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Local Archived News August 2007

 

8/3/10/7

     Sheriff honors employees for outstanding service

     Construction forces reduction in speed limit

8/30/07

     Marysville schools honor classified employee

     UCBDD gives out Starfish Award

8/29/07

     Sales tax won't go before voters

     Levies approved for November election

8/28/07

     Marysville schools eye cuts

     PCPD to step up patrols around schools

     Richwood collects  portion of past due bills

     Candidates file for November election

8/27/07

     Sheriff's department to expand K-9 bureau

8/25/07

     Future of local gaming parlor uncertain

     Man sentenced for possession of photos of teenage girl

8/24/07

     City annexes land for development

     Mill Valley medical  center  could open by April

8/23/07

     Red Cross issues call for blood

     Business owner sentenced to nearly six years

8/22/07

     Urbana man gets 55 months for nonsupport

     Governor helps unveil new Accord

     Marysville to try again for levy

8/21/07

     Financial picture tightening for Fairbanks district

     Community invited to Honda party

     Local woman saves Prospect family from fire

8/20/07

     Honda to unveil new Accord

8/18/07

     Marysville losing its asst. superintendent

     Far from home

8/17/07

     District OKs on the spot drug testing

     A quarter century of making cars

     Triad eliminates bus passes

8/16/07

     City may call for traffic study

     Sheriff to kick off traffic enforcement campaign

8/15/07

     JA leads way on school report cards

     Triad schools to introduce Mandarin Chinese program

     Unionville Center clerk-treasurer will stay with villageMan caught after foot pursuit

     Man caught after foot pursuit

8/14/07

     Marysville terminates mechanic

     Richwood officials want to reopen lake to swimming

     Rail crossing should open by April 2008

8/13/07

     Officials to update transportation plan for area

     More than 1,000 attend Farmer's Market Festival

8/11/07

     Fit for a hero

     Residents of Central Ohio Youth Center help with local school supply drive

8/10/07

     Residents raise concerns over proposed development

     Airfield relocation idea grounded

8/9/07

     North Lewisburg to sue Woodstock

     County developing new employee handbook

     Engineer says area bridges are safe

8/8/07

     Marysville levy defeated

     County to put sales tax on Nov. ballot

     Chasing the wind

     Sky Bank to close

8/7/07

     From Home Depot to eBay

     Citizen calls for officials to quit

     Residents reminded to lock doors and windows

8/6/07

     Danger Brothers: 26 years and counting

     Man dies from injuries sustained in crash

8/4/07

     Offender gets four additional years in prison

     Built to last

8/3/07

     Twins honored for dousing fire

     Man injured in crash

8/2/07

     Standoff ends peacefully

     UCSO K-9 officer remembered

 8/1/07

     Marysville levy attempt explained

     Donna Rausch to run for Union County Treasurer

     Plain City to host annual car show

     Honda officials look back on HomeComing 2007


Sheriff honors employees for outstanding service
By RYAN HORNS
While it may be their job to help people, sometimes law enforcement
officials are recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty to
help keep the community safe.
Because of this, on Wednesday, Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson honored
two of his deputies for their efforts.
Communications Supervisor Dan Maurer was presented the Sheriff's Office
Certificate of Merit and Deputy Kelly Nawman received the Sheriff's
Office Life Saving Award.
"We are fortunate to have such dedicated and caring people like this in
the sheriff's office," Nelson said. "It is a pleasure to serve alongside them."
In front of her family, friends and co-workers, Nawman was recognized
for helping to save the life of a newborn baby girl in an emergency call
that happened earlier this year.
Nelson said that on June 13  a woman called Sheriff's Office dispatchers
to report her daughter was in labor in a car along the side of a road in
northern Union County.
"Deputy Nawman was dispatched to assist and arrived to find the child
had been born in the front seat of the motor vehicle, but was cold, gray
and did not appear to be breathing," Nelson said. "Nawman gave emergency
care, including rescue breathing and when the EMS crew from the Liberty
Township Fire Department arrived, the baby was breathing and her color
was returning to normal. Medical professionals later said that Deputy
Nawman's actions kept the baby from suffering further trauma and very
likely saved her life."
Nelson said that Nawman's award was filled with mixed emotions. Earlier
this week Nelson learned that the baby Nawman helped save had later died
from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), unrelated to the night of the birth.
"My heart goes out to the family for their loss," Nelson said.
He said it was difficult to know how to address Nawman's lifesaving
actions, after learning this week of the child's recent death.
Ultimately, he said it was important to recognize Nawman for helping
save the child on the night she was born.
During the awards ceremony, Nelson then took time to highlight the
efforts of Maurer, whose award was also presented in front of his
co-workers and family Wednesday.
Nelson said Maurer's Certificate of Merit was for keeping calm and
professional in the midst of chaos.
"On the night of Jan. 13, 2007 the sheriff's office experienced a night
that all 9-1-1 Centers hope never happens," Nelson said.
He said beginning at 2:50 a.m. that day dispatchers received a call for
the first of two commercial structure fires in the county. The first was
for a warehouse in Marysville and the second was a business in Jerome Township.
"A combined 12 fire departments, from three different counties were
called upon to fight these fires," Nelson said.
But while these emergencies were going on, dispatchers received a call
for a fatal car crash on Route 4 and then a domestic violence call to a
residence north of Marysville. In addition, there were several other
calls for law enforcement asking for service at the same time.
Nelson said throughout the entire day, Maurer rose to the occasion. He
had every available fire and law enforcement resource called out and
providing active service.
"During this stressful time, (Maurer) demonstrated excellent leadership
and performance under pressure," Nelson said. "Calling upon his
experience and knowledge of area fire and EMS agencies, he was able to
quickly identify which agencies were available to give assistance and
called upon them accordingly."
Nelson said the professionalism that day was nominated by dispatcher
Barbara Sharp-Patrick, who was on duty that night with Maurer.
"Thanks to Dan everything came out better than it might have,"
Sharp-Patrick reportedly said

Construction forces reduction in speed limit
From J-T staff reports
The city of Marysville announced that the speed limit will be reduced on
a local roadway to provide safety to construction crews.
Beginning Thursday the speed limit on Columbus Avenue and Industrial
Parkway, between Dunham Avenue and Scottslawn Road, will be reduced to
35 miles per hour.
City administrator Kathy House said that construction crews in that area
have begun installation of the Trunk Interceptor Project (TIP), which is
the gravity sewer line which will ultimately connect the current
wastewater plant to Marysville's new Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) off U.S. 33.
She said construction along the stretch of road is expected to continue
into summer 2008.
"This change will remain in effect until further notice and is being
made as a safety measure for both motorists and construction crews
working along this roadway," House said.
House said she hoped motorists would exercise patience while the work is completed.

Marysville schools honor classified employee

Editor's note: The following information is supplied by the Marysville
School District.
---
Trudy Gray, a classroom aide assigned to the Marysville School District
special education department, was recently named the district's
Classified Employee of the Year.
Now in her seventh year with the school district, Gray was honored at
the recent all-district staff meeting that kicks off the new school
year. She is one of more than 750 individuals employed by Marysville Schools.
Specifically, Gray works with the eighth grade emotionally disturbed (ED) class.
"It takes a special personality to do this work," said Carrie Romine,
the special education teacher to whose classroom Gray is assigned.
"Trudy is outgoing and displays a respectful compassion for our kids.
Her patience is unquestioned. Neither I nor our kids would be as
successful without her."
Students assigned to the ED class typically struggle with peer group or
home life issues, are challenged by routine or social connections, or
may wrestle with anger management. Ultimately, the goal of the teacher,
aide and youngsters is to transition the students back into the school
population, attending classes with the rest of their classmates. The
teacher and aide focus their attention on modifying behaviors and
improving social skills while still maintaining the academic
preparedness that will bring each student success.
"Our kids seek Trudy out for advice and guidance when something is
troubling them or they don't understand, whether its related to the
classroom or their personal lives. They trust her and value her
opinions. For many of these kids, that is a huge step," Romine said.
Prior to her middle school assignment, Gray served the district's
special education students at East Elementary and at Creekview Intermediate.
When asked about what she liked best about her job, Gray quickly said,
"That's easy, the kids. Watching each one of them progress throughout
the year, and being witness to the moment that a kid 'gets it' after
having struggled for so long to understand."
Gray has lived in Marysville all her life, graduating from Marysville
High School in 1982. She shares a home with her husband, Troy. Her son,
Nick, is now a junior studying Biblical studies and Christian psychology
at Cincinnati Christian University. Her daughter, Olivia, is an active
freshman at MHS.
Each month the district recognizes a single classified employee. Staff
in support roles such as classroom aides, mechanics, bus drivers, food
service workers, custodians, maintenance staff, school nurses, clerical
and business services are eligible for nomination by others throughout
the district. The selection committee is comprised of various peers,
with representatives from each building and service division. At the end
of the school year, an annual winner is then selected.
Monthly winners selected from amongst the more than 250 classified
employees in the district in the 2006-2007 school year included:
September - Kathryn Wacker, East Elementary special education aide
October - Terri Sproull, middle school special education aide
November - Barbara Snodgrass, secretary to the superintendent
December - Ed Burdett, Mill Valley elementary custodian
January - Phyllis Simpson, high school secretary
February - Kelly McGraw, payroll
March - Andy James, mechanic
April - Joe Smith, maintenance
May - Trudy Gray, middle school emotionally disturbed class

UCBDD gives out Starfish Award
As part of its August Board meeting, the Union County Board of
Developmental Disabilities (UCBDD) honored the Rev. Paul Whiteford with
the Starfish Award for his dedication and numerous contributions to the
board, its mission and those it serves.
The newly implemented Starfish program was developed to recognize those
UCBDD employees, consumers, community contributors and individuals who
go above and beyond to make a positive impact in the lives of others.
Serving as a UCBDD Board member for the past five years, Whiteford has
continually demonstrated outstanding professionalism and exhibited an
overwhelming passion for people with developmental disabilities.
Whiteford has been involved with organizing awareness activities during
March Awareness Month.
"Through his commitment of time, talents and energies Union County has
truly benefited from Reverend Whiteford's leadership" said Kim Miller,
UCBDD Superintendent. "He has sincerely made a difference and we are
grateful for his many contributions to our organization."
The Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities is committed to
being the primary community force that ensures individuals with
developmental disabilities have access to the services and supports they
need to become full citizens in the community.
For more information on UCBDD and its programs, its services, and
volunteer opportunities contact Carol Scheiderer at 645-6733 or
cscheiderer@ucbdd.org.

Sales tax won't go before voters
Commissioners miss deadline to put issue on November ballot

By MAC CORDELL
Union County residents will have the opportunity to vote on several tax
issues during the November election.
However, one they will not be voting on is the one-quarter percent sales
tax used equally for senior citizens in the county and for the engineer's office.
"Basically, we missed the deadline to get it filed," said Union County
Commissioner Charles Hall.
The sales tax, which they announced in early August would be going on
the ballot, would have generated anticipated revenue between $1.7 and
$1.9 million per year.
The levy would run for five years and would need public approval for renewal.
The deadline for filing any type of tax issue to go on the ballot was
Thursday. However, before it could go to the board of elections, the tax
request would need two public hearings.
"We were working so diligently on the language, we were not able to get
both hearings in before we needed to be filed," said Hall.
Dick Douglas, director of Union County Senior services, said he was
informed the sales tax was not going on the ballot until March, but no
discussion was held regarding how he was to meet increased spending
needs until he can begin collecting the sales tax revenue.
"We have not talked about how my needs for money are going to be met
until then," Douglas said.
Union County Engineer Steve Stolte could not be reached for comment.
Hall said the commissioners could simply place the sales tax in effect
but didn't want to do that.
"We could just enact a sales tax if we so chose, but we are not going to
do that" said Hall. "We are going to put it before the electorate to vote on."
Hall said there is minimal difference between passing the tax in
November, versus passing the tax in March. The new tax would not become
effective until the first day of the first new quarter, a minimum of 65
days following the election certification, typically 10 days after the
election. Given those parameters, if the sales tax passed in November,
it would have become effective April 1, 2008. If it passes in March, it
will become effective July 1, 2008. Money will begin flowing into the
county about three months after it is collected.
"We are talking about three months," Hall said. "Yeah, we would have
liked to have had this in November, but we want to make sure everything is done right."
Douglas said he is not sure the commissioners realize how this may effect seniors.
"It is going to make a difference for us," said Douglas.
He said the silver lining may be that county officials can focus their
efforts on passing the countywide 911 property tax
"There is enough going on in the November election that we need to work
on anyway," Hall said.
The March election will also be heavily watched as it will serve as the
presidential primary for both Republicans and Democrats.
The three-month delay will give the commissioners additional time to
educate voters about the need for the sales tax.
"We really want everybody to have all the information we could before we
went to the voters with it," Hall said.
Currently, sales tax in Union County is at 6.5 percent. If the levy had
passed, the tax would increase to 6.75 percent, bringing it even with
Franklin, Delaware and Logan counties.
On a $100 taxable purchase, the increased tax would have cost the
consumer $0.25. On a $20,000 purchase, it would cost the consumer $50.

Levies approved for November election
Some candidates file faulty petitions

By MAC CORDELL
The Union County Board of elections has certified more than a dozen
issues for the November election. It has also removed several issues and
a candidate from the potential ballot.
Approved for inclusion are a pair of Union County Tax levies. The first
is a 0.5-mills replacement levy to provide money for the operation of
mental health services and facilities. If passed, it would not take
effect until 2008, but would last 10 years. Currently the owner of a
$100,000 home in Union County pays $10.50 for the levy. If the levy
passes, the same homeowner would pay $15.32. The levy will raise
approximately $585,000 per year.
The second levy is 0.75-mills replacement with an increase for the
operation of the countywide 911 and public safety communications system.
The five-year levy would be effective in 2007 if passed. Currently the
owner of a $100,000 home pays $14.18 for the 911 levy. If the levy
passes, the same homeowner would pay $22.98. The levy will raise
approximately $835,000 per year.
Marysville Exempted Village School District voters will have the
opportunity to vote on a 4.75-mills operating levy. If the five-year
levy passes, the owner of a $100,000 home in the district would pay an
additional $145.48 per year. The levy will raise approximately
$3,300,000 per year.
School district voters will have one less person to chose from in the
race for two school board seats. The board of elections ruled that David
A. Perry did not have enough signatures on his petitions to be included
on the ballot. He could have withdrawn his petition and filed as a write in.
"He had the option to attend the meeting (of the elections board) and he
chose not to," said Karla Herron, director of the Union County Board of Elections.
She added that under the new law, Perry can not file as a write in once
his petition has been rejected.
Incumbent Roy Fraker, along with Gregg Buck and John Freudenberg will be
on the ballot.
Three candidates - Phil Rausch for Unionville Center Village Council,
Martha Cantrell for Magnetic Springs Village Council and Scott Jerew for
Richwood Village Council - were certified as write-ins.
Levies to help cover police protection from the Union County Sheriff's
Office will be on the ballot in both Jerome and Millcreek Townships.
Jerome Townships levy is an additional 1.2-mills tax, to last five
years. If the five-year levy passes, the owner of a $100,000
Jerome-Township home would pay $36.76 annually. The levy will raise
approximately $202,000 per year.
In Millcreek Township, voters will be deciding on an additional 2-mills
tax levy. If the five-year levy passes, the owner of a $100,000 home in
Millcreek would pay $61.24 annually. The levy will raise approximately
$69,000 per year.
Fire protection will be the subject of levies in Liberty and Taylor
townships, both to begin in 2008. If passed, the fire levies would be
used for the maintenance of fire apparatus, appliances, buildings as
well as water sources along with the payment of firefighters and other fire companies.
In Liberty Township, the proposed 5.75-mills replacement levy would last
five years. Currently the owner of a $100,000 home in Liberty Township
pays $137.58 for the fire levy. If the replacement levy passes, the same
homeowner would pay $176.10. The levy will raise approximately $392,500 per year.
The Taylor Township levy is a 5.75-mills replacement and increase, to
last five years, beginning in 2008. Currently the owner of a $100,000
home pays $130.70 per year for the fire levy. If the levy passes, the
same homeowner would pay $176.10. The levy will raise approximately
$222,000 per year.
Union Township, including the village of Milford Center, and York
Township each have 1-mill levies on the ballot.
Union Township's is a five-year renewal, to begin in 2008. Money
generated will be used for the operation and maintenance of the township
cemeteries. Currently the owner of a 100,000 home in Union Township pays
$30.52 for the levy and would see no change if the levy passes. The levy
will raise approximately $31,000 per year.
York Township's levy is to cover current operating expenses. It is a
five-year replacement levy to begin this year. Currently the owner of a
$100,000 York-Township home pays $17.96. If the replacement levy passes,
the same homeowner would pay $30.62. The levy will raise approximately
$24,800 per year.
The board of elections approved the placement of several alcohol-related
initiatives on the ballot. Old Stone Haus Tavern, in Taylor Township,
precinct 1, will have two issues on the ballot - weekly sales of
spirituous liquor and Sunday sales of beer, wine and mixed beverages.
Voters in Marysville's 12th precinct will have the opportunity to vote
on Sunday sales of beer, wine and mixed beverages at Buffalo Wild Wings,
Little Tony's Pizzeria and Wal-Mart. In Marysville's ninth precinct,
17795 Mill Valley LLC. will be on the ballot requesting permission to
sell beer, wine and mixed beverages on Sunday.
Mosier's IGA in Liberty Township, Woody's BBQ in Jerome Township and
Adamo's Pizza and Carryout also petitioned the board of elections for
inclusion on the ballot with alcohol related issues. Their petitions
were rejected, either for insufficient signatures or an invalid petition.
Those wishing to be included on the ballot as a write-in candidate must
file with the board of elections by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5.
To participate in the Nov. 6 election, voters must register by Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Absentee voting begins Tuesday, Oct. 2.

Marysville schools eye cuts
District prepares to deal with levy defeat

By KARLYN BYERS
Reducing the number of middle school athletic teams, increasing the
price of school lunches, charging for extra-curricular trips,
eliminating field trips and class trips and eliminating scheduled school
bus purchases - these are some of the cost-cutting recommendations
pondered by Marysville School Board members Monday night.
Members listened to a presentation by superintendent Larry Zimmerman
about why the Nov. 6 passage of the district's 4.75-mill, five-year
operating levy is necessary.
That levy is a duplicate of an operating levy defeated by voters Aug. 7.
In a special meeting Aug. 21, board members Roy Fraker, Bill Hayes and
Scott Johnson voted to place the November levy on the ballot, citing
growth factors in the school district and reduced state funding.
Those issues are not going away, Zimmerman said. Opening day enrollment
in the school district was 5,422 pupils, he said. That is an increase of
922 pupils since fiscal year 2002, according to a Power Point
presentation shown to the school board.
The school district has already implemented about a dozen
savings/reductions in an effort to trim its budget.
And it is in the process of implementing more, Zimmerman said. These
further steps include implementing a hiring freeze except for essential
positions, reducing or postponing textbook purchases, limiting overtime,
reducing bus routes and stops, increasing the number of pupils in each
class, and reducing classroom paper usage, copier costs, district mail
expense, computer usage and purchases, setting temperature controls at
higher levels and eliminating all classroom refrigerators/appliances.
The hiring freeze would include not immediately replacing assistant
superintendent Neal Handler, whose resignation board members accepted
"with regret" Monday night. Handler resigned Aug. 17 to take a position
as coordinator of human resources at Dublin City Schools.
If the district's levy doesn't pass Nov. 6, Zimmerman said the
elimination of non-mandated programs and staff positions could occur.
The eliminations could affect AP classes, foreign language, math, social
studies and science classes not mandated by the Ohio Department of Education.
Cuts also could reduce or eliminate school police/resource officers and
crossing guards, postpone opening of the new middle school/intermediate
school currently under construction on Route 4 and result in a
salary/benefit freeze or reduction for staff members.
The pay-to-play fee could increase to the actual cost of the activity or
downsizing of extra-curriculum activities could occur. Bus routes and
transportation stops could be further reduced.
And reductions would be made to extra-curricular programs first,
Zimmerman said.
"I will always err on the academic side. Extra curricular has the word
'extra' in front of it for a purpose," he said.
The district has been "very blessed," Zimmerman said, in that it hasn't
had to implement cuts "like this" for 20 years. But the district's
operating budget does not have a lot of flex in it, and the lack of
state financial support and the district's growth issues are "significant," he said.
Zimmerman reminded board members of cuts and reductions that have
already occurred within the school district. These include sharing
principal Trent Bowers at Northwood and Navin elementaries, combining
duties within the administrative team, eliminating one teaching position
each at Raymond and Edgewood elementaries, reducing office aides at East
and Edgewood elementaries and one-half office aid at Navin, postponing
four teaching positions, reducing hours in four positions, postponing
planned building/improvement/repair projects and reducing building and
department budgets by up to 20 percent.
In other action, the board:
.Voted 4-1 to suspend the contract of bus driver Jerry Martino without
pay from today through and including Sept. 11. Board member
Tom Brower was absent.
.Employed Maxfrancis Corbett and Aaron Peitsmeyer as teachers; Julie
Sheckler as health care consultant; Loretta Weeks, payroll; Jennifer
Wiechers-DeWalt, Lori Penrod and Tameka Washington as bus drivers;
Hillary Overfield, Latchkey staff; and Gina Howard and Sheri King,
crossing guards.
.Approved the 2007-2008 tuition rate, as determined by the Ohio
Department of Education, as $5,313.25 per year. Hayes noted that
Marysville does not accept open enrollment pupils, as was incorrectly
stated in a letter to the editor published in a recent edition of the
Journal-Tribune.
.Granted enrollment on a tuition basis to Lance Wayne Meeks at the state
mandated rate for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Entered into an exclusive pouring rights contract with the Pepsi Cola
Company, effective Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2012. Proceeds will benefit
the school district, Zimmerman said, whether the athletic fund, building
fund or food service. Eighty percent of the products sold in vending
machines are not soft drinks, Zimmerman added, but water, juices and
vitamin beverages and products conform to the school's wellness policy.
.Approved a construction agreement with Brazenwood Homes LLC to build a
press box at the high school soccer field. The projected cost is
guaranteed not to exceed $25,000 and will be financed by money set aside
when the field was built five years ago, Zimmerman said.
.Accepted the resignation of building aide Beth Spurling;  Pamela
Woerlein, OBI; and the supplemental contract resignations of Mike
Robertson, high school choir coach; Evan Smith, assistant varsity
football coach; and Jonathan Weithman, freshman football coach.
.Approved an unpaid leave of absence to Jodi Robertson, anticanticipated
leave dates of Nov. 26 through Dec. 19

PCPD to step up patrols around schools
By MAC CORDELL
With Jonathan Alder students returning to school today, Plain City
Administrator/Police Chief Steve Hilbert took a moment at Monday night's
village council meeting to warn drivers.
He said police would be patrolling around the schools.
"We don't have much tolerance for speed or traffic violators, especially
in school zones," Hilbert said. "You have to drive defensively when you
are out there. You have to expect kids to make some mistakes."
A group of citizens interested in the construction of a park on the
south end of Plain City came to the council meeting, also to discuss children.
Committee members said they had some ideas for the park, but no specific locations.
While it still is in the very preliminary stages, the current working
name for the park is South Park
Mayor Sandy Adkins thanked the group for its concern and expressed
interest in the progress of the park.
"We have made no decisions, but we realize the importance of South Park
for the people living in the southern part of the town," said Adkins
Group members said that before they decide on a specific location, they
would like to know where the regional bike trail system would come
through the village.
"We don't know yet what rails-to-trails or Metro Parks or whoever puts
it in is going to do," Adkins explained. "We are trying to work with
them and they say they are working."
Councilman Bob Walter said the village is looking to establish bike
routes within the village. He said officials want to create primary
routes, to bring bicyclists in and out of the village, and feeder
routes, to run through the residential areas of the village.
"We are not convinced that we want to route a whole bunch of out-of-town
people through our residential areas with a whole bunch of children," Walter said.
South Park committee members said they knew there was $180,000 set aside
for the project. They wondered if there was any additional money. Adkins
said at this point there was not.
The group asked if there was any opposition to holding fundraisers.
Adkins said there was no opposition, but "the village won't head that up."
The mayor said South Park proponents should put together a sort of wish
list, with the understanding that, "the village is going to have to draw
the line somewhere."
Walter suggested the group put together a master plan with incremental improvements
"You will have the end product in mind and you can have an evolutionary
process," Walter said.
He added that money can come out of several years' budget.
Group members asked about new playground equipment for Pastime Park.
Hilbert said playground equipment has been ordered, but cannot be
installed yet because of ground hornets.
"They are one of the hardest things to get rid of," Hilbert said.
Village solicitor Michael McCarthy said a trial date has been set for
the zoning violation lawsuit against a Mechanic Street resident who has
blocked off an alley and parked several junk vehicles in the alley.
McCarthy said the trial is set for 9 a.m., Oct. 15, in the Madison
County Court of Common Pleas. He said the village is preparing to take
depositions and issue subpoenas.
"Nothing's been moved out," said Ella Speakman, a neighbor. "He never
goes by any zoning codes, that we know of."

