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Local Archived News April 2007

 

4/30/07

     Youth group reaches out

     Drug arrests made at local bar

4/28/07

     Pilot program aims to fix sidewalks

     County turns over presidential ballots

4/27/07

     Marysville implements pay for K

     Council overrides mayor's veto

     No fowls hurt in fire at Daylay Egg Farm

     Hospital still in process of planning for future

4/26/07

     Burke to run for state rep.

     Tutor sentenced for having sex with student

4/25/07

     'Positive results' seen in Route 4 focus

4/24/07

     Truck traffic a concern in Richwood

     Universal blood type  at critically low levels

04/23/07

     Crime reports grow with county

04/21/07

     Commissioners set annual budget

04/20/07

     Reed's struggle

     Triad looks at  preschool program

4/19/07

     Generations apart, but buddies at lunch

     PUCO releases funds for rail crossing

     Sheriff to crack down on underage drinking parties

4/18/07

     Amended water rate plan approved

4/17/07

     Wastewater treatment repairs needed at Fairbanks

     JA to expand cheerleading

     NU eyes parent mentor program

4/16/07

     Pursuit ends with arrest

4/14/07

     Kay Liggett to be inducted into Senior Hall of Fame

     Summit set

4/13/07

     Water rate plan changed

     City asked to annex land

4/12/07

     School redistricting plan set

     Scotts company to be featured on History Channel

4/11/07

     Mayor Kruse will not run for re-election

     Smoke break

     Details of fatal crash released

4/10/07

     House burns; body found

     Council looks at future of Richwood Lake

     Milford Center deals with water pump problems

4/9/07

     Recycling to be made easier for county residents

4/7/07

     Goodbye 'Mr.  Funny Pants'

     Death called a suicide

4/6/07

     Local students grill Strickland

     Body found near pond off Route 4

     Local sculptor will be remembered

4/5/07

     Somebody deserved to get it back'

     Special events planned around Easter holiday

4/4/07

     Living in fear of foreclosure

     Village, fire district still trying to come to agreement

     N. Lewisburg council loses a member

 4/3/07

      Jerome Twp. to have new recycling option


Youth group reaches out
Teens from  church and JDC relate to each other

By EMILY MASTERS
Mia was sent to the Central Ohio Youth Center (COYC) for grand theft
auto and domestic violence in Hancock County.
Gabe, from Auglaize County, is in for aggravated menacing and graffiti.
Both youths admit they made some wrong choices, but despite their
misdoings they are finding love and support from the outside world.
The Our Lady of Lourdes youth group WALK (Working to Attain the Lord's
Kingdom), led by Dave and Carrie Bezusko, meets with the COYC kids one
Sunday a month to pray with them and talk about Bible scriptures.
"Although we talk about scriptures with the kids, we try not to be too
preachy," said Dave. "The point for us is to just reach out and let them
know someone cares about them."
Carrie recalls the last meeting. "One of the kids asked, 'Why do you
guys come out here and do this?'"
"I just told him - you need just as much support as we do, as any of us
do, we all need support," said Carrie.
The fellowship got started as a result of a meeting Dave had with COYC
Superintendent Vikki Jordan. Dave is the campaign and public relations
director for United Way of Union County and had come to solicit Jordan
to take part in the local United Way campaign. After Jordan gave him a
tour of the COYC facility, Dave was surprisingly enlightened.
"What struck me the most was when I saw the kids, they looked like kids
from our youth group," Dave remembers. "There was nothing stamped on
their foreheads that said, 'I do drugs.'"
According to Jordan, the COYC kids are in for a variety of reasons,
ranging from drug and alcohol issues, running away, breaking and
entering, robbery, attempted murder and sexual offenses. She said 70 to
80 percent are in for drug and alcohol issues.
"Our goal is for our kids to be exposed to other teens who know how to
have fun and enjoy themselves, attend school, and who just can have fun
without drugs and crime," Jordan said.
Carrie said the first meeting between the two groups of kids was intimidating.
"I have to admit, when we first met, I was super nervous," said Carrie.
"I wasn't nervous because of the kids' criminal backgrounds, I just
didn't want them to perceive our kids as the goody-goody youth group
kids, and I didn't want our kids to look at them as just bad kids."
She was happy to discover neither group judged one another.
COYC teen Robert, said he appreciated how the WALK kids have treated him
and the others in COYC.
"Most people are watching their backs when they come in here, and they
treat us like criminals. You don't do that," he said.
COYC teen Steffan agrees.
"We're instantly stereotyped and judged by most people, but you guys
don't," he said.
WALK teen, Leslie Albanese said she enjoys the opportunity to talk with
the COYC kids.
As she sat face to face with them Friday in the COYC gymnasium, she
explained to them, "You feel so happy when you're sharing your faith
with other people."
The youth group's goal stems from Bible passage Matthew 25:35-36 which
reads: For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave
Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you
clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.
Dave said he considers the COYC kids an extension of the WALK youth group.
Talking with them he said, "We care about you, we pray for you, and we
consider you our honorary youth group."
He hopes other local church groups can come out and minister to the COYC
kids as well.
Jordan said she has been pleased with the results.
"We're just thrilled with it," she said.

Drug arrests made at local bar
From J-T staff reports:
After months of investigating, law enforcement came down on criminal
activity at Lee Dog's Locker Room in Marysville.
The Marysville Police Department has been working with the Ohio
Investigative Unit in an ongoing investigation into illegal activity at
the local bar and grill. The result was numerous arrests on Friday.
Police indicated this morning that more charges are expected to be filed.
According to reports, at approximately 10:30 p.m. officers from the
police department and agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit served
warrants for trafficking in drugs, a fourth degree felony, on the owner
of Lee Dog's Locker Room, Lee Alderson, 37, of 18205 Harmon Patrick
Road. Also arrested were Sheila L. Wyatt, 36, of 21302 Peoria Loop Road
in Raymond, for second-degree felony trafficking in cocaine; Dennis G.
Smith, 33, of 321 W. Third St., for second-degree felony trafficking in
cocaine; and Ricia Cain (AKA Ricia Marrs), 32, of 569 E. Tenth St., No.
141, for fourth-degree felony trafficking in cocaine. Cain was arrested
Saturday morning in Marion on local charges there.
"Those arrested on Saturday were held for bond and taken to the
Tri-County jail," a police release stated. "The cases are expected to be
referred to the Union County Grand Jury in the near future."
The Ohio Investigative Unit also served Alderson, as owner of the bar,
with several civil permit violations that will be filed with the Ohio Liquor Commission.
"The establishment was temporarily closed while agents conducted a
permit inspection of the premises and the employees were arrested,"
police reported. "The investigation spanned several months and was made
possible with the cooperation of the Ohio Investigative Unit working
closely with Marysville Police investigators. The investigation will be
continuing with additional charges expected to be filed."
Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol said that despite being
closed during the arrests, the business remains open for business.

Pilot program aims to fix sidewalks
Plan would see city match up to $500 per repair

By RYAN HORNS
The old warning goes: Step on a crack and break your mother's back. But
a new city program could help make sidewalk cracks hard to find.
At Thursday night's Marysville City Council meeting an ordinance was
introduced to start a sidewalk replacement program to help make it more
affordable for residents to maintain their sidewalks.
Under city codes, it is the responsibility of property owners to make
sure the sidewalks are in a safe condition, to reduce property owner
liability for accidents and help improve the appearance of neighborhoods.
Councilmen Mark Reams and David Burke pointed out that the issue has
been talked about for years and they have now reached the point where
something needs to be implemented.
"This is a pilot program," Burke explained. "Hopefully as years go by we
can slowly replace sidewalks that need improvement."
According to the ordinance, the city will have to track the results of
the program and review it at the end of the year. Consideration will
have to be made for continuation, expansion and funding for 2008.
The ordinance states that Marysville would allocate matching funds, with
a $500 maximum, to help raise as much as $1,000 for residential sidewalk
repair jobs. For example, if the repair job of a disfigured sidewalk
requires $750 to fix it, the city would pay $375 and the property owner
$375. That also means if a project costs $1,500, it would cost the city
$500 and the property owner $1,000.
As a pilot program, Burke said, for now it is only being focused on the
Uptown Renewal area.
The program language explains that the current estimate to repair a 4
foot by 4 foot section of sidewalk costs about $200 to replace. Based on
that, each project could include a maximum of about five square sections of concrete.
Burke said that to determine if a property owner's sidewalk qualifies
for repair under the program, a rating system is in place, with "0"
meaning no problem and "5" meaning severe damage. The more damaged, the
sooner the program will work to fix it. It also states that those rated
0, 1 or 2 "will not qualify for matching funds, but the scoring will be
included to determine rankings for funding."
However, the program is resident initiated and locals are encouraged to
do the repair work on their own. In addition, the program explains
driveway sidewalks are not eligible for matching funds.
The legislation states that residents in the Uptown Renewal area will
want to consult a Sidewalk Repair Program Application Form available at
City Hall, 125 E. Sixth St. They must also get an estimate from a
licensed and approved contractor, as well as get the required zoning
permit. The cost for those two stipulations was not addressed. If
approved through the rating process, the city would waive the permit fee
and then assign a deadline for the project completion and final payment
to be made.
The ordinance also explains that if the repair job isn't approved the
resident may keep submitting the project until it qualifies for city
funding. Those that do qualify can submit for new projects annually.
Once the repair work is completed the final contractor invoice should be
submitted to the city. The city will approve the amount and mail the
matching funds to the property owner, who is ultimately responsible for
paying the contractor.
The city has already foreseen questions critics may raise about the
program, such as "I thought the city took care of sidewalks" or "why do
I have to pay for it?"
The city's response is that "cities throughout Ohio may handle sidewalk
maintenance differently. The city does not maintain sidewalks adjacent
to private property and/or along a public street. This decision allows
the city to commit more of our limited funds to road building, expansion and maintenance."
City officials also have an answer for those who ask "what happens if I
don't repair my sidewalk?"
Those enforcing the code may issue notices to those who have not
participated in the program or have not completed the sidewalk repairs on their own.
Apartment complexes are not eligible for funding, but duplex homes would
be considered. If a sidewalk is made of brick and needs repairs, the project would

County turns over presidential ballots
By RYAN HORNS
Friday afternoon representatives of Ohio's Secretary of State's office
came to Union County to oblige a court order to collect and maintain
ballots from all 88 state counties for the 2004 presidential elections.
According to Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's press release on the
visit, on Sept. 11, 2006 the U.S. District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio ordered state boards of elections "to preserve all
ballots from the 2004 presidential election, on paper or in any other
format, including electronic data, unless and until such time otherwise
instructed by the court."
Brunner explained in the release that the "ongoing expense and space
limitations of maintaining all ballots from the 2004 presidential
election have created hardships for many boards of elections. In order
to alleviate this hardship and to insure the ballots remain secure until
the resolution of the court proceeding, our office has obtained
permission from the federal district court to take custody of the
ballots and remove them to a secure location in Columbus."
Thursday at 1:30 p.m. representatives Katherine Thomsen and Curtis
Mayhew arrived to work with Union County Board of Elections
administrators to load the boxes of ballots into a van for transport.
Bob Parrott of the Union County Board of Elections explained that the
2004 presidential campaign was highly contested and after the election
federal lawsuits were filed to check the validity of the election. Ohio
being a swing state in that election, all counties were brought into the
lawsuits. He said in one of the federal cases, the judge ordered that
all ballots from the 2004 presidential election be preserved until the
lawsuits were resolved. He said that after county boards of elections
conducted an unofficial count, an official count and a recount requested
by the Green Party, the boards boxed up all the ballots, ballot pages
and related records and sealed the boxes.
In Union County those boxes have since been stored in a secure ballot
room since the 2004 election he said
"The ballot room is a secure room which has two locks - one lock can
only be opened with a key from the Democratic staff members and the
other lock can only be opened with a key from the Republican staff
members. This means that no one can access those records without both
parties being involved," Parrott said.
Regarding the problems of storage, which resulted in the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio ordering the collection of
ballots, Parrott said that issue was not a problem in Union County.
"In our case, we only have nine cardboard boxes. None of these boxes
pose any problem for us to store. Regardless, since the judge ordered us
to give our original ballots to the Secretary of State, we must comply
with his order," he said.
Parrott did have a few points of concern over the collection of the ballots.
He said the local office has never given up original records before.
Also by removing the ballots it takes away the security of having both
Democratic and Republican representatives work together making sure the
ballots are not tampered with, altered or destroyed.

Marysville implements pay for K
All-day, every day kindergarten  option to be offered at a price

By KARLYN BYERS
Marysville School Board members approved all-day, every day kindergarten
at Northwood Elementary by a 3-1 vote Thursday night.
The all-day, every day option will cost parents $225 per month for 10
months (August through May), with a $75 commitment fee due May 4. The
monthly cost will help defray the cost of implementing the program,
according to school officials.
Board member Scott Johnson cast the negative vote, and board president
Roy Fraker was absent. Johnson has previously expressed discomfort with
charging for the program in a public school system.
Forty families have completed intent forms expressing an interest in
enrolling their children in the all-day, every day option, said Carla
Steele, district literacy coordinator. Of those families, 22 have paid
the commitment fee.
That is enough for one class; a class will be formed with each 20 pupils
enrolled. If fewer than 20 pupils enroll, those pupils will be placed on
a waiting list until the next class is formed.
The board also hired Tonya Ramey as assistant high school principal. She
will succeed Matt Chrispin who was named MHS principal at the Feb. 26
board meeting. Chrispin succeeded longtime high school principal Greg
Hanson, who is retiring at the end of this school year.
Ramey received a bachelor of arts degree in English education from
Cedarville University. She holds a master's degree from the University
of Dayton in educational administration and is pursuing a
superintendent's license at the University of Dayton.
She spent six years teaching middle level language arts in Hilliard City
Schools, and also taught English at Worthington Kilbourne and Dublin
Coffman high schools. For the past three years, she has been assistant
principal at Dublin Coffman.
Ramey and her husband, Rob, reside in Marysville with their daughter,
Kaylor, 9, and son, Kyle, 6, who both attend Edgewood Elementary School.
Her employment is effective Aug. 1. Her hiring was approved 4-0.
The board also officially adopted Superintendent Larry Zimmerman's
elementary, middle school and intermediate redistricting recommendations.
The elementary attendance areas were outlined at a special April 11
school board meeting. The middle and intermediate redistricting
recommendations will go into effect when the new middle/intermediate
school on the old Bunsold property on Route 4 just east of Boerger Road
opens. Those attendance areas will be as follows:
Edgewood and East attendance areas would attend the new middle and
intermediate school. The Millington Avenue area also will be assigned to
the new buildings.
Mill Valley, Northwood, Raymond and Navin attendance areas (except the
Millington Avenue area) will attend Creekview Intermediate and
Marysville Middle School.
In other business, the board:
.Accepted retirement resignations from teachers William Finley, Lisa
Long, Jacqueline Lazenby, Christine Erwin, Judith Price and Amber
Halvorsen, and the retirement resignation of Janet Shonebarger, director
of transportation.
.Granted an unpaid leave of absence to Lisa Poling for the 2007-2008
school year so she can pursue a doctorate.
.Granted one-year limited contracts to 58 teachers, speech/language
pathologists Amanda MacConnell and Kimberly McClincy, occupational
therapist Kathleen Riley-Williams, counselor Ed Starling and ESL tutor
(as needed) Alice Ahlers; four-year limited contracts to 22 teachers and
speech pathologist Marcia Easton; and 15 continuing contracts to 14
teachers and speech pathologist Melissa Friend.
.Accepted donations of $7,830 for weight equipment, $1,000 for a
replacement mirror in the weight room, $350 for a timing clock and $360
in general items from the Quarterback Club; $800 for windscreen and
padding, $400 to sod a field and $2,000 for uniforms from the Lady
Monarch Softball Boosters; $1,100 from the Track Boosters; the donation
of three glass display cases valued at $400 each from Bob and Judy Box;
and donations from Rhonda Tipple and Jenine Bertke to the Michael W.
Padovano Scholarship Fund.
.Awarded supplemental contracts to Kim Andrews, district department
chair for health care consultants; and Lisa Subler, middle school track.
.Employed Tammy Cooper, high school summer school director; Chris Hoehn,
middle school summer school director; and Carol Lentz and Shelly Maag,
K-6 summer school co-directors.
.Adjourned into executive session for the discussion of personnel and
negotiations.

