley.
Messer said that in 2005 the MJBSA donated $8,047.56 to the city and
Marysville High School to build dugouts in Eljer Park for the baseball
teams. Then the coaches built them.
Conley said that the city cuts the grass and drags the dirt on the
fields twice a week, as long as weather permits. It also maintains the
bases on the baseball diamonds. "I'm not knocking the city," Messer said. "They do a good job."
He said the point is that Union County Joint Parks District does
everything for the County Home Road fields. He offered a compromise,
adding that he recommends holding off on the fee increase until 2007, so
that coaches can prepare for the extra costs.
But Hites said he does not support the extra $5 fee at all. The point of
these teams and the fields is to help get juveniles out of the house
and  away from video games and television. The point is to teach them to
exercise, learn sportsmanship and be competitive.
The coaches explained that there are roughly 496 players involved, with
$50 per child it amounts to around $20,000 raised to pay for costs. At
the end of the year, they are often left with about $2,500, which helps launch the next year.
Throughout the meeting, the coaches added that they also hold
fundraisers throughout the year for the teams and local businesses help
out with car washes and golf outings. Those funds go to hiring umpires and buying equipment.
Another point raised by the coaches was that Dublin teams charge
hundreds more for sports registration and it's a testament to the
Marysville teams that they can get by with what they have - while still being competitive.
"I'd really like you to consider what you want to accomplish here,"
Hites said. "Do not pass this."
"You've got some good points," commission member Russ Jones said.
Other commission members agreed, adding that they had not understood who
might be negatively effected by the fees.
Member Rowland Seymour said he thought that the fee was going to be for
outside teams coming in to use city fields - not for local teams.
Marshall said that they had three options to refer to city council. They
could postpone the legislation indefinitely, amend the legislation to
start collecting the fees in September, or refer to legislation to the
city finance committee for further review.
The commission then voted 5-1 to recommend that city council table the
issue indefinitely. Commission member Deborah Groat voted against the issue.

New rules enforced at Jerome meeting
By CINDY BRAKE
At Jerome Township's Board of Trustees' meetings everyone needs to play
by the rules or get out. Former trustee Freeman May learned that lesson at Tuesday's regular
meeting. May's violation was having a tape recorder in his clothing. He
was escorted out of the meeting by a sheriff's deputy and did not return.
"All audio recorders are to be placed on the table on the right of the
audience at the front of the room," the agenda reads. "All video
recording is to be done from behind the line on the floor."
For years the meetings in Jerome have been video taped by citizens,
while other citizens have kept small audio tapes hidden in their
pockets. Audience members and even some board members had voiced
concerns about intimidation by such practices.
Earlier in the meeting, May told the board he thought they were wasting
taxpayer money by paying $93 for a security guard to be present at
trustee and zoning meetings.
Trustee Robert Merkle said the guard's presence is to assure that
everyone can speak freely and feel welcome. He added that May was
welcome to his opinion. Trustee Ron Rhodes added that after a recent
meeting a township employee felt harassed by citizens.  Tuesday night
after the meeting, the officer escorted the employee across the parking lot to her vehicle.
Trustee Andrew Thomas said he and financial officer Robert Caldwell have
rejuvenated the much-talked about Web site for the township. If all goes
well, he predicts it will be up by April 1. The board approved an
additional expenditure of approximately $1,000 that will allow employees
to download meeting minutes and keep the site fresh. In 2004 a
resolution approved a contract for $2,070 to create a Web site.
In other business:
. Thomas suggested that the township's two road employees purchase
uniforms from a specific supplier. The board agreed to provide a $150
allowance for clothing purchases and review the policy in six months.
The past policy was a $250 allowance annually.
. The board agreed that the township zoning officer will be the local
contact for all boards to a contracted planner.
. The board transferred $4,400 to pay for salt barn storage.
. Thomas announced that several road signs have been changed and are now
up to code. He added that some berming has been completed on Warner Road
with more planned as weather permits.
. The trustees are scheduling a meeting to discuss the public safety
officer program with Millcreek Township's board of trustees, the Union
County Auditor and Sheriff. March 14 was selected as a tentative date
for the public meeting at the sheriff's office. The meeting would begin at 7:30 p.m.
. The board approved a $2,500 expenditure to purchase materials for two
dugout structures. Patrick Sonnenberg sought permission and financing to
construct the structures for an Eagle Scout project.
. Rhodes said the Pleasant Hill Cemetery has an incorrect sign. All agreed it needed to be replaced.
. Merkle said there have been three burials in the township cemetery since Jan. 1.

Fairbanks levy questions addressed
By KARLYN BYERS
Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft answered concerns about an
upcoming bond issue/income tax Monday night during the monthly school
board meeting. He also talked about hiring a construction manager.
Earlier this month, board members decided to place a 4.4-mill bond issue
and 0.25 percent income tax on the May 2 ballot. The bond issue will
fund a 500-capacity pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary
school and demolish the current 1915 addition at the Milford Center
Elementary. The income tax will fund permanent improvements. The May 2
issue is a slimmed down version of a bond issue/income tax that was
defeated by fewer than 200 votes in the Nov. 8 election.
Craycraft said Fairbanks residents have questioned why the school
district hasn't applied for funds from the Ohio School Facility
Commission as North Union, Mechanicsburg, Jonathan Alder and Triad
school districts have done.
 Fairbanks has applied for state funds, Craycraft said, but because of
the district's financial stability the amount of funds is limited and
not available for six to 10 years.
District residents also have questioned why the board doesn't use income
tax money to fund construction projects. State law prohibits income tax
money to fund new construction, Craycraft said. Income tax can only be
used for operating funds and new permanent improvements.
 Craycraft outlined the construction manager's role and said funds to
pay for that position - generally estimated at 2 to 3 percent - are
included in the bond issue, as are the standard 6 percent architect's
fee. He said the Ohio School Facilities Commission requires construction
managers to oversee projects funded by the state, and that he would be
more comfortable with a professional overseeing any projects.
Craycraft also asked board members if they wanted to go with Ruscilli
Construction Co., which was hired in 2001 to manage a proposed new high
school and conversion of the existing high school into an elementary.
Those plans were not approved by voters, but Craycraft said the "open"
contract the district has with Ruscilli would allow a resumption of the
professional partnership with the Columbus firm.
Board members Jaynie Lambert and Star Simpson said they were comfortable
with Ruscilli. New board member Dave Huber suggested looking around.
Board president Kevin Green also voiced support for Ruscilli. Board
member Sherry Shoots was absent. Craycraft said he will bring an updated
contract to the March meeting. In other action, Craycraft asked board members to contribute to the
district's levy campaign. It takes about $6,000 to run a campaign, he said.
In other business, the board:
.Approved the Fairbanks Soccer Booster organization after Larry Nicol,
president, spoke before the board. District treasurer Aaron Johnson told
Nicol the organization can be covered under the school district's
"umbrella" insurance for $90 a year. That money would have to come from the soccer boosters.
.Heard a report from high school principal Jeff Parker and Richard
Rausch, intervention specialist, about the high school's special
education program. Rausch, new to the district this year, said the
program offers "a lot of positives" but also "potential challenges."
.Approved the Metropolitan Educational Council contract and Internet
services beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2011 for an annual fee of $18,600.
.Approved liability insurance through the Ohio School Plan through July 7, 2007, at a cost of $10,316.
.Approved athletic contracts for the 2005-2006 school year for Mark
Mehl, eighth grade softball coach; Matt Humphrey, middle school boys
track coach; Stephanie Fairchild, middle school girls track coach; and
Jon Rutherford, reserve wrestling coach.
.Approved the following athletic contracts for the 2006-2007 school year
- John Finney, head cross country coach; Carleton Cotner, head football
coach; Jenny Harral, head volleyball coach; Nevin Taylor, head girls
golf coach; and Larry Morris, head boys golf coach.
.Approved Candace Rucker as substitute cook and substitute custodian and
Pam Davis as substitute cook.
.Accepted an $860 Ohio Career Information System Leadership Grant from
Tolles Career Center. Recipient Barbara Croft will be paid a stipend of
$430 from the grant and the remaining $430 will be used for supplies and material.
.Approved the donation of two sets of DVDs and two DVD players from
Worthington Industries and The Classroom Media.
.Approved a trip to Spain by the high school international club from
June 13-21, and a stay at a Holiday Inn in Columbus during Mock Trial
competition March 9-11.
.Approved Mark Lotycz as a driver's education teacher (no compensation)
to teach his son.
.Granted free attendance to Brett Parulski for the 2005-2006 school year.
.Heard Craycraft say the May board meeting has tentatively been
scheduled at Tolles Career Center at 7:30 p.m.
.Reviewed changes to the policy governing use of Fairbanks school
facilities. Craycraft will bring the revised policy to the March board meeting.
.Approved the adoption of the high school course of study handbook for
the 2006-2007 school year.
.Held the first reading of paperback novels to be used for instruction
during the 2005-2006 school year.
.Held the first reading regarding 95 media books for the elementary level.
.Entered into executive session to discuss personnel. No action was
scheduled after the meeting.

County receives  emergency food, shelter funding
Union County is one of 25 counties in Ohio to be awarded federal funding
to supplement emergency food and shelter programs.
The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program is distributing
$14,903 to meet these needs in the area.
A local board comprised of representatives from the American Red Cross,
The Salvation Army, Union County Department of Job and Family Services,
Union County Health Department, Union County Council on Aging, the
Mental Health and Recovery Board of Union County, Community Action
Organization, the Union County Commissioners, and the United Way of
Union County will determine how the funds will be distributed.  The
board will meet on Thursday, March 9, at 9:30 a.m. at the United Way
office at 232 N. Main Street, Suite UW. Private or voluntary agencies interested in applying for these funds are
required to submit a letter of application to: United Way of Union
County, P.O. Box 145, Marysville, Ohio, 43040 on or before March 2, 2006
at noon. The letter of application should outline the agency's proposed
use of the funds and include documentation demonstrating their
compliance with the national board's requirements. Under the terms of the grant, local agencies must:
. be private voluntary non-profits or units of government
. have an accounting system
. practice nondiscrimination
.have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs
. if they are a private voluntary organization, they must have a
voluntary board.  Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.
Union County received $12,112 in 2005 as one of 30 Ohio counties to
receive this federal funding. The funds were awarded to The Salvation
Army's Homeless Prevention Program, which used the funding to provide
rent assistance to 26 households and assistance for utility bills to 25 additional households.
The selection to award funding to Union County was made by a national
board chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of
representatives from The Salvation Army; American Red Cross; United
Jewish Communities; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the
Churches of Christ in the USA; and the United Way of America. The
national board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress
to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas around the country.

Marysville swing choir dominates at Teays Valley
Editor's note: The following information is supplied by Scott Underwood.
The Marysville High School show choir, Swingers Unlimited, stunned fans
and shocked followers of high school show choirs around the state, after
sweeping all the top awards Saturday night at the Teays Valley Classic,
a feat which is rare among show choir competitions.
"I feel like we just won four gold medals at the Winter Olympics," said
Katie Paulson, director of the award-winning group, after the choir was
named the best in three special categories and upon receiving the Grand
Champion trophy. The Teays Valley Invitational Show Choir Classic was
held at Teays Valley High School in Ashville.
Marysville was one of 18 show choirs competing throughout the day during
preliminary performances. They were named along with six other top
choirs for the evening round of championship competition - Beavercreek,
Crete-Monee, Findlay, Piqua, Solon and St. Albans high schools.
"This win is a landmark one for us!" said Paulson. "In past years, we
only dreamed of earning scores so close to legendary show choirs such as
the Findlay 'First Edition.' Our kids knew what had to be done to win and they did it."
Before being named Grand Champion at the end of the finals competition,
Marysville was named winner of all special category awards - Best Band
Combo, Best Choreography and Best Vocals.
The judges also named MHS show choir veteran and junior, Aashley Morgan
as Marysville's Best Performer during the afternoon preliminaries.
Michael Robertson, Marysville Middle School vocal music teacher,
conducts the Swingers Unlimited instrumental combo. The group also took
the Best Combo trophy at the Poca Music Fest in Poca, W. Va. two weeks ago.
In addition to arranging the vocal and instrumental music, co-director
Jeremy Alfera designed the choreography, incorporating flowing tribal
dancing, high-energy driving rock motions and jazz moves.
"We even put some gymnastics in the show to let 'em know how versatile
and great our dancers are," Alfera said.
Marysville's choreography stood the test against other competitor's
ballroom dancing, full stage tappers and funky hip hop.
Vocally, Paulson and Alfera work hard to develop the modern choral show
style singing. Marysville has a reputation for a wide range of dynamics
and standout four-part harmony.
Both Paulson and Alfera are graduates of Ohio State University and have
sought the guidance of another OSU musician/choreographer and friend,
Armando Delahostria. They have also called upon the expertise of Steve
Todd, a freelance choreographer living in New York City.
"We not only have an award winning show choir, but I'm so fortunate to
have the best helpers to direct our kids," Paulson continued.
To enhance their trophy case, on Feb. 5, the Swingers Unlimited was
awarded Grand Champion at the POCA Invitational, vying with 19 other
schools throughout this region of the U.S.
"These two victories are big ones for Marysville," said Rich Rowland,
president of the show choir boosters. With the other tough competitors
in and around the state, it feels like we've won a regional championship trophy!"
Paulson assures that her show choir won't let this "go to their head."
"We always can try to be the best - which is very difficult when
competing with schools in our division. I'm sure our kids will use these
championship experiences to help them present their very best selves.
Show choir takes lots of sweat, dedication, physical strength, vocal
capability, quick thinking and endurance."
"It may not be a athletic sport, but its great having a show choir with
a competitive reputation around the state like our athletes do," Rowland said proudly.
The Swingers Unlimited travel to Twinsburg Saturday for an invitational
competition with 20 other schools. Rounding out the season, they have
two more contests this year in Fairfield and Edgewood, Ind.
To salute the MHS show choir, a pep rally called "SCRally '06!" will be
held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the high school auditorium to cheer for the
champions and root them on to more victories. The Swingers Unlimited
will present a portion of their competition show.
In addition, a vocal music concert will be presented at 7:30 p.m. March
2 at the Marysville High School auditorium. Among other vocal music
performances, the Swingers Unlimited will feature their show in its
entirety. Both events are free and open to the public.