Richwood collects  portion of past due bills
From J-T staff reports:
The village of Richwood is making some headway in collecting nearly
$12,000 in past due utility bills.
Village financial officer Don Jolliff told council that he had recently
received payments of more than $2,600  from the Union County Auditor's
Office. Jolliff said the payments breakdown to $850 in past due water
bills, $860 in past due sewer bills and $952 in liens for overdue accounts.
Jolliff said in total the village has been able to recover nearly $4,000
of the $12,000 due the village.
He added that the village will be placing additional liens on pieces of
property in September.
Council member George Showalter noted that several improvements are
slated for the village park.
He said playground equipment resembling a fire truck would be repainted
and installed this fall. The equipment was donated by the North Union School District.
Showalter said a new, small slide has been ordered and should also
arrive this fall. Old railroad ties and telephone poles used to line the
parking areas will also be removed and new recycled plastic parking
stops will be installed.
Showalter also noted that a $400 donation from a recent softball
tournament at the park will be used to purchase additional trees.
In other business, council:
.Learned about the police department's citizens on patrol program.
.Learned that a finance meeting will be held in September to discuss the
2008 levy picture.
.Learned that Park Day made a profit,  but the total will not be known
until the next council meeting.

Candidates file for November election
By MAC CORDELL
While the petitions for inclusion on the November ballot will not be
certified until later today, it appears as though a majority of the
local races will be uncontested.
If all petitions are approved by the Union County Board of Elections,
just 10 of 49 contests will have more candidates running than open
seats. The deadline for filing was Thursday.
Three races, including the ones for Magnetic Springs mayor, Magnetic
Springs fiscal officer and Unionville Center village council, have no one filed to run.
"The consensus is, for this kind of year - an off year general election,
its a little higher than normal," said Union County Board of Elections
Clerk Gary Wallace of the number of individuals running for office. "It
has been trending upwards the last couple of years."
Wallace said the public needs to be better educated about what positions
are up and when. He added that as more people run, more people will
become aware of the races and the more aware people become, more people
will participate in the process.
"It really boils down to involvement," he said. "How involved do people want to be?"
Wallace said he expects more participation as the county grows.
"As the population increases and new people move in, with new ideas,
hopefully they will get more involved."
Wallace also hopes more voters will get involved as well.
"I hope a lot more people vote in November than voted in the last
election," Wallace said. "We had about 20 percent vote in August. We
certainly would like to make that a lot more, a whole lot more."
He added, "the message is, people need to get out and vote. That is
their constitutional right and their responsibility, I believe."
Marysville Exempted Village School District's board of education could
be the most hotly contested race in the county as four individuals run
for just two seats. Incumbent Roy Fraker, along with Gregg Buck, John
Freudenberg and David A. Perry will seek that pair of positions.
City officials will not have as much competition. The races for mayor
(Chris Schmenk) and all four council seats (incumbent John E. Marshall
in ward 1, incumbent Daniel E. Fogt in ward 2, Deborah Groat in ward 3
and Nevin L. Taylor in ward four) are uncontested.
Fairbanks Local School District will have a race for its two open seats
as current board members David S. Huber and Mark A. Lippencott face
challenge from Joe Hackney.
North Union Local School District School District residents will see
just a pair of names (incumbents Bryan Bumgarner and Jon Hall) on their
ballots for two seats.
In Richwood, Mayor Bill Nibert is being challenged by former
councilwoman Wanda A. Blue and Cynthia K. Blackburn, but council will
have two people (Von R. Beal and William S. Jerew) running for two seats.
Plain City residents will not be held in suspense as incumbent Sandy
Adkins is the one running for mayor and incumbent council members Chris
Johnston and Bob Walter are the only two running for council.
Current Unionville Center councilman Denver B. Thompson Jr., is running
for mayor unopposed and Tracy Rausch will be unopposed in her bid to be
Unionville Center fiscal officer.
In Allen Township, Dan Fancy (incumbent) and Don E. McCreary will vie
for one trustee position. Jerome Township residents will get to cast
ballots between current trustee Ron Rhodes and former trustee Freeman
May. The Darby Township trustee race will pitt Douglas J. Alderman
(incumbent) against Alfred L. Short. In Dover Township, Russell Conklin
(incumbent) and Ron Miller are both running for one trustee seat. Taylor
Township residents will see three names - Dean E. Cook, Jack Engle
(incumbent) and John H. Marshall - on their ballot for one township
trustee position. Union Township voters will also see three names - Jeff
Clark, Bradley Herron and Randy C. Poland (incumbent) - on their ballot
for one seat. In York Township, Donald Mathys (incumbent) and John Oates
will run for one trustee seat.
Other uncontested races include; Allen Township fiscal officer
(incumbent Cande S. Brake), Claibourne Township trustee (incumbent
Jeffery L. Swartz), Claibourne Township fiscal officer (incumbent Vicki
Price), Darby Township fiscal officer (Mary Dick), Dover Township fiscal
officer (incumbent Wallace Snyder), Jerome Township fiscal officer
(incumbent Robert Caldwell), Jackson Township trustee (incumbent Steve
Patton), Jackson Township fiscal officer (Jan Oldham), Leesburg Township
trustee (incumbent Gary L. Cunningham), Leesburg Township fiscal officer
(incumbent Annette Jill Chapman), Liberty Township trustee (incumbent
Randy L. Trapp), Liberty Township fiscal officer (incumbent David L.
Gwilliams), Millcreek Township trustee (incumbent William E. Lynch,
Jr.), Millcreek Township fiscal officer (incumbent Joyce Beaver), Paris
Township trustee (incumbent John M. Eufinger), Paris Township fiscal
officer (incumbent Kristy K. Rowland), Taylor Township fiscal officer
(incumbent Patricia J. Laird), Union Township fiscal officer (incumbent
Mary Lou Ryan), Washington Township trustee (incumbent Richard L.
Anderson), Washington Township fiscal officer (incumbent Valerie K. Cox)
and York Township fiscal officer (incumbent Timothy Paul Goodwin).
Information about several elections involving Union County, but taking
place predominantly in another county was not yet availiable.

Sheriff's department to expand K-9 bureau

By MAC CORDELL
The Union County Sheriff's Office is looking to create a K-9 bureau, and
Jerome Township trustees want to help.
The new unit would include three dogs and two new vehicles. The
sheriff's office has one vehicle already equipped to transport a police dog.
This endeavor will not be cheap, potentially costing the county as much
as $70,000, according to estimates from the sheriff's office.
The Jerome Township Trustees have expressed their support for the canine
program and have committed $8,500 from estate tax funds to help get the
bureau started.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson noted that since the recent death of
Jordy, the sheriff's office's former canine unit, it has become clear
how valuable a canine unit is. He said his office works well with other
law enforcement agencies which have offered the use of their canines. He
said he appreciates their cooperation, but feels Union County needs its' own dogs.
Jerome Township officials have also become aware of a canine's value.
"We realize that Jerome Township is in close proximity to several major
metropolitan areas and we don't want the township to be a thoroughfare
for drug activity," said Jerome Township Trustee Ron Rhodes. "With the
loss of Jordy, we just felt it was time to give back to Union County in
order to keep this program up and running."
Nelson expressed his appreciation saying, "It is nice to know that we
have this kind of support from the Jerome Township residents and
trustees and that they realize the importance of the canine program."
Nelson has agreed to allow the children of Jerome Township, through a
contest, to name one of the yet-to-be-purchased dogs.
"My goal is to have two dogs on the street by the end of the year, and
then a third canine team in service in 2008," Nelson said. "It has
always been my goal to have a strong canine bureau in this county and I
think we can make this happen if we can continue to get this type of
support from the residents and businesses in the county."
A pair of deputies selected for the program will leave for a training
center in Pennsylvania the second week of September. Once at the center,
they will be paired with a dog matched specifically for them based on
temperament and personality. The training will last 13 weeks.
"If we buy two dogs, it is cheaper than buying just one dog," Nelson said.
He added that it would be more cost effective to train two deputies at a
time rather than individually.
At a recent meeting of the Union County Commissioners, Nelson presented
a worst-case-scenario report estimating a $70,000 cost to implement the
bureau. He said money brought in by the fund for former police dog Jordy
will be used to offset the costs.
County Commissioner Tom McCarthy questioned whether federal Drug
Enforcement Agency grants could be used for the purchases. Nelson said
it was possible, as was the use of money seized following drug-related arrests.
"We took our drug seizure money and bought our first dog," Nelson said.
"That didn't come out of our general fund."
The sheriff said the prosecutor's office and several local businesses
have offered to make donations for the purchase of a dog.
Nelson said the state could tell him how much money the sheriff's office
should have coming its way for drug seizures, but there is no way to
tell when, if ever, that money would be received.
McCarthy said the county could advance money to the sheriff's office in
anticipation of that money coming.
"If that money doesn't come into play, we will take it from the
contingency fund," said Union County Commissioner Gary Lee.
Nelson said it is important to keep money in the sheriff's office
contingency fund as those dollars are often used to fund undercover operations.
"We will give you money to support your drug buys because it is very
important," said McCarthy.
He said he is very pleased with the drug enforcement efforts of both the
sheriff's office and the Marysville Police Department.
Nelson said money spent on the canine unit would be an investment.
"That is the nice thing about the dogs," Nelson told the commissioners.
"You are bringing on two new deputies and you don't need to pay them
PERS (retirement) or anything. They are the hardest working deputies you will find."
Union County Sheriff's Office Lt. Jeff Frisch said he is excited about the new bureau.
"It is going to make such a drastic change in the way we are able to do
thing ands in the things we are able to do," Frisch said. "We will be
known for our canine presence in Union County. It is going to be awesome.

Future of local gaming parlor uncertain

By MAC CORDELL
The Games People Play may not be playing much of anything anytime soon.
The Marysville arcade is filled with the gaming machines that have
grabbed headlines lately and even though the paint on the window and a
sign on each machine announces these are games of skill, the governor
has said otherwise. And to be fair, they seem to be doing a nice business.
How long that business will be able to stay open is in some doubt.
Gov. Ted Strickland signed an executive order Wednesday that both
clarifies the definition for games of chance and games of skill and
authorized the attorney general, along with local law enforcement
officials, to take immediate action to enforce the state's law against
gambling machines.
A judge's ruling late Friday stopped officials from enforcing the order.
"Illegal gambling machines have become more accessible in Ohio's
communities because the laws do not adequately define what is and what
is not a 'skill-based amusement machine' and some people have taken
advantage of the ambiguity," Strickland said. "By making these
clarifications, law enforcement authorities will have the tools they
need to take immediate action against those bringing illegal gambling
machines into our state."
According to a release from the governor's office, the newly enacted
definition of skill-based amusement machines is "any mechanical or
electronic game that awards merchandise prizes, not cash or vouchers for
cash, based on the successful accomplishment of the object of the game
or on a player's score."
Also defined is what is not a game of skill.
"Winning the game cannot be dependent on a pre-programmed number or
percentage of wins, and the machines cannot be controlled by any other
source, including chance, beyond the actions of the person playing the
game," according to the release.
The executive order was passed as an emergency and will last 90 days.
Strickland says he hopes legislators will also approve the definitions
when they return from their summer break.
 "There is a big difference between playing a video game at an arcade
and winning a toy for the effort and playing a machine that bears a
striking resemblance to a slot machine and receiving cash," Strickland
said. "We are going to make the difference crystal clear through
administrative rule until the legislature can take more permanent action."
This makes things much easier for Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips.
He said he was informed by letter from Ross Ventures Inc. that a gaming
parlor, The Games People Play, would be opening in Marysville. The
letter included information from the company's lawyer and the
manufacturer of the machines, assuring the prosecutor that the machines
to be included were legitimate games of skill.
"At that time, I wrote a letter to law enforcement in which I expressed
the opinion that the games were, in fact, illegal gambling devices,"
Phillips said Thursday.
Prosecution, however, was not that simple.
"Due to the way the law was written, it was virtually impossible to
enforce without seizing, disassembling and testing each machine," Phillips said.
Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have needed to destroy the
machines before any charges or civil suits could have been filed.
Software from the machines would need to be analyzed to determine if the
payouts were the result of skill or of luck.
"Prior to the governor's executive order, we would have to hire an
expert to determine how the machines were engineered," Phillips said. "I
did not think it appropriate for the taxpayers of Union County to pay
tens of thousands of dollars in expert witness fees to disassemble and
test the machines. Not only would this be prohibitively expensive, it
would subject the city and county to potential civil liability if the
seizure was ruled improper by a court."
Officials in Union County decided to watch legal proceedings in two
other Ohio counties before they acted.
"Unfortunately, the cases were conflicting and the law remained
unsettled," Phillips said.
That is until the governor's order.
"Really, this makes it a lot easier," said Phillips. "It is going to be
a lot easier to enforce this new definition."
He added, "If it kicks out cash, it's illegal. If it kicks out a
voucher, it is illegal."
At Games People Play, gamblers give their money to a host or hostess and
a machine is activated. For every nickel, gamblers receive 1 credit.
Each play can cost as much as 16 credits. A first push of the play
button starts the digital tumblers. A second push and the bars stop.
While it seems as though the player halts the machine, it is already
programmed with a certain number of wins and a certain payout. That's
what makes the machine a game of chance. If a player has money
remaining, they can cash out with the hostess, though payouts will be
rounded down to the dollar, that is to say, if a player cashes out with
39 credits, worth $1.95, they receive only a dollar.
While none would go on the record with their name, interviewed patrons
of The Games People Play said the governor's order was a waste of time,
most wondering if the governor didn't have more pressing matters of
which to attend.
Phillips said there are two ways to go about shutting down illegal
arcades. The first is to bring a civil action against the company for
violating the Consumer Sales Practices Act. In a lawsuit filed to
enforce the CSPA, the Attorney General may seek a civil penalty of
$25,000, plus reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs.
The second possible action is to file criminal charges. The charges can
be brought against the owner of the business, the business employees and
even the patrons of the business.
Under the Ohio Revised Code, "Any person who plays a game of chance or
scheme of chance at a business or other public place, or who recklessly
allows their business or public premises to be used in such a manner can
be charged with public gaming. A first offense public gaming charge is
punishable by up to a $150 fine, a second offense carries a maximum
penalty of up to 30 days in jail and up to a $250 fine. A person
convicted of a first offense of Gambling or Operating a gambling house
is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in
jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A person convicted of a second offense
of Gambling or Operating a gambling house is guilty of a fifth degree
felony, punishable by 6 to 12 months incarceration and a fine of up to $2,500."
The county could file a civil case against the business. It would be up
to the city to file criminal charges if it deems appropriate. While law
enforcement officials have the right to take immediate action against
these arcades, Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said he will not act impulsively.
"We will work closely with the city attorney and county prosecutor to
determine our course of action," Golden said. "We are still reviewing
it. We will operate under the guidance of the city attorney and the
prosecutor's office."
Golden said the only uncomplicated matter in the whole issue is his
responsibility to the public.
"Our position on it is it is legal or it is not," Golden said. "Our
sworn duty is to uphold the law -that simple."
Phillips said closing gaming facilities is not a moral decision or an
effort to badger a local business.
"It violates the law," Phillips said. "That is a policy decision that
the legislature and the people of Ohio have made."

Man sentenced for possession of photos of teenage girl
By MAC CORDELL
A London man will spend nearly a year in prison after possessing nude
pictures of a 17-year-old girl.
Matthew W. Perry, 41, of 134 Maplewood Lane, in London, was sentenced
Friday to 11 months in a state penitentiary.
Earlier this month, Perry pleaded guilty to one count of illegal use of
a minor in nudity oriented material or performance, a felony of the
fifth degree. In exchange for Perry's guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a
fifth-degree felony charge of possessing criminal tools.
Perry's attorney Howard Lowe opened the hearing with a request to
withdraw his client's guilty plea.
Union County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard E. Parrott overruled
the motion. The judge explained that Lowe had approached him off the
record when he learned that his client would need to register as a
sexually oriented offender.
"Under the old law, which was in effect until July 1, 2007, it was not a
registerable offense," Parrott said.
He added there isn't anyway around the law, even though the law took
effect after the offense.
"You or I, or the prosecutor can't do that," Parrott said. "We have to
follow the law. We cannot bend that for our purposes. I don't think we
can do that."
"Even though I do not agree with the retroactive qualifications, I am
sworn to follow it," Parrott added
The judge said under the new law, violators of the offense were
classified as Tier 1 offenders, the lowest classification. Lowe again
urged that his client should not be classified, but agreed that if
classification was mandatory, Tier One was appropriate.
Under the new law, Perry must register annually, in person, to the
sheriff of the county in which he lives, works and goes to school. He
must do this for 15 years.
During the sentencing phase of the hearing, Lowe told the judge the
victim in this case was a 17-year-old girl which his client rescued
from, "living in squalor." He added that the girl, "has had many sexual encounters."
"This is not a situation where you take an old man and a young girl and
he takes advantage of her," Lowe said.
Perry and the girl were living together in a Union County motel. It is
unclear if the man took the nude picture with his cell phone or received
it in a picture message. Perry sent pictures of himself to the girl.
Parrott said the man has failed to abide by the terms of probation on
several occasions. The judge said Perry neglected to tell Union County
investigators about a current probation in Franklin County. He also
failed to tell Franklin County about these charges. Both are probation
violations. Parrott also reviewed the record of the defendant, which the
judge called, "substantial." It included more than 10 convictions
including thefts, assault on a police officer, assault, domestic
violence along with drug and alcohol offenses.
"You are involved in drugs," Parrott added.
"I guess I am not willing to let that kind of thing go on," the judge
said, adding that the man's criminal record and multiple probation
violations, "Tell me you don't pay attention to what the court tells you."
Parrott said a prison term was necessary to protect the public.
"You pose a threat to the public," he told Perry.
Lowe asked if his client could wait a week to report to prison so he
could put his affairs in order.
"No," said Parrott. "He is done right now. This thing occurred on March
1, 2007. He has had all that time to get done whatever he needed to do."
Lowe said his client did not expect to be going to prison.
Parrott said he couldn't put the man on community control, given the
defendant's history of disregarding court orders.

City annexes land for development
By RYAN HORNS
Despite the protests of residents of an adjacent neighborhood, the path
has been cleared for a large scale retail and residential development on
land known as the Cook Property.
Marysville City Council voted on Thursday evening to accept the
annexation of more than 171 acres of land from Paris Township. The land
is located in the area of Route 4 at County Home Road and Scott Farms
Boulevard. A plan for the spot calls for a large retail center,
residential areas and new office space.
Five members of council voted to accept the annexation with councilman
Mark Reams voting against.
Before the vote was held, Clark Addition resident Bob Muth asked council
to refuse the annexation. He said after the public hearing on the issue,
he was able to sit down with landowner representative David E. Cook and
members of city council to go over their long list of worries about what
negative aspects may come from having a large-scale development going in
next door. Then there was another meeting with Cook after that.
"Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of progress," Muth said.
He said too many issues still remain.
"Mr. Cook's development is not willing to bear any of the costs," Muth said.
He said the Clark Addition residents have met with their attorney and
they are asking council to either deny the annexation, or at least delay
it until more concessions can be made to its adjacent landowners.
Councilman John Marshall presented a brief summary on a recent hearing
about the proposal. He said Clark Addition residents feel they were not
given proper notification about the future of the Cook Property. They
would like to work with the development, but they cannot afford to tap
into Marysville sewer and water services, which they understand could
cost up to $700,000. The residents have numerous other worries - ranging
from zoning to traffic concerns - they wanted addressed before the
property annexation was approved.
"That's where we stand at this point," Marshall said.
Councilman Dan Fogt said the city has had three different attorney
opinions and all of them say it's legal.
"I don't understand it, but they say it's legal," Fogt said.
He also addressed the city services cost for sewer and water.
"It costs nowhere near $700,000," Fogt said. "It's not going to be that much."
He said all the other issues the Clark Addition residents have can be
addressed through the city Planning Commission and/or the city Design
Review Board.
Reams said that even if the city services were half of what the
residents feared, at $400,000 the price is still too high for them.
"It is still a pretty big issue for a small neighborhood," he said. "I
guess I hoped something would have been resolved more completely in
those meetings."
In other discussions, Lee Alderson, owner of the downtown bar Marysville
Lee Dogs Locker Room, was recently sentenced to nearly six years in
prison for gun and drug charges. As a result, the liquor permits for his
business could soon change hands.
Council clerk Connie Patterson reported that his mother, Rosemary
Alderson, has requested the transfer of the D1, D2, D3 and D3a liquor
permits for the establishment to her name, due to the criminal charges
against her son.
"We would object," councilman Ed Pleasant said.
Marshall said he knew a local businessman was making attempts to
purchase the business and wondered if voting against the transfer would
interfere with that attempt. He was told it would not.
"I think it is the transfer within the family," councilman John Gore
said. "I support the police department's request not to support the
transfer of the liquor license."
Council then voted against the transfer to Rosemary Alderson's name,
which essentially calls for a hearing to be held on the matter with the
Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
In other topics addressed:
. The first reading was held on a resolution to accept the Strategic
Plan for the city of Marysville.
. The first reading was held on an ordinance to amend planning and
zoning codes in relation to Portable On Demand Storage Units, known as PODS.

