Local Archived News September 2007
Suspect has long history of voyeurism
In Pennsylvania he repeatedly broke into womens' homes, hid under beds
By MAC CORDELL
A Marysville man with a long history of hiding under women's beds is
facing burglary charges in Union County Court of Common Pleas.
Aaron M. Kastein, 27, of 561 Dove St., was arraigned Tuesday on one
count of burglary, a felony of the second degree, punishable by as many
as eight years in prison.
Kastein was released from a Pennsylvania Prison earlier this year.
Kastein was arrested in Marysville on Aug. 14. Marysville Police were
called to a home on Rainbow Drive. A neighbor called 911 after hearing
the female victim call for help. She found Kastein hiding behind a
homemade blind in her garage. When she caught him, Kastein said he was
playing hide and seek.
Kastein fled the home, but was caught by police after a foot pursuit.
While being interviewed by police, he said he was scared because in the
past, police have "tricked him" and used his words against him.
He admitted to breaking into the home, but said he was only in the home
a few minutes before being caught.
"Kastein said he had been doing well for the last six months since
moving to Marysville," according to the report from the Marysville
Police Department. "He reported that he had been in prison for five
years in Pennsylvania for similar acts and was released in February of
Kastein said he did not want to steal anything.
"Kastein denied that he was there at the house to commit a sex act or
cause harm to anyone; and that he had never harmed anyone before,"
according to the police report. "He stated that he has a problem with
voyeuristic behavior. He said he just likes to look."
Kastein said he liked to watch women when they didn't know he was there.
Sometimes he would fantasize about them later.
During the interview, Kastein said he chose the house because he saw an
attractive woman there within the past few weeks. He said he did not
intend to enter the home.
Kastein told Marysville police that his problems started in college when
he snuck into a girl's dorm to watch her. He said he was not caught
initially, but on a subsequent trip back to the dorm room, he was seen.
He said that was the incident that led to his prison term.
However, Kastein has multiple prior convictions in Pennsylvania for
burglary, criminal trespassing, harassment and disorderly conduct, all
stemming from similar incidents.
Kastein pleaded guilty to hiding under a girl's bed in a Pittsburgh, Pa.
house June 16, 1999. He said at that time it was not the first time he
had done so.
On July 5, 1999, he was arrested for breaking into a home in the same
area. He said he noticed the girl and another woman at the library and
thought they were pretty. He followed the girls on several occasions
before breaking into the home.
At that time, he admitted doing the same thing at another woman's home
in the area. He was also connected to a similar incident a week earlier,
but never charged.
He pleaded guilty to both incidents and on May 8, 2000, began serving
two years' probation.
A month later, Kastein was found hiding on the basement stairs watching
the living room of suburban Pittsburgh area woman's house. The victim
had caught Kastein watching her sleep from the same steps several weeks
earlier, but did not report the incident to police.
On Aug. 17, 2000, Kastein was found hiding in the back seat of a woman's
In 2000 he was sentenced to jail and probation for charges including
criminal trespass and stalking.
He was released on parole after serving 11 and a half months of a
In January 2002, Kastein was caught hiding under the bed of woman in
Pittsburgh. Kastein fled and the three women who lived in the home did
not call police. The next day, Kastein and his father went to the home
and apologized. Kastein told the women at that time that he had issues
with rejection and was only there to look at them because they were pretty.
According to police reports, there was a series of other similar events
in that neighborhood.
Later that month, Kastein was arrested in a New Lebanon, Pa. home after
he was found hiding under the bed of a 13-year-old girl.
Kastein remains in the Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg in lieu
of $50,000 bond.
Teen given three-year sentence for theft
By MAC CORDELL
An attempt to show off for a buddy, coupled with an extensive juvenile
record, is going to cost a Marion man three years in prison.
Nathan M. Jolley, 18, of Marion, was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Jolley pleaded guilty in August to one count of grand theft, a third
degree felony. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped a
fourth-degree felony charge of receiving stolen property.
A joint sentencing recommendation between the defendant and the state
requested a three-year term of probation and a $1,000 fine.
Defense attorney Cliff Valentine urged Union County Court of Common
Pleas Judge Richard Parrott to follow the recommendation. He said his
client does have a juvenile record, but in this case, he took his
girlfriend's parents gun simply so he could brag to a friend.
"He was waving it around, showing off, which young men are prone to do,"
Valentine told the judge.
The defendant also requested community control rather than prison.
"I know what I did was wrong," Jolley told the judge. "I really don't
want to go to prison. This is a big headache, which I caused myself."
Parrott then explained that while Jolley had no adult record, he had an
extensive juvenile criminal history, which included five thefts, two
violent crimes, assaults and 18 violations of probation or court orders.
"I don't remember the assaults, but the rest of it sounds right," Jolley
told the judge.
"And you think you should stand here and tell me you are so sorry and
you made a mistake, again, and I should let you walk away and tell you
never to do it again?" Parrott asked.
"No," Jolley responded.
"Then what are you telling me?" the judge queried.
"I know I shouldn't get away with what I did," Jolley said. "I know it
The judge said Jolley, "hit it on the head."
Parrott ordered the three-year sentence, then ordered Jolley to pass the
General Education Development (GED) test within 365 days.
"If you have any hope of ever getting out of prison, you better be
making all sorts of progress on your diploma, GED actually," Parrott
told the defendant. "If you want to spend three years in prison, don't
work on your schooling. If you want to get out earlier, then get your GED.
The conviction stemmed from an incident which took place at his
girlfriend's Union County home on May 21 of this year.
"I got the .22 from her parents room and put it in the trunk of her
car," Jolley wrote in a statement to law enforcement. "I wanted to be a
show off and show my buddy. I took it thinking I'd be able to put it back."
After showing the gun to his friend, he declined an offer to sell it to
the friend for $50, because he knew he needed to return it. When the
friend went to leave, Jolly hid the gun in a sweatshirt outside. At some
point, Jolley either lost the gun or it was taken.
"I checked on the gun when we were about to leave and that is when I
realized it was gone," Jolley wrote.
He said the girlfriend did not know the gun had been taken from her
Effects of Bayly Pointe explained to Fairbanks Board
By RYAN HORNS
"I think it could be positive for the district," Fairbanks school board
treasurer Aaron Johnson said. "This is the type of development that
seems the right size."
Monday night Glacier West representatives stopped at the Fairbanks Board
of Education meeting in their tour of explaining the impact of the
commercial/residential development Bayly Pointe on the county. Their
reception was met with curiosity and positive words by board members.
"It's not like you're going to get 1,400 students in a year," Glacier
West and Forest City Land Group representative Paul Wenig said. "These
things happen over time."
Wenig said the development is expected to have a "positive cash flow
affect" on the district over a 20-year projection period. He said higher
density housing would be constructed first, and history shows that high
density housing usually yields fewer students per household. The later
phases to be constructed in the northern end of Bayly Pointe would bring
the majority of students.
School board member Star Simpson wondered what the timeline is going to
be for construction.
Landowner representative Bill Schrader said the hope is to have
construction begin in late 2008. By late 2009 the first students would
gradually begin entering the district. He said the first phase of the
construction is slotted to go in the southern areas of the project near
U.S. 42, because that area is already prepared and is "under served"
commercially. From there, the remaining five additional phases will
construct the west and east sides of the acreage, and then the remaining
inside portions are filled in.
Glacier West representative James Wynowski said 2,086 residential units
will make up both sectors of Bayly Pointe in Jerome and Millcreek
townships. The housing will be a mixture of condominium homes and other
residential styles. There are no apartments planned at this point. The
cost for the homes will span anywhere from $150,000 to $350,000. The
average of those would be $230,000 homes.
Board member Dave Huber asked about the acreage for the school and what
it could support.
Schrader said the 17.5 acres set aside for a school could be used for
something like an elementary school to house 400-450 students. But they
can work out any other ideas.
Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft said that currently the district
sees 20 to 30 new students a year. That is based on scattered individual
new homes being built on the west side of the district and not as a
result of development-type growth.
Wenig then went over the "major assumptions" of how Bayly Pointe may
effect the Fairbanks school district in terms of growth. He said the
increased funding from property taxes would increase gradually as homes
are constructed and purchased within Bayly Pointe. This means after the
first several years there would be small increases, anywhere from
$50,000 to $250,000. Then at 10 years they expect a peak
of $350,000 to $380,000.
Several board members inquired about any challenges or roadblocks the
development faces from the townships.
Schrader said so far their discussions are going well. The trustees
understand the growth projections. He said emergency services for the
school and the rest of Bayly Pointe are still under discussions. The
main key is how the public responds.
"You said commercial and we've heard the rumors," board member Kevin
Green said. "Is (Bayly Pointe) going to be a mall?"
Schrader said they will start out by offering smaller individual lots for businesses.
"We're certainly not looking at anything like a mall," he said. "A mall
would require a significant amount of residential development in the
area to support it. Assuming that occurs at some point in the future, we
are talking considerably into the future."
"It could be potential down the line," Wynowski said.
They would be looking at creating more of what is now called a
"Lifestyle Center," he said, which is essentially what can be found at Easton.
Regarding financial aspects of Bayly Pointe's impact on the Fairbanks
district, Wenig said they would be happy to sit down and go over more of
the details at a later time.
