Local Archived News March 2006
|Dominion Homes donates land for new school|
Honda named in discrimination suit
From J-T staff reports:
Honda of America Manufacturing has been charged in a lawsuit with
violating a federal law by discharging a senior diversity manager in
retaliation for opposing discrimination, states a press release from the
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
A Honda spokesman states the company acted appropriately in this matter.
"These claims by Ms. Ways are totally without merit. At Honda
discrimination based on race, gender, religious beliefs or any other
factor toward Honda associates is not tolerated," Honda spokesman Ron
Lietzke said today. "Honda of America acted entirely appropriately in
respect to the dismissal of Ms. Ways and since this matter concerns
pending litigation we are unable to comment at this time."The lawsuit
filed by the EEOC on Monday in the U.S. District Court Southern District
of Ohio, Eastern Division, states that "Monica Ways, an African
American, was senior manager responsible for HAM's Diversity Management
and Ethics Business at the company's corporate offices in Marysville.
Her primary role was to develop strategies that would result in a more
diverse, inclusive and ethical organization. Specifically, she was
responsible for auditing personnel actions and processes; and increasing
diversity and integrity in reporting of diversity matters to federal
agencies," states the press release.
EEOC states that on numerous occasions during her tenure, Ways expressed
oppositions to conduct she considered discriminatory. In one such
instance, she intervened on behalf of a qualified black engineering
applicant who was denied hire. HAM management allegedly showed a pattern
of denying her necessary workforce data and information to fulfill her
designated responsibilities. As a result of her repeated opposition to
discrimination, the EEOC states, HAM fired her in retaliation.
Such alleged conduct violates Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color,
religion, sex (including sexual harassment or pregnancy) or national
origin and protects employees who complain or oppose such discrimination
from retaliation. The press release states that the lawsuit was filed
after attempts to reach a voluntary settlement to eliminate these
discriminatory practices and have HAM compensate Ways for her monetary
losses and emotional pain and humiliation.
"Employers must understand that employees have the statutory right to
oppose discrimination in the workplace, free from retaliation," said EEO
Regional Attorney Jacqueline McNair in the press release. "This case was
especially outrageous in that the company punished Ms. Ways for doing
her job - preventing discrimination. The Commission will not tolerate
this unlawful retaliatory conduct, which thwarts enforcement of federal
anti-discrimination laws and deters other employees from standing up for their rights."
Honda of America Manufacturing is a foreign motor vehicle manufacturer
employing approximately 13,000 associates at its Marysville auto plant
and approximately 950 employees at the corporate office location in
Marysville. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing the federal laws prohibiting
employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national
origin, age (40 and older), disability and retaliation.
Meetings to focus on Marysville kindergarten
From J-T staff reports:
Marysville School District principals will hold four public meetings
over the next two weeks to discuss proposals that could give
kindergarten pupils more time to learn and adjust to school.
Meetings will be held Tuesday, April 4 at Edgewood Elementary for East
and Edgewood parents; April 6 at Navin Elementary; April 10 at Mill
Valley Elementary; and April 11 at Raymond Elementary. All meetings will
begin at 6 p.m. Parents who have registered their children for kindergarten for the
2006-2007 school year will receive an invitation by mail. Invitations
also will be issued through school newsletters.
Marysville Board of Education members are considering changes to the
kindergarten program in response to rising state of Ohio standards and
expectations, as well as concerns that many students are starting
kindergarten with speech and language difficulties, said Superintendent
Larry Zimmerman in a news release today.
"The purpose of these meetings is to have an open, honest conversation
with our community about the challenges we face with our kindergarten
programs, and why extending the kindergarten school day is so
important," Zimmerman said in the release. "After three years of careful
research on this issue, our principals concluded that our kindergarten
students need more time for speech and language instruction and more
time to adjust to being in school with their classmates."
Detailed information about the different kindergarten options under
consideration, including "Proposed Kindergarten Changes - Questions and
Answers" and a copy of the Power Point Presentation "Kindergarten
Program Options" to the board of education March 20 meeting, will be
available at the Marysville Schools Web site at www.marysville.k12.oh.us.
A final decision will be announced prior to the kindergarten
registration and screening meetings on April 24 and April 25.
Fairbanks has country crooner
By CINDY BRAKE
Mollie McIntyre is just 15 years old, but she's already winning awards as a vocalist.
Earlier this month, the Fairbanks High School freshman was named the
2006 vocalist of the year in new country for ages 13 to 16 at the North
American Country Music Association International. She also placed fourth
in the entertainer category for new country, ages 13 to 16 years.
To get to the Tennessee competition McIntyre of Milford Center, first
performed and won the People's Choice Award in November at the Buckeye
Country Music Organization of America in Grove City.
At the Country Tonite Theatre in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., McIntyre competed
against 30 other girls from the United States, Canada and New Zealand.
In the vocalist competition, she sang "Independence Day" and "A Real
Fine Place to Start." She said the first is a comfortable song that she
has been singing since she was young. The second was a "risk taker."
This was the first time she had sung it. Both she said offered a wide range.
In the entertainer category, McIntyre sang "Born To Fly" and "Something
More." She said these songs were upbeat and crowd pleasers.
This is the second year that McIntyre has competed at the international
event and come home with an award. In 2005 she placed third in the
traditional country category and received the Horizon Award Female
Entertainer of the Year. The slender teen with dark hair is a self-trained singer, although her
father, Robert, taught her to yodel. Her brother, Corey Warner, was part
of a rock band. The family first discovered her talent when she was 6 years old. She
sang "Tell Me About the Good Ol' Days" at a party for the 70th birthday
of her grandpa Harlow Beightler. A couple years later she had her first
public performance at the Milford Center Lion's Club Jamboree. She sang
"Coal Miner's Daughter." She had learned the words to the song by
watching the movie so often, said her mother Peggy. She also sang "Your
Lookin' At Country," but her mother had to teach her the words to the song.
Since then, she has sung at many venues including the national anthem to
kick-off the 2005 Farm Science Review. Her audience included U.S.
Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and Ohio
secretary of Agriculture Fred Dailey.
Besides singing, McIntyre has danced nine years at a local studio and is
part of a competition team for tap, jazz and ballet. She is now
preparing for the school musical and an April 1 event at the Southern
Ohio Opry in Lucasville. Available for benefits, McIntyre will also perform in June at the
Charles W. Fairbanks Family Fun Festival.
Surfing for Internet predators
Prosecutor goes online and poses as 13-year-old girl
By RYAN HORNS
On any other occasion, people might be worried if the county prosecutor
was posing as a 13-year-old girl.
But Union County Prosecutor David Phillips was just helping to patrol
Internet message boards as part of an investigation into Internet sex
predator crimes. The results were very surprising to him, especially as
the father of a 13-year-old daughter.
"I was shocked at the number of men who tried a 'private chat' thinking
I was a teenage girl," Phillips said. "A 28-year-old Internet predator
was quick to take the bait. He thought I was a 13-year old girl when he
asked me to send him nude photographs."
According to a recent study by the U.S. Department of Justice, 20
percent of juveniles between the ages of 10 and 17 have received
unwanted sexual solicitations online.
"That's one in five of our kids," Phillips said. "We have a saying:
There are three types of people in chat rooms, kids, cops and perverts."
In response to the threat of online predators, Union County Sheriff
Rocky Nelson and Phillips have joined the Ohio Internet Crimes Against
Children Task Force. The task force is a collaboration of city, county,
state and federal law enforcement authorities across Ohio whose mission
is to identify, arrest and prosecute individuals who use the Internet to
lure minors into illicit sexual relationships or use the Internet to
produce, distribute or solicit child pornography.
"The sheriff and I have just joined it, looking at increasing law
enforcement efforts locally," Phillips said
He said that he just logged on to a chat room and waited.
He said the speed in which the man turned the conversation to graphic
sex astounded him. "I was online for less than five minutes," Phillips said. "In a matter
of a few minutes, I had several requests to chat," he said. "He turned
the conversation to sex almost immediately - wanting to know if I had a
boyfriend, if I was a virgin, and what sex acts I'd performed. The man
sent a nude photograph of himself, even while believing I was 13 years old."
Phillips said the predator wanted graphic pictures in return and was insistent.
"Obviously, I couldn't send pictures, so I told him that my dad was
yelling at me to go to bed because I had to go to school the next morning," he said.
The predator wanted to stay in contact and still wanted nude photographs
and was "very graphic and specific" about the pictures he wanted, he
said. The prosecutor notified law enforcement officials of the encounter.
Enforcing these crimes is important because the threat from Internet
predators is real to children in Union County, Phillips said.
"We've had cases of Internet solicitation," he said. "Over time, these
pedophiles gather personal information from their intended victims and
in the worst cases, may go to great lengths and expense to meet their
victims face-to-face. These meetings often result in the kidnapping and
sexual assault of children."
Phillips said he thinks parents may underestimate the risk to their
children, believing it only happens somewhere else. The prosecutor said
he warned his own teenage girls of the risk.
"I've told them not to be in chat rooms. After my experience, I
discussed the danger with them again and told them to stay out of chat
rooms," he said. He also pointed out a recent case involving a a Milford Center pastor
who was found guilty in February of soliciting sex over the Internet
from what he thought was a juvenile girl. It was actually a police sting
and the pastor was nabbed when he drove to Greene County in order to
meet the girl for sex.
Because the county's association with the Internet Task Force is fairly
new, he said the current plans are to provide informational and
educational materials and video tapes for students and parents
concerning Internet sexual predators.
"I believe the key to not becoming a victim is education and awareness,"
Phillips said. "My office has materials and a presentation available."
He said community or parent groups interested in learning more about the
danger of online predators, may contact the office of the prosecuting
attorney at 645-4190, to arrange for a speaker on the issue.
Charges for people soliciting sex from minors on-line can range from
soliciting, attempted rape, to abduction.
"It depends on how far they go," Phillips said.
Victims of such Internet encounters are encouraged to tell police or the
Sheriff's Office. The task force also maintains a Web site at
www.operationsafetynet.org with a link to report online predators.
Chase ends in Union County
From J-T staff reports:
A car chase that started in Mechanicsburg Sunday, ended with Union
County Sheriff's deputies joining in.
Despite the efforts of law enforcement, and a two-hour search, the
suspect was able to escape after abandoning his vehicle in a field and
possibly stealing another car down the road.
Mechanicsburg Police Chief Tim Bostic reported this morning that Sunday
at 3:52 a.m. one of his officers attempted to stop a 1979 Chevy pick up
truck, with no rear license plates. Instead of pulling over, the driver sped off.
Bostic described the suspect as a white male wearing a white toboggan
and a blue sweatshirt.
Despite a search involving Madison and Union county law enforcement
agencies and aerial and canine searches, the male suspect got away.
Later that morning, a resident on Streng Road reported a Chevy S10 was
stolen from the residence. The theft is believed to be linked to the suspect's getaway.
Bostic reported that the suspect started the pursuit on Route 29 East
and led officers toward Route 38 where the car reached speeds of 65 to
75 mph and went north into Union County.
Union County Sheriff's Lt. Jamie Patton said that the car came into the
county and turned onto Route 161, heading toward Irwin, with Plain City
police also joining in the chase.
The suspect then went north onto Route 4 onto Mill Street in Milford
Center and then went eastbound on First Street into a dead end.
Patton said the suspect then drove the truck into a field and headed eastbound.
Bostic said that a cruiser chased the suspect into the field, but became
stuck and had to stop the chase. The truck was later found on Axe Handle
Road, with nobody inside.
Bostic said a canine unit picked up the trail of the suspect and tracked
the suspect, but at 6 a.m. officers were told that a truck was stolen
from a home up the road.
Area builder accepts deal in theft case
By RYAN HORNS
The Richwood builder who stole allegedly more than $100,000 from
unsuspecting customers entered a plea bargain, which should result in
him spending eight years in prison.
Dennis D. Landon, 41, was the owner of Landon Building Systems, Inc. a
contracting business located at 13 N. Franklin St. in Richwood. Landon
reportedly began stealing thousands of dollars from more than 27 victims
from 11 Ohio counties and four other states in a home-improvement scheme
that ran from February 2004 to August 2004.
Union County Prosecutor David Phillips and lead investigator, Gary
Brackney, of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission,
accepted a plea bargain agreement with the Plain City-based defense
attorney Clifton Valentine Jr. in a court hearing held just after 3 p.m.
on Friday. The agreement essentially reduced a two week trial into a 30
minute hearing. Landon was indicted on 59 felony charges, ranging from theft, grand
theft, telecommunications fraud and money laundering. He ended up
pleading guilty to all of the theft charges, consisting of 21
fifth-degree felony theft charges, four fourth-degree felony grand theft
charges, one fourth-degree felony theft from an elderly person charge
and one third-degree felony theft from an elderly person charge.
Landon agreed to pay restitution to 26 of his victims, for a total cost
of $104,988.29. Law enforcement also confiscated a list of 33 items,
including computer and office equipment, that he had used to commit the
crimes. Phillips said that the restitution figure doesn't even include all the
victims. Others will seek restitution through civil cases.
He said Landon could have faced up to 12 years in prison for his crimes.
He was initially also charged with a first-degree felony for violating
the Ohio Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Instead they decided to focus on the theft charges, which were the
victim's main concern. The plea saved the state of Ohio money, from not
having to fly in and house dozens of Landon's victims, who span from
Ohio to New Jersey. Each victim suffered losses from $2,000 to $12,000.
One of those victims, Richard Campbell, of Marion, was in court for the
plea bargain hearing. Campbell and his wife said they had hoped to speak
about the crimes committed against them, after Landon took them for
$9,000. Both were told they would have to wait until Landon's sentence hearing on April 20.
Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott said he did not
know much about the case, but that he planned to follow the sentencing
recommendation of eight years in prison. He said there will be a
pre-sentence investigation before the next court date.
The plea bargain wraps up an investigation that began in September 2004,
when the Richwood Police Department contacted Attorney General Jim
Petro's office regarding numerous complaints concerning the
Richwood-based Landon Building Systems, Inc. The company reportedly
required cash or check deposits from victims, promising to start work.
"Sometimes he would dig a hole or take some measurements," Phillips
said. "But he did little or no work."
"Landon gave extremely low bids in order to get the initial check from
the consumer (and never to return again)," court files state. "This
pattern was repeated by Landon and in some cases he underbid jobs as
much as six to 10 thousand dollars under other companies. It was rare
that Landon came close to other bids."
Phillips said a forensic accountant studied several businesses owned by
Landon, some of which were on-line companies. None of those businesses
were making money and yet all kept moving forward financially because he
began stealing from customers.
"Landon told consumers many lies as to why he had not started on their
jobs, including that he had a heart attack, his mother had a stroke and
his mother was in a hurricane in Florida," court files state.
The investigation was carried out in a combined effort through the Ohio
Attorney General's office, The Union County Prosecutor, The Union County
Sheriff's Office, as well as the Richwood and Marion police departments.
District honors three area people
From J-T staff reports:
Local resident JoAnn Stillings has been named recipient of the 2006
Community Service Award by the 2,035 Masons in Logan, Marion, Morrow and
Union counties of the 15th Masonic District.
James M. Williamson, Ohio's top Masonic officer, presented Stillings
with the award Friday night during a dinner reception at Karen's Event Center.
Also honored were Excellence in Youth Award winners Seth Franke of
Marysville, and Katelynn Hafer of LaRue.
Stillings embodies the total meaning of the words "Community Service,"
according to a press release announcing her selection. After retiring
from teaching in 1990, she became involved in local community
activities. She serves as the coordinator for the Red Cross Bloodmobile
visits to the area. She also serves as a member of Seniors Civic
Center's Board of Trustees, where she serves as board president.
Stillings is an active member of First United Methodist Church, where
she directs the hand bell choir and is chairperson of the church's Home
Missions Program which works with local families, assisting with utility
payments, rent, medical assistance and general needs. She also
coordinated the opening of a "Free Shop" based out of First United
Methodist Church, where items can be donated and given away throughout
the community. During the past three summers, Stillings has coordinated a summer
tutoring program for local North Union School District children. She
also assists in creating blankets for newborns and the elderly, Hugs for
Hats, hats for the James Cancer Center patients and the creation of
school and health kits to be distributed locally and abroad.
A freshman at Veritas Academy, Franke has a gift of music. At the age of
4 he played piano and violin when his instructors noticed he had perfect
pitch and the ability to play by ear. At the age of 12 he completed the
Suzuki Program for violin and has had the opportunity to play in the
Capital University Suzuki Tour Group, Cardinal Health Chamber Orchestra,
Central Ohio Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and the Columbus Symphony
Youth Orchestra. The son of Chris and Catie Franke of Marysville, Seth is an active
member of Shiloh Chapel Church in Marysville, where he serves as a
teacher's helper for younger children on Sunday mornings. He also
participates in various youth group activities, World Vision's 30 Hour
Famine, Youth Explosion Christian Teen Conference and community mission
projects. Hafer is a senior at Elgin High School in Marion, where she is a member
of the National Honor Society. She has been active in 4-H for the past
nine years and is a member of the Marion County Junior Fair Board. She
is active in the community and in her church, participating in mission
trips during the past two summers. During the past three summers, she
has volunteered in the Ohio Reads program, working in the summer with
students who needed assistance with reading to be better prepared to
enter the next grade level.
Williamson oversees Ohio's 121,000 Masons and more than 540 lodges.
Known for its charity, the Masonic fraternity provides approximately $15
million in charitable giving annually. This year in Ohio, the Masons
gave $94,000 in college scholarships, contributed $125,000 to Ohio
Summer Special Olympics and funded $70,000 in free training for hundreds
of Ohio school teachers to recognize students at non-academic risk. The
Masons also provided $12 million in elderly care and helped many needy
Ohio families and individuals through their Charitable Foundation.