Council overrides mayor's veto
By RYAN HORNS
When it comes to land use and business planning, Marysville City Council
has made its decision clear.
At Thursday night's meeting members voted to overturn Mayor Tom Kruse's
veto of a companion resolution to the water rate hikes. Council's vote
to override the veto passed with six members approving and member John
Marshall voting against the override.
The resolution, drafted by councilwoman Leah Sellers, proposed a
timeline for the city to create both business and land use plans in
order to deal with future growth. That resolution was passed unanimously
by council members at the April 12 meeting.
In his statement explaining the veto, Kruse said, "It is my opinion that
the resolution is flawed on its surface" and "encroaches on the
principle of separation of powers, clearly defined by the Marysville City Charter."
Kruse added that the city does have plans for business and land use
planning, which are constantly being reviewed by the administration and
the economic development director, "with the thought in mind of
ultimately updating it at an appropriate time."
Kruse said that his problem with the companion resolution was that it is
not council's place "to attempt to legislate how and when the
administration implements its work schedule."
Councilwoman Leah Sellers said from here city administrators will have
to look at the issue of creating a business plan and have something to
present to council in three months.
"Ultimately the goal is to get rates down ever further," Sellers said.
Regarding the land use plan, she said administration has six months to
make progress on that aspect of future growth management. Throughout the
process, Sellers said she will ask for updates on the work being completed.
In other discussions Thursday night:
. The first reading was held on an ordinance to appropriate $88,300 to
re-pave three city parking lots, which are currently "in poor
condition." The project will be included in the overall 2007 paving
program.
. The second reading was held on an ordinance to rezone one acre of land
located near Route 38 at Walker Woods Lane from Agricultural Residential
to Low Density Single Family Residential. Discussion on the issue was
extensive because of a dispute between lot owner Myron Gallogly and
Debbie Lutz, the developer of Walker Meadows.
Lutz explained that Walker Meadows property owners, were worried about
what may happen to Gallogly's one acre of land near their homes and that
it could possibly lead to a decrease in value of their property. The
issue is expected to be discussed further at the May 10 council meeting.

No fowls hurt in fire at Daylay Egg Farm
From J-T staff reports:
Despite plenty of jokes about free chicken dinners, a fire at Union
County's Daylay Egg Farm ended safely Thursday.
"No chickens were killed," Liberty Township fire chief Lloyd Segner said
this morning. "Thank goodness it was uneventful."
At 3:14 p.m. dispatchers reported a working fire at the egg farm in
Raymond, located at 26586 Route 739.
The building where the fire occurred was the chicken egg laying
facility, Segner said.
"The important thing is that none of the animals were harmed," Peter
Mumm, director of operations and marketing for Daylay, said this
morning. "We were just amazed when we went in there, that none of the
animals had died from smoke inhalation."
While the fire destroyed several sections of tin paneling, he said that
the integrity of the building was still intact and they were able to
keep the chickens in place for now. The birds were expected to be moved
in the coming weeks.
Segner said that his department was in charge of the scene and received
mutual aid from Marysville, Allen Township, Leesburg Township, Northern
Union County and West Mansfield fire crews. The Union County Emergency
Management Agency was also on hand.
He said fire crews were on the scene for more than two hours dousing the
flames and dealing with heavy white plumes of smoke pouring out of the walls.
Segner explained that contractors for Daylay were busy grinding on the
metal walls, as they attempted to install a new conveyor belt to send
feed to the chickens. The grinding caused sparks to shoot into the
insulation, which resulted in the fire spreading in the walls. The
flames then moved toward the roof.
He estimated that the building suffered $3,000 to $5,000 in damages.
Mumm said that insurance representatives have not had a chance to view
the damage yet, but the overall damage was not serious.
Ultimately, the company's concern was focused on the safety of the birds.
"We were very nervous," he said.

Hospital still in process of planning for future
Hubbs says officials are not advocating new facility

By CORINNE BIX
Memorial Hospital of Union County wants to allay assumptions that the
hospital has plans to build and finance a brand new facility.
On Monday, Chip Hubbs, CEO/President of Memorial Hospital of Union
County (MHUC), along with board chair Dennis Stone and vice-chair Chad
Hoffman, met with the county commissioners and discussed concerns in
regard to the future of MHUC.
Several months ago the hospital signed a contract with AMDC, a strategic
facility planning organization, aimed at improving the hospital as a whole.
AMDC made a presentation at February's regular board meeting and
explained the process by which it will arrive at its final
recommendations to be completed in July.
"We are not advocating a green field hospital but we do want to explore
all of our options," Hubbs said in February. "We have to be careful not
to limit ourselves."
The hospital has been working closely with AMDC by taking an integrated
approach when exploring future options for the hospital's growth.
The hospital has put together a planning committee which consists of
physicians, community leaders and board members. The 45-member committee
and the AMDC team have been interfacing on a monthly basis.
The group is exploring many options, including improving on and
rebuilding at the current site versus building a new facility at a green field site.
Commissioner Charles Hall commented in February that he felt that AMDC's
presentation was leaning towards building a new facility.
Last night, Hubbs reiterated what he said earlier this year: The
hospital would be exploring all options, even those that are
unobtainable, as they go through the process with AMDC.
Hubbs emphasized the importance of looking at all possible scenarios.
"We have to be willing to have the difficult conversations," Hubbs said,
"There isn't an agenda in mind and we want to make sure we get it right
rather than make the wrong decision early in the process."
Hubbs added that the hospital chose to enter into discussions regarding
the hospitals' future using an inclusive approach - almost to the point
of being cumbersome - to ensure that all facets of the community were involved.
Hubbs, Stone and Hoffman said the meeting with the three county
commissioners was positive in that they were able to communicate that
the hospital would not present a facility plan without a financial plan to back it.
Hoffman said the commissioners wanted the hospital to be reminded and
made aware of the county's financial limitations early in the process.
Hubbs said that although historically MHUC has used general obligation
funds backed by the county, there are other funding sources that
wouldn't impact the county at all.
"We aren't advocating for anything right now because we are too early in
the process," Hubbs said.
After adjourning into executive session, the board reconvened and passed
a resolution authorizing the hospital to lease up to 9,000 square feet
of space in the future Mill Valley medical building. The building is
expected to be anywhere from 10-11,000 total square feet.
The board also agreed to a 15-year lease of the property and authorized
Hubbs as CEO/President to make decisions on the project.
Hubbs said the $1.5 to 2 million project will be paid for by the
developers; there will be no construction cost to the hospital. Once the
building is up and running the hospitals' only cost will be to lease and
that cost has yet to be determined.
Hubbs also updated the board on information presented at last month's
meeting in regard to the hospital's behavioral health unit.
In March, Gwen Janeczek, nurse director, presented a factual based
overview of the current 10-bed locked in-patient behavioral unit located
off the hospital's Morey Center.
Hubbs followed up by explaining that overall, the unit along with the
Mobile Meals program, is subsidized by the hospital at about $500,000.
It has been brought up that the behavioral unit is the wrong size,
therefore limiting its ability to grow and improve as a viable department.
It has also been suggested that expanding the unit to 16 beds or moving
towards an outpatient model might be better at meeting the needs of the community.
The Ohio Department of Health recently completed its annual five-day
survey of The Gables at Green Pastures nursing facility. The ODH had no
findings or deficiencies.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss two matters of
pending litigation, one matter to discuss the compensation of an
employee and a county hospital's trade secret.
The next regular board meeting will be May 24 at 8 p.m.
In other action, the board:
.Approved operational team, finance committee and joint conference
committee reports.
.Approved the initial appointment Dr. Jeffrey Kneile, pathology,
department of medicine ? consulting provisional; and Dr. Dale Yu.
hospitalist, department of medicine ? active provisional.
.Approved the conclusion of provisional status for Dr. Steven Robinson,
plastic surgery, department of surgery - consulting.
.Approved the modification of privileges for Dr. Mahmoud Qadoom.
.Approved the Allied Medical Manual ? Appendix C.
.Approved the CNM core/non core.
.Received the Memorial Hospital of Union County Annual Report.
.Received updated customer service data.
.Received information about an upcoming board meeting at The Gables to
be held on June 28.
.Heard the annual presentation on the Development Council as presented
by Jesse Conrad.

Burke to run for state rep.
Will not seek to retain city council seat

By RYAN HORNS
Marysville city councilman Dave Burke is hoping to soon become State
Representative David Burke.
After four years serving on Marysville City Council, Burke, a local
pharmacist, announced that he will not be running again for his council
seat - instead opting to run for State Representative of the 83rd
District of Ohio. The seat is currently held by Rep. Tony Core, who will
be ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits.
Sitting in his pharmacy office Wednesday morning, Burke explained that
the allure of public service came after talking with his wife one day
about the future. They agreed it was time to get involved with issues
that affect the community. He said they did not want to look back after
several decades and regret not getting involved because of sticking to
the routine aspects of life.
"I thought, 'I'm not going to sit still anymore'," Burke said.
Since then he has realized that public service is where he can make an impact.
"This isn't a career, it's a passion. There is a difference," he said.
What initially led him to seek out his council seat were issues such as
water and sewer. It worried him that if the areas were not handled
correctly, the results could limit Marysville's future and standing in the region.
"These were difficult issues," Burke said. "I tried to set up an
environment that was positive for Marysville."
Ultimately, he said, council worked with administrators to bring
resolution to water and sewer issues and as a result, the city will have
its future needs met.
"I have supported projects and polices that raise the standard of living
and attract employers and jobs," Burke said. "I have found the work of
government very rewarding and I want to continue my service to our community."
Burke said that he is in a unique position that allows him to dedicate
his time to public service. As owner of his own business, he has been
lucky enough to work with his wife and several dedicated employees.
Although he likes to think he is the main force behind the store, he
also knows that his employees are there to fill in without him. If
elected to the state representative seat, he plans to still be involved
in his pharmacy by working part time.
But when he realized that not one state representative has experience in
health care, he said he was shocked. He said that health care is too
important; it takes up 30 percent of the state's budget. As a result,
those elected to the position have no guidance on the issue and often
succumb to lobbyists who don't have the community's interests in mind.
He said with all that has been done in the past, the cost of health care
remains out of hand.
Burke said there is an even bigger problem the state faces in regards to
its population. Ohio has six cities ranked in the top 15 diminishing
population areas in the nation. The state is losing its younger working
tax base, who are opting to move away.
"As a result, the population gets older," Burke said.
So as the population gets older, he said, Ohio communities become more
dependent upon health care. He said the state needs someone
"knowledgeable and informed" on health care issues helping guide the
future. He would like to be that person.
"It is a disturbing trend and a cycle we cannot allow to continue,"
Burke said. "Ohio has a rich history and an amazing number of assets -
assets I believe we are incorrectly leveraging in a competitive world
market. By focusing on job creation, education and health care, I hope
to create a flourishing economy that will keep our children in Ohio."
In under a year from now, Burke said the 83rd District in the Ohio
legislature will have its primary election for what will be an open seat
in this primarily Republican district.
"I anticipate a competitive primary election and it is crucial that I
demonstrate the strength of my campaign early through fundraising," Burke said.

Tutor sentenced for having sex with student
By RYAN HORNS
A Jonathan Alder High School tutor will spend the next six months in
prison for allegedly having sexual relations with a 17-year-old student.
Angela A. Koppes, 38, of Plain City "reluctantly" pleaded guilty to two
counts of fourth-degree attempted sexual battery.
Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said that the crimes stem from a
relationship Koppes had with one of her juvenile students.
"It came to light because the teacher went to the mother and said she
was 'in love' with her kid," Phillips said.
He said the two "began having relations," which led to two documented
sexual encounters between December 2004 and February 2005. Koppes was
initially charged with two counts of third-degree sexual battery and was
set for trial Tuesday, due to the fact she was not willing to accept a
guilty plea agreement.
Phillips said that the case was not clear-cut because the victim is now
an adult serving five years in prison for first-degree felony aggravated
robbery. Phillips added that the former student was not willing to see
Koppes go to jail.
"He was reluctant to testify," Phillips said, because of their relationship.
Because of a "variety of juvenile issues" Phillips said the victim had
been kicked out of school and was being tutored by Koppes, who was
assigned by the Jonathan Alder school district.
Phillips became involved in the Madison County case because Koppes'
husband works in the Madison County engineer's office.
Defending attorney Ron Parsons, claimed Koppes was not guilty by reason
of insanity. She reportedly suffers from both bi-polar disorder and
multiple sclerosis, which may have led to her criminal behavior.
As a result of her guilty plea, Koppes will serve two concurrent
six-month sentences for the two felonies, will then serve five years on
post-release control and will have to register as a sexually orientated
offender for the next 10 years. Koppes also will not be allowed to hold
a teaching certificate in Ohio.
"She could have faced three years," Phillips said.
The sentenced was reduced upon her guilty plea, he said, and added that
she may never have served that long because she had no previous criminal record.

'Positive results' seen in Route 4 focus

By RYAN HORNS
After state officials named Union County's Route 4 the most dangerous
road in Ohio, local law enforcement has been trying to rectify the situation.
Agencies from Union and Marion counties announced Tuesday that the
multi-agency task force assigned to the Route 4 safety project has
yielded "very positive results" in its 30-day enforcement period. But
while the extra enforcement period has ended, the attention is expected
to continue to keep the roadway safe.
Union County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Chris Skinner
said the project was aimed at lowering speeds, increasing seat belt
usage and creating safer following distances along the Route 4 corridor
between Marysville and Marion.
Skinner said the governor's Office of Highway Safety provided funding to
the task force, which was made up of the Marion County Sheriff's Office,
the Marion and Marysville Ohio State Highway Patrol posts and the Union
County Sheriff's Office. The task force also utilized the services of
the Ohio Department of Transportation in posting additional signs and
automated message boards used to educate the motorists of the dangers of
the roadway and to alert them of the task force's presence.
Skinner said the hope was not to just start writing traffic tickets,
instead opting to let drivers know of the problem.
A press release stated that the road averages nine crashes a month and
has produced four fatal crashes in the past 12 months. Excessive
speeding, drivers following too close and improper passing often cause
the crashes on this particular stretch of roadway. In addition to
targeting these offenses, the agencies also looked to increase the rate
of seat belt usage to lower the rate and severity of injuries stemming
from any crashes. In the 30-day enforcement period the agencies
initiated 558 traffic stops. In these stops 352 citations were issued
with 215 of those for speed, 19 for following too close and 76 for not
wearing a seat belt.
"Simply writing tickets was never the goal of the enforcement period,"
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson said. "Our intention was to make the
roadway safer and I think the numbers speak for themselves."
Nelson is referring to the crash data for the month of enforcement.
There were five crashes on the road over the past month of extra focus,
which is a decrease of more than 40 percent of the normal monthly
average. The speed of drivers went from an average 60.6 to 57 miles per
hour and the seat belt usage rate went from 78 to 87 percent.
"We are very encouraged by these numbers, but mostly because there were
injury crashes and no fatalities during the month," he said. "That was
the number we were most interested in."
Nelson said that even though the primary enforcement period is over, the
attention to Route 4 will not end.
"The signs are down, but our efforts to improve the safety of citizens
traveling on State Route 4 will continue," he said. "We are pleased with
the initial results of the campaign, but for all of the agencies
involved, it is just a strong beginning ... not the end."

Truck traffic a concern in Richwood
Officials try to ensure that vehicles bound for reservoir avoid village

By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Richwood officials are keeping an eye on an imminent reservoir project,
fearing increased truck traffic in the village.
Village administrator Larry Baxa told council Monday night that he met
last week with one of the consulting engineers which will be working on
the Columbus Upground Reservoir Project. Work on the project could begin
early next year and about 150 acres of the initial reservoir will edge
into Union County near Tawa Road.
The reservoir will be the first of three which are to be constructed on
2,500 acres of land in northwest Delaware County to supply water needs
of central Ohio. The structures will be owned by the city of Columbus,
but will also serve the Del-Co Water Company.
The reservoirs will range in size from 857 acres to 349 acres. The $94.6
million project will eventually allow 18.3 billion gallons of water to
be stored. By comparison Hoover Reservoir in Delaware and Franklin
counties holds 20 billion gallons of water.
What concerns Richwood officials, however, is the increased truck
traffic in the area as construction begins.
Baxa said Rockhold Quarry in the Raymond/York Center area will provide
some of the construction materials, leaving Richwood between the quarry
and the work site.
Baxa said he has been assured that trucks will only use state routes.
Council members had feared damage to village streets caused by the flow
of heavy trucks during the 2 1/2-year construction period.
In other business, council:
.Learned that the village began its chipping program on Monday. Baxa
said the service is only intended for downed limbs and that
professionally trimmed clippings should be handled by the company which
did the trimming.
.Learned that grass clippings and trash are adding to problems with slow
drainage of storm water in some areas of the village. Baxa noted that
recently a jacket was pulled from a plugged drain on George Street.
.Learned that the engineering firm Zandee and Associates will be meeting
with village officials on April 26.
.Voted 6-0 to contract with the Walter H. Drane Company to organize and
print the village ordinances. The cost for the service is $9,500. The
company will print 15 copies of the ordinance books, will help update
the codes in the future and could put them online.
.Learned that the deadline for Community Development Block Grant
applications has been extended until May 1. The village will reportedly
be seeking money to repair streets through the grant program.
.Heard from police chief Monte Asher that digital recorders for his
officers would cost $324. The department is looking into replacing its
miniature tape recorders with the more computer friendly digital format.
.Learned that the first three payments, totaling $7,900, have been
requested by Levan Construction. The company is performing
infrastructure work at the village industrial park.
.Heard from council member George Showalter that he was incorrect in
quoting a representative of the Union Soil and Water Conservation
District recently. Showalter had said a member of the organization had
commented about the deteriorating condition of the Richwood Lake.
Showalter said it was not a member of the organization who made the comment.
.Learned that the street committee recently met and prioritized which
roadways in the village are in need of repair.
.Heard a resident complaint about a flooding problem on Clinton Street.
.Heard a citizen comment that the concrete junks at the village park are
a safety hazard. The chunks will eventually be placed into the lake to
slow bank erosion.
.Heard from council member Von Beal that he has received a request from
a resident urging the village to repeal the ordinance that outlaws
parking against the flow of traffic. Beal said he would like solicitor
Victoria Stone-Moledor to review the ordinance and he may act on the
request at the next meeting.
.Heard an update on the process of trying to get a downed tree limb
removed from a home on Lynn Street. Village officials are reportedly
having trouble locating family members of the former owner of the home.