Schrader said an open house will be held Sept. 24 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at
the Millcreek Township Hall. Experts on the development will be present
to help explain the issue to any residents who wish to attend.
"We'll have an accountant, an engineer and a lawyer there," Schrader
joked. "So we'll try to let you get a word in edgewise."
Earlier in the week, Union County Engineer Steve Stolte reiterated the
time frame of Bayly Pointe. He said the sketch plan for the development
was reviewed on Sept. 6. The next step is to file the zoning request
with Millcreek Township. That is expected to be done tonight. At some
point the preliminary plat application will be the focus, but that is
six months away.
For a good example of the time frame, Stolte said, the Jerome village
development presented its first sketch in the summer of 2006. That final
sketch plan was approved in July 2007.
"This is a pretty lengthy process," he said. "It's not done quickly."
NU board hears building project update
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
North Union School Board members are preparing for the high school
renovation project to go out for bids.
On Monday the board learned that despite being slightly behind schedule
the project is ready to come to a final price. If the bids come in on
the low end, board members may have other decisions to make.
Dave Zeller of MKC Architects went over a list of 14 bid alternates that
the board could look into. The alternates involve better materials or
additional items for the high school.
While several of the bid alternates simply mandate a certain type of
material, such as flooring or locks, others involve items that the
general public may notice more readily.
Site work for an expanded parking lot on the northwest corner of the
building was one alternate, while refinishing the gym floor was another.
Also in the gym, a fold-up basketball goal to replace a fixed rim was
included as an alternate. A similar alternate offers the same goal with
a motorized folding unit.
Another alternate calls for a portable handicap ramp for the stage while
a separate alternate looks at pricing for replacement curtains for the
stage. Motorized wall units for the stage is another alternate.
While the new school will include four Smartboards - interactive
computer driven touch-screen units that replace chalkboards - a bid
alternate involves purchasing additional units.
The high school renovation could come in more than $300,000 under
budget. While some of that money is already slated to be used for
predetermined alternates, the remaining money could be used for some of
the remaining alternates. While some of the alternates could qualify to
be covered by state money, others, such as the stage wall and basketball
goals, would have to be covered by local dollars.
The board also heard from Paul Mullens of MKC who said the
60,000-square-foot middle school project is on schedule. Final
construction documents should be completed by early next month and the
project should be put out for bid by early next year.
The building will accommodate 400 students with room to expand by four
classrooms which can house another 80 to 100 students.
In other business, the board:
.heard that there will be a four-hour class on record keeping for board
members on Nov. 13.
.heard a description of Project More, which give assistance to
elementary students who are behind on their reading skills.
.heard and update from superintendent Rick Smith on the opening of the
2007-08 school year.
.set the financial review task force meeting for Sept. 21 at 7:30 a.m.
and the next regular board meeting for Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m.
.heard a request to allow an out-of-state overnight trip for the eighth grade class.
.approved documents for the high school renovation bid package.
.accepted the resignations of middle school teacher Nancy George due to
retirement and special education director Ed Kapel. Kapel's resignation
will take effect at the end for the school year.
Plans show 2,000-home project
Bayly Pointe is to be at the ntersection of U.S. 33, U.S. 42
By RYAN HORNS
A sketch plan recently dropped off at the Union County Engineers office
has brought the first image of the future plans for Glacier West.
The developer plan shows that Bayly Pointe will be the chosen name for
the 2,000-acre upscale development, to be situated south of Marysville,
bordering U.S. 33, Harriott Road and U.S. 42. It will rest within both
Mill Creek and Jerome townships and Marysville will provide sewer and
Within the entire Bayly Pointe there are 2,086 residential units
planned, 262 acres of open space, 17 acres for school use, 34 acres for
senior care living, 577 of residential acreage and 330 acres for
commercial and office space.
Jeff Stauch, with the Union County Engineers office, reported the
drawing is the most recent version of the plan.
"There will certainly be changes as (developers) work through the
reviews," he said.
One aspect of the sketch plan shows more than 12 acres being allotted
for a future Fairbanks school site. This will be situated near the
middle of Bayly Pointe and located just south of a new 120-acre senior
As a result, Fairbanks school board officials are scheduled to meet
tonight in order to discuss Bayly Pointe and how they will deal with the
expected growth of its district.
According to the Fairbanks Local School District Board of Education,
Bayly Pointe representatives Paul Wenig and James Martinowski will give
an update of the development. They will be joined by landowner Bill Schrader.
Both the school and the senior care facility will be located in the 441
acres set aside for the Jerome Township portion of the area. Other
highlights of this section show plans for 292 acres in commercial and
office space, just under 121 acres of residential space and 105 acres of
Glacier West also detailed the plans for the roughly 519 acres to be
built in Mill Creek Township.
Located within this section of Bayly Pointe are 38 acres of commercial
and office space, 456 acres of residential space, a 19-acre senior care
facility, five acres set aside for school space and 157 acres of open land.
Also included within the sketches was a rendering of bio-rentention
facility details, such as proposed storm water management facilities,
Big Darby and Scioto watershed areas, sanitary tributary areas,
placement of proposed water lines, gravity sewer spots and the proposed
More information such as further upcoming meetings to discuss the sketch
plans and any proposed changes that have been made to the original plans
was not available this morning from either the Union County Engineer's
Office or the Glacier West/Forest City Land Group officials.
Two enter guilty pleas
By MAC CORDELL
A pair of Union County men could be headed to prison following
admissions of guilt to separate offense.
Henry David Bussard, 27, of 61 E. Park St., in Magnetic Springs, pleaded
guilty to unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance, a fifth-degree
felony. He faces as many as 12 months in a state penitentiary.
Joseph Anthony Miller pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated
burglary, three counts of robbery, one count of possession of drugs and
escape. He faces as many as 34 years in prison. A joint sentencing
recommendation between the state and defense attorney Perry Parsons
offers an eight year prison term for the burglary, robbery and drug charges.
A prison sentence on the escape charge, a second-degree felony which
carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, would be served
consecutive to the other sentence.
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors dropped an aggravated
robbery charge and two theft of drugs charges. The dismissed charges
could have added another 13 years to the man's sentence.
Following the guilty plea, Parrott ordered a presentence investigation
and set sentencing for 0ct. 16.
Miller, 36, of 140 Hemlock Drive, said he was ready to be sentenced immediately.
"I want to look at this case," Parrott said. "To be fair to you, I need
to at least wait until the 16th of October."
Miller questioned what a presentence investigation was. The judge
explained that a member of his staff would sit down and talk to the man
about the incident and his background to help the judge make a better
informed sentencing decision.
"It is the only way to be fair and I want to be fair," Parrott said. "I
do not know what you think of judges, but I want to be fair."
Miller offered what he would like to see investigated.
"If you want to investigate, investigate the escape charge, because it's
one I didn't do."
"Purposefully," added the jailer watching Miller at the Tri-County
"Purposefully, anyway," Miller agreed.
Parrott said that would be examined during the presentence investigation
Miller was arrested about 2:55 a.m. Tuesday, July 17. He allegedly broke
a window in the rear of the home in the 200 block of West Third Street.
An occupant of the home heard the man and went to the front of the house
to call for help. While the resident was on the phone with law
enforcement officials, Miller allegedly came through the front door.
After a brief scuffle, Miller allegedly grabbed medication, including at
least two prescription medicines, from a drawer and ran from the home.
Neighbors told the officer it was Miller who broke into the home. They
pointed Miller out to law enforcement officials who, after a brief
chase, eventually caught the man.
Miller was being held at the jail during the duration of his case. Court
records indicate he was granted a medical release Aug. 21, with the
stipulation that he return to the jail two days later. The defendant
failed to show up at the jail.
Bussard's conviction was the result of an incident that occurred five months earlier.
Sheriff's deputies responded to Bussard's home about 1:15 a.m. Saturday,
March 17, after neighbors reported hearing noises. When deputies
arrived, the home's door was open. Law enforcement officials entered the
home and found spent shell casings littering the floor and a large hole in the wall.
"Law enforcement found Bussard passed out holding a sawed off shotgun in
his right hand and wearing a 9-m.m. pistol in a shoulder holster,"
according to court documents.
The deputies were able to wake the man, though it was clear he was
heavily intoxicated. Officers learned Bussard's two stepchildren were
asleep in an upstairs bedroom
"Bussard never denied shooting the guns and admitted to law enforcement
he knew the children were in the bedroom upstairs," according to court documents.
Officers recovered 31 spent handgun shells and six shotgun shells.
Bussard is currently serving a 180 day sentence in Tri-County Regional
Jail, stemming from a misdemeanor conviction from the same incident.
No sentencing agreement has been reached. Defense attorney Cliff
Valentine said his client wanted a presentence investigation followed by
a sentencing hearing.
Parrott ordered both, setting the sentencing hearing for 0ct. 16.
Bussard asked that his bond be reduced so he could go home once his
misdemeanor sentence was concluded.
"I just ask that I get home to get with my family," Bussard said.
He added that while he is in jail, his veteran's administration
disability check decreases by 90 percent.
He said when he is not home, his family struggles financially.
Parrott did not reduce the bond.
Area horse groups to raise funds
By MAC CORDELL
Jim had cancer.
Despite the infirmity, he never got down. His friends call him, "the
nicest guy you will want to meet."