New fees proposed for developments
By RYAN HORNS
New development may soon have an extra charge, with a proposed extra
charge for certain water services.
At Thursday night's city council meeting, the first reading was held on
an ordinance proposing to amend section 931.06, System Capacity Charges,
of the city-codified ordinances.
Councilman David Burke explained that when a new home or business is
being constructed, the building needs to be connected to a meter so the
city can charge for use of the water lines. The way the city judges how
much to charge is through Equivalent Runoff Unit, or ERU rates.
Currently, a single ERU costs a developer $3,000 to hook in, depending
on the size of the water line. This price would be equivalent to a
single family residence. The new ordinance will raise that price to $4,450.
In contrast, Burke said a standard apartment complex building would
require a three-inch water meter size. The current price is $33,180 to
hook in and that would go up to $66,750. He said that the increase does
not affect current homes, it only affects new development.
Burke said that the original ERU charges previously only paid for the
installation of the water meter. The funds raised from the proposed
increase would go toward future maintenance of the wastewater treatment
plant, the reservoir and any water towers that may need to be built as
the city grows. He compared it to a retirement plan for the city water systems.
Mayor Tom Kruse said that the ordinance came out of a city council committee.
"We're in agreement with it," he said. "I think it makes a great deal of sense."
The increase is an issue that has long been championed by councilman Dan
Fogt, as a way for new development to help pay for itself. Fogt and
councilman Burke sponsored the ordinance.
Fogt said that the idea to amend the capacity fees came from
recommendations made by the engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie, in its
Master Plan for Marysville.
According to the ordinance language, "it is necessary to increase the
water system capacity fees to partially fund the current and future
capital needs of the water utility such as the reservoir, upgrades to
the current water treatment plant, or future water treatment plant."
The ordinance also states that the capital projects are necessary "due
to the growth and the additional demands on the water utility." The city
will decide on system development charges by meter size, for each water
service connected to the water system.
Burke said the next phase of the increased ERU costs, is for the city to
go after apartment complexes, which can currently hook up 20 apartments
into a single three-inch water meter.
In other business, council held the first reading on an ordinance to
appropriate $9,000 to pay for a strategic planning event.
Burke explained that the event will bring together the city and the
administration so that everyone shares common goals for the future of
the city. He said the cost pays for a coordinator to handle the event.
The location and date of the event will need to be decided.
"It is still a work in progress," Burke said.
He also commented that the event is something council hopes to turn into
an annual occasion. He said if council and administration had been able
to do things like this in the past, it may have prevented the city's
current problems with trying to install water lines through Millcreek
Township for the future wastewater treatment plant.
In other discussions:
. Planning Commission Vice Chairman Alan Seymour updated council on past
commission meetings, providing updates on several developments in the
works in Marysville.
. Councilwoman Leah Sellers reported that the city Public Affairs
Committee met on Monday and heard from Roland Seymour, of the Union
County Veterans Memorial Committee.
She said Seymour came to ask if the city would help make the memorial
plans a reality, by helping to build a kiosk for the public to obtain
information on the monument, how to register a veteran, and other
services. The project would require a $15,000 donation from the city.
Sellers said that one resident at the meeting commented that the city
shouldn't give money to the monument. She said disagrees with that sentiment.
"My personal belief is that we owe a great debt to our veterans and we
should recognize them," she said.
Sellers suggested the city might look into it's funds and see what is
available. She also asked that any residents who have opinions on the
city donating toward the project voice them so council can make the best
decision. Burke said that he agreed it was an issue that city and council should
help support. "It would be a disservice not to honor them," Burke said.
Urgent Care may be
on the move
Facility my split from hospital emergency room
By CORINNE BIX
The Memorial Hospital of Union County's board of trustees was brought up
to speed on two hospital projects during Thursday's regular meeting.
Chip Hubbs, Memorial CEO/President, offered updates about urgent care
and a new medical building.
The current plan is to operate the hospital's urgent care/convenient
care during evening hours out of the orthopedics and sports medicine
offices located at the YMCA building. At this point the move to the
orthopedics facility is a temporary home for the urgent care, although
Hubbs said it may become the permanent home but other options are being explored.
Hubbs said the next hurdle would be deciding whether the hospital should
continue operating the urgent care or contract it out to a company that
specializes in urgent care management.
The hospital's urgent care/convenient care operates out of the emergency
room. Hubbs said the original intent was to have 25,000 convenient care
and emergency room visits per year. In 1997 when the new emergency room
was being planned the annual total was 17,000 visits. The facility now
handles 29,528 convenient care and emergency room visits.
Hubbs said another incentive to separate the two operations is because
insurance reimbursement is different when an urgent care is operated out
of the hospital. Individuals insured through Aetna are discouraged from
using the hospital's urgent care because they are required to pay higher co-payments.
Hubbs also updated the board on the Mill Valley medical building. About
50 percent of the office space is committed. He said despite the fact
that given the good location in front of the Mill Valley development the
project will be slow moving until more leases are secured.
The board welcomed new member Donna Burke. She is part owner of Dave's
Pharmacy with her husband Dave Burke. Union County Commissioner Charles
Hall swore in Burke. Burke, 38, has lived in Marysville for the last
four years. She has a degree in biology from Ohio Northern University
and her pharmaceutical degree from The Ohio State University.
Hubbs spoke to the board on eventually creating a resolution that will
provide general indemnification for all hospital employees.
Last month the board granted indemnification to Hubbs, chief operating
officer Laurie Whittington and vice-president of nursing services Jackie
Haverkamp. Indemnification would hold those employees, who are acting on
behalf of the hospital and within the appropriate scope of their
authority, harmless in the case of a hospital related lawsuit. Legal
counsel is still reviewing the general indemnification proposal.
Development Council updates were provided by Jesse Conrad, chairman
development council, and Nancy Conklin, vice president marketing and
development. The council, in its sixth year, consists of 85 members. In
2005, 700 individuals donated $489,000. This was up by almost $25,000 in 2004.
Upcoming fund raisers include the Men's Health Forum on April 28
featuring guest speaker, Bill Conley, formally with the OSU sports
program. Also the annual auxiliary fund-raising gala will be held in the fall.
"We have been very busy and the fact that we have 85 community leaders
on our committees makes an impact," Conrad said.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss the purchase of
property and trade secrets of a county hospital. No action was taken.
The next board meeting will be April 27 at 8 p.m.
In other business, the board:
. Approved the following committee reports for technology, quality
review, finance and joint conference
. Approved 2005 general obligation note to refinance $365,000 the
Women's Center/Miracle Life center and the purchase of computer
technology and information systems.
. Approved 2006 board of trustees committee appointments
. Was reminded to turn in conflict of interest statements
Jury returns guilty verdict in drug case
Suspect sentenced to 14 years in prison
By RYAN HORNS
The autopsy results of a young Union County man showed death by morphine
overdose. Now the woman who gave him the morphine will spend the next 14
years at the Ohio Reformatory for Women.
After more than five hours of deliberation Wednesday, Union County grand
jurors found Marsha Shoemaker, 45, guilty on four felony counts. A fifth
count of drug possession was dropped on Tuesday.
The morning of July 2, Justin Phelps, 21, was found with his eyes open
and not breathing in bed.
During a party at a home on Debolt Road earlier that night, Phelps told
friends he was going to take morphine. He ended up taking seven to eight
times the normal dosage a person legally prescribed the drug would take.
A Licking County pathologist, who performed the autopsy, testified that
it was the highest morphine overdose he had ever seen.
The guilty verdict was a tearful ruling for the families involved in the
court battle. It has been a case pitting friends of Phelps against his
family. Those weeping in the courtroom, wept louder when the verdict was
read. Out of a maximum 10-year sentence for the crime, Union County Common
Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott gave her eight years for a charge of
first degree-felony manslaughter charge.
Shoemaker also received one year in prison for the fourth-degree felony
deception to obtain a dangerous drug charge and five years for the
third-degree felony aggravated trafficking of drugs. Parrott ruled that
the sentences be served consecutively, resulting in the 14-year term.
Union County Prosecutor, Dave Phillips, blamed Phelps' death on whoever
gave him the morphine. An investigation led to Shoemaker, a Marysville
grocery store clerk, who knew Phelps through her son. Phelps also
supplied her with marijuana.
"I know there is no right way to go," Parrott said, regarding the guilty
verdict. "Whatever happens, it's not going to bring back the son that has been lost."
As the jury was escorted out, the family of Justin Phelps hugged each
other and shook hands with the prosecuting attorney. Shoemaker's family
waived to her as she was taken to her holding cell.
An emotional Darlene Phelps spoke to the court about her son. She said
it was his charm and outlook on life that made him a joy to be around.
One thing she wanted to make clear was that just because he had problems
with drugs, did not mean he was a bad person.
"There are no words to express the emptiness we feel everyday," she said.
The saying goes that time heals all wounds, but she said she disagreed.
"The more days that go by, the more real his death becomes," Darlene
Phelps said. "There will always be a piece (of our family) missing."
Even though she did not testify, Shoemaker said in a statement to the
court that she was sorry for the family's loss. She addressed the pain
her back injuries had caused her, which led to her morphine use.
"There were days I couldn't move," Shoemaker said.
In closing arguments, Phillips said that because Shoemaker deceived her
doctor, she granted the strongest morphine prescription held by anyone
in Union County. She failed to mention that she had been smoking
marijuana. A detail that would have led to her being dropped as a patient.
"Deception is really the key to this crime," Phillips said. "We started
out with the entire world as suspects and we narrowed it down. It
ultimately led to one person."
He said Shoemaker was the only person in Union County with a similar
prescription for morphine, she knew Phelps personally and she had even
called him from a pay phone the day that he died. Shoemaker's own son
testified that he witnessed his mother trade Phelps her morphine for his
marijuana. "There is no other conclusion," Phillips said.
Her prescription provided her with 30 pills on June 15. By July 2, she
should have still had pills remaining - but a search warrant of her home
revealed the bottle was empty. Shoemaker told them she had "doubled up"
on the medication. However, a toxicologist based near Akron, testified
that no morphine was found in her urine, blood or hair samples.
If someone hands a loaded gun to a child and the child shoots himself or
someone else, who is at fault? This was the question Phillips posed to
jurors during his closing arguments. He felt it was the person who
supplied the gun to someone unaware of the dangers.
Columbus defense attorney, Shawn Dominy, said that simply giving someone
a gun does not directly cause a death. He added that Phelps was an adult
who made his own decision.
"It was taking the morphine that was the direct cause of the death," he
said. Dominy insisted in his closing arguments that the benefit of doubt
against Shoemaker was real.
"It was tragic. It was a horrible thing to happen," he said. "Let's
leave it at that. Now Marsha Shoemaker is on trial here. Two wrongs don't make a right."
Dominy said that Phelps lived in Columbus, went to college in Urbana and
was often outside of Union County.
The same night he took the morphine, Dominy said Phelps also had
Percocet in his system - a drug he didn't get from Shoemaker.
The possibility Phelps had bought his drugs from someone in Columbus or
Urbana was important to consider, he said.
"What I'm suggesting is that there is doubt," Dominy said. "One thing we
know about Justin is that he used different drugs and sold and traded
drugs. Who provided those drugs to him? Was there an investigation on that? No."
Sheriff warns of Internet scams
From J-T staff reports:
Internet scams are prolific and costly, on both the national and local levels.
The Union County Sheriff's Office reported recently, according to the
statistics released by the National Consumers League (NCL), during the
first six months of 2005, consumer loss to Internet scams more than
doubled from the average losses reported in 2004.
From January, through June of 2005, consumers reports to the NCL's
National Fraud Information Center and Internet Fraud Watch program
indicated that the average individual loss for Internet fraud increased
from $895 in 2004, to $2,579 in the first six months of 2005.
The NCL also reported that some of the more costly scams perpetrated
through the Internet are bogus sweepstakes and prizes, phony lotteries
and lottery clubs, and fake check scams. Some of these methods ask
unsuspecting "winners" to advance or wire money in order to receive the
prize or the lottery payment.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson reported in a media release that his
office fields "one or two calls weekly" from residents reporting that
they have become a victim of an Internet scam.
"Many people are falling for the classic scams, such as the Nigerian
Money offers and they are losing thousands of dollars. Consumers need to
be aware of these scams and remember that if it sounds too good to be
true, it probably is," Nelson wrote. "Educating yourself about these
scams is probably your best defense."
He said that residents in Union County are encouraged to contact his
office or any local police department if they feel they have been
victimized by an Internet scam.
The sheriff's office provided this list of the top 10 Internet scams:
.On line auctions: Goods never delivered or misrepresented.
.General merchandise: Sales not through auctions, but goods were never
delivered or they were misrepresented.
.Nigerian money offers: False promises of riches if consumers pay to
transfer money to their bank accounts.
.Fake checks: Consumers paid with phony checks for work or items sold.
They are then instructed to wire money back.
.Phising: Emails pretending to be from a well-known source, asking to
confirm personal information.
.Lotteries/Lottery clubs: Request for payment to claim lottery winnings
or get help to win. This often involves foreign lotteries.
.Information/Adult services: Cost and terms of services not disclosed or misrepresented.
.Computer equipment/Software: Non-auction sales of equipment or software
never delivered or misrepresented.
.Prizes/sweepstakes: Requests for payment to claim prizes that never materialize.
Library author series underway
Editor's note: The following review is submitted by Denise Birkhoff,
Marysville Public Library coordinator of volunteers.
The first in a series of authors' visits sponsored by the Friends of the
Marysville Public Library started off on a high note Tuesday evening at
the Veteran's Memorial Auditorium.
Author Jack Matthews was charming and funny as he spoke about his
50-plus years of writing experience. He is the author of more than 20
novels and collections of poetry and short stories.
Matthews was born and raised in Columbus. He earned bachelor's degrees
in English literature and classical Greek and a master's degree in
English literature at the Ohio State University. He taught at Urbana
University and has been at Ohio University for the past 40 years, where
he is a Distinguished Professor of English.
Matthews read some of his poetry and a short story during his lecture.
He talked about the disappointments that are inevitable in the life of a
writer, but also talked about the successes and accomplishments that
make it all worthwhile. The crowd was thoroughly entertained by his
closing story, "Delusional Gymnosis".
After the lecture he took questions and signed books. Though it was a
snowy and cold evening, the 60 who came out for the opening night of the
series were delighted by the night's entertainment.
Season tickets for the remaining three performances are on sale for $30;
individual tickets at the door are $15. The next author visit will be
April 28, with Dan Chaon speaking.
Clinic opens to help the underinsured
From J-T staff reports:
There is a new option in Union County for those who are under- or non-insured.
The Union County Health Department and Memorial Hospital of Union County
reopened the community Primary Care Clinic Monday. The two-days-a-week
clinic is designed to help adults and children who are having difficulty
finding a physician. "Access to quality health care has become an issue for some people
within our community. In an effort to help these folks, our agencies
(Union County Health Department and Memorial Hospital of Union County)
have combined resources to offer an affordable health care option," said
Martin Tremmel, county health commissioner, in a Tuesday news release.
Appointments are required and may be scheduled Mondays from 9 a.m. to 4
p.m. and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling the health
department at 642-0801. The clinic is located at 940 London Ave., Suite 1100.
Same day appointments may be available by contacting the phone number
listed. The primary care clinic will function much like a physician's office.
Routine testing and office procedures will be performed, but more
serious medical conditions or injuries may be referred to another local
medical provider. County residents and non-residents seeking medical care for colds or
flu, chronic disease management such as diabetes, minor injury or
illness consultation, adult physicals or child check-ups, Pap smears,
STD testing, ear irrigation or other related health concerns may be seen at the clinic
While the clinic is primarily intended for people who have Medicaid or
who don't have insurance, anyone having difficulty accessing a doctor is
welcome, including people with insurance or Medicare.
"Fees were designed to be affordable," said Chip Hubbs, Memorial
Hospital of Union County CEO. "It is our goal to help people who might
be deterred from visiting a physician's office because they are
under-insured or do not have insurance."
The cost for an office visit ranges from $20 to $30 depending on the
complexity of the medical problem. Additional testing and procedures
performed during the visit cost between $6 and $22 per test/procedure.
A $20 minimum payment is required upon arrival at the clinic.
The clinic staff has the capability to bill Medicaid and Medicare, but
not private insurance companies. Patients with private insurance will
receive a receipt which they may submit to their insurance company.
Insurance companies may or may not reimburse clinic fees.
Those interested in more information or who would like to make an
appointment may call the primary care clinic at 642-0801 or (888) 333-9461.
Fairbanks extends contracts to pair of
From J-T staff reports:
Members of the Fairbanks Board of Education approved contract extensions
for two administrators Monday night during the regular monthly meeting.
A four-year administrative contract to Fairbanks Elementary Principal
Mark Lotycz was approved through the 2009-2010 school year, and a
three-year contract through 2008-2009 for curriculum coordinator Gloria
Werline was approved.
Lotycz's salary will be $79,421, and Werline will receive $71,881. Both
reflect 5 percent pay increases.
Board president Kevin Green and members Dave Huber, Jaynie Lambert and
Sherry Shoots attended the meeting. Board vice president Star Simpson was absent.
In other business, board members:
.Accepted the resignation of Dena Komula, high school English teacher,
effective the end of the 2005-2006 school year.
.Approved athletic contracts for the 2005-2006 school year to Paul
Detwiler and John Schwendenman, volunteer middle school baseball
coaches, and Jason Heard, middle school wrestling coach.