Universal blood type  at critically low levels
From J-T staff reports:
The local supply of type O blood is shrinking, according to the American Red Cross.
Universal red blood cell type inventory in central Ohio dipped to just
seven units on Thursday, well below the desired one-day supply of 100 units.
Spring generally brings a dip in blood donations as many people are
outside enjoying the weather, and fewer people are inside giving blood.
Current levels of O-negative blood are lower than usual for this time of year.
"The low O-negative inventory in central Ohio is concerning," said
Rodney Wilson, spokesperson for the Central Ohio Blood Services Region
of the American Red Cross. "One seriously injured trauma patient can use
up to 20 units of O-negative blood in the first half-hour of treatment.
With only seven units on our shelves, type O donors are greatly needed
to stabilize the supply."
The shortage of type O-negative blood has touched all of Ohio and
Michigan, with only 99 units of the type on Red Cross shelves across the
two states, which generally needs 448 units per day to meet hospital demand.
"Your type O donation could mean life for a newborn baby, or another day
for an accident victim," Wilson said. "The hour of time it takes to
donate blood could mean a lifetime for a patient in need."
Type O donors are critically needed to help avoid an emergency situation.
"We urge type O donors to give their unique gift now. If you don't know
your blood type, donating is a great way to find out," Wilson said.
Donors must be at least 17 years old, weigh a minimum of 110 pounds and
be in general good health.
An appointment may be made by calling (800) GIVE-LIFE or at
www.BloodSavesLives.org or calling the Union County Chapter of the
American Red Cross at 642-6651.
Local bloodmobile visits include the Catholic Community Center, 1033 W.
Fifth St., Thursday between noon and 6 p.m. and the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, 740 W. Third St., May 22 from 1 to 7 p.m.
SIDEBAR:
Type O Quick Facts:
.Type O-negative blood is the universal red blood cell, and generally it
can be given to patients of any type.
.Seven out of every 100 people have type O-negative blood.
.O-negative blood is used frequently to treat premature babies and trauma victims.
.200 donations of type O blood are needed in Central Ohio each day to
meet local demand.
.75 percent of the blood used at Columbus Children's Hospital is type O-negative.
.O-negative patients normally can't receive any other type of red blood cells

Crime reports grow with county

By RYAN HORNS
Year-end reports completed by area crime and traffic enforcement
agencies show signs of growing pains for Union County.
The increase in crime is apparent by the case load in Union County
Common Pleas Court.
Judge Richard Parrott released the results of cases which passed through
his court in 2006. The number of cases since 2005 notes a slight
increase, which is an annual trend over the past 10 years.
A total of 199 criminal felony cases came through which is slightly up
from 180 in 2005. The increase is more notable when compared to the  110
cases reported in 1996.
Parrott reported that the civil caseload in Union County has
dramatically increased incidents over the past 10 years. In 2006 a total
of 585 civil and foreclosure cases were reported. Just 10 years earlier,
the court system only dealt with 92 cases.
Growth may be a contributing factor, but making sure deputies are out
and about is another reason for increased 2006 incident reports at the
Union County Sheriff's Office.
"Obviously, that's a byproduct of growth," sheriff Rocky Nelson said.
In 2005 the sheriff's office saw 15,236 calls for service, he said. In
2006 that number rose to 22,916. Traffic crashes went from 395 in 2005
to 510 in 2006. A total of 64 of those incidents were injury crashes.
The big jump in service has more to do with Nelson taking a look out his
front door one day after a car crash near his home. He noticed one of
his deputies waiting for Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers to get to
the crash scene. It made him realize that the two law enforcement
agencies could be working together better to benefit the victims of crashes.
"We offer full service law enforcement to the community," Nelson said.
"That includes responding to crash reports. There has been no policy change."
Nelson said with the Marysville Ohio State Highway Patrol Post taking
care of three counties, state patrol troopers have more of a drive to
respond to a crash scene. He realized sheriff's deputies were often
closer and able to respond first, especially in terms of minor traffic
and injury crashes. He said the OSP is still better equipped to handle
large-scale injury crashes.
In other areas of sheriff's law enforcement, the figures stayed
relatively stable. There was only a small jump in arrests, from 87
felonies in 2005 to 94 in 2006. There was a similar jump of 405
misdemeanor citations in 2005 to 436 in 2006. Drunk driver arrests
actually went down from 88 arrests in 2005 to 80 in 2006.
Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said that 2006 saw a continued a
trend of increased demands for service.
Golden said a quick review of some statistics shows a 9 percent increase
in overall incident reports, to a total of around 2,500 incidents. The
calls for service handled by the department increased slightly from the
previous year, to more than 13,000.
In other crime, Golden said that drug abuse cases increased in 2006,
with the most noticeable type of investigations involving prescription drug abuse.
"Thefts in general were the most noticeable crime increase, with thefts
from vehicles increasing along with business break-ins and attempts,"
Golden said. "More forgery fraud cases were reported than
the previous year as well."
Golden said the department encourages residents to help reduce thefts by
locking cars, removing valuables from plain sight and reporting
suspicious people or conditions immediately to the police department.
He added that officers initiated more traffic citations by 36 percent.
As a result, the department may have assisted in reducing crashes 7
percent, according to crash reports filed from 2005. The number for 2006
was listed at 414.
"There has been a general increase in overly aggressive drivers,"
Marysville Ohio State Highway Patrol Post Sgt. Kristine Bennett said.
There were four fatal crashes in the county in 2006, she said, and in
2005 there were a total of six.
"It's been a pretty bad year already," Bennet said.
Already this year there have been two fatal crashes, she said, which
could be a sign of what is to come. This news follows the state recently
naming Route 4 in Union and Marion counties as the most dangerous road
in the entire state. The total fatal crashes occurring on that stretch
of road in 2006 surpassing all others.
Union County Sheriff's officials and Marysville Post commanders said
they will use federal funding to help pay for overtime hours used in
patrolling the road. Marysville's post covers the region of Madison,
Union and Logan counties.
Bennett said the past year has also seen a slight increase in injury
crashes and dangerous drivers in Union County. Problem areas seem to be
Route 4, Honda Parkway, Streng Road and U.S. 33.
The total number of traffic crashes troopers responded to in 2006 was
481, including the four fatal. Out of those, 134 were injury crashes.
It's big decrease from the 658 total crashes in 2005, Bennett said, but
explained that the significant difference is due to Union County
Sheriff's deputies responding to more crashes than it has in the past.
Regarding general traffic stops and citations, she said that troopers
made 7,372 stops in 2005, which rose 8 percent in 2006 to 7,987. Reports
show that a total of 336 drivers were stopped for drunk driving in 2006.
The patrol issued 2,156 citations for not wearing seatbelts in 2005,
which increased to 2,533 in 2006. A total of 1840 citations were handed
out in 2005 for aggressive driving, which jumped a significant 36
percent to 2,509 in 2006.

Commissioners set annual budget

By EMILY MASTERS
The Union County Commissioners have approved the annual appropriation
budget for the fiscal year which ends December 31.
The new budget, which totals $19,666,056 in the general fund and
$64,699,170 in other funds, did include some increases this year,
according to Commissioner Charles Hall.
"One of the increases this year was due to the Main Street Building," said Hall.
The old Carney's variety store, which later became Heilig-Meyers, will
be renovated to include:  storage for county records, a home for the
investigation and probation departments through the sheriff's office, an
incubator for a new business, and a small conference room for public use.
Hall said the commissioners are currently looking through proposals from
architects and have estimated the cost of the renovation will be $1.8
million. Some of that money will come from the county budget, and some will be borrowed.
Hall attributes growth in the county as the primary reason for the
building's new purpose. He said the county has simply run out of room to store its records.
Additionally, the entire justice system department will be getting more money this year.
"With the way the county has grown, more and more cases are coming
before the courts," Hall said. "The cases in the municipal court have just sky-rocketed."
Hall said last year, Judge Michael Grigsby became a full-time judge due
to all of the cases coming in.
The Council on Aging will get $140,000 additional, said Hall.
"Our seniors in the county are growing by leaps and bounds, and so much
more needs to be done for them," he said. "The county under the general
fund isn't able to keep financing this."
Hall said he for-sees another seniors issue on the ballot this year,
since it came so close to passing last time. He also said that he hopes
Union County can someday support seniors at the level that counties like
Franklin, Delaware and Marion do.
The county budget this year will help fund an additional planner for the
LUC (Logan Union Champaign) Regional Planning Commission. Hall said
80-percent of the workload coming out of LUC was by Union County. With a
lot of projects happening, $50,000 was added into the budget to help
off-set that cost, he said.
Another appropriation increase is for children's services.
"Unfortunately, in this county there are a lot of children in harms
way," Hall said. "I applaud the efforts of the people who help out and
take on these children."
The budget has spiked considerably from 5 years ago, according to Hall,
but he said that Union County is fortunate to have a good economy to
support the general fund.
As new businesses move in, the county does get a small percentage of the
sales tax. Hall said the county has a good economy, but he wouldn't
consider it above average by any means. He said although the county is
growing in the number of people, it's not growing as much in businesses.
"Still a lot of people go to Franklin County to shop, so that money goes
to Franklin County," he said.
The cost of insurance for county employees went up slightly, according
to Hall. The number of county employees is presently 495.

Reed's struggle
Diagnosed with autism, young boy makes stride

By EMILY MASTERS
Three and a half years ago, Mark and April Van Kirk of Plain City,
became proud parents to a baby boy they named Reed.
Reed was a typical baby who developed right on schedule. He crawled,
walked and even said words such as "Elmo" "ball" and "up." However, when
Reed reached his first birthday, April started noticing a decline in his development.
"There was very little progression in his language," she said. "He was a
picky eater, resisted cuddling and affection, didn't sleep well, would
scream and cry a lot, and was sick all the time."
While April became increasingly alarmed, Mark admits he was in denial
that anything could be wrong with his only son.
"I just remember when we had our kids, they both had 10 fingers, 10
toes, and everything was fine," he said. "I never had a second thought."
April said she sensed something was wrong because she didn't have the
same mother-child bond with Reed that she did with the couple's
5-year-old daughter, Sophie.
"I would pick him up from daycare, and he could care less," April said.
Reed wouldn't make eye contact and stopped responding to his name. April
said he began retreating into his own world.
Later, he developed bright red cheeks. The redness wouldn't go away.
April wondered if he had an immune disorder.
At 21-months, Reed was diagnosed with autism at a Children's Hospital behavior clinic.
"It was horror, disbelief, terror, denial," April said. "You have to
grieve the loss of the child who you imagined you would have."
Mark had big plans for his son before the diagnosis.
"My thought was he was gonna be an OSU football player someday," Mark
smiled. "That thought immediately changed to just will he ever have a friend."
It is now estimated that one in 150 children born will have autism, a
complex neurobiological disorder that generally appears during the first three years of life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is four
times more prevalent in boys than in girls and is spread throughout all
racial, ethnic and social groups.
Autism impacts development in the areas of social interaction,
reasoning, and communication skills.
While it's not clear what causes autism, most researchers believe there
is a strong genetic component with a variety of possible external or environmental triggers.
There are no medical tests for autism, according to Union County Board
of Developmental Disabilities' Kaleidoscope. An accurate diagnosis is
based on observation of the individual's communication, behavior, and
developmental levels by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals.
Treatments vary and are categorized by medical, biomedical, therapeutic,
behavioral, and educational.
The Van Kirks, both teachers, heard about two treatments that could
possibly help their son. One was early intervention, the other was a
change in diet. They were determined to help Reed.
"We had a window of opportunity for early intervention," said April. "We
jumped on it right away and tried everything."
Although costly, the Van Kirks persevered.
April contacted the local Help Me Grow program and began the early intervention services.
Soon after, Reed's service consultant and a nurse at the Harold Lewis
Center introduced the Van Kirks to information on the biomedical approach to autism.
"We will always be grateful to Union County (Developmental Disabilities)
for all they did for us," said Mark.
Reed began a casein-free and gluten-free diet. All foods containing
dairy and wheat were eliminated. He was given rice milk in place of
cow's milk, and in just two weeks, the Van Kirks saw progress.
"Strangely enough, he said, 'up' and slowly began to say other words,"
said April. "Diets are huge in the world of autism."
The Van Kirks started a daily log, jotting down everything Reed would
eat in a day and how his behavior was. Reed continued with occupational
and speech therapy. The Van Kirks visited a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now)
physician and started Reed on vitamins and supplements.
According to Mark and April, chelation helped rid Reed's body of heavy
metals and toxins that it was not eliminating on its own.
"I believe autism is not just neurological, but it affects the
physiological, as well," said April.
The Van Kirks studied all of the variables in Reed's day and looked at
all possible environmental triggers. They don't use chemicals on their
lawn, have switched to more natural cleaning products, and have a water
purification system in their home.
"We'll try anything, because it may help," said April.
The Van Kirks and Reed's speech therapist have been amazed by the results.
"He is a whole different kid than 19 months ago," said Mark.
Reed presently attends pre-school in Plain City. He still receives
occupational therapy to work on overcoming his sensory issues.
"He still every once in awhile, will use his peripheral vision or will
use one eye instead of two when he plays," said April.
The Van Kirks have found it exciting that Reed now asks questions, plays
with others, and shows affection.
When Mark walks in the door at night, Reed will now yell excitedly, "Daddy's home!"
"You just learn to love them in a whole new way, and they teach you so
much through the struggle," said April.
The Van Kirks say they believe there is a genetic disposition for
autism, but they also believe there are environmental factors that
contribute to the disorder.
"The numbers are just astounding for this to be a genetic epidemic,"
said April. "There is something happening in the world, and we need to
devote some time, money, and effort and not let our kids fall to this."
The couple has not ruled out the theory of vaccines contributing to autism.
Reed, like other children his age, received the MMR (measles, mumps,
rubella) vaccine around 12 months which coincided with his developmental regression.
"We don't know if they were the cause of it, but they could have pushed
a fragile kid over the edge," April said.
The family continues to look ahead in hopes of a bright future for Reed.
"One concern is just when he enters real school and all of the social
pressures, will he meet the demands," wonders April.
Until that time, the Van Kirks say they will keep doing what works. Even
Sophie helps with her brother by letting him snuggle in with her at
night, since autistic children often have sleeping problems.
"Sophie helps out with Reed in so many ways," said April. "She is a
great role model, so involved, caring, nurturing, maternal, she's just truly an angel."
Mark and April say they're not sure if they can point to just one thing
that helped Reed progress to what appears to be a regular kid.
"We have a great support system and a great family," said Mark. April
added, "We'll never know if it was just divine intervention."
Even though there has been a drastic improvement in Reed, the Van Kirks
say their days of relaxing are over.
"We'll be forever different due to this," said Mark. "We'll always be
over-analyzing and worrying."
Even so, they are thankful for how far Reed has come.
Mark offers advice to other parents who may be experiencing autism in their families.
"Understand there is hope, there are positive outcomes, and early intervention is key
The red flags of autism
(Provided by Laurie Heifner, Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities)
These are the "red flags" that indicate your child should be screened to
ensure that he or she is on the right developmental path:
.No big smiles or other warm, joyful expressions by 6 months or thereafter
.No back and forth sharing of sounds, smiles, or other facial
expressions by 9 months or thereafter
.No babbling by 12 months
.No back and forth gestures, such as pointing, showing, reaching, or
waving by 12 months
.No words by 16 months
.No two word meaningful phrases (without imitating or repeating) by 24 months
.Any loss of speech or babbling or social skills at any age
More information can be obtained by contacting the Union County Board of
Developmental Disabilities at (937) 645-6733 or the Union County Autism
Support Group at (937) 644-0781