A round of radiation and some love from his friends and Jim is back on his feet.
Now, Jim and some of his barn mates are trying to help others with cancer.
See, Jim is a horse and today he, along with other horses at Avalon Farm
in Plain City, the Central Ohio Riding Club, the Stirrup Some Fun 4-H
club and other friends of the farm, will be raising money for St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital.
The farm and the two clubs will be hosting a ride-a-thon in an effort to
raise funds for the hospital's pediatric cancer research.
"St. Jude is a fabulous organization," said Avalon Farm friend Evonne
Segall. "What they do is just wonderful."
And while Jim the Horse is 30, most of the 4H club members and riders in
today's event are teens or younger.
"To pick an organization that specifically benefits children was where
we were going and what we specifically wanted to do."
The ride-a-thon had been done in the past, but not for several years.
Its renewal was a dream and a hope of several 4-H club members since the
"After the fair, we kind of got together and decided we had time to do
this, this year," said Theresa Fauver, of the Stirrup Some Fun 4-H club.
Event organizers contacted the hospital and made the arrangements to
make the ride-a-thon happen.
Riders gathered pledges and donations.
"For every hour they stay on their horse will bring in donations," said
Segall. "Some people have just pledged a flat donation."
Fauver said riders can get down to use the restroom, then it is right
back on the horse. Even lunch will be on horseback. A local business has
provided some of the food and participants are asked to bring a side
dish, salad, desert or something else to add to the meal.
"It is a fun thing, but it is also a challenge for them to stay up there," Fauver said.
Riders, Segall joked, will having varying levels of commitment to the saddle.
"Some of them will be riding all day, some of them will not," Segall
laughed, adding that the younger riders are looking forward to the
marathon ride, while many adult riders simply gathered flat donations.
Organizers are unsure of how many riders to expect or how much money
will be raised.
"I don't know. I don't have any idea," Segall said. "It is just one of
those things where every little bit helps and we just did whatever we could."
Fauver said she hopes the event will raise at least $1,000. She said
she's been impressed with the generosity of the community, both
businesses and individuals. She's also been encouraged by the spirit of
community service shown by club members.
"People have been wonderful and I am real proud of the dedication of
these kids to help the community."
To be fair, the event isn't just about helping others.
"We are excited. It is going to be a blast," Fauver said.
Segall knows it is last minute, but said anyone who wants to participate
is invited to come to the farm at 16830 Middleburg-Plain City Road.
"We would be happy to have people come over," said Segall. "The more the
merrier. Just bring something to help St. Jude."
Those that do not want to ride, but would like to help the local riders
help the hospital may call Avalon Farm at (614) 873-6644 to make a donation.
"Or just call St. Jude and donate," Segall said. "St. Jude helps so many
and you never know when someone you know and love is going to need their
help. We just urge everyone top do something to help."
Judge requests more room, help
By MAC CORDELL
Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard E. Parrott is requesting
additional space and a pair of new faces.
Thursday Parrott informed the Union County Board of Commissioners that
he will be hiring two additional people.
He said he has needed one new employee for "quite some time" but was
"limping along" to see who his successor would be.
"I haven't made any hires," Parrott said. "I haven't made them."
Health issues with several common pleas court employees, however, have
forced the judge to look at hiring.
"It won't be just one, I need two," Parrott confirmed.
He added the time when more employees become a necessity rather than a
luxury, "is going to creep up on me quick."
He said his office is looking into the possibility of hiring an intern,
at least temporarily.
Parrott told the commissioners he did not think he would need to request
additional funds from them to pay for the new employees, at least not
this year. He said he has a pot of money, funded by a portion of court
costs assessed to defendants, available to use which should be
sufficient to pay the new employees at least through the end of the year.
The judge said criminal cases are increasing this year. He said the
court has 147 new cases already this year, compared to 180 total last
year. He said domestic relations cases are holding even and civil cases
are declining. Parrott credited increased filing fees for the drop in civil cases.
"That put the brakes on some of that filing $1,000 and $2,000 cases they
can file in Municipal Court," the judge said.
He added that foreclosures are on the rise. He said that in August
alone, 44 new foreclosure notices were filed.
Parrott used that as background information to support his request for new space.
"I need space and I need it bad," Parrott said.
He asked the commissioners if there would be room for some people from
his office to be moved to the county's building on Main Street.
Parrott said he wanted to move the probation department and the director
of the community control program to the other building. He would then be
able to expand the mediation department.
Commissioner Tom McCarthy questioned the judge about the possibility of
leaving the probation department in the courthouse and moving mediation
to the new office building.
"Because mediation uses the same files as we use in Common Pleas, right
there at the clerk of courts," Parrott said. "That's not to say
probation doesn't use them. It does, but only initially."
The judge added that the director of the community service program
needed to be moved with the probation department because she is a woman.
Parrott explained that his probation department consists of four male
probation officers. Random drug screens are part of the probation
process, and those tests, urine based, must be witnessed.
"I can't have those four guys do that," Parrott said.
"It is a bad problem," he added.
McCarthy questioned whether the probationers would need to go through a
metal detector at the new building.
"We have never had an incident, but on the other end of it, there is
always a first time," Parrott said.
He said he has been charging a $5 a month supervision fee to
probationers. He said he could use some of that money for security.
Commissioner Gary Lee said the county was hoping to "isolate" the cost
of security to the courthouse.
The commissioners suggested the judge submit his proposal in writing,
then the group can look at building plans together to see if space can be found.
McCarthy said, "everybody needs more room all the time," but added he
and the other commissioners would, "do our best to look at that
City brought up to speed on Town Run project
By RYAN HORNS
Thursday night's Marysville City Council meeting was full of talk about
sprucing up the city's Uptown district.
Economic Development Director Eric Phillips spoke more about the issue
of improving the Marysville Town Run, which runs straight through the
Uptown area. He recently brought Union County Commissioners up to date
on the issue, but wanted to include city council on the discussions as well.
Phillips said, "We have had meetings with city staff (and) with business
owners in the area to discuss the revitalization of the Town Run between
Fifth and Fourth streets. We're identifying potential grants that are
available. We have no idea where that's going to go. It's just a hope
that someday we can identify some grants out there - EPA grants and the
Transportation Enhancement Grants, maybe some CGBG funds that we can
utilize to revitalize that. That's at least the game plan."
Phillips said that he will meet with councilmen Ed Pleasant, John
Marshall and John Gore on Sept. 24 in order to further discuss the issue.
"We're trying to work together," he said.
Councilman Dan Fogt wondered who owns the Town Run property in the area
they propose to renovate.
"Well, there are a multitude of property owners," Phillips said.
He said that National City Bank owns two small portions of it, the
former BP gas station owners have a portion in their control, and other
pieces are owned by a family and an automotive company.
Marysville city administrator Kathy House said that the city owns 16 1/2
feet of the Town Run.
Phillips said that they may try to restore the Town Run all the way up to Mill Creek.
"We just don't know exactly what it's going to entail. We're just trying
to get a grasp of what is all there and what we can do and how we can do
it," Phillips said. "We do know one thing. It looks bad."
In a related issue, House talked about the first reading of a resolution
supporting the revitalization of Uptown Marysville and the submittal of
a Main Street application through Heritage Ohio. She said the eventual
goal is to become an Ohio Mainstreet Community.
Heritage Ohio is a statewide partner with the National Trust for
Historic Preservation. Main Street, under Heritage Ohio, helps
communities revitalize their downtown areas, both economically and aesthetically.
The legislation goes on to state that "the city recognizes the
importance of the Uptown area, as it relates to the economic health and
quality of life of the community and that the continued improvement and
development of Uptown Marysville is a primary focus."
House said that, once the city becomes a Main Street community, they
could secure up to $400,000 in grants to be used for Uptown projects.
The resolution states that in 2006 the city adopted the Uptown
Marysville Revitalization Plan and the Marysville Uptown Renewal team
was formed to help that process along.
"That requires $400,000 out of the city budget then?" Fogt said.
House said it only requires some matching funds from the city, but it is
not a 100 percent match to secure the grant.
Phillips said the city can also use private sector funding, meaning if
someone invests in an Uptown building they can count that toward the
match. They can also use in-kind services.
In another related issue, Fogt said he heard Marysville may be included
within a 12-county area bike trail.
"It's not a done deal," he said. "It's just a plan that may or may not
get fulfilled, but other cities have done well."
Fogt added that his "pet peeve" with the bike path issue is that there
are new school buildings being constructed along Milford Avenue that
have no sidewalks or bike paths included at all.
"I think we've been shortsighted in the past not installing bike paths.
I think we need to get into gear within the city as well as connecting
to other areas outside the city," he said.
In other discussions:
.House said that the Marysville Fire Department is expected to hire its
new assistant fire chief. His name is Jay Riley, and he previously
served as a lieutenant in Green City for seven years and as captain in
the Holmes County Fire District, among other years of service.
"We're very excited that he'll be joining us," House said.
She said Reilly is expected to begin his role in Marysville on Oct. 1.
.Gore inquired about the progress of the East Fifth Street railroad crossing issue.
"There's been no word from CSX," House said. "They are working on the design."