.Approved athletic contracts for the 2006-2007 school year to Andy
Pinkerton, head soccer coach; Richard Rausch, Jeff Powell and Joe
Newell, assistant high school football coaches; and Matt Humphrey,
assistant high school soccer coach.
.Approved "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini and "Obasan" by J. Kogawa
as paperback novels to be used for instruction during the 2005-2006 school year.
.Approved a list of 93 elementary media books.
.Conducted the first reading on policy changes regarding community use
of school facilities.
.Approved classified contracts for Rita Rinehart, substitute educational
aide; and Rhonda Fairchild and Larry Nicol, substitute bus drivers.
.Approved the 2006-2007 school calendar.
.Determined the remaining balance of $1,060 in the Phelps Special Needs
Fund will be used by the high school girls basketball program.
.Approved open enrollment for the 2006-2007 school year.
Triad adopts new math programs
By CORINNE BIX
The Triad School Board approved new math programs for grades K-8 at
Monday's regularly scheduled meeting.
Craig Meredith, elementary principal, and Brenda Boyd, director of
curriculum and instruction, gave a detailed presentation to board
members explaining the year-long process that went into selecting the
two new math programs.
Meredith explained that over the last year a math committee has been
meeting regularly to identify and improve the district's math program.
Meredith said the focus by the committee was to correct a problem.
"Triad students historically have not met state performance
expectations," Meredith said.
The two main goals of the math committee was to provide high quality
professional development for district math teachers and to ultimately
have 75 percent of all students pass state achievement tests.
Boyd said the key piece that came out of the committee was the ultimate
shift in the way math needs to be taught in order to engage and reach
more students. "This is a totally different math program as compared to traditional
math programs," Boyd said.
Meredith explained that unlike traditional math instruction, which
promote memorization and repetition, the new programs would encourage
conceptual understanding and application through a hands-on approach.
Per the committee's research and recommendations, board members approved
Everyday Math for grades K-5 and McDougal ?Littell for grades 6-8.
Boyd said areas of focus would include math content, dealing with
unpredictability of students as thinkers and promoting a comfortable
learning environment. She also cited that positive parental involvement
would be key to the program's success.
Deb Hayslip, middle school teacher, reported to the board on the Soar to
Success Reading Intervention program for grades three through eight,
which came with the recently instituted Houghton Mifflin reading series.
Hayslip said that early intervention in grade three has been successful.
Pupils learn using a fast paced lesson sequence where they are taught to
clarify, predict, summarize and ask questions to improve their reading skills.
"Of the 60 students in the Soar program, 68 percent are now at grade
level as of a practice test given in January of this year," Hayslip said.
The board approved Bruce Schlabach for a two-year contract as part-time
athletic director beginning this fall.
Schlabach, a math and science teacher, will continue to teach part time,
which will include advanced science courses at the high school. His new
salary has yet to be determined.
Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger announced to the board that Schlabach,
who is also a girls basketball coach, and Tim Lacey, boys basketball
coach, have not expressed interest in coaching basketball next year.
The district will advertise for those coaching positions in the near future.
Lacey has coached for the last five years and Schlabach has coached
since the early 1990s.
The board approved the athletic policy revisions, which will alter
section X; item five as passed and presented by the Triad Athletic
Council earlier this month
The revisions include raising the minimum GPA from 1.65 to 1.67 along
with dealing with the use or possession of tobacco, alcohol and illicit
drugs to be prohibited year round. The revisions will take effect this
summer in preparation for the fall athletic season.
The board approved an increase in expenditures for general legal services by $4,595.
Kaffenbarger explained that the district has recently been busy with
attorney fees in regard to the unexpected resignations of Richard
Kraemer last fall and Lisa Hay last month.
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. Hay has been on administrative leave since the beginning of the
school year. The board accepted with regret the resignation for the purpose of
retirement of Jack Stout. Stout, a social studies teacher, has taught for 30 years, 15 in the
Triad district. He will retire at the end of his 2005-2006 contract.
Kaffenbarger reported that state mandated testing with the exception of
make-ups is now complete for the district.
"There was a positive effort on behalf of the students as reported by
each of the building principals," Kaffenbarger said.
The district is in the process of tightening up its bus code of conduct
policy. Kaffenbarger said recent behavioral issues have sparked the need
to re-emphasize to students and parents the importance of the bus
driver's job and the student's responsibility to behave appropriately in
order to facilitate a safe bus environment.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss negotiations with
the Triad education association. Kaffenbarger said negotiation began
last month and the hope is to have a new contract approved by April
regular board meeting. No action was taken.
The next regular board meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 17 in the middle school library.
North Union hires new leader
Richard Smith will be next superintendent
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Richard D. Smith Jr. sees as much potential in North Union as the district sees in him.
Smith will be North Union's next superintendent, taking over for Carol
Young who will be retiring over the summer. He was offered a three-year
contract following a 5-0 vote at Monday's school board meeting.
"This district is primed to be great and that is what we are going to
strive to achieve," Smith said.
Smith comes to the district from the Ashland education system, where he
is principal of Montgomery Elementary, a position he has held since
2001. Prior to that he has served as an assistant elementary school
principal and physical education teacher.
He received a bachelor of science degree in physical education at
Charleston Southern University in 1996 and followed that with his
masters in education administration from Ashland University in 2000. He
received his superintendents license from Ashland in 2004.
A former member of the Air Force, Smith lists administrative experience
that includes working on contract negotiations, operating levy
campaigns, mentoring new principals and working on curriculum review
committees. Smith said he saw the position posted on a professional Website. He
researched the district and found its test scores, finances and building
situation to be moving in the right direction.
"There are some out there that you don't want to apply to," Smith said.
"This district is on the right path to success."
Smith said that when he visited the district he was impressed by the new
school construction as well as the improvements at the library.
"I see a community that invests in its children," Smith said.
Smith will take over for Young on Aug. 1 and said he will spend the
coming months visiting the district as much as possible while still
performing his duties as principal.
Young, who has led the district since 1995, gave North Union nearly a
year's notice that she would be retiring. With that much leadway, the
district was able to conduct a thorough search for a replacements,
according to board president Jon Hall.
Hall said the employed the Finding Leaders consulting service to help
find and sort applicants. In November the board held meetings with staff
and community members to determine important characteristics for the new
superintendent. About 50 individuals expressed interest in the job and from those 20
applied for the position, Hall said. That field was narrowed to 15 with
the help of the consulting firm.
The field was trimmed again to seven applicants who were interviewed by
the board of education. The board then picked the best two candidates.
Those two met with groups of staff, students and community members as
the board sought input for the final decision.
The board then visited the school where Smith currently works to talk
with staff and other officials about his performance. Following the
lengthy process, the board felt it had chosen the best qualified
candidate. "This is something we took very seriously," Hall said.
Kindergarten discussion draws crowd at Marysville
By KARLYN BYERS
About two dozen parents, administrators, bus drivers and teachers
gathered at the Marysville School Board meeting Monday night to express
their concern about - and support - of all day, every other day kindergarten.
The gathering was in response to word that the district of more than
3,000 pupils was considering increased class time for 5 and 6 year olds
entering the school system in the fall.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said the school system has been looking
at the all-day kindergarten option "for a long time" to give its pupils
an academic edge. "(Kindergarten) is not nap time and it's not snack time" anymore,
Zimmerman said. More instructional time is preferred in order to meet rising state
standards and expectations and there is an increased need for peer
Many children are starting kindergarten with speech and language delays,
according to administrative handouts given at the board meeting.
On the 2005-2006 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, incoming
kindergarten pupils scored an average 63 percent. Sixty-seven percent of
incoming kindergarten pupils scored at or below the district expectation
score on the hearing sounds and words assessment.
Thirty-two percent of incoming kindergarten pupils scored below average
on the Peabody Assessment (a test of listening comprehension for the
spoken word). Forty-two percent of the incoming kindergarten pupils
scored at the lowest level on the Developmental Reading Assessment,
according to the handouts.
"A lot of our kids don't get to go to preschool and it puts us behind
the curve," said Melissa Hackett East Elementary principal. "We've been
talking about this for over two years."
"We're looking at ways to catch up. We're looking at options," Zimmerman
said. "To give them more of what they need to catch up. They need extra
time and challenges and all day, every other day would provide more."
Chris Newland, the parent of six children, said he was concerned about
the emotional and personality differences in children and how all-day
schooling would affect them. He said he and his wife have made "family
choices" - such as his wife remaining at home - so their children's
psyches and personalities would be nurtured.
But Hackett, Mill Valley kindergarten teacher Carol Lentz, longtime
Marysville bus driver, parent of five and grandmother Kay Griffith, and
Raymond principal Donna Ball spoke positively of the benefits of
all-day, every other kindergarten.
"These changes are harder for the adults than they are for the children," Ball said.
While all day, every day instruction is preferred, that option currently
doesn't exist for Marysville Schools because no state funding is
available, Zimmerman said. To operate that option on its own would cost
the district about $1 million in annual operating costs and would
necessitate 10 additional classrooms, hiring 10 teachers and buying all
the "stuff" (furnishings, materials, resources and support staff) that a
kindergarten classroom uses.
Marysville kindergarten pupils presently attend school during half-day
morning or afternoon sessions five days each week. Incoming kindergarten
parents will be invited to ask questions and offer feedback on the issue
in coming weeks at meetings to be held by Marysville elementary school
principals. Zimmerman said a decision is expected by April.
"We owe you a decision, I know that," he said.
The board also heard a presentation from bus driver Marilyn Hutchins. A
bus driver since 1989, Hutchins suggested the benefits of the district's
current kindergarten program outweighed any financial gains the district
might reap by reducing transportation costs.
She also suggested moving the high school's "extended class time" to the
beginning of the day and keeping Creekview Intermediate School students
with the middle school/high school schedule as a solution to overlong
transportation times on the Creekview routes.
Zimmerman has voiced frustration with bus routes from Creekview
Intermediate, saying pupils are on the bus 25 minutes before the route
even begins. By tweaking the schedule a bit, longer riding times for
Creekview Intermediate pupils could be avoided and the high school,
Creekview and the middle school could gain additional instructional time, he said.
Administrators will meet with bus drivers in the coming weeks to work
out a solution, Zimmerman said.
The board also adjourned into executive session to hear a complaint from
a substitute bus driver about derogatory slurs. The bus driver, an
ethnic minority, had questioned board policy during regular session.
Zimmerman said derogatory or racial slurs, or "bullying" would not be
tolerated. He said the school district had policies and procedures in
place to deal with such incidents, including suspension and sensitivity
training. No action was taken following the executive session.
Jerome Township Web site to be in place
By CINDY BRAKE
Jerome Township will have a Web site in place by April 1.
Trustee Bob Merkle announced that the Web site should be up soon during
Monday's regular board meeting. Training is to be conducted March 22,
said fiscal officer Robert Caldwell.
Following a presentation by Union County Engineer Steve Stolte, the
board approved road improvements for approximately $71,000. Roads to be
chip and sealed include Weldon, Warner, Currier and Mitchell Dewitt.
Scheduled to be cold mixed are Jacobs Lane, half of Smith Place, Lambka
and the northern portion of Rickard.
Caldwell presented a suggested procedure for purchasing. After a short
discussion, the board voiced concerns that the procedure was too broad.
The procedure would have permitted expenditures by authorized employees
and trustees for up to $1,000 without a board resolution. Caldwell said
the Ohio Revised Code permits maximum purchases of up to $2,500, but he
thought $1,000 was a good middle ground. He also said he believed the
figure was for one-time purchases. Caldwell said he had added a 'then
and now' policy that Union County Auditor Mary Snider discussed at a previous meeting.
Trustees Ron Rhodes and Thomas both said they thought there should be a
separate policy for employees. Merkle agreed. The matter was tabled.
The Union County Prosecutor has advised the board that township funds
can be expended for the Union County Veterans Memorial. The board has
yet to decide exactly what they will donate.
In other business:
. Rhodes volunteered to represent the township on a public safety
officer funding committee with Merkle backing him up. Merkle said the
township paid approximately $150,000 this year for the program. The
committee is investigating the need for a levy to fund the program.
. The board unanimously voted to trade-in two older lawn mowers and
purchase two new mowers under a roll-over plan that allows the township
to get new equipment each year. The cost is $800 a year for each mower.
The agreement is with J.D. Equipment of London.
. Merkle said Patrick Sonnenberg's Eagle Scout Project to build dug outs
over ball diamond benches should begin this weekend, weather permitting.
. Rhodes said he has been contacted about establishing a solid waste
recycling program weekly in the township. Merkle added that he believed
funds are available for hazardous waste collections.
. Thomas suggested the township respond to a letter from the LUC
Planning Commission. Merkle and Rhodes agreed. LUC has suggested the
township delay action on a zoning matter because it lacks a sketch plan
review. The problem is that the township's zoning code does not require
sketch plan reviews. Merkle noted that this raises a bigger issue about
the need to contract with a zoning attorney.
The board recessed into executive session with legal counsel to discuss
personnel matters for 45 minutes. Upon returning to open session, the
board adjourned the meeting, Merkle said.
Recent burglaries follow pattern
From J-T staff reports:
A string of burglaries in Union County have local law enforcement
officials asking for help from residents.
Jamie Patton, lieutenant of investigations at the Union County Sheriff's
Office, reported this morning that three recent burglaries that happened
in the southeast area of Union County were very similar.
On Monday sometime between 9:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. the rear door of a
residence in the 7000 block of Wells Road was kicked open and thieves
went through the house, stealing $40 in cash, as well as prescription medication.
Also on Monday, two more homes were broken into under similar
circumstances. Between 7:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. a home in the 9000 block
of Ketch Road was broken into and thieves took $3,600 in jewelry and
change from inside. Patton said that investigators believe the burglary suspects in the
incidents on Ketch and Wells road may have been seen.
It is suspected that the criminals knock on the door to a potential
residence they wish to burglarize. If the resident comes to the door,
the suspect makes up an excuse for knocking, such as asking for
directions to a house or business nearby, or perhaps to use the phone
for road assistance. Patton said if the resident does not come to the door, investigators
feel they may chose to break into the house.
Because of this method, he said, there is a good possibility residents
have had people come to the door over the past week asking for
directions or road assistance.
"There is no doubt someone has knocked on their door and then came up
with a bogus story," Patton said. "We don't know how many have
encountered these subjects, but it would be helpful for them to please call us."
Patton said investigators are hoping to hear any possible descriptions
of what the burglary suspects look like, what they are wearing or even
any descriptions of vehicles they may be driving.
Any tips can be made by calling the Union County Sheriff's Office
investigators at 645-4100 (ext. 4129).
J.A. girls bring home state title
By TIM MILLER
They started several years ago as elementary school children, playing
basketball together at recess.
They moved up through the ranks not only as teammates but good friends
and then played one year of junior varsity when they reached the halls
of Jonathan Alder High School.
They ended their high school hoop careers on Saturday to the strains of
Queen's "We are the Champions" after a 55-49 victory over Youngstown
Ursuline in the Division III state finals at the Ohio State University's Schottenstein Center.
Jessie Adams, Brianna Votaw, Erica Wehner, Megan Cooper, Kelcy Moore and
Emily Thelen will certainly look back on their prep roundball days with
a great deal of pride and satisfaction.
Folks in Union and Madison counties will forever remember them as one of
the best basketball classes they've ever seen.
They made fans sit up and take notice two years ago when they, along
with heralded freshman Lauren Prochaska, won the first of three
consecutive district titles and advanced to the state semifinals
against, ironically, Ursuline.
There, they lost to the eventual state champion by 16 points. However,
many thought that the best times were yet ahead for this young team.
The following season brought about another trip to the regionals, where
a 57-56 semifinal overtime loss to Ironton halted another march to Value
City Arena. In retrospect, that setback really set the stage for the 2005-2006 state
champs. "We were disappointed after losing to Ironton," said coach Terra
McDaniels. "After that, our goal was to get back to the Schottenstein
Center this year." They did so by rolling through the most difficult schedule any Union
County area basketball team has ever faced.
Division I outfits such as Dublin Coffman, Reynoldsburg and Pickerington
North were just a few of their victims.
State-ranked squads such as Miami Trace and Newark Catholic fell by the wayside as well.
The only blemishes were an 11-point loss to Warsaw River View, which on
Saturday captured the Divison II state title, and a 21-point setback to
DeSales, a D II regional runner-up.
If there was one characteristic about this Jonathan Alder team, it was
the ability to overcome adversity.
On a number of occasions, they found themselves either trailing or
holding on to the slimmest of leads in the second half.
Yet, they found a way to win all but two times.
While Prochaska was busy adding to her sterling reputation as one of the
best girls hoopsters in Ohio, the six seniors were going about their
business, helping to win in a variety of ways.
For Adams and Wehner, it meant drawing defensive assignments against
post opponents who more often than not had them by several inches in
height. For Votaw, it was hitting key three-pointers on the wing.
Cooper's job was to run the offense from the point and play tenacious
defense in the fullcourt press.
Moore made a name for herself - especially during the tournament run -
by providing instant offense off the bench from beyond the three-point line.
Thelen was there for clutch rebounds and an occasional soft jumper from
the side of the bucket. The seniors carried themselves with a great deal of pride and poise,
never losing their composure along the way.
That is, until the final nets were cut down on Saturday, ending an
outstanding three-year run that saw them lose only six games.
"It's been a lot of fun," said Wehner when asked during the post-game
press conference to describe three years of hoops with her friends.
The enormity of what they accomplished then came crashing through.
"It's a dream come true," she said as the tears began to flow.