Triad looks at  preschool program
By CORINNE BIX
There may be a preschool program in the future for Triad Local Schools.
Craig Meredith, elementary principal, reported to the board Thursday
night about a recent meeting with the Ohio Department of Education in
regard to the Early Learning Initiative.
The program allows pre-kindergarten children living in households up to
165 percent of poverty to receive pre-school services at no cost.
Children in families up to 185 percent of poverty would have minimal cost.
If implemented, the program would accommodate about 20 children.
Meredith estimates that four to five children who are currently
attending other schools would have high incident disabilities. There
would be 14 or 15 slots available for qualifying typically developing
pre-school students.
The district has asked the ODE to help prepare a survey that will be
available at kindergarten registration, which is scheduled for next
week. The survey will also be sent home with students in grades K-4.
The survey will help the district gather information as to the
community's level of interest.
The district would only provide the space for the program while all
other aspects would be state funded.
Meredith said to accommodate a pre-school unit the district would have
to look at reducing the size of the oversized kindergarten classrooms by
putting in divider walls.
Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger reported that the district will need to
add back 1 1/2 positions, including a math teacher at the high school
and a library aide.
The current elementary/middle school library aide splits her time
between the two buildings. The district would like to hire a full time
library aide for the elementary school.
The current full-time elementary/middle school library aide would then
split her time between the middle school library and as a literacy
associate. The literacy associate position is completely grant-funded.
Kaffenbarger also told board members that the district would need to
hire a science teacher at the high school next year to better fulfill
state mandates as required by the Ohio Core curriculum.
This would then force the district to more than likely cut a non-Ohio Core position.
Kaffenbarger said that since the initial 16 positions were cut two years
ago the district has only added back four positions.
"Unless something changes at the state level and there is an influx of
money we will have to cut another position," he said.
After the meeting, Kaffenbarger said he didn't want to see the district
go backwards financially to where they were before.
Kaffenbarger also reported that the social studies curriculum, which was
approved in December, ended up costing less than originally anticipated.
The district budgeted $80,000 and the end cost was just over $56,000. In
addition the district will receive more than $51,000 in free teacher and student materials.
It was announced that artwork by Triad High School students will be on
display on the Ohio Department of Education's Web site within the next several months.
Jan Ferryman, middle school social studies teacher, reported to the
board on the seventh grade class recent Cedar Bog field trip and Night
with the Ancient Stars Event in Champaign County.
Ferryman, along with student Larry Storer, shared with the board
information about the seventh grade's study of the five ecosystems. The
field trip will provide a culmination of activities to tie together all
that the students have been learning over the past school year.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss consideration of
employment of personnel. No action was taken.
The next regular board meeting will held May 17 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.
In other action, the board:
.Approved certified one-year contract renewals for  Liz Carder; Diana
Ferguson; Amanda Goodwin; Erick Grasley; Jason Thompson.
.Approved certified three-year contract renewals for Norma Bottom;
Leslie Bradley; Terra Byrd-Grupe; Melissa Lasley; Annette Watson.
.Approved certified five-year contract renewals for Mike Braun; Jack
Detling; Jan Ferryman; Jason Malone; Rob McNutt; Janet Mroczkowski; Tara
Perry; Tammy Walls; Lori Moore.
.Approved classified two-year contract renewals for Mandy Alexander; Kim
Kerns; Kim Geer; Phil Paxman; and Janice Turner.
.Approved a classified continuing contract renewal for Terri Mayo.
.Approved an administrative certified three-year contract renewal for Kyle Huffman.
.Approved administrative classified five-year contract renewals for Matt
Alexander and Nathan Bails.
.Approved employment for the 2007-2008 school year - Patrick Johnson,
social studies; Don Moore, intervention specialist; and Jennifer Underwood, tutor.
.Approved classified substitute employment for the 2006-2007 school year
- Yvonne Cauleg, bus driver; James White, bus driver; and Edita Ankrom,
cook, custodian and secretary.
.Approved classified supplemental employment for the 2007-2008 school
year - Paula Hill, cheerleading basketball and football varsity; Kim
Herron, cheerleading JV basketball.
.Approved the middle school handbooks for the 2007-2008 school year,
.Approved the tentative list of graduating seniors for 2007 and
three-day early release for the senior class for May 25, May 29 and May 30.
.Approved the FFA's overnight trip to attend the state convention from
May 3 to May 5.
.Authorized the superintendent to sign any and all documentation
concerning the U.S. Department of Agriculture in regard to the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP.
.Approved the policy updates as presented by the superintendent and
NEOLA (a group that specializes in guiding school districts when
implementing policy).
.Approved the MEC Cooperative to advertise and receive bids for one
71-passenger school bus chassis and body for fiscal year 2008.
.Approved agreement with K9 Resources to provide services for the
2007-2008 school year.
.Approved Aug. 22 and Jan. 22 as waiver days for the purpose of value
added professional development for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Approved Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Sept. 14, Nov. 14, Dec. 12, Feb. 13 and
April 9 as late start days for the purpose of professional development
for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Approved the financial report as presented by the interim treasurer
along with a revised certificate of estimated resources; appropriation
amendments; and a fund to fund transfer from the general fund to the
bond fund in the amount of $62,409.60 for the purpose of paying the
OASBO (Ohio Association School Board Officials) loan interest debt.
.Approved the use of facilities for the following (organizations will be
responsible for the any extra custodial work if needed): Youth wrestling
to use the field house on Sundays form 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the purpose
of practice; Northeast Champaign County Fire and EMS to use the field
house and parking lot from 8:30 a.m. to noon on the following Sundays:
April 29, May 27, June 24, July 29, Sept. 30, Oct. 28 and Nov. 25; Jump
Start childcare and learning center to use the elementary as an
evacuation site in the case of emergency.
.Approved Julian and Grube to perform a GAAP conversion for a three-year
agreement in the amount of $3,900 per year for fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
.Adopted a resolution approving, in collaboration with the Jefferson
County ESC Virtual Learning Academy, an Internet-based educational
delivery system designed for grades two through 12, providing
alternative educational options for credit deficiencies, alternative
programs, students being schooled at home, summer school programs, and
curriculum enhancement.

Generations apart, but buddies at lunch
Big Brothers Big Sisters program blends mentoring and meals

By EMILY MASTERS
This week is National Volunteer Week, and Big Brothers Big Sisters
(BBBS) is remembering community volunteers.
"They are the heart and soul of BBBS," said Marian Jacques, local
program manager. "We would not have the great reputation that we have if
it were not for each and every one of them."
One program that has become increasingly popular is the Lunch Buddy
program. Coordinated by Barb Howland of Community and Seasoned Citizens
(CASC) and Jacques, the program uses volunteers to meet with and mentor
students during their lunch periods.
Presently, there are six matches in the program in the Marysville School District.
One of those is Justina Jones and 6-year-old Tony Woodworth who attends
Edgewood Elementary.
Although most volunteers visit their lunch buddy every two weeks, Jones visits Tony weekly.
"The first time we met, he seemed cautious, but now he is very relaxed," said Jones.
She is using her talent as an artist while mentoring Tony.
"I bring him something different for art each time we meet," she said.
"It looks like he's really going to blossom with art."
Jones says she enjoys volunteering. She serves on the CASC board, is the
art chairman, and is co-historian. She also serves as secretary of the
local Clothes Closet and is a member of Beloved Babies of Ohio.
She says getting to know Tony through the Lunch Buddy program has been
one of the most rewarding volunteer activities.
"When I first get there and he sees me, he gets a big smile on his
face," she said. "It's like I'm supposed to be here."
According to Tony, his time with Jones has been enjoyable, as well.
"When I first met her, she showed me some pictures she did of painting," he said.
Jones even gave Tony one of her paintings to keep at home.
"She gave me some Easter stuff," Tony said.
Jones gave him colored pencils, because he mentioned to her that he had
never used them.
"I really like him," she said. "I think it's important that kids see
more than just a parent and a teacher."
Rosella Renz also volunteers for the Lunch Buddy program.
"I think it's a great idea, and it seems to work," she said.
Renz mentors a young girl who she says is shy.
"I just try to get her to open up a little bit," she said. "When lunch
is over, we go back to her room, and she'll read books to me."
Children in the Lunch Buddy program are referred by teachers and
guidance counselors, but there is no specific criteria for kids to be
involved in the program.
"Lunch Buddies isn't for kids at risk, it's just a program for kids who
would benefit from having another adult in their life," said Avanelle
Oberlin, CASC volunteer director.
She, too, has enjoyed volunteering in the community.
"So much can be done through volunteer work, " she said. "It's like
paying back for all the things that were done for you, when you didn't have the time."
Oberlin retired 12 years ago from the Marysville School District and has
been keeping busy ever since through programs like CASC and lunch buddies.
"It gives you a good reason for getting up in the morning," she said.
Interviews and background checks are done for those wishing to volunteer
for the Lunch Buddy program, and volunteers have training or an orientation session.
"Lunch Buddies is a program that we would like to see grow into all the
school districts," said Jacques. "Of course, the more we do,
the more funding we need."
Jacques is looking forward to this weekend's Bowl For Kids Sake,
BBBS's largest fundraiser.
"Approximately 40 percent of our funding comes from United Way, so this
event is vital to us," she said.
There is still an opportunity to gather pledges and form a team of four
friends, family members or co-workers. The teams can choose the hour
they wish to bowl Saturday at Marysville Lanes. Teams which raise large
amounts of money are eligible for large incentives, according to Jacques.
Everyone will receive a door prize, and there will be several raffle
items, including two Jim Tressel autographed pieces.
Those interested can call the BBBS office at (937) 642-2157 or register
online at www.marysville-ohio.org/bbbs.

PUCO releases funds for rail crossing
From J-T staff reports:
Although it may be coming later than expected, state funding has become
available and the deadline set for upgrading the railroad crossing at East Fifth Street.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved a stipulation
Wednesday directing CSX Transportation to upgrade the active warning
devices at the crossing.
Under the terms of the agreement, PUCO will pay for 20 percent of the
total costs, the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) will pay 70
percent and CSX will pay the remaining 10 percent, plus the costs of
ongoing maintenance. CSX must submit site plans and cost estimates for
the project to PUCO by July 18 and will be responsible for completing
construction of the upgrade by April 18, 2008.
"City administration and council are extremely glad this order has
finally been issued and we're looking forward to working with all of the
involved agencies in facilitating the installation of the desperately
needed safety upgrades," Marysville city administrator Kathy House said.
"I am very happy that the PUCO has issued this order and that the
funding is as stated. That is more than I had expected," said Marysville
city council member Dan Fogt, who has been pushing for this funding
since March. "As a result, the crossing will be very nice and safe."
Fogt added that he is disappointed at the timetable it has taken to
receive the funding.
"It is my understanding that the legal department at CSX held up the
paperwork from November until now," he said.
Fogt said that the order was previously expected to have been issued in
November 2006 and the improvement would have been done
before November, 2007.
"The businesses along the closed East Fifth Street are suffering and an
extra five months will hurt them more. It is my understanding that the
CSX crew will be installing similar safety devices near Marysville this
summer. I would hope that the East Fifth Street crossing would be fixed
at the same time, but it is not likely."
Fogt also explained how numerous people in the community have been
disappointed that Mayor Tom Kruse closed down the East Fifth Street throughway.
"All it needed was some minor improvements," he said. "The railroad ties
and blacktop needed repaired, which has been done. The brush needed
trimmed back, which has been partially done. Improved stop signs and
warning signs could have been posted at minimal expense."
Fogt added that he feels having East Fifth Street open would reduce the
traffic congestion on Delaware Avenue and would provide another access
for emergency vehicles to the area east of the railroad, such as
Coleman's Crossing, the YMCA and more.
To increase public safety during the construction of this upgrade, PUCO
will assist the local government with the cost of improvements such as
rumble strips, illumination, improved signage, or other safety
enhancements at the project location. Funding for these improvements
will come from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and will not exceed $5,000.
PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio's public grade crossings to
determine the need for installing active warning devices. In 2006, PUCO
ordered railroad companies serving Ohio to perform safety upgrades at 74
grade crossings throughout the state. Since 2000, the number of crashes
at highway-rail grade crossings is down 18 percent.
The Ohio Rail Hotline, at (866) 814-RAIL (7245) provides Ohioans with a
toll-free resource for all railroad crossing questions. For more
information regarding these crossings, access the Ohio railroad
information system web-site at www.gradecrossings.puco.ohio.gov.

Sheriff to crack down on underage drinking parties
From J-T staff reports:
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson announced recently that his office
would be stepping up its efforts to fight the growing problem of
underage drinking parties within the county.
The Sheriff's Office recently received a grant from Ohio's "Drug-Free
Action Alliance" to support the "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most"
campaign, but Nelson said the effort to stop underage drinking and drug
use won't stop there.
"We will be looking for these parties and taking appropriate actions
against the individuals there and anyone involved as a host," he said.
"This program will begin with education, but will lead to enforcement if needed."
He said the first step of the "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most" campaign
will be a pair of Town Hall meetings beginning April 30 at 6:30 p.m. in
the North Union Elementary cafeteria. Parents are encouraged to attend
and engage in a dialogue about the dangers of these parties for their
children, as well as the legal consequences for hosting them. A second
meeting will be held on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the St. John's gymnasium
on Route 736.
Nelson said he is hoping that all parents of Middle and High School
students as well as concerned members of the community will choose the
meeting closest to them and engage in this informative town hall gathering.
Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Chris Skinner said that
the meetings will be the first step in the educational process, but
other efforts are planned.
"You will see our message in many locations in several different
formats," Skinner said. "We really want parents to understand this issue
and become a partner in keeping all of our students safe this prom and
graduation season."

Amended water rate plan approved

Mayor vetoes council's mandate for business and land use plan
By RYAN HORNS
What a difference six months can make.
Thursday night, Marysville City Council unanimously passed amended water
rate increases during a special meeting. Instead of being criticized by
residents, which has become standard over the past six months, members
received support from the audience.
Councilman David Burke has explained that the original water rate
increase proposal called for residents to pay a five-year 8 percent
increase. City Council's Ad Hoc Committee then decided to recommend a 6
percent, two-year increase.
Tuesday night council voted to increase the average 500 cubic feet
monthly bills by a total of 3.3 percent by June, a 3.4 percent increase
by January 2008, a 5.4 percent increase by January 2009 and a final 5.5
percent increase by January 2010. The average current bill would go from
$40.50 to $48.10 by 2010. A recent amendment added another section
stating that the rates will be reviewed in two years for a possible
reduction based on additional funding.
Burke said that by having bulk rate users pay a more even share,
residents would not have to pay such drastic rate increases. He said no
one should forget that the bulk rate users benefit the city by providing
a rich tax base, jobs and more. But they were also being charged for
water at below cost rates. The new rate scale will result in the minimal
impact of cost on both residents and larger consumers over a 10-year period.
With the ordinance passed, Burke said council will continue to seek
additional funding so that they may be able to reduce the rates sooner.
Most importantly, he said, the city will be able to continue its
wastewater treatment project and build its reservoir - essentially
opening up the door for progress that will benefit future generations
and make Marysville a "major player" in economic development.
Councilman Mark Reams said Thursday afternoon he attended a meeting with
the Union County Chamber of Commerce, where he explained the water
utility improvements and water rate changes to area business leaders.
"There were a lot of good questions and a lot of good discussions," Reams said.
"The chamber feels that the reservoir and the treatment plant should go
on as scheduled," Dave Thorbahn, president of the Union County Chamber
of Commerce said. "After looking at the information today, we are very
supportive of the amendment."
Former critics to the water rate increase also voiced their approval.
"I commend council for its work over the past six months," resident
Lloyd Baker said.
He also stressed the importance of finding ways to cut the cost for
operating the water utility and how savings should be used to help pay
off the city's debt.
"It's a crucial part of the nemesis we're dealing with," Baker said.
"Paying down the debt is very important to me," resident Esther Carmany
added. "No household could operate that way. We're a household together."
An important aspect of city council's recent decisions, Baker said, has
to do with the resolution asking city administrators to create both a
business and land use plan. The resolution, drafted by councilwoman Leah
Sellers, proposed a timeline for the city to create the plans in order
to deal with expected growth. That resolution was passed unanimously by
council members at the April 12 meeting.
Since then, Sellers said, the legislation has faced a new roadblock.
"The mayor has decided to veto my resolution that council passed
unanimously," Sellers said.
In his statement explaining his veto, mayor Tom Kruse said, "It is my
opinion that the resolution is flawed on its surface."
Regarding land use planning, Kruse said the resolution "encroaches on
the principle of separation of powers, clearly defined by the Marysville
City Charter. The city has a comprehensive plan incorporating a land use section."
Kruse said the city's plan is constantly being reviewed by the
administration and the economic development director, "with the thought
in mind of ultimately updating it at an appropriate time."
"While council may make a recommendation in this regard, I feel it is
totally inappropriate to attempt to legislate how and when the
administration implements its work schedule," he said.
Under the business plan portion, Kruse said he takes issue with the
implication that one does not exist.
"The Water Master Plan formulated with council and public input at a
cost of $260,000 clearly qualifies as a water utility business plan," he said.
Kruse also reiterated that this part of the resolution also encroaches
on the separation of powers.
"After speaking with council," Sellers said, "I am confident we will
override the veto (at the April 26 city council meeting)."
Sellers explained that even Malcolm Pirnie engineers, creators of the
city's Water Master Plan, have agreed that a business plan was not
included in their study.
Burke said the resolution would help future council members overcome
their initial "learning curve" by providing them a clear plan to follow.
Councilman John Gore said Marysville residents elected seven council
members to voice their opinions toward city government. He said he was
saddened in recent months after city council was criticized in certain
circles for doing just that.
"I am hopeful that they can see the democratic process is working in
this city," Gore said.