Tax season brings new challenges
By CINDY BRAKE
It's tax time and this year brings several new things to consider.
Brian E. Ravencraft of Holbrook & Manter, CPAs, in Marysville said
preparation is the best tax tool but at this time of year compliance is on the minds of most.
While his professional services firm deals largely with businesses, he
said everyone can benefit by asking questions before making any financial decision.
Tools to consider when preparing for tax season include IRAs, education
credits for families with young children or hope and lifetime learning
credits for families that have someone currently enrolled in college.
Individuals with large capital gains, substantial medical taxes and
incentive stock options should be wary of an alternative minimum tax.
Everyone is subject to this, regardless of income.
For Marysville residents who received subpoenas about the income tax,
Ravencraft said that filing a simple exemption letter or the delinquent
return can satisfy the city's records. Subpoenas were sent to
individuals who had been on the city's records in the past but hadn't
recently filed. Ravencraft said the firm is finding that generally
clients have received subpoenas fall into a couple categories - retirees
or students. Students have generally moved away, while retirees pensions
are a non-taxing city income.
The Feb. 10 deadline for the much-talked-about CAT - commercial activity
tax - has passed and Ravencraft said the tax was "all over the board"
for his company's clients. The new state tax replaces personal property
and corporate franchise taxes.
Ravencraft adds that federal rules have been tightened about giving written tax advice.
Most written communication coming from Holbrook & Manter will include
the following disclaimer: IRS Circular 230 Notice: United States
Treasury Regulations require us to notify you that any tax advice
contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not
intended to written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of
(i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or
(ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any
transaction or tax-related matter.
The IRS offers several tips to those preparing to file taxes:
. Get the right forms, they are available around the clock at IRS.gov.
. Take your time, rushing can mean making a mistake.
. Double-check your math and verify all Social Security numbers. These
are the most common errors found on tax returns.
. Get the fastest refund by filing early and choosing direct deposit.
. E-filing is easy. It catches math problems, provides confirmation a
return has been received and gives a faster refund. Taxpayers who use
IRS e-file and have their tax returns deposited directly into their bank
account can receive their refund in two weeks or less - half the time
needed for paper returns.
. Don't panic. For problems or questions try the IRS web site or call (800) 829-1040.
Tax returns for 2006 must be filed by April 17. The traditional date of
April 15 falls on a weekend this year.
Taxpayers who cannot meet the deadline should file a Form 4868,
Application for Automatic Extension.
Once taxpayers filed their tax return, they can track their refund
through the online tool "Where's My Refund?"
The IRS expects to process about 135 million individual tax returns this
year. Last year more than half the nation's taxpayers filed their
returns electronically. "We expect e-file will continue to grow this year," said IRS
Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "We remind taxpayers that e-filing is
fast, secure and reliable."

MR/DD puts renewal levy on ballot
Magnetic Springs voters will decide on replacement issue for village
From J-T staff reports:
The May primary election will include two uncontested county races and
only one county-wide issue. The only county-wide levy request is a 3.8-mill renewal by the Mental
Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board. The five-year levy is
for operating expenses and will generate $3,771,000 annually. For a
$100,000 owner-occupied property with a 2 1/2 percent reduction that
amounts to a cost of $95.02 a year. Voters in Magnetic Springs will be asked to consider a 5-mill
replacement levy for current expenses. The five-year levy will generate
$11,000. The cost will increase the current rate from $126.40 a year to
$153.12 a year for a $100,000 property.
Dover Township voters will be asked to consider a 3.5-mill renewal levy.
The four-year levy will generate $122,000. Cost is $106.92 a year for a $100,000 property.
Fairbanks School Board is asking their voters to consider two items - a
4.4-mill bond issue and a 0.25 percent income tax. Cost for the bond
issue on a $100,000 property would be $134.76 a year.
The bond issue would repay $11,460,066 over 28 years and be used to
construct a new school. It will bring in $706,000 annually. The income
tax would be collected for five years and used for permanent improvements.
Running uncontested are incumbents Gary Lee for commissioner and Mary H. Snider for auditor.
The Union County Board of Elections will meet 9 a.m. Tuesday to certify the filings.

The end of the road for Indi
Marysville's first police dog to retire in April
By RYAN HORNS
This year the Marysville Police Department will celebrate the retirement
of one of its most respected and feared officers.
With the average working span of police dogs being five to seven years,
"Indi" has put in a long run after almost nine years on the force - or
63 dog years. He has responded to 851 calls for service and assisted in
the arrest of 217 criminals. The 10-year-old male Belgian Malinois has been working with the
department since he was 2 years old - always at the side of canine officer Dave Nist.
Nist said the difference between German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois
is that the Malinois have a certain energy and intensity that shepherds lack.
"I love that they have that hyperness," he said. "He goes nuts when I
walk out in my uniform in the morning. He has always had a great work ethic."
That is why Indi will be hit the hardest by the retirement, Nist said.
It will be hard to leave him at home when he goes to work.
Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol said Indi is scheduled to
retire in April. The dog spent a large portion of 2005 away from work
after a tumor was found and had to be removed. Because of health issues
and his age, they decided it was time for his retirement. Even with the
extended sick leave, Nist said, in 2005 Indi still responded to 92 calls
for service and assisted in the arrests of 14 people.
Because Indi has always lived with Nist, he was allowed to buy the
$6,000 dog from the department for $1, as a token of thanks.
"He's put in his time and earned his retirement," Nist said. "It's hard
because I'm so used to him. When I first got him he wouldn't sleep
because he was so excited. I would have to throw him balls up a hill
until he was anywhere near falling asleep."
Now Indi is mature and much more relaxed at doing the job, he said. When
the cruiser door opens for a drug search, Indi knows exactly what he needs to do.
Nist said drug dealers have told him that they will purposely avoid
driving through Marysville because they know the city has a police dog.
If they get pulled over for a traffic offense and are carrying drugs,
they knew Indi would find it.
Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said police dogs are normally
trained to search for drugs, go on patrols, search buildings for
suspects, track suspects, perform clothing searches and doing public
demonstrations for area schools.
One of Indi's career highlights was in 2004. Police located a burglary
suspect after the man crashed his car. Nist said Indi picked up the
trail of the suspect that led him across several streets and through an entire neighborhood.
"He ended up right at the guy's front door," Golden said. "He was in the
basement hiding and we were able to recover stolen items."
"There are so many intangibles to having him," Nicol said. "It's great for officer safety."
Nist said he once stopped a group of juveniles who were speeding in a
car on Weaver Road. They all got out of the car and ran into a bean field and hid.
"So I got (Indi) all riled up," Nist said. "And I got out the bullhorn."
He told the hiding kids that he was going to let the dog loose and made
sure Indi was barking loudly in the background through the bullhorn.
"Two seconds later they gave up," he said.
Indi was the only canine officer the department ever had, Nicol said.
The plan is to continue the program and the department already has
scouts in Holland searching kennels for another Belgian Malinois.
Golden recently announced that the department is going to send Nist to a
10-week course so that he will be involved in the entire training
process. When they received Indi, the dog had already been trained and
Nist only took part in a three-week program. Because of the longer
course, Nist will end up a certified dog trainer.
Purchasing and training a new police dog can cost anywhere from $10,000
to $11,000. Because Nist will be training the replacement dog, the
department will save on half the cost.
Golden said a large portion of the canine unit is paid for by donations.
Any local businesses who would like to contribute to the program may
contact the department at 644-9176.

Sewer line route passes one hurdle
Some issues remain to be resolved before work can begin
By CINDY BRAKE
In spite of numerous questions and concerns, the Millcreek Township
Board of Trustees passed a conditional resolution Wednesday that would
permit the city of Marysville to run two sewer lines down Adelsberger Road.
The conditions must be agreed upon by May 1 by both the seven-member
Marysville City Council and the three-member township board. Several
times trustee Bill Lynch assured the more than 50 people attending the
special meeting that if terms cannot be agreed upon, there is no
agreement. Marysville City Council President John Gore, the only city
representative at the township meeting, said compromise will be needed
on both sides. He said that he and city councilman and finance chairman
David Burke have held numerous meetings with Lynch in the past week to
move forward on the issue. The township board tabled a resolution last
week at its regular meeting after having less than a week to consider the city's request.
The city originally wanted to run a single sewer line through the Arno
Renner farm which is protected by a perpetual agricultural easement.
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse threatened to take the land by eminent domain
in November. After the Ohio Department of Agriculture said they would
defend the state easement, Kruse met with state officials in December
and discussed utilizing another route along U.S. 33. Since then Kruse
appears to have abandoned the U.S. 33 proposal and now wants to run a
different kind of sewer line in a 30-foot easement on Adelsberger Road.
When township officials tabled the Adelsberger Road resolution last
week, Kruse announced a moratorium on all sewer tap-ins, effectively
putting a halt to all new construction. This morning Kruse announced he
was lifting the moratorium.
Lynch said the present document, prepared by the city with additions by
the county prosecutor and engineer, lacks "teeth" if a 30-foot easement
is violated. A portion of the agreement addresses the city's responsibility for tile
damage, but sets a time limit of three years for claims, a period Lynch
says is too short. Another "real concern" is keeping the road accessible
for residents as well as emergency access. Renner's protected farmland
lies on both sides of Adelsberger Road and tiles running under the
township road, along with two open ditches, drain more than 500 acres of
farmland. Trustee Marian Jacques' list of concerns was much longer. She was the
only dissenting vote. "I don't like to be ramrodded," Jacques said.
Jacques and others have said they have tried to work with the city for
more than a year but the city administration has been unresponsiveto their questions.
Even if the agreement is finalized in May, many question whether the
project is possible on such a limited easement and if the double-sewer
lines will mean more odor problems for township residents.
Despite a working agreement, general distrust of Kruse and other city
officials dominated much of the discussion at the meeting. Statements at
the meeting reminded residents that city officials fought the township
to annex land along Industrial Parkway in the 90s.
Others said Kruse's more recent statements and actions have created distrust.
Attorney Robert Moore, speaking on behalf of Renner, said he wanted to
set the record straight. Moore said he wanted Renner's neighbors and
friends to know several statements by Kruse are "not true."
Specifically, Moore said the city never offered Renner $150,000 or land
elsewhere in exchange for an easement through his land.
Moore said Kruse's message has been "do it my way or get out of my way."