"We're just all close friends," Adams added. "We were all about team
work." Later, in a quiet hallway as the team began to work its way toward the
bus and a post-game celebration, Votaw said the last three years were a
true feeling of togetherness. Her voice then cracked and her eyes began to glisten when she
acknowledged, "It's hard knowing that we won't be playing together anymore."
Cooper, who played with so much heart at 5-5 against so many bigger
opponents, echoed those sentiments.
"This is really bittersweet," she said. "It feels so good to win a state
championship but this was the last time we'll ever play together."
With their graduations in a couple of months, they will leave behind
Prochaska, who has one more year of high school ball to play.
She did not hesitate to express her feelings about her older teammates.
"They are my best friends," she said. "I'm going to miss them." As will an entire community.
UNION COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RESOLUTION NO. 174-06 RE:
JONATHAN ALDER LADY PIONEER DAY
A motion was made by Gary Lee and seconded by Charles Hall to approve
the following resolution:
WHEREAS, the Jonathan Alder Lady Pioneers' 2005-2006 basketball team
finished the season with an outstanding record of 26 wins and two losses; and
WHEREAS, the Lady Pioneers played each and every game with pride,
determination and outstanding sportsmanship; and
WHEREAS, on March 18, 2006 the Lady Pioneers defeated a strong and
athletic Youngstown Ursuline team in a breathtaking 55-49 victory; and
WHEREAS, the Division III State Championship was earned not by
individual effort, but each player committed to winning as a team.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, in recognition of Jonathan Alder Lady Pioneers
and coach Terra McDaniels being crowned as the 2006 Division III State
Basketball Champions, The Union County Commissioners by Resolution do
hereby declare March 21, 2006 as Lady Pioneer Day, so that all of our
community may share in your pride and accomplishments.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be spread upon
the journal of the Union County Commissioners for posterity and a copy
presented to The Lady Pioneers' Basketball Team so that all may know of
the outstanding achievement.
Tom McCarthy, Gary Lee, Charles Hall
By RYAN HORNS
Opening statements were held today in the trial of a woman allegedly
responsible for the drug-related death of a Union County teenager.
Marsha Shoemaker, 45, of Union County, faces five charges filed by Union
County Prosecutor David Phillips. Specifically, she faces a charge of
deception to obtain dangerous drugs; an aggravated trafficking in drugs
charge; an involuntary manslaughter charge; an aggravated possession of
drugs charge; and a complicity to aggravated possession of drugs charge.
"We anticipate this trail to take three days to complete," Union County
Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott told prospective jurors.
Phillips explained to the court that the case against Shoemaker centers
around the death of Justin Phelps, a former football player for
Fairbanks High School. He said that there was a party on July 2, 2005,
and that night Phelps reportedly ingested morphine allegedly "given to
him by the defendant." "The next morning there was a 911 call," Phillips said.
Phelps was transported by medics to Memorial Hospital of Union County
where he was later pronounced dead from a morphine overdose. Morphine
sulfate is known for disrupting the central nervous and respiratory
systems, Phillips said. "In fact, "he just stopped breathing," Phillips said.
Because of severe back problems, he explained Shoemaker had undergone
numerous surgeries. Because of the pain, she was prescribed morphine
sulfate by her Marysville doctor.
What her doctor didn't know, Phillips said, was that Shoemaker had
allegedly been diverting her morphine to other people. Her own son is
expected to testify that she gave her morphine to Phelps, in exchange for marijuana.
What Phelps may not have known, Phillips said, is that the morphine
sulfate dosage she was prescribed was 120 milligrams. Phillips said this
dosage is so high that she was the only person in Union County who had
this level of prescription. When police arrived at the party, they searched Phelps' vehicle and
found marijuana and 120 milligram morphine sulfate pills - the same
pills that Shoemaker had been prescribed two weeks before.
Phillips said the Union County Sheriff's Department then conducted a
search of Shoemaker's home and found the bottle which contained the 120
milligram morphine sulfate pills. "It was empty," Phillips said.
He said that Shoemaker told investigators that she had "doubled up on the dosage."
However, Phillips said, investigators tested Shoemaker's hair, blood and
urine for morphine use. He said they found evidence of other drugs, such
as marijuana, but there were no signs of morphine in her system.
The autopsy of Phelps showed that he had ingested seven to eight times
the therapeutic dosage for pain.
"A dose so high that it was lethal," Phillips said. "She caused the
death of Justin Phelps."
Shoemaker's Columbus attorney Shawn Dominy, told the court that Phelps
was known for playing football but he was also known "as a partier and
well known for being a drug abuser and drug seller."
He said it was this lifestyle choice that ultimately led to his death, not Shoemaker.
Dominy also explained that Phelps was known for having drug connections
outside of Union County. The morphine sulfate that he ingested before
the party that night could have come from anyone.
"He could have gotten (the pills) anywhere," Dominy said.
When the autopsy was held, doctors found numerous illegal drugs in
Phelps' system, including marijuana, alcohol and the pain drug Percocet,
as well as morphine. It was the combined effect of all these drugs that
killed him, Dominy said.
The investigation, he said, focused entirely on Shoemaker, "not to find
out what happened," but to prove Shoemaker was responsible.
He said Shoemaker had legitimate pain and was prescribed the drugs legally by her doctor.
County Humane Society shelter operating at 144 percent capacity
The Union County Humane Society is operating at more than 140 percent
kennel capacity for dogs. So far this year, the society has served -
placed into new homes, etc. - 150 dogs, according to Rachel D.K. Finney,
UCHS executive director.
Finney said the kennel is equipped to hold 27 at a time, with 38 being
housed now, including some in crates on the floor and in the shelter's
bathroom. "It's no secret, animal shelters all over central Ohio and throughout
the Midwest are overcrowded," Finney said in a press release. "Our
resources are extremely limited to start. The additional dogs are not
only a strain on funding, but also mean extra staff time and less
one-on-one attention for the dogs."
Most of the dogs housed are Labrador retriever mixes, hounds, beagles,
and Australian shepherds and Australian shepherd mixes, she said. Much
of the kennel overcrowding is due to an effort by the organization to
break up a hoarding situation in which one family had more than 50 dogs
on its property. In early February, the UCHS removed more than half of
the dogs. Nearly 20 are still awaiting assistance.
As Union County continues to grow and increase in population, even more
companion animals and the people who care for them are in need of
assistance, Finney said.
The Union County Humane Society is neither a "no kill" shelter nor a
county agency. The nonprofit group contracts with Union County to
provide impoundment services for all stray dogs and cannot regulate the
inflow of dogs to the shelter.
The society is able to place 90 percent of its dogs in permanent homes
which is among the highest percentage for a county contracted facility
in the state of Ohio, according to the society news release.
Many of the dogs that are euthanized each year display aggression
towards people or other animals or have an illness that is beyond the
shelter's financial resources to treat. But as the shelter becomes
increasingly overcrowded, life and death decisions will begin to become
a matter of space.
"The UCHS is so much more than a 'pound,'" said Finney. "We provide
basic veterinary care, behavioral training, an active exercise program,
and even music therapy for our residents. Our staff and volunteers are
so passionate about our work and we want to be able to maintain such a
high standard of care."
But it takes more than love to serve the dogs of Union County. In 2005,
the shelter used more than 31,000 paper towels, five tons of dog and cat
food, and more than 3,000 syringes for vaccinations and medications. A
complete "wish list" of items the shelter needs can be found on its Web
site at www.UnionCoHumaneSociety.org.
In addition to financial and in-kind contributions, the UCHS is looking
for volunteers to open their homes and serve as temporary foster
families for both dogs and cats.
Those interested may contact Finney at 642-0487, or contact the society
by fax at 644-8247, or e-mail at email@example.com.
offers "Living Well With Cancer" program
Memorial Hospital of Union County is offering a patient education event
to help those coping with the challenge of cancer.
"Living Well With Cancer" will be offered Tuesday at the Union County
Services Building, 940 London Ave. The program will begin at 6 p.m. with
a light meal sponsored by the Central Ohio Chapter of the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society. The event will speak directly to patients dealing with cancer of all
types and at all stages, but will also be valuable for their family members and caregivers.
Featured speaker will be Sanjay Yadav, MD, an oncologist on staff at
Memorial Hospital who will present information on new cancer treatments.
After which he will field direct questions from those in attendance.
He will be followed by Peggy Reed, RN, an oncology nurse from the
Oncology Clinic at Memorial. She will address the specifics of how to
live well day-to-day with the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of cancer.
The evening will conclude with a panel of professionals who connect the
community with resources related to its diagnosis of cancer. That panel
will include representatives from the American Cancer Society, Union
County Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Central Ohio,
The Wellness Community, and the Rev. James Taylor, chaplain of Memorial
Hospital. As a group, they will take questions from the audience and be
available for one-on-one discussions following the event.
Registration for the event is free, but please call 578-2237 by noon
Monday to reserve a seat for the meal.
Wal-Mart Super Center readies for opening
By CINDY BRAKE
Super doesn't quite describe the soon-to-open Marysville Wal-Mart Super
Center. Slated to open at 8 a.m. Wednesday the $10 million project is located at
555 Coleman Crossing Blvd. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a
week, 364 days a year. The only day it will be closed is Christmas, said
store manager Mark Hall.
"The customers deserve it. It was finally time to give them the one-stop
shop experience," Hall said. Data shows 65 percent of Union County
shoppers leave the county for retail shopping.
Hall said Wal-Mart plans to change that statistic with the 206,000
square foot Super Center built on 18 acres.
For those who think they may not be up to such a large shopping
experience, Hall says not to worry because rest stops have been put in
place. "I realize it's a big store," Hall said.
Benches are located throughout the store. Three front entrances are
strategically located into the grocery, retail and gardening center.
Another entrance in the back of the building provides quick access to
the tire and lube center. And for those who prefer to ride when they
shop, Hall said the store has eight electric carts. Pharmacy shoppers no
longer need to leave their car to drop off or pick up prescriptions
because of a drive-through center. A total of 38 cash registers are
located throughout the Super Center - 26 in the front, four in the
garden center and eight in specialty areas.
A bigger store means bigger selection in every department, Hall said. It
also means more specialty areas.
"We can give people what they are looking for," Hall said.
Unique to the Marysville store is a home trends area. It is only one of
16 in the nation and none are located in central Ohio, Hall said. He
said the area is more of an up-scale home decor department.
Another new area for shoppers' convenience is the home organization
department. Key products from various departments have been placed in
one area, Hall said. The garden center is the largest of any Wal-Mart in Ohio.
Hall said the store has worked closely with Scotts Miracle Gro in
planning the area. It includes a heated Florida room with solar curtains
plus two outside patios and a retail area in the main building.
The Tire and Lube Center includes five full-service bays, 3,400 tires in
stock and 12 technicians. Hall said all the latest in new electronics is now available including
plasma and high definition televisions, home theater systems and twice
as many gaming systems. The Connection Center includes computers, Ipods,
an on-site photo lab and phone services.
The grocery area is approximately the same size as the original
Marysville Wal-Mart Store located on U.S. 36. The grocery will have a
bakery, deli, seafood counter, meat counter and produce, plus floral
area, dairy, dry groceries, frozen goods and water center.
In the front of the full-service store shoppers will find a Smart-Style
Hair Salon, Regal Nails, hearing center, vision center, portrait studio
and Subway Restaurant. A free-standing fuel station is located near the
main store. One thing customers won't see are fire arms at the new location.
Hall said the corporate office has decided to move away from selling
firearms because of tighter regulations. Ammunition will still be
available, as well as many other sporting goods plus an expanded
selection of biking and exercise equipment.
Wider, less cluttered aisles, more inventory on the sales floor and more
accessible shelving are all part of the store's configuration. It is
also designed to be environmentally friendly. For example, the lighting
system automatically dims or brightens depending upon the amount of
natural light entering the building from the numerous skylights. Brown
concrete floors are less slick than tiles and easier to clean. Spills
are also easier to see, Hall said. Operating the Super Center is no simple task.
Hall has two co-manager and 19 assistant managers plus approximately 425
associations - 165 veterans and 260 new hires.
During the past four weeks, Hall said 180 associates from throughout
three districts have worked eight hours a day, six days a week stocking
shelves with 1,000 semi loads of merchandise.
Planning for the Super Center began three years ago, Hall said.
"We have waited so long," he said.
The original Marysville Wal-Mart was built in October 1990 and was the
third to be built in Ohio. At the time, Hall said, it was "state of the
art" with general merchandise, a little food and two specialty
departments - pharmaceuticals and shoes.
The older store is scheduled to close at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 21.
Community leaders will get a sneak peak of the new location from 6 to 8
p.m. on March 21. The ceremony marking the store's new beginning will
include a presentation of $26,500 in grants to six local agencies plus a
teacher of the year recognition. Instead of a traditional ribbon
cutting, Hall said, the event will include a green carpet with hedge clippers cutting a vine.
After merchandise is completely removed from the old location, Hall said
an auction of fixtures will be held and then Wal-Mart is done with the
rental property near U.S. 36. He does not know what the property owner's
plans are for the old location.
Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer with $312.4 billion in sales in
the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2006, according to the company's
official Web site. The first Wal-Mart was built in 1962 in Rogers, Ark.
and the first Super Center in 1988.
Running with a purpose
Councilman has turned hobby into fund-raising effort
By RYAN HORNS
City councilman Mark Reams said has always been into running for his
heath. But it wasn't until recently that running became another outlet
to help a friend fight cancer.
When he's not working at Honda or as city councilman, Reams can often be
found on some trail or running along a roadside. This year he is going
to spend the next several months running with a goal: To raise money to
help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society find a cure for blood cancers.
"One of my employees, Pete Parks, was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin's
Lymphoma," Reams said. "He began his treatments about six weeks ago."
Reams said lately he has sat on the sidelines, watching his friend deal
with the chemotherapy. The process left him feeling helpless.
"It kind of hit really close to home," Reams said. "I wanted to do something to help."
At the March 9 Marysville City Council meeting, Reams took a personal
moment to talk about how he has changed his goals away from running for
his own health, in order to get involved with raising awareness and
funding for scientific research on cancer. "I can't cure Pete," Reams said. "But I can run."
He knew of a program called "Team In Training" that is run by the
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and so he decided to join in order to help
spread the word about his goals.
Reams said the program trains people to run marathons, triathlons, and
century bike rides (rides more than 100 miles) and the team members
raise money for the society.
This means that over the next several months, Reams will be training to
run the "Flying Pig Marathon" held in Cincinnati on May 7. He will be
accepting donations before and after the run.
"I've estimated that I'll spend approximately 200 hours in training and
fund raising while I prepare for this event," Reams said. "This marathon
is quite a different experience for me since I'm running it for Pete and
the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The funds I raise will help with
research into the cure and treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, and other
blood cancers. Each donation helps accelerate cures for leukemia,
lymphoma and myeloma and brings hope to the patients and families who
are on the front lines of the battle against these diseases. A cure for
leukemia and lymphoma would mean great strides in curing all cancers
because leukemia research is considered to be the window for treatment
and cures for other cancers as well."
He originally hoped to raise $2,800. Now only a short way on his
journey, Reams has already surpassed his original goal and has reached
$3,295 - partly due to an anonymous donation.
For those interested in contributing to his cause, Reams set up a Web
site with more information. It is a secure site that can be used to make
tax-deductible contributions online and also provides a receipt for tax
purposes. Sponsors will receive a confirmation by e-mail of the donation
and it immediately notifies Reams when a contribution is made.
The site can be found at: http://www.active.com/donate/tntcoh/tntcohMReams
"All contributions are appreciated and are fully tax deductible," Reams said.
Reams said Parks has recently returned to work on a part-time basis and
has even contributed money to Reams' run.
"Over the last couple of months, I've been busy training for this
marathon. This means I've had some long, cold runs," Reams said. "Two
weeks ago, I had a 23-mile run in single-digit temperatures. This may
sound like hard work, but personally I consider Pete and others battling
cancer the real heroes and my inspiration. I am only trying to help them
by using the talents that I've been given. I hope that we can make a difference."
Future of PSO program studied
Millcreek, Jerome townships may need levy to pay for services
By RYAN HORNS
With growth comes crime, with crime comes the need for more law
enforcement. In between, according to county and township officials
discussing the future of Public Safety Officers (PSO).
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson met with Millcreek and Jerome township
representatives Tuesday night, to discuss how they can help the PSO
program flourish in one of the fastest growing areas in the county.
Township representatives at the meeting said that the only option is for
Millcreek and Jerome townships to pursue a future emergency services
levy, allowing residents to decide how many deputies would be provided to them.
When the program began in 1998, it was a cooperative partnership between
the townships, the sheriff's office and the county commissioners. The
commissioners have continued to maintain the partnership the last eight
years, putting in as much as $200,000 annually to keep the program
afloat. "I don't know what's going to happen after this year," Nelson said.
"There are so many questions about what is going to happen in Jerome and
Millcreek." The question Millcreek and Jerome townships need to ask themselves is
whether they want to go in on a levy together or look after their own
areas, Nelson said. They also need to be sure the public is aware of how
important the PSO services are. In townships that can't afford police
departments, the deputies can provide services and act as first
responders for medical, crime and other emergencies.
For the cost of having four PSOs, taxpayers would have to approve a 1.5
mill levy to cover Jerome Township for five years, he said. It would
cost Millcreek Township 2.4 mills. But if they combined a levy, both
townships would ask voters to approve a 1.7 mill levy.
Facing commercial growth because of the future Marysville Wastewater
Treatment Plant, both townships will need to plan ahead, Nelson said.