.The first reading was held on an ordinance to issue $2,100,000 of notes
in anticipation of the issuance of bonds to pay costs associated with
the designing and engineering of the southwest trunk sewer project.
City finance director John Morehart explained that it is "new money"
from the city's sewer fund.
Mail carrier pleads guilty to stealing gift cards
By MAC CORDELL
A pair of women, not from the area, pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges
stemming from separate offenses in Union County.
Jessi J. Holcomb, a former West Mansfield mail carrier, has pleaded
guilty to stealing items from the mail intended for residents on her route.
Stacey Lynn Pertuset admitted to traveling from doctor to doctor and
pharmacy to pharmacy in Marysville in an attempt to acquire pain medication.
Holcomb, 42, of 154 Walnut St. in Rushsylvania, pleaded guilty Wednesday
to two counts of theft, both felonies of the fifth degree.
Holcomb was employed as a postal carrier for the West Mansfield Post
Office. On Dec. 18, 2006, Holcomb was to deliver a Visa giftcard to one
of the Union County residents on her route. Instead, she kept the card
and used it at a Marysville retailer so she could buy her husband a
wedding ring. When she used the gift card, she signed the receipt with
the name on the envelope.
Several weeks later, on Jan. 27, Holcomb again opened a piece of mail,
this one a birthday card for a different Union County resident. Inside
the birthday card was a gift card to be used at a local department
store. Holcomb took the card and used it a store in Bellefontaine.
Surveillance footage from the store shows Holcomb in the store, using
the card. Again, Holcomb signed the intended recipient's name to the
When law enforcement officials questioned the woman, she admitted to
taking the cards and using them.
Following Holcomb's guilty plea, Union County Court of Common Pleas
Court Judge Richard E. Parrott ordered a presentence investigation. As
part of the deal to have Holcomb plead guilty, prosecutors and defense
attorney Michael Streng each agreed to request a 12-month prison term, a
$2,000 fine and an order to repay $130 restitution to the two victims. A
maximum sentence would include a 24-month prison sentence. Holcomb is
set to be sentenced Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Postal officials in West Mansfield would not comment on the matter.
Pertuset, 38, of 4699 Centerville Green Camp Road in Prospect, pleaded
guilty to four counts of deception to obtain dangerous drugs. One of the
counts was a fourth-degree felony and the others were fifth degree felonies.
The charges stemmed from incidents between Feb. 27, 2006 and June 19.
Pertuset went to four physicians in Marysville in that time. The doctors
did not know the others were treating Pertuset, who told them each they
were her only doctor. Over the less than five month period. Pertuset
filled prescriptions for 40 Oxycodone, 220 Ultram and 120 Darvocet. The
prescription for Oxycodone resulted in the fourth-degree felony because
it is classified as a more dangerous drug than the others.
Each doctor told law enforcement officials they would not have
prescribed the medication if they knew the woman was seeing other
physicians for other pain medications.
Pertuset filled the prescriptions at three different pharmacies.
According to court documents, prosecutors are recommending a 44-month
prison term for the woman. A maximum sentence would be 54 months.
Parrott ordered a presentence investigation. Pertuset is set to be
sentenced Tuesday, Oct. 16.
United Way campaign in full swing
Editor's note: The following information is supplied by Dave Bezusko of
United Way of Union County.
Volunteers around the county are helping United Way of Union County
achieve an $800,000 fundraising goal during this fall's annual campaign.
Traditional workplace campaigns, where associates have an opportunity to
give to United Way via payroll deduction, are being conducted in 49 area
workplaces. In all, more than 300 area businesses are projected to
support United Way with corporate gifts or donations before the campaign
ends in November. A flier providing all area residents an opportunity
to give from home was mailed out this week.
More than 3,400 individuals made their charitable impact via United Way
of Union County last year, as the organization surpassed its $750,000
goal, raising $775,201. Money raised here is used within the county to
help the organization achieve its mission of bringing neighbors together
to improve lives, meeting social service needs of area residents.
Funding requests from United Way's 24 Member Agencies for 2008 top
$640,000. Money is also needed for United Way's own programming and initiatives.
"We're off and running," said Dave Bezusko, United Way's Campaign & PR
Director. "It's encouraging to see so much support throughout the
community. Union County is truly a generous community where neighbors
reach out to help one another. We take care of our own."
A major objective of United Way's volunteers this fall is to increase
donor participation rates countywide. The agency hopes to accomplish
that by increasing awareness and education of what United Way does and
by asking as many people to give as possible.
"Research shows that the number one reason why people don't give to
United Way is because they're not asked," Bezusko said. "If you're
reading this article, consider yourself asked. It doesn't take a big
gift to make a big impact. We can make a dollar a week go a long way."
Bezusko cited the fact that United Way and its agencies can leverage
donor dollars with other resources to make an even greater impact in the
community. For instance, a pledge of $1 a week can provide two families
with a week's worth of toiletries and household items that cannot be
purchased with food stamps. A pledge of $2 a week can provide a full
month of meals-on-wheels to a senior citizen. A pledge of $5 a week can
provide a working family with a month of child care for one child. And a
pledge of $10 a week can keep a family from becoming homeless by
providing rent assistance to a household that would otherwise be evicted.
United Way is hoping to achieve a boost through a pair of special events
this fall. The inaugural Game Day 5K and Fun-Run presented by Jerome
Village will be conducted Oct. 6 at Glacier Ridge Metro Park in Jerome
Township. The family friendly event includes a pre-race concert by the
Ohio State University Alumni Band and a post-race breakfast catered by
"Even if you aren't a runner, you can come out and walk with your
family, take in the pep rally, and enjoy a breakfast," Bezusko said.
"The Buckeyes play at Purdue at night that week, so you won't miss a play."
United Way will also conduct an eBay-like online auction on its Web
site, www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org., from Oct. 8 through Oct. 30. Last
year's auction raised $13,165 selling in-kind product and service
donations from area businesses.
"We had over 489,000 hits on our auction Web site last fall, making it a
great way for small businesses to spotlight what they have to offer
while giving back to the community at the same time," Bezusko said.
"Even though 95 percent of the bidders were local, we did ship some
items to California and Maine. It was literally coast to coast!"
Bezusko encourages individuals who plan to donate to do so through work
if their workplace conducts a United Way campaign, because United Way
often benefits from a matching corporate gift. Equally important, he
says, is making sure that people designate to Union County on their
pledge forms. About 25 percent of United Way's donations come from
workplaces beyond Union County's borders from area residents who commute
to work outside the community.
"We ask people to give where they live," Bezusko said. "Commuters may
be participating in the United Way campaign at their workplace outside
of Union County. But they have to review their pledge form and designate
their gift to United Way of Union County. It won't be directed to help
here at home unless they specifically request it to be forwarded here."
Individuals who are retired, self-employed, or work at a workplace where
no United Way campaign is being conducted may give online at
www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org or via mail by writing a check to: United
Way of Union County, P.O. Box 145, Marysville, Ohio, 43040.
Businesses wishing to support United Way by conducting a first-year
workplace campaign, making a corporate gift, or sponsoring an upcoming
event can contact United Way at 644-8381.
City, county, twps. setting up taxing district for Glacier West
By RYAN HORNS
A Tuesday night meeting at Marysville City Hall moved the process
further along in the future Glacier West development.
Marysville ad hoc committee council members John Gore, David Burke and
Leah Sellers, were joined by the developer's attorney Dave Fisher,
Forest City Land Group Vice President of Planning and Construction James
Martynowski, Mill Creek Township Trustee Keith Conroy, landowner Bill
Schrader and city planner Greg DeLong. The purpose was to talk about
four letters that are relatively unfamiliar to this region - JEDD.
A JEDD, or Joint Economic Development District, is when contiguous
municipalities and townships enter into a contract to form a territory
to be governed by a board of directors made up from a member of each
entity. In this case, it means Marysville teaming up with Mill Creek
Township, Jerome Township and Union County to make the Glacier West.
According to Columbus-based attorneys Bricker and Eckler, LLP, the
powers of a JEDD are not clearly defined in the Ohio Revised Code. The
board of directors can levy an income tax within the district no higher
than any existing highest rate among the partners.
Much like a Tax Increment Financing plan (TIF), the tax would then be
set aside for the long-term maintenance of the JEDD. The board also
defines the territory's zoning, land use regulations, building codes,
public improvements and other regulatory matter for public purpose. The
remaining details of what each entity will control in the JEDD remains under debate.
As Sellers said, a JEDD is anything they make it.
In 2005 Glacier Ridge developers, now known as Glacier West, were ready
to begin developing 2,000 acres south of Marysville bordering U.S. 33,
Harriott Road and U.S. 42. Glacier West would be located in both Mill
Creek Township and Jerome Township, with Marysville providing sewer and
The vision included upscale shopping similar to the Easton mall complex
located near New Albany. Plans called for the creation of restaurants,
entertainment, education facilities, hotels, offices, a place to live,
work, shop and play. However, sometime during 2006 the discussions
disappeared until this summer.
Schrader said that the sketch plans for Glacier West have been submitted
to the Union County Engineers Office, and on Sept. 18 the development
will go before the Mill Creek Township Zoning Board.
Fisher said he has met with Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse, city
administrator Kathy House and councilman Burke. Together they came up
with a list of 21 agreed terms to put together the "framework for the JEDD."