Mayor lifts moratorium
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse confirmed this morning that the moratorium on
sewer tap-ins has been lifted, but whether that will have any
significance for the future remains to be seen.
The Millcreek Township Trustees decided to hold off on a final decision
to allow Marysville's use of Adelsberger Road for its sewer line work
until May 1. Now all the city can do is wait.
"I'm trying to be optimistic," Kruse said this morning. "I just want to get the issue resolved."
He agreed that the situation has not changed much from where it was a week ago.
"It's probably still up in the air," he said. "I'm not sure. I have no idea at this point."
He said he has not been able to determine whether the result of the
Millcreek Township meeting Wednesday night was a step forward.
"Whether that really is a significant action, I don't know," Kruse said.
"I haven't really weighed up what happened last night."
The fact that the agreement could become "null and void" keeps the
city's plans to connect the future wastewater plant by accessing
Adelsberger Road on hold. He also thought that the city made headway
with what the township trustees want resolved, but now is unsure what
conditions they will ask before May. 1.
Kruse also commented on what he had hoped to accomplish by declaring the
temporary moratorium on sewer tap-ins over the past week.
"It pleased the EPA and showed our willingness to keep our commitments
with them," he said. "They continue to thank us for that."
This morning Mike Sapp confirmed that he had spoken with Kruse this
morning about the issues with Millcreek Township.
Sapp said he is pleased with the way Marysville is being aggressive
about resolving its sewer system problems. He said the Ohio EPA made
threats for years to previous administrations because the city has been
in non-compliance with its wastewater permits. The city had not become
serious about resolving the pollution into Mill Creek until the current administration.
Kruse said that he made the promise to Ohio EPA that he would have the
new wastewater plant connected and online by the end of 2007.
In this regard the city remains ahead of schedule.
Sapp said that the Ohio EPA gave the city the deadline of having the new
plant online no later than Sept. 30, 2009.
"I hope they can work things out with the township," Sapp said. "It is
good they are working ahead of schedule."
He said that the Ohio EPA has initiated fines and halted development in
other municipalities facing similar situations.
"We try and work with them first," he said.
The restrictions are usually avoided, Sapp said, unless pollution
becomes increasingly frequent. It is only when cities continue to add
more development - which in turn adds additional strain to
unsatisfactory sewer systems - that the EPA finally calls for a halt on development.
As far as the situation with Millcreek Township, Kruse said, "I don't
know if it (the moratorium) had any influence or not."
Now the predicament for Marysville is the unsteady future of having to
wait until May 1 before a compromise is reached by council and township trustees.
"That's another problem. We need to do engineering on the sewer line. If
we don't know definitely that we're going to be able to do that then how
can I justify spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to do that
route. That's a problem. So I guess it is progress that we agreed on
something, but what the long term ramifications are I don't know," he said.

Triad teacher resigns after guilty verdict
From J-T staff reports:
A Triad middle school teacher, convicted of contributing to the
delinquency of a minor, has resigned.
The Triad Local School District Board of Education met Tuesday and
accepted the resignation of math teacher Lisa A. Hay, 48, of Urbana,
according to a press release from superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger.
Hay was found guilty of two first-degree misdemeanors after a jury trial
in Champaign County Juvenile Court on Jan. 11, according to printed reports.
She was acquitted on six other counts and fined $200 plus court costs.
Specifically, Hay was found not guilty of two counts of furnishing
alcohol to a minor and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The charges stem from a July 16 party. An anonymous caller on Aug. 5
alerted Champaign County Children Services to possible impropriety.
Hay is appealing the conviction.
"Ms. Hay maintains that she is innocent of any wrongdoing and any
criminal conduct. My understanding is that she intends to take her case
to the court of appeals. However, the board could not continue her
employment given the criminal convictions," Kaffenbarger states.
Hay has been on administrative leave since the beginning of the school
year. Her resignation is effective Feb. 23.
"For the board and the witnesses involved, the teacher's resignation
will avoid the full evidentiary hearing before a hearing officer
appointed by the Ohio Department of Education. A full hearing is
required under the statutory process for a teacher termination, if a
teacher refuses to resign and if the parties cannot reach an agreement
to resolve the employment," Kaffenbarger states in the faxed press release.
In exchange for the resignation, the board agreed to pay Hay a stipend
for a supplemental contract she had been issued, reimburse her for a
portion of certain tuition expenses incurred before the start of the
2005-2006 school year and pay for the continuation of health insurance
benefits for six months as well as pay out early her accrued wages held by the board.
Hay agreed to not request or claim any severance pay or other additional money.

County budget jumps by $1.6 million
By CINDY BRAKE
County general fund spending is increasing by $1.6 million from 2005 to $18.2 million.
Temporary appropriations approved by the Union County Board of
Commissioners provide for a general 3 percent pay increase for public
workers, as well as increases in 37 of the 51 general fund accounts.
Office holders were asked to keep a zero-base budget and talk about
specific needs, "one issue at a time," said Union County Commissioner
Gary Lee about the budgeting process.
The board of elections has the largest increase in spending this year of
all general fund accounts, although the largest sums go to employee
benefits, building operations and law enforcement/court services.
Lee explained that the cost of equipment for the board of elections is
the biggest reason for the jump of more than $400,000. Most of this
increase will be reimbursed because of the state and federal mandates to
eliminate punch ballot equipment this year. A jump in the county's
equipment fund of approximately $80,000 is the local cost for the machines.
"We're not done dealing with the cost of these machines," Lee said about
the new equipment. Commissioner Charles Hall explained that besides buying new equipment,
boards are mandated to set up and test all machines at the same time
three times during a two-week period prior to the election. All machines
must also be tested before every election.
This has left the county wondering just where there is a space large
enough to set up 166 voting machines for six weeks. Hall said Franklin
County has rented a large warehouse to deal with the dilemma.
Then there is the concern of dealing with a new rule that allows anyone
for any reason to vote absentee 35 days prior to the election. Hall said
officials have no way of knowing just how many people will take
advantage of this opportunity. With this unknown, the board is trying to
determine how many voting machines to set up and how much extra
personnel they will need on hand to handle the early voters. Other
economic issues include storing the new machines, delivery and security, Lee added.
Listed below are the various general fund accounts and the approved
temporary appropriations for 2006 with 2005 figures in parenthesis.
Notes are offered for accounts with the largest increases in the past year:
Funds with increasing appropriations
Fringe Benefits - $2,088,873.27 ($1,898,834) Lee said benefits remain the same.
Maintenance and Operations - $1,676,557 ($1,469,000) "Heat and lights,
heat and lights, heat and lights," Lee said in explanation for the $200,000 plus increase.
Law Enforcement - $1,650,445 ($1,546,123) This is for salaries and is
dictated by union contract. The only other significant increase in this
account is for fuel, Lee said.
Jail - $1,441,440.85 ($1,483,863)
Commissioners - $814,357 ($808,323)
Board of Elections - $723,988 ($280,862)
Central Ohio Youth Services - $547,381 ($353,517) Lee and Hall said
Delaware County, one of the four members, had a dramatic decrease in
usage, while Union County's usage increased. Adding to the cost was a
new 90-day therapeutic program. Not seen in the line item is $75,000
generated from out of network nonmember counties.
Other - $535,890 ($485,000)
Veterans Services - $520,000 ($499,999)
Prosecuting Attorney - $518,710 ($210,481) Commissioner Lee said
increases are due primarily to one grant being restored and another expanded.
Sheriff - $506,697 ($498,096)
Investigation - $431,193 ($426,746)
Public Defender - $382,850 ($316,000) An increasing case load and the
loss of one of three law firms providing defense are the reason for this
increase, Lee explained.
Juvenile Court - $361,998 ($356,165)
Capital Improvements - $350,000 ($300,000) Lee said the county ended
2005 in better shape than 2004. Projects out of this account may include
sidewalk improvements, parking lot expansion at the Agricultural Center
and remodeling the auditor and recorder offices
Equipment - $333,669 ($250,000)
Risk Management/EMA - $303,507 ($201,448)
Clerk of Courts - $303,312 ($288,148)
Community Service - $293,561 ($286,514)
Data Processing - $288,000 ($280,000)
Agriculture - $269,687 ($269,091)
Other Health - $247,000 ($143,156) A new grant for the functional family
therapy program meant more dollars could be redirected to the local
Council on Aging. Lee said approximately $100,000 will be used for a new
program for the mental health of seniors.
Conservation/Recreation - $240,500 ($226,750)
Communication - $216,053 ($214,691)
Recorder - $174,840 ($167,759)
Treasurer - $161,026 ($156,155)
Engineer - $117,776 ($114,500)
Coroner - $96,680 ($91,921)
Juvenile Probation - $96,523 ($94,280)
Other Endowments - $94,647 ($92,094)
County Court - $79,250 ($67,000)

Mortar in the court!
Repairs at city hall disrupting legal proceedings
By RYAN HORNS
Justice is ideally blind, but in Marysville Municipal Court it must also to be deaf.
Construction at the court has been a nuisance for legal proceedings.
As Marysville Municipal Court Judge Michael Grigsby listened to a case
recently, gravel dumped onto the floor nearby. Every now and then
lawyers stop talking and wait for machine noise to stop.
The mess is both a result of the current roof repairs going on at the
Marysville City Hall, 125 E. Sixth St., and a growing need to either
rebuild the structure or find a new home at some point. Anyone walking
into the courtroom this week will find the majority of the ceiling tiles
removed and debris periodically falling onto the floor. During the
Thursday Marysville City Council meeting, thawing snows created streams
of water pouring from those holes and into buckets on the floor.
"We're doing what we can to make (City Hall) last as long as we can,"
Marysville City Administrator Kathy House said. "It's a very needy building."
Noise from workers on the roof turns from constant banging to loud
electrical machines operating, to one man using choice language to tell
another to get to work. People in the hallway were also treated to a
Monday morning radio show.
"I could hear the radio in the hallway," Grigsby said. "And I couldn't
figure out where it was coming from."
He said the noise was unavoidable because of the weather, work had to be
postponed on the roof and it left the court staff with no other option
but to work through it the best they can.
"I always tell the jurors that these are less than perfect conditions," Grigsby said.
A worse scenario would have been trying to conduct a trial in the middle
of the roof repairs., he said. There was one scheduled for Friday but
the case was settled. When the session wrapped up this morning, court
staff put tarps over the chairs to keep them clean.
House said $110,000 was appropriated on May 26 to repair the roof
because "it leaked like a sieve." This week the last stage of the
repairs happened to fall directly over the courtroom. She said the
building also suffers from basement flooding and elevator problems.
Grigsby said that he understands the work is necessary and that the
conditions won't stay this way. Workers are expected to wrap up the roof
repairs sometime next week and court session will go back to normal.
Moving or rebuilding City Hall has been a discussion current and past
administrations have had many times.
House said those plans will be on the back burner for many years due to
more pressing issues like streets, stormwater, wastewater and fire
department projects. A new City Hall is something that won't be
addressed until residents agree to an income tax increase "sometime way
down the line." Grigsby said the Marysville Municipal Court has been holding session in
the same room since 1985 when current Union County Common Pleas Court
Judge Richard Parrott was on the bench.
Because of the Monday noise, Grigsby said, the court moved some of the
sessions to the police department's officer training room. It is a move
he is expecting to repeat until the noise levels go down. There is also
the option of moving sessions to the county auditorium on Sixth Street,
but that has not yet become necessary.
Informal discussions have also been made to move municipal court
services to the former Heilig-Meyers building across the street after
Union County remodels the building to expand its office space.
Grigsby said no formal offer has been made to put municipal court in the
building. He added that he has no plans to move at this time.