Chief Deputy Tom Morgan and Lt. Cindy McCreary developed a chart for the
meeting, showing the cost for three separate scenarios for the PSO
program. If adapted in 2007, the first level would keep the same amount
of three PSOs currently patrolling the two townships, with a yearly cost
of $196,565 The next level would add a fourth officer, but raise the
price to $281,603 The final option would provide a total of five PSOs at
a cost of $431,865 for the year.
Nelson said that the more PSOs the townships can add, the closer they
can come to achieving 24-hour service, seven days a week.
Morgan said that if the entire program didn't exist there would be one
deputy covering as many as seven townships during a shift. The sheriff's
office would also be short 10 deputies.
"I love the program," Jerome Township Trustee Ron Rhodes said. "It
really has been a great thing for us."
The problem, he said, is what the townships can afford. He personally
would like to see Jerome Township phase from three PSOs to five. But he
said no matter which emergency services level they choose, a levy will
be required. "We all know there is development coming," Union County Assistant
Prosecutor Terry Hord said. "You have got to talk and see what kind of
levy you want to vote in."
He said everyone is doing the best they can to get prepared for growth.
"It's very important that the voters are informed," Hord said.
What is difficult to explain to the public is how many crimes and car
accidents those three PSOs patrolling the area have prevented, Nelson
said. Think about how many more crimes could be prevented with two more
PSOs. Millcreek Township Trustee Marylin Jacques said they could also look
into having developers pay into the PSO program for future businesses coming in.
The filing date for November's election is in August, Hord said. That
would be the latest date to get a levy before voters.
Essentially, the program began with a federal grant offering money for
PSOs to patrol areas. The county provided the remainder of the cost.
After several years, the townships would take over the costs as the
grant gradually decreased in funds. Then the townships would pay the entire cost.
That plan ended up too expensive for townships alone to handle, and the
townships are thankful Union County has been able to continue its support.
"The free lunch is over," Rhodes said. "It's our turn to step up now."
He said the townships now need to get together and figure out their plan for the next five years.
Hord suggested that both townships provide a representative to meet with
Nelson and a county commissioner. The date of April 3 was mentioned, but
a meeting time will be confirmed later.
Wertz found not guilty
By RYAN HORNS
A former Union County Sheriff's deputy was found not guilty this morning
of a sexual charge. After a combined total of about 21/2 of deliberation Tuesday and today
the jury returned a not guilty verdict at 10:30 a.m. on the last
remaining charge against Terry Wertz, 47, of 310 S. Oak St.
Wertz did not wish to make a statement to the media after the decision
was made. He faced up to 18 months in prison for each of the two
fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition charges against him. Both
charges were dropped Tuesday. For the remaining third-degree felony
charge of gross sexual imposition, he faced up to five years in jail.
Wertz was indicted on Nov. 30 and later pleaded not guilty to the
charges that stemmed from the spring of 2003 to early 2005. Court
reports showed that he was suspected of sexually forcing himself on then
8-year-old, 16-year-old and 14-year-old female family members.
The only charge that remained after the trial on Tuesday was the
allegation regarding the youngest victim. She had told police that she
awoke in the night to find Wertz standing over her with his hand inside
her pajamas. Columbus attorney Philip Lon Allen defended Wertz in the trial. After
the jury read its verdict, he said that inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the victims ultimately led to the dissolution of the
charges against Wertz. He said that what the victims initially told
investigators about the crimes did not match up with what they said before the jury.
"The testimonies did not match," Allen said. "I think the jury did its job."
Allen said Wertz has been "caught up in a horrific web that has tangled
up his life for the past 15 months." Wertz was caught in the middle of a
custody battle with the victims' mother. He also questioned why the
charges came down at the same time as the custody battle.
During the closing arguments on Tuesday, Allen said it was never clear
if the victim was awake when Wertz walked into her room. Even more
glaring was that the actual year of the crime changed during the
victim's testimony. The initial report to Childrens Services was that
there was sexual penetration. Allen said there was no evidence of that
in the testimonies. "There were very different statements," Allen said.
"None of us are perfect," special prosecuting attorney, Thomas "Casey"
Clark, told the jury in his closing arguments. "It's interesting to ask
a 9-year-old to be perfect."
Clark said that the victim told investigators, the Department of Job and
Family Services and Children's Hospital the same thing about the alleged
crime. The jury essentially needed to think of who they believed was telling the truth.
"Think about a 9-year-old having to testify at all," Clark said. "Having
to talk about something as intimate as what we have heard. Think about
the trauma." Clark said that the youngest victim's allegations had nothing to do with
the custody battle because this issue did not involve her, as she is a
not a blood relative to Wertz.
When the verdict was read, members of the victim's family were audibly
upset. As the family left the courtroom, one woman shouted at Wertz,
"You're sick! You need help."
"Regardless of the decision," Allen said, "someone was going to be upset."
Richwood loses two officials
Council member, administrator resign from post
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Richwood Council is putting up the "vacancy" sign.
A pair of resignations greeted council members at Monday's regularly
scheduled board meeting.
Council member Jim Ford cited an increased work schedule as the reason
for his resignation. He will step down from the post on March 28 and the
village administration will then have 30 days to place someone in the position.
Also resigning at the meeting was village administrator Ray Miller. He
will be taking a job with another municipality.
Filling the village administrator's position has been difficult for the
village in the past as specific water plant and sewer plant
certifications are required to operate the village facilities.
Council president George Showalter, who conducted the meeting in the
absence of Mayor Bill Nibert, said the village has some prospects for
filling the position but continues to seek candidates.
Council also learned that it will need to step up efforts to complete a
storm sewer project in 2006 or risk losing nearly a quarter of the funding for the project.
Ed Bischoff, of Bischoff and Associates, told council that the Ottawa
Storm Sewer Project will need to be completed before the end of the year
or the village could risk losing $100,000 in Community Development Block
Grant Money. This puts the village in a time crunch because $300,000 in
Ohio Public Works Commission money is not set to be released until July,
leaving the village half a year to finish the project.
The village could apply for an extension on the block grant money, but
according to Bischoff, the Union County Commissioners, who disburse the
money from the state, will not file it. The village filed for an
extension for a block grant project last year and were told that it
would be the last, according to Bischoff.
In order to get the project completed this year, Bischoff said
engineering work will need to begin now. Council authorized the engineer
to begin designing plans for the project and to initiate the bid process
so construction can begin in July when the $300,000 in grant money is released.
The village will be reimbursed for the engineering costs from grant money.
In other business, council:
.Voted 5-0, with Showalter not voting because he was conducting the
meeting, on third reading on an alley closure ordinance and a rezoning ordinance.
.Discussed the pending storm water management program which will charge
residents a fee to deal with storm water issues in the village.
.Discussed the dilapidated condition of the village police department
offices. Village financial officer Don Jolliff noted that there is more
than $100,000 in a fund earmarked for improvements at the Village Hall
which could be used for work at the police department. The safety
committee will look into the issue.
.Approved a change in the village pay ordinance to allow a part-time
police department employee who will handle a variety of non-criminal
complaints. The $8 per hour position will not be filled by a officer.
.Learned from Miller that the source of much of the village's recent
flooding problems has been located. A 15-foot section of tile that ran
under the former site of the demolished Claibourne-Richwood Elementary
School building was found to be missing. Miller said the tile has been replaced.
.Heard from councilman Jim Thompson that there is an increasing problem
in the village with residents not cleaning up after their pets.
Jury selection begins in trial of former deputy
By RYAN HORNS
A trial that pits the word of a former sheriff's deputy against his own
family members opened today in the Union County Common Pleas Court.
Former Union County Sheriff's Office deputy Terry Wertz, 47, of 310 S.
Oak St., will stand trial over the next two days for three separate alleged sexual crimes.
Wertz was indicted Nov. 30 on three counts of gross sexual imposition.
He later pleaded not guilty to charges that stem from the spring of 2003
to early 2005. He is suspected of sexually forcing himself on then
8-year-old, 16-year-old and 14-year-old female family members.
Delaware attorney Thomas "Casey" Clark II has taken over as special
prosecutor in the trial because the alleged crime involves a former
sheriff's deputy. Similarly, the case was handled by Marysville Police
Department investigator Chad Seeberg to prevent a conflict of interest.
Clark said the youngest alleged victim would often stay at Wertz's home
and will testify that sometime between June and August 2004, she woke up
in the middle of the night to allegedly find Wertz standing over her
bed. "His hands were inside her pajamas," Clark said.
When she woke up, he said, she asked Wertz what he was doing and he
allegedly responded, "I'm praying for you." The girl then went back to
sleep and when she woke up again he was gone.
Clark said that the next victim reported numerous incidents of abuse.
"He was always touching her," Clark said. "He would be physically
affectionate until it went too far."
Clark told perspective jurors that Wertz would often tickle or initiate
horseplay with her, but would often accidentally touch her breasts or
her thighs. Eventually the girl, her mother and the other female victims
began to see a pattern. "There were too many accidents," Clark said.
The final female victim is now of adult age. She alleges that just after
her birthday she was at home baby-sitting while Wertz was out. That
night she ended up calling her boyfriend to come over and he did. Wertz
came home later on and chased the boyfriend out. He then sat the girl
down for a talk. Clark said she will testify that Wertz told her "if anybody is going to
have sex in this house it's going to be me." She claims he then picked
her up and took her up to her bedroom and proceeded to force her to
touch him sexually, as he touched her.
Wertz is being represented by Columbus attorney Philip Lon Allen and
Marysville attorney Jeff Merklin.
Allen said that the significance of the charges against Wertz is that
they involve alleged incidents that took place "a long time ago." They
are the victim's word against his client's because there is no corroborative evidence.
He said that the case is not like the television show "CSI." Jurors will
not see DNA evidence, charts, graphs, video or even photographs to prove
the case against his client.
"There is not one bit of evidence," he said, "other than the three girls
who made these allegations."
The lack of evidence will prove that Wertz is innocent beyond a reasonable doubt, he said.
Allen added that law enforcement has been pursuing the case since
October 2004. After 14 months of thorough investigations, he said, "they
have produced no further evidence."
Even after telling police Wertz had sexually abused her, the oldest
adult victim later chose to live with Wertz again.
"It doesn't make any sense," Allen said. "It's not believable testimony."
Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott has started a new process of
having the entire jury pool stay to hear opening statements first. After
opening statements this morning, the process of choosing the 12 jurors began.
Parrott said it helps the prospective jurors get a better idea of the
trial before they decide if they have any conflicting interests.
J.A board votes to move
Decision comes despite student response to keep ceremony the same
By CORINNE BIX
Tradition will change this spring for seniors graduating from Jonathan
Alder High School after the school board unanimously approved an indoor
graduation ceremony Monday night.
Last month, Phil Harris, high school principal, asked the board to
consider moving graduation from the stadium to the main gym.
In the past, both the stadium and main gym were prepped for the ceremony
in case of inclement weather, requiring the custodial staff to work
overtime preparing both sites.
Another major advantage to an indoor ceremony includes air conditioning and ample seating.
Last month board members asked that Harris speak with students in regard
to their thoughts on changing to an indoor ceremony.
"It was overwhelming that the kids don't want to change," Harris
explained before the board took the vote.
Within the group that he polled, Harris said, there were between 15 and
20 students who were adamantly against the change.
"If we are going to make a change now is the time," Harris said, "but it
is their ceremony, not mine."
John Adams, board member, moved that the ceremony be moved indoors. He
cited health concerns with high temperatures on graduation day.
Board member Linda Beachy said she would "reluctantly" vote yes.
"I'm very sentimental about it because we've always had it outside," Beachy said.
Under new business, the board finalized dates for a three-fold
initiative, "Conversation with the Community," to better dialogue with the community.
Superintendent Doug Carpenter said that since the district will not be
running a levy issue on the May ballot, officials wanted to use the
added time before the August election to reconnect with district voters.
District voters have twice voted down a 0.5 percent income tax levy, in
February and November. The board has yet to approve an August ballot issue.
The district will host four community meetings between March 23 and
April 20 at four of the districts five buildings. The meetings will
begin at 7 p.m. and include a presentation followed by a question and answer period.
Next, Carpenter will available by phone on four select Tuesday evenings
from 6- 8 p.m. to answer community and parent questions in regard to a
future levy and the district in general.
Finally, various board members will host coffee and doughnuts on
Saturday mornings between 9 and 11 a.m. as an "opportunity to dialogue
informally with the community."
The contract of Jud Ross, principal at Jonathan Alder junior high, was
renewed for five years. Ross had been with the district for 10 years.
Renewal terms and the salary are yet to be determined.
James Phillips, board member, gave the Tolles Career and Technical
Center report. He said it was decided at the last meeting that the
center would be looking at additional space options so it could expand
programming for the regular and adult education courses of study.
In other action, the board:
.Approved school calendars for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school year.
.Approved advanced biology as a weighted course.
.Approved Cristin Deyer, Harold Huffman, Susan Sidner and Joshua Huber
as substitute teachers.
.Approved Sherry Alexander as classroom aide.
.Approved Doreen Unger as substitute building aide/secretary.
.Approved a resolution to acknowledge the Ohio Facilities Commission
design phase review for the technology package for Monroe Elementary and
the new high school.
.Approved a quit claim deed for the use and benefit of the state of Ohio
department of transportation.
.Voted to allow Joel, Victoria, and Skylar Biggs to continue as pupils
in the school district for the remainder of the school year under open
enrollment. They have moved from the district and their mother, Jonna Voll, made the request.
.Approved the elementary guidance counselor and educational aide job descriptions.
.Approved community information meetings, all to begin at 7 p.m., at
Monroe Elementary on March 23; Plain City Elementary on March 30; at the
Jonathan Alder Junior High auditorium on April 6; and at the Jonathan
Alder High School auditeria on April 20. Superintendent Doug Carpenter's
evening office hours, all from 6 to 8 p.m., will be March 21, March 28,
April 4 and April 18. Coffee and doughnuts with the board members, all
from 9 to 11 a.m., will be March 22, March 29, and April 6, tentatively at Der Dutchman
.Adjourned into executive session to consider the appointment,
dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public
employee. No action was taken. The next regular board meeting will be Monday, April 17.
Unionville Center clerk resigns
By AUDREY HALL J-T correspondent
Unionville Center Clerk-treasurer Karla Gingerich submitted her
resignation at Monday night's council meeting. Gingerich and her family
are moving outside of the village, making her ineligible to serve as a
village officer. Her resignation is effective March 31.
Larry Burchett was appointed by Mayor Becky Troyer to fill the vacant council seat.
Residents were present to report flooding south of Fourth Street caused
by the recent heavy rains. Council will investigate to determine the
origination of the flood water.
The area drained by the storm tile installed last year did not flood.
Council is applying for a Public Assistance Grant from the Ohio
Emergency Management Agency to recover a portion of the expense of
installing the drain tile and patching the road cuts made during installation.
A 2.95-mill replacement levy will be placed on the November ballot. The
amount of millage will remains the same as the current levy. The
replacement levy will generate $6,000. One mil is equal to $1 for every
$1,000 of assessed value of property.
Council will accept sealed bids accompanied by proof of insurance at the
April meeting for the following contracts: Brush pick-up on April 10
with a rain date of April 22; cleaning storm sewer drops on May 6 with a
rain date of May 13; and cleaning Main Street on May 20 with a rain date
of no later than May 24.
Whitt Lawn Care was present to receive pre-bid information on the mowing contract.
Phil Rausch, representative of the Pleasant Valley Fire District,
reported that the purchase of a replacement for the 20-year-old pumper
truck is being considered.
In other business, the council:
.Heard that former mayor Gary Drumm returned his key and all council related papers.
.Authorized the clerk-treasurer and council president pro-tempore as the
only ones who may contact village attorney Jeffery Merklin.
.Will participate in the Adopt-a-pot program sponsored by the Union
County Master Gardeners.
.Heard that stone has been added to the alley by the playground.
The next council meeting will be April 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Couple renovates local landmark
"Castle" is now a restaurant
By RYAN HORNS
A new restaurant in Marysville is expected to not only fill a void for
fine local dining, but has also fulfill a longtime dream for its owners.
Doc Henderson's opened for service at 318 E. Main St., formerly The
Castle bed and breakfast, almost a week ago and has already received
rave reviews from customers.
The restaurant is owned by Bob and Liz Meader, who hired general manager
Biff Eschenbrenner to look over the operation.
Liz Meader said she is so excited about the restaurant because she has
dreamed of owning the house for the past 15 years. When they finally
purchased it, they began a remodeling project that lasted two years. The
result is an environment that completely lives up to all her
expectations. It is also an environment conducive to a classy and
personable dining experience.
Walking inside Doc Henderson's, customers are greeted in the foyer. Two
separate dining areas are downstairs, one of which is a wine room. The
full-service bar is located in the middle. Upstairs are more dining
areas. Food is delivered from the kitchen to the upstairs area by a
"dumb waiter," or small elevator that leads from the kitchen to the top floor.
"When people tell me it's beautiful, I say 'Yes, isn't it?' - even
though, as the owner, I know that isn't what I'm supposed to say. I'm
supposed to just say 'Thank you," Meader joked.
She said the restaurant turned out to be everything she hoped it would.
She is also excited about Doc Henderson's head chef, Jeff Bentley, and
describes the meals he prepares as "works of art."
"Changing one thing about his meals," Meader said. "Would be like
erasing the smile off of the 'Mona Lisa.'"
Main entrees include Marinated Flatiron Steak, Almond Crusted Sea
Scallops, Fish and Chips, to Lemon Thyme Oven Roasted Chicken and a
variety of steak and fish and shrimp meals. There are separate menus for
lunch and dinner and prices range from $15 to $22 for entrees; $7 to $10
for sandwich menu items; salads run from $5 to $9 and appetizers cost
anywhere from $5 to $10.