The terms are a "byproduct of those meetings," he said, fully realizing
they did not have the input from the townships yet.
"This is a work in progress," Fisher said.
The meeting ultimately turned out to be a forum for debate on the 21
terms, as issues such as the overall cost, taxation, annexation,
building design, police and fire services, sewer and water costs,
traffic flow, and more were touched upon.
As long as the group does not get bogged down by the small issues,
Sellers said, they can keep discussions moving forward.
"I think we are open to explore the JEDD concept," Conroy said. "We have
a lot of concerns, but we are open to it. The devil is in the details."
"The cost is the number one thing," Burke said, adding that he plans to
work with the city to make it happen.
Gore also stressed that just because the Marysville city administrators
agreed to the 21-terms, does not mean it has the full support of city council.
Burke said Jerome Township officials are aware of where the JEDD
discussions are right now, and they have requested that once discussions
are further along they would like to be included.
Conroy put the evening in perspective, when he said, "I don't think we
have to solve anything tonight . I see this is an exploratory process."
He also stressed that he is there to make sure there is no unnecessary
burden of taxation on township residents.
Gore said a big issue with the agreement will be dealing with the
public's general fear of the term "annexation" and making sure people
understand the intentions of the JEDD.
"At one time the city went crazy with annexation and it's coming back to
haunt us," he said.
DeLong said that a JEDD is not set up to promote annexation.
"With any good functioning JEDD there would be no need for annexation," Burke said.
Regarding the agreement terms, Conroy said he hoped the JEDD would last
up to 50 years, instead of the 20 years listed. He referred to numerous
JEDD agreements that are set up to last anywhere from 50 years up to 99.
He said if the development takes 10 to 15 years to become a reality,
then the township would only be able to take part in tax sharing for
another five years.
"It's a point of concern," Conroy said.
Other issues were discussed, such as how the JEDD agreement will be tied
to the land. In this way, if Glacier West leaves the development down
the line, which it doesn't intend to, the terms of the JEDD remain.
Gore also wanted to be clear that the city would be interested in the
developers using a gravity sewer line to reduce the odor.
Martynowski said the hope was to use a combination of pump stations and gravity sewers.
"If the city won't accept that, it creates a heck of a problem," Gore said.
"It's a big expense," Martynowski said.
The cost just to lay the sewer and water line mains is expected to be $40 million, he said.
Sellers said there is also the issue of who provides fire and police
services and what that cost would be.
"Every one of those services is on the table," Conroy said.
Sellers said that the biggest issue is the price tag of the project, but
first they need to know the overall scope of the development. These
issues need to be outlined before much work can be made on dividing up
the JEDD agreement.
At the end, officials at the meeting agreed that the process is still
early on and more work will need to be done to clarify all the issues.
Marysville may enhance Town Run
By MAC CORDELL
The City of Marysville is considering a park along the Town Run,
reported Eric Phillips, executive director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce.
Phillips told the county commissioners Monday that city officials are
looking at making a park area along the stream between Fourth and Fifth Streets.
"We want to redo the stream," Phillips said. He added that would mean
opening up the stream and landscaping the area. He said a bikeway or
walkway could also be added.
Union County Commissioner Tom McCarthy said the area has become
overrun with trash.
"I think if you just cleaned it up," said the commissioner.
"You can't just clean it up," Phillips said. "The bank is failing."
He said grant money is being sought for the potential park.
Phillips said the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Commission is attempting to
connect bikeways in seven counties, including Union. He talked about
connecting to the Plain City bikeway, "so we would have a direct link to Columbus."
He said the county is looking to create comprehensive maps for parks and
bikeways in Union County.
"It is important to have that on paper so if some funding options do
come available, we have a shot at that," Phillips said.
Additionally, Union County officials are seeking input from local
property owners regarding potential bikeways within the county.
"They need to understand what that means for them and what it doesn't
mean for them," Commissioner Gary Lee said of a bike trail.
McCarthy said land owners tend to look at maps, like the ones proposed,
and immediately look to see how their property will be effected. He said
people become nervous when they learn a bikeway is proposed to approach
their land. He said farmers are forced to deal with trespassers on their
property and many feel bike trails will simply add more people on their
land and easier access for trespassers.
"They have a real fear and I understand that," McCarthy said.
However, he said, historically farmers have found that bike trails
reduce the number of people making trouble on their land.
"They need to understand the evidence is totally different," McCarthy said.
He added that many bicyclists carry cell phones and are likely to call
police if they see something suspicious.
"The people on bicycles tend to be the type of people you want policing
the area," McCarthy said.
Lee also said many farmers fear liability issues. He said the property
owner could be held liable for any injuries, even if the injured party was trespassing.
Lee said property owners would want to know what type of trails are
being contemplated, citing the difference between a bike trail on an
abandoned rail bed, and a walking trail along the Mill Creek.
"Those (trails off the rail bed) are tougher because there are no
natural boundaries," Lee said.
The commissioners recommended that Phillips seek the guidance and
assistance of the farm bureau to help keep farmers and other
property owners informed.
"The agenda needs to be one that is mutually determined, not dictated," Lee said.
McCarthy said community support is important for a bikeways project to be successful.
"You have a lot of potential over the next five years or so, to do
this," McCarthy said. "But you could also kill it right out of the gate
if they (property owners) feel they don't have a voice."
Unionville increases pay for mayor, clerk
By AUDREY HALL
Tuesday night's Unionville Center Village Council meeting was opened
with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and a moment of silence in
observance of the 9/11 attack.
Council approved pay increases for the clerk-treasurer and the mayor at
the beginning of the new terms of office. The clerk-treasurer's salary
will increase from $1,000 to $1,400 per year on April 1. The mayor's
salary will increase from $500 to $900 per year on Jan. 1. Current
clerk-treasurer Tracy Rausch and the current mayor Denver Thompson are
running unopposed in the November election.
Jeremy Buskark, an auditor with the state auditor's office, reviewed the
recommendations of the biennial audit with village officers immediately
prior to the meeting. Within a few days, council will be receiving a
draft copy of the audit for management use only until the final audit is
issued. During the meeting, payment of $2,024 was approved for the cost
of the required audit.
Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 6 to 8 p.m. was designated as trick or treat night.
The Pleasant Valley Fire District purchased a new copier. The old
copier was offered to the village and it was accepted.
An ordinance accepting the Golf Cart Inspection Program as submitted by
the Union County Sheriff's Office was signed. The ordinance defines an
underspeed vehicle as a four-wheeled vehicle, other than a truck, that
is originally designed and constructed with a top attainable speed of 20
mph or less or is not designed and constructed for operation on a
street or highway.
Underspeed vehicles must be inspected, titled and registered in order to
operate on a public street or property.
The person operating a golf cart, also described as an underspeed
vehicle, must have a valid operator's license and show proof of
insurance on the golf cart.
Operators of golf carts must follow all motion vehicle laws. Golf carts
and operators not complying with the Ohio Revised Code and the Code of
Federal Regulations subject themselves to citation and impoundment at their expense.
Once licensed, golf carts may only be in operation in incorporated areas
where the appropriate governing body has an approved ordinance allowing
their use. Golf carts may only be operated on streets and roadways with
a posted speed limit not greater than 25 mph.
Contact the clerk-treasurer to review the inspection criteria for golf carts.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has revised the flood
insurance study and maps for Union County. A copy of the study and maps
is on file at the council building.
A permit to build a new home at 445 Railroad Street was issued to
There is a vacant seat on council. Those interested should contact the mayor.
Council members present were Ron Griffith, Mary Lou Morris, Phil
Rausch, Brenda Terry and Peggy Williamson.
The next regular scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 6:30 p.m.
Plain City lays out economic incentives
By MAC CORDELL
The village of Plain City took initial steps Monday to implement
community reinvestment areas inside the village.
Village council approved an economic development incentive policy and a
pair of community reinvestment areas. The issues still need two
additional readings. Council president pro-tem Bob Walter suggested a
second reading take place during council's work session so they could
receive final reading and approval at the council's next regularly
scheduled meeting, Sept. 24.
"We have talked about it for a long time and I think we are where we
need to be," Eric Phillips, executive director of the Union County
Chamber of Commerce, told council.
Having the economic development incentive policy shows potential
businesses the village is taking, "a professional approach" he said.
"It shows that we've got our stuff together," Phillips added.
One change in the economic development incentive policy, which has been
discussed by council in the past, involved the investment of real
property improvement. Because the state is gradually reducing taxes on a
businesses personal property - furniture, fixtures, vehicles and
inventory -the economic plan and the community reinvestment area
requires a business to invest a minimum of $400,000 in real property improvements.
"That protects everyone in this agreement," Phillips said.
He also said the Jonathan Alder Board of Education has already approved the CRAs.
The first of the CRAs is in the village's historic downtown to encompass
retail, residential and commercial growth.
Residential property owners in that area will also need to make a
investment in their property to take advantage of the tax incentive,
though that dollar figure will be significantly less.
The second reinvestment area is adjacent to the soon-to-be completed
U.S. 42 bypass. That area will be dedicated to industrial and office
growth, rather than retail. Phillips said retail jobs are traditionally
low paying and retail businesses do not make the long term investments
to make real property improvements that industrial and office complexes do.
"This is hopefully setting the village up very nicely," Phillips said.