Tap-in fee increase looms
Higher cost could greet developers if moratorium is lifted
By RYAN HORNS
Streets. Wastewater treatment. Stormwater. Recycling.
They may not be glamorous topics, but all of the top issues affecting
the future of Marysville were discussed at the Marysville City Finance
and Public Service committees held Monday night.
The most significant discussion during the city's finance committee
meeting had to do with an agreement to refer a proposed tap-in fee rate
increase to a future Marysville City Council agenda.
The engineering group Malcolm Pirnie completed a Water Master Plan in
December and the results called for an increase in residential and
commercial fees to tap into the city's sewer lines. It was an increase
that would bring the cost from $3,000 per Equivalent Residential Units
(ERU) to $4,450. According to the city's Water Master Plan, "If the capacity fees are
increased to this level, it is anticipated that recovery of the
growth-related cost will occur over the period between 2006 and 2015."
Councilman Dan Fogt asked if it was an increase the city planned to support.
"I probably wouldn't have a reason not to recommend it," city
administrator Kathy House said.
Fogt agreed, adding that the increase was recommended in the Malcolm
Pirnie study. The plan would be to put the increase through for city
council approval and then make plans to have the fee reviewed on a more
regular basis. City council president John Gore said the increase would place
Marysville "at the top of the scale"among fee structures in other regional cities.
Local builder Jim Wing said he would need a good explanation to tell his
customers why Marysville fees are so high.
Gore said that they would need to work on making an organized fact sheet
for anyone with questions. Some of the reasons are water quality, the
wastewater treatment plant and reservoir construction and avoiding Ohio EPA fines.
"The higher we keep going with these, it's just one extra cost that we
have - of course, if we have any more tap-ins," Wing said, joking about
the recent city temporary restriction on tap ins to the city sewer lines.
Wing added that he understands that rates have to go up because of
inflation and he can accept that.
City engineer Phil Roush said that Columbus is on the verge of tripling
its fees. Marysville is one of the only communities right now that is
trying to keep up with its costs.
Both groups heard about the Third Frontier Grant Program.
House said that the state would be choosing 12 projects this year to
provide up to $5 million each. The funds would help cover costs
associated with buying land or for preparing infrastructure such as
creating water and sewer lines or roads in areas set for economic
development. "It's very competitive," House said.
The city's goal will be to pick projects in need, she said, narrow them
down to the single most essential and then write up an excellent
proposal that will stand out amongst the other 87 Ohio counties.
The finance meeting discussion then turned to a topic Fogt had proposed
in 2005 - charging multiple users of a single sewer tap. The main focus
includes apartments and condominiums paying one tap in fee even though
there are several residences involved.
Fogt said that Pickerington is one of the only cities which is doing
this. Delaware City is looking at doing it right now. He said the money
raised from the change in fees goes directly into the city's capital
improvements fund which means that builders would be paying for a
portion of the new sewer plant or reservoir.
It was decided that Gore and Fogt would work on a proposal and have it
ready for the March meeting to discuss in further detail.
In other topics:
. The issue of raising impact fees was regarded as a work in progress
and finance members will provide an update at the March meeting.
. During the public services meeting, city councilman Mark Reams brought
up the issue of having a mandatory recycling program in the city.
Councilman Ed Pleasant said that the local Shriners had some success
with recycling, raising $55,000 for a crippled children's hospital last year.
Reams said he knows of the Solid Waste District director, who is based
out of Allen County. He would like to invite the man to speak at a
future meeting to discuss his proposal for a program based on charging
lower fees for those residents who create less trash through recycling.
Fogt said one of the biggest violators in the city are apartment
complexes, which don't provide recycling opportunities for residents.
Members agreed that the only way to get more Marysville residents to
recycle is by getting information out on ways to make it easier for them.

Richwood reverses decision  on incentive policy
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Apparently a little flexibility makes a big difference.
After voting against adopting the Union County Chamber of Commerce's
Economic Development Incentive Policy in November, Richwood Village
Council members approved the document unanimously Monday night.
The policy essentially spells out for developers what types of incentive
packages they can expect to receive if locating in Union County. Chamber
officials claim this eliminates weeks of negotiating between the
businesses, municipality and schools over tax abatements.
In November's council meeting members voiced concerns that setting a
standard for the entire county to adhere to was not in the best interest
of Richwood. Council members said they wanted the ability to offer
incentive packages that could be better than other areas of the county.
When re-approaching council with the issue Monday, chamber president
Rick Shortell said the policy does not lock council into any figures.
While limits are set in the policy, council could opt to offer a more
attractive package to a prospective business if it deemed it would be
beneficial to the village, Shortell said.
He added that deviating from the policy was something the chamber
discouraged because other businesses could demand the same offer.
"Everybody is going to come in and want the moon," Shortell said.
Shortell said Richwood should not see itself as competing with
Marysville to lure in new businesses. He said both areas offer different
benefits to employers, with Richwood's prime incentive being less
expensive land values. Shortell said the policy allows areas of Union County to gain an
advantage when competing with similar municipalities from other counties
to attract companies. Pat Hamilton, president of the Richwood Business Association, said she
supports the policy as a way to strengthen the business community.
"I think we're behind if we don't look at it seriously," she said.
Council member Wade McCalf pointed out a clause in the policy that only
offered economic incentives to businesses that produce a $500,000
investment in the community. He asked what the village could do if a
much needed business, for example a pharmacy, were to approach the
village with only a $400,000 business investment.
Shortell said the village was free to negotiate outside the policy, but
would have to get the North Union Schools involved with the process.
In November council voted 3-2 against approving the policy, with council
members Arlene Blue, George Showalter and Wade McCalf voting against the
plan. Blue has since been replaced on council by Jim Thompson and Scott
Jerew was absent from the meeting when the vote was taken.
On Monday each board member approved the policy, although Showalter took
a great deal of time to make his decision and voiced reservations.
In other business, council:
. Held first reading on an ordinance vacating an alley between 223 and
225 W. Bomford Street.
. Briefly discussed stormwater issues and authorized engineer Ed
Bischoff of Bischoff and Associates to begin preparing a list of
stormwater projects and costs for the village.
. Discussed parking problems on Norris Street during North Union Middle School activities.
. Held second reading on an ordinance to vacate an alley off Ottawa Street.
. Voted 6-0 to allow police chief Rick Asher to hire a civilian employee
to handle complaints of junk cars, high grass and excessive garbage on
properties. The employee will work from March 1 through Aug. 15, during
which time a full-time Richwood officer will be away from his job
serving a military assignment. The position will pay $8 per hour.
. Held first reading on an ordinance to rezone 194 and 184 Beatty Ave.
from R1 to B1.

County finalizes purchase of former Heilig-Meyers building
From J-T staff reports:
Union County officials signed a purchase agreement Feb. 6 for the
Heilig-Meyers furniture store at 128 S. Main St.
Union County Commissioner Gary Lee said there are no definite plans for
the vacant building but potential uses range from additional court space
to record retention and a business incubator. With a growing population,
the board realizes there will be a growing demand for services in the
next five to 10 years. "Part of our job is to look to the future," Lee said.
The Union County Board of Commissioners have agreed to pay $400,000 for
the two-story, 22,000-foot building from John and Joyce Gilberg,
trustees. Lee said the county will pay cash for the building from a
long-term capital fund and borrow to renovate. The 90-day agreement is
pending a condition/usefulness study to be released this week from
architects Meacham and Apel of Dublin.
Cost per square foot for the shell is $18.50 and renovation costs are
estimated at $15 per square foot. Lee estimates new construction would
cost $40 a square foot for the shell and $100 a square foot for finished space.
Lee said the board of commissioners has been considering the purchase
for the past six to eight months
The "long-term vision" for the space includes the possibility of court
space for a third judge. Lee said Common Pleas Judge Richard Parrott and
Probate/Juvenile Judge Charlotte Eufinger have discussed the possibility
that within the next two to three years the state legislature will
consider adding a third judge to the county.
Another vision is to create space for record retention. Lee said records
are currently scattered everywhere and in less than appropriate
conditions and security. Evidence storage for the sheriff is also on the
possibility list, as well as a space for a business incubator.
"We're looking at all our options," said Union County Commissioner Tom McCarthy.

Bears are back at the library
By KARLYN BYERS
Literacy United is encouraging Union County residents to "be excited
about reading" and support its bear display at the Marysville and
Richwood public libraries.
Area businesses are promoting literacy by sponsoring stuffed bears made
by the "Stitching Post" at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Each bear is
costumed by its sponsor to represent a character depicted in a book
written or illustrated by an Ohio person.
Each sponsor pays a $50 "foster care" fee that covers the cost of the
bear and the book on which the character is based. Book selections can
be fiction or non-fiction, children's, youth or adult literature. This
year's theme is "Celebrate Ohio."
"I think it's a wonderful activity to get people excited about
literature and what we're doing," said Cheryl Hagerty, Literacy United coordinator.
Bears will be on display from Valentine's Day until March 13, when they
will be auctioned from 6 to 8 p.m. at the County Services Building by
Henry Stanley III of Stanley & Son Inc.
Fifteen bears will be on display at Marysville's Plum Street library,
with the remaining five on display at the Richwood Library at Ottawa and Franklin streets.
Library patrons can vote with monetary donations for their favorite
character. Votes are computed on a penny basis; for instance, $1 will
count as 100 votes, 50 cents as 50 votes, a nickel as five votes, etc.
The deadline for casting votes is March 8.
Donations will be used to fund library projects. Auction proceeds will
support adult literacy activities through Literacy United. The five
bears that earn the most votes - four from the Marysville Library and
one from Richwood - will be "live" auctioned, with the remaining bears
selling at silent auction.
This is the fourth year Literacy United has sponsored the bear contest.
The first year, the organization winged it without a theme. That was
followed by characters featured in Dr. Suess books and last year's "It's
A Small World," with characters such as Puss 'n' Boots, Pinnochio and
Sherlock Holmes depicted. This year's characters may be viewed on the Internet after they go on
display on Feb. 14. Patrons may go to the Marysville Library's Web site
at
www.marysvillelib.org and use a "hot link" to the GED Web site, which
will display all bears entered. Hagerty has been involved in adult literacy since 1978, first in
Delaware County and since 1992 in Union County. She calls her job a
"mission," and talks about the excitement of seeing students become
literate and succeed at life.
She also praised the Union County Commissioners for their support of the
county's ABLE (Adults Basic and Literacy Education), GED (General
Education Development) and Literacy United programs.
"We're very fortunate ... We would not be in existence without (the
commissioners') support," she said.

Street repaving  list set
From J-T staff reports:
The list has been set for the second phase of Marysville street repaving.
Mayor Tom Kruse announced the new list of streets at the Thursday night
city council meeting. Roads are set to be repaved when the weather warms up.
"It's a pretty significant group of streets," Kruse said. "We're looking
to put that out to bid very shortly."
He said the final list is set for the repaving of the following streets:
. Bay Laurel Drive, from Millwood Boulevard to pavement change
. Beech Drive, off Collins Avenue
. Buerger Court, from Connolly Street to end)
. Cherry Street, from Five Points to Fourth Street
. Chestnut Street, from Sixth to Tenth streets
. Collingwood Court. off of Collingwood Drive
. Court Street, from Third to Eighth streets
. East Fourth Street, from Main to Cherry streets
. Elm Street, from Eighth to Ninth streets
. Fairfield Drive, Greenwood Boulevard to Rosewood Drive
. Fairwood Drive, off Collins Avenue
. Fox Drive, off Beech Drive
. Grove Street, from Collins Avenue to Sherwood Drive
. Hickory Drive, from Vankirk Drive to Sherwood Drive
. Lantern Drive, off Cherry Street
. Linden Street, from Seventh Street to Collins Avenue
. Maple Street, from Mill Creek Bridge to Eighth Street
. Maple Street, Collins to Milford Avenues
. Olive Street, from Fourth to Fifth streets
. Park Avenue, from Fifth Street to the concrete
. Rosewood Drive, from Greenwood Boulevard to Collingwood Drive
. Sherwood Drive, from Grove to Hickory streets
. Surrey Lane, from Cherry Street to the end
. Toby Court, off Rosewood Drive
. Wagon Wheel Lane, off Surrey Lane
Kruse said one highlight of 2006 repaving projects has been the paving
work scheduled for Eljer Park and Schwartzkopf Park - both to be paid
for with parkland funds. Other projects received additional funding from outside sources.
. Work will be done on Third Street, from Maple to Main streets, to be
paid for with CDBG Formula funds.
. State Route 31, from Mill Road to Maple Street and Elwood Avenue to
Main Street will be paved with ODOT Urban Paving Funds, which the city
matched. This also includes work on State Routes 31 and 38, at Main
Street, from Elwood Avenue to Eighth Street.
Kruse said work on contingency streets will only be completed if funds allow at:
. Lee's Place, from Third Street to Fifth Street
. Mary's Place, from Third Street to Fifth Street
. Mulberry Street to Seventh Street to Collins Avenue
. Weaver Road, from the Airport South to city limits