"I normally do not promote the opening of restaurants in Union County,"
city economic development director, Eric Phillips recently wrote.
"However, I must take exception with this rule."
Phillips said the opening of the restaurant is a good thing for the
city, as well as the entire county.
"In Economic Development it is important to have certain amenities in
your community, including a diverse selection of restaurants," Phillips
wrote. "This will allow your residents to enjoy food and entertainment
while at the same time spend and keep their dollars in the community.
Simply put, the more dollars we spend here, the more dollars stay here.
This cycle will continue to provide more jobs and investment in Union County."
Meader said that officially Doc Henderson's is considered a "fine
dining, full service" restaurant. The building can seat up to around 96
people, although that is not set in stone, because the seating layout is still new.
For parking, Meader said they tore down an old building behind the
restaurant. Handicap spaces are also available.
Doc Henderson's does not take reservations, but the business can be
reached at 642-6661. It is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to
9 p.m. during the week and stays open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays.
River City Ramblers a toe-tapping
Editor's note: The following review was submitted by Kay Liggett of the
Union County Community Concerts Association.
The River City Ramblers Dixieland Band, six talented musicians from St.
Louis, came to town Friday. They gave the Marysville audience a real
toe-tapping, hand-clapping Dixieland concert. What a treat!
If you were not there, you missed a terrific event. They played to a
full house, and it was one of the best concerts ever.
Dixieland is a modernized jazz with roots in the deep south. This group
had a trumpet, sousaphone, piano, clarinet and drums - and the most able
banjo player imaginable who is 86 years old! His joints were all
replaced, he said, but his fingers were well honed to the jazz beat.
The moment the performers hit the stage, the audience was hooked by
their wit, talent and down-home entertaining style. We loved their
music; we grew up with it all. The ensemble played impressive music from
a long list of jazz events and artists, not only in America, but also
Europe. They knew each other well and understood each other's talent and
skill. Principal trumpet Bob Ceccarine was leader of the group. He was talented
and humorous and the glue around which they gathered their formidable
talents. Red Lehr, Sousaphone player, was fantastic. Pianist Pat Joyce
was trained as classical pianist but eventually hooked into the creative
outlet of jazz. He was an awesome musician. The drummer, Joe Buerger,
was an unbelievable consummate musician. Clarinet player Scott Alberici
was a real master of his craft. All obviously love what they do. They
certainly impressed and entertained us!
Classic blues they shared included "St. Louis Blues," "Twelfth St. Rag,"
"Just a Closer Walk with Thee," "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "Maple
Leaf Rag," "Tiger Rag," and "I've Got Rhythm."
And if you had an old player piano, you must know "I Found a New Baby"
and "Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home." The grand finale had to be
"When the Saints Go Marching In."
They loved and understood the 4/4 beat and improvisation, as each artist
took turns throughout the evening. It was classic stuff - and powerful.
Jazz! We may have to have this group again.
Missions in a far off land
Local woman has traveled to Chad three times
By KARLYN BYERS
Three mission trips to Chad have left a rural Marysville resident with a
deep, abiding affection for its people and the rugged lives they live.
Sonja Heffner, Larcom Road, has traveled to the African country three
times, staying almost two weeks each time she visited in 1996, 2002 and
in February of this year.
Each time, Heffner, a former dental assistant who now sells real estate,
was one of about 15 trained health care professionals, translators,
helpers and evangelists who tended about 3,000 adults and children,
treating a variety of physical and spiritual ailments, including
parasite infestations, open wounds, malnutrition and malaria. They also
fitted the natives with eyeglasses.
Malaria is rampant. "It's pretty hard when you live there to avoid getting bitten by
mosquitoes," Heffner said, noting that even the resident missionaries
serving the Chadean people contract malaria.
One of the reasons, she said, is that quinine, the standard malaria
preventative, cannot be taken long-term because it damages the liver.
Heffner's medical mission group was sponsored by Grace Brethren
International Missions. Those participating provided their own tents,
water filtration systems and food, including MRE (Meals Ready to Eat)
packets such as the United States military uses. Participants sought
sponsors to help defray the expenses which can total several thousand dollars.
Chad is a landlocked African nation bordered by Libya, Cameroon,
Nigeria, and Sudan. Its capital city, N'djema, contains modern
facilities, including an airport with paved runways. But towns are small
and Spartan, and roads are horrendous, Heffner said. On the most recent
trip, the group had to pause numerous times while flat tires were
repaired - 15 in all - , roads were laboriously cleared with machetes
and an improvised bridge was made to cross a river.
"The country is very much as it was in Christ's time," Heffner said.
"(The people) walk everywhere and they subsistence farm and they don't have much."
The Chadean population - in excess of 4 million people - is comprised of
many different ethnic groups, including Arabs. Many understand French,
but tribal languages dominate.
Chadeans wear bright, colorful cotton clothing. The cotton helps absorb
perspiration, the result of the extremely hot temperatures, Heffner
said. But because the women are very modest, several layers are worn and
the heat is trapped close to the body.
Cotton is produced in Chad, but is then exported to Cameroon, where it
is woven and dyed. Once finished, the nicer pieces of material are sold;
lower grades end up in the hands of Chadean male tailors.
Heffner said the Grace Brethren Church has established a sewing center
in which to teach women the sewing trade. Once each woman has perfected
her skills, she returns to her village to earn a living as a tailor,
first earning enough money to buy her own treadle sewing machine.
Heffner said the Chadean diet consists of boule, a bland dish of millet
and water which is used in place of potatoes or pasta, goat meat and
"very, very tough chicken." Men are served first and get the better
portions because they have to work to support their families. Women are
second in line because they need nourishment to nurse babies or sustain
pregnancies, and children are served last.
This feeding arrangement, while practical, is very hard on the children,
especially those 3, 4 and 5 years old, Heffner said. One out of four
will succumb to illness or malnutrition.
Dental care in the country is nonexistent.
"The only thing you can do is pull teeth and issue a lot of toothbrushes
and toothpaste," Heffner said, adding that the toothbrushes are likely
be passed around from one family member to another to use.
Visitors from the outside are both a curiosity and an honor, Heffner
said. "Tons and tons" of Chadeans will travel from miles around to see
those who visit, bringing along logs or bricks on which to sit.
They marvel at the items their visitors tote along, especially digital
cameras with their instant photo display and the satellite phone that
the mission group used for the first time on its most recent trip.
Meager as their possessions are, Chadeans enjoy generously bestowing
gifts upon their visitors, including bowls fashioned from large gourds
and serving and cooking utensils.
"They give us the best they have and they don't hold anything back," Heffner said.
J-T staffers among A.P. award finalists
From staff and wire reports:
Three staff members from the Marysville Journal-Tribune are among
finalists for the Associated Press Society of Ohio's 2005 newspaper competition.
Photographer Patrick Dundr is up for three awards in the contest. He is
among three finalists for photographer of the year honors, which
recognizes a body of work. His entry is comprised of various feature,
sports and spot news photographs taken in 2005.
He is also among three finalists for best feature photo for an entry
titled "I think I need training wheels," a photograph of a youngster's
failed attempt at skating.
His third award is in the sports photography category for a pictured
titled "Up, up and away," a photo showing OSU linebacker A.J. Hawk
leaping over an opposing player following an interception. Dundr is
among three finalists in the category.
Managing editor Chad Williamson is among three finalists in the category
of best headline writer. His entry was a compilation of various
headlines written throughout the year.
Sport editor Tim Miller is up for an award in the category of best
sports breaking news story. His entry about MHS graduate Chase
Blackburn's first touchdown in the National Football League is among
five finalists. The awards in actual order of finish - first, second and third places
and honorable mentions - will be announced at the annual APSO meeting
April 30 in Columbus. Seventy-two daily newspapers submitted 3,563 entries in the contest,
which featured news and sports stories, features, editorials, columns,
graphics and photos from 2005. The Journal-Tribune competed in the
Division I category for newspapers with a circulation of less than 7,999.
Entries were judged by editors from The Baltimore Sun, Division V; the
Morning Star, Wilmington, N.C., Division IV; the West Chester (Pa.)
Daily Local News and the Daily Reporter in Greenfield, Ind., Division
III; the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Telegram, Division II; and the Potomac News,
Woodbridge, Va., Division I. The Fresno (Calif.) Bee judged the General
Excellence entries for all five divisions.
The Associated Press is a not-for-profit news cooperative representing
1,500 newspapers and 5,000 broadcast stations in the United States.
Members of AP include 89 daily newspapers in Ohio.
Library patrons cast votes for top Literacy Bears
From J-T staff reports:
The voting is over and the results are tallied for this year's Literacy Bears.
The top vote getters at the Marysville Public Library were Johnny
Appleseed, sponsored by Fairbanks Local Schools; Thomas Edison,
sponsored by Union Rural Electric Company; Jim Tressel sponsored by
Coldwell Banker King Thompson; and the Buckeye Boy sponsored by
Marysville City Schools. The top vote getter at the Richwood/North Union
Library was Woody Hayes, sponsored by Pat's Print Shop.
These five bears, along with a Jack Nicklaus bear sponsored by Connolly
Construction, will be part of the live auction to be held at the
B.E.A.R. Family Event Monday, March 13 at the Union County Services Building.
"The package with the Jack Nicklaus bear is just incredible, so we are
hoping a lot of golfers turn out to bid on that bear," said Cheryl
Hagerty, Literacy United coordinator.
That package includes four rounds of golf at the Golf Club of Dublin,
two rounds of golf at Buck Ridge Golf Course , two rounds of golf at
Blues Creek Golf Course, four rounds of golf at Tree Links Golf Course,
a "Ping" golf shirt size XL and a $20 gift certificate to Max & Erma's.
The Jim Tressel bear sponsored by Coldwell Banker King Thompson includes
an autographed football by Jim Tressel, according to Hagerty.
The bears and their books with auction bid sheets will be included in
the silent auction to be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. An opening bid of $25
is required and bid increments must be at least $1. To bid, participants
should sign the bid sheet and state their amounts. Whoever has the
highest bid at 7:30 p.m. will win the bear.
The evening also will include family activities such as buckeye making,
story reading and "Buckeye bingo."
The Marysville Public Library received $1,284.92 in votes. The money
will be used to help expand its Ohio collection with materials about and written by Ohioans.
City finalizes WWTP land purchase
By RYAN HORNS
If they buy the land, it will come.
The City of Marysville now officially owns almost 100 acres of land for
the future wastewater treatment plant. The hope now is for plans to get
moving on construction of the new wastewater treatment plant in Millcreek Township.
City administrator Kathy House announced the final purchase of the land
during the Marysville City Council meeting on Thursday night.
She said that the final closing cost was listed as $2,474,477. This paid
for 98.97 acres, in two tracts. The first section is located on the
north side of Beecher Gamble Road and the other tract runs along the
south side of the same road.
House explained that the plant and administrative offices will go on the
larger tract to the north. If there is enough money, the city plans to
construct a maintenance building for the plant workers on the south tract.
Council passed the final reading of the legislation granting the
purchase at the Feb. 23 meeting.
Gore said at that time, Mayor Tom Kruse had decided to buy the land for
the facility outright for a price of $2,495,000. This was expected to
save the city around $200,000. By purchasing the land outright, the city
paid $25,000 per acre instead of $27,000.
Originally, the city planned to pay for the land through future tap in
fees, culled from future development. After a certain period of time,
the remaining balance would be paid for with cash.
House said that discussions are still ongoing between the city and
Millcreek Township representatives over plans to install an Interceptor
Sewer line down Adelsberger Road. She said councilmen Gore and David
Burke have joined on as lead negotiators with Millcreek Township trustees.
Gore was able to comment this morning that he and Burke have already met
with a number of "all of the interested parties" and have attended two
Millcreek Township meetings in attempts to keep a dialogue open with the township.
"I feel we're making some progress," Gore said.
Regarding any specifics in those discussions, he said that it is
probably too soon to say. He said both sides understand the importance of their meetings.
Gore said both sides also realize that "we're not going to please
everyone," but they hope to resolve the issue of the Interceptor Sewer line through cooperation.
In other business discussed, Uptown Renewal Team member Liz Meader
presented city council with the new Uptown Historic Walking Tour
pamphlet. The project has been in the works since 2005.
Meader said that the first tour will take place on the morning of May
20. Specific information on where to meet and when will be available soon.
Established in 1891, Marysville's past is laid out for public education
inside the pamphlet and will be revealed throughout the walking tour.
People can learn how the city earned its name, what once stood in the
current Heilig Meyers building, and even a story about people who used
to shout, "Liquor is the Devil's drink," outside of a business on North Main Street.
Meader said the walking tour couldn't have become a reality without the
help of the Marysville Public Library, The Uptown Renewal Team, the
Union County Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the Union County Chamber
of Commerce, and the Union County Historical Society.
North Lewisburg to upgrade sewer plant
By CORINNE BIX
There is light at the end of the wastewater treatment plant tunnel for
the village of North Lewisburg.
Tuesday evening village council approved the upgrades to the wastewater
treatment plant with construction slated to begin later this summer. The
project is expected to cost $2.5 million.
Plans for improving and expanding the current plant have been in the
works for several years. The village council, along with mayor Dick
Willis and village administrator Barry First, have worked closely with
Gary Silcott, village engineer, with R.D. Zande & Associates, to create
an overall project plan that they feel is both cost effective and efficient.
The village will convert from a conventional wastewater treatment system
to a Membrane BioReactor (MBR) system. MBR was developed in Japan 14
years ago and has become a viable option in the United States over the past six years.
"I feel by switching from the conventional system to the MBR we have
easily saved the village a half million dollars," Silcott said.
Unlike a conventional system in which the process requires that solids
settle out, the MBR system separates the solids by filtering the
wastewater through the MBR plates. The new membrane technology will make
use of the plant's existing tanks.
Currently the plant treats approximately 170,000 gallons per day. The
MBR system will allow for 420,000 gallons per day in the same allotted space.
The new system will also utilize only two of the three existing tanks.
The third tank can be used in the future as the village continues to grow.
"As this project developed over the last couple years, it became evident
that the village's decision to use the MBR process was definitely the
way to go," Silcott said, "Not only will the MBR process allow the
village the opportunity to use its existing infrastructure to the best
of their ability, it also provides additional capacity to support growth
in the village for the next 20 to 30 years."
Other MBR benefits include less maintenance and less sludge. Sludge is a
by-product of the wastewater treatment process.
Silcott explained that there are a couple of methods that can be used to
remove sludge from the plant. The first is the way the village is now
disposing of sludge through land application. This method has become
more difficult as EPA restrictions become tighter and farmers are less
likely to take the sludge. Disposing of the liquefied sludge is also
inconsistent because, dependent on the weather and the season, farmers
can't always accept sludge.
The option chosen by the village and the one to be included with the
wastewater treatment expansion is the creation of sludge-cake which can
be deposited into any landfill.
A 30-by-30-foot pole barn will be constructed near the WWTP to store the
sludge belt press. Silcott said the sludge cake process is more
convenient and requires less maintenance.
In addition, the plant upgrade and expansion process will include the
building of a new lift station.
On Tuesday evening, council also approved and awarded the water meter
installation project to Utility Sales Agency for $215,998.49. Utility
Sales Agency was the lowest bid for the project coming in $14,000 under
the projected estimate.
In January council had approved the purchase of 487 water meter units at
$185,000 as opposed to the original $230,000 allotted for materials
alone. Currently, each property owner pays a flat rate of $55 per month
for water and sewer. The introduction of water meters will charge
property owners for the water they actually use
officials want to maintain local control
By CINDY BRAKE
Question: What exactly is the difference between a watercourse, stream and channel?
Answer: In the Darby Watershed it all depends upon the amount of water.
After years of planning and meetings, the Darby Joint Board of
Supervisors has created a set of definitions to describe the Darby
Watershed, collected data and created maps. Now the five-member board is
inviting landowners in specific areas of the watershed to review the information and offer input.
A meeting about the Sugar Run subwatershed is set for Monday at 7 p.m.
in the Union County Agricultural Center's Buckeye Center. The Buck Run
subwatershed is the topic of a March 29 meeting at 7 p.m. at the ag.
center. Reservations can be made by calling 642-5871, extension 109 or
"This is a community-based watershed plan," said local farmer Bob Scott
who is also a member of the watershed planning committee. "This is
locally driven. If the community doesn't write a watershed plan, the
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will gladly write it for you. I
would like to keep local control of the watershed."
In order to make this a true community-based watershed plan, coordinator
Katherine Skalak is looking for any information land owners are willing
to provide about crop rotation, tillage and drainage practices, or
nutrient or livestock management. This information will increase the
understanding of landowner needs and concerns, she said. She adds that
the information will be used only by the joint board.
Each subwatershed has its own unique features.
Skalak said one of the big concerns for Sugar Run is impending
development, while Buck Run is influenced by the city of Marysville and
Honda. Both have a very high number of septic systems not operating at
optimal levels. The majority of land in both is used for agricultural purposes.
The Darby Creek Watershed is located in six counties, Logan, Champaign,
Union, Madison, Franklin and Pickaway. It encompasses 355,000 acres or
555 square miles. The Darby Joint Board of Supervisors is the only watershed in the state
to create definitions that explain the uniqueness of different
waterways. The definitions have been adopted by the Ohio Farm Bureau, Skalak said.
A watercourse is any concentrated flow of water.
A stream is a watercourse that existed historically and has a steady
flow of water, while a modified stream is a watercourse that existed
historically, has a steady flow of water but has been altered by man at
some time in the past to better serve other uses.
A channel is a watercourse that existed historically and has periods of
intermittent or no water flow. A modified channel is a watercourse that
existed historically and has periods of intermittent or no water flow,
but has been altered by man at some time in the past to better serve other uses.