He added the village was creating the CRAs at "the right time" to
protect the village.
Tax incentive review councils will need to be established to create
specific incentives for specific businesses and make sure the business
is honoring the terms of the agreement.
Because the downtown CRA lies in both Union and Madison counties, tax
incentive review councils will need to be created for both counties. A
housing council will also be created for the village to make certain the
properties receiving tax incentives - residential and business - are being maintained.
Walter said the village has received a revised zoning application for
Eagle's Landing, an approximately 167 home development planned for the
newly annexed land at the northwest corner of Plain City-Georgesville
Road and Converse-Huff Road.
He said the economic benefit for the village is, "very back-end loaded."
"It takes a while for that to start coming in," Walter said.
Once that development is built out, "over a 10 year period, you are
probably looking at a million and a half in property tax and income tax" Walter said.
Officials get serious about saving Richwood Village Hall
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
It's one thing to want a beautifully restored village hall.
It's another thing to pay for it.
The deterioration at the Richwood Village Hall has been discussed at
council meetings recently and the topic has been addressed randomly for
several years. A fund was also set up to allow individuals to leave
money for the project after they die.
With the fund growing very slowly, the high cost of a renovation may be
out of the village's reach.
But council member Jim Thompson wants to take the issue to the people.
Thompson said he does not feel the issue should be decided by only six
council members. He said he believes the issue should be put on the
ballot so the entire village can weigh in on the decision.
Thompson said if people say they want to save the building, a second
ballot issue would address how to pay for it.
"We ask 'do you want to spend the money voter?'" Thompson said.
Several council members felt this was not the way to go.
Councilman Scott Jerew said he believes the village must put a dollar
figure for the repairs in front of the public. Mayor Bill Nibert said
putting the issue on the ballot as a tax issue will allow voters to
decide the fate of the building.
Councilman George Showalter noted that in 2001 an estimate for
renovation of the building came in at $675,000. Just a few years later
that figure had jumped to more than $1 million and no one knows what
such a project would cost now.
Showalter said whatever happens will need to be done quickly. He said
the clock tower is leaning eight to 10 inches to he east and leaks in
the building are deteriorating the structure.
Showalter admitted that the village may not be able to afford to save
the building. Council woman Peg Wiley agreed, noting that the village
has been told that no grant money is available for such projects.
"There is no way we can afford to redo that building," Wiley said.
Showalter said the village might be able to lose the village hall but
save some type of clock tower.
"The clock is what is important not the building," Wiley said.
JA plans for second phase of building project
By CORINNE BIX
Jonathan Alder School District plans to begin phase two of its building
project next year, which will complete the updating of all five district buildings.
Superintendent Doug Carpenter said the district anticipates state
funding for the project between July and December of 2008. Once the Ohio
school funding commission approves funding, then construction can begin.
He explained after the board meeting that the 2002 bond issue covered
funding for both phases of the $50 million project. The district was
responsible for 46 percent of the project cost and funded its portion
during phase one. The state's 54 percent portion will fund phase two.
Components of phase two include building a new Plain City Elementary
building, taking down the old section of Canaan middle school and
rebuilding, and finally remodeling the junior high building.
"All five buildings will then be updated and brought up to code," Carpenter said.
The board agreed to hold a work session Sept. 29 to discuss when it will
put on a renewal levy next year.
Carpenter explained that this would be for a renewal only and not
increase taxes. The 2.4-mill permanent improvement levy was passed in
2002 and became effective in 2003.
In addition, the board will discuss land purchase needed for the new elementary.
Jamie Pund, director of teaching and learning, reported to the board on
the summer school intervention summary.
Pund said this was the first year the district chose to hold summer
school in August as opposed to June.
Overall, the change proved to be positive.
"The kids came in fresh and ready to go," Pund said. "It also helped to
ease them into the new school year."
The district had 13 teachers and three aides work the summer program.
Pund said a total of 175 students participated which allowed for smaller
classes of 10-15 students.
In math, the program focused on building basic skills that are the
foundation for more complex concepts, while in reading, students worked
on creating better reading strategies.
Pund also reported on the state achievement test scores in grades three
through eight. She said that Alder students scored higher than the state
average across the board in all subject areas.
The board approved the revised open enrollment policy as presented at
August's meeting. The only additional change would be that those wishing
to open enroll for the next school year can begin doing so no earlier
than Nov. 1 of the current school year.
The other revisions require that all high school students seeking open
enrollment show a transcript and/or report card before being accepted.
Also, the district reserves the right to remove an open enrolled student
from the school if the district is given incorrect information from the
parent about the incoming student's skill set.
Carpenter said total enrollment in the district is 1,995 students in 13
grade levels. The district projected 1,958 students last spring which
put the estimate within two or three students per grade level.
The board adjourned into executive session to discuss the evaluation of
employees. No action was taken.
The next regular board meeting will be Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.
In other action, the board:
.Accepted the resignations of Jennifer Danner as eighth grade spelling
coach and Brett Miller as freshman boys basketball coach.
.Accepted the employment of Laura Phipps (Canaan) and Denise English
(Plain City Elementary) as playground supervisors for 185 day contracts.
.Accepted the employment of the following teachers as PAT's - Shelley
Bope, Cheryl Manbeck, Katie Grindrod, Stacey Sayer, Laura Hipp, Hazel
Williams, John Glatz, Janet Johnston, Nancy Patterson, Terri Stahl, Kim
Sinkhorn, Evie Williams and Sandy Day.
.Approved the employment of the following teachers as pathwise
evaluators - Molly Sperlin, Meghan Hearlihy, Cheryl Manbeck, Harriet
Merriman and Libby Krummery.
.Approved employees for their respective positions - Gwen Troyer,
freshman volleyball; Gail Bates, competition cheerleader advisor; Erin
Lybeck, assistant fall and winter cheerleader advisor (stipend); Jessica
Obringer, girls soccer volunteer; John Hostetler, James Ford, Jeremiah
Justice and Josh Wurschmidt, football volunteers; Rick Hutton and Curt
Thompson, boys basketball volunteers.
- Approved Harry Croghan, Nichole Perry, Catherine Tindal, Hazel
Williams, Harold Huffman, Penny Pierson, Jennifer Donovan, Phillip
Powers, Tina Fisher, Adrian Bailey, Theresa Knox, Heather Zimmerman,
Shanna Ninke, John Sullivan, Marcia Bolenbaugh, Jonathan Dodge, Melissa
Nunamaker, Harry Shade and Carolyn Wonn as substitute teachers for the
2007-2008 school year.
.Approved Gregory Manning, Katherine Zimmerman, Dorothy Miller and Kent
Roby as classified substitutes for the 2007-2008 school year.
.Elected board members to the health insurance and business advisory
task forces. Tom Bichsel will serve on health insurance. Steve Votaw and
Dr. John Adams will serve on the business advisory committee.
.Commended National Merit Scholar semi-finalists Tommy Kellett and
.Approved the request from Amy Baker for her daughter, Madison, to
attend Plain City Elementary.
Milford Center boy honored for use of seat belt
By RYAN HORNS
On the front page of the June 5, 2007 Marysville Journal-Tribune, a
photo shows area firefighters cutting the roof off a car, while a
MedFlight helicopter hovers overhead, waiting to transport victims.
As Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers worked to save the crash victims
that morning, many said they were not optimistic everyone would be all right.
But on Monday afternoon, Samuel Vollrath, the now 7-year-old victim from
that crash, was alive and well, shaking hands with Ohio State Highway
Patrol Marysville Post Commander Rick Zwayer.
Zwayer said he credits Vollrath's use of a seat belt as the reason the
Milford Center juvenile is still alive. That is why Vollrath was
officially presented the Department of Public Safety's "Saved By The
Belt Award" for setting an example on the importance of seat belt use.
"We don't give too many of these out," Zwayer said about the award.
"He's joining a pretty elite group of people, especially for a 7-year old."
Since 2004, he said, only 23 similar awards have been presented to Ohio
crash survivors. Statewide statistics show that in 2006, of the 1,239
people killed in traffic crashes in Ohio, 599 were not wearing their
seat belts at the time of the crash.
"Samuel Vollrath is a living example of the effectiveness of wearing a
safety belt," Zwayer said.
On June 5 Vollrath was the right front seat passenger in a 1993
Chevrolet pickup truck, driven by his father Daniel Vollrath, as they
both headed north on Route 38.
According to OSP reports, the two had just left their home and were
driving toward Marysville, when the driver of a 2003 Saab failed to
yield at a stop sign on Middleburg - Plain City Road.
The Vollrath's pickup collided with the Saab in the intersection and
their truck overturned along the roadside, ejecting Daniel Vollrath,
causing serious injuries. The Saab rolled down the hillside, trapping
driver Jin Hae Park and his passenger Sang Sun Han inside.
"Samuel Vollrath was wisely wearing his safety belt and escaped the
crash with only (a) minor visible injury," Zwayer said. "Wearing his
safety belt undoubtedly prevented Samuel from suffering more serious
injury or death."
In the meeting room at the Marysville Post of the Ohio State Patrol
Monday, the Vollrath family gathered to watch Samuel accept the award.
"On behalf of the family, I think we're very proud of Sam," grandfather
Philip Vollrath said.