Mill Valley medical  center  could open by April
By CORINNE BIX
Memorial Hospital of Union County plans to have the Mill Valley medical
building completed as early as April.
Chip Hubbs, MHUC president/CEO, updated board members Thursday evening
about the Mill Valley project which is expected be done no later than June.
The Union County Design Review Board has approved plans for the 10,000
square foot medical building.
Currently, various legal counsels, including the county prosecutor's
office, Bricker and Eckler, MHUC counsel and lawyers representing
HealthPlex, the building developers, are reviewing the project
Hubbs informed the board that the hospital is in a holding pattern with
regard to gathering proposals from interested organizations to evaluate
the financial, legal, cost, benefit and organization of a possible
change in legal structure.
Last month, the board decided along with the county commissioners to
explore the possibility of MHUC becoming a private
non-profit charitable organization.
The deadline for submitting proposals is Aug. 30. The selection
committee is expected to meet in early September to review proposals
Board members Chris Schmenk and Rick Shortell will serve, along with
Hubbs, as the hospital's representation on the committee along with all
three county commissioners.
A public meeting will be held at the end of September at the county
commissioners' office to finalize and further discuss the upcoming
evaluation process.
Hubbs informed board members that the Union County Hospital Association
(UCHA) private non-profit group might need to change its designation to
better comply with the Ohio Revised Code and the Internal Revenue Service.
The group may likely change its status from a type I supporting agency
to a type III which would give the MHUC board authority to appoint at
least 50 percent of UCHA's board members.
Hubbs explained that the UCHA board unanimously approves the hospital
board's direct involvement.
Current UCHA board members include Dave Allen, Jesse Conrad, Norm
Renner, Jim Mayers, Karen Long, Norm Herron, Kathleen Sehnert, Henk
Berbee and Jerry Born.
The Union County Hospital Association (UCHA) officially merged with the
Union County Health System (UCHS) in October 2006.
The UCHA has been in existence for more than 50 years and was originally
formed as a fundraising arm to support construction of the hospital.
The group's sole purpose is to support MHUC and has partial ownership in
Health Partners, The Marysville Surgery Center and The Morey Medical
Building, among others.
Hubbs updated the board on a seniors services sales tax levy to possibly
be on the spring ballot.
If passed, the proposed levy could allocate up to 20 percent of funds to
be used directly towards the Mobile Meals and Home Healthcare programs
largely subsidized by MHUC.
Within the last three years, the hospital has shouldered a $760,000
operating expense subsidy for the two meal programs.
The board was informed about the upcoming board retreat tentatively
scheduled for Oct. 11.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss trade secrets of a
county hospital. No action was taken.
The next regular board meeting will be Sept. 27 at 8 p.m.

Red Cross issues call for blood

From J-T staff reports
The American Red Cross of Union County is issuing an urgent appeal for
blood donors. Recent extraordinary patient needs and consistent low
donor turnout in August have caused the local blood supply to drop to
critically low levels, said Lynn Whatley, executive director of  the
Union County Chapter.
Whatley said Wednesday began with seven of the eight blood types below
the minimum inventory standard required to meet needs at the 56 local
medical facilities served with blood products.
The Red Cross had no O-negative, A-negative, B-negative and AB-negative
in its inventory, and only a half-day supply of O-positive. The minimum
inventory standard is a three-day supply with anything less being a
serious cause for concern.
"Now we are actually down to zero pints in four of the eight blood
types," Whatley said in a Wednesday press release.
An increase in the need for blood to treat recent trauma patients has
drained the local supply.
"We desperately need help," Whatley said. "At this point, we're
concerned about meeting routine needs. We are not adequately positioned
to support an extraordinary need that can occur at any time."
In the Central Ohio Region, about 650 donors are needed each day to meet
ongoing needs for 56 local hospitals and medical facilities, and still
have a supply on hand for emergencies. Severe weather and flooding
across parts of Ohio this week have added to the strain on the blood
supply, as many are unable to keep scheduled appointments to give blood.
The affected area is scheduled to collect 422 blood donations by the end
of the week, but flooding has caused a 50 percent drop in donor turnout
for many drives in that area.
"Many are unable to keep appointments to give blood in the flood
affected areas," said Rodney Wilson, spokesperson for the American Red
Cross. "This couldn't come at a worse time, since the current blood
supply is already at a critical level.  We urge everyone who can to
please donate blood immediately."
She said, " ... particularly if you are type O-negative or O-positive."
To find locations for donating blood, go online to the Union County
Chapter of the American Red Cross at redcross.org/oh/unioncounty or call 642-6651.
A bloodmobile will be located at the Catholic Community Center today,
Memorial Hospital of Union County Friday, and the Marysville Church of Christ on Saturday.
"If not for the commitment of volunteer blood donors, the lives of
patients would be in jeopardy," Whatley said.
Donating blood is one way individuals can find out their blood type.
Blood donors must be at least 17 years of age, weigh a minimum of 110
pounds and be in general good health.

Business owner sentenced to nearly six years
By RYAN HORNS
The owner of Lee Dog's Locker Room will spend almost six years in
prison, after pleading guilty to numerous criminal charges Wednesday.
Lee Alderson, 38, gave an emotional plea for mercy to Union County
Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott over a live video feed from the
Tri-County Regional Jail.
"I understand that this is the result of my actions and this is my
fault. I am so, so sorry for what I have done," Alderson wept. "I'm
going to be losing everything. I'm trying to hold it together here. It's my life."
But Parrott said Alderson has not taken proper responsibility for any of
the charges against him.
"You're talking about putting a gun up to someone's neck," Parrott said.
"I did not do that, your honor," Alderson said.
Parrott said that Marysville's Police Department was called 300 times
for crimes at Lee Dog's Locker Room.
"If that isn't a nuisance, then I don't know what is," Parrott said.
"It's not like it was a situation where you were unaware or not in a
situation to do something about it . I think you should be getting
everything that you deserve."
The charges against Alderson are from two separate criminal cases. A
third civil case, brought on by the city of Marysville, could result in
Alderson losing his bar.
In July a jury found Alderson guilty of one fifth-degree felony illegal
possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises and one third-degree
felony carrying a concealed weapon charge. The charges stemmed from
Alderson walking across the street from his bar, into Stephen's Lounge,
where he put a small caliber gun up to a man's throat during an argument.
A trial was set to begin today for the second set of charges against
Alderson, including one fourth-degree felony aggravated trafficking in
drugs charge, two fifth-degree felony permitting drug abuse charges and
one first-degree felony engaging in a  pattern of corrupt activity
charge. The trial was canceled due to Alderson changing his plea to guilty.
Assistant Union County Prosecutor Terry Hord said that Alderson faced up
to 14 1/2 years in prison when combining both cases and their maximum sentences.
Prosecutor David Phillips and Alderson's attorney J.C. Ratliff made a
joint sentencing recommendation that Alderson receive a combined three
years for the drug charges. For the gun-related charges, Alderson
received another two-year and 11 month term.
Despite being vocal about his disagreement with the sentence
recommendation, Parrott ultimately agreed to the terms. He set the two
groups of sentences to serve consecutively with one another, resulting
in the five year, 11 months overall sentence.
Phillips explained that a longer prison term may have been possible, but
Alderson did not have a previous criminal record. And despite all the
drug activity that went on at the bar, Alderson was only convicted for
selling $26 in prescription drugs to an undercover police officer.
"We accomplished what was necessary," Phillips said.
Ratliff said that Alderson will lose his bar, possibly his home, will
not be able to keep a good relationship with his 11-year-old daughter
while he is in jail, and will not be able to help his parents who are
suffering from medical problems.
Alderson said that he hit rock bottom when his wife divorced him and
that he did not think his life could get any lower, until all of the
criminal charges came down on him.
"I am learning from this experience," Alderson said. "You won't see me
(in court) again. I want to be a productive citizen."
"He didn't think he could go any lower, so he said that there is no
other way to go but up," Ratliff said. "He wants to get his life
together. He wants to let prison be a positive thing so he can be a
productive member of society again."
Ratliff said that Alderson's mother now has power of attorney in regards
to Lee Dog's Locker Room.
"We don't want this bar to be a blight on the city of Marysville," he said.

Urbana man gets 55 months for nonsupport

By MAC CORDELL
An extensive juvenile record and a blossoming record as an adult has
lead to a prison sentence for an Urbana man.
Earnest Lee Nichols Jr., 21, of 231 W. Court St. in Urbana, will spend
the next 55 months in prison, a sentence that came as a surprise to the man.
In July, Nichols pleaded guilty to five counts of nonsupport of
dependents, all felonies of the fifth degree, for failing to maintain
child support payments between April 2004 and February of this year.
As part of his deal to plead guilty, prosecutors agreed to recommend
community control and not a prison sentence. That recommendation is not
binding on the judge, however.
Nichols appeared before the judge from Tri-County Regional Jail in
Mechanicsburg, by way of a video system. He is being held as a result of
a probation violation out of Champaign County.
"Please give me a chance," Nichols requested of the judge. "That is all I can say."
Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard E. Parrott questioned the
man about his probation violation. Nichols said he failed to provide the
probation department with proof of compliance with a drug and alcohol program.
"Your honor, I messed up," the defendant said. "I am sorry."
Yeah, you did," Parrot told him.
"I am just trying to get my life straight," Nichols said.
The judge then began to review the defendant's criminal record,
beginning with a theft conviction at age 8 and which includes more than
15 arrests as a juvenile and several as an adult.
"I don't even remember," Nichols said when asked if the record was accurate.
"That's the problem," the judge concluded.
Parrott rejected the recommendation and sentenced Nichols to 11 months
on each of the five charges, to be served consecutively.
"You have an extensive juvenile record and an adult record and you lied
to my questioning," Parrott said.
In addition to the 55 months in prison, Nichols must also pay
restitution of $6,191.73, pay court costs and reimburse the county
$2,500 for his public defender.
After Parrott announced the more than four-and-a-half year sentence,
Nichols questioned what the sentence meant.
"Am I getting probation?" he asked.
"No, no. You are going to prison," the prison announced.
Nichols began to cry.
"For how long?" he asked.
When informed that he would spend 55 months in prison, the man began to cry harder.
"I've got to go to prison for 55 months? My god. I'm done," Nichols said.
Parrott then asked the defendant what he thought should be done.
"Do you think you should be let out so you can assault people and not
pay your support?" Parrott asked the man. "I don't think so."
Nichols turned his anger on his attorney.
"I thought you was a good lawyer," he yelled into the video arraignment system.

Governor helps unveil new Accord
By MAC CORDELL
Local dignitaries, Honda officials and Gov. Ted Strickland gathered on
Court Street Tuesday evening to celebrate the unveiling of the 2008
Honda Accord and the autoplant's 25 years in Union County.
"What is evident here today, is that designs and features may change,"
Strickland said. "What is unchanged, my friends, is the pride we all
have in the great Ohio-built Honda Accord."
The governor noted that Honda has built not only great cars, but also
"great families, great partnerships and great communities."
Tim Garrett, Honda of America vice-president, thanked the state for its
support, both politically and economically.
"Regardless of who was governor, regardless of who was in control, we
have maintained a great relationship with the state," he said.
Strickland said that for every dollar the state or local government has
given Honda, the company has invested 67.
"That is a pretty good investment," the governor said.
He added that Honda's impact reaches beyond Union County.
"The significance of this plant in Marysville is that more than 150 Ohio
companies supply parts to Honda in Marysville," Strickland said.
Akio Hamada, Honda of America president and chief executive officer,
said the prosperity of the company is attributable to the community
support and the associates.
"When people talk about Honda, they often talk about our technology,"
Hamada said. "But our success is because Honda has surrounded itself
with great people."
He added, "We have been building cars in Ohio since 1982. This has been
possible because we have grown together with communities like Marysville."
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse credited Honda as, "the fuel that energized
the economic engine that was Union County and Marysville."
"While the rest of Ohio, most of it, was experiencing a time of lost
jobs and lost business and so forth, we were prospering and we continue
to prosper in Union County because of the partnership we have fostered
with Honda," said Kruse, who noted he was a city councilman when Honda
located to Marysville.
The mayor said more than the economic impact, Honda has brought new
people to the region.
"These people have brought with them new talents, new ideas, new
thinking," said Kruse. "They have become involved in our communities,
our churches, our schools and that has meant as much to me as anything else."
Hamada said it has taken many people and groups to make Honda successful.
"Your belief in Honda, the foresight and planning of the local and state
leaders, and the hard work of our associates, suppliers, contractors and
dealers has been a combination that equals success," said Hamada. "That
is why I want to say 'Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has played a
role in our success."
Hamada said it was a risk for a Japanese auto manufacturer to move a
plant to America, but, "that risk has paid big dividends."
He noted that people see Honda as a long-standing company.
"We don't see 28 years (since it was decided to build the plant) as a
long time," Hamada said. "We see it as a good beginning."
Honda officials have not released a date when the new Accord will go on
sale or a final price for the vehicle.

Marysville to try again for levy
It's back to the voters for the Marysville School Board.
Members Roy Fraker, Bill Hayes and Scott Johnson voted Tuesday evening
in a special meeting to place a five-year, 4.75-mill operating levy on
the Nov. 6 ballot. Board members Tom Brower and Jeff Mabee were absent.
November's ballot issue will be the same issue voters defeated Aug. 7 by
an official margin of 2,234 to 1,224. (Total votes cast were 3,458;
voter turnout was 20.12 percent.)
That was the first defeat the school district has experienced since
1998, according to superintendent Larry Zimmerman.
"Our biggest issue is growth," Zimmerman said. He said pupil enrollments
at the high school, middle school, Navin Elementary and the newly open
Northwood Elementary are greater than anticipated.
"Our numbers are maintaining above what we expected them to be," he said.
Members briefly questioned decreasing the millage, but Zimmerman said
"Any lower and we couldn't maintain what we are doing right now."
"I think we have to stay with 4.75 (mills) and we have to move forward,"he said.
"I don't see any other way," said Hayes.
Also present at the meeting was Mary Snider, Union County auditor, who
certified the ballot issue. She and school treasurer Delores "Dee"
Cramer discussed the disbursement of public funds.
"Here we are 60 days into this fiscal year and we're still behind,"
Cramer said, adding that she still doesn't know the dollar amount of
funds the school will be receiving.
"They have got to have all this stuff done so we will know what
(funding) is going to be."

Financial picture tightening for Fairbanks district

By KARLYN BYERS
Come January, Fairbanks School Board members will have to take a good
look at district finances, Fairbanks Treasurer Aaron Johnson told the
board Monday night.
Second half expenses have been worse than predicted, he said, and the
lack of growth in state aid has been felt.
The state eliminated "cost of doing business" funding, added
superintendent Jim Craycraft, which meant the district lost roughly a
quarter million dollars.
In addition, Craycraft said, the phasing out of the personal property
tax and a flatter housing market have contributed to a decrease in
district finances. Those have been coupled with the hiring of three
special education instructors and an additional science teacher - both
necessitated by state requirements.
"(And) we didn't get a dime of the 3 percent increase in state funding
Gov. (Ted) Strickland has been talking about," Craycraft said.
"It's not the best forecast in the world," said board member Dave Huber.
"I just don't want us to get in the position of getting a new school and
pushing a levy right on top of that."
Ground was broken May 30 on the district's new elementary school on
Route 38. Its anticipated completion is fall 2008.
Board members also made plans to attend the Central Ohio School Board
Association Fall Conference, at which Gloria Werline, Fairbanks
curriculum coordinator, and Milford Center resident Ray Chappelear will
be awarded "excellent employee" and "friend of education" awards respectively.
The recognition will be held Sept. 26 at Villa Milano in Columbus.
Chappelear, a retired teacher and individual respected by the Fairbanks
community - according to board members - was nominated by board member
Mark Lippencott. Werline was nominated by board vice president Star Simpson.
In other business, the board:
.Rehired Werline, beginning Sept. 1 and continuing through July 31,
2009. Werline retired at the April 16 board meeting. She will make the
same salary she was previously being paid.
.Approved a stipend of $500 in lieu of providing a cell phone to Werline.
.Approved a transfer of $12,500 from the general fund to the athletic fund.
.Approved a change order for the high school/middle school renovation
project in the amount of $31,069.
.Hired Rhonda Fairchild, Larry Nicol, Steve Garrabrant and Mark A. Nicol
as substitute bus drivers; Kimberly Bowen as substitute bus driver and
substitute custodian; Paula Nicol, volunteer bus driver; Nelson Mills,
full-time bus driver (one-year contract); Kelly Hall and Karen
Bennedict, substitute secretaries; Brandi Vollrath, substitute
secretary, substitute cook; Linda Lemaster and Candace Rucker,
substitute cooks; Connie Nicol, substitute cook and substitute
educational aide; and Lester Robinson, substitute custodian.
.Authorized supplemental contracts to Karen Saffle, Mock Trial advisor;
Fred Johnson and David Saffle, volunteer Mock Trial advisors; June
Ackley, fifth grade team leader; Kristi Payne, sixth grade team leader,
IAT team member; Joe Newell, seventh grade team leader, IAT team member;
Beth Morse eighth grade team leader, eighth grade Power of the Pen
advisor, middle school Student Council advisor; Lisa Studenmund, IAT
team coordinator; Pat Lucas, IAT team member; Claudia Bartow, National
Junior Honor Society advisor; Sarah Scott, seventh grade Power of the
Pen advisor; Chip Fillman, outdoor education coordinator; John Moore,
Washington, D.C. coordinator; and Matt Humphrey, middle school ski club advisor.
.Approved athletic contracts for Angela Crosley, assistant varsity
volleyball coach; Rachel Harney, band camp assistant; Monica Renner,
reserve volleyball coach; and John Moore, assistant athletic director.
.Approved Panther Paws staff members Michelle School, coordinator, at
$12 an hour; and Janet Bardin and Janice Hovis, staff, at $10 per hour each.
.Authorized rates for the Panther Paws Program for the 2007-2008 school
year as follows - Kinder Paws, $12 per day (one-two days per week);
Kinder Paws, $60 per week (three or more days per week); Panther Paws,
$8 per day (one-two days per week); Panther Paws, $35 per week (three or
more days per week); registration fee, $25, non-refundable.
.Approved a 20-day extended service contract for Ed Rebmann for the
2007-2008 school year.
.Accepted substitute teachers that are approved by the Delaware/Union
Education Service Center for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Accepted the resignation of Julie Sheckler, R.N.

Community invited to Honda party
New Accord will be unveiled
By MAC CORDELL
Honda is having a party and the community is invited.
Today at 5 p.m., Honda of America Mfg. is scheduled to unveil the 2008
Accord at a ceremony on the lawn of the Union County Courthouse.
"We feel like we want to share this with them (the community)," said Sam
Harpest, Honda of America Mfg. vice president and Marysville automotive
plant manager. "Without their support, we wouldn't be here probably. To
give them the first chance to see the car was important to us."
Ron Litzke, Honda of America Mfg. spokesman, said in the past, new
models were unveiled at the plant and community leaders were invited. He
added that the unveiling was never meant to be a media event, but was to
be a chance for community residents to see what their friends and
neighbors have been working on at Honda.
"Given the impact of the 2008 Accord, and the 25-year milestone of the
auto plant in Marysville, we thought it might be nice to take it to the
community and let them participate in the celebration.
"This is an opportunity for people to see the new Accord and get in it,
to talk to the new design team and the plant officials."
Plant officials and community dignitaries will offer brief remarks, but
Litzke said they will be concluded in about 23 minutes.
No party is complete without refreshments and they will be available
too, but the star of the show is clearly the car.
Harpest said the car is the biggest Accord Honda has ever made. He said
the increased size is an effort to attract a new market segment, noting
specifically empty nesters and those who like the size, but do not want
to drive a mini-van. Vehicle specifications indicate that with 35
millimeters added to the back seat, riders there will have nearly as
much room as those in the front seat.
In addition to the size, Honda officials think the first thing to catch
the eye will be the car's design.
"I think the overall styling is what they will notice," said Harpest. "I
think that has changed drastically."
He said the car is more sporty and will hopefully allow the Accord to
appeal to a wider buyer demographic. He added that customers will also
notice several new and different colors for the Accord.
Harpest said the driver will notice a better drive with a lot more luxury.
"I think you are going to see a car with a lot more room and a better
drive. Hopefully we have made it an overall more comfortable car for
them," said Harpest. "I think it is an exceptional ride."
Litzke added that features have been added and an emphasis was placed on
ergonomics, ease and comfort for the driver and passengers.
"This Accord certainly takes luxury to a new level for the Accord," Litzke said.
All the changes in the car meant changes at the plant as well.
"It is a bigger vehicle so it did need some plant changes to accommodate
production," Harpest said.
He noted that it has been the associates that made the transition smooth.
"I think we have made a lot of improvements," said Harpest. "The new
model team has worked really hard on this new vehicle and the associates
have really stepped up the plate in producing this model.
The associates have made the 2008 Accord to "the highest quality we have
ever been able to introduce a car at."
Harpest said officials at the Marysville auto plant have made changes to
help make the model transitions easier for the associates.
"We did a lot of innovations in the past seven years,' Harpest said.
"This new model was a lot easier to bring on than models in the past."
Those innovations include items like extending the line, use of magnets
to hold items in place so associates can work from outside the car
without getting in and out, as well as robotics that hold the vehicle
frame and adjust to the height of the associate working on the vehicle
rather than the associate reaching or stooping.
Honda officials have not released a date when the new Accord will go on
sale or a final price for the vehicle.
Harpest said he hopes community members will come out and enjoy the unveiling.
"We wanted to thank the community for all its support," said Harpest.
"Hopefully a lot of the community members will become Honda owners if
they are not already."

Local woman saves Prospect family from fireBy RYAN HORNS
A Marysville woman's fateful decision to turn around and help after
seeing a couch fire in Prospect may have saved an entire household.
Just after midnight on Aug. 4, Mary Bond was on her way home after
visiting family in Prospect when she noticed a couch burning on the
front porch of 212 S. Main St. in the Marion County village.
The house was being rented by Cherrelyn Pierson, where she lived with
her children Bethany, 14, and Dustin, 18. Both children were asleep
inside at the time. The mother was not at home.
"It looked like vandalism and I thought, 'I bet they don't know about
it,'" Bond said. "The flames had already begun going up the porch wall."
Opening the front door, she called out to anyone inside and saw Bethany,
who said she wouldn't leave without her brother. Bond said the two went
upstairs and awaked him, but when they all tried to leave, the fire had
become out of control.
"About two minutes had gone by and we started to choke from the smoke
and we tried to get back downstairs but we couldn't," Bond said.
It was then that she decided to get a blanket, wrap it around them and
try to rush out of the house.
"I told them, 'We gotta run downstairs as fast as we can,'" Bond said.
The three ran and were able to make it outside to the front lawn in safety.
Looking back, Bond said if anything had gone differently there was no
telling how the fire could have ended. Knowing that she and the two
children had all begun to choke on the smoke and barely made it out the
front door in time, she said it is possible the children may not have
made it out if she hadn't seen the fire early.
Ever since the fire the Pierson family and Bond's own family has called
her their "angel."
"I'm thankful I turned around and went back," Bond said. "I don't like
to think about what could have been."
Minutes after making it out to the lawn safely, she said, Pierson and
other residents began arriving on the scene. Everyone slowly began to
realize how serious the situation was.
Pierson told fire officials that she was down the block when she began
hearing sirens and fire trucks. Rushing to her home out of worry, she
saw her house on fire and soon found her children among the crowd
gathered on the street.
"The little girl was hysterical and the boy was almost in shock and I
started to get choked up too," Bond said.
The house eventually burned to the ground and the Pierson family lost everything.
"All they have are the clothes that they had on their back," Bond said.
Efforts to help the family have been started. The Pierson Family Fire
Fund is established at any United Bank branch to assist in the purchase
of clothing, household items and furniture lost in the fire. Those
wishing to help with clothing may drop off items at the Prospect branch
of the United Bank. The mother wears size 14 slacks and a large size
shirt or blouse. The son wears size34/32 pants and large shirts and the
daughter wears size 7 pants and a medium shirt size.
Bond said she recently had lunch with Pierson, who continues to express
how thankful she is.