A man-made channel is a watercourse that did not exist historically and
has periods of intermittent or no water flow (also known as a ditch).
A maintained man-made channel is a watercourse that did not exist
historically, has periods of intermittent or no water flow and is
maintained under an authorized government program.
The subwatershed plans also includes site characteristics, agricultural
concerns and recommendations, riparian characteristics, concerns and
recommendations as well as a look at housing sprawl and water quality.
The OEPA measures water quality by sampling the number of bugs and fish
at certain points of the stream.
Of five sites sampled in 2001 and 2002, only one along Sugar Run was not
meeting OEPA water quality standards. OEPA is concerned about sediment
and nutrients that are associated with new construction that is
prevalent throughout the subwatershed.
Along Buck Run, wastewater is pumped into a wetland from submerged
piping. Once treatment is complete the wastewater is sent to two ponds.
In 2001, samples found lower scores resulting from elevated silt and poor water chemistry.
For more information about the plans or to complete a survey, contact Skalak.
Bypass work to begin this summer
Route around Plain City scheduled for completion in 2007
By CINDY BRAKE
"More than 40 years in the making, a new U.S. 42 bypass around Plain
City will now become a reality."
- September 1996 article in the Marysville Journal-Tribune
Nearly 10 years after those words were written, the Ohio Department of
Transportation announced Tuesday morning it plans to begin work on a
Plain City bypass. "We're glad we can finally make it happen," said ODOT district deputy
director Jack R. Marchbanks. "The residents of Union County will finally
see a Plain City bypass."
The new road will be 1.5 miles and relieve traffic congestion from the
southern Union County village.
Traffic counts according to the plans are 10,690 vehicles per day on
U.S. 42 and 11,210 vehicles per day on Route 161. Roughly 18 percent of
the vehicles are trucks, ODOT Maintenance of Traffic Engineer Lisa Zigmund said.
The north end of the bypass aligns with Rickard Road. The bypass will
include stubs for future developments. In addition to the bypass, ODOT
is planning to replace the U.S. 42 bridge near the Route 736 intersection in October.
Project Engineer Joseph A. Warino said bids for the $4.5 million project
are to be opened March 22. Work will begin in early June, he estimates,
and completion is scheduled for Fall 2007.
One lane in each direction will be maintained on U.S. 42 at all times,
states a construction guide, as well as one lane on Route 161 at all
times, except during construction of the eastbound lanes of U.S. 42. The
detour for Route 161 eastbound will be posted.
Over the years, the project has faced many issues but has never been
this close to reality. The issue of a bypass around Plain City was first brought up by the
state in 1959, states the 1996 article. Former Plain City L.H. Murphy
then was quoted as saying, "It came back up in the 1970s then died
again. However, it is something that we really need."
It was reported then that tractor trailers encompassed 20 percent of the
route's traffic. The bypass is expected to eliminate truck traffic in
the downtown area and at the hazardous intersection in the village
square. In addition, it will keep the trucks away from the school zone
near downtown. Cost for the project then was estimated at $2 million.
Plans began anew with public meetings in February 2001 and five
alternative plans were considered. In 2003 ODOT announced the final
states of completing preliminary engineering.
"This means we know how the roadway will be aligned as well as the
connection points to other roads and highways and either end," said
Elana Stoia, an ODOT spokesman. The project was then supposed to be bid
in October 2006 and completed in November 2007. It was expected to cost
between $6 and $8 million and funded 100 percent by the state.
"This will let Plain City live again," Murphy said in 1996.
Other ODOT projects planned this year for Union County include:
. U.S. 36/Route 4 - bridge deck replacement over Big Darby Creek. Start
summer 2006. Completion spring 2007. Bridge will be closed for 45 days. Estimate cost $920,000.
. Route 4 - resurfacing project from U.S. 33 eastbound - Route 4
northbound ramp to the Marysville corporate limit. Start summer 2006.
Completion fall 2006. Estimated cost $198,000.
. Route 31 - resurfacing on Route 31 from Route 38 to Marysville
corporation limit. Start summer 2006. Fall 2006. Estimated cost $478,000.
. Route 31 - bridge replacement over Rush Creek in Washington Township.
Bridge will be restricted for 150 days. Start spring 2006. Completion
fall 2006. Estimated cost $648,000.
. Route 38 - resurfacing project on Route 38 from Eighth to Fifth
streets in Marysville. Start summer 2006. Completion fall 2006. Estimated cost $34,000.
. U.S. 33 - Preventative maintenance crack sealing projects throughout
District 6. Start fall 2006. Completion summer 2007. Estimated cost $1.2 million district wide.
Local thespians will again take part in 'Honk'
Editor's note: The following article was submitted by Scott Underwood of Marysville.
The witty and hilarious musical "Honk" is back by popular demand this
weekend. And so are Marysville residents Evan Zimmerman and Susan Bunsold.
Randy Benge of North Lewisburg also will play a leading role.
For the second consecutive year, the Marysville High School standouts
will star in leading roles on the historic Palace Theatre stage in
downtown Columbus. The show opens Friday and runs through Sunday.
Zimmerman will repeat the leading role of "Honk," the ugly duckling,
and Bunsold will reprise the role of Honk's mother, Ida. They will
co-star with Channel 4 anchorman, Cabot Rea, who will play the part of
Bullfrog. Benge is cast as Drake, the ugly duckling's father.
Directed by Suzanne Accetta, the Pleasure Guild of Children's Hospital
is sponsoring the full-scale production and will feature members of the
Columbus Children's Choir. The show run is supported by the Columbus
Association of Performing Arts (CAPA).
The success and popularity of "Honk" last year, which benefited
Children's Hospital Pediatric Hospice by raising $174,000, was the
reason for its revival this year. This production is considered a big
cultural event in Columbus and is as well promoted and attended as
CAPA's Broadway series productions.
In addition to last year's run of "Honk," Zimmerman and Bunsold have
appeared together in other community productions and concerts, including
Handel's "Messiah" this past Christmas in Marysville.
An Ohio Wesleyan University vocal performance major, Bunsold received a
master's degree in music education from the Ohio State University. She
is a music teacher at Worthington Estates elementary school and recently
directed the vocals for "The Music Man" at Worthington Kilbourne High
School. She will spend the summer at the Seagle Music Festival in
Schroon Lake, N. Y., as a member of the cast in Cole Porter's "Anything
Goes." Bunsold is an alumnus of the Marysville High School music program and show choir.
Zimmerman is a freshman in the MHS show choir "Swingers Unlimited" and
is a vocal student of Judy Sweeney of Linworth. He has starred in
Columbus Children's Theatre productions through the years and in many
local musical shows, including "Oliver," "Tom Sawyer," and "Beauty and
the Beast." He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brother,
Jarrod, a recent theater graduate at Northwestern University and a
musical theater actor in the Chicago area.
"Honk" is the story of the age-old children's fable, The Ugly Duckling,
and treats audiences to equal amounts of laughter and tears. The musical
became a standout by winning the 2000 Olivier Award for Broadways' Best
New Musical, beating out the likes of "Lion King" and "Mama Mia."
The Pleasure Guild of Children's Hospital is a volunteer organization of
60 central Ohio women whose mission is to raise funds and provide
volunteer services to Columbus Children's Hospital. Since 1958, its
principal fundraiser has been an annual children's play, planned and
produced entirely by volunteers with the assistance of professional
actors and directors. Show times are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and
Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at Kroger or any Ticketmaster
outlet, the CAPA office at (614) 431-3600 or at www.ticketmaster.com.
Commission scrutinizes City Gate plan
By RYAN HORNS
Not one person on the Marysville Planning Commission has a doubt that
the City Gate development will be exceptional - and yet there were
lengthy disagreements over the project.
Commissioners finally approved the preliminary plat layout for the City
Gate development after long debates. The development will be north of
Delaware Avenue and west of U.S. 33, across from Coleman's Crossing.
The major point of contention centered upon a proposed two-way
cul-de-sac drivers would use to access businesses.
Commission chairman John Cunningham said that he has never driven on
what developer Phil Connolly and his engineers are proposing. He
wondered if the cul-de-sac design is anything like the roundabout in
downtown Urbana. He said he has spent time driving in those roads and is
not sure how it is improved with two-way traffic, instead of one way. He
plans to go out to New Albany and see an example.
"It seems like a free for all out there," commissioner Don Bergwall said.
Bergwall also found fault with the newly revised size of the plats and
how they would invite Big Box retailers - something none of them wanted.
Connolly said the only reason there is a revised sketch plan is because
the commission asked him to change the first one. Now members are
telling him the first one was fine. He said he left the last meeting
disappointed because numerous engineers had gone over the sketch plan
and felt it was the best option.
"I thought we had a very good plan," Connolly said. "I think the saying
goes that 'the death of good is perfection.'"
Connolly said he is prepared to do what the city and the commission
would like, he just needs them to be specific.
Columbus architect Joe Sullivan said that what they have planned for the
buildings are brick and mortar and all aspects of the design will far
exceed what the city is asking.
Connolly said that there have been five different versions of how the
road will provide access to the businesses and the one they are
proposing is the only one that works. There have been more than 400
engineers working on the road plan and they can't figure out how to do
it any other way. All he would like to know is what the commissioners
would like him to change.
"I have more at stake than anyone in this room," he said. "We need to
get this in the ground and get it going."
Commission members Ken Kraus and Pete Griffin complained about how the
nature of the debates. Griffin said that it is not the commission's job to pretend to know
about engineering. He felt the original plan was fine. He said that
Connolly has "made it abundantly clear" what his plans are and that they
need to stop second guessing engineers. "I think that's wrong," Griffin said.
Kraus said that he thinks the original concept was right and that
perhaps people at the table weren't fully paying attention to the proposal Connolly laid out.
Commissioner Alan Seymour said that Connolly has made "quality projects
around Marysville. I trust that is your objective .in my view the choice
(on the road) is yours." Connolly then offered a compromise, by proposing to extend Coleman's
Crossing Boulevard all the way into the development, instead of having
two entrance roads. "Does that sound like something you want to see?" he asked.
The same idea was used in his Green Pastures development and it would
include four lanes of traffic going in and out, he said.
In the end, commissioners asked that Connolly come back at the April 3
meeting with a revised preliminary plat design that shows Coleman's
Crossing Boulevard extending through into City Gate, with a cul-de-sac
on the end. There will be an emergency access road that could be used by
the fire department, but not by regular traffic. He will also include a
drawing of a semi-truck on the roads, in order to show the relative scope and size.
Connolly also learned from clerk Tammy Penhorwood that he has until
March 22 to come up with the plans. This was more time than he was previously aware of.
In other business:
. Commissioners passed the preliminary plat design for The Oaks Planned
Unit Development set for the area of routes 38 and 736 and passed the
preliminary development plan as well.
. The preliminary plat design for the Scott Farms Section 5 development was passed.
. Members accepted the final development plan and final plat design for
Galbury Meadows set for Weaver Road.
. A proposed zoning change for the Weinlein Property was tabled until the April meeting.
Jerome trustees look at purchasing procedures
By CINDY BRAKE
The Jerome Township Board of Trustees talked finances and procedures
Monday at its regular meeting.
Present were trustees Ron Rhodes and Robert Merkle. Andrew Thomas was absent.
Rhodes proposed amending the township's purchasing procedure to be in
line with the Ohio Revised Code.
The previous policy set a $250 limit for purchases prior to board
approval. The ORC permits purchases of up to $2,500, Rhodes said. Union
County Auditor Mary Snider told the board that the ORC also permits
"then and now" purchases for emergencies. She added that county office
holders have adopted this policy.
Robert Caldwell, financial officer, said he was not familiar with the
code Snider discussed. Merkle and Rhodes agreed to study the matter and
voted to table the resolution.
Merkle and Rhodes agreed to update the zoning fee collection procedure.
In addition to the zoning officer, the zoning secretary and financial
officer's secretary can collect checks.
The board also adopted a procedure for audio recordings.
Rhodes and Merkle approved a 2006 budget. Merkle said the budget
included recommendations from Thomas. Of note, the board added
appropriations of $50,000 from capital improvements for the construction
of various projects including a possible shelter house and parking lot.
Money was also allotted for equipment from the road and bridges fund.
Former trustee Sharon Sue Wolfe questioned the need to pay $93 for a
security officer. She said she had attended meetings for years and
recalled only two meetings that were out of control.
Merkle said conduct is much improved with the presence of the officer
and that he hoped it would not be a long-term situation. He added the
Wolfe is entitled to her opinion.
Rhodes said he had received two complaints about video taping devices at
the meeting. Merkle and Rhodes agreed that all video cameras must be in
clear view and on tripods.
In other business:
. The 911 Technical Committee will hold a public meeting in April to
discuss three proposals. Merkle said a levy is planned for the November ballot.
. Receipts to date are $132,000. Expenses are $372,000.
. A public meeting is planned for Tuesday to discuss public safety
officer funding with Millcreek Township, the sheriff and auditor.
. Merkle said he was aware of a problem with the township telephone
system on Friday and believed it had been corrected.
Second vacant home burns
From J-T staff reports:
Another possible arson is being investigated after a fire in Taylor Township this morning.
According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, Liberty Township Fire
Department responded to a home at 18040 Route 347 at 12:09 a.m. The
house was in flames and about half of the structure burned down. It is
expected to be a total loss.
If the cause is determined to be arson, it would make the second
instance of the crime in the past week. Pleasant Valley Firefighters
faced an arson of another vacant home at 7715 U.S. 42 on Feb. 25. The
house burned completely to the ground and the State Fire Marshall's
Office is currently investigating the crime.
Liberty Township fire department officials reported this morning that
the house has sat vacant for three years and an owner name was unavailable.
The Ohio State Fire Marshall's Office will be going to the fire location
sometime today in order to have canine units check for possible arson.
At this time it is unknown if the fire was set intentionally. If the
cause is determined to be arson, it would make the second instance of
the crime in the past week.
Liberty Township Fire Department was aided on the scene by Marysville,
Allen, and Leesburg township departments, as well as Northern Union
County Fire District and the Union County Emergency Management Agency.
Crews were reportedly still on the scene at press time, treating the
area as a possible crime scene.
Investigators are expected to have more information on the cause of the
fire sometime later today or Tuesday.
River City Ramblers to
perform at next Community Concert
From J-T staff reports:
The River City Ramblers will be the next act in the 2005-2006 Union
County Community Concerts season.
The six-piece combo showcasing the exuberant sounds of banjo, trumpet,
clarinet, piano, drums and sousaphone will perform Friday at 7:30 p.m.
at the Marysville High School auditorium, 800 Amrine Mill Road.
The River City Ramblers have been touring since 1973. Members of the
ensemble have played at jazz events across the United States and Europe,
including the St. Louis Ragtime Festival, the Mid-America Jazz Festival,
the Convention of Jazz Educators, the Indianapolis Jazz Festival and
Jeannie Kittrel's Jazz Incredibles. They have also individually backed
up artists, including Jimmie Rodgers, "Wild Bill" Davidson, and Barbara McNair.
Since 1973, the River City Ramblers have created an atmosphere to
reflect the mindset of the music's original creation. They are musicians
who understand the history and roots of Dixieland jazz and they engage
the audience with an inviting warmth and a mixture of talent, wit and
down-home entertaining style.
Band members include trumpet player Bob Ceccarini, sousaphone player
David "Red" Lehr, banjo player "Big John" Becker, pianist Patrick Joyce,
percussionist Joe Buerger and clarinet player Scott Alberici.
Individual tickets may be purchased at the door, where season ticket
holders may claim their tickets. Checks may be made payable to the Union
County Community Concerts Association.
Number of fights at MHS jumps
Officials believe technology allows conflicts to continue after school bell rings
By RYAN HORNS
Thanks to modern technology, bullies can prolong their harassment indefinitely.
Marysville Assistant Chief of Police, Glenn Nicol, reported that
evidence shows that the fighting in the hallways and parking lots of
Marysville High School is getting out of hand.
He said that during the entire year of 2005, police were called to
respond to assaults at the high school two times. But in January and
February alone, police have already responded to 12 assaults.
In 2005, Nicol said, only seven calls for general police service were
called to the Marysville High School. These calls can involve anything
from traffic citations, to thefts or fights. But already this year,
there have been 23 calls for service.
Nicol said he thinks the problem can be attributed partly to that fact
that arguments escalate because of technology such as cell phones,
instant text messaging, Internet message boards or Web sites. Students
are now able to harass each other all day long. Before these devices,
fights and arguments would end when students went home for the day.
Marysville High School Assistant Principal Matthew Chrispin sent out a
letter to parents on Feb. 15, warning them about the increase of fighting.
"Over the past several months we have experienced a significant increase
in the number of student conflicts derived from information and pictures
posted on personal Web sites, chat rooms and blogs such as www.xanga.com
and www.facebook.com," Chrispin wrote. "Embellished rumors, hurtful
racial slurs, inappropriate photos and other antagonistic or threatening
entries posted by students have resulted in verbal and physical
altercations in our school. Such incidents have hindered our efforts to
provide a safe and secure learning environment for all students."
He added that several neighboring school districts have reported similar
student issues because of inappropriate or threatening entries on
Web-sites. Most computer systems maintain logs of Web-sites visited and
e-mail received, sent or trashed. The school has noticed a number of
students posting private information, such as names, phone numbers and
home addresses of family members.
"This type of information in the wrong hands could be very troublesome,"
he wrote. "The bottom line is to communicate with your child."
The letter goes on to explain that the Marysville school district will
take measures to block student access to these Web sites through school
computers. Fighting on school property currently results in suspension
for those involved. With School resource officers on hand, those
punishments can turn more serious, with assault charges filed by police.