Later, watching the smile on Samuel's face as he sat behind the wheel of
a state patrol cruiser, Philip said, "Maybe he'll be a trooper some day."
Also at the ceremony was Marysville Fire Chief Gary Johnson, whose
medics helped transport the injured Vollraths after the crash.
"Wearing seat belts saves lives and we see it on a daily basis," Johnson
said. "He sets a good example for other children and adults."
Area woman saves baby
By CORINNE BIX
Most would consider bungee jumping to be the pinnacle of an adrenaline
rush, but for Kathy Marsh it couldn't come close to saving the life of a
Marsh, 47, and her family traveled to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., over Labor
Day to catch one last summer weekend trip. However, on the way to go
bungee jumping, the Marysville Surgical Center nurse found herself in
the right place at the right time when an infant's life hung in the balance.
Marsh explained that she and her 16-year-old daughter, Sarah, had
spontaneously decided Sept. 1 to try bungee jumping at "The Track"
Family Recreation Center in Pigeon Forge.
The mother and daughter had always wanted to try the daredevil activity,
so when the opportunity presented itself they took it.
Marsh said this came after a day of shopping. They arrived back at their
hotel and Marsh's husband and sons wanted to order dinner.
"I felt like it we don't do it now it''s not going to get done," Marsh said.
Despite protests, Marsh and Sarah headed out. She commented that all
weekend the main roadway through Pigeon Forge had been bumper-to-bumper
traffic and Saturday night was no exception.
Upon arriving at The Track, Marsh said there was no place to park.
"I could barely get into the parking lot to park because there were cars
to the left and the right," Marsh said.
While deciding what to do, she noticed a woman crying by her car.
Marsh said she put her van in park and told her daughter to say in the car.
When she reached the woman she saw the woman's husband holding a very
young and very blue infant girl in his arms.
Marsh said years of CPR training clicked into place and she immediately
responded by saying, "I'm a nurse, let me help."
After assessing that the baby had a blocked airway, Marsh set into motion.
"I started CPR and started to ventilate the baby," she said.
When that didn't work she began administering five gentle back blows
while holding the baby backside up in her arms. She then started chest thrusts.
"I then noticed a small blue bulb syringe in their car and asked if I
could use it," Marsh said.
She used the syringe to suction the baby's nose and mouth, and the baby
began to cough and cry.
"It seemed like only 10 seconds went by but in reality it was one or two
minutes," Marsh said.
Once the baby began breathing again, Marsh recommended the parents take
the child to an Urgent Care Center to seek further medical attention.
Marsh said she has worked in nursing for 23 years; however, this was the
first spontaneous situation in which she helped save a life.
"It wasn't a controlled situation like in a hospital," she explained, "I
was in charge and there was no physician."
Sarah said her mom is a hero.
"It brought tears to my eyes," Sarah said. "I remember looking over at
the Mom and Dad and they were crying and it was really scary."
Sarah said she is very proud of her mom and the way in which she handled
the situation, very calm and collected.
Marsh said she and Sarah spent most of the evening and weekend amazed at
what they had witnessed.
The two decided to celebrate the amazing moment by completing their task.
Both Marsh and her daughter said that bungee jumping was a lot of fun.
"It was very exciting and just as exciting as I anticipated," Marsh
said. "The hardest park was making the initial leap but I am so glad
that I did it and I would do it again."
Sarah said that before she jumped, she became nervous but what got her
through was thinking the fear felt by the parents who almost lost their child.
"I know I was supposed to be there, and God put me in that situation," Marsh said.
Marsh and her family reside in Green Pastures.
Local man killed in motorcycle accident
From J-T staff reports
A Marysville man died as a result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle
crash this weekend.
According to Marysville's post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Chad
Allen Rowe, 30, of Marysville died at Ohio State University Hospital
Sunday at 12:04 a.m.
Reports show that at 8:21 p.m. Saturday Rowe was riding his 1979 Honda
motorcycle south on Route 4 when he failed to negotiate a curve near
County Home Road. He went off the right side of the roadway and struck a
guard rail. Rowe was ejected from the motorcycle in the crash, which
stopped in a ditch along the road.
He suffered serious injuries from the crash and was transported to
Memorial of Union County by Marysville medics. He was later transported
to Ohio State University Medical Center.
The state patrol reported that Rowe was not wearing a helmet at the time
of the crash and "alcohol was suspected as a contributing factor to the crash."
The Marysville Police Department and Marysville Fire Department and EMS
crews assisted at the scene. The crash remains under investigation
County is Ohio's fourth fastest growing
By MAC CORDELL
A recently released study reveals Union is Ohio's fourth fastest growing county.
The study, released by the Ohio Department of development, indicates
Union County's 2.14 percent annual growth between 2000 and 2006 ranks
only behind Delaware (5.83 percent), Warren (3.96 percent) and Fairfield
(2.19 percent) Counties.
"I think that is a reflection that this is a great place to live," said
Union County Commissioner Tom McCarthy.
Eric Phillips, executive director of the Union County Chamber of
"It is better to be in a growing situation than the alternative by far,"
said Phillips. "I think that shows we are an all-around great community."
McCarthy said the pace of Union County's growth has slowed some, saying
it, "is probably at a more manageable rate than it was two years ago."
Phillips credited the outstanding communities and schools for drawing in
new residents. He also said employees at many of Union County's
industries are making the move.
"We have lower land costs, lower housing costs, compared to the Columbus
market, and I think they get tired of the drive," Phillips said.
Phillips said growth, not only is an indicator of economic strength, but
also its protector.
"I think the growth supports our business community and allows more
business to move in and expand," Phillips said. "More people moving in
means more spending money, more disposable income."
He added that when retail and industry thrive, government and the
population do as well.
Phillips said a growing population keeps its residents for a lifetime.
"A lot of times, a growing population keeps you from brain drain, where
your college graduates move out of the area," Phillips said, noting that
many communities are losing their educated citizens.
As a whole, Ohio has grown by 0.18 percent a year since 2000. By
contrast, the United States population has grown 1.00 percent a year in
that time. Just 12 Ohio counties are exceeding the national average.
"Looking at the map is kind of depressing, see that we are not growing
much as a state," said Phillips, adding again that it is nice to be in
one of the state's few growing counties.
Phillips added that while the benefits of growth, far outweigh
stagnation, there are some risks and "challenges."
"I think we need to be aware of good growth policies as we move
forward," said Phillips. "If we don't plan well, it could have a very
negative impact, so we need to continue to work together and make sure
we manage growth."
He said increased population can cause a strain on existing services,
"growing pains," he calls it.
"With growth, there is a hunger for services," Phillips said. "We need
to find ways to support the growth and provide services for these new people."
McCarthy said the growth is a positive, but added that it is also
beneficial that Union County's population has not continued to grow at
what he called, "a torrid pace."
"Growth can create a lot of challenges for the local community,"
McCarthy said. "We need to make sure we don't grow broke. It is possible
to grow too fast."
Phillips said the increased tax base caused by the increased population
can help, but added that often it is the new ideas brought by the new
residents that help the most. He said "innovative thinking" coupled with
strengthened partnerships will likely provide the key to managing the
McCarthy said that even with its growth, Union County has not lost sight
of its identity as a small county.
"There are some challenges, but they are good problems," he added.
"There are an awful lot of communities and counties that would trade
places with us in a minute
Program aims to assist families of children with disabilities
From J-T staff reports
The Council for Union County Families is offering a free education
program for families of children with special emotional needs.
The eight-week course, titled Hand-To-Hand Family Educational Program,
offers a dual focus on education and personal insight for the parents
and families of children with disabilities.
"This program will be helpful to any parent, caregiver, or relative with
a child, under the age of 18, who has a mental, emotional or
neurobiological disorder," said Brenda Rock, executive director of the
Council for Union County Families. "The program provides information on
the diagnostic process, understanding the specific diagnosis,
medication, counseling and other therapies, coping skills and educational issues."
Program participants will learn about major depression, bipolar
disorder, childhood schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactive
disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety disorder, among
others, along with current treatment information.
"Professional guest speakers will be addressing each individual topic
area," Rock said. "Parents Kim Chapman and Mary Beth Merklin have been
trained by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to facilitate the workshops."
Included in the curriculum, developed by the National Alliance for the
Mentally Ill, Ohio Chapter, is biological information about medications,
side-effects, and problems with medication compliance, the biological
basis of mental illnesses, treatment options and recovery.
Another portion of the program is dedicated to learning how to advocate
for your child and specifically with regard to their individualized
education plan at school. Understanding special education needs and
working with the juvenile justice system are addressed in separate classes.
The program will begin Thursday, Sept. 13, and run each Thursday through
Nov. 8 (excluding Oct. 11). Classes will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
at the Agricultural Center of Union County.
Rock said group participants can also act as a support group for one another.
"In addition to getting a lot of valuable information, parents will be
able to provide support to each other as they learn and share
information about their own journey," said Rock.
For more information on the Hand-to-Hand program or to register, contact
Rock at (937) 642-8990 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stolte won't run again
Six terms is enough for Union County Engineer
By MAC CORDELL
Union County Engineer Steve Stolte will not seek re-election in 2008.
"I feel good about what we've accomplished the last 23 years," said
Stolte. "I have enjoyed it and it has been a good run."