Wastewater treatment repairs needed at Fairbanks

By KARLYN BYERS
Repairs need to be made to the Fairbanks Middle School/High School
wastewater treatment facility and to delay those repairs could delay the
construction/opening of a planned elementary school at the middle
school/high school site.
So reported Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft during the school
board's regular monthly meeting Monday night.
Craycraft said he had consulted with Clean Water Service Inc./CWS
Environmental Inc. and the Ohio EPA.
"(We) can't progress on the elementary until the system is fixed and it
can be determined whether it can handle the new elementary," Craycraft said.
He asked the board to pass a Resolution of Necessity authorizing the
rebuilding of the wastewater treatment plant from its inlet to the
effluent pump station. Work is scheduled to begin Wednesday or Thursday
and should cost $41,717.
However, that price may increase, Craycraft said, if the existing sand
in the facility needs to be replaced.
The board passed the resolution 4-0 (board vice president Star Simpson was absent).
Board members also passed a resolution 4-0 authorizing a lease-purchase
agreement not to exceed $1.45 million to install air conditioning in the
middle school/high school. Installation is slated to be completed this
summer and will be paid off in three to five equal installments over the next five years.
Craycraft also reported on an anticipated athletic department deficit.
He said donations from the local Eagles organization have declined
recently, and that, coupled with the addition of more sports teams and
increased expenses, has created a tight athletic budget.
Pupils currently pay $25 per student per sport to participate in
athletics, and the board supplements the athletic program with $12,500 a
year. Should the board increase its support or look at adjusting the
participation fees, Craycraft wondered.
Craycraft said he anticipates no action being taken in the coming school
year, but he is looking down the road.
In other action, the board:
.Heard Craycraft say construction equipment should be moved to the new
school site in mid-May with construction anticipated to begin June 5.
Concrete and brick work should begin in mid-July.
.Approved Julian & Grube for the 2006-2007 audit and GAAP services for a
fee of $19,700.
.Granted a voluntary reassignment for Steve Conley as dean of students
and supplemental head athletic director for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Accepted resignations from Carlton Cotner, dean of students and
supplemental head athletic director, and Pam Hammond, elementary
teacher, effective at the end of the 2006-2007 school year; Luke Meeker,
reserve baseball coach, for the 2006-2007 school year; and Gloria
Werline, curriculum coordinator, effective July 1.
.Approved Michelle McCartney for Family Medical Leave beginning today, April 17.
.Authorized an eighth grade field trip to Washington, D.C., May 15-18.
.Accepted Richard Rausch as spring weightlifting coach for the 2006-2007 school year.
.Approved the following athletic contracts for the 2007-2008 school year
- Jennifer Rife, volunteer assistant high school cheerleading advisor;
Kristina Moder, volunteer assistant high school cheerleading advisor;
Patty Pease, freshman volleyball coach; and Morgan Cotter, high school football coach.
.Approved a list of almost 300 media books for the middle school and high school.
.Adjourned into executive session for the discussion of personnel. No action was taken.

JA to expand cheerleading
By CORINNE BIX
There was much ado about cheerleading at Monday night's Jonathan Alder
school board meeting ? 90 minutes to be exact.
The board approved, in concept, to hire an additional competition coach
with a cost to the district of $1,500 to $2,000 annually. The final
salary will be determined after a qualified applicant is found.
"I think they need a separate coach because it's a whole different
animal when it comes to coaching a competition team," Linda Beachy,
board member and cheerleading parent, said.
Athletic director Jim Albanese has been talking to the cheerleading
advisors in addition to the 27 current cheerleaders over the past five
months to find solutions to better serve the program.
He presented to the board a summary of his findings and a proposal to
improve the program.
It was brought up that there have been issues with lack of communication
between advisors and cheerleaders in regard to practice times and other issues.
Currently, the district employs two cheerleading advisors who each
oversee fall cheerleading and winter cheerleading.
The two advisors currently work together to coach the competition team.
Each advisor is paid according to her contracts, said Phil Harris, high school principal.
This morning, Harris said each advisor receives somewhere between $2,000
and $2,400 annually. In addition, each advisor also has one assistant.
The two assistants split a $1,000 annual stipend.
The board also agreed, in concept, that those participating could only
practice a maximum of six days a week for no more than 2 1/2 hours each day.
The board also agreed the competition squad could have a maximum of four
Sunday competitions including state finals.
Finally, the board concurred that the $65 cheerleading participation fee
would be waived.
The board is still discussing the total number of cheerleaders and how
they will be divided among the various squads; also, if they will be
required to cheer on a spirit squad in order to participate on the competition team.
Carpenter said he would work on summarizing the board's dialogue and
presenting a more concise proposal at next month's meeting.
Cheerleading tryouts begin next month.
The board received petitions and instructions to circulate on behalf of
"Getting it Right for Ohio's Future" constitutional amendment. The
amendment is aimed at repairing the lack of school funding at the state level.
The "Getting it Right for Ohio's Future" Web site summarizes the
amendment as one that will protect students, jobs and workforce by the
following: Guaranteeing accountability with public reports; identifying
the cost of quality education and requiring the state to pay a higher
portion of the bill; reducing the number of new local property tax
levies; cutting property taxes for senior and disabled homeowners;
protecting state funding for school facilities, local safety and
services and colleges and universities.
The board approved Kelly Hicks as the new principal of Plain City
Elementary effective this fall.
Hicks will replace outgoing principal Lynne Farmwald who announced her
retirement in December. Farmwald will officially retire at the end of
this school year.
Hicks has taught in the district since 1989 and is a Jonathan Alder alumni.
She currently is a teacher leader at Plain City Elementary. She teaches
reading and math intervention for third and fourth graders.
"I am looking forward to the challenge," Hicks said.
The board approved the policy regarding the admission of homeless
students originally presented in January.
The Ohio Department of Education's McKinney-Vento Homeless Children and
Youth program ensures that all homeless children and youth have equal
access to the same free and appropriate public education as those who
are not homeless.
In January, Elizabeth Beach, director of teaching and learning and
district liaison for homeless students, explained that the homeless
encompassed a larger scope of people, including those living in
temporary housing or with relatives.
The need for a program initially became apparent after many students
were displaced from their homes during Hurricane Katrina.
The board approved the following resignations: Kimberly Smejkal as
speech language pathologist; Hazel Williams and Florine Hamlin as junior
high math teachers; Jenna Meyer as high school math teacher, on leave;
Teresa Veith as cafeteria/playground monitor at the junior high.
The board also approved a large slate of employment. A full list will be
included on Friday's education page.
The next regular board meeting will be May 14 at Tolles Technical and
Career Center at 7:30 p.m.

NU eyes parent mentor program
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Special needs students have specialized lesson plans developed by
skilled teachers at North Union.
But who meets the needs of their parents?
Seeking to bridge the gap between the students' school and home lives,
North Union has developed a parent mentor program for the families of
special needs children. Members of the board of education were briefed
on the new program during Monday's regularly scheduled meeting.
While the needs of students with disabilities are scrutinized, Special
Education Supervisor Ed Kapel explained that the parents of those
students also have question and needs that must be addressed.
Linda Gorsuch, parent mentor volunteer, said mentors will be parents of
children with disabilities within the district. Those  mentors will
provide training, support and information to other parents of special needs students.
Gorsuch said the mentors will help families explain their needs and
concerns to the school district.
Literature for the program lists its services:
.Guide families through the special education process, including their
rights and responsibilities.
.Listen and provide support for families and educators on an individual basis.
.Provide information and resources for families and school personnel
including education laws, district programs and services, and community resources.
.Attend Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings and other
meetings at parent or staff request.
.Organize and conduct information sessions or workshops based on the
needs of families and professionals.
.Build collaborative partnerships between families, schools and
committees for the benefit of students with disabilities.
.Confidentiality of personally identifiable information will be protected.
Kapel explained that all mentors are volunteers.
The board also heard updated details on the district's move toward a
weighted class ranking system for the high school.
Through the system classes would be assigned a quality point value based
on their difficulty. That value combined with the student's grade in the
class would determine the student's quality point score for the class.
Those points are accumulated over a student's career to determine class rankings.
Through this system it would be possible for a student who takes
difficult classes to attain a higher class ranking than a student with a
higher grade point average. Quality point and grade point averages will
continue to be developed separately.
High school principal Eric Holman said the goal of the quality point
system is to encourage students to attempt more challenging classes,
even late in their high school careers. Holman said occasionally
students schedule easier course in their senior year.
"We've had some people try to protect their GPA," Holman said.
Holman said teachers within the various departments would develop the
class values within their areas. He said he would then like to put the
plan in place and make values retroactive for current students, meaning
upper classmen would receive quality points for classes already completed.
The weighted class ranking system idea will be sent to the policy
committee before it makes its way to the board for final approval.

Pursuit ends with arrest

From J-T staff reports:
A car chase through Marysville ended in an arrest over the weekend.
According to Union County Sheriff's Office reports, Kevin Earles, 26, of
Springfield, was arrested for felony fleeing and eluding, operating a
vehicle while intoxicated, driving outside of marked lanes and running a
red light. More charges are expected to be filed.
Friday at 9:25 p.m., deputies learned about a car heading north on Route
4 that was perhaps driving recklessly. Officers caught up with the car
as it headed east into Marysville.
Sheriff's public information officer Chris Skinner said this morning
that Earles then took off, starting off a pursuit that went through
suburban streets of the city.
Earles reportedly drove at speeds between 50 to 60 mph down Fifth
Street, until deputies threw down stop sticks that punctured both driver side tires.
Skinner said Earles continued driving until those two tires had been
reduced to the rims. He said Earles eventually stopped on U.S. 36, just
east of Marysville.
As deputies approached the car, Skinner said, Earles locked himself
inside. Marysville Police also assisted by providing coverage for deputies.
Officers were forced to break both windows on the car to get Earles out, Skinner said.
Additional charges are pending on possible drug paraphernalia items
found inside the car

Kay Liggett to be inducted into Senior Hall of Fame

By KARLYN BYERS
She is no saint, Kathryn "Kay" Liggett is quick to say of herself. But
she will admit to being a woman who has been incredibly blessed throughout her life.
She's also a woman who has been incredibly active in her community, and
for that she will be inducted into the 32nd annual Central Ohio Senior
Citizens Hall of Fame on May 16.
Mrs. Liggett, 83, is the Union County inductee. She will be recognized
along with 10 other inductees from Delaware, Fairfield, Fayette,
Franklin, Licking, Madison and Pickaway counties.
"I can't believe it," she said. "Think of all the people who (volunteer)
in this town. I don't know why I got chosen."
Mrs. Liggett is a longtime member of First United Methodist Church,
where she taught Sunday school for many years and was a diligent worker
in charge of "many, many dinners" so the church could earn enough money
to remodel its original "in the round" sanctuary.
Lately, though, she's gone on to other things.
"I worked hard my first 25 years," Mrs. Liggett said of her church
activities. "Now, I'm resting on my laurels."
 She's appeared on the Central Ohio lecture circuit, speaking to various
women's organizations, at Ohio State University Marion, and most
recently at Bluffton College.
"My strength is that I'm a story teller like my dad," She said. "You
name a topic and I can lecture on it."
Her mother died when she was 3 years old, and she grew up amid the
kitchen help and under the tutelage of housekeepers and two "dear old
ladies who worried about me when I was in elementary school." It was
those ladies who trained her as a milliner. They wanted to ensure that
she would be able to take care of herself when grown.
She's used those skills, teaching tailoring in and around Union County
and serving as a 4-H project judge in Madison, Logan, Clark and Union
counties. Mrs. Liggett also creates bridal headpieces for friends and their daughters.
"It delights me to be able to do this as my wedding gift," she said.
It was from the hired help that Mrs. Liggett and her younger brother
developed a penchant for foreign languages. He parlayed his into a
career with the FBI; Mrs. Liggett has used hers to learn Chinese and even Russian.
She serves on the Friends of the Marysville Public Library Board and the
Union County Community Concert Board.
And Mrs. Liggett still finds time to be a passionate gardener. Last
fall, she planted "hundreds" of bulbs from Berbees that she can hardly
wait to bloom this spring and decorate her yard with a rainbow of color.
But perhaps it is her volunteer work at Literacy United she finds most
gratifying at this stage of her life.
She teaches English in the general education program (GED) in the Adult
Basic Literacy Program in Union County.
"What a rewarding experience this program is!" Mrs. Liggett said.
It was Cheryl Hagerty of Literacy United who nominated Mrs. Liggett for
the Seniors Hall of Fame.
"Kay engages the students with stories the minute she sets foot in the
door," Hagerty wrote in the nomination form she submitted. "She shares
her life experiences, passion for learning, and eloquence in writing.
The class spends time looking at the newspaper. Kay uses it as a
textbook to lead the discussion of politics, geography, vocabulary and current events."
"After the newspaper, the students chat about language and writing,"
Hagerty continued. "Kay works with each and every adult student creating
an individualized lesson about language. The students ... always talk
about how much working with Kay increases their skills."
A graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, Mrs. Liggett has been an
educator most of her life. She taught two years at her alma mater and
about 25 years in the Marysville School System.
It was to teaching that Mrs. Liggett turned at a very dark time in her
life after the untimely death of her husband, Luther L. Liggett,
attorney and former juvenile and probate judge.
She decided to go to China to teach English through a program sponsored
by Princeton University. She left in 1990, and taught there for two years.
"It was a remarkable, humbling experience for me," Mrs. Liggett said.
"My classroom had one wall of blackboards to write on - and me to
lecture. The Journal-Tribune sent me a pack of newspapers (and) we wore them thin."
Her "dear Methodist friends" sent two postal bags of books and paid the
$300 per bag postage expense.
Mrs. Liggett said she knows the college photocopied those books on its
sixth floor printing press. Mao Tse Dong had burned all the books and
killed all the teachers, so there was a severe scarcity of learning
materials and people to impart that learning.
Mrs. Liggett is the mother of four children, twins Luther Jr. and
Dorothy, Mariah, and Sarah Liggett Schmalenberger. Dorothy Liggett
Pelanda took over her father's law practice in Marysville, and Luther
Liggett is with Bricker & Eckler Law Firm in Columbus. Mariah holds a
Ph.D. in physiology from Ohio State University and was a World Champion
Women's Power Lifter for 15 years. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in music and is a
professor of music at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minn.
Mrs. Liggett also has five grandchildren - three of whom attend school
in Marysville and two at Dublin High School.
"I have loved living in Marysville and Marysville has been good to me
and my family," Mrs. Liggett said.

Summit set
Providing support and resources to families with children 12-years and
older, who have developmental disabilities, is the goal of an upcoming summit.
It will be held Thursday from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Union County Services
Building, 940 London Ave.
The event is being sponsored by the Union County Board of Developmental
Disabilities and the Central Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center.
More than 20 informational exhibits will be set up with representatives
on hand to talk with families.
Information will be available regarding the following areas:
guardianships, estate planning, elder law, wills, independent living
employment, college, recreation, camps, YMCA, social security, SSI, and Medicaid.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting Joe Fury at the
Central Ohio Regional Special Education Center (614) 262-4545 or Dianne
Kreeger (937) 645-6787.
Summit exhibitors will include the following:
General Information: Parent Advocate Group, COSERRC, UCBDD, ODMRDD,
Union County DJFS/Council for Union County Families, Ohio DJFS (Social
Security), Special Olympics/Autism Support Group, NAMI.
Employment: ORSC Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR), WorkNet, U-CO Industries,
Crew/Lunch Bunch Job Clubs.
Education: Columbus State Community College,
Tri-Rivers, Tolles Technical Center, Ohio Hi Point Project SEARCH.
Recreation: Union County Family YMCA, Marysville Public Library,
Recreation Unlimited, Camp Nuhop.
Health/Safety: Union County Sheriff Department Project Lifesaver, Interim Health.