"That letter was really just to say enough is enough," Marysville
Schools Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said. "We need some help."
He is not sure whether the Web sites and text messaging are the entire
cause, but he does agree that it is easy to "hide behind a keyboard."
Zimmerman said the school hopes to delve further into the cause of the
fighting, in order to find out why students are resorting to violence.
From there they can teach students other ways to deal with their anger.
Fighting at the high school has been a problem in the past, Zimmerman
said, but it settled down and stayed that way. The recent fights seem to
show that situation has returned. "We haven't seen this for a long time," he said.
Both administrators stressed that parents need to know that if their
children fight, there can be serious repercussions.
"Students have received severe consequences from the school and await
court dates for charges," Chrispin wrote.
Zimmerman said that parents need to be involved. The message everyone
should send to students is that there are other ways to settle arguments
without resorting to violence. "We need to give them the skills for adult life," he said.
Unfortunately, Zimmerman said, he is not sure adults have been a very good example either.
In 2005, annual reports of the Marysville Police Department showed that
assaults and violent crimes were up throughout the entire city.
Storyteller brings Irish tales to
From J-T staff reports:
Storyteller and historian Cathy Jo Smith will bring a bit o' the Irish
to the Marysville Public Library March 11 at noon.
She has participated in Irish festivals throughout Ohio and nationally,
including the Dublin Irish Festival for many years. Smith tells folk
stories from Ireland, pulling from a variety of sources, including
original tales in the traditional mode, particularly the "Seamus McSeamus" tales.
Seamus was a wanderer, a rover and a traveling man back in the days of
"once upon a time." He walked the hills and valleys of Ireland as much
for the fun of it as anything else, for he was the sort of person who
enjoyed having adventures, according to Smith.
Smith became interested in Irish folklore because of her family heritage.
"I wanted to know more about how a country no bigger than South Carolina
had given so much to America," she said. "And once I started, I fell in
love with the people and the land."
Any look at American culture will turn up the Irish, she said, whether
looking at politics, history or the arts.
"Think of Henry Ford, Walt Disney, George M. Cohan, Davy Crockett. On
the other side of the law, both Billy the Kid and Jesse James were from
Irish families. We're everywhere!"
Back in Ireland, she said, the society remained traditional and rural
until fairly recently. A trip over there was a journey to a mostly
unspoiled bit of the past, a welcome bit of nostalgia. However, one can
still find a slower pace; a pub where the old songs are sung and the
blarney flows fresh and free, and the many shades of green delight the eye.
There are thousands of prehistoric structures around Ireland - standing
stones, circles, mounds and gravesites. Because they were associated
with the "fairyfolk," these sites were left strictly alone over the
centuries and so modern archeologists can study them in greater depth.
Killarney National Forest, especially O'Sullivan's Cascade, is her
favorite place in Ireland, and her favorite Irish traditional dish is
"tea brack," a form of raisin bread or fruit cake. "Brack" is from the
Irish for "speckled" and brewed tea is used for the liquid.
Many of the songs we think of as "Irish" were actually written in the
United States, Smith said. That's probably because there are at least
eight times more "Irish-Americans" than there are people in the whole of Ireland.
Regarding the "luck o' the Irish," Smith said the Irish usually had to
work very hard to obtain that "luck." The term actually was coined in
the California Gold Rush days when many of the prospectors were Irishmen
who left home because of the potato famine.
Smith said she spends St. Patrick's Day at Dublin's "Blarney Bash," where she tells stories.
"We make a family day of it and have supper out. I love to listen to the
bands and see how many little ones I can get to dance with me up by the stage."
Registration is required for Smith's program and may be made by calling 642-1876, extension 21.
For more information, log on to the Marysville Public Library Web site at www.marysvillelib.org.
Is it a jail or a drunk tank?
Officials discuss whether intoxicated individuals should be able to sober up at Tri-County
By RYAN HORNS
It appears that the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg has been
looking after drunk people when they may not have needed to.
Jail director Robert Beightler said when he took the job last year there
were a few issues on his agenda. Some of those plans were realized and
some will become the new focus for 2006.
In his bi-monthly report to jail board members, Beightler discussed how
they have been holding people charged with intoxicated disorderly
conduct in the jail for about 8 hours to sober up. There seems to be
some disagreement on what to do with these offenders.
"We don't take drunk tank people," Champaign County Sheriff David Deskins said.
Both he and Champaign County Judge Roger Wilson agreed that disorderly
conduct is not an offense that is punishable with jail time because it
is only a low-grade misdemeanor, punishable with a fine. Persistent
disorderly conduct is a fourth-degree misdemeanor and is the lowest
charge for possible jail time punishment. They decided it should be an
issue to look into more and report back at the next meeting.
A sidenote at the end of the meeting ended up having the most discussion
by board members. The issue concerned how the jail should deal with
existing mayor's courts. Out of all three counties, Champaign still has
three mayor's courts in existence, Madison has one and Union does not have any.
Madison County Sheriff James Sabin asked for clarification on whether or
not the jail should have a contract in place for Mt. Sterling's mayor's
court. He does not anticipate many prisoners being sent to the jail, but it could happen.
Board members then realized that if they write up contracts for mayor's
courts, then they would have to do the same for municipal courts.
"We either should have contracts for every mayor's court or none," Wilson said
Sabin said the courts could end up sending up to 30 or 40 prisoners a
year, with a cost of $45 per day - or more if they require medical attention.
Champaign County Commissioner Bob Corbett said that his county currently
covers that cost. Members decided it was a much more complicated issue than they first
anticipated and will have to delve further into the topic at the next meeting.
Beightler said he is going to be at a regional jail meeting in May and
he will ask around to see how other jails handle the situation.
"If we're going to do it, we need to do it fair and legal," Corbett said.
Beightler also spent the meeting reflecting on the past year and plans
for the future. He said one of the top three items on his list when he
started, was creating an exercise room for staff members. He estimated
that the cost would be $2,000 to bring in a treadmill, possibly free
weights and a stationary bicycle.
One of the main concerns for Corbett was whether the exercise room would
be "well utilized." He mentioned that Champaign County has an exercise room for its staff.
Champaign County Sheriff David Deskins said that attendance for the room
has been lackluster and they were now wondering if it was even necessary.
Beightler said he felt the room would get a good response and that it "is beneficial for staff morale."
Union County commissioner and board member, Gary Lee, suggested that the
issue be tabled because the jail is going to have labor negotiations
when the contract expires on June 30. Perhaps at that time, they can add
the exercise room onto the conditions for staff.
In other topics discussed:
. A roofing vendor came in and examined the flat, rubber membrane roof
and discovered problem areas. Beightler said they received a $2,000
repair estimate and another for $5,000. Board members agreed to go
through with the repairs at the lower estimate.
. The annual jail inspection will be done early because the usual
inspector is having a baby and wants to do the rounds before the child
arrives. They have set the inspection date for March 21.
Beightler said the inspection lasts around three to five hours and the
inspector will check temperatures, light conditions and measurements and
will look for problems with bathrooms and faucets.
. The jail will conduct another full-scale fire drill and evacuation in
2006. The one in 2005 was a called a success.
. At some point this year the jail staff will be provided Taser weapons
for transporting inmates. A total of four Tasers and training costs will be about $10,000
Officials suspect arson in weekend fire
From J-T staff reports:
Pleasant Valley Fire Department and Ohio State Fire Marshall
investigators are looking for an arsonist.
On Saturday the fire department was called to respond to a house fire
just north of Plain City, at 7715 U.S. 42.
Crews from surrounding areas such as Jerome, Mill Creek and Washington
townships were on the scene fighting the fire from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30
p.m. Because the house was engulfed in flames, firemen were forced to
simply contain the fire so that it would not spread. A grass fire also
had to be extinguished. According to Pleasant Valley Fire Department Lt. Scott Cantrell,
investigators initially suspected arson, because the house has been
abandoned for some time. He said the state was planning to tear the
house down soon, in order to make way for a new road. All the utilities
in the home had been shut off, meaning an electrical fire was not suspected.
On Monday, dogs trained to detect accelerants, alerted to an area inside
the house. Samples from the home are currently being studied in a laboratory for confirmation.
Because of the investigation, Cantrell said, he is not able to talk
about the details of how they believe the fire started and why they suspect arson.
"It's difficult to tell where it started," Cantrell said, referring to the damage.
All that remains of the home is rubble and the foundation, he said.
The joint investigation between the state fire marshall's office and
Pleasant Valley Fire Department has referred the case to the Blue Ribbon
Program. This means that anyone who reports information on the fire that
leads to an arrest can be awarded up to $5,000.
Cantrell said tips can be made directly to the fire department by calling (614)-873-4067.
Organization offers first Farmer's Share
From J-T staff reports:
Come and get it - breakfast for 50 cents.
The Union County Farm Bureau is inviting everyone to the first Farmer's Share Breakfast.
The cost is 50 cents or approximately the amount a farmer receives for the products he produces.
The meal will include pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, juice and milk or coffee.
"This event provides an excellent opportunity to bring focus on
approximately how much the farmer receives for the products that he or
she produces, and the food that we purchase and consume," said Dan
Erwin, president of the Union County Farm Bureau.
More than 20 farmers have signed up to serve, as well as 10 FFA members.
"Agriculture is our state's largest industry and our farmers are excited
to continue sharing the story of Union County agriculture with the
members of our community at events such as this breakfast," said
committee chairman and Union County farmer Gary Greenbaum. "In America
we enjoy an incredibly safe, affordable and abundant supply of food, and
this Farmer's Share Breakfast is one way that we can help communicate
the many positive messages that agriculture has to tell."
The meal will be served Saturday, March 18, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the
Marysville School cafeteria. In addition to the meal, informational displays are planned.
MHS Model U.N. team begins fundraising
From J-T staff reports:
Marysville High School's Model United Nations team will kick off its
annual fund-raising cake sale Saturday, when members will begin taking
orders for the cakes they will make April 1.
They will make 40 cakes, which they hope to sell for $50 apiece.
Ingredients and decorating advice will be provided by the Marysville
Kroger store on West Fifth Street.
Funds raised will help finance a trip to the Model UN Boston Global
Studies at Northeastern University in Boston May 10-13. The Marysville
students will be the first Ohio team to attend the May competition,
according to local Model United Nations advisor Len Baldwin.
Baldwin, of East Liberty, has been advising Marysville Model United
Nations teams since 1994. He is now assisted by MHS grad and former UN
team member Crystal Schrock Montgomery.
Model UN is an educational program based on the actual United Nations in
New York City. The same principal, conflict resolution, applies and
participants use a combination of debate, research, community
representation and speech to address topics and resolve issues.
The program is designed to enhance and enrich each student's knowledge
in cultural awareness, historical implications and function of the
United Nations and comparative issues facing world countries.
MHS students were the first Ohio Group to attend the West Coast
Invitational Model UN Conference in California in 2005.
Health department to provide free screenings
From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Health Department is partnering with the Central Ohio
Diabetes Association to provide free blood glucose screenings.
Jennifer Thrush, health department deputy public information officer,
said the tests were recently turned into a "standing service" to run indefinitely for residents.
Screenings will run Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at
the health department at 940 London Ave., Suite 1100. No appointment is
necessary. Screenings are recommended for people of all ages and health
levels. Fasting for at least eight hours prior to screening is recommended.
"Prevention and early detection are the best medicines against diabetes.
Checking your sugar levels regularly before you develop a condition can
prevent years of chronic medical complications," said Sandra Howsman,
LPN at the health department.
Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or
respond to insulin, a hormone that regulates the level of sugar within
the body. If untreated, diabetes can lead to health complications such
as blindness, leg amputation and heart disease. Fortunately, diabetes
can be treated. Depending on the severity, some cases can even be
managed with simple diet and exercise modifications.
Diabetes affects children, seemingly healthy adults and seniors. While
the increase in the disease is directly correlated with ballooning
obesity rates, people at healthy weights also may be at risk. Factors
contributing to diabetes include heredity, obesity, poor diet and lack
of exercise. For more information, contact Howsman at 642-0801.
A change for local kindergarten?
All-day, every other day schedule considered for Marysville
By KARLYN BYERS
Marysville Schools Superintendent Larry Zimmerman put the word out that
the district may be headed toward all-day, every other day kindergarten.
But the word was apparently already out. Two local mothers attended
Tuesday's rescheduled monthly board meeting to voice their concerns
about retention difficulties if kindergartners were attending school only every other day.
"I understand I'm making a lot of you nervous," Zimmerman told the
unidentified mothers. After all, he said, his wife was a kindergarten
teacher for 20 years, "so I understand the pluses and minuses."
But going to all-day, every other day kindergarten would save the
district about $160,000, Zimmerman said, which is equivalent to hiring
four new teachers. Zimmerman said he eventually would like to see kindergarten pupils
attend school all day, every day, as they do in some other central Ohio
schools, but state funding for such an option is not available to
Marysville right now. "I definitely see us going that direction," he said.
Because of last summer's passage of House Bill 66, Marysville Schools
have lost roughly $600,000 in state funding, Zimmerman said. It also has
enrolled more than 200 new pupils this school year, which has increased
operating costs by about $1.5 million, he said.
Zimmerman said he hopes to make a decision on kindergarten scheduling
before the April 24 board meeting. Kindergarten registration and
screening will be underway by then.
He also discussed changing the start and dismissal times of Creekview
Intermediate School to streamline busing operations. Starting the
intermediate school day about the same time the elementary day begins
could mean reducing time on the school bus for some pupils from 90 to 45 minutes, he said.
But it is a big change for the district, he said. Teachers and parents
like the early starting time because it better fits their schedules.
Zimmerman also intends to investigate the transportation of pupils to
commercial daycare centers. Seven children are currently transported,
"and that is extra transportation for us," Zimmerman said.
By eliminating such transportation, he said, one bus route could basically be omitted.
"We're going to look at all the different angles there are," Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman has been invited to be on a task force of five school
districts which have been adversely impacted by changes in school
funding mandated in House Bill 66. He will join superintendents from
Southwestern, Circleville and Mason City schools and Highland Local Schools.
Dominion Homes donates land for new school
By KARLYN BYERS
Marysville's newest elementary school will be built on land donated by Dominion Homes.
Marysville School Board members unanimously voted Tuesday night to
accept three tracts of land totaling 14.695 acres from Dominion Homes.
School officials plan to build the new Northwood Elementary School on
the site, which is located west of Route 31 and adjacent to Creekview
Intermediate School on the north edge of Marysville.
Board members also unanimously voted to advertise for bids for site work
at the new location. Following approval from city and county
authorities, the school district could advertise for construction bids
in April or May. Northwood Elementary is expected to open for the start
of the 2007-2008 school year and will house up to 550 students.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman did not give an estimated value on the
property. However he did say taxpayers "will save hundreds of thousands
of dollars on the cost of new land for Northwood Elementary," in a Tuesday night press release.
"Everyone comes out ahead," Zimmerman said in the press release. "Our
district gets a terrific location for our new elementary school. Parents
and kids living in Mill Valley and Mill Valley North will be able to
walk to their school, which should be a major selling point for Dominion Homes."
Dominion Homes also donated the site for Creekview Intermediate School
which serves about 850 students in grades five and six.
Tuesday night's board meeting began with a presentation by Andrew
Maletz, architect with the Steed, Hammond and Paul architectural firm in
Grove City, of schematic drawings depicting a middle school/intermediate
school combination. The school district plans to build a second middle and intermediate
school on 162 acres it is purchasing in Paris Township. The land, which
has a tributary of Buck Run and DP&L transmission lines running through
it, still offers three desirable building sites, Maletz said.
He said the middle site would easily accommodate the middle/intermediate
school, which would allow shared space without the separate student
populations crossing over. The school would be distinguished by separate
entrances and classrooms. Pupils would share dining facilities, the
music practice area, the library and the second of three gymnasiums.
Each side would be built to accommodate 500-550 pupils but could be
enlarged if need be. And the combined schools would be as "green" as
possible, using geothermal energy to heat and cool the building and
broad expanses of windows to let in light.
"We're striving ... for a very, very low cost of operation," Maletz said.
Maletz also said the firm is "continuing to hone (the) high school plan."
The design to enlarge the building will incorporate the same roof pitch,
brick color and overall feel of the existing high school building, while
improving the overall operating efficiency.
He also said the building addition at Creekview Intermediate School is nearing completion.
Changes may be coming for Richwood
From J-T staff reports:
If financing falls in line, the Richwood Community Apartments could soon
be known as Richwood Greene and residents will see a difference.
Woda Management and Real Estate is seeking to secure housing tax credits
that would allow the company to purchase the 62-unit senior facility and
make improvements. Company officials have said no one will be forced to
leave the facility if it is purchased.
Frank Fugate and Tammy Greene of The Woda Group approached Richwood
Council Monday seeking a resolution of support for its intent to secure
funding for the project. The group will be applying for funding before a March 16 deadline.
Fugate said the company plans major renovations and will offer one and
two bedroom apartments, some of which will include dens. The company
also plans to install new dish washers, garbage disposals,
refrigerators, stoves, washer and dryer hookups and central air conditioning.
Because it is a HUD project the facility will also be brought up to code
on handicap accessibility and will see improved safety measures such as
better fire suppression system, Greene said. If the funding goes through
construction would begin in the late summer of 2007.
According to Green, the renovations to apartments will be performed as a
series. When an apartment becomes empty, work will be performed. Other
residents could be moved into newly renovated apartments, allowing their
old apartments to be redone.
Woda, formed in 1989, manages more than 3,000 apartments. Its work
included construction, development and management of property.