Honda to unveil new Accord

By MAC CORDELL
Last week Honda associates went into full production mode for the 2008 Accord.
"It is a celebrated event because there is a lot of work that goes into
this that the general public doesn't see," said Steve Atwell,
engineering coordinator at the Honda of America Mfg. automotive plant in Marysville.
Part of that celebration will be held Tuesday as the 2008 Accord makes
its global debut at the Union County Courthouse. The work the public
doesn't see began years ago when Honda officials decided to change the
look of the Accord. The company offers a major redesign of each of its
models about every five years.
Atwell, who lived in Japan for two years while he helped work on the
design for the new vehicle, said that is a pretty standard schedule.
Ron Litzke, spokesman for Honda of America Mfg., said changing the look
of the Accord comes with some concern.
"This is a huge gamble," said Litzke. "This is Honda's best selling
model in the U.S. and you are making big changes to it."
Atwell said the company does its homework to minimize the risks.
"It is a gamble, but it is a gamble based on feedback and analysis,"
Atwell said. "We get feedback of what the public wants and what they are buying."
Litzke said designers talk to current customers as well as perspective
customers to see what they like and don't like about their cars.
Officials gather information about their potential customers - what they
buy, when they buy and most importantly why they buy.
"It is a people driven process," Litzke said.
"They start by looking at what the customer wants and what they use it
for. They create an image of what the Accord should be."
Market data is gathered, summarized and analyzed. Based on that
analysis, a conceptual design is completed and a one-quarter scale clay
model is made. Designers, engineers and other officials discuss the
model and make decisions about the designs.
"The model is changed, based on where the decisions are going," Litzke said.
Once those changes are made, a full-size clay model is made. Again,
discussions are held, pieces of the model taken off, clay added, angles changes.
"It goes through several approval stages before it is locked in and the
clay model goes through lots of changes in that clay model stage
-sometimes unnoticeably, sometimes radically," Atwell said.
When each department and official has had their say and a design is
agreed on, every piece and angle of the car is measured and entered into
a computer design.
"Once the design is fixed, data is provided based on that model," Atwell
said. "Every millimeter is translated into digital data that we use."
From that digital data, individual components of the car are built by
groups in the automobile plant.
The prototype parts are put together and a prototype car is built. As
the car is being put together, special attention is paid to how the
parts fit together and how the process could be made simpler and more
efficient. Everything is considered, from what type of fasteners should
be used at specific spots on the vehicle to how metal should be bent.
"What you are trying to figure out at that point is what's the best way
do that," Litzke said.
He said input from those manufacturing the parts is essential because
the best design is useless if it cannot be mass produced in an expedient
or cost-effective manner.
The newly built car is analyzed and changes documented. New prototype
parts are designed and made. The new parts are used to build a new prototype vehicle.
The new vehicle is tested and evaluated.
 "Generally it goes through about three phases of that, give or take," Atwell said.
When Honda officials are pleased with the way the parts come together,
tools are made for machines at the plant, using the final prototype parts and data.
Usually done over the weekend when the plant is not in use, tools are
pulled off actual production machines and replaced with the newly made
tools. Parts are made using the new tools. The parts are put together
and a complete car is built.
Actually, many complete cars are built as Honda officials and associates
go through the entire production process.
"We want to know how easy the new parts are to handle, attach, load and
put through the normal production sequence," said Litzke. "We want to
make sure everything comes together just perfectly."
He said that during tool trials, minute changes can be made to improve
the fit and finish of the vehicle or its individual components.
The new tools are not the only variable in the process.
"During the process, you have over 5,000 associates learning to make a
new car," Litzke said. "They need to learn their process as well."
He said it is important for tools and associates to produce the exact
same part each time.
"We want 100 percent every time," Litzke said.
Before the car goes into mass production, it is allowed to "mature."
Some vehicles are tested on tracks and some are camouflaged and driven
on the roads and highways. The drivers evaluate the vehicle's
performance and provide feedback.
The reaction of other drivers who see the vehicle is also gauged.
"We want people to go 'Wow. What was that?'" Litzke said.
Once all the bugs are worked out, "we start building cars for
customers," Litzke said.
"That is a big event here," he said. "It is a slow phase in of the new
model so everyone learns to make the new model and as that goes, the
number we produce grows."
The plant, based on its versatility is quickly ramped up to full
production. Once the vehicle is unveiled, it will be another several
weeks before it goes on sale and a price is announced. A cache of the
vehicles is produced and shipped to dealerships so they will hopefully
not sell out and frustrate customers.
Work does not stop once the new vehicle is unveiled. A concept for the
next model of Accord is already underway in Japan.
"Feedback from the customers is ultimately what will determine where the
next generation of the Accord will go," Litzke said.

Marysville losing its asst. superintendent
Handler takes  job in Dublin

From J-T staff reports
As the Marysville School District readies for the start of classes next
week, it says goodbye to assistant superintendent Neal Handler.
"It is with such mixed emotions that I leave this wonderful school
district," Handler said. "The students, staff, parents and community
have made my nine years here very fulfilling."
Handler has accepted the position of Coordinator of Human Resources with
Dublin City Schools.
"I love what I do in Marysville, but this provided an opportunity for me
to take on a new challenge," he said.
"Our friends in Dublin are getting one of the best administrators in the
business," Larry Zimmerman, superintendent of Marysville Schools, said.
"We will miss him dearly."
As assistant superintendent in Marysville, Handler served as the human
resources director, policy director, and legal liaison, as well as
providing oversight of curriculum and assessment and handling custody
and residency issues.
"All one has to do is look around at the quality of our staff and our
overall district test scores to see the positive influence Neal has
had," Zimmerman said. "He has a great sense of what it takes to be a
good teacher and to promote quality learning."
Through 34 years in education, Handler has been involved at nearly every
level. Fresh out of college, he first served as a high school English
and speech teacher at Circleville Schools. From there he was a high
school guidance counselor with Teays Valley, a curriculum supervisor for
the Union County Schools, the high school principal at Fairbanks, and
middle school principal at North Union.
"Just before coming to Marysville, Neal was with Olentangy High School
as their assistant principal" Zimmerman said. "That prior experience was
valuable to us as we sought to understand growth and the impacts it
would have on our district."
"Marysville is an exceptional school district and I am proud to have
been a part of such an important period in its timeline," Handler said.
"I will not forget this place I have called home for so long, nor its
amazing people. The fine accomplishments our students have made thanks
to the hard work and guidance of our staff partnered with parents is to
be commended."
The board of education has not yet advertised a position to replace
Handler. Zimmerman said that the administrative team and board will take
some time to weigh its options and develop the position that best suits
the need of the still growing school district.
In the meantime, the responsibilities of the assistant superintendent
will be picked up by others in the district's central office.
"We already run a slim staff and this will overfill many plates in our
office for a time, but we want to take this opportunity to evaluate the
best solution for the void created," Zimmerman said. "Neal has carried a
unique mix of responsibilities and he will not easily be replaced."

Far from home
Steve Atwell and his family lived in Japan for two years as
part of a work assignment for Honda

Editor's note: This is the second in a four-part series on Honda of
America leading up to Tuesday's unveiling of the 2008 Accord.
---
By MAC CORDELL
Steve and Carol Atwell, along with their daughter, are from America,
Marysville actually.
However, are they not strangers in Japan either.
Steve has made several business trips to the Asian island for business.
Carol lived in Japan for several years as a preteen and teen while her
father was in the military.
Recently the Marysville family returned from a mission from Japan. The
mission, not religious but rather business, led them to Utsunomiya,
Japan for two years. In the prefecture of Tachigi, Utsunomiya is about
an hour north of Tokyo by train.
An engineering coordinator at the Honda of America Mfg. automotive plant
in Marysville, Atwell was sent to Japan to help engineer the bumper and
instrument panel on the soon-to-be-released 2008 Honda Accord.
"It was probably two of the most challenging and rewarding years of my
life, at least my career at Honda," Steve said.
Since joining the automotive giant straight out of high school 25 years
ago, Honda has been a large part of Steve's life. With no college
education, he said he considers himself, "one of the lucky ones. I feel
pretty fortunate to land a job like this."
Steve Atwell was selected for the overseas project about three years ago
as Honda officials looked for someone to help design the new Accord and
to act as a liaison between engineers in Japan and manufacturers in
Marysville. Plant officials sought qualified individuals who may be
interested in spending two years in Japan. Atwell said he would be
interested and after an interview process, was selected.
"I have had extensive past history going back and forth from Japan on
business trips and I guess I had what my department was looking for."
Atwell said his commitment to the challenge was prompted by his, "desire
to support the company and see it succeed."
He added, "it has been a career-long desire for me to follow a new car
from design to actual production of it on the floor."
Carol was not as initially eager as her husband.
"At first, my wife was a little apprehensive and then she realized the
benefits, she was ready to go and my daughter was ready to go," Atwell said.
His time in Japan was not a vacation. It entailed 10, 12, even 15 hour days.
"Spending that time in Japan is not an eight hour a day job," Steve
Atwell said. "At points it involved not seeing much of my family and a
lot of 12 to 15 hour days, television conferences, telephone calls, just
to get the smallest of details worked out."
The time was not without its rewards.
"It is exciting to develop a car from a sketch design," Atwell said.
"Everyday, I came home from work with a sense of accomplishment from
completing some little something.
"It definitely fosters a sense of teamwork."
He said it helped to think that his work in the Far East was helping his
friends and co-workers in Marysville.
"That was always something that was in the background, that was always a
priority " to make the best car and to make installing and making these
parts as easy and as consistant as possible."
While Steve worked many hours, Carol spent her time volunteering and
being part of an international ladies club. She had a class of 12 she
taught English. In response, those women taught Carol about Japanese cuisine.
"I was more interested in making relationships and learning about other
people and culture than in making money," said Carol.
In a foreign country, relationships become very important Carol said.
She added she still corresponds with about 25 of her Japanese friends,
and she believes that bond will not soon fade.
"In Japanese culture, once you develop a friend, you develop a friend
for life," Carol said. "They take friendship very seriously."
Now 15, Brittany was homeschooled while in Japan.
"Once she started branching out and meeting people, it was a very
positive experience for her. She made a lot of friends she keeps in
contact with," said he father.
"It was new and it was a good experience," Brittany said. "I miss it
sometimes, but overall, I am glad to be home."
The family went to amusement parks and to cities as well as other
cultural and religious centers.
"We kind of gave her a mixed culture of western, but also of rural Japan
where it wasn't so western " kind of new Japan versus what Japan used to be."
Steve said Brittany, a quiet girl, "learned how to hang out with kids
her own age at the mall and learned what Japanese teen culture is all about."
Both Steve and Carol said they would be on a plane tomorrow if they were
given the opportunity to return.
"We all had a really, really good experience," Carol said.
"The culture shock coming back to your own culture is worse than going
to the other country."
She said the courtesy, respect and perspective of the Japanese people
remind her of, "the way Americans used to be."
Steve said it has been an interesting transition back to American customs.
"It hasn't been bad," Atwell said. "It has been different. We were
treated exceptionally well over seas. The Japanese culture goes out of
its way to be courteous and polite to people. That is not always the
case in the U.S.
"Once you have been to Japan for a while, you kind of get used to it and
participate in that courteous society. It took some time to get used to
American culture again."
Carol compared the Japan of her youth with the one she just returned
from saying, "It is getting very westernized, which I don't like. When
you go to another country you want to see their culture. If it all looks
like America, it ruins their culture."
She said older Japanese citizens are also struggling with the
westernization of their country.
Carol said while in Japan she learned there were a lot of things she
could do without, the family gave its entire collection of VHS tapes to
Carol's English students so they could practice.
"You learn to simplify your life," Carol Atwell said. "I think our
family needs to get back to the simple life. Family is the most
important thing. Material things are not all that important."
Now the family has hundreds of pictures to remind them of their trip.
Traditional Japanese style flags hang around the Atwell house, which has
any number of other Japanese items displayed prominently.
It helps them remember another land they call home.

District OKs on the spot drug testing
By CORINNE BIX
The Triad board of education approved an addendum to the high school
student handbook giving school officials the right to administer a rapid
saliva drug screen if a student is suspected of being under the
influence of illegal drugs.
The addendum has been added as a result of an incident that occurred in the spring.
A pair of students suspected of drug use were questioned and one of the
two admitted outright to being under the influence. The other student
denied the use and agreed to a drug test 24 hours after being
questioned. It was rumored that the student flushed their system in the 24 interim.
Dan Kaffenbarger, superintendent, said that by using an on-the-spot
saliva drug screen, any future issues could be resolved both quickly and accurately.
Kaffenbarger added that the test would only be used in instances when
drug abuse was suspected by both a teacher and a school administrator.
In most cases the student would be showing outward signs that they were
under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Kaffenbarger reminded board members that due to a definitive change as
granted by the Ohio Department of Education, school will start next week
on Thursday, August 23, not Wednesday, August 22, as previously released.
The next regular board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, September 20,
in the elementary library.
In other news:
- Accepted the resignation of Kimberly Geer as two hour cook effective immediately.
- Approved the certified employment of Brittany Whitt as a 4/7 math
teacher for the 07-08 school year.
- Approved the classified employment of Tammy Bullard as a bus driver
for the 07-08 school year.
- Approved the following classified personnel as substitute bus drivers;
Terry Donohoe, Melissa Eckemeyer, Kim Geer, Lori James, Jim Smith,
Caroline Wolford and James White; as substitute secretaries: Leslie
Coleman, Janet Kaffenbarger and Mindy Pelfrey; as substitute cafeteria
staff: Deb Castle, Grace Corbet, Oma Gregg, Carmen Huffman and Tina
Wells; as substitute nurses: Treasa Donay, Karla Mayberry and Darcy
Watkins; as custodians Jon Simonelli and Mike Wagner.
- Approved various certified personnel, dates and rates for professional
development training.
- Approved Doug Kitchen in the certified supplemental position of
teacher mentor.
- Approved Jack Stout as the virtual learning academy teacher for summer
2007 at a rate of $150 per student.
- Approved the lists of substitute teachers, aides and nurses as
presented by the Madison-Champaign ESC for the 07-08 school year.
- Approved the addition of the high school fee of $15 for a calculator fee.
- Approved the fiscal year 2008 CCIP for grant allocations.
- Approved the 07-08 Triad elementary staff handbook
- Approved the agreement with the Logan County ESC for vision impaired
services for the 07-08 school year in the amount not to exceed $3,745.
- Approved the Type A and a la carte lunchroom prices for the 07-08
school year. The type A or basic school lunch is $1.75 the same price as last year.
- Approved the student insurance program administered by Griffin
Agencies, LTD., underwritten by Guarantee Life Trust Insurance Co.
- Approved the student activity purpose and practice statement for all
student activities.

A quarter century of making cars
Editor's note: This is the first of a four-part series about Honda of
America, leading up to the unveiling of the new Accord on Tuesday.
---
By MAC CORDELL
In November, Honda of America Mfg. and Marysville, will celebrate a milestone together.
The Japan-based manufacturer's automotive division has been in
Marysville for 25 years and produced more than 8 million cars.
Former Union County Commissioner Glenn Irwin says he remembers the day
30 years ago when a contingent of Japanese and their attornies showed up
at the courthouse. He said the Japanese came with "great humility."
"They sat in a semicircle around the commissioners' table," said Irwin.
As a first year commissioner he said he kind of followed the lead of the
other two commissioners.
County officials learned that on a trip to Japan, then governor Jim
Rhodes had met Honda founder Soichiro Honda and identified the company
as a good match for Ohio.
"It was really the first time we had the state or the department of
development come to us wanting to put up anything more than a stop sign
or something," Irwin joked.
Shortly after that initial meeting between the commissioners and company
officials, Rhodes made an announcement that the Honda Motorcycle Plant
would be built in Union County.
During a reception at the Marysville Country Club, the county
commissioners got a message from the governor.
"He put his arm around the three of us as far as he could," Irwin said.
"He told us, 'Now boys, we promised these boys a tax abatement and it is
up to you to make that happen.' That was kind of where the rubber met the road."
The former commissioner said some community members were not pleased
about the tax abatement going to a Japanese company.
"Some of the things they said and wrote about our giving the tax
abatement was not very complementary," said Irwin. "The thing you have
to remember is that at that time, we had double digit unemployment
numbers in this county, you had a lot of young men in this county
working, milking cows for their fathers. We had a high interest rate
that had killed off any construction in this county."
Irwin said "the gods" had aligned for economic conditions in Union
County to facilitate the new company.
"When Honda told us they would not hire anyone from more than a 35-mile
radius from the plant, it was a real positive for us."
Initially, it was only the motorcycle plant that was to be built in Union County.
"At that time they weren't sure about the automobile plan, but it was
being talked about as a possibility," Irwin said.
On Sept. 10, 1979, the first motorcycle came off the line in Marysville.
The very next day, Honda officials in Japan confirmed plans to proceed
with the automobile plant.
"They wanted to see if we could build a car as well as they could build
a car," Irwin said. "We showed them very definitely, we could."
Irwin said the plant offered high wages for the day. The unemployment
rate fell and a housing boom began, jump-starting the local economy.
Akio Hamada, president of Honda of America Mfg. Inc. says the people of
Union and the surrounding counties have done as much for the company as
it has done for them.
"On the outside, the Marysville Auto Plant is 25 years old," wrote
Hamada. "But on the inside, our associates have used their passion and
knowledge to keep their plant at the top of the global industry."
In 1976, when the Japanese-built Accord made its debut for a price of
$3,995, it had such industry leading and revolutionary features as a
light indicating when fuel was low, two speed windshield wipers, an
inside hood and hatchback releases, and a control post on the steering
column that not only controlled the vehicle's turn signals, but also
served as the high/low beam switch for the headlights.
At that point, Hondas, while many were assembled in America, were
foreign cars using mainly imported parts. Today, most parts, including
the engine, are made in America using 525 U.S. based suppliers.
While many of innovations on the first Accord are now standard on most
vehicles, Honda officials say the next generation Accord, set to be
unveiled Tuesday in Marysville, is as innovative as the first one.
 "The all-new 2008 Accord will arrive in dealerships this Fall - and
while it is too early to disclose many details, I can tell you that it
will serve as a clear expression of Honda's clean, safe, and fun brand
values," John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co., senior vice president
for auto operations, said in January at the 2007 North American
International Auto Show.
He said the 2008 Accord will come to market with unique technology in
the areas of fuel economy and body structure.
Local government officials say Honda has provided the same leadership
civically that it has industrially.
"Honda has been a great corporate and community partner for 25 years,"
said current county commissioner Gary Lee. "They continue to address the
needs of the community and certainly have added tremendous employment
opportunities for the people not only in Union County but in central Ohio."
Even officials at the federal level recognize the impact the Honda auto
plant has had in the region.

Triad eliminates bus passes
Parents must designate one pickup, one drop off location

By CORINNE BIX
At Thursday's meeting, the Triad board of education was reminded of the
district's new transportation policy, which requires parents designate
only one pick-up location and one drop-off location for students that
utilize the bus system.
The new policy eliminates bus passes except in the case of an emergency.
In the event of an emergency, parents or guardians should contact Carole
Combs, transportation coordinator, and she will field the request and
make the necessary change.
Dan Kaffenbarger, superintendent, said the primary reason for the new
policy is to ensure student safety. In past years, it has been
commonplace for many students to request bus passes at the end of the
school day, increasing chances that a mistake could be made and a
student would be dropped off at the wrong location or not picked up at
the correct location the following morning.
The district is in the process of laying a new floor in the high school lobby.
On July 26, the board held a special meeting and approved the project to
be classified as that of "urgent necessity" so the bid process could be eliminated.
The original concrete and tile was laid incorrectly and was repaired in
2003 after the building had been opened. The lobby is 3500 square feet.
The board approved a do not exceed amount on the project of $40,000.
The board approved to employ Jack Stout as a retire/rehire as a
4/7-transition teacher for upcoming school year. The motion passed three
to two. Chris Millice and Randy Moore voted no.
Grant dollars will cover 75 percent of Stout's salary with the remaining
25 percent to come from the general fund.
The board adjourned into executive session for the purpose of
consideration of a employee discipline. No action was taken.
He also updated the board on the newly released state report card
ratings. Overall, Triad was rated a continuous improvement district. The
elementary received an effective rating, the middle school a continuous
improvement grade and the high school was rated excellent.
Kaffenbarger reminded board members that due to a definitive change as
granted by the Ohio Department of Education, school will start next week
on Thursday, August 23, not Wednesday, August 22, as previously
released.

City may call for traffic study

By RYAN HORNS
As the repair of Marysville streets and wastewater projects moves
forward, the focus of the city has swayed toward fixing the
ever-increasing problem of traffic.
At a Public Service Committee meeting earlier this week, Marysville City
Engineer Phil Roush said that his office received the Marysville Traffic
Study draft plan on Friday from the engineering, architecture and
planning firm MS Consultants, Inc.
Roush said the draft includes three tasks: A thoroughfare plan update,
spot studies on specific roads and intersections, and a traffic signal
evaluation. Essentially the study would eventually update the existing
2000 Marysville Thoroughfare Plan, use other existing information and
then predict issues expected to arise within the next 20 years.
MS Consultants placed the price tag to conduct a plan for all three
tasks, including additional optional studies, at roughly $152,500.
"I'd like to talk about this and try to determine how much we'd like to
do," Roush said.
He said the funding is not set aside for the traffic study until autumn,
so the committee should plan to meet together soon with MS Consultants
and go over the draft.
No date was officially set at the meeting, although the next regular
meeting is set for Sept. 17.
MS Consultants will prioritize traffic areas within the city, review
existing traffic studies, go over traffic counts and projected traffic
volumes, look at ways of reconfiguring routes, prospects of new turn
lanes, decide which roads need to be widened, and will factor in
pedestrian traffic and phasing traffic flow.
For residents looking forward to the opening of East Fifth Street, the
Draft Plan shows MS Consultants will look at a realignment for the
roadway, west of the CSX railroad crossing. One alternative would be to
remove East Fifth Street from the Five Points intersection altogether,
instead providing access to the road via Columbus Avenue at Dunham Street.
Spot studies listed in the Draft Plan also look at the interchange of
Route 4 at Route 31. Consultants plan to conduct two-hour night and day
peak hour traffic counts at the four ramp terminal intersections in that
area, review crash reports, develop two alternatives for how the roads
and ramps could be realigned and how signage could be corrected. An
individual report would be made in all aspects of their findings for the
interchange. The same goes for the intersection of Route 4 at Milford
Avenue, and Milford at Maple streets.
One large project defined in the draft study is to finally take a full
look at the Delaware Avenue Corridor. The consultants plan to do traffic
counts "because of the very recent development in the Coleman's Crossing area."
A total of six intersections in that area (Five Points, Charles Drive,
Coleman's Crossing, U.S. 33 eastbound and westbound ramps, and Watkins
Road) will be counted for one hour during both morning and nighttime peak flows.
Roush also discussed an issue raised in 2006, that of turning one road
leading from downtown Marysville to Delaware Avenue into a one-way route
heading east and another one-way road heading west. The prospects would
be to make either Fourth and Fifth streets into one way pairs, or making
Fourth and Sixth streets into one-way pairs. They have recommended
Fourth Street become westbound one-way in both scenarios.
Roush said that turning Fifth Street into a one way may not work as
well, because of all the businesses on the road.
"Fourth and Sixth seem more workable," he said.
Random suggestions were made in the discussion to rework the Five Points
intersection, such as removing the garden blockade where it cuts off
Cherry Street's connection toward Dunham Street. The plan details taking
a look at traffic signal phasing, adding additional lanes for left hand
turns and clear up congestion. The consultants even plan to see if Five
Points would work better as a roundabout.
Councilman Mark Reams wondered how traffic is going to flow off of Route
4 into the new schools currently being constructed. Would there be left
hand turn lanes to make access easier?
Roush said there would be and that the roadway would be widened at the
entrance of the school to incorporate those lanes.
Councilman John Gore asked to have a copy of the draft made for everyone
on Marysville City Council to review.
Public Service Director Tracie Davies agreed, saying that at some point
the document will need their approval anyway.
Council member Dan Fogt said that he hoped the traffic signal
evaluations would be placed high on the priority list.
Gore pointed out that when he looks at all the focus areas "almost all
of them should be at the top of the list."
Reams agreed, adding that all of the traffic and road projects are
connected to one another in some way.