City suspends sewer tap-ins
Move could  delay new  elementary school construction
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse and city council have stopped development in the area.
Kruse declared a temporary restriction on all future permits allowing
connection to the city's sanitary sewer lines. It includes all
structures, whether inside the city, or outside the corporation limits.
It includes any permit which hasn't been paid for as of Thursday.
Marysville city council members unanimously passed a resolution to offer
support for the restriction. The decision begs the question of whether a restriction on tap-in
permits will effect the future of new schools and developments set for
construction in Marysville. It also raises the point of what the city
hopes to gain by essentially halting development plans, when stopping
development is exactly what Millcreek Townships residents want.
"This self-imposed restriction is necessary because of the current
uncertainty of the timing of improvements to the city's sewer system for
construction and operation of a new Water Reclamation Facility and
related trunk sewers," Kruse wrote in a media release. "The uncertainty
is caused by the timing of obtaining some easements for construction of
sanitary sewer lines connecting the city's existing system to the
proposed WRF site. Reconsideration of this restriction will be made when
resolution of the easement issue is achieved."
City administrator Kathy House said the restrictions do not effect
developments already under construction, such as the Wal-Mart
Supercenter and Applebee's. She said it would effect Connolly
Construction's City Gate plans. Developer Phil Connolly was unavailable
for comment this morning. The city's decision also will affect the construction of Marysville
Schools' Northwood Elementary. "Hopefully this will get worked out and there is a happy ending, but
right now I'm concerned," Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said this morning.
Zimmerman added that he has tried to "call the city several times ... We
have to work this out in a hurry."
Construction of the school, to be built north of the existing Creekview
Intermediate School, is due to begin in March. If construction doesn't
begin on time, Zimmerman said the project could be pushed out a year,
meaning it won't be completed by the fall of 2007.
That would be unfortunate, Zimmerman said, because the school district
is reacting to growth that has already occurred, which has already
impacted district classrooms. Kruse reiterated that the city went over all "suggestions and
objections" on where to direct the interceptor sewer route. They
narrowed down eight or nine options to four and then decided upon a
route along Adelsberger Road. He said the city then asked Millcreek
Township to pass a resolution allowing Marysville to work along the
roadway easement. Last Monday the issue was brought up during a township
meeting but the matter was tabled.
Along the section of Adelsberger Road where the lines would go in, Kruse
said, there are four homes. Three of those homeowners have come to terms
with the city and have been working with them on a friendly basis.
He pointed out that at the Monday township meeting only one of the
Adelsberger Road homeowners was present. He said it appears that there
is a group of people in Millcreek Township whose only goal is to impede
the city's efforts to build the new wastewater treatment plant.
"We have come to the conclusion that we have no compromise left in the
bag," Kruse said. He said Marysville can either got to court over its right to the
easement or start an annexation petition to bring the area into the city
and move forward. Millcreek Township trustee Marian Jacques addressed the other side of
the issue this morning. She said it is not that the township is not
willing to work with Kruse. She said the trustees only found out about
the Adelsberger Road route a week before the Feb. 6 township meeting.
"We were not given any time," Jacques said. "We've got to have some
written guarantees." She said the trustees would not be doing their job if they weren't
trying to get as much information as possible on such a major project.
No city official attended Monday's Millcreek Township Trustee meeting.
As a result, Jacques said, trustees have set a Feb. 15 special meeting
at 8 p.m. in order to discuss the issue before their regularly scheduled meeting.
"It seems in some cases (the situation) is being portrayed as rural
versus city," Marysville Councilman Mark Reams said. "I guess I resent
that . I'm not anti-farm." He said he doesn't think the city should be bullied by Millcreek
Township residents, the State Department of Agriculture or the Union
County Farm Bureau. The state would not allow the use of the Renner
property because of an agricultural easement, forcing the city  to change its plans.
Kruse said that the Union County Farm Bureau has offered no compromise
and has only been making matters worse, "throwing molotov cocktails at meetings."
"I find it irresponsible and quite frankly, it is just an organization
looking for a cause to justify their existence," he said.
Kruse then brought the point back to what started the process of
building a new wastewater treatment plant in the first place: The city's
current plant is only made to treat 4 million gallons per day. The
average flow being treated right now is 4.1 MGD. That means that every
day the plant cannot treat 100,000 gallons of sewage, which goes back
into the waterways.
Kruse said Marysville has been working with the Ohio Environmental
Protection Agency to plan for projects necessary to meet National
Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit requirements for both the
existing and future plants. It's a situation that the OEPA isn't going
to put up with unless the city sticks to its plans for building the new plant.
"I think I would be remiss at this point if I allowed the situation to
continue without any idea when to resolve the problem with capacity at the plant," Kruse said.
Kruse said in the end, delays to the project will be felt by Marysville taxpayers.
Marysville has already invested $55 million into the new treatment plant
and will invest another $55 million. He wondered if people realized how
much interest $55 million accrues in one day.
"Some people think it's cute," Kruse said, "but it's hurtful and expensive."

Crime rates reflect increased population
Law enforcement officials say more residents result  in more calls

By RYAN HORNS
Many new people came to Union County in 2005 and not all were law-abiding citizens.
Law enforcement officials are attributing an increase in crime last year
to a steadily growing population.
Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol summed up the year by
putting it in perspective. He said the department received a 7 percent
increase in emergency calls. While that doesn't seem like much, in the
larger context it can add up.
"Since 2001 we've had a 40 percent increase in events," Nicol explained.
What this highlights is a general and steady increase of crime happening
throughout the city. Much like 2004, Nicol attributes the rising crime
rates to population growth. Marysville police received 11,995 calls in
2005. That figure is up more than 1,000 calls since 2004.
He also pointed out that even with this increase in emergency calls, the
police department responds to those incidents with one fewer officer
than it had in 2001 - showing a need that may become more serious as
development and people pour into the region over the next few years.
Specifically to 2005, Nicol said there were changes in certain types of
crime reports, but there was no major component or overall increase.
Violent crimes are up, but the figures are consistent with normal
population growth. One major decrease was in criminal damaging. He said
reports went from 18 in 2001 to 8 in 2005. Throughout the year, police
and sheriff's deputies have also been dealing with the criminal abuse of prescription drugs.
"A notable increase would be in the burglary area and theft from motor
vehicles," he said. "That's one that has consistently grown."
A string of break-ins and burglaries may have increased the calls for
those crimes, but Nicol pointed out that those ended with the arrest of
the man responsible. Nicol said as crime rates go up, there is an expected trend that traffic
citations will go down. The reason is because officers are too busy
responding to emergency calls to proactively patrol the streets.
"It's consistent throughout the country," he said.
Nicol said one step forward in 2005 was the addition of the Taser
weapon. Officers underwent training for the new tool and it came in handy.
"Over that time there were eight uses of the Tasers," Nicol said. "One
of those was a life-saving use."
Early in the winter a woman suffering mental illness problems went to
the Marysville Fire Department with a large butcher knife and began
smashing windows, cutting her body and threatening officers with the weapon.
"Without the Taser, the only other way to stop that threat was the use
of deadly force," Nicol said.
Fortunately, officers were able to arrest the woman safely and get her
the medical treatment she needed. Nicol said thanks to the Taser she is
alive today.
----
At the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Marysville Post, Lt. Marla Gaskill
said the overall goal for troopers is to work at keeping crash fatalities down.
"It would be great if there were none at all," she said.
Gaskill said they try and make roads as safe as possible, by trying to
educate the public on what dangers are out there. The Marysville post
covers the tri-county area of Union, Champaign and Logan counties.
In 2004, she said the hope was to have six or fewer fatalities in Union
County. By the end of the year, only six were documented and the post
met its prevention goal. In 2005, Gaskill said, the patrol worked at
trying to achieve under seven fatalities in Union County and succeeded
in only having five for the entire year. Out of all five traffic
fatalities in Union County in 2005, in every case the victim was not
wearing a seat belt. Three of those deaths were alcohol related - which
shows that all of them could have been prevented.
From the Union County results, she said that it may appear that the
patrol post is succeeding in keeping highway deaths down. But there is a
difference between crash fatality numbers in Union County compared to
the surrounding counties. In 2004 there were 12 crash fatalities in
Champaign County and nine in 2005. The significant difference shows
troopers that more attention is needed in these areas.
To display how many people still continue to drink alcohol and drive,
Gaskill said that troopers cited 336 people for operating a vehicle
intoxicated in 2005. This was over the entire tri-county area.
All the post can do is try and step up education on traffic safety, she
said. So media releases often address wearing seat belts in the front
and back seats, no drinking and driving and avoiding aggressive roadway behavior.
"Just drive responsibly," Gaskill said.
She stressed that a growing problem in all three counties has been
aggressive driving. These crimes can include anything from road rage
assaults, failure to yield at a traffic light, to speeding and illegally
passing stopped school buses. They plan to focus on these crimes in 2006.
---
At the Union County Sheriff's Office, a total of 10,722 calls were
reported in 2005. Since 2000, that is a total increase of 4,414 calls -
showing nearly double the need for service among county residents.
Growth has also been listed as the major cause.
Two crime areas that experienced the highest increase are thefts and
aggravated menacing crimes. The number of thefts have doubled since 2000
and aggravated menacing went up from 1 report in 2000 to 11 in 2005.
Similar increases were reported in traffic crimes, such as drunk
driving. There were 212 of these arrests in 2005, up from 131 in 2000.
The increase in thefts from 2000 to 2005 is directly related to the
increase in residential and commercial development going on.
"The case load of our investigative staff continues to increase," Lt.
Jamie Patton said, who is the commander of the investigative division..
Due to grant funding, he said, the sheriff's office has been able to
focus more attention on traffic-related complaints, including aggressive
and drunk drivers. "Historically, traffic complaints have been one of the most common
complaints we receive year after year," Union County Sheriff Rocky
Nelson said. As a result, the office has gone after grant funding to
increase traffic enforcement efforts since 2000. The grants pay for
overtime hours, specifically to address the traffic complaints.
From 2000 to 2005, Chief Deputy Tom Morgan said, the sheriff's office
continued to work with townships in the county, in order to maintain and
expand the public safety officer program. The PSOs are assigned to two
and three township districts and are cross-trained as fire fighters and
emergency medical technicians.
He said that from 2000 to 2005, the average response time for PSOs going
to emergencies was four-and-a-half minutes.
Morgan also reported that Union County Sheriff's Office has initiated
several crime prevention programs to educate the public on how to
protect themselves and their property. Since 2004, more than 21
Neighborhood Watch groups were started throughout the county. The
Community Education Bureau within the sheriff's office continues to
teach safety skills to children in the North Union, Marysville and parochial school districts.

N.L. council considers parking problem
By CORINNE BIX
North Lewisburg Village Council decided to hold off approving an
ordinance that would restrict the parking of trailers, RV's and certain
motor vehicles on streets, right of ways, public property, roads and highways.
Officer Glenn Kemp said the initial wording of ordinance 239 was meant
as a first step aimed at solving a larger problem.
The village street department has experienced difficulties navigating
narrow streets when attempting to plow snow.
Council member Curtis Burton said that the wording of the ordinance
needed to be fine-tuned in order to target the specific problem of
removing large recreational type vehicles especially in the event of a snow emergency.
Kemp explained that the ordinance was not aimed at anyone specifically.
Burton suggested amending the ordinance to include a possible time limit
or limiting parking to one side of the street.
Barry First, village administrator, asked that council take the various
suggestions into consideration before revisiting the ordinance at a future meeting.
Burton reported from last month's fire board meeting. The Northeast
Champaign County Fire District (NECCFD) is a taxing entity subdivision
that serves North Lewisburg, Woodstock, Rush Township and Wayne Township.
The fire board is comprised of firefighters along with representatives
from the various areas the NECCFD serves.
The NECCFD is based out of the village's municipal building, and the
fire board has been discussing for some time ways to expand on already cramped quarters.
Various options have been discussed from expanding the current municipal
building to the construction of a new fire station, however, how those
projects would be funded is a top concern.
It was decided at the council's special meeting on Jan. 17 that members
would work to create an open dialogue with the fire board in hopes to
find an amicable solution for both parties.
Burton said the board appreciated village council members attending the
January meeting. "The consensus I got is that they are happy that we are working with
them to try and find an answer," Burton said.
Gary Silcott, village engineer, presented the six water meter
installation bids to council. Utility Sales Agency is the apparent low
bid at $216,368 for the project. Silcott's initial estimate was $230,000.
"If everything checks out we should be able to award the contract and
start installation immediately," Silcott said.
Council members were made aware of the National Incident Management
System (NIMS) course. Several village employees took part in a recent
workshop presented by Champaign County.
"NIMS is aimed at educating public officials and employees to better
communicate in the event of a countywide emergency," Barry First explained.
All council members received NIMS course packets and were asked to
participate in the program.
Officer Glenn Kemp gave the Champaign County Sheriff's report for the
month of January for the village. There were 14 traffic citations
issued, five warnings issued for traffic violations, six incident
reports, 22 cases of assistance given to citizens, 10 arrests made, four
civil and criminal papers served, 35 follow-up investigations completed,
four open doors, six instances of juvenile contact, three civic
activities and two auto accident reports taken.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m.