Water rate plan changed
Businesses  would share some of the burden in new proposal
By RYAN HORNS
Last minute changes to the proposed water rate increases may have helped
Marysville City Council move  forward on paying for needed projects.
Essentially, council members supporting the change explained that it
would help lower costs for residents, by raising costs for big business.
Council members agreed to meet again for a special hearing on Tuesday at
7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 125 E. Sixth St. At the meeting
they will hold the third reading on the water rate increase and associated amendments.
Council member Ed Pleasant said that although the special meeting is the
third reading, public comment will be allowed.
Essentially, David Burke, John Marshall and Mark Reams offered a last
minute proposal, changing the entire direction of future water rate
hikes for residents. They expressed hope that the change will make
everyone satisfied - from residents currently paying the highest rates
in the state, to city administration requiring a solid funding plan to
pay for the wastewater projects and a reservoir.
Burke reminded everyone that the original water rate increase proposal
called for residents to pay a five-year 8 percent increase. That figure
was then changed after council's Ad Hoc Committee decided to recommend a
6 percent, two-year increase to buy the city time and allow council to
seek grants to keep the rates down the remaining years.
Mayor Tom Kruse, however, did not support the two-year plan because it
would not provide the solid plan banks require.
So under the Burke/Reams/Marshall proposal, residents would face a 3.3
percent increase on their average 500 cubic feet monthly bill by June.
That would then go to a 3.4 percent increase by January 2008, then a 5.4
percent increase by January 2009. The final increase would be 5.5
percent by January 2010. Through the plan, the average current water
rate bill would go from $40.50 to $48.10 in 2010.
"I think this is a good compromise," Reams said.
Burke explained that their proposal is like a teeter-totter, with
residents on one side and commercial customers on the other.
"How do you tilt this teeter-totter before somebody yells 'ouch'," Burke said.
He said the problem is that businesses pay bulk rates for water, which
means a cut in cost for them. Meanwhile, residents pay the full amount
for their water. By leveling out commercial bulk rates to a more even
share, residents would not have to pay such drastic rate increases as previously expected.
The amendment also calls for administration and council to "work
together with government entities in southern Union County to develop a
good growth plan, which also would provide financing for infrastructure
improvements for water and wastewater services."
It also explains that the mayor, administration and council must work to
maximize the financial output from future developments which use city
water and wastewater services - helping growth pay for growth.
Council Clerk Connie Patterson also will attain training and knowledge
of grant writing to assist the city in identifying other funding
resources; in order to avoid future water rate increases.
Council members in favor of the plan reiterated that previous plans
called for much higher increases for residents. However, not everyone on
council was convinced.
Members Leah Sellers and John Gore explained that by having the
wastewater plant and reservoir projects fully funded, they would no
longer be able to convince the Union County Commissioners to help
partner a deal for those projects. The county would have no incentive to
help out. They said that it would also become harder to get grants if
the projects were already paid for. The new plan would essentially cut
off any way to reduce the rates through creative financing.
Resident Lloyd Baker also pointed out that updates in water rates around
the state show that Marysville residents continue to pay 104 percent
higher water rates than the average of other communities.
Gore also addressed the issue of trust toward city leaders. He said that
over the past seven years as a council member he has always placed his
trust in the different administrations that come through, when perhaps
he shouldn't have. He said that trust needs to be earned back. From now
on he wants to see these issues addressed "in black and white."
"I feel this is a make or break proposition," Burke said at one point.
"I wish I would have thought of this in November."
If the city does not move forward, he said, then some entity like
Columbus was going to fill the void. It would result in a smaller
customer base for Marysville and less revenue.
Sellers and Gore finally agreed to support the plan, but only if it went
two years instead of four. Later on they were convinced that four years
was all right, as long as it was amended to state that after two years
council would revisit the rates and factor in any extra funding they
have been able to find through grants or partnerships.
Reams agreed to enter that proposal into the plan. The amendment was
then passed unanimously by council. The third reading will take place
during next week's special meeting, and will allow the public to offer opinions.
"We need to resolve this sometime over the next week," Reams said.
Kruse also offered his support, saying that any plan that meets the
criteria of allowing him to have a fully funded course of action "I'm not going to oppose."
Fogt said that by passing the plan it does not mean he is going to stop
looking for other funding options. Many others on council vocally agreed with him.
Economic Development Director Eric Phillips said that council should
meet with commercial companies that may soon be paying more for water bulk rates.
"You don't want to upset business," he said.

City asked to annex land
Plans would set up retail/commercial development

By RYAN HORNS
A new annexation proposal could open up more than 171 acres for
potential business in Marysville.
During Thursday night's Marysville City Council meeting, two pieces of
legislation were held to seek the annexation of land from Paris
Township. Both were presented by councilman David Burke.
The first reading of a resolution was held to offer city services to the
area. An ordinance was also read which would consent to applying for the
annexation of the land. Both pieces of legislation state that the
proposal was agreed to by 100 percent of the landowners in that
territory -  15 different people, mostly consisting of the Cook family.
David E. Cook of Marysville was appointed as agent for the petitioners.
Although the first reading for the services resolution was passed, the
emergency measure tacked on to the legislation was ultimately voted down
until water rate issues can be resolved. This means that at the next
council meeting on April 26, the second readings and public hearings
will be held for the services resolution and for the annexation
ordinance. At that meeting council members may also reconsider passing
the emergency clause to expedite the plans for the land.
The two pieces of legislation also explain that the land in question
stretches east along Route 4 north of Marysville, to the west boundary
along the west side of Route 31, also north of Marysville. It shares a
contiguous boundary with the city. Visually, the land surrounds what is
popularly referred to as the "Cook Pond."
The ordinance explains that the 171 acres would be divided into 78 acres
of retail land, with a large retail site; 29.5 acres for office/freeway
oriented commercial site, 29.25 acres for 350 multi-family residential
homes; 14 acres of right-of-way land; and 13 acres of open space.
The resolution for services states that Marysville would provide water
service, sewer service, solid waste collection, fire and emergency
medical service, police protection, cemetery, parks and recreation, leaf
pickup, street maintenance/snow and ice removal, planning and zoning and more.
"I support that (annexation)," Burke said.
He said the annexation and future commercial and residential use would
offer more tax payer funds to Marysville, resulting in "users to help
revenue to the city and positive growth."
There was some debate over the annexation proposal, however, with
different points being raised by other council members and
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse.
Councilman Dan Fogt said that he has issues with the annexation possibly
creating an "island" or piece of city land, surrounded by township land.
Dave Cook was at the meeting and explained that the property does not
"completely" create an island, although it may appear that way. So the
annexation remains possible by zoning codes.
Kruse said he has a problem with supporting the annexation because the
city offers a "solemn promise" to provide services to that area.
"As it stands right now, we will not have the ability to provide water
to that area," he said.
Unless the issue of water rates is addressed, which will provide a solid
plan to fund wastewater and reservoir needs, he said the city would
ultimately be "promising something it can't deliver."
Later in the council meeting members took a step forward to resolve the
water rate predicament within the next week. How this would effect the
annexation plans, or Kruse's support of that was not addressed again.

School redistricting plan set

By KARLYN BYERS
The final recommendation was made Wednesday evening on elementary
attendance areas in the Marysville School District.
The recommendation will go into effect in August when the new Northwood
Elementary in the Mill Valley subdivision opens. It was made by
superintendent Larry Zimmerman following a series of meetings with
parents, community members and staff over the past four months.
Zimmerman said the public meetings were "amazing." District
administrators took a lot of the feedback received in those gatherings,
"tweaked" it and incorporated it in the redistricting plan, he said.
Previously, he toyed with the idea of maintaining only five elementaries
and utilizing East Elementary as a career center for high school
students and adult learning.
"But I think the best long-term solution is to (go with) that sixth
elementary," he said.
Zimmerman said having six operating elementaries will give the growing
school district more elbow room and more flexibility in the long term.
In general, the redistricting recommendations will move approximately 40
pupils from the East attendance area to Navin Elementary (Cherry
Street/Connolly addition); move about 120 pupils from the Navin
attendance area to Northwood Elementary (Mill Valley north area, North
Main Street/Third Street/Arbors apartments/Elwood Avenue areas); move
approximately 60 pupils from Edgewood Elementary to Northwood
(Millington Avenue area at corner of Milford Avenue and U.S. 36); and
move about 35 pupils from Mill Valley to Northwood Elementary (area
across from Creekview Intermediate, including Creekview Drive, Chiprock
- north of  Fawn Meadow - and Edgewater Drive).
Zimmerman said he also would like to see all-day, every day kindergarten
housed at Northwood. Housing the all-day, every day kindergartners at
Northwood is logical, Zimmerman said, because buses are transporting
pupils to Creekview Intermediate School and Northwood is located
adjacent to Creekview.
He further suggested moving the extended Latchkey program to Northwood.
It would help the district from a transportation standpoint, Zimmerman said.
Parents enrolling their children in the all-day, every day option would
pay roughly $250 a month. A recent survey of parents and guardians
registering their children for kindergarten and conducted by the
Marysville School District indicated 34 individuals were willing to pay
the monthly fee for the all-day, every day kindergarten option.
"I still think there is enough interest that we need to do this,"
Zimmerman said. He added that the district is already losing between 70
and 80 kindergarten pupils a year to Dublin schools because their
parents want them to attend kindergarten all day, every day
"I'd just (as well) that we offer it ourselves," he said. "To ignore the
kindergarten issue is not the right thing to do."
With the final recommendation being made, the district will begin the
process of staffing its school buildings for the 2007-08 school year,
Zimmerman said in an e-mail message to the Journal-Tribune this morning.
In other business, the board accepted construction bids and awarded
contracts for the new high school addition.
Adam Drexel of Ruscilli Construction said bids received April 3 were
more than $256,000 under estimates. Those submitting the lowest and most
responsible bids included: Performance Site Management, site work,
$1,886,048; Central Ohio Building, general trades, $4,265,000; Steveco
Inc., masonry, $1,685,000; Humble Construction, structural steel,
$1,308,000 and roofing, $844,800; Vulcan, fire protection, $213,840;
Slagle, plumbing/HVAC, $3,052,000; and Gaylor, electrical, $2,210,000.
Several of the contractors, including Performance Site Management,
Central Ohio Building, Humble and Gaylor have been involved in the
construction of Northwood, said Drexel.
In other business, the board:
.Accepted the resignation of teacher Melanie Garvin, effective at the
end of this school year.
.Hired Brenda Zimmerman and Larry Ball as certified substitutes.

Scotts company to be featured on History Channel
From J-T Staff reports:
History Channel watchers will see a familiar face on television tonight.
The Scotts Miracle Gro Company will be featured on the series "Modern
Marvels:  Lawn Tech" at 10 p.m.
The episode was shot at Scotts' Corporate Headquarters in Marysville and
examines the latest research in turf-grass science.
According to the History Channel's website, for the 21st century, turf
grass is the number one crop grown in the United States
When suburbia exploded after World War II, turf became the defining
characteristic of nearly every yard.
The piece features the greenhouse facility at Scotts and explains how
grass seed is bred for special characteristics.
Several Scotts employees will be featured including Ashton Ritchie, Eric
Nelson, and John Marshall.

Mayor Kruse will not run for re-election

From J-T staff reports:
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse reported Tuesday that he will not seek
re-election later this year.
"It is with mixed emotions, that I announce today that I am not going to
seek a fourth term as Mayor of the City of Marysville," Kruse wrote in a
statement. "As a citizen and business owner in Marysville for the last
36 years, I have strived to contribute to Marysville with the sole
purpose of improving the quality of life in the community where I have
chosen to raise my family."
Although Kruse never officially announced his intentions to run for
re-election, he had indicated he had plans to seek another term. He had
previously served as Marysville Mayor from 1988 to 1996. In 2004 he was
voted back in, after winning against candidates John Gore and David Creviston.
Kruse explained that as mayor for the last 3 1/2 years, it has been his
objective to put forth a "responsible plan to address the current and
future needs for our community which are both complex and at times, controversial."
He said that he feels his administration has accomplished a great deal
and has had success toward this objective. He cites his staff's support
and dedication as factors in the success.
"I feel one of my most significant accomplishments in my last term as
mayor has been motivating city staff to do their job and be accountable
to the people in the community they serve," Kruse said. "I did that by
providing them with the direction and resources they needed."
To date the only candidate who has officially announced intentions to
run for Marysville mayor is resident Chris Schmenk.
Kruse said he has enjoyed his time as mayor, but hopes to pursue other
venues now.
"While I find what I do enjoyable and rewarding, I feel it is time to
discover new horizons," Kruse said. "After discussing this with my
family, I feel it is time to spend more time traveling and enjoying time
with my family and finding other meaningful service activity."
He said over the course of his political service, "experience has taught
me true service is not about political gains, it is not about me, but it
is about serving the public to the best of my ability."
Kruse said he acknowledges his staff and those within the community who
have supported him over the years in office.

Smoke break
After smoking ban, Honda workers head to the highway to have a puff

By EMILY MASTERS
At Honda of America smoke breaks are turning into road trips.
The Smoke-Free Ohio law that went into effect Dec. 7 meant that workers
at the facility could not smoke in or near the company buildings, but
the auto maker took it a step farther, banning smoking on Honda property on Feb. 8.
Now Honda associates are using 10-minute breaks and the half-hour lunch
period to hustle to their cars and drive off  company property. Each day
dozens of vehicles park along the side of Honda Parkway as workers smoke during breaks.
"Our number one concern for our associates is their safety," said Ed
Miller, Honda Public Relations. "We obviously would like to see the situation eliminated."
Sheriff Rocky Nelson said his office has been in constant communication
with Honda about the problem.
"We certainly can see both sides of the issue, and the last thing we
want to do is have people feeling like we're coming down on them," said Nelson.
According to Nelson, meetings between his office, the county
prosecutor's office, the county engineer's office and Honda have taken place.
To eliminate the safety concerns of the parked vehicles, Honda plans to
first try and educate within by communicating with associates. Miller
said the communications plan is in the works.
According to Nelson, if that fails, the engineer's office will be forced
to mark the roads with signs that indicate no stopping, standing or
parking unless it's an emergency.
"Our main concern is safety," said Nelson. "It's a view obstruction
concern and a smoking area is not what it's designed to be."
Nelson said he hopes Honda associates will comply.
"It's a tough situation we don't like to be in," he said. "We have more
important things to do than worrying about kicking people out."
Miller explained that the choice to ban smoking on Honda property was a
matter of fairness.
Honda is a 3.8 million square foot facility, so for associates who work
in the center, it would take 10 to 15 minutes just to walk outside for a
smoke break. By then, the 10 minute break would be over. That's why it
was decided to make the entire Honda campus smoke-free, Miller said.
Miller said communications to associates started two months prior to the
smoking ban. Since that time, Miller said several associates have quit smoking.
"We do have a wellness program at Honda," he said. "We want associates
to take care of themselves, this is consistent with our wellness strategy."
Honda offers classes that teach how to stop smoking, and those who
attend are offered nicotine patches. The classes run eight weeks and
cost $3 for associates. Also available is acupuncture, hypnotism and
general lectures about smoking.
According to Miller, nearly 10,000 people come and go each day at the
Marysville Auto Plant, and approximately 3,000 of them are smokers.
"This is a relatively small number of people we're talking about," he
said. "Although the scope is small the problem of traffic safety is the real issue."
Ohio is the 15th state to pass a strong smoke-free law.

Details of fatal crash released
From J-T staff reports:
A two-car crash in Union County took the life of a Urbana woman Tuesday morning.
The Ohio State Highway patrol is currently investigating a fatal crash
that killed Mercedes G. Maley, 54.
Tuesday at 8:24 a.m. Maley was reportedly eastbound on Route 161 in a
2001 Hyundai when she lost control and crossed the center line, going
into westbound traffic.
Reports show that Maley's car was struck by a westbound semitrailer
driven by Steven D. Miesse, 62, of Westerville. His semi then went off
the north side of the roadway and rolled onto its right side. Maley's
car then came to rest off the south side of the road.
Maley was reportedly not wearing a seat belt during the crash. Miesse
was wearing one and suffered no injuries. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.
The OSP reported that the crash remains under investigation.
Union County Coroner Dr. David Applegate said this morning that just
what caused Maley to veer into oncoming lanes remains unknown.
He said that there were no signs Maley used evasive action once she
entered the oncoming lanes.
"The other driver said he tried to get out of the way, but she just kept
coming," Applegate said. "Right now we're trying to determine if there
was a medical cause or if she just fell asleep."
He said preliminary autopsy results are expected to be announced today
around noon. The final autopsy results will not be completed for another
two or three months.
Applegate said that if Maley suffered a stroke or heart attack, he would
know later today. He is also checking her medical records for signs of seizures.

House burns; body found
Officials believe victim set blaze then shot himself

By RYAN HORNS
Union County law enforcement officials found a body inside the charred
remnants of a large house fire in Washington Township Monday.
"It appears to be an apparent suicide at this point," Union County
Coroner Dr. David Applegate said late Monday.
Union County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Chris Skinner said
when the fire was extinguished at 21255 Lingrell Road, law enforcement
officers eventually found the body of Shawne Goodrich, 24, in the back
of the fire-damaged basement of the log cabin.
Applegate said that Goodrich appeared to have "died from a single bullet
wound to the head."
Officials said a gun was located near the body and that the fire appears
to have been started with the use of accelerants such as gasoline -
which were detected by the Sheriff's Office K9 unit "Jordy." Officials
did not specify what accelerant was used.
Skinner said dispatchers received a call at 11:33 a.m. from an anonymous
man who said there had been a murder at a home on Lingrell Road just off
Route 31 and north of Byhalia.
Union County Sheriff's Lt. Jamie Patton said this morning that the 911
call was traced and made from the same Lingrell Road home.
"I need to report a murder at 21225 Lingrell Road," the man said in the
recorded 911 call.
The dispatcher asked him to clarify if he said murder, and if so, who
had committed the murder.
"Yes ma'am. The Department of Jobs and Family Services of Union County .
thank you," he said.
The man then disconnected the phone, as the dispatcher attempted to get
him to explain further.
Unconfirmed reports have indicated that Goodrich may have been under
investigation by the Union County Department of Job and Family Services
office for allegations of child abuse.
Joe Float, the department's director, said this morning that "I couldn't
comment on that at this time."
He referred the matter to Union County Prosecutor David Phillips for
comment, although Phillips was not available at press time.
Skinner said what followed were five more 911 calls between 11:37 a.m.
and 11:44 a.m. in which residents around Lingrell Road reported that the
log home was engulfed in flames. One female neighbor told dispatchers
that someone may be inside.
"There is somebody inside. His truck is still there . please hurry," she said.
Applegate said that the state fire marshal's office is investigating the
fire and a full report on Goodrich's death is pending an autopsy.
Currently, the cause is being listed due to the gunshot wound.
Skinner said that deputies on the scene were reporting gunshots, which
could have been from someone firing a weapon or ammunition stored in the
home exploding from the fire. By this time the house was engulfed in
flames and fire crews from around the area were arriving. He said by 3
p.m. fire fighters had the flames extinguished and the situation contained.
At that time, Skinner said investigators were waiting for the house to
cool down so they could go in and investigate.
Initial reports of the incident were masked with confusion.
Area television media had already begun reporting the fire as a possible
"murder cover-up." Law enforcement officials could not immediately
confirm that there had been a death in the fire.
"We're still trying to account for all the residents," Skinner said. "It
sounds like the female and the children who were in the residence have
been accounted for."