Sheriff to kick off traffic enforcement campaign
From J-T staff reports
With summer quickly approaching its end and children getting ready to
return to school, many people begin to plan their last summer parties
and barbecues. The Union County Sheriff's Office is taking this time to
remind everyone that as people plan their parties, to keep safety in mind.
The Union County Sheriff's Office, along with law enforcement agencies
across the country, will be participating in the annual traffic
enforcement campaign known this year as "Drunk Driving . Over the Limit,
Under Arrest."
The sheriff's office will kick off this year's campaign at the
"Mocktail-Gate" which will be held Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at
the Union County Services Building on London Avenue. The event is open
to the public and features such things as an alcohol free drink contest
or "mocktail," a cookout, and various activities intended to educate the
motoring public about the consequences of alcohol impairment and driving.
"We believe in education first, and we look forward to the opportunity
to begin this campaign with an informational and yet entertaining
event," Sgt. Don Eubanks, project coordinator for the Union County
Sheriff's Office, said.
Traffic enforcement program will run from Friday through Labor Day on
Sept. 3 and its primary focus will be to remove impaired drivers from
the roadway. But traffic violations will also be strictly enforced with
an emphasis placed on excessive speed, aggressive driving issues, and
those not wearing seat belts.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
the average person who operates a car while under the influence, commits
this violation approximately 80 times a year, putting other drivers and
their families at great risk of personal harm.
"As always, the sheriff's office will take a zero tolerance approach
toward impaired drivers. Our message is simple - If you drive over the
limit, you will be under arrest," Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson said.
He said violators can lose their licenses, spend time in jail, and pay
high fines and court costs. If someone refuses a blood alcohol
concentration test, they will lose their license on the spot and have
their car impounded.
Nine out of 10 Americans who participate in social events where alcohol
is served feel that people should use designated drivers. Some simple
precautions can save loved ones from a lifetime of sadness.

JA leads way on school report cards
Marysville falls from excellent to effective

By MAC CORDELL
Schools around the state got grades of their own Tuesday as the Ohio
Department of Education released its annual report card for local schools.
The news was mostly good for five local school districts.
Jonathan Alder received the only excellent district designation locally.
Fairbanks, Marysville and North Union each earned effective district
designations while Triad received a continuous improvement designation.
Alder Superintendent Dr. Doug Carpenter credited the faculty and staff
of the district for the excellent rating.
"We have a lot of people in the trenches working hard to make sure
student performance is where it needs to be," Carpenter said.
He said his teachers take a "high-touch" mentality.
"Our teachers slow down and help students when they had questions and
listen to the students," Carpenter said. "A lot of our employees really
extend themselves to the kids and that pays high dividends."
While Alder had the highest designation and the highest performance
index score, 100.6 out of a possible 120, and met 29 of the state's 30
indicators, Fairbanks was the only district to make adequate yearly
progress according to the state.
"I am very pleased that we met our AYP," said Fairbanks Superintendent
Jim Craycraft. "There are a lot of good districts out there that did not
meet their AYP so it is very encouraging that we were able to."
Many individual buildings locally met their AYP, but those that did not
pulled their entire district down.
Dr. Daniel Kaffenbarger, Triad superintendent, said a historic look at
the adequate yearly progress shows there is a problem. He said several
years ago, about 65 percent of districts statewide met their AYP. For
the 2006-2007 school year, less than 30 percent of Ohio districts met their AYP.
"When you look at the trend, there is something wrong with the AYP
formula," Kaffenbarger said.
"That is going to be become increasingly more difficult each year for
districts to meet AYP. Each year they ratchet it up. More and more
districts are going to get caught up in the AYP problem."
Fairbanks remained an effective district, but increased its number of
state indicators met, 23 of 30 this in the 2006-2007 school year
compared to 21 of 25 in the 2005-2006 school year, and its performance
index score from 95.8 to 96.5.
"I am pleased to be effective," said Craycraft. "We would like to be
excellent. The fact that we are improving is good. That was our plan, to
improve a little bit each year.
"I think it is good. First, I think we are showing progress. Second, I
am pleased that we met AYP and importantly, we are keeping up the other schools."
Marysville and Triad both dropped designations and failed to meet
adequate yearly progress. Marysville fell from an excellent designation
in 2005-2006 to an effective rating in for 2006-2007. The district did
increase the number of state indicators met from 24 to 26, but its
performance index score fell nearly three points from 99.2 to 96.5 out
of a possible 120.
"Overall I was very pleased with the improvement in reading writing and
math," said Marysville Superintendent Larry Zimmerman. "We continue to
improve in those areas. It was the new testing areas that kind of got us.
"When you look at the test areas that were the same as last years, we
made progress. We would have been an excellent school district this year
without the new testing areas. I can't be disappointed because we
progressed in the areas we were prepared for. If we had not progressed
in the testing areas from last year, I would have been disappointed.
Zimmerman, like several of the other superintendents, said his district
prepared for concepts in science and social studies. The test, he said,
tested the students' knowledge of specific facts in those areas.
"We are going to have to back to the drawing board in those areas,"
Zimmerman said. "Where are kids fell down was on the specific questions.
We are going to have to go back and take a look at our instruction. I
would expect our kids to score very close in these areas to our reading
scores. That is what I expect from our kids."
Zimmerman said he has "great pride" in what the district is doing.
"We will get there," he said. "We have terrific students."
Triad dropped from an effective district in 2005-2006 to a continuous
improvement designation for 2006-2007. Triad also improved its number of
state indicators met from 16 to 19 in 2006-2007. The performance index
fell from 92.6 to 92.5.
"We are pleased that we have seen another year of improvement in most
areas," said Kaffenbarger.
He said Triad High School was rated excellent for the third year and the
elementary school was rated effective.
"We were actually expecting our students to perform better at the middle
school," Kaffenbarger said.
"We want to be continue to move things forward and we want to be able to
move resources around to be able to do that."
North Union Superintendent Richard D. Smith was as pleased as any
superintendent about his districts scores. For the second consecutive
year, the district earned an effective rating, meeting 24 of the state
indicators, up from 22 in 2005-2006. The district's performance index
score fell only slightly from 95.9 in 2005-2006 to 95.4.
"We are pleased that for the second year we are rated effective," Smith
said. "We picked up a couple of state standards. We are excited that
some of the things we implemented curriculum-wise are paying off. We are
striving for excellence."
He said he the scores show the district's progress.
"The district has come a long way from five years of continuous
improvement to two years of effective," Smith said. "I think that shows
real improvement and that we have invested the taxpayers money wisely.
We look forward to continuing to improve."
He added that he was disappointed that North Union did not meet its
annual yearly progress as a district but noted that all buildings in the
district did meet their AYP.

Triad schools to introduce Mandarin Chinese program
By CORINNE BIX
Triad officials are looking for innovative ways to prepare their
students for the global marketplace of tomorrow.
Including Chinese as a foreign language option is how they plan to start.
Triad Local schools wants to be one of the first districts statewide to
take advantage of the Ohio Department of Education's two-year visiting
teacher program to jump-start a Mandarin Chinese curriculum.
In June, Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger presented to the board a
proposal to include Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language option for
grades K-4, beginning as early as the 2008-2009 school year.
Kaffenbarger explained that studies have shown the benefits to students
far exceed presenting another option other than French and Spanish.
"The study of foreign language is an excellent way of stimulating
student learning because it demands higher order skills," Kaffenbarger
explained, "This program will differ from our traditional approach to
teaching a foreign language because it will begin that training at the
elementary level when students have better language acquisition skills."
Kaffenbarger said research has shown students who learn a foreign
language earlier in their education are more than likely to have
increased test scores, higher levels of cognitive development and be
better prepared for post-secondary education.
The district approximates that 32 percent of its high school students
took a foreign language during the 2006-2007 school year. The state
average is 45 percent and the national average is 51 percent.
Compared to other countries, US students fall short when it comes to
foreign language. It was determined in 2005 that only nine percent of
Americans speak both their native language and another language fluently.
Among European nations, half of the citizens know two languages and
eight out of 10 students ages 15-24 can have a normal conversation in at
least a pair of languages.
In China, 110 million primary and secondary students are studying English.
"Our students are no longer competing against just other students in the
neighboring districts or for that fact just against other students in
the U.S.," Kaffenbarger said, "They must be given the skills to compete
in this global economy because our students and their preparation is
critical to the success of our nation's economy."
It has been recommended by The Asia Society, the Business Roundtable and
the Council of Chief State School Officers that Chinese language study
be expanded so that five percent of American high school students are
studying Mandarin Chinese by 2015.
In June, Kaffenbarger received board approval to begin preparing for the
Mandarin Chinese program.
The district is in the process of creating a parent survey, which will
lead to roundtable discussions in the fall to gauge parent support for
the Mandarin program.
"I hope parents will see the benefit of introducing the study of foreign
language at this early age," Kaffenbarger stated.
If the district gets the go-ahead from parents, Kaffenbarger, along with
Curriculum Director Brenda Boyd and Elementary Principal Lee Claypool,
will attend a Chinese language symposium in December.
"I will be meeting with Lee later this fall to determine if it would be
beneficial to take teachers from the primary grades," Kaffenbarger said.
Cost to the district to participate in the ODE program will be
approximately $20,000 per year. The district's responsibilities will
include securing a host family and transportation for the visiting
teacher along with providing health and life insurance.
Between 2008 and 2016, the district would like to slowly add teachers
and grade levels to be included in the Mandarin Chinese program.
After the ODE's two-year program ends at the conclusion of the 2009-2010
school year, the district would then hire two teachers to continue the
program along with adding grade five in the curriculum.
By the 2016-2017 school year all grades would be included in the program
and three to four teachers would be teaching Chinese.

Unionville Center clerk-treasurer will stay with village
By AUDREY HALL
At Monday night's Unionville Center Village Council meeting, Mayor
Denver Thompson announced that Tracy Rausch will continue as clerk-treasurer.
Rausch, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Karla Gingerich
when she moved out of the village last year, indicated her desire to
resign several months ago but never officially resigned.  At a special
meeting on Aug. 7, council interviewed potential candidates.
One candidate was offered the position but refused it because of the
salary. The salary is $1.000 per year.
At the urging of council because of her competency, Rausch agreed to
continue as clerk treasurer. The position is up for election in November
and Rausch also agreed to run for a full term.
Citing a change of work schedule, council member Jim Weese submitted a
letter of resignation. Those interested in serving on council should contact Thompson.
The Golf Cart Inspection Program as approved by the Union County Sheriff
Department was discussed.  The inspection guidelines comply with
requirements of the Ohio Revised Code.
The Village can add more requirements but they cannot delete any
requirements. All golf carts must pass an inspection conducted by the
sheriff's department before a license can be issued.
An ordinance to allow golf carts within the village will be voted on at
the September meeting.  Residents who want to read the guidelines can
contact any member of Council for a copy. Questions or discussion points
should be addressed to the clerk treasurer.
Fire district representative Phil Rausch reported that there have not
been any problems with the reciprocal agreement with Jerome Township
Fire Department during the replacement of the bridge over U.S. 42 at the
intersection with Route 161. The bridge construction is on schedule.
The biennial audit is being conducted by the Ohio Auditor of State's
office. Clerk Treasurer Rausch stated that all village records are in
the possession of the auditors.
Pending approval from the Ohio EPA to install an aeration system,
Wendell Beachy is planning to purchase a vacant lot on Railroad Street
to construct a new house.  He asked for permission to tap into the storm
sewer system. Council delayed permission until approval is received from the EPA.
Council members present were Ron Griffith, Mary Lou Morris, Phil Rausch,
Brenda Terry, Peggy Williamson, Thompson and Clerk Treasurer Rausch.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Man caught after foot pursuit
From J-T staff report
Marysville Police officers chased and caught a man found hiding in the
garage of a woman's home in Green Pastures on Tuesday.
Police have charged Aaron M. Kastein, 27, of 561 Dove St. with burglary,
trespassing and obstructing official police business.
According to reports, at 11:50 a.m. a woman in the 600 block of Rainbow
Drive came home for lunch and found Kastein hiding inside her garage.
Police reported that the woman yelled at the man and then went outside
and called for a neighbor to dial 911.
"She had been yelling at him," Sgt. Bo Spain said. "But when he heard
that, he bolted."
Police officers soon arrived and chased Kastein to Carmel Drive. He was
apprehended near Garden Drive.
Nothing was reported stolen from the home in the incident.

Marysville terminates mechanic
Robert Fraker's attorney calls situation a 'witch hunt'

By KARLYN BYERS
In a 4-0 vote Monday night, Marysville School Board members voted to
terminate the contract of head mechanic Robert Fraker.
Board members Tom Brower, Bill Hayes, Jeff Mabee and Scott Johnson voted
for the termination; board president Roy Fraker was absent.
The decision followed a more than four-hour executive session that
recessed briefly twice. Fraker's termination was effective immediately
for the following reasons: Violation of written rules and regulations as
set forth by the board of education, incompetence, inefficiency, immoral
conduct, neglect of duty, "misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and/or
other good and just cause."
In a statement read by Brower, the school board stated Fraker
inappropriately touched at least one female employee, used graphic
verbal commentary relating to employees' bodies, made "repeated sexual
jokes and flirtations" toward female employees and employed sexually
derogatory terms in reference to females. He also allegedly allowed his
son to sell scrap metal from the bus garage and failed to deposit the
proceeds from that transaction with the school treasurer.
The statement further stated that Fraker used his position to gain a
discount in the purchase of tires for his personal use.
Fraker said he plans to appeal the board's decision. He also expressed
gratitude to the school district employees who attended the board
meeting Monday night to support him and referred the newspaper to his
attorney, Vincent DePascale of Columbus.
DePascale called the board's investigation a "witch hunt" which
originated from Fraker's testimony in a federal discrimination suit
against the school district earlier this year.
The board's decision was made at the recommendation of superintendent
Larry Zimmerman, who according to the statement read by Brower, had
informed Fraker of the charges levied against him and had given Fraker
"full opportunity" to rebut those grounds or otherwise explain his
action on Aug. 9.
"Bob was in a position of trust and he broke that trust," Zimmerman said
in an e-mail message to the Journal-Tribune this morning. "What started
out as a investigation into improper Internet usage at the bus garage
area became bigger than that when other issues were found. The
Marysville Police and the county prosecutor's office (were) called in to
assist with the investigation.  The issues which were uncovered needed
addressed and that is what we did. What was found could not be tolerated
within this district or at any workplace. Termination of employment is
no small matter, but unfortunately it needed to occur."
DePascale said allegations of "misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance
and/or other good and just cause" that occurred over the past 2 1/2
years were unfounded, and that the woman who was allegedly sexually
abused didn't even want to testify against Fraker. DePascale said the
only reason she did was because she was subpoenaed.
"I don't think there is any evidence," DePascale said, other than that
which was manufactured by the board.
Fraker and DePascale were two of several people included in Monday's
executive session, in which Phillips conducted the hearing. Also
included was the school board's attorney, Krista Keim of Britton, Smith,
Peters & Kalail, and several school employees who possessed knowledge
important to the investigation, according to Zimmerman.
In other action Monday night, the board accepted the retirement of Linda
Overly as teacher, and accepted the resignations of teacher Clifford
Lewis, building aide Tonya Stevens and bus drivers Roberta Widman and Jennifer Luke.

Richwood officials want to reopen lake to swimming
Are also working to get clock tower working

By CHAD WILLIAMSON
Richwood two most prominent sources of identity could soon undergo
changes.
The Richwood Lake and the village hall clock each drew significant
discussion at Monday night's village council meeting. Village officials
appear determined to make each operate the way they did in the past.
For the lake that means restoring the beach and allowing swimming again.
For the clock it means possibly setting up a new electronic system to control mechanism.
The village appears ready to move forward with re-opening the beach to
swimmers. Council members believed the last time swimming was allowed in
the lake was the early 90s.
Council member Scott Jerew ask how such a move would impact the
village's insurance premiums. Councilman Von Beal said the village
premiums would not change.
"Not one extra dollar," Beal said.
Council member George Showalter said that was not his understanding when
he approached the insurer four years ago about the issue. He said the
insurer said the village would experience see an increase.
Showalter also noted that the water quality in the lake has been tested
an is suitable for swimmers.
Beal said the insurance company made several recommendations to ensure
that the village did not see an increase in cost. The company suggested
posting no lifeguards, but rather signs stipulating that individuals
"swim at their own risk." The company also said an emergency phone in
the area would be a good idea.
Beal said the village would still take a financial hit by opening the
lake up for swimming. He said the beach would be prepared and the lake
bottom would have to be cleared of debris.
Beal said the village could pursue a Natureworks grant to pay for some
of the rehab costs.
The cover the annual costs of opening the beach the village could choose
from a couple of funding sources.
A one-mill park levy is set to drop from the books next year. The levy
was put in place years ago and only generates about half of the money
that a mill at current valuation would pull in. If the village opted to
put the levy before voters as a replacement rather than a renewal, the
measure would generate one mill at current valuation which could mean up
to $14,000 more annually for the village if passed.
Mayor Bill Nibert said council could also look at putting an extra 1/4
or 1/2 percent of income tax on the books. The finance committee is
expected to meet soon to decide on a funding source for the lake project.
Beal said he would like to see the issue move quickly so that the lake
could be opened for swimming as soon as July of 2008.
Area resident Ted Reynolds approached council about the Richwood Clock.
He had been tinkering with the clock to see if he could get it running again.
Reynolds said instrument is powered by a 1903 Seth Thomas clock which
connects to faces by a driveshaft. Over the years the tower has tilted
slightly putting torque on the driveshaft and causing the clock to not work properly.
Reynolds said the clock mechanism itself is a wonderful piece of
history. Nearly three feet tall, only six such clocks were created,
three of which are in the united states.
Reynolds said he fears if the tower itself continues to age and crumble
the clock could be lost.
"It would be a real shame if the town lost it," Reynolds said.
He said the village could opt to install a small electronic timing
device that would operate the clock faces on the tower.
If the village went that route the Seth Thomas clock could be put on
display somewhere in the village. He also noted that some museums have
inquired about acquiring the clock, but the village probably wouldn't
want to go that route.
Jerew asked Reynolds to get some cost estimates to converting the tower
over to an electric system.

Rail crossing should open by April 2008
By RYAN HORNS
If everything goes as planned Marysville's East Fifth Street railroad
crossing could be open for traffic by next April.
City administrator Kathy House said that CSX is scheduled to have its
work on the crossing completed "no later than April 18, 2008."
House stressed that they will have to depend on the railroad officials
staying on schedule.
"CSX has to have their work finished," she said.
House discussed the issue with members of city council, staff engineers
and streets officials at the Monday night's Public Service Committee
meeting held at the city service center on Maple Street. The group met
to discuss numerous city issues.
Earlier in the meeting, councilman John Gore said he was "disappointed"
that House didn't provide an update on the crossing issue until resident
Harold Green brought it up at the previous city council meeting. He
hopes council will be kept up to date.
City engineer Phil Roush said that he has been working with Robert
Rossman, a CSX Transportation engineer out of Jacksonville, Fla., on the
project. That company will be doing the design work.
Marysville administrators have said that once East Fifth Street opens
for traffic, the roadway would need to be widened to support the high
volume of cars which will most likely access the roadway.
Originally, Roush said, CSX only planned to redo the crossing at exactly
the same width of 18 feet which it currently is. Their design plans have
since been altered to widen the crossing to 24 feet, in order to provide
room for traffic.
He said the city's street superintendent plans to begin preparatory work
by adding a two feet tall berm on each side of the 24 feet wide pavement.
In an Aug. 13 e-mail to Rossman, Roush said the superintendent's
timetable "is to start the widening work in September. He will be
arranging for a CSX flagman during the work period."
Roush said Marysville officials had to push the issue.
Assistant engineer Brian Palmer said that he and Roush made sure to
widen the roadway leading up to the tracks first, so that CSX would have
to design for the wider crossing "if it is opened."
"You said 'If,'" Gore said. "You mean 'When.'"
"Yes. Please say 'When'," Scott Martin said, owner of Blue Jacket Taxi Service.
Martin said the only reason he came to the meeting was to hear an update
on the crossing.
"I understood that it was supposed to open last spring," he said.
Gore explained that was the case, but once the city was able to get
funding for the crossing another timeline was set by those providing the money.
Martin said that if the crossing were opened again, he knows many would use it.
"It would revitalize the Five Points area," Martin said. "Those
businesses over there would appreciate the extra exposure."
"Your hopes are the same as ours," Gore said.
"That Delaware crossing is such a mess," Martin said. "Especially at 2  p.m."

Officials to update transportation plan for area

By MAC CORDELL
Union County officials are taking steps to ensure they meet future
requirements for state and federal transportation funding.
Federal law now requires the establishment of a locally developed,
coordinated public transit and human services transportation plan for
communities to be eligible for certain federally funded transportation
programs. The plan must be specifically designed to meet the needs of
the elderly, the disabled and those with low income.
A steering committee of stakeholders from Union County gathered Thursday
to begin the process of creating that plan.
Jim Cesa, of Community Action, simplified the mission of the group
asking, "Does our system of today meet our needs of tomorrow?"
Dick Douglas, director of the Union County Council on Aging added, "if
it doesn't, let's change it to meet our needs and let's look to the
future at what our needs are going to be."
Union County has a transportation development plan, completed in 2001.
Carla L. Lakatos, of the consulting firm The Lakatos Group, said Union
County is already ahead of most counties because of the plan.
"We are going to start from that and see where we go," she said.
The federal mandate requires counties to assess the transportation needs
of the elderly, the disabled and those with low income; assess available
services;  establish a strategy to address the unmet needs; and
prioritize implementation of those strategies with feasibility in mind.
"With the current growth mode Union County is in, it is a good time to
address transportation in our county, because we do have transportation
issues in Union County and they are only going to grow," said Douglas.
Lakatos said because the federal money comes through the state, the
federal requirements become mandates for the state dollars as well. She
noted that counties are dealing with "a very short window" to have their
plans completed. She said initially the state wanted plans complete by
August, but has realized that is an unreachable goal.
"We are looking closer to the end of the year, but even the end of the
year is a short window," Lakatos said.
She added, "we are going to meet it."
The federal government requires the plan to be updated every four years.
State requirements have not been established.
The plan must make funds available to any agency providing
transportation, regardless of whether that agency is public, nonprofit
or private. Members of the general public must also be able to comment
on the plan and be part of its formation. Lakatos said the Ohio
Department of Transportation has provided a list of local people and
groups which may want to give input on the plan. Additionally she said
the county should place a copy of the plan on its Web site.
Members of the steering committee wanted to see surveys sent to low
income residents and a more aggressive approach to making the potential
plan available to seniors.
"It has got to be where they are," said Avanelle Oberlin of Community
and Seasoned Citizens. "A lot of our consumers don't have access to Web
sites and maybe don't have access to computers or know how to use computers."
Lakatos asked for specific suggestions of how to reach the public,
especially those to be targeted by the service plan.
Group newsletters as well as mobile meals deliveries were mentioned.
The committee identified several areas of need in Union County including
fixed transportation routes, transportation during the nights and
weekends, coordination and consolidation of overlapping services and
proactive identification of service gaps.
Douglas said UCATS is a coordination service - an agency that
coordinates and schedules rides from one point to another point based on
the specific need of the rider. Ohio Department of Transportation
funding regulations will not allow the establishment of fixed routes for
a coordination service. ODOT only allows transit authorities to make
scheduled, established routes. Douglas said with Union County's need for
those routes, the establishment of a transit authority needs discussed.
A county cannot have both a transit authority and a coordination service.
"This is an issue we need to address and sooner rather than later," said Douglas.
"There is more funding available," he said. "You get more money, but
there are more requirements. It is more expensive."
Lakatos acknowledged the group for its work and said she would be
working to compile information for the next steering committee meeting
and to complete tasks assigned by the group. She said she would push to
have assessment and interest surveys mailed this week.
"From what I have heard, you have a really strong basis from which to
move forward," Lakatos said.
Douglas thanked the county commissioners for their support of the
process saying, "it isn't cheat, but they realize it is necessary."
The group hopes to have public surveys returned and evaluated in early
September. Those wishing to complete a survey or to participate in the
creation of the plan are encouraged to contact Lakatos at (937) 435-7771
or e-mail carla@lakatosgroup.com.