Changes costing city money
Marysville officials maintain city looked at numerous options for sewer lines

By RYAN HORNS
No matter which direction the city of Marysville chooses for its
interceptor sewer line, property owners near the future location have not been happy.
The city continues to move forward on plans to construct sewer lines for
the future wastewater plant to be constructed in Millcreek Township.
Instead of placing the lines 40-feet deep through the Arno Renner farm
at 13260 Industrial Parkway, the city settled on a connecting path along
Adelsberger Road. Renner's farm borders both sides of the Adelsberger
Road and is protected from development by a perpetual agricultural
easement he donated to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. State
officials have said they would defend the easement.
The city whittled away at nine different options for how to connect
sewer lines to the new plant, said city administrator Kathy House. She
said the city's intention has always been to find the least intrusive route for the sewer lines.
House said the issues with the Renner property have already put the city
behind by one month and have changed to the installment of a force main
system, with a large pump station, to go on Scotts Miracle-Gro property
along Industrial Parkway. This plan means much less excavation from that
point south and a smaller easement width.
Millcreek Township residents voiced concerns at a Monday trustee meeting
that the Adelsberger Road easement is too small for the sewer lines.
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said the easement will work and he guarantees
the city will leave the road and bridges in better condition.
"We're going to do right by the township," Kruse said Tuesday afternoon.
House and Kruse said that the city's options are disappearing and they
are being left with no other options aside from eminent domain or annexation.
"We need this easement now," Kruse said.
Easements must be obtained before re-engineering, bids are sought, a
contract awarded and construction begins, House explained.
"We've tried to reach a compromise," Kruse said about the sewer lines
but the city could end up with a new sewer plant with sewer lines and no
way to connect them to the new plant. The project is too important to stall.
Kruse said the city received no response to an offer to pay Renner more
than $150,000 for an easement and to buy land somewhere else for preservation.
"We've been trying very carefully," Kruse said. "Quite frankly, I think
this whole thing is a smoke screen to impede the construction of the
sewer plant and the sewer line."
What has happened is a lack of communication and a lack of real
compromise, he said. The plant has to go in and a sewer line has to connect to it.
"I'm surprised the people in Marysville aren't up in arms over the State
of Ohio," Kruse said. "Everyday... it is costing the people of the city
of Marysville additional money."
Kruse had hoped state officials would act as a facilitator, but ended up
"turning right around and impeding on our efforts." The city hoped to
work out a compromise between the state and property owner Arno Renner.
But establishing communication between the three did not work. To date,
there was never a sit down discussion between Renner and the city, Kruse
said. Marysville has supported the state governor's tax plan, the effort
to increase business in the area, has supported the chamber's resolution
for development but support for the treatment plant and the sewer lines
is just not there He said he believes the Renner property will eventually end up
surrounded by development and be too small for any farmer to make a
living. He said no one complained when the telephone and electric lines
went through the same property.
The state expects Marysville to be the "potted plant" of Union County,
Kruse said, it's job being to simply exist instead of develop economically.
The process for building a new sewer plant is not only detrimental for
the city's relationship with the Environmental  Protection Agency, Kruse
said, but works hand in hand with future growth destined for the region.
The city held public meetings with Millcreek Township residents when the
wastewater plant was first proposed and the meetings dissolved into
people "lobbing bombs at each other." He said he will not subject his
staff to those kinds of attacks anymore.

Explanation of routes considered
From J-T staff reports:
Costs for six proposed sewer line routes range from $11.2 million to
$17.5 million. The lengths of routes range from a minimum of 11,200 to
12,700 lineal feet. Cost figures do not include land acquisition, states
a chart provided by city officials.
Construction and total costs for the existing alignment, the solid red
line, $11.2 million. It measures 11,513 feet following Industrial
Parkway and Adelsberger Road. No new easements are required and this
would not increase the time schedule,
Alignment 1, would follow Scottslawn Road and the east side of Route 33.
It measures 11,800 feet and has a total cost of $13 million for
construction and engineering. This is the pink dotted route on the
pictured map. Miscellaneous issues include avoiding the Goodyear spill
containment area and waterline, as well as providing for access from
Ohio Department of Transportation Wastewater Treatment Plant (ODOT
WWTP). Four new easements are required and it is expected to increase
the time schedule by six months.
Alignment 2, the dark purple dotted line on the map, travels down
Industrial Parkway and cuts through property owned by Keith and Kevin
Rausch. It measures 11,880 feet and has a total cost of $12.4 million.
Miscellaneous issues include providing access for ODOT WWTP and removing
numerous trees. Three new easements are required and time schedule is
expected to increase by six months.
Alignment 3, the green dotted line, measures 12,700 feet and has a total
cost of $17.9 million. Issues include tunneling or sheeting and bracing
along three Vollrath properties. This route follows the west side of
Industrial Parkway and travels east along property owned by Parkway
Farms Inc. and Bernice Adelsberger. Seven new easements are required and
time schedule is expected to increase by six months.
Alignment 4, the light purple dotted line, measures 11,200 feet and has
a total cost of $12.5 million. It follows the north side of Scottslawn
road and travels south on Route 33. Issues includes providing access
from ODOT WWTP and avoiding the Goodyear spill containment area and
waterline. Four new easements are required. Time schedule is expected to
increase by six months. The modified existing alignment, the red dotted line, measures 11,680
feet and has a total cost of $15.2 million. This route requires a
temporary access road and rebuilding of an existing road, tunneling or
sheeting and bracing along three Vollrath properties and relocation of a
telephone line. It does not require additional geotechnical or
hydrogeological investigations or environmental reviews. Seven new
easements are required. Time schedule is expected to increase by three
months.

JA levy defeated
From J-T staff reports:
The Jonathan Alder School District's 0.5 percent income tax levy was
defeated Tuesday in the special election.
In Union County, 222 unofficial votes were cast for the tax and 364
against. In Madison County there were 461 votes for the levy and 625 against.
The five-year levy was first brought to voters in November. If passed,
it would have generated more than $1 million annually for district operating expenses.
Last fall, Superintendent Doug Carpenter explained that the choice by
the school board to put a temporary versus a permanent tax on the ballot
was in hopes things will change with state funding in the future.
Currently, the district is projected to receive no additional state
funding for the next two years, except for newly enrolling students.
Carpenter said the need to pass the levy is growing and the district
will continue to run the levy in upcoming elections.
"Obviously, we are disappointed in the results but I'm sure the board
will decide to be back on the ballot in May," Carpenter said. "The
question will not be whether to be on the ballot or not but whether to
run an income or property tax."

Eagle Scout award to be presented
Andrew Ellington, 15, of Marysville, has earned the highest advancement
award the Boy Scouts of America offers to Scouts, the Eagle Scout Award.
Andrew will be recognized in a ceremony Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Third Street.
A member of the church's Troop 287, Andrew is one of about 2 percent of
all Boy Scouts who attain the Eagle Rank. He has been a newspaper
carrier for the Marysville Journal-Tribune for the past eight months.
Each candidate must earn 21 merit badges and successfully complete a
community or church related service project to earn the rank. Andrew
chose to remove Honda R&D patches from outdated employee coats that
Honda furnished and then deliver them to The Clothes Closet in
Marysville. On Sept. 24, 2004, 44 people turned out to support Andrew
with his project.  Andrew was able to deliver 242 coats to those in need.
He has served as patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader and
historian. He joins outstanding American citizens who have become Eagle
Scouts, including former President Gerald R. Ford Jr., astronaut Neil A.
Armstrong, cinematographer Steven Spielberg and the head of the F.B.I., William Sessions.
Andrew is a long-standing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints where he is actively involved in youth group. He is a
sophomore at Marysville High School and he enjoys flying
radio-controlled airplanes in his free time.
He is the son of Eric and April Ellington, who have made their home in
Marysville for the past 10 years.

Sewer line route draws more debate
Alternate route near Adelsberger Road has Millcreek Twp. residents concerned

By CINDY BRAKE
Millcreek Township's Board of Trustees is considering a request by the
city of Marysville for permission to "install, maintain and operate
utility sanitary sewer lines within the right of way" of Adelsberger Road.
Bill Lynch, Millcreek Township trustee, said during Monday's regular
meeting that he had met with Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse and the city has
dropped plans to run a large sewer interceptor line across Arno Renner's
farm. The 231-acre farm located at13260 Industrial Parkway is protected
by a perpetual agricultural easement with the Ohio Department of
Agriculture. Renner donated the easement valued at $3 million in 2003.
In spite of the agricultural easement, city officials had planned last
year to install a 40-foot gravity sewer through the farm. The sewer
would lead to a new wastewater treatment plant the city is planning to
build this year. Since the state has said it was prepared to defend the
easement, the city has gone back to the drawing board with a new plan.
The city is now proposing to install two force mains five to eight feet
deep rather than one 40-foot deep lines.
The city's newest proposal has several citizens and some officials
asking questions and voicing concerns.
Lynch said there is some concern among residents that Adelsberger Road
is not a township road. The township has apparently maintained the road
for many years but the land was never formally or legally transferred to the township.
"All those years I've been paying real estate taxes on land that
Adelsberger Road lies on," said the 85 year-old Renner. The road was
originally a farm lane. The Renners agreed to creating a road as a way
for a neighbor to have easier access to Industrial Parkway.
"We believe in treating our neighbors like we would like to be treated," Renner said.
Another concern with the city's plan is that an 18-inch farm tile lies
under the road. The tile drains 500 acres of land, said Don Bailey who
farms the Renner property. He explained that the property is "highly developed" with systematic
drainage that cost thousands of dollars.
"Farm drainage systems have to be protected," said Millcreek Township
farmer Don Bouic. "Some of us still want to make a living in agriculture."
Bouic said he is still fixing tiles today that were damaged decades ago
when large power lines "blasted" poles through his tiles.
Farmer Tom Vollrath said he has had similar problems when a sewer line
ran through his property. He now has to maneuver seven manholes when he farms.
"We were very naive," Vollrath said. "I had so many disappointments."
He said gravel trucks drove through his fields and crossed the line of work easement.
"After you sign it, things change," Vollrath said.
Union County Engineer Steve Stolte lists three concerns he has with the
city's newest plan - the road will have to be rebuilt, a bridge replaced
and access maintained for mail, school buses, etc. Stolte's concerns
were part of a discussion with the Union County Board of Commissioners on Jan. 23.
There is also a question of whether there is actually enough space for
the city to install two pipes. From corn row to corn row, Bailey said the open space measures 25 feet
and the pavement is 11 to 13 feet wide. Most township roads have a
30-foot right-of-way easement with pavement measuring 10 feet, said
engineer employees. The agricultural easement does define a 30-foot
easement for Adelsberger Road.
Then there is the general distrust among township residents for the city
and its engineering firm DLZ.
"Do we distrust the city of Marysville and DLZ? We have reason do,"
Bailey said. "We've had real bad experiences. Marysville doesn't honor a
private land owner." He said the city's engineering firm drove trucks across planted fields
without notice and has left three open wells with one going through a field tile.
"How is the city going to be held liable? How will they be kept on the
25-foot right-of-way," Bailey said.
Union County Farm Bureau President Dan Irwin said the city has four
other options which he has seen following a public records request with city hall.
Irwin said the alternatives include two along U.S. 33, one on adjacent
farmland and the Adelsberger Road proposal.
"They have other routes," Irwin said. He added that he is familiar with
another drainage situation that has included "broken promises."
Public records show Kruse met Dec. 22 with state representative Tony
Core as well as representatives of the Ohio Department of Agriculture,
Ohio Department of Transportation, Directors of Government Affairs from
Scotts and Dominion Homes. At that meeting a proposed alternative route for the sewer line was
discussed. The alternative would go across property owned by Scotts and
along the right-of-way of U.S. 33, a total of 11,200 feet. Scotts was
reportedly willing to have the line go across its property and might
even waive any easement fees. ODOT was receptive to the line going along
its right of way and interested in tapping into the line for the rest
area. This proposed alternate route is actually 312 feet shorter than
the original route, but the city said it would cost more due to
additional engineering expenses. A memo states the city would submit a
new plan to ODOT to see if this was feasible.
"Apparently that option has been dropped," states Howard F. Wise,
assistant director with the Ohio Department of Agriculture in a Feb. 6
letter to Millcreek Trustee Keith A. Conroy. "If this is the case, then
ODA has no position on whether Millcreek Township Trustees should grant
an easement in the right of way or cede ownership of the road to the
city of Marysville. However, ODA believes that it is important for the
trustees to obtain written assurances from the city of Marysville that
neither the finished construction nor the construction process cause
damage to any part of Mr. Renner's property. ODA considers damage to be
either damage to the land, in the form of damage to drainage or drainage
systems or damage to the production of the land's crop yield. The
trustees should also obtain written assurances that Mr. Renner and his
neighbors along Adelsberger Road will have sufficient use of the road
during construction to be able to have access to their property. These
assurances should be obtained prior to granting an easement or outright
giving over the road to the city." No one from the city attended the township meeting.
Mayor Kruse said today that he is "reviewing what transpired at the
township meeting last night and accessing the city's options after
receiving an e-mail from the trustees this morning."
Millcreek trustees tabled the issue. Lynch is to contact Kruse with
questions and another meeting is planned for Feb. 15 at 7 p.m.