Council looks at future of Richwood Lake
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Securing the future of the Richwood Lake was discussed at village
council Monday night.
A question about dumped concrete at the south end of the lake raised by
council member Von Beal at the meeting led the group to discuss issues
with the body of water.
Park chairman George Showalter said the concrete is eventually going to
be used to rebuild the banks of the lake and help prevent future
erosion. He said the water level is currently too high to perform the work.
Showalter explained that the high water level at the park is one of the
problems plaguing the lake.
He said the lake has no system in place, such as a drainage tile, to
maintain a constant water level. A tile which previously served that
purpose has broken down and does not drain.
When the water level remains high the banks of the lake erode more
quickly. Showalter said he has been told by experts that if corrective
measures aren't taken the lake would more closely resemble a wetland in
10 to 15 years.
Showalter said the issue could be compounded in the coming years as the
North Union School District plans to construct a new middle school in
the area. This would create additional runoff that could find its way to the lake.
Village administrator Larry Baxa was told by mayor Bill Nibert to work
with school officials to ensure that runoff from the new facility flows
away from the lake.
Council also heard from Lynn Street resident Debbie Baldwin about the
condition of some of the playground equipment at the village park.
She said the slide for young children at the park is broken and the
entire area should be covered in gravel to keep it from getting muddy.
Showalter said he has been trying to order replacement parts for the
slide, which he claims was damaged by older, heavier children using it.
In any event, a new piece of playground equipment, which should arrive
in May, has been ordered and will include a new slide for young children.
He also added that gravel will be placed around the playground.
In other business, council:
.Learned that pre-applications for Community Development Block Grant
funds are due by April 20. Council may look into having an engineer
prepare an application for funds to assist in repaving village streets.
.Voted 5-0, with council member Wade McCalf absent, to close some
downtown village streets for the annual Springenfest event from June 14 to 16.
.Learned of two new incidents of vandalism at the village park.
Showalter said he is researching new surveillance equipment for the park.
.Heard a request from village solicitor Victoria Stone Moledor to
purchase digital recorders for Richwood Police officers. Apparently
making transcriptions and copies from the tape recorders currently used
is tedious and the digital recorders could quickly be downloaded into a computer.
.Voted 5-0 to purchase a new street light for Edgewood Drive.
.Heard from Baxa that the village was unable to begin the brush chipping
program because of mechanical problems.
.Learned that a water well on the north side of the village is back in
use after failing recently.
.Learned from Baxa that the Ohio Department of Transportation Route 37
repaving project is scheduled to be put out for bids later this year.
The resurfacing project is to take place in the spring of 2008.

Milford Center deals with water pump problems
By EMILY MASTERS
Milford Center is in need of a new generator at its water plant because
a back-up pump has stopped working.
The issue village council had to resolve Monday night was if the village
should apply for emergency money through the Ohio Public Works
Commission, which comes in the form of an interest-free loan for up to
30 years, or if they should apply for a Community Development Block
Grant (CDBG) which would be free money.
According to Gary Silcott, the village's consulting engineer, the grant
application is due April 20. Notification of qualification would likely
come in July, and final approval and funds would come sometime in the
fall. That time frame concerned council members more so than the
emergency money turnaround  which could come within a month.
"If we had a power outage, there would be nothing we could do," said
Bill Blevins, village administrator. "We don't have a hook-up now for
any kind of generator."
If a catastrophic event took place in the village, residents would have
a two-day water supply, according to Blevins. The water tower holds
about that much.
Council members decided to ask Silcott to apply for the CDBG and revisit
the issue in July once it finds out if the village is qualified for the grant.
Silcott said there wouldn't be any harm in applying for both the grant
and emergency funds.
The cost of the new generator including the transfer switch and concrete
pad would total about

Recycling to be made easier for county residents

From J-T staff reports:
Rural residents in the county will now find recycling a little more
convenient due to a new program funded by the North Central
Ohio Solid Waste District.
Union Recyclers has been open to recyclers county-wide for several
years, and now a truck will be set up in various spots in the county on
a routine basis to accept aluminum beverage cans; metal food cans; glass
food and beverage bottles; jars; No. 1 and No. 2 plastic bottles; and jugs.
Also accepted will be paper products such as newspapers, magazines,
telephone books, and office-type paper.
"These items should be rinsed out but they need not be separated,"
Darlene Steele, coordinator of the waste district's Madison and Union
County program, said.
The recycling truck will be in Milford Center for all Union Township
residents on the second Monday of each month from 9 a.m. until 11:30
a.m.  It will be in Unionville Center for all Darby Township residents
on the second Monday of each month from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Jerome
Township residents can bring their recyclables to the truck when it will
be parked at Jerome United Methodist Church on the second Saturday of
each month from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. or when it is parked at the park across
from the Jerome Township Hall from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Richwood
and Claibourne Township residents can continue to bring recyclable items
to the Union Recyclers truck when it is parked at the Richwood
Fairgrounds on the fourth Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. until
noon.  The truck will be parked along the park across from the village
hall in Magnetic springs for all Leesburg Township residents on the
fourth Saturday of the month from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The county engineer's office will host the recycling truck from all
Paris Township residents on the third Thursday of every month from 12:30
to 3 p.m.  Residents of Liberty Township will be able to drop off
recyclables in Raymond when the truck joins the township trustees for
Dumpster Days on May 4 and 5.  Beginning in June the truck will be
parked in the lot behind the community center in Raymond on the third
Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
All residents of the county may bring their recyclable items to any of
these drop-off spots, but items dropped off during times not designated
will be considered illegal dumping, Steele said.
During the first two months at each collection site, Steele will be
entering all participants into a raffle for prizes made out of recycled materials.
More information can be obtained by contacting Steele at (740) 852-3800
ext. 214 or dsteele@co.madison.oh.us.

Goodbye 'Mr.  Funny Pants'
Adelsbergers have sold the Old Town Inn

By RYAN HORNS
The uptown Marysville community will be losing a little character.
After 15 years, Dan Adelsberger, owner of the Old Town Inn, located at
113 W. Fifth St., recently sold the restaurant to new owners who hope to
keep the torch going for the community.
On April 15 the Old Town Inn will be operated by new owners Jesse and
Sarah Hardy. The two were previously involved with Jason's in Dublin and
Brio and Bravo restaurants in Columbus.
Dan and his wife Judy said that the new owners have more youth, energy
and kitchen experience on their side and will do a great job carrying on
the Old Town Inn tradition.
"We feel proud of it," Dan said. "And we're hopeful that it will carry on."
Regular customers will be happy to know that the Hardys plan to continue
such popular entrees as the Prime Rib, but will expand from the current
menu using their experience in Italian dishes and salads.
April also marks the restaurant's 15-year anniversary in Marysville.
To many residents, Dan was much more than a business man. He said they
have been around so long they have seen children grow into adults.
"We've seen kids go from diapers to college," Judy said.
"We have a lot of regular customers," Dan added.
Judy said they received a letter the other day from a little girl who
addressed it to "Mr. Funny Pants." The girl was sad to hear Dan was
leaving the restaurant and wished him good luck.
Those pants the girl is referring to are just one reason many remember
their visit to Old Town Inn. To some it has been a mystery why Dan has
been known for wearing different types of brightly colored pants.
Adelsberger said he started wearing wild pants just to bring some interest.
"Lots of kids come in," Dan said, "People like to see something different."
He said he would also bring in stuffed animals, wear wildly colored
aprons and more. In fact, he said most of the pants have been given to
him by friends and regular customers over the years.
"I used to do a lot of crazy things," he said.
Dan and Judy sat in the restaurant Thursday afternoon, just after the
lunch rush. On the walls around them are layers of photos, with such
"historic" advertisements as Bartles and James wine coolers, fake road
signs, stuffed animals and more. The decor is just another part of the
Old Town Inn experience.
Dan said the stuff all over the walls just began accumulating. Some of
the items they thought would be fun to hang. Then as the attention grew,
people began donating more. People would go on trips and bring things
back for him to hang up, and of course he obliged them.
Dan said he has been involved in the restaurant business since the 70s.
He started at Borden Burger back in 1975, worked at Chi-Chi's for a some
time and spent five years at Colorado Rose in Columbus. He moved back to
Marysville in 1986 and ended up starting the Old Town Inn around 1992.
"I enjoy the food and I like talking to people," he said, explaining his
run in the restaurant business.
But after more than three decades, Dan and Judy said they want to try
something different.
"We just want to be out of the food business" Judy said.
"We want to slow down," Dan said. "I've been in the restaurant business
for 34 years. That's long enough. plus, now we're all old."
"Old and worn," Judy joked.
The Adelsbergers hope to say goodbye to their customers throughout the
month and introduce everyone to the new owners. Much of the staff will
stay on after the changeover.

Death called a suicide
From J-T staff reports:
The man who committed suicide Friday morning has been identified as a
Mill Valley resident.
Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol reported late Friday
afternoon that the man found was Paul D. Griffith, 41, of Marysville.
Reports also indicate that Griffith may have made the 911 call to
dispatchers before committing suicide with a gun near a pond off of
Route 4, by the Scott Farms subdivision.
Marysville Police reported that at 8:11 a.m. Friday the Union County
Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a man who said, "There's a
dead body in the pond across from Cook's pond."
The line was disconnected and when dispatchers tried to call the number
back it immediately went to voice mail.
Police did not specifically indicate whether the call may have been made
by Griffith before choosing to end his life. But their reports show that
when police arrived at the scene they located a silver Humvee with a
warm engine, which was parked in a lot across from the pond on private
property. The car registration information was the same as the cell
phone owner information.
Nicol said Griffith died of "a single gunshot wound to the head." His
body was found mostly submerged just inside the pond.
Griffith reportedly was divorced and lived alone in Mill Valley.
"The preliminary investigation indicates the individual died as a result
of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head," a police release
reported. "A note indicating a suicide was found on the body and
messages were left with a co-worker and an ex-family member."
The suicide remains under investigation by the Marysville Police
Department and the Union County Coroner's Office.

Local students grill Strickland
Third graders ask governor tough questions

By KARLYN BYERS
Third-graders in Bethany Hill's class at Navin Elementary School amused
and impressed Gov. Ted Strickland Thursday afternoon with questions they
asked of Ohio's visiting head of state.
"When you were a kid, did you ever think you would be governor?" asked a
young man in the classroom.
Strickland responded by saying he wanted to be a cowboy because he was
raised very close to where cowboy hero Roy Rogers grew up.
Strickland, who was born in Lucasville, said he got to know The King of
Cowboys, who was born in Cincinnati, as well as his wife, Dale Evans.
However, he added, he never got to know Roger's Palomino horse Trigger,
his dog, Bullet, or his sidekick, Gabby Hayes, a statement the older
members of the tour seemed to appreciate more than the third-graders.
A more serious question was asked by a young lady, who wanted to know
why college tuition is increasing each year.
"That's a good question!" Strickland said. He added that Ohio tuition
has increased 9 percent every year since 1998. But, he continued, "I've
got a plan in my budget and if I can get the legislature to pass my
budget, there will be zero increases in my tuition next year and then we
can start slowing down these increases."
"I don't think we can sustain that and still have college as an option
to most of our students," Strickland later said in the Navin library, as
he again addressed tuition increases.
He has proposed that universities join a "compact" which will help
facilitate "efficiencies" in purchasing energy supplies, technology,
etc. And he has challenged Ohio's colleges and universities to find
their own efficiencies "and hold tuition increases to zero."
Strickland said Navin was probably the eighth or 10th school he has
visited in the past two weeks. He first began visiting schools when he
was a congressman, dropping in on two or three schools a month.
But Navin has been the only school Strickland has visited that has been
designated as "excellent" (by the Ohio Department of Education), he said.
Strickland praised the "obvious accomplishments" the staff and
administrators of Marysville Exempted Village Schools have made and
congratulated those present for investing in the future of Ohio and the nation.
He said he is trying to drum up support for his proposed two-year
budget. That budget includes the smallest increase (2.2 percent,
according to Strickland) of any state budget submitted to the
legislature during the past 42 years.
Strickland said he wants to boost the "flat growth" the state has been
experiencing because economic growth can boost academic achievement.
Under Strickland's proposed budget, no public school will receive fewer
state funds than it received last year.
If passed, Strickland said, his budget would give Marysville Schools an
increase of more than 9 percent in state funds, which should help
compensate the school district for the "significant growth" it has experienced.
Marysville Treasurer Delores Cramer, who was along on the tour, said
Marysville has received a zero percent increase in state funding the
past couple years.
Turning to Cramer, Strickland praised the efforts of school districts'
"financial geniuses and wizards who take a dollar and make it go a long, long way."
But stretching the money will not pay for all-day, every day
kindergarten in most school districts, and school administrators are
looking to the state for help.
Kindergarten pupils in the Marysville School District currently attend
school on an all-day, every other day schedule. But district
administrators and school principals have been outspoken proponents of
all-day, every day kindergarten and have even discussed the feasibility
of making all-day, every day kindergarten an option to those who can
afford an estimated $250 a month cost.
The school district is not eligible for any state funds to finance the
all-day, every day option. Those funds are reserved for districts which
have a high poverty level or are located in urban areas, Marysville
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman has said.
Strickland said his budget does not include any money for all-day, every
day kindergarten programs.
The only way to fund all day, every day kindergarten as a statewide
measure would be through a tax increase, Strickland said. And right now
Ohio's economy is not strong enough to support an increase.
Should the resources become available, however, Strickland said, "All
day, every day is a goal we have set for our state."

Body found near pond off Route 4
By RYAN HORNS
The body of a man was found this morning on the shore of a pond off
Route 4 in what appears to be a possible suicide.
Marysville Police investigators were trying to determine the identity of
the man at the Journal-Tribune's press time. Police said he appears to
have killed himself either overnight or early this morning, according to initial reports.
"It is an adult male, in an apparent suicide," Marysville Police Sgt.
Jeff Groat said. "I can't release the name yet, because we haven't
confirmed his identification or notified his family members."
Groat said police received a call at 8:15 a.m. from someone who said
there was a body located just off Route 4 near the Scott Farms subdivision.
"The caller said 'There's a body in the water' and we went from there," Groat said.
Law enforcement and medics would not explain why the man's death is
believed to be caused by suicide.
"It just looks like a suicide," Groat said.
He would not explain if the man had shot himself or had used any other
specific means which may have caused his own death.
Union County Sheriff's deputies, Marysville fire crews and medics were
situated on private property near the pond, separated by green farmland.
Police had to cross the field, climb over a fence and go through a dense
tree line to find the man's body.
Union County Sheriff's K9 unit "Jordy" was reportedly used to initially
track the body's location.
Groat said that a Hummer vehicle parked on the private property is
believed to belong to the deceased male.
The dark gray-colored utility vehicle had Texas license plates and
stickers on the windows indicating the U.S. Army and military police.
Other stickers specifically noted El Paso or Fort Bliss as the victim's possible home.
On the dirt ground in front of the vehicle were footprints leading out
toward the pond and where Marysville fire crews had parked an inflatable
boat they planned to use to retrieve the body.
At around 9:35 a.m., Union County Coroner Dr. David Applegate arrived to
confirm the death and Union County prosecutor David Phillips also
arrived at the scene.
The investigation of the death is being conducted by the Marysville
Police Department.