More than 1,000 attend Farmer's Market Festival
(Information supplied by the Union County Convention and Visitor's
Bureau)

An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 people attended the inaugural
Union County Farmer's Market Community Festival held Saturday on Sixth
Street and in the city parking lots between Main and Plum streets.
The event featured activities for the entire family. Local farmers sold
fresh home-grown produce, the Union County Master Gardeners conducted
demonstrations and answered questions, the Union County Health
Department sponsored a health walk and cooking demonstrations were held.
Youths participated in a bike rodeo, milk bottle game, Mr. McGregor's
garden toss, Big Mac Train and a hand washing activity by Memorial
Hospital. Scooby Doo was a hit with the children - some families came
from as far away as Johnstown, just to meet Scooby.
Live entertainment, including Ray Pauken, banjo player, and the Piano
Peddler strolled the aisles.
Heritage crafters demonstrated chair caning, broom making, wool spinning
and leaf castings. Adults and gardeners surrounded Tom McNutt of WCMH-TV
4 and asked questions.
The event was sponsored by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, the Union
County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Union County Farmer's
Market, with active participation from the Marysville Police Department
and the Union County Health Department.

Fit for a hero
City moving to make portion of Fifth Street "General Beightler Way"

By RYAN HORNS
Marysville's Fifth Street may go back to the year 1969 in order to honor
a legendary native soldier.
The first reading was held at Thursday night's Marysville City Council
meeting to designate Fifth Street at Main as "General Beightler Way" and
to declare Sept. 28 as "Major General Robert S. Beightler Day" in the
city. A ceremony would take place that day at 11 a.m. in downtown Marysville.
Economic development Director Eric Phillips said that changing the
street name will actually right a wrong. Years ago a sign existed naming
the same roadway General Beightler Way.
A Marysville Journal-Tribune article that ran on Aug. 22, 1969 declares
a Marysville City Council resolution to name the same streets after
Beightler and honor his legendary service to the armed forces. The
article also announced there would be a parade and a recognition
program. A follow-up story on Aug. 25, 1969 told of hundreds of
residents who attended the event.
Phillips said the sign was eventually removed during the first
renovations of the Marysville's downtown streetscape. He hopes the
honorary title will return.
"They never officially gave it an honorary name," Phillips said. "I
think it's a worthwhile endeavor to recognize Gen. Beightler."
He said he first learned about the achievements of Beightler when he
attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the city's future Ohio National
Guard Armory.
"I learned that he was one, if not the most successful, master National
Guard generals of all time," Phillips said.
According to the resolution language, Beightler was born in Marysville
on March 21, 1892, and graduated from Marysville High School in 1909.
Throughout his lifetime, he ended up serving his community, state and
country in many ways but was most remembered for his achievements as a soldier.
Beightler rose in rank to command the 37th Ohio National Guard "Buckeye"
Division in World War II. He then became the only National Guard General
to lead his division through all of its pre-war training and combat
operations in World War II. The division fought in the South Pacific
Theater, winning battles in New Georgia, Bourgainville and the
Philippines. In August 1945, Beightler was promoted to Major General in
the Regular Army, one of only two National Guard Generals chosen.
Upon his death in 1978, after succumbing to his ninth heart attack,
Beightler was buried in Marysville Oakdale Cemetery with full military honors.
During the 1969 celebration, Beightler attended and spoke to the crowd
about his years growing up in Marysville and his military career.
"With you I lived many of my greatest moments from which I have many of
my fondest memories," Beightler said, as reported on Aug. 25, 1969.
He also recalled jobs he had as a boy, such as being a newspaper
carrier. He worked in the Union County surveyor's office as a young man,
which eventually led to him starting a successful career as an engineer.
He was with the Ohio Highway Department when his National Guard unit was
ordered to duty in 1940. Beightler also reminisced about his high regard
for Gen. Douglas McArthur who he served under five times.
Phillips said there are only four Ohio historical markers in Union
County and one will now be in Marysville. He said out of 45 state
applicants for an historical marker idea, 10 were chosen - including
that of Beightler's roadway sign.
He said the entire application process cost around $2,500 and numerous
local agencies helped donate their time and money. Eight or nine of
Beightler's relatives are expected to attend, along with the state
Adjutant General.
"It's going to be a great day," Phillips said. "We can recognize one of
Marysville's greatest sons."

Residents of Central Ohio Youth Center help with local school supply
drive

By CORINNE BIX
Courtney knows first hand that it feels good to receive school supplies
from the United Way's annual school supply drive.
Courtney, 17, is currently serving a court sentence at The Central Ohio
Youth Center (COYC) on Route 4 but she making good use of her time by
helping sort school supplies for children who really need them in Union County.
"I feel really happy," Courtney said, "I know how it feels to get school
supplies and I'm happy to help other kids."
Betsy Hauck, activities therapist at COYC, worked with 10-12  youths who
helped sort school supplies as a way to earn community service hours.
"Courtney has been my lead foreman on this project," Hauck said.
This is the first year the COYC and the United Way have partnered on the
annual school supply drive.
"For 10 years, United Way has been conducting Union County's largest and
most comprehensive school supply drive," Dave Bezusko, United Way public
relations and campaign director said. "Prior to 1998, teachers in
Marysville would reach into their own pockets to buy items for students
who didn't have a pencil, paper, or other needed supplies."
The county-wide event involves the collection of school supplies for a
total of 19 area school buildings.
On Aug. 4 United Way volunteers conducted the bulk of this year's school
supply drive, Bezusko said. "Shopping lists" of needed items were
distributed at five shopping centers throughout Union County.
"Shoppers were encouraged to pick up an item as they went through the
store and dropped off their donations on their way out," he said. " In
addition, the Marysville Huntington branch and the Marysville Public
Library collected supplies through the month of July."
Vikki Jordan, superintendent of COYC, said that six truckloads of
supplies were delivered to the center and a large part of the center's
gym floor turned into an assembly line to divide necessary supplies
between the various school districts including, Marysville, Fairbanks,
North Union and Jonathan Alder.
"These kinds of projects give the kids a feel for giving back to their
community," Jordan said.
COYC is a secure facility therefore any community service hours have to
be done at the facility which can limit opportunities.
Jordan said if juveniles can get some or all of their community service
hours met while they are detained at COYC it becomes one less obstacle
they have to worry about upon their release.
Hauck said she really enjoys her job as the center's activities
therapist and working with Jordan who allows for a caring and
progressive environment.
"I like the kids and I like to bring unconventional ideas to youth that
may have lost their zest for imagination," she explained.
Together the youths worked a total of about 50 hours on the project over
a three-day period
"The event was financially sponsored by the Marysville Association of
Realtors for the second straight year," Bezusko said. "Their support is
critical because they allow us to purchase items of need that come up in
short supply through the collection."
The school supplies will be delivered directly to the schools before the
start of the school year. The United Way encourages those needing
supplies to contact their school guidance counselor.
Bezusko said distribution to students is done privately so that no one
is made to feel awkward or ridiculed by other classmates.

Residents raise concerns over proposed development
By RYAN HORNS
The proposed Cook property development brought out several worried
residents who had a lot of questions.
"I'm concerned about the impact on the homes," Clark Addition resident
Myrtle Conrad said at Thursday night's Marysville City Council meeting.
The neighborhood is made up of Glen Ellyn, Lombard and Echo drives.
Members held the public hearing on an ordinance to accept the annexation
of 171.531 acres in Paris Township, known primarily to residents as the
"Cook property," as it is owned by David E. Cook. The land is located in
the area of Route 4 at County Home Road and Scott Farms Boulevard. A
plan for the spot calls for a large retail center, residential areas and
new office space.
Several concerned neighbors read off their check lists of worries about
the development. As a result, council members proposed the Cook family
meet with the Clark residents next week and work through any issues. No
date has been set for that meeting.
Councilman John Marshall volunteered to help in any way he could.
"We'll be glad to talk with them," owner David Cook said. "We're always
willing to communicate."
Several members of Marysville City Council also urged the residents to
think about the prospect of annexing into the city.
"It would just make things a whole lot easier," councilman David Burke said.
Clark resident Bob Muth said one of the biggest problems his neighbors
face has to do with the price of annexation. He estimated that it would
cost a total of $700,000 for 11 houses to be annexed into Marysville.
That doesn't include possibly $70-80,000 in city service connection
costs. Muth said if they are going to consider annexation, then
something has to be done about sharing the price tag.
Muth said another issue is that if they don't annex the development, it
would turn the Clark neighborhood into an island of unique zoning in the
city. He said the legality of that is questionable.
"This could have been avoided if we had been initially contacted," Muth said.
Marshall said he is concerned more troubles would arise if the residents
do not annex.
"We need to be all in or all out," he said.
He wondered specifically about the future if the residents don't annex.
How would the island be resolved? Would it be one forever?
"But I don't want to tell you how to spend your money," Marshall joked.
Several more residents brought up issues such as drainage affects and
that they do not want two existing easements to be used for construction traffic.
One man, who did not offer his name, said that the issue is not about
trusting the Cook family. He has known them for a long time and is not
worried about their intentions. He is more concerned with the prospect
of the land being bought by another developer. The original plans could
be scrapped for something else entirely. It is that unknown future that
has many worried.
Conrad stressed that she would like some type of buffer to separate the
development with their neighborhood.
"I have concerns for what might be in store for the roads," she added.
The traffic has already become an issue because of the new McDonalds and
800 houses planned to be built, Conrad said.
"I just kind of drove around town the other day and I saw more than 40
empty stores," she said. "Maybe we should fill what we got, instead of
adding more. Is it going to sit there and go downhill and deteriorate
and make an eyesore?"
Clark Addition resident Chuck Day said he thinks about the repercussions
and their affect on their "way of life."
"It's a wonderful setting out there," Day said. "It's a great place to raise kids."
He talked about how people get along and children play in the streets
without the worry of traffic.
"I'd hate to see something like that change," he said.
In other business discussed:
. Economic Development Director Eric Phillips said that upcoming
weekends are going to be filled with events. Saturday a benefit will be
held at the A+ Childcare and Learning Center on Damascus Road from 10
a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will help raise medical costs for local
10-year-old Nick Golden who is fighting leukemia. There will be live
music, games, face painting and food.
Phillips said Friday, Aug. 17, marks the beginning of the All-Ohio
Balloon Festival as well as the newest Third Friday event on Court
Street in Marysville.
.Mayor Kruse honored Rose Penhorwood as Employee of the quarter. He said
her work managing the business of the city income tax department was
stellar and that she is a benefit to the city.

Airfield relocation idea grounded
Don Scott officials politely decline Union County interest
By MAC CORDELL
Don Scott Airfield authorities thanked Union County officials for their
interest and politely declined their advances to move the airport out of the city.
"Its a location issue," Doug Hammon, director of the airport, told a
group of representatives from Union County on Thursday.
Don Scott Airfield, in Columbus, has no room for growth because it has
been surrounded by residential growth. It has taken criticism recently
from its residential neighbors and surrounding communities voicing
opposition to expansion and even to the current level of activity. Union
County officials seized the opportunity to try to entice airport to
locate to less populated Union County.
Hammon told representatives from Union County that he appreciated their
interest, but said the airport was prepared to deal with a certain
amount of criticism and had no desire to change locations. He did offer
to allow Union County Airport personnel to participate in training at
Don Scott. He also provided some advice for Union County Airports growth.
Hammon questioned Union County's ability to build a new facility for the airport.
"One concern about a new airport is where would you put it," said
Hammon, who helped identify a site for the Logan County Airport. "I am
not certain where you're going to find land where you can afford and
won't be built up on in 10 years."
He said he believes any land between Dublin and Marysville would put the
airport surrounded by houses in the next decade. To avoid that, the
airport would need to be built west of Marysville.
"To there really becomes too far," Hammon said.
He added that most of the airport clients are from the Columbus or
suburban Columbus area.
"We don't have tenants that are down in Licking County or over in
Marysville," Hammon told Union County officials. "People really don't
want to drive that far, especially corporations."
He did say The Scotts Company is on the waiting list for hangar space at
Don Scott Airfield, along with 100 other companies and individuals.
Hammon said the best thing for Union County might be to improve its
current airport. The longest runway at the Union County Airport is 4,200
feet long. For larger jets to land, runways need to be at least 6,000
feet. Development around the airport, along with surrounding roads make
adding the 1,800 feet difficult.
He asked if Union County Airport had a master plan filed with the FAA.
Officials said there was a plan that called for an additional runway.
They added that Union County's airport was becoming surrounded by
residential growth and did not have the traffic to need a new runway.
Hammon said the Federal Aviation Administration would help build a new
runway, "if you can justify it."
"Push the FAA," he said, adding they should get the administrations
support, "in writing, that's the only way to get anything from FAA."
Hammon said of Union County, "that is where the growth is going and
hopefully the FAA will want to be ahead of the curve."
He commended Union County officials on their foresight.
"You are doing it right," Hammon said. "You are thinking now for the future.
"The pressures on your airport aren't going to get less."
Hammon said he did not consider Union County airport as competition.
"If your airport grows, it will not be because someone here wants to go
out there, it will be because there is a need there," Hammon said.
He added that Union County Airport needed to bring services, expected by
corporations from their airport, along with the facility.
"You can't leave the services aside and think the facilities alone will
bring them," Hammon said.
Union County Commissioner Gary Lee called the meeting, "helpful."
"We would like to keep an open dialog in the years to come," Lee told
the Don Scott officials.
He asked them to keep Union County in mind, if they do decide to
relocate in the future.
"We will definitely," Hammon said, reiterating his offer to allow Union
County officials to participate in training and security exercises at Don Scott Airfield.
"We can help if there are ever any questions," Hammon said.

North Lewisburg to sue Woodstock

By CORINNE BIX
The North Lewisburg Village Council voted to proceed with litigation
against Woodstock for failure to pay for wastewater treatment services
the past year.
Five members of council unanimously agreed to file the lawsuit after an
executive session to discuss the matter at Tuesday night's regular
council meeting. Council member Steve Wilson was not in attendance.
The village and Woodstock have an agreement for water treatment services.
"There is a dispute regarding the interpretation of the intermunicipal
agreement," village administrator Barry First said. "We have attempted
to negotiate and resolve the issue ourselves but no progress is really being made."
The village will employ the law firm of Albers and Albers of Columbus
which specializes in environmental issues.
"It's time to motivate," First said.
The case is expected to go before the Champaign County Common Pleas
Court in the coming months.
In addition, council discussed the pending retirement of First about Nov. 1.
Andy Yoder, water and sewer superintendent, was appointed as the new
village administrator upon First's retirement.
Yoder will be paid $39,000 a year as village administrator. He is
currently paid $35,000 as superintendent.
The village has hired Jennifer Ganson to replace Yoder at a salary of $30,000.
Ganson is currently completing the necessary licensure to run both the
water plant and the wastewater treatment plants. She is currently
working under Yoder as the operator-in-traning while Yoder is shadowing
First to make for a easier transition later this fall.
First has worked for the village for 30 years as of October of this year.
Council also voted to bill the Northeast Champaign County Fire District
one-half of its 2007 rent.
Council passed the motion four to two to invoice the NECCFD for $9,375.
Council members Steve Wilson and Curtis Burton voted no.
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.
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.
Last November, council agreed to sell the village municipal building to
the NECCFD for the appraised value of $300,000. However, the NECCFD said
it wasn't fiscally possible to purchase the building outright.
In April, the NECCFD said they wouldn't pay rent until an amicable
agreement was reached between the two entities.
In May, the NECCFD asked if council would be open to reviewing a
lease/purchase agreement for the municipal building upon which council agreed.
The village has not yet received a lease/purchase proposal and the
NECCFD has not paid any rent for 2007.
Mayor Dick Willis and First said that they wouldn't recommend a
lease/purchase because it would unfairly tax village residents, because
funds would have to be borrowed with interest to build another municipal building.
North Lewisburg participates along with Woodstock, Rush Township and
Wayne Township in the NECCFD, which is a tax entity subdivision.
Mayor Willis asked council to consider eliminating the income tax credit
given to residents who pay income tax in another municipality.
If the income tax credit was removed the village could collect an
additional $50,000 in income tax funds.
Wilson said before he would consider eliminating the credit the village
would have to undergo a cost reduction analysis to see if funds could be
cut in other areas.
The village still plans to hold a public hearing to discuss implementing
a storm water utility fee.
The fee would be added onto resident water bills at a rate of $1 to $2
per month, with all money generated to be kept in a storm water specific
fund intended to head off storm water runoff problems.
First said such a program would be pre-hazardous in that a system and
funding would be in place to help alleviate future problems due to storm water.
"Everyone creates storm water, everyone is part of the problem" First said.
First, along with council member Gwen Beech, is expected to research
storm water utility programs in neighboring municipalities in the coming weeks.
 In other action, council:
.Heard Deputy Glenn Kemp give the Champaign County Sheriff's report for
the month of July. It included 13 traffic citations, seven warnings
issued for traffic violations, 20 incident reports, 35 cases of
assistance given to citizens, six arrests made, six civil and criminal
papers served, 67 follow-up investigations completed, two open doors,
four instances of juvenile contact and one civic activity.
.Authorized RITA to a file small claims hearing to collect on
approximately $40,000 in resident unpaid taxes.
.Decided the village will hold a contest to create a village slogan to
appear on the Web-site www.nlewisburg.com. The winner will be announced
at the Sept. 4 regular council meeting and receive a gift certificate.
All entries should be brought to the municipal building and marked
"Attention: Jason Keeran."
.Heard the Multi-Use Path celebration and potluck is scheduled Saturday at 11 a.m.
.Heard The Random Acts of Kindness Community event raised $835 for
Children's Hospital Oncology Department and collected supplies and pop
tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.

County developing new employee handbook
By MAC CORDELL
County employees will soon have a new set of guidelines to govern their conduct.
Union County elected officials and department heads got a look Monday at
the first portion of a revised personnel manual.
The commissioners said they wanted to make sure county leaders and
employees had a say in the guideline creation process.
"That is why we involved the office holders, so it is not just the
commissioners dictating policy," said commissioner Charles Hall. "It is
a coordination of all the office holders. We have extremely good
relationships in this county and this is how we keep them that way, by
working together and sharing ideas."
A recent set of changes in the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Civil
Service required changes in the personnel manual. Recent rulings by the
Internal Revenue Service regarding personal use of county property also
needed to be written into the manual. Since the personnel handbook had
not been reviewed or really revised since 2000, county officials decided
this would be a good opportunity.
County officials were presented with the first four chapters of the
manual for their review.
John Krock, of Clemans Nelson and Associates Inc., the human resources
consulting company hired by the county, said the entire manual is
complete but was unavailable due to an office issue. He said he would
complete the copies and have them delivered to county officials by
Wednesday. He asked county officials to read the manual and come to the
next meeting with revision suggestions.
Krock said when the manual was revised in 2000, it was a committee
representing county office holders and departments that did the majority
of the work before bringing the revised book to the entire staff.
He said the committee meetings, in addition to streamlining the process,
can act as a quasi-training session.
"There is a lot of questions that come up, but there may be a certain
policy that comes up that people don't fully understand," Krock said.
"So we take time to go over them. That way, when we are done, we have
not only a fully completed document, but also one that everybody
understands who was at the meeting."
He said those at the meetings can relay the information to staff in
their department.
Krock said it is important to understand the handbook will need to be
modified slightly for each county department, based on the specific
function of that specific office.
"The commissioners understand the policy manual can't be the same for
every office," said Krock, specifically noting office hours, call-ins and overtime.
Commissioner Gary Lee said the commissioners hope to have the new policy
manual in place within 60 days. Krock said the review process can be
tedious, but hopes it will move quicker than 2000, when the manual need
more substantial work.
Krock said he uses Union County's cooperation as an example for other counties.
"There are very few other counties where 10 or 12 or 14 elected
officials can get together and agree on anything, let alone a policy
manual," Krock said

Engineer says area bridges are safe
By MAC CORDELL
Despite some need for repair, Union County bridges remain safe, Engineer
Steve Stolte informed county officials at Monday's staff meeting of
elected officials and department heads.
Union County Commissioner Gary Lee called it "great" news.
"I am not afraid to drive over any one of them," Stolte said of the
county bridges. "You shouldn't be either, as long as you obey the posted load limit."
Those posted load limits are not as drastic in Union County as they are
in neighboring counties. Stolte said Union County has 321 total bridges
- 18 of them have load limits. All the county bridges can support a
loaded school bus or fire equipment. Commissioner Gary Lee said that is
not the case in many surrounding counties.
Lee said county officials had been working to address bridge concerns
even before the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota.
"We do have some bridges that need repaired and replaced," Stolte said.
Commissioners said the needed repairs are hopefully on the way.
"We in Union County have a tradition of maintaining our bridges and our
roads," Lee said. "I think it is our duty as commissioners and Steve
Stolte's duty as engineer to try our very best to maintain that kind of a standard."
In the past, county officials have tried to include two or three bridge
repair or replacements in the budget for each year. Several years ago,
in a response to rising costs throughout the county, commissioners
decreased the engineer's office budget by $450,000 so they could better
fund other departments. The funds had been used by the engineer for
bridge and road repairs in the county.
Since the reduction in funding, the engineer's office has reduced the
number of bridge projects it can work on. Lee said there are six bridge
projects planned for the next five years.
"Some of the projects will involve total replacements," Lee said. "If it
can be rehabbed, they will be rehabbed."
Adding to the financial strain will be decreased opportunities for
funding assistance from the state. Lee explained that in the past, Union
County officials have funded about 80 percent of individual bridge
projects using federal money. Issue II dollars from the state have been
used to fund the remaining 20 percent of the project.
"It appears at this time that none of these bridges will qualify for
state funding," Lee said.
He added that there is no guarantee they will qualify for federal money,
but it appears they will.
Lee said county officials have not determined a cost for the bridge projects.