Unionville Center mayor resigns
By AUDREY HALL J-T correspondent
 An e-mail notice of resignation from Mayor Gary Drumm submitted to
village attorney Jeffery A. Merklin on Jan. 17 was read at Monday
night's Unionville Center Village Council meeting.
Drumm said that he is resigning because of unspecified Ohio Revised Code
rule violations by council. Council accepted the resignation and is
requesting that Merklin contact Drumm to request a written resignation
and the return of the council building key plus any materials related to
council still in his possession.
 President Pro Tempore of Council Becky Troyer was sworn in as mayor by
council member Denver Thompson. Thompson was elected as the new
president pro tempore. Residents who are interested in filling the
vacant council seat should contact any council member.
 Sheriff Rocky Nelson, County Commissioner Gary Lee, County Auditor Mary
Snider and Lt. Cindy McCreary were briefly present to answer concerns from council.
 The date of regular council meetings was changed to the second Monday
of each month in order for the meeting to follow the receipt of monthly
bank statements. The meeting time remains 6:30 p.m. The next meeting
will be March 13.
 All contractors interested in bidding on spring contracts should attend
the bid information meeting on March 13. Terms for submitting bids for
mowing The Green and council lot, brush pick-up, cleaning storm sewer
drops and cleaning Main Street will be outlined. All bids will be due at
the April 10 meeting.
 Plans for electric service improvements on The Green are progressing.
In addition to more electric outlets, there will be a light for the flag
pole and electric service to the stage.
 Legal fees of $2,025 for work by Merklin unrelated to Third Street were
approved.  Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard E. Parrott issued a
summary judgment on Jan. 25 in favor of defendant Macine Underhill in
the lawsuit initiated in May, 2005 by the Village of Unionville Center
regarding the extension of Third Street. According to Black's Law
Dictionary, a summary judgment is used when there is no dispute as to
the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. All entries in the case including the judgment entry are public
record available at the Union County Clerk of Courts website. Case
number is 05-CV-0237.
 Dispute over the property in question had festered for several years.
Longtime residents recall using the driveway to follow Third Street as a
shortcut to Unionville Road, although the official plat map of the
village shows that Third Street stops at the alley. The driveway was
never dedicated as a street.
 In 1988, the driveway was mistakenly paved by the village along with
Third Street. It wasn't until 1999 that council became aware that the
property was a private driveway. When vehicles traveling at excessive
speed raised a liability issue, Underhill sought legal counsel. After
research, her attorney advised that the driveway was private property
and could be blocked to through traffic.
 Minutes from the Jan. 10, 2000 meeting indicate that village solicitor
David Phillips advised that the private drive in question was not a
dedicated street. He felt that it would not be appropriate for the
village to litigate, however the individuals affected could litigate,
but in his opinion, it was unlikely that they would win.
 When Gary Drumm took office as mayor in 2004, he readdressed the
controversy of the closed driveway. Attorney Jeffery A. Merklin was
hired by council to investigate and initiate a lawsuit against Macine
Underhill. Underhill was the only person sued even though there are
three other property owners involved, Norman and Nancy Rice, Scott and
Janine Yoder and the Darby Township Trustees.
 When questioned about the previous legal advice at a special meeting in
December 2005, Merklin said he disagreed with Phillips' opinion and felt
there was cause to litigate until it was discovered that the majority of
the property was located in Darby Township. A settlement was prepared
but Norman and Nancy Rice would not agree to the settlement and, in
September, countersued the village and cross-sued Underhill.
 The Darby Township Trustees filed a motion stating their lack of
interest in the narrow driveway that they deemed to be private property.
Judge Parrott found in their favor and dismissed them from the lawsuit.
 The summary judgment was issued by Parrott following mandatory
mediation on Jan. 19. Court costs are to be divided equally between the
Rices and the village. The judgment can be appealed.
 The village has spent $3,000 in attorney fees on the lawsuit.
 The possibility of a guard rail with reflectors to mark the end of
Third Street was discussed. This was tabled until cost estimates are
secured.  Gravel for the alley that dead ends at Third Street was discussed but also tabled.

Fairbanks board sets levy at 4.4 mills
From J-T staff reports:
The millage rate for a bond issue placed on the May 2 ballot by the
Fairbanks School Board has been set at 4.4 mills.
Board members held a special meeting Monday night to accept that mileage
rate, which was set by Union County Auditor Mary Snider. Present were
board president Kevin Green, vice president Star Simpson, and board
members Jaynie Lambert and Sherry Shoots. Board member David Huber, who
got stuck in traffic, missed the five-minute meeting.
In a previous special meeting Feb. 2, Simpson, Lambert, Huber and Shoots
voted to place a scaled down version of a failed November tax issue on
the ballot. The November issue, a combined 7-mill bond issue and 0.25
percent income tax, was defeated by a 202-vote margin, according to the
Union County Board of Elections.
The new issue, also a combined bond issue/income tax, must be filed with
the board of elections by Feb. 16, according to Superintendent Jim
Craycraft. It will raise a combined $11,760,066 million.
The two issues will fund a 500-capacity pre-kindergarten through fifth
grade facility at the site of the existing middle and high school on
Route 38. It also will fund demolition of the older section of the
Milford Center Elementary and cosmetic improvements to that site, as
well as furnish and equip the new facilities added to the Route 38
location. The proposed school's design will look different than previously
presented because of its reduction in size and because of the
elimination of  the expanded gymnasium and enhanced cafeteria
("auditeria"). But it will contain features that will reflect the "Fairbanks
character," Craycraft said.

Scotts, associates give $150,000 to vets monument
Editor's note: The following information was provided by a joint press
release from the Scotts-Miracle Gro Company and the Union County
Veterans Remembrance Committee.
When Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company,
became familiar with the mission of the Union County Veterans
Remembrance Committee, his response was enthusiastic.
He acknowledged the value in building a permanent monument to honor all
Union County Veterans, past, present and future, and to create a
searchable database on these veterans and the major wars that have
challenged this country since the Revolutionary War.
Hagedorn was an Air Force Captain and F16 pilot, and understands what it
means to serve the United States as a military veteran.
"We are pleased to support this special project that honors veterans
from Union County and also provides a way for us to learn more about the
contributions of our fellow citizens in protecting this great country,"
Hagedorn said. "With Union County as The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company's
headquarters and our founder O.M. Scott a Civil War Veteran from Union
County, along with hundreds of other Scotts employees and family
members, our support of this project is very meaningful."
Scotts Miracle-Gro is pledging $100,000 over a three-year period for the
project. In addition, Hagedorn is personally contributing $25,000 and
the Scotts Miracle-Gro Leadership Team is contributing an additional $25,000.
Retired Maj. Gen. Oscar Decker and Sargent Chamberlain, a Scotts retiree
with 50 years service, met at Scotts' headquarters to review the project recently.
"These three Patriot Donor pledges from the Scotts Miracle-Gro
organization provide the major lead for this project and demonstrate
their commitment to the local community and their employee families,"
Decker, who serves as chairman of the county veterans committee,  said.
"These pledges are the largest single donations received to date and
provide a giant leap for the fundraising campaign. We appreciate the
corporate and individual Patriot support that has been given to this
project. Scotts Miracle-Gro serves as a positive example of support from
the business sector for the local community."
Veterans committee treasurer, Rowland Seymour, said that with the Scotts
Miracle-Gro commitments the Veterans Remembrance Fund, with donations
and pledges, now totals more than $325,000. Contributions have been
received from more than 500 sources, more than 400 brick and granite
pavers have been sold to date and 1,200 Union County Veterans have been
registered in the veterans database - currently available on the county
Web site at
www.co.union.oh.us.
"The Veterans Monument Plaza will be built. The committee is committed
to the mission," Decker said. "Our original target was to schedule
groundbreaking for Memorial Day this year and dedication on Veterans Day of this year.
"In order to maintain this timing a contract commitment for the major
monument granite work must be signed by the first of April. We are
working hard to raise the additional $175,000 to meet the target
schedule. We are encouraging people to make donations as soon as
possible, to the Veterans Remembrance Fund in care of the Union County Foundation."
By the end of March the Union County Veterans Remembrance Committee will
determine where it stands with donations compared to the $500,000 goal
and will decide on a final timing, design and project scope.
Donations can be forwarded to the Veterans Remembrance Fund, c/o The
Union County Foundation, 126 N. Main St., P.O. Box 608, Marysville.
For more information, those interested may visit
www.co.union.oh.us or
contact Esther Carmany via e-mail at
ecarmany@columbus.rr.com or phone at (937) 642-9618.
The Union County Veterans Remembrance Committee is committed to giving
special recognition to the more than 1,200 veterans killed in action,
missing in action and prisoners of war for all war and peacetime service
since 1776. The monument will be built on the Union County Court House
lawn at Fifth and Court streets. In addition, an estimated 15,000
veterans will be catalogued in a searchable computer database. Anyone
who has ever served in the U.S. Military, active or reserve, in
peacetime or wartime and who has ever lived in Union County at anytime,
may provide their service information for entry into the searchable
computer database with no cost for registration.

Police investigate death of baby
Marysville police are investigating the death of an infant on Monday morning.
According to Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol, yesterday at
11:03 a.m. Marysville Fire Department medics and Marysville Police
officers were dispatched to 1527 Rebecca Drive on a report of an
unresponsive infant boy named Kohen Gilsinger. The parents of the child
live outside of Marysville in Union County.
"The three month old infant was found by the daycare provider to be
unresponsive and not breathing," Nicol said. "Medics rushed the child to
Union County Memorial Hospital where the child was pronounced deceased."
The daycare provider was a private service being run out of the home and
therefor does not have a business name, police reported.
Nicol reported that there were no obvious signs of abuse on the infant
and no preliminary cause is being disclosed at this time.
"An autopsy will be completed on Tuesday by the Licking County Coroner's
Office," Nicol said "The death remains under investigation by the
Marysville Police and Union County Coroners Office."

Back at home safe
Goodyear worker returns from duty in Iraq
By CINDY BRAKE
Coming to work at the Marysville Goodyear plant was one thing Army
Platoon Sergeant Dave Clay said he missed this past year while on active
duty in Iraq. He also missed seeing his wife, grass and the comforts of home.
But that is all behind him now.
Clay of Lima returned to work last week, greeted by a banner at the
Industrial Parkway plant entrance plus a companywide lunch provided by
the United Steelworkers union and Goodyear.
"I believe I speak for the entire facility when I say that we are so
proud of Dave, honored to know him and fortunate to have him part of the
Goodyear family," said Cheryl McCreary, employee relations manager at
Goodyear Engineered Products in Marysville. "Dave is a true hero in our
eyes and we are extremely happy that he is home, safe and sound."
In October 2004, Clay was called to active duty in the U.S. Army to
serve in Iraq. He left the United States Dec. 27, 2004 and returned Dec. 8, 2005.
A seasoned serviceman, this assignment was far from Clay's first
overseas duty. An 11-year stint in the regular Army included time in
Desert Storm and Germany plus five U.S. locations. He was originally
trained as a mechanic for an infantry troop carrier.
This time his primary job was to make sure the 38 soldiers in his Alpha
Company returned home. He was successful, although there were four
deaths in his battalion - one accidental and three from roadside bombs.
Since his return Clay said he has been asked two questions - did we make
the right decision and what do you think will be the outcome.
In response to the first question, Clay said "Politics is politics" and
he doesn't want to second guess the decision of others. He believes that
the few Iraqis he met appreciate what the United States has done
although he believes they would eventually like to govern their own country.
As far as an outcome, Clay explains that Iraq's population is primarily
made up of three groups of people and none trust each other.
He adds that the enemy is smart. They don't want to face the armed
forces and try to blend in with other members of the population. On the
flip side, Clay said the U.S. forces are "the best army in the world"
and the American soldiers are fighting because they want to, not because
they are forced to by a dictator.
To those who are seeking to support the U.S. troops, Clay said "soldiers
love to get something from home."
Clay is not the only Goodyear employee to be called to active duty.
Steve Felder of Marysville and a member of the Army National Guard
traveled to Louisiana to assist in relief efforts after Hurricane
Katrina. Another Goodyear employee, Mike Taylor of Marysville is also
serving in the U.S. Army National Guard in Iraq. He left for active duty
in September 2005 and is not expected to return until March 2007.
Other major employers in Union County did not respond to inquiries about
whether they had employees now serving in the Armed Forces.
Clay said Goodyear's compensation policy made a big difference for him
while he was away. His pay as a soldier is significantly less than what
he makes at Goodyear. Goodyear made up the difference and continued
providing benefits to his family.
"A lot of soldiers didn't have that luxury," Clay said. "Goodyear didn't have to do this."
Human resources manager L.A. Phillips Jr. said the last thing Goodyear
wants is for its employees to worry about their families while they are
serving the country in active duty.
"We support our troops and our main concern is that their families are
taken care of," Phillips said.
There are still a few things Clay is looking forward to doing now that
he has returned to the states. He is planning a motorcycle trip on his
Yamaha Venture to Sturgis, S.D., in August and fishing trips to
Springfield and perhaps Lake Ontario. He has also promised his wife a
grand trip. She would like to go to Greece, but for now at least that is
a little too close to the place he just left.