Local sculptor will be remembered
By EMILY MASTERS
A long-time Marysville resident, known for her talents in sculpting, has died.
Ann Entis, 79, formerly of Marysville, died Wednesday in Port Charlotte,
Fla., where she retired with her husband, Wyn 10 years ago.
Entis died in her sleep at the Port Charlotte Hospice House.
The Entises moved to Marysville in 1956 for his job as advertising
director for the Scott's Company.
They raised their two children, Christine and Glenn, at their home on 20
acres of wooded land just west of the city on Northwest Parkway.
In 1962, Entis opened her own professional studio there called
"Shagbark." The name was inspired by the hundreds of shagbark hickory
trees that surrounded the property.
Her sculpting specialty was children, and many of her commissions were
for schools, churches, and libraries.
According to friends, Entis got started using her own children and their
friends for inspiration to create the terra cotta clay works which would
eventually gain her worldwide acclaim.
Entis sold her first pieces to Helen Winnemore's in German Village. Her
work is now in collections in every state and many countries.
Former Ohio Sen. John Glenn owns some Entis pieces, one was presented to
former President Ronald Reagan when he was in the White House, and an
Entis angel was presented to former President Bill Clinton for the
Clinton's Christmas tree.
According to friends, some of her work is still being sold on the Internet.
Friends remember Entis not only for her sculptures but her personality.
"She was just a delight to be around and so talented," Kay Liggett of
Marysville said. "She could always see the humor in things."
Liggett said Entis was passionate about the betterment of humanity, and
she loved animals.
"She was the kind who would call and say, 'Kay, can you take a cat?'"
she remembers, laughing.
Entis loved horses and enjoyed daily horseback rides in Marysville with
her favorite mare and the two foals she helped deliver and train.
"She was always interested in the outdoors," Bernie Stewart said. "We
used to go on many trips together including boat trips."
Stewart remembers Entis' sense of humor.
"She was so quick-witted and fun to be around," she said. "She was just
a very good friend."
Entis retired from full-time sculpting in 1996 when she and her husband
moved to Florida. There, she was able to pursue her passion for kayaking
and bicycling.
In accordance with her wishes, there will be no scheduled memorial
service. A private family service will be held. In lieu of flowers,
donations may be made in her memory to either the Duke University Brain
Tumor Center, DUMC Box 3624, Durham, NC 27710 or to the Tidewell Hospice
House, 1144 Veronica Street, Port Charlotte, FL 33952

Somebody deserved to get it back'
Local resident  is turning over more than  $100,000 in  bonds he found

By RYAN HORNS
When Marysville's James Sparks found someone's life savings buried in a
small metal box by a railroad track, he had no idea what he was in store for.
Sparks and two other railroad workers, Ethan Davis and Harrison Brown,
were working in Ashland leveling railroad tracks for CSX. Sparks found a
box buried in the dirt with more than $100,000 inside.
"That's when I noticed something there. All you can see is this handle
of a box sticking out of the dirt. But when I kicked it, it was really
heavy. So I picked it up and when I was getting the dirt off it came open."
He was amazed at what was inside: Dozens of $1,000 bonds, wills, wedding
bands, a death certificate, old photos, jewelry and other financial
information that appeared to belong to an old man.
Now Columbus attorney James Adair wants people to know that instead of
going out to buy a fancy fur coat or new sports car, Sparks turned the
money in and unknowingly solved an unsolved burglary that happened years ago.
"I was just impressed with their integrity and honesty," Adair said.
"There is no reward for them out of this."
Adair just wants people to know that the Sparks family did the right
thing and made something positive out of a negative.
Sparks said that the minute he saw the photos of an elderly couple
inside, it made him think of his own father.
"When I saw the wedding bands in there and the pictures of them, that
changed everything quick . Somebody deserved to get it back. I thought
that they may really need this," Sparks said. "I know if it belonged to
my father I would want him to have it back."
But working on the railroad there is a limited amount of time, he said.
So the men closed the box up and went back to work with their minds
racing. That night they opened the box again and began adding up the
bonds to a stunning $105,000.
Sparks said they got little sleep that first night, calling each other
back and forth from their different homes across Ohio. Each one was busy
searching the Internet for the owner.
"We called all these people with the same name," Sparks said. "Of
course, they had no idea what we were talking about."
Adair said out of the blue he got a call from Sparks' wife Rhonda on
March 28, who told him the story about the found money. He said Sparks
didn't know what to do, what rights they had to keep it, if they had hit
the lottery or if they were about to deal with troublesome legal issues
for finding it. The call intrigued him so much that he helped in the
search to find the owner.
Sparks and his wife said they were just grateful to find a rare lawyer
who helped them for free.
"He thought it was a joke at first," Sparks said, "But once we started
telling him the serial numbers, he knew we had something."
Adair said Sparks helped end the mystery of the box, once owned by
former Delaware resident Wayne L. Thomas. Because he died in September,
Thomas never knew that his savings had been found. The contents are
expected to be given to his surviving daughters.
The Delaware County Probate Court told Adair that the box had been
stolen in a burglary three years ago. After the theft, the attorney
assigned to the Thomas family estate was forced to work in conjunction
with the state Department of Treasury in order to protect the estate
from the burglar.
However, Adair said, no one was ever sure what exactly was in the box
until now. In fact some of the bonds may have doubled in value, bringing
the total closer to $200,000.
"If it had been buried just a few yards down," Sparks said, "it would be
in the ditch and under the water. No one would have ever found it."
He was surprised to learn that Thomas only lived a few hundred yards
away from where the box was found. Whoever stole it, took only $9,000 in
cash that was supposed to be inside. Not knowing what to do with the
bonds and other items, the person must have ditched the rest by the
railroad tracks.
Adair said law enforcement closed out the police report as recently as a
few weeks ago, because they assumed they would never know the answer to
where the box went.

Special events planned around Easter holiday
The Marysville Area Ministerial Association (MAMA) will sponsor a
community Good Friday service from noon to 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Ken Daft, senior pastor at Marysville First United Methodist
Church, will deliver the sermon. Special music will be presented by the
Marysville Interdenominational Children's Choir under the direction of Barbara Demming.
Those interested in participating in an introit choir may show up for a
short rehearsal in the church choir room at 11:15 a.m.
Easter egg hunts
Several area churches will hold egg hunts Saturday. Included are:
Marysville Grace Brethren Church - 11 a.m., Eljer Park;
New Dover United Methodist Church - 1 p.m.;
Unionville Center - 11 a.m.
Shiloh Chapel Evangelical Friends Church, 16435 Square Drive, will
sponsor a "Community Resurrection Egg Hunt" Saturday at 10 a.m. The
event open to toddlers through fourth-graders will include a puppet
show, refreshments and prizes for each age group.
Unseasonably cold weather may affect the outdoor activities. When in
doubt, contact the individual church offices for confirmation.

Living in fear of foreclosure
Many in Union County, and across Ohio, are trapped in a financial
pitfall

By EMILY MASTERS
Home foreclosures have steadily been on the rise in Union County, as in
much of the state.
Ohio leads the nation in foreclosures, and according to a study by the
Mortgage Bankers Association, Ohio has ranked No. 1 since 2004.
The Friday, March 23 edition of the Marysville Journal-Tribune listed 36
legal notices for "Sheriff's Sale of Real Estate." Eight years ago,
Union County might have had 10 listings in a year, according to the
sheriff's office. Now, the county averages 15 to 40 notices each month.
In 2006 Union County handled 269 foreclosures, according to Paula Pyers
Warner, Union County Clerk of Courts. That number was up from 2005's 241
foreclosures. The most have occurred in Mill Valley and the
Richwood-area, according to Warner's records.
For many in Union County and the surrounding areas, the fear of
forclosure is becoming a fact of life.
Puting a face on foreclosure
Last year was not a good one for Jake and Dilys Coil, who do business in
Marysville but live in West Liberty.
After working almost 12 years for the same construction company where he
framed new homes, Jake, without warning, was told he was out of a job.
The construction company folded immediately, he said. The 61-year-old was in shock.
To make matters worse, wife Dilys lost her job. Then, the real blow
came. Dilys had to have surgery for throat cancer.
"We were in an awful lot of trouble," said Jake. "You just never know."
Jake picked up odd jobs here and there, but it wasn't enough.
"If it weren't for our two boys and friends helping out, we would have
ended up on the streets like in those big cities," he said.
The Coils built their log cabin home back in the late '80s, Jake doing
most of the construction himself. The cabin once served another use
before the Coil's bought all of the pieces and then re-built it. Dilys
appreciates its rich history.
"It's called a log fortress, completely knotched and stacked," she said.
"The front room floor was once used to hide slaves, we found the trap door."
Soon a smile turns to tears.
"December 28, we got this notice of sheriff's sale," she said, reaching for a tissue.
The delivered notification was handed to the Coil's 18-year-old
granddaughter, who they are raising.
"She has been through so much, she didn't need this, having to worry
about us," Dilys said.
With the loss of their jobs, the Coils were struggling to pay back a
loan they had received to finish up work on part of their home. They
were told the loan company had a hardship program and all they had to do
was fax in paperwork explaining their situation.
"We faxed in the papers just like they told us to and we never heard a
thing back," Dilys said. "Next thing we know we're getting a foreclosure
letter from the loan company."
The Coils felt they had just one option left if they were going to save their home.
"We turned to John to help us," said Jake.
Attorney John Cannizzaro of Cannizzaro, Fraser, Bridges, Jillisky, and
Streng, in Marysville, concentrates his practice to the area of consumer bankruptcy law.
"The Coils are typical of many people who seek bankruptcy relief,"
Cannizzaro said. "They have been hit by adversity and have tried their
best to overcome it, and when all else failed, they turned to bankruptcy protection."
In a matter of hours, Cannizzaro drew up a plan for the Coils, which
they will need to complete in five years. They will be required to make
monthly payments and are now protected from creditors suing them. Also
in the arrangement, Cannizzaro notifies the court to stop the foreclosure action.
"I feel a lot better," said Jake. "We'll make it work, I don't give up,
I keep plugging away."
Now that Jake has stable work, he said he's a lot more confident, but he
knows first hand how quickly a family's finacial security can be shredded.
"Anyone could lose their job at anytime," he said. "I just don't think
people realize that."
According to Cannizzaro, loss of a job, medical bills, credit card debt
and divorce or dissolution are the four major reasons people file for bankruptcy.
The foreclosure process
Meg Michel, Broker/Owner of Remax, regularly attends sheriff's auctions.
It's there that foreclosed homes are sold, usually with the bank buying
them back. According to Michel, it takes about a year for a house to
reach foreclosure, so the homeowner can live in it that year, completely free.
"Usually the homeowners will file for bankruptcy in that year they're
living in the home for free," Michel said.
She says there's a pattern she has noticed with foreclosures.
"People borrow more than what they paid for their house," she said.
"Many times that comes in the form of an equity line."
The homeowner generally doesn't try to sell the house, because they owe
more than what it's worth.
Also, based on the auctions, Michel believes that it's the banks that
over-lend, not the mortage companies.
"In the past, about eight years ago to be exact, it was impossible to
borrow more than 80 percent of the appraised value of a home," she said.
A lot of buyers on the fringe - those with low incomes, bad credit, or
those who wouldn't qualify for a traditional, fixed-rate mortgage - were
pushed into creative financing.
Many of these buyers already had financial problems and now that grace
periods for adjustable-rate and interest-only loans taken out several
years ago are ending, the higher monthly mortgage payments are pushing
people over the edge, she said.
Michel also said foreclosures come when there is an over-supply of
homes, which has happened in Marysville.
"An over-supply of houses are in subdivisions where most of the larger
builders have been turning out so many homes," she explained. "Union
County has an over-supply of homes priced in the $160,000 to $200,000 range."
According to Michel, the sheriffs auction process generally means the
bank will buy back the home, evict the former homeowners, collect the
mortgage insurance money, and then put the home up for sale. At least
two-thirds of the homes that go to auction have never been listed for sale.
Impact on neighborhoods
High foreclosure rates lower home values, because the market becomes
flooded with underpriced houses. That makes it harder for people who are
selling their homes to get top dollar, according to Michel. Also,
borrowers in neighborhoods with price declines might owe more on their
mortgage than their house is worth, making refinancing impossible.
Each foreclosure in a neighborhood lowers the property value of nearby
homes by about 1 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.
According to nearly half of Ohio's sheriff's offices, which regulate
pre-foreclosure sheriff's sales, predatory lending was noted as the
leading reason for foreclosures in their counties.
Last spring, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation aimed at
curbing predatory lending practices that have contributed to Ohio's
foreclosures, said Amy Hanauer, Executive Director of Policy Matters Ohio.
Help from state
A special task force has been aimed to look at ways to cut down on
foreclosures in Ohio.
The task force will include representatives from state and local
government, lenders, and non profit consumer groups, according to a news
release issued by Gov. Ted Strickland. The task force will be chaired by
Kim Zurz, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce.
"This problem demands a comprehensive response," Strickland said.
Additionally, the task force will assist homeowners struggling to make
payments and will educate people buying homes.
On April 1, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency made available fixed-rate
refinancing to homeowners whose current loans are not appropriate for
their financial conditions. Bonds will be sold to cover the cost, Strickland's office said.
Avoiding foreclosure

Village, fire district still trying to come to agreement
By CORINNE BIX
It appears that things have still not been settled between North
Lewisburg village officials and the Northeast Champaign County Fire
District as evidenced at Tuesday night's village council meeting.
In November, council agreed to sell the village municipal building to
the NECCFD for the appraised value of $300,000.
North Lewisburg participates along with Woodstock, Rush Township and
Wayne Township in the NECCFD which is a tax entity subdivision.
Mark Westfall, of Rush Township and NECCFD representative, explained to
the village council that the fire board would like to hold a joint work
session to discuss the future of the NECCFD specific to rent increases passed last year.
The NECCFD currently operates out of the village municipal building and
pays rent on 5,286 square feet of space. The village voted in April 2006
to more than double the NECCFD's annual rent from $6,000 to $12,500
retroactive to Jan. 1, 2006 when the last contract expired.
Village council also voted to gradually increase the annual rent to
$25,000 by 2008 which averages out to $5 per square foot of space used.
The village found this rate to be in line with standard rental rates of business properties.
There have been many debates over the past several years between village
officials and the fire board regarding what is in the best interest of
each entity in relation to housing the ever growing fire department.
The NECCFD said in November that without taxpayer support, whether it
opts to buy or continue to rent the municipal building the outcome would
be the same, debt.
Tuesday night, Westfall said the fire board has agreed that it will not
agree to any increases over $12,500 annually until both the NECCFD and
the village council hold a work session to discuss various options.
Jason Keeran, council president, said it is time for the two entities to
come together and explain to the taxpayers why an increase in millage is
necessary to maintain the current services that the NECCFD provides.
"We all have to be in agreement," Keeran said.
Currently, residents pay 5.5 mills for the NECCFD. It was projected in
November that about 9 mills would be needed to keep the level of service
given inflation, equipment costs and the need for more full-time
employees to balance a growing population.
The NECCFD has not received an increase in millage since 1992.
Currently, on a $100,000 home at 5.5 mills the average homeowner pays
$173.25 annually. If a 3.5 mill levy were to pass, the same homeowner
would pay $283.00 per year.
Barry First, village administrator, presented Westfall with another
option to fund the rent increase.
The option would charge each cooperating entity a per resident cost for
fire and EMS services as provided by the NECCFD. The proposal was based
on population numbers taken from the 2000 census and averaged $4.22 per
resident annually for the first year and $5.63 per resident annually for the second year.
First explained after the meeting that the village of North Lewisburg's
contribution would be through use of the municipal building.
Westfall said he would share the information with the fire board.
Currently, the NECCFD's interim fire chief is Dick Bishop of North
Lewisburg. Former fire chief, Dave Spain, retired last month. Spain had
been chief since 1992 when the NECCFD was originally formed.
It was concluded that a work session would be arranged between the
village council and the NECCFD fire board in the coming weeks.

N. Lewisburg council loses a member
From J-T staff reports:
North Lewisburg village council accepted the resignation of council
member Nancy Stuart at Tuesday night's meeting. It was accepted "with  regret."
Stuart has served on the village council since 1998. Her resignation was
effective March 31.
She had completed one year and three months of her current four-year
term. Council has 30 days to find a replacement to fulfill the remainder
of Stuart's term.
Stuart resigned due to personal and family reasons.
Village council agreed to fine tune Ordinance No. 241, which deals with
new water meter rates passed earlier this year.
The council unanimously passed an amendment that clarifies how vacant
yet occupiable single units will be charged for water and sewer.
The new base rate for water and sewer is $45 per month per utility
account. That cost will stay the same for all single units whether or
not they are currently being lived in or used.
In the event a resident or business owner chooses to have the water
turned off while on a prolonged vacation, for example, or in the case of
a rental property, the base rate will go down to $15 per month.
Council also agreed to require new builds in the area to purchase all
necessary materials for water meter installation. The property owner
would be responsible for installing the water meter pit and yoke. The
village will then assume the cost of installing the water meter at inspection.
The property owner will be able to purchase the water meter directly
from the village at cost which is estimated at around $150.
Gary Silcott, village engineer with R.D. Zande and Associates, reported
that the wastewater treatment plant project is progressing on schedule
and is on track to be completed in July.
The park rest room project will go out to bid in the next two weeks. The
projected completion date of that project is on or about July 4.
The village will pursue applying for Community Development Block Grants
(CDBG) dollars.
Barry First, village administrator, asked council for project ideas to
be included in the application. Council suggested further enhancing the
multi-use path by adding handicap parking and/or an additional walkway.
In other business, council:
.Heard members were invited to the ribbon cutting at the Urbana Simon
Kenton Pathfinders Pennsylvania Depot.
.Was reminded of spring cleanup from May 1-8.
.Was reminded of the Activate Champaign County Event on April 14 at 10 a.m.
.Was reminded of the multi-use path ribbon cutting on June 21 at 10:30 a.m.


 Jerome Twp. to have new recycling option
From J-T staff reports:
Jerome Township residents will soon have another option for recycling.
The Solid Waste Authority approached the trustees recently about a new,
free program that allows community members to recycle in one location on
a monthly basis, as part of new EPA guidelines. A Union Recyclers truck
will be brought in the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to
12:30 p.m. beginning in April or May. Residents will be able to dispose
of items such as newspapers, aluminum, plastics, glass, and other
recyclables. The truck will be located in the township park's parking
lot. No hazardous waste will be accepted.
Josh Hostetler, a Tolles Technical Center student from Plain City, was
hired to do maintenance work this summer in the township.
The trustees decided on a project for the United Way Community Share
Day. To improve the safety of the playground at Harry Wolfe Park, the
trustees voted to spend $3,500 to have shredded rubber tires, which
serve as padding, placed on the ground. United Way volunteers will help
complete the project.
Cpl. Matt Warden, gave the Public Safety Officer report, and reminded
the trustees that spring brings out a lot of bicyclists. He said Jerome
Township roads make up popular routes for cyclists, and the deputies
plan to keep a close watch.

 

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