Marysville levy defeated

By KARLYN BYERS
Voters in the Marysville Exempted Village School District defeated a
special ballot issue Tuesday night, voting 2,305 to 1,263 against the
4.75-mill, five-year operating levy proposed by the school board,
according to unofficial Union County Board of Election results.
Defeated by a 64.6 to 34.4 percent margin, the issue passed in two of
the city's 25 precincts.
"It was a very disappointing night for the Marysville Schools,"
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman responded in an e-mail message to the
Journal-Tribune this morning.
 "Growth has been a challenge for us and we tried to present that to our
voters. We received no new state funding over the past two years, yet
gained 300 new students.  We also had to deal with the 2005 tax code
change passed by the state legislature and this community lost $300
million dollars in tax base when tax on equipment, machinery and
inventory was eliminated."
That growth and the tax code change really hurt this community and
school district," Zimmerman continued. "With the schools expecting even
more kids when the school doors open in a couple of weeks due to
community growth and with little or no additional state funding expected
again to offset the increased enrollment, I am very, very concerned."
Zimmerman said residential growth is hard on school districts because it
never pays for itself.
 "We'll work to do the best we can for kids, but clearly we will have to
make some cuts in program(s), in transportation and also charge higher
fees because we have no choice but to balance our budget."
Also, as a public school, he said, Marysville must educate whoever
arrives at the school doorway.
"That is where growth really hurts because without additional state aid
for those kids we have to turn to the public. Also, we are mandated by
law to provide all types of special programming for kids with special
needs. Providing those needs is one of our fastest growing costs. We
have some kids who cost the district $40,000 each to educate; many
others well over $20,000," Zimmerman said in his e-mail message.
District voters last passed a new operating levy in August 2003. The
five-year levy was for 5 mills. Since then, voters approved a 5.2-mill,
28-year bond issue in August 2005 and renewed a five-year, 6.56-mill
operating levy, according to information from the board of elections.
Zimmerman said there will be a recommendation to place the levy on the
November ballot.
"If the levy isn't passed in November, it will be 2009 before any
additional funding can be realized. With our community's expected growth
and the opening of the additional buildings due to growth, our district
will look very different and have less opportunities without additional
funds," he said.
The school board will hold a special meeting Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. "for the
purpose of considering the employment, discipline and/or dismissal of a
public employee, as provided in Section 121.22 of the Revised Code."
The meeting was scheduled before Tuesday's levy defeat.

County to put sales tax on Nov. ballot
By MAC CORDELL
The Union County Commissioners announced Monday that they will be
placing a one-quarter percent sales tax on the ballot in November.
They announced the increased sales tax would generated anticipated
revenue between $1.7 and $1.9 million per year, to be used equally for
senior citizens in the county and for the engineer's office. The
commissioners are expected to vote on the issue next week, formally
placing it on the ballot.
The levy would run for five years and would need public approval for renewal.
"It is a big thing, but it really is a maintenance issue," said Union
County Commissioner Gary Lee.
Currently, sales tax in Union County is at 6.5 percent. If the levy
passes, the tax would increase to 6.75 percent, bringing it even with
Franklin, Delaware and Logan counties.
On a $100 taxable purchase, the increased tax would cost the consumer
$0.25. On a $20,000 purchase, it would cost the consumer $50.
Lee said that as the city of Marysville has grown, the county has lost
some income because of the city's residential tax incentive programs. As
money has been lost and costs in other departments have gone up, money
has been taken from the engineer's budget, Lee said. He added that
rising fuel costs have meant the engineer has lost about 40 percent of
his buying power in just three years.
"We are just going to get the engineer's office back to where it should
be three years ago," Lee said.
Union County Commissioner Tom McCarthy added, "the need to improve the
road system in a growing community cannot be funded entirely from a gasoline tax."
Dick Douglas, director of Union County Senior Services, said 66 of
Ohio's 88 counties already have a levy to fund senior services.
For 2007, the commissioners provided $265,000 to Union County Senior
Services to fund both the office operations and the provided services.
"The commissioners have agreed to continue funding the operational
budget and pledged that all of the funds that come in through the tax
levy, that are designated for senior services will go to actually
providing services," Douglas said.
He specifically mentioned home health care, respite care, transportation
and mobile meals as senior programs that need funded. Douglas said the
mobile meals program is growing faster than the hospital can afford to fund it.
"If that program is to continue and increase, there will have to be
another revenue source found," Douglas said.
In 2005 county voters turned down a property tax request to help fund
senior citizen programs.
"That was a property tax," Douglas said. "I am very optimistic this time
for several reasons, but mainly because it is a sales tax."
Future plans are uncertain if the levy is voted down.
"If it doesn't pass, I am not sure what will happen," Douglas said. "I
don't know what the commissioners will decide to do, but I know I don't
want to think about it."
He said seniors in the county have been "overwhelmingly supportive" of
the proposed levy. That was not the case with the 2005 property tax,
which failed 52 percent to 48 percent.
The commissioners are also convinced the sales tax is better than the property tax.
"The sales tax is a fairer tax and a more equal tax to raise these
funds," Union County Commissioner Charles Hall said. "It doesn't just
hit the property owners, everyone pays. Even those outside the county
will be paying on it."
The state does charge a fee to administrate the sales tax.
The commissioners said the county auditor has assured them that money
dedicated to this levy can be broken out of the sales tax collected by
the county already.
"The question we get a lot is 'How do we know it is going to be used for
that?'" said McCarthy. "Well it can't be used for anything else."
Under the Ohio Revised Code, the county commissioners have the option of
simply imposing additional sales tax of up to a half of one percent.
"Our pledge has always been that we do not wish to enact any tax that
the voters do not have the opportunity to vote on," Hall said.
Additionally he noted the commissioners do not want to use their entire
tax ability. He said they want to be able to reserve the additional
quarter percent for a possible emergency.
"We need to have a little protection here," said Hall. "Something could
come down the road and cause us real heartburn and we might need that protection.
The commissioners said they want to make certain voters understand the
need for the levy's passage.
"You are going to see a lot more visible campaign," McCarthy said.

Chasing the wind
Editor's note: Several Journal-Tribune staff members accompanied Bob
Scobee and Trent Bishop on a recent balloon flight. Some staffers rode
in the balloon while other served on the chase crew. Corinne Bix
documented the event. Scobee's balloon and several others will appear at
the Union County Airport for the 2007 All Ohio Balloon Festival on
Friday, Aug. 17 and  Saturday, Aug. 18.
---
By CORINNE BIX
I think hot air balloons are cool. I liken spotting one to finding a
shiny penny heads up smack dab in my path or a perfect rainbow after a spring rain.
When we moved to town in 1999, we had all of our friends and family over
the third weekend in August for a barbecue.
New to the area, we were unaware of the All Ohio Balloon Rally, and we
were pleasantly surprised to see balloons dotting the evening sky as our
guests enjoyed the air show.
I recently had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a
balloon as I was given the chance to be an official balloon chaser.
I arrived at the Union County Airport about 6:15 p.m. for a scheduled
take-off at 6:30 p.m. I didn't know what to expect. I had heard stories
that the actual balloon preparation time was quite lengthy.
Just the opposite proved to be true. Bob Scobee, owner and operator of
Fly Ohio Ballooning, and his crew worked diligently and expertly getting
the balloon ready to go.
Within minutes, the four by six-foot basket had been loaded off the back
of the company's 15-passenger van, the balloon unfurled and the burners
safely attached. A high powered fan was hard at work blowing cold air to
fill the balloon envelope as the van served as an anchor during the prep process.
The passengers, including Bob Chapman, owner of Bob Chapman Ford, Kevin
Behrens, general manager of the Marysville Journal-Tribune and Patrick
Dundr, Journal-Tribune photographer, were asked to sign waivers for
insurance purposes and briefed on their ride.
Trent Bishop, Scobee's colleague, was the pilot. After everyone was
loaded up and shown where to stand and hold on, the burners were fired
and the balloon started its ascent.
Together, the two propane burners fire a total of 32 million BTUs.
Chapman commented that an average home furnace has a capacity of about
100,000 BTUs which equates to less than 1 percent of the balloon burners.
Chapman said he was looking forward to what would be his third official
balloon ride. His first ride had taken place at an All Ohio Balloon
Rally in the early 1990s, and he most recently had the opportunity to
take a ride in Sedona, Ariz.
His hope was to get some great photographs and move more than the 200
feet that he traveled on his Arizona ride, which took place on a very still day.
Scobee predicted that the wind would take the flight to the south.
During the 20 minutes that it took to get the balloon safely off the
ground, the wind direction had changed several times so Scobee couldn't
exactly pinpoint the balloon's destination.
Once the balloon was aloft, we loaded into the van and headed off like
little kids on an exciting mission.
Scobee drove while colleague Jim Cusick rode shotgun. I rode in the back
with Marie Woodford, Journal-Tribune advertising manager, and Heather
King, Journal-Tribune graphic designer and photographer.
As we headed south on Fifth Street through town, Scobee's 17 years and
1,200 hours of experience piloting balloons gave him an idea of where
the balloon was headed.
"I know essentially where it's headed," Scobee said. "My intention is to
get ahead of them."
From Fifth Street, we took a left onto Weaver Road, at which point the
three novice passengers almost said in unison "Where did it go?!"
"It's right behind us," Scobee said.
We all turned together as the black and white Swan Cleaner's balloon
appeared in the rear window.
We took Weaver Road to Scottslawn and followed it north to Route 736.
Scobee pulled over halfway between St. John's Lutheran Church and Route
38 to allow us to watch from the side of the road.
King, in pursuit of a great picture, risked poison ivy and chiggers as
she lay down in the ditch to get the perfect shot.
Before we knew it we were off again, this time taking a left on Route 38
and left on Rausch Road where we made another quick stop.
The balloon appeared to be high in the sky, and I inquired about the
balloon's altitude.
Scobee radioed to Bishop for the coordinates.
It was 30 minutes into the ride and the travelers were at 1,400 feet AGL
(above ground level).
Little did I know their trip was almost over as we got back into the van
and headed back to Route 38 and pulled into the driveway of Roger and Lisa Nichols.
Woodford explained that she knew the family and offered to make our
surprise visit known.
She hardly had time to knock on the door before the balloon had been
calmly landed on what appeared to be a perfect landing strip between two
fields of crops on the Nichols' property.
Roger Nichols, who was mowing at the time, took the opportunity to
welcome his impromptu guests.
Nichols told us later that this was not the first time he had hosted a balloon landing.
Scobee said land/owner relations are vital to ballooning. Balloonists
are very grateful for the hospitality shown to them when looking for a
good place to land.
"We always try to avoid crops and livestock," Scobee said.
Scobee said he enters the names of all landowners into a drawing for a
free balloon ride at the end of each year.
When the balloon landed and was re-tethered to the van the comments from
the passengers included "Very fun" and "Very cool."
Behrens said he expected more of a roller-coaster effect in the air but
was happy to find that while in the basket there is no sense of
movement, and it feels as if the world beneath you is the only thing
moving.
"You cannot get motion sickness or sea sick in a balloon," Scobee added.
Dundr got aerial shots of the Union County Airport and a photo of the
shadow cast on the ground by the towering 105,000 cubic foot balloon.
Just as quick as the balloon went up, the balloon came down. Scobee and
Bishop used a tool called a "squeezer" to push all the air out of the balloon.
The squeezer is a large smooth steel loop that can be brought down the
length of the envelope to gently release any remaining air.
About 15 minutes after landing, we were headed back to the airport to
pick up our cars.
As we rode to the airport, Behrens, Dundr and Chapman seemed calm and
couldn't help but smile. Despite only traveling four miles in 45
minutes, they seemed relaxed by the complete silence only experienced
2,000 feet above the earth.
As Scobee said, it's not the distance but the journey that matters.
I certainly enjoyed the journey, learning more about a 250-year-old
pastime that always brings an unexpected smile to my face.
For more information on Fly Ohio Ballooning visit the Web site
www.flyohioballooning.com or call 642-9121.

Sky Bank to close
Merger means local Huntington location will serve customers
By MAC CORDELL
The Sky Bank in Marysville will be closing.
The closure is the result of a corporate merger of Sky Bank and
Columbus-based Huntington Bank.
"Customers are being notified that the Marysville branch of Sky, at 1055
W. Fifth Street, will be consolidated on Sept. 21 with the Huntington
Branch on the same street," said Maureen Brown, a Huntington Bank spokesman.
Officials from both banks are working to ease the switch for account holders.
"Merger integration efforts are proceeding well," wrote Marty Adams,
former Sky Financial chief executive and newly appointed Huntington
president and chief operating officer. "Assuring a smooth transition for
all Sky Bank customers is our highest priority."
Accounts for the two banks are similar and Brown said she does not think
customers will even notice the change, beyond the name and location change.
"We do not anticipate any change in service for customers," said Brown.
"We think this consolidation will be seamless."
It is uncertain what will happen to the building, but employees of the
local Sky Bank will have jobs with Huntington.
"We also welcome the former Sky Financial associates to the Huntington
family and are looking forward to their continued local leadership," Adams wrote.
Marysville Sky Bank Branch Manager Ellen Pond could not be reached for
comment, but a local customer service associate confirmed employees will
move from that location to the Huntington Bank Location beginning Sept. 24.
Brown did note there would be at least one benefit of the merger for
former Sky Bank customers.
"The Huntington branch will be open longer hours during the week," Brown
said. "There is going to be an extra hour during the day for Sky
customers to go to Huntington."
She said the Sky Bank is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Huntington Bank is
open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend hours are the same for both banks.
Sky Bank customers will also be able to access Huntington ATMs free of charge.
A company Web site indicated Sky and Huntington will work to convert Sky
Bank direct deposit accounts.
"We are working on ways to convert this process automatically for you
once the merger is completed," read the Web site.
The site also informs Sky Bank customers that general changes will
likely be coming, though what those changes are is still undetermined.
"We will provide you with information well in advance of any changes,"
the site reported. "Please know that we will be working very hard to
mitigate any inconveniences. We also want to provide additional benefits
and value-added services so that you continue to consider us your bank."
According to Huntington Bank officials, the merger makes Huntington the
24th largest U.S.-based bank, with assets over $50 billion.
"This merger positions Huntington as a more formidable competitor in our
markets," Thomas E. Hoaglin, chairman and chief executive officer wrote
in an announcement.
Under terms of the merger agreement, Sky Bank shareholders at the close
of trading June 29, are entitled to receive 1.098 shares of Huntington
Bank stock, plus cash of $3.023 for each share of Sky Bank.
Sky Financial Group is headquartered in Bowling Green and Sky Bank is
headquartered in Salineville

From Home Depot to eBay

From J-T staff reports
A former Marysville Home Depot employee was sentenced Friday for
stealing thousands of dollars in store merchandise and selling it on eBay.
Christopher H. Manz, 27, of 525 Three Oaks Drive, was spared time in
prison, but was ordered to pay $4,586.68 in restitution to Home Depot.
He also was fined $1,000, ordered to pay court costs and supervision
fees, placed on probation for three years, and he must perform hundreds
of hours of community service.
Defense Attorney George Wolfe argued that the restitution number was too
high. He said law enforcement officials counted several items twice.
Wolfe said the actual amount taken totaled $3,299.68.
Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard E. Parrott told Wolfe he
was going to order restitution in the full amount. The judge told the
defendant to prove the lower amount to his probation officer.
"If he tells me it is correct and just to lower that, I am going to go
ahead and adjust it on his say so," Parrott said.
"We are not going to take anything out of their pocket that they don't
deserve," Parrott added, regarding defendant restitution. "On the other
side of that, we don't want a penny less."
The judge said prison was not ordered because the defendant has no
criminal history. Parrott also explained that if he failed to meet any
of the conditions of his probation, which include the payments, Manz
would be sent to the penitentiary.
"I know what I did was wrong and I am sorry," Manz said.
Parrott said actions speak louder than words.
"I get tired of people coming in and saying they are sorry and then when
I ask them how much money they have paid in restitution to the victim
and they say, 'nothing,'" Parrott said. "I get pretty tired of it. I
hear it everyday."
Manz said he had the money, but did not know who to pay.
On July 20, Manz admitted to stealing several Dyson vacuum cleaners and
DeWalt tools. He sold the items on eBay.
He pleaded guilty to theft and possession of criminal tools, both
felonies of the fifth degree. He could have received a sentence of as
many as 24 months in prison.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a felony charge of
receiving stolen property.
 According to court documents the crimes were committed between May 1,
2006  and Nov. 11, 2006.
"The Loss Prevention Department at Home Depot discovered that the
shipping papers and on-hand merchandise did not match up with the
inventory," court files state.
An investigation began and was concluded with "Manz admitting to helping
himself to merchandise while working the night shift in the receiving
department," according to court documents.

Citizen calls for officials to quit
By RYAN HORNS
A Liberty Township man is looking for some answers in what he claims are
violations of Ohio Sunshine Laws and township trustees not doing their jobs.
Resident David Basil said he is prepared to file a petition asking that
township officials be removed from office.
Union County Assistant Prosecutor Rick Roger is currently looking into
the issue and is seeking an opinion from the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
"If you can't get the job done, you need to step aside," Basil said to
zoning inspector Don Russell at the trustee's regular monthly meeting Monday night.
"If you have a problem," Russell said, handing him a form letter. "Fill
that out and file a complaint. This is the process."
Basil said he has been trying to get trustees to take care of what he
calls nuisance properties in the township. He said he has taken photos
for months to document run-down homes, tall grass and other zoning
violations, but claims township officials have done nothing.
He said the current township officials have lived here their whole lives
and don't want to "honk off" their friends and neighbors who are in
violation of zoning laws.
Basil also said he takes issue with a township meeting on July 2, which
he claims was held without proper public notification. He requested a
copy of the meeting recording, but was denied. The next day he learned
that the tape was destroyed.
"I think the people of this township should be able to hear what is on
those tapes," Basil said. "I made a request for the tape and I've been
told that it is not for public consumption."
Liberty Township trustees said that the meeting was posted on the
bulletin board outside of the township hall.
"How am I to be reasonably notified under the Ohio Sunshine Laws?" Basil
said. "Just sticking it on a board doesn't tell everybody."
He wondered why trustees did not post the meeting on its Web site and
why they do not advertise meetings in the newspaper.
During a July 2 meeting Basil said trustees discussed doing repairs on
several roads. But he said the meeting minutes do not accurately reflect
roads they discussed.
"I find it interesting that out of the seven roads you approved, two of
which (some of your members) live on," Basil said.
"That is your opinion," trustee chair Randy Trapp said. "Are you a
certified engineer?"
"You're my public official and I find it suspect," Basil said.
Trustee Karen Johnson told Basil that there is just a difference in
opinion. On July 2 trustees discussed repairs on numerous roadways, in
order to take care of problems across the entire township. But the Union
County engineer's office outlined all of the roads for repairs, and they
are only going by his recommendation. She said no vote was held that night.
Johnson added that with just 11 miles of township roads, the chances are
good a township trustee may live on one.
Basil said that tape is public record and should not have been
destroyed. It should be made available to the public.
"My understanding is that . (the recordings) are strictly for note
taking," Roger said. "But there appears to be some gray area."
He has contacted the Ohio Attorney General for a final opinion on the matter.
"So when we get that opinion," Roger said, "I'll let you know."
Liberty Township clerk David Thornton said he personally owns the tape
recorder used to document the meeting and is only using it to help him
to write the actual minutes.
"Your minutes have to reflect what was discussed," Roger said. "But that
doesn't mean that has to be word for word."
Basil said the township should just buy a tape recorder and some tapes
and make the recordings available to the public.
"It's not a big expenditure," he said.
Until the issue is resolved, Basil requested that trustees hold the
tapes and do not erase them. He said the Ohio Sunshine Laws state that
no matter what type of mixed media the meetings are documented under,
they are still subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.
Thornton said Basil is welcome to bring his own recorder and tape the meetings.
At one point township assistant zoning official Randy Johnson walked out.
"I've got better things to do in life then listen to this," he said.

Residents reminded to lock doors and windows
From J-T staff reports
Marysville Police Department would like residents to double check their
garage doors and windows to make sure they are locked before leaving for
work and before going to bed.
Police Chief Floyd Golden said Monday morning that there have been many
recent incidents of thieves breaking into garages to steal cars and
items inside cars. He said about 20 attempted theft incidents were
reported over the weekend.
Golden said that often garages are an easy way for criminals to attempt
to gain access inside homes or steal items without being noticed from
the street. He said if any residents witness suspicious activities in
their neighborhoods, they should contact local authorities.
Since Sunday night a car has been stolen from a garage on Boerger Road,
a dirt bike was stolen from a garage on North Maple Street and bikes
were stolen from a property on Meadowlark Lane. In addition, medication
was take out of a car on Chestnut Street, a wallet was stolen from a car
on Caddie Drive, CDs and more were taken from a car on Cinnamon Drive,
an Ipod was taken from a car on Mill Road and someone smashed out the
window of a car on Charles Lane and stole a book bag.

Danger Brothers: 26 years and counting
Will be featured act at All Ohio  Balloon Festival

By CORINNE BIX
Not many bands can boast more than 25 years playing together but The
Danger Brothers are going on year 26 and things couldn't be better.
The Danger Brothers have been rocking all over the state of Ohio since
the early 80s and they will be center stage on Saturday, Aug. 18 at the
All Ohio Balloon Festival at the Union County Airport.
"The more we play the more we love it," Tommy Smith, drummer/vocals, said.
The band started after members Smith and Dave Hessler,
guitars/sax/vocals, were living in Los Angeles and decided to move back
home to Ohio in 1978.
The pair had previously worked together in an all-original trio band but
decided they wanted to return home to their buckeye roots.
"We just wanted to go out, have fun and play rock and roll," Smith said.
The Danger Brothers were born after bandmates Mike Thompson, lead
vocals/guitar, Bill Bendler, organ/trombone/vocals and Tom Beougher,
bass/vocals joined the group.
"Little did we know when we started that the group would become the
machine that it is today," Smith explained.
That machine includes close to 60 live shows statewide per year, a road
crew, and 100,000 fans.
The group has played Heiny Gate after all the Ohio State home football
games at the Holiday Inn on the Lane since its start in 1983.
The Danger Brothers are credited with giving the largest tailgating
party the springboard that it needed to grow from 500 people to around
12,0000-15,000 people today.
"We've met so many great people over the years," Smith said.
The cover band works hard to put its own personal stamp on its more than
500 song play list.
"We try to pump it up and it's so much fun to pull the crowd into the
show," Smith said, "The live moment is so beautiful."
Smith said he and his bandmates attribute their quarter century success
to a combined passion for rock 'n' roll and the importance of professionalism.
The group practices regularly year round with its busy season from May
to Thanksgiving.
The guys are all in their 50s and have families and children ranging in
age from pre-school to college graduates.
The group most recently played Benny's Pizza on July 13. Smith said the
group is looking forward to returning to Marysville for the Balloon Festival.
Smith said what the group has become is beyond what any of he and his
fellow bandmates imagined.
The group has several original songs in addition to its cover song play
list. For more information about the band check out their website at
www.danger

Man dies from injuries sustained in crash
From J-T staff reports
A young Plain City man died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash
in Darby Township.
The Marysville Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported this
morning that crash victim David L. Klump, 21, died at Grant Medical
Center in Columbus Friday at 11:23 a.m.
At 2:57 a.m. Friday morning, Klump was traveling northeast on Hawn Road
in a Ford sedan, when he lost control and went off the right side of the
roadway. He reportedly overcorrected and went back off the left side of
the road and struck a tree.
Patrol reports state that Klump was partially ejected from the car after
hitting the tree and was not wearing a seat belt. He was taken to Grant
Medical Center, where he was initially listed in critical condition.
The crash currently remains under investigation.