Two weekend fires in the area damage homes
From J-T staff reports:
Area firefighters faced cold and windy conditions as they put out two fires over the weekend.
Marysville Fire Department Chief Gary Johnson reported this morning that
crews spent two hours at 14254 Pleasant Ridge Road Sunday for a
two-story house on fire.
Johnson said there were no injures from the fire and investigators are
still trying to determine how it started. Two residents were inside when
it started and both were able to escape in time. The family's dog is
missing at this time.
From 7:20 p.m. to 10:21 p.m. firefighters worked to extinguish a heavy
volume of flames at the split level wood home. Initial reports had
neighbors seeing fire coming out of the roof.
When crews arrived on the scene the attached garage was beyond saving
and the doors had collapsed onto two cars inside. Flames had vented
through a large picture window at the front of the house, as well as
through the front door.
Johnson said Union, Allen, Jerome townships provided mutual aid.
A second fire east of Plain City on Saturday at 7:46 p.m. at 9396 Route
161 was handled by Pleasant Valley Fire Department and Marysville
firefighters provided mutual aid.
According to Pleasant Valley, the damage was not as extensive as the
Sunday fire. The family was at home when it started in the attic because
of electrical problems. Neighbors driving by witnessed the flames coming
out of the roof and warned the family who escaped without injuries.
Flames were focused in the attic and vented out of the roof.
Crews were at the building until 10:06 that night extinguishing flames.
The cause of the fire has not been determined at this time. Mutual aid
was provided by Marysville, Jerome Township, Dublin, Hilliard, Union
Township, Prairie Township, central Township and Allen Township provided standby medics.

New 9-1-1 plan hatched
Spirit of cooperation continues between city and county

By RYAN HORNS
Thursday law enforcement, township, county, and fire department
officials met to approve the next step in making emergency calls a one
stop experience for the public.
The goal of the 9-1-1 Technical Advisory Committee is to eventually have
all emergency calls in Union County go through one dispatch system. Out
of three proposed options, members decided upon an option to refer to
the 9-1-1 Planning Committee. Both groups are gearing up to place a .75
mill before county residents on the November elections. This means the
filing deadline is in late August.
Until then, the 9-1-1 Planning Committee will go over the chosen option
and look for any needed amendments by mid February. Then a public
hearing will be held April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial
Auditorium. The public will be able to offer input on the plan.
Part of the process to consolidate the county's 9-1-1 services is to get
approval by all township trustees and municipal governments. At that
point the levy would be ready for filing with the Union County Board of Elections.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson explained that the Marysville Police
will still be taking care of emergency calls within the city. Under the
proposal, all 9-1-1 calls will be answered at the sheriff's office and
then dispatched to the appropriate agency. The newly proposed plan for
the county system would include one mobile dispatch unit, able to be
hooked up by Sprint at both the Northern Union County Fire Department
and at the Jerome Township Fire Department.
"Geographically we were not sitting where we needed, to set up an
effective 9-1-1 system," Union County Commissioner Gary Lee said.
The Marysville Police Department dispatch service sits only a couple
blocks away from the Union County Sheriff's Office service, he said.
Marysville Fire Department Chief Gary Johnson said that having alternate
locations in the north or south was a good plan. By having more mobile
options, the county can move the center in case of emergencies such as
flooding, tornadoes or violent storms.
Union County Sheriff's Office Communications Director, Anne Barr, said
that Logan County has been established as Union County's future backup
in case services are cut off locally. If Union County loses all of its
9-1-1 services they can call Sprint and the company will transfer all
emergency calls to the Logan County dispatchers until the problem is fixed.
The 9-1-1 Planning Committee is also deciding whether to pursue a
continuing levy or new levy for voters.
"The trend in this county is to be much more receptive to levies that
expire in a certain number of years," Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said.
"I think it's much easier to pass a levy with a limited period of time."
He explained that residents seem to prefer the option of reviewing how
the levy helped and what it accomplished before renewing it again.
The consolidation of 9-1-1 dispatching services between Union County and
Marysville has been in the works for years and everyone at the meeting
Thursday agreed cooperation was the reason.
"You see quite a few trying to obtain consolidation," Nelson said. "It's
easy when you get along."
"You have a situation where you are getting rid of redundant functions
and are coming together here and maximizing resources," Kruse said.
Lee said that the deal is very similar to what the county was able to do
with the sewer and water services deal with Marysville.
"It's cheaper if it's done together," he said. "I think this is a great plan."
Lee also complimented everyone who helped in the process of the
consolidation plan, especially how they were all able to give up certain
power roles for "the greater good" of the county.
"The important thing is that there (will be) no delay in response" Lee said
Nelson said the plan focuses on pursuing safety and making it
financially more acceptable. The new consolidation will also provide
wireless Phase Two GPS tracking capabilities so that when the public
calls 9-1-1 from their cell phones in the county dispatchers will know
exactly where they are and be able to send services to their location.

Date set for local Relay for Life
The Relay For Life of Union County will be held at Marysville High
School on Amrine Mill Road May 19 and 20.
Relay For Life is an 18-hour event which celebrates survivorship and
raises funds for cancer research, education, advocacy and services. It
brings together teams from local businesses, schools, churches and
families for camaraderie, food, music and entertainment, and a night
under the stars - all while team members take turns walking or running on a track.
This year's event will begin May 19 at 6 p.m. with a Cancer Survivors
Walk and reception to celebrate life. Later in the evening, a luminaria
ceremony will honor those who are battling cancer and remember those who
have lost their fight. The Union County goal is to raise $75,000 for the American Cancer
Society and have 35 teams participate.
Those interested in participating in Relay For Life, who are a cancer
survivor, or who would like to volunteer, may call the American Cancer
Society at (888) ACS-OHIO. When prompted, ask for the Marion Area Office or Evie Miller.

Sheriff presents awards to staff
From J-T staff reports:
Two Union County Sheriff's Office deputies were singled out for outstanding work in 2005.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson announced the employees of the year
for his office recently. The Deputy of the Year for 2005 is Deputy Darrell Breneman, who has been
with the sheriff's office since July of 2003. He is currently assigned
as a patrol deputy and was selected by the Awards Committee for his
dedicated work ethic, flexibility and overall professional approach to
his job. The Civilian Employee of the Year is communication director
Anne Barr. She has been with the office since 1986 and has spent her
entire career in the areas of dispatching, 9-1-1, and emergency communications.
Barr was selected for her commitment, friendliness, expertise and
interest in customer service.
Breneman and Barr were honored at the annual Sheriff's Office awards
banquet held Jan. 21. They represent the first ever "employees of the
year" selected by the sheriff's office.
"I could not be more proud and thankful for Anne and Darrell and the job
they do for all of us in Union County," Nelson said.
The following agency awards were also given for noteworthy performance
of duties during 2005: deputy Aaron McKinnon was awarded the Sheriff's
Office Commendation; deputy Shawn Waller and corporal Matt Warden were
awarded the Sheriff's Office Certificate of Merit; detective Mike
Justice from the Sheriff's Office and detective Don McGlenn From the
Marysville Police Department were awarded the Sheriff's Office
Commendation; and detective Mike Justice was awarded the Sheriff's
Office Citation. In addition to employees of the year and agency awards, Nelson handed
out Safe Driving Awards, Years of Service Stars, Education Awards,
N.R.A. Shooting Awards and Military Service Awards during the banquet.

Disappearing act
GI Plastek gave employees a half hour notice that their jobs were gone, then company officials vanished

By RYAN HORNS
Former employees of GI Plastek have a lot of questions to ask their
bosses ? if they ever hear from them again.
On Friday, Jan. 13, administrators gave them 30 minutes to gather their
belongings before closing the doors at 648 Clymer Road for good. Since
then employees for the plastic parts molding plant have been unable to
reach company officials with questions about vacation payouts and insurance
Monday and Tuesday, semi trucks cleared the plant. A message on the
answering machine of Marysville GI Plastek Human Resources Director Mike
Flavin tells callers "...the Marysville plant has been closed ? here in
early January. So I'm no longer here."
In more than two weeks, Flavin's message has been the only official GI
Plastek administrative confirmation that the local plant was shut down.
Repeated calls to the company's Marysville plant, as well as facilities
in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, were not returned.
To former employees, it was not the closing of the plant that bothered
them, but rather how they were treated.
"I have been working there since I was a teenager," employee Darlene
Combs said. "Some of us have been working there for 40 years. What they
did to us was wrong." Administrators at the Marysville GI Plastek plant were rumored to have
been moved to another plant in Wolfeboro, N.H. This report has not been
confirmed by the company. The only person with any information on the closing has been former GI
Plastek union representative John Rutherford of the United Steelworkers
Union Local 843L. Rutherford said he met with Flavin on Jan. 12. Flavin told him the
company might be consolidating and taking funds from different
operations to keep Marysville's operation afloat. Some laid off workers
might even be called back to work. The next day the plant was closed.
Now the company won't call him back.
"They were being very elusive and misleading," Rutherford said. "It was
just a show. They were just playing dirty with us."
Combs said she found her 16-year career over without a real explanation.
She wants to know what happened to her vacation payouts. With no steady
job and no health insurance, she is trying to figure out how to pay for
her diabetes medication. She has been forced to go on welfare.
Employee Dorothy Dennis said she worked at the factory for 32 years. She
discovered her health insurance was canceled and now she is waiting for
her vacation payout. Her feeling is that the closing was not so much of a surprise as it was
disappointing. "It's been a good place to work," she said. "You could see (the
shutdown) coming . but it was the impact of how they did it."
Dennis said she is concerned about people like Combs who have health
problems and for younger employees who needed that job to take care of
their children. "I'll just do the same as the others and hunt for another job," Dennis
said. "I've worked at factories my whole life."
Rutherford explained that the union was working with GI Plastek to make
the financial situation better. He only asked for a one-year contract,
which the company could re-negotiate if the financial situation changed.
The problem was that GI Plastek had been withholding union fees from
workers' paychecks since February of 2005 and not distributing the money
to the United Steelworkers. It meant Rutherford was representing the
workers for free. He tried to work out a payment option with the company
so that fees would start coming back a little bit at a time. When that
didn't happen, the international union began wondering why finances were
coming up short. They soon took over and placed a Pittsburgh lawyer in
charge of finding out what was going on.
"At that point it was out of my hands," Rutherford said.
One point of contention, he said, is whether GI Plastek violated a
federally mandated law providing a 60-day notice to employees before
closing down. The law affects companies with more than 50 employees.
Rutherford said that in November of 2005 there were 85 workers at GI
Plastek. Then people started getting laid off. By the time the doors
were locked, there were only 25 employees left.
While it appears the company may not have violated the law, Rutherford
was told by his bosses that that there is a period of one year in which
laid off workers can still be recalled. Because of this, those workers
are still counted as employees - meaning GI Plastek was in violation.
The lawyers have to decide now.
Another question is whether GI Plastek was actually going bankrupt.
Rutherford was told the Marysville and Massachusetts plants were cut for
this reason. This left a New Hampshire GI Plastek location still in
operation. Then he was told that the company was going to pull employees
from the discontinued plants and open another plant in Baltimore, Md.
That plant would then hire 400 people.
What it comes down to, Rutherford said, is that the company could have
been honest and negotiated severance payments for its employees.
"We were led to believe that it was not going to be a complete shut
down," Combs said. "They gave us the impression that it was just going
to be some layoffs." Rutherford said the plant closure was not the fault of the GI Plastek
factory workers. It was never a case of workers asking for more money or
holding out for better conditions.
"We were willing to do anything to save our jobs," Combs said.