Offender gets four additional years in prison

By MAC CORDELL
A local man, already serving a 34-month prison sentence, will be
spending additional time behind bars.
Cordell J. Hicks, 20, was sentenced Friday to four years in prison. He
was convicted July 11 of one count of gross sexual imposition, a felony
of the third degree, and one count of corrupting another with drugs, a
felony of the fourth degree.
The jury acquitted Hicks of a second count of gross sexual imposition.
Moments before his trial began, Hicks pleaded guilty to four counts of
unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, all felonies of the fourth degree.
Hicks is currently serving a 34-month sentence in prison for convictions
earlier this year on charges of theft, receiving stolen property and
tampering with evidence.
Prior to the sentencing, Union County Court of Common Pleas Judge
Richard Parrott held a sexual offender hearing. A new law went into
effect July 1, a portion of which will not be effective until Jan. 1. In
addition to calling for different classification of sexual offenders,
the new law has new reporting requirements for those offenders.
"Quite frankly, I think the new law is going to be found
unconstitutional," Parrot said.
"I am thinking that I am going to protect myself and do it both ways,"
Parrott said of the classification differences between the old law and
the new law. "I don't see any way around that."
Parrott classified Hicks a sexually oriented offender under the old law
and a tier II offender under the new law.
Sexual oriented offenders must register with the sheriff's office in
their county of residence, as well as any county they work or go to
school in, once a year for 10 years.
Tier II sex offenders are required to register every six months for 25
years and must appear in person to verify their address and other
registry information and for update of the required photo.
Parrott made certain both the defendant and his attorney understood the
reporting requirements.
"I don't want down the line in the future, someone to prosecute you
because you didn't think you had to report and you do," the judge said.
During the sentencing phase, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Terry Hord
explained that Hicks has been convicted of having sex with at least
three girls, age 13 or under.
"Obviously, all of the juvenile victims lives have been drastically
impacted permanently," Hord said.
He said one of the victims has moved to a different state, "basically it
is to get her away from this defendant."
Defense attorney Kerry Donahue said his client has had some physical
developmental issues and did not hit puberty until late. Donahue said
his client looked up to his brother, who was two years younger, but more
physically mature.
"He may be 20 years old now, 18 and 19 when this happened, but
physically, he is much younger than that," Donahue said.
The defense attorney said that because of his physical immaturity and
his convictions for sexual activity with teen and preteen girls, Hick's
time in prison, "is going to be hard to do."
Donahue acknowledged that his client had made, "some really, really
stupid decisions," but added, "I think the court should look at this
different than a 35-year-old teacher with a 13- or 14-year-old girl."
The attorney said he doubted his client would continue to offend later
in adulthood.
"I don't think he fits that profile," Donahue said.
Hicks asked the judge for "mercy."
"I thought life was have fun, do what you want, whatever and I would
have time when I was older to make up for my mistakes," Hicks said. "I
didn't realize I was playing with my life."
He added that he is trying to better himself, enrolling in college and
other classes through the prison.
Hicks continued to deny the offenses the jury convicted him of.
Before imposing the additional four years, Parrott said he took the
defendant's age into consideration. He later said Hicks will still be a
young man when he is released.
"I think if he is going to be rehabilitated, I think he needs another
chance, but it isn't going to be right away."
Donahue asked if his client could be enrolled in a prison boot camp that
would teach military-style discipline.
Parrott said no. The judge said the prisons are extremely overpopulated
and he feared the department of rehabilitation and corrections would
release him early if any type of program was allowed.
"I am not going to give the department the opportunity to kick him out
early and him not serve the days I've given him."
In December of last year, Hicks was convicted of misdemeanor sexual
imposition with a 14-year-old girl.
The charges Hicks pleaded guilty to stemmed from a March 2006 incident
involving Hicks and a 13-year-old girl which occurred in Marysville.
The case that went to trial began after a teacher at the Marysville
Middle School took a note from a friend of the victim. In the note, the
victim, who was 12 at the time, detailed events that had happened at a
local motel in January 2006.
At trial, the victim testified that on that day she had stolen $100 from
her mother. She said she gave the money to Hicks to pay for a room at
the motel, where the couple and several others spent the night. The girl
told jurors that once at the motel, she and Hicks engaged in several
sexually related activities.
She also testified that Hicks left at some point to purchase marijuana.
When he returned, the group smoked the newly purchased drugs.
The defendant, 18 at the time of the offense, chose not to take the stand.
Following the verdict, which took five hours over two days for the
six-man, six-woman jury to reach, Parrott said he was going to delay
sentencing. The judge said it is customary for him to sentence
defendants immediately following a guilty verdict, but wanted to make
sure he was in compliance with the new sexual offender law.
The judge said he requested forms for the new requirements in June. When
he had not received them at the start of the trial, he called the Ohio
Attorney General's Office and learned the forms had not been mailed.

Built to last
Marysville's newest school, Northwood Elementary, is ready   to serve
the district for 80 year

By KARLYN BYERS
A school built to last 80 years is set to be previewed by the community
Sunday, as Marysville School District opens the doors of its newest elementary.
"We built a school for 80 years," said Northwood Elementary Principal
Trent Bowers as he conducted a tour of the district's newest facility
for the Journal-Tribune.
Northwood is the third school Bowers has opened. He was first principal
at Creekview Intermediate and then at Navin Elementary.
"It's really an honor to do that," he said.
Bowers will continue principal duties at Navin, splitting his time with
Northwood. The schools are located just a few miles from each other.
"I think it makes sense," Bowers said.
He added that 60 or 70 pupils will be coming from Navin Elementary to
Northwood as a result of the district's recent redistricting. Bowers
knows these pupils and is familiar with their families.
Many teachers also will be moving into the new facility from Navin, and
art, music and physical education instructors, as well as the school's
psychologist, speech pathologist, and counseling and nursing staff, will be shared.
"We have a working relationship," he said.
Northwood was built on 14.7 acres donated to the district by Dominion
Homes, the builder whose houses surround the site. It is located on the
north end of Mill Valley and next to the district's Creekview
Intermediate School and offers 69,446 square feet of space. The total
cost of the project, including furniture, technology and all equipment,
is $10.4 million.
The pre-kindergarten through fourth grade building will combine the best
features of the district's previous elementaries, as well as many new
ones, including:
.Two separate wings of classrooms for division of kindergarten through
second grades and third and fourth graders;
.Automatic lights that come on only when the room is used to conserve
energy and related costs;
.Sloped classroom ceilings to allow for larger windows and increased
natural light, resulting in decreased lighting costs;
.Centrally located common areas, including the library, cafeteria,
gymnasium, and school office;
.A lobby ceiling treatment known as "clouds" to control noise in that
busy area;
.Bused, drive-in and walking students will enter the building from
opposite sides but to a common central lobby where they can be greeted
daily by school administrators and teachers;
.Locked gates at the entrance/exit to the busing area so that the bus
drop-off area can also be used as the hard surface play area;
.A new cafeteria student flow that allows for increased food choices,
self-service and a faster process;
.Four computer stations in each classroom;
.Keycard access to track movements into the building;
.Security cameras inside and outside;
.Resonant flooring in the rest room facilities that is more cost
effective than traditional tile with the added benefit of easier
maintenance and a reduction in the use of chemicals for cleaning;
.Common hand washing areas outside boy and girl rest room areas for
monitoring of proper hand washing behaviors and reduced costs;
.Autoflow water at hand washing stations to save water and reduce the
opportunity for accidental overflows;
.A wooden gym floor with bleachers and regulation basketball hoops and a
scoreboard to allow community use of the facility.
"People started calling me months ago to reserve gym time," Bowers said
of the latter feature.
Two features that Bowers especially likes are egress directly to the
outdoor playground from the cafeteria and doors with locks that secure
the classroom wings after hours when the common areas may be used by the public.
Northwood is built to accommodate 550 children, but is intentionally
"opening small" with about half that capacity, said superintendent Larry Zimmerman.
The reason?
"Dominion is expecting to add 80 more houses out there this year, and
another 700 before they're done. You can bet a large number of those
houses will provide us with young children to push us to capacity in the
years to come," Zimmerman said.
The redistricting process relieved some of the crowding pressure being
felt by Marysville's other five elementary schools. Projections call for
all six buildings to be filled to capacity by the year 2012, according
to the school district.
A "sneak peek" open house at Northwood will be held Sunday from 2 to 5
p.m., with a formal dedication planned for 3 p.m. in the gymnasium. Food
and games will be provided, along with tours of the new facility.
The school grounds will not be lush with thick, green grass by Sunday's
preview. The decision was made not to try to attempt to grow grass
during this summer's drought.
"(The school is) not going to look as nice as we would like it to, but
it makes sense from a financial standpoint," Bowers said.
A formal open house for Northwood students and their families will be
held the evening of Aug. 21. The district's five other elementaries also
will host similar events.
The first day of school in the Marysville School District will be Aug. 22.

Twins honored for dousing fire
Eleven-year-old twins Steven and Tyler Huff were a little embarrassed by
all the attention they received Thursday afternoon.
"Do you guys have anything you want to say about how you put out the
fire?" Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson asked.
"No," they answered in unison.
Nelson gave them both commendations in the library at the Union County
Sheriff's Office for averting what could have been a serious fire.
According to the sheriff's office, on June 21 the Huff twins were riding
their bicycles in Unionville Center, when they saw smoke coming from the
rear of a house at 506 Fourth St. They quickly rode around to the back
yard and found the porch on fire, with flames reaching as high as seven
or eight feet.
"They grabbed a nearby garden hose to extinguish the fire and had a
neighbor call 911," a sheriff's statement read. "The house is a duplex
and one of the residences had children at home at the time, with no idea
what was happening just outside their back door."
The boys were quick to point out that they had help from their friends,
who helped bring buckets of water.
Sheriff's deputy Adam Haycox was the first officer on the scene and was
at the commendation ceremony to honor the Huffs.
"I believe this could have been tragic if the house would have caught
fire," he said.
The parents of the twins had to surprise their sons by not telling them
why they were being taken to the sheriff's office. The sons teased them,
saying they had technically been lied to. The parents joked that it was
the only way to get them there.
"We take this very seriously," Nelson said, before handing out plaques.
"You deserve a whole lot of credit."
The owner of the duplex, Jim Ambos, was out of town for the event, but
wrote a thank you letter to the Huffs and gave them movie gift certificates.
"I would like to commend both of you for thinking quickly and going out
of your way to help others," Ambos wrote. "It shows me, as well as many
others, that you are both responsible young adults."
He said that if the boys had not seen the fire, "it could have easily spread."

Man injured in crash
From J-T staff reports
A young Plain City man was seriously injured early this morning after
crashing into a tree in Darby Township.
Marysville's Ohio State Highway Patrol Post reported that at 2:57 a.m.
David L. Klump, 21, of Plain City, was driving northeast on Hawn Road in
a Ford sedan when he lost control and went off the right side of the road.
Klump apparently over corrected and drove off the left side of the road,
striking a tree before coming to a rest.
Reports state that he was partially ejected from his car after colliding
with the tree. He was transported by medical helicopter to Grant Medical
Center, where he remains in critical condition.
"Klump was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash," a patrol
release reported.
Neighbors reportedly were awakened by the crash and called 911.
The Union County Sheriff's Office, Pleasant Valley Fire Department and
MedFlight EMS all assisted at the scene. The crash remains under
investigation.

Standoff ends peacefully

By RYAN HORNS
It took almost six hours for a man to peacefully end his potentially
suicidal standoff Wednesday with deputies.
"We just can't get him out," Union County Sheriff's Office Public
Information Officer Chris Skinner said on the scene.
Charles Richardson, 26, of Milford Center, had locked himself inside 89
W. State St. and refused to come out or  communicate with law
enforcement officers.
The Union County Sheriff's Department blocked off West State Street at
the intersection of Railroad Street to protect the public from a "worst
case scenario."
"We're going to have to make some decisions here pretty soon," Skinner
said. "We have not seen him or had any contact with him for two hours.
We are trying right now for yet another method of communication to be
established from the outside."
In the 96-degree heat, officers stood watch outside for hours, while
down the street media waited for updates. Rumors among Milford Center
residents spread fast, as television news reported a "hostage situation"
and residents talked about how the wife was still inside and some people
heard a gunshot go off - neither of which proved to be factual.
Sheriff's deputies denied those rumors this morning.
The situation was actually the second day deputies were called to help
Richardson. The night before sheriff's deputies responded to West State
Street after Richardson was reportedly outside a neighbor's home
threatening to kill himself. Deputies arrived and were able to convince
him to voluntarily sign in for treatment at Memorial Hospital of Union
County where he stayed overnight.
But Skinner said around 11 a.m. Richardson just disappeared.
"He walked out of the facility against doctor recommendations. They were
unable to locate him and called us because they believed, as we did,
that he was possibly a danger to himself," he said.
At 11:44 a.m. the medical staff called deputies who soon tracked
Richardson to West State Street. Skinner said initially deputies were
unsure if anyone was inside the house or if he had a weapon.
Skinner said Richardson has children and a wife, although none of them
were home at the time. He was apparently alone inside but had his dog.
"A lot of the response was geared toward a worst case scenario because
we didn't know," Skinner said. "We took every precaution."
Eventually sheriff's deputies called upon the Marysville Police
Department for help and the two departments forced their way inside the
residence and found Richardson unharmed.
"He was just lying in bed," Skinner said.
Whether any charges will be filed against Richardson is currently up to
the Union County Prosecutor's Office, he said.
"He has not been charged as of right now," Skinner said.
He also confirmed that deputies found no weapons inside the home.
Richardson's wife was able to take possession of the dog.

UCSO K-9 officer remembered
From J-T staff reports
The recent death of a four-legged Union County hero has led local
officials to look back on the life of "Lucas."
On July 20, Lucas, the Union County Sheriff's Office's former search and
rescue canine, died at the age of 12 1/2 years. In that time the black
Labrador retriever had led countless missing person searches since
joining Ohio Task Force 1 in 1996.
Local Pastor Jack Heino said that from searching the rubble of buildings
in New York after the 9/11 attacks to looking for victims in Xenia
tornadoes to searches during the Falmouth, Ky., floods, Lucas was
considered an asset to the Union County Sheriff's Office. The dog even
met President George W. Bush and New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani.
The New York mission in 2001 ended up being Lucas' last mission, the
sheriff's department reported. He was retired from working service after 9/11.
"He loved all people," wrote Mike Palumbo, Union County Sheriff's
Office, who was owner and handler of Lucas. "He entertained the
audiences wherever we visited."
Palumbo said Lucas conducted "an enormous amount" of school visits, site
visits and 9/11 presentations.
The list of achievements Lucas collected during his time with search and
rescue included:
.Receiving an award for heroism from the Ohio State Fire Marshall's
Office for his service at the World Trade Center.
.Being profiled in the book "Dog's Most Wanted" for canine search and rescue.
.Leading numerous missing person searches.
.Starting his career as a Cadaver Detection dog, which was later changed
to a Live Victim search dog.
.Being certified with the Ohio Search Dog Association and Canine
Management Services, and North American Police Work Dog Association.

Marysville levy attempt explained

By KARLYN BYERS
Voters in the Marysville Exempted Village School District are being
asked to approve a 4.75-mill, five-year operating levy on Tuesday's ballot.
If passed, the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $145.47 per year.
District voters last passed a new operating levy in August 2003. The
five-year levy was for 5 mills. Since then, voters approved a 5.2-mill,
28-year bond issue in August 2005 and renewed a five-year, 6.56-mill
operating levy.
"For the amount of growth in student enrollment and (the) number of
additional buildings - utilities, staff, etc. - we have had in that
time, the district has done a nice job of managing things," Zimmerman
said in an e-mail message to the Journal-Tribune. "The community has
understood the issues of growth and how that has impacted the district."
Also impacting the school district was House Bill 66 and other state
funding changes which passed in 2005. Under H.B. 66, the personal
tangible property tax was eliminated, a tax which represented more than
30 percent of the total taxable property in the Marysville community.
"To be honest, it was our plan to wait until at least 2008 or beyond
before we asked for another operating levy" Zimmerman said. "But with
our growth and with Ohio's tax change in 2005 we just couldn't wait."
Voter passage of the August 2005 bond issue saved the school district
$27 million in construction costs over a 26-year period, Zimmerman said.
This was because the school district took advantage of a one-time
opportunity offered by the state following the 2005 tax changes.
Marysville was the only central Ohio school district to act on that
opportunity, Zimmerman said, adding "If we hadn't reacted in August
(2005) the community would have lost $27 million."
"But on the operating side of the fiscal picture, we essentially have
the same monies now that we had in 2005," Zimmerman said.
The school district has demonstrated fiscal responsibility, he said, by
securing $3 million in state and federal grants, including a $437,000
grant from the United States Department of Education for improving
student health and physical fitness.
By switching to all day, every other day kindergarten the district has
saved an estimated $150,000 in transportation costs. It also saved
$900,000 in health care premiums in 2005-2006 and an additional $230,000
between 2004 and 2006, thanks to negotiations with health care providers
for the district's more than 600 employees.
By combining the new intermediate and middle school under construction
on Route 4 on the city's south side, the school district is saving at
least $1.3 million in construction costs and projected operating costs,
Zimmerman said.
When Zimmerman was asked about placing the issue on a special election
ballot in August, he responded, "Generally it comes down to making sure
if the levy fails the district has a chance to come back in November.
But a huge factor is also how the state fiscal year ends (on) June 30."
Often the school district has not known what state funding it will
receive until late spring, he said. Then, the school district has had to
react quickly because of those funding changes.
"We don't want to take a step backwards now; we want to get even better.
But we will not be able to maintain ourselves without local support
since the state isn't helping," Zimmerman said. "Our kids deserve great
instruction and programs ... As a community we want them to succeed. If
they don't, we don't."
Property owners 65 years old and older and those under age 65 who are
permanently disabled qualify for a property tax discount through the
state of Ohio's Homestead Exemption. Those interested may call the Union
County auditor's office at 645-3003.

Donna Rausch to run for Union County Treasurer
From J-T staff reports
Union County resident Donna Rausch recently announced she will run as
the Republican nomination for Union County Treasurer.
The office is currently held by Tamara Lowe, who will retire after
four-terms as treasurer.
"I'm eager to add to the successes we had under Tami's strong
leadership," Rausch said about Lowe. "Her office is professional,
efficient and responsible. I will work to maintain this level of
performance, while continuing to incorporate new programs to move our
county forward."
Rausch said she has almost 34 years of experience in the banking
profession. She joined the treasurer's office in 1989, where she most
recently served as the chief deputy treasurer. In this role she serves
as acting treasurer in the absence of Lowe; represents the office on
various boards, committees and conferences; trains employees and assists
in office management, among other duties.
Rausch has been endorsed by Lowe, who said that Rausch has a deep
commitment to the treasurer's office and to the community. Adding that
the knowledge Rausch would bring to the table is unmatched.
"(Rausch) has served in nearly every capacity at the treasurer's
office," Lowe said. "This experience has given her a keen understanding
of the office's duties and processes and will aid her in managing and
protecting county finances."
Prior to working with Lowe's office, Rausch held positions at the Union
County Federal Savings and Loan and the Banc Ohio National Bank, both
located in Marysville. Her duties with these positions ranged from
developing expense and account reports to completing audit tasks and
prepared reports.
On a community level, Rausch is a member of the First United Methodist
Church and the Union County Farm Bureau. She is vice-president of the
Marysville City Union of the International Order of the King's Daughters
and Sons, a Christian service organization. She also served as the
President of the Mayflower Circle groups.
Rausch was raised on her parent's farm in Raymond. Married to Tom for
the past 28 years, the two have lived in Marysville since 1979. They
have two children: Aaron, 21, a student at Capital University and
Meredith Burkhart, a teacher at Marysville's Creekview Intermediate School.

Plain City to host annual car show
By MAC CORDELL
A growing tradition will continue this weekend in Plain City.
The village will host the Fifth Annual Plain City Classic Car Cruise-In
Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. with the trophy presentations between 3
and 4 p.m.
"It is a lot of fun," said Shirley Aldrich, one of the show's
organizers. "It is like a carnival."
In the past, the car show has had about 100 cars and about 500 attendees.
"This year, we are looking for more cars because we were able to get out
and talk to more people with cars," Aldrich said.
She said one of the attractions of Plain City's show is its variety.
"We usually have a diverse crowd when it comes to cars," Aldrich said.
"We have people come from several states around."
That variety has sparked 27 awards for the show. This year's "Best of
Show" winner will take home a special prize - a custom designed trophy,
created specifically for the show by Petar Brown and Steve English.
Even those that do not take home a trophy will be winners. The first 100
show entrants will receive a dash plaque and the first 50 show-goers
will receive a goodie bag. The "carnival" atmosphere will be provided by
food and merchandise vendors along with a live disc jockey for the
event. The show will also host a prize raffle and a 50/50 raffle.
One of the items for auction will be a class at the Mid-Ohio Race
Course. A Mid-Ohio car will be on display at the show.
"There will be a lot to do, plenty to eat and plenty to buy," said Julie
Weaver, with  and one of the show's organizers. "Plus, we are working on
a few surprises for the show."
Registration will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Edward Jones, in
Lovejoy's Plaza, on U.S. 42 half a mile south of Route 161. Cars will be
displayed in the plaza parking lot.
Village Administrator Steve Hilbert said he appreciates the car show and
what it brings to the village.
"The car show seems to continue to get better each year," Hilbert said.
"We really enjoy seeing this type of event come to town. They really
increase the awareness of Plain City and everyone seems to have a good time."
In the past, the Plain City Business Association has benefited from the
show. This year, while PCBA will continue to be involved, proceeds from
the event will go to the Uptown Plain City Organization.
For more information on the show, those interested may contact Julie
Weaver at (614) 561-3322.

Honda officials look back on HomeComing 2007
Editor's note: The following information is supplied by Honda of America.
---
Despite overcast skies and threatening rain, enthusiastic motorcyclists
rode hundreds and even thousands of miles for the 2007 Honda HomeComing
and Ride for Kids events.
Thousands of motorcycling enthusiasts and other guests participated in
three days of events at Honda of America Mfg.'s Marysville Motorcycle
Plant that included motorcycle demonstration rides, ice cream socials,
seminars and motorcycle light parades. Most riders also participated in
events in Marysville and Bellefontaine and other areas of Union, Logan
and other surrounding counties.
Motorcycle plant tours were the most popular attractions again this
year, where Honda associates guided more than 4,900 guests to see Gold
Wing and VTX motorcycles in production. Associates exchanged information
with riders about their Honda motorcycles, and explained how they assure
quality throughout the manufacturing processes.
"This event gave us plenty of opportunities to share ideas and learn
firsthand what customers expect in our products," said Bob Axe, plant
manager of the motorcycle plant. "Connecting with our customers is very
important to Honda and all our associates."
Guests also met with associates at motorcycle plant displays, where they
got a close look at welding, painting, assembly and other manufacturing
operations, including engine assembly. They also saw displays developed
by associates at the Marysville Auto Plant, East Liberty Auto Plant and
Anna Engine Plant that included videos of their manufacturing
operations, plus the products built at those locations.
Cledith Farris from Grover Hill, Ohio, was the winner of a
custom-painted VTX 1300 motorcycle in a drawing at the end of Saturday's
farewell banquet.  Tim Cattell, an associate in the paint department
developed the design that took first place in the motorcycle plant's
design competition. Fellow associates brought the design to life through
their custom painting and decaling skills.
Evening motorcycle light parades also were popular attractions. In
Bellefontaine, 579 motorcycles rode in the Thursday parade, while 614
participated in Marysville the following night.
More than 250 bikes participated in the 16th Ride for Kids event for the
Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation held Saturday morning in conjunction
with HomeComing. The riders raised $81, 273 to fight the number one
killer of children among cancer diseases. Associates from Honda of
America Mfg. and Honda R&D Americas, Ohio Center raised nearly $22,000.
Honda matched this amount by 50 cents on the dollar, increasing the
total to nearly $33,000.
The only motorcycle plant in Ohio, the Marysville Motorcycle Plant has
the annual capacity to produce 75,000 of Honda's largest and most
complex motorcycles, the Gold Wing GL1800 touring motorcycle and the VTX
1800 and 1300 cruiser models. Associates also assemble the motorcycle
engines in the plant.

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