Stolte said he has been contemplating the move since the beginning of the year.
"I just thought 24 years is long enough as county engineer," Stolte said.
Prior to his election as engineer, Stolte was a partner in a private
engineering firm and served two years as Marysville's city engineer. In
1984, Stolte unseated incumbent Don Hart. That was the only time, in six
successful elections, he had an opponent. He said he feels he is
finishing the job as engineer on a strong note.
"I think we've done a lot of good for the roads and bridges and the
community as a whole," Stolte said. "We have accomplished a lot since
then. This year was a good year with the two covered bridges and I just
thought next year would be a good time to bow out."
In a written statement announcing his decision, Stolte added, "In our
first campaign in 1984, our slogan was 'Its Time For a Change.' I think
maybe now is a time for new leadership with new vision and new goals in
the county engineer's office."
Stolte will be 62, when his term is up at the end of 2008 and says he
doesn't know what's next.
"I guess at this point I have not decided if I want to retire yet,"
Stolte said. "I have just decided not to run for county engineer."
"At this point, I don't know," Stolte said. "That is 16 months away. I
am just keeping my options open."
He has not ruled out running for another public office.
"It is a possibility," Stolte said. "You never want to say "no" to
anything. You just never know what might come along."
Regardless of what is next for Stolte, County Commissioner Gary Lee said
he will be missed.
"I think Steve has been one of the best examples of a public servant
that really cares about his community," Lee said. "His vast knowledge
and understanding of issues and people have been an asset that this
community will reap benefits from for years to come."
In his written statement, Stolte credited his employees for his success.
"As I look back at the goals we laid out in 1984, we've accomplished
almost all of those goals," Stolte wrote. "But remember that everything
we've accomplished has been through the efforts of all our employees.
"I just start the ball rolling in the right direction," he wrote. "Our
employees keep the ball inflated and make sure it gets across the goal
line. We have been blessed with many dedicated and hardworking employees."
Lee said that is the kind of leader Stolte is.
"Obviously, the community and the county will miss his strong leadership
as he goes into retirement," said Lee. "The admiration I have for Steve
Stolte is second to none."
Stolte said he will remain busy until his last day on the job.
"We, every year, lay out a pretty aggressive list of goals we want to
accomplish for the next year and we are in the process of putting that
together for 2008. Once we get that accomplished, that will be our
charge for next year."
He said one of his goals for 2008 will be the passage of the one-quarter
percent sales tax, to be placed on the March ballot. The anticipated
revenue of between $1.7 and $1.9 million per year would be used equally
for senior citizens in the county and for the engineer's office.
"I will be working just as hard as I can work to get that passed," he said.
While Stolte is not certain what he would like to do when he leaves, he
does know who he would like to succeed him.
"There is a young man named Jeff Stauch who works for me and has for 21
years," said Stolte. "I think he would be an excellent choice for county engineer."
Stolte said that while he knows it is time to move on, he has enjoyed
his time in the position.
"There is always highs and lows, but most days, I have jumped out of bed
and looked forward to going to work early," Stolte said.
City, county move forward with port authority idea
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville and Union County officials plan to move forward on the
concept of creating a joint port authority.
City council members and Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse met Thursday in a
work session with the county commissioners to discuss the issue. The
group decided to start drafting a sample agreement.
Economic Development Director Eric Phillips joked that it wouldn't mean
barges would start trying to fit up Mill Creek anytime soon.
Stephen Grassbaugh, an attorney with Columbus-based firm Peck, Shaffer
and Williams, explained the concept of port authorities.
Grassbaugh said upwards of 40 port authorities have been created in
Ohio. He said the most important aspect is that it can finance large
projects and businesses can take advantage of its tax-exempt status to
do their work cheaper.
"I can see some creative ways to use this right off the bat," Kruse said.
Grassbaugh said it is just another financing option, much like Community
Improvement Corporations (CIC), Joint Economic Development Districts
(JEDD), or Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to help benefit area business
and government progress.
"There is no cost to the city to set it up," Grassbaugh said. "It's not
a panacea. It's just another tool in your bag."
Councilman Dave Burke wondered what the next step is.
Grassbaugh said he and Phillips would get to work on the draft sample
agreement. City and county attorneys will review the draft and
negotiations about how everything is split up will follow. Once an
agreement is reached, a formal proposal will be created. Once they agree
upon the details, two ordinances would come before Marysville City
Council - one asking to approve the agreement and another to approve the
port authority. At that point the document would need to be signed by the mayor.
Burke said the city and county would need to meet again at some point to
go over the progress.
Grassbaugh said that the authority would be headed up by a board of
directors, which essentially would take over the role as the leader in
economic development for the county. The authority could be created to
run specific things like airports or railroads, or it could be used to
help other entities to do projects.
"Powers are very broad for a port authority," Grassbaugh said.
Port authorities can also levy a tax and have the power of eminent
domain, Grassbaugh said.
Phillips said those are sensitive issues, so they would want to make the
agreement state that nothing could be done on either issue without the
approval of both the city administration, council and county.
"That way there are some checks and balances there," Phillips said.
Grassbaugh said it would not be likely for the authority to create a tax levy.
"You're not going to get the citizens to vote a new tax for themselves," he said.
Councilman John Marshall wondered if revenue is generated by port
authorities and how that money is spent.
Grassbaugh said the irony is that some people have accused some port
authorities for being created solely to make money. But he said the
reality is that most make just enough to pay for the staff to run it.
The idea is to promote economic development and then funnel the rest
back into the community.
He said the closest comparison to what Marysville and Union County could
model themselves after would be a port authority set up between
Zainesville and Muskingum County.
"That's been a very successful one," Grassbaugh said.
The largest Ohio port authorities are in Toledo and Cleveland, he said.
Councilman John Gore asked what happens if the loans default, who pays?
Grassbaugh said the city or county would not be liable, only the
borrower. He said the risk is that a company that borrows money through
the port authority, but can't afford to pay it back, could "go belly up."
"I understand it's a nice tool," county commissioner Tom McCarthy said.
"But what's the compelling case for this?"
Grassbaugh said if the local hospital needed $9 million for a project,
the port authority would be able to secure that funding, whereas cities
have limits at the amount of debt they can accrue. A city cannot borrow
more than $10 million.
Marshall said that if he were the devil's advocate on this, he'd assume
"this all sounds too good to be true."
"Obviously the details of an agreement ought to be worked on," Kruse
said. "We need to have this tool available."
"Without any ongoing cost, there's no reason not to," Grassbaugh said.
"My goal is to have it done by the end of the year," Phillips said.
Tri-County Jail Commission approves budget
By RYAN HORNS
The Tri-County Regional Jail Commissioners added one sanitary detail to
its 2008 annual budget, before members agreed on its approval.
At the Thursday afternoon meeting in Mechanicsburg, jail director Bob
Beightler said the commission had talked about the 2008 jail budget at
the meeting in early July. He said it previously submitted a budget of
$3,938,564, but that needs to be changed.
"The new revised one we have in front of you today has been increased by
$60,000," Beightler said. "We did have an engineer come out and do an
evaluation of the sewer system and for $65,000 we can (repair that) . So
that's the change that I'm recommending and I feel that would help to
resolve our sewer problems."
Union County Commissioner Gary Lee said he was ready to approve the
budget and move forward on the extra costs for sewer repairs. He said
the committee does not meet again until November, so they may want to
approve the budget now.
After some discussion the members agreed to that.
"To be honest, it would make it easier for us," Champaign County
Commissioner Bob Corbett said, about getting the budget approved before
November. "If anyone has a concern they need to voice it."
Corbett said that he may not be happy about the extra money, but he
understood the need, simply because some projects were not done right
when the jail was initially built and opened in 2000. Sooner or later
those faulty projects were going to need attention.
"The equipment is wearing out," he said. "The sewer system was not
installed properly when it was built new."
Beightler added that there "are some big ticket items" needed next year,
one of which includes another expensive project of having to resurface
the parking lot.
Corbett said that project wasn't initially done right either.
"I think the bottom line is that for the past two years we've been
saying that these expenses were going to start to hit us," Lee said. "I
think what we've asked the director to do is to start to formulate a
plan to make needed repairs and replacements. It's the cost of keeping
this jail in the shape that I think our constituents would expect us to keep it in."
Lee said he would also like to see the budget lower, but maintenance is important.
"The one thing that we've always been good about is that we have stayed
under budget," Lee said.
"I'm very satisfied with the efficiency of the jail," Corbett said.
In other topics discussed:
. Commission members discussed the issue of inmates using phone cards.
The topic was previously addressed in the early July meeting. At that
time, members decided to keep mulling over the phone card issue.
Ultimately, members said they would like to move forward on it and they
were optimistic that the phone cards could be efficiently monitored to
prevent abuse by the inmates.
. Beightler said that a Faith and Community Re-entry Forum will be held
at the jail on Sept. 28. He said the Tri-County Regional Jail will be
the first in the state to host the forum. He expects upwards of 60
people to attend. The event concerns the issue of providing inmates with
mentors, who can help the inmate's transition from jail, back to the
Families helping families
Merger brings together two family-owned funeral homes in Richwood
By KARLYN BYERS
Though they're still settling in and learning each other's styles, Kyle
Stofcheck and Greg Ballinger of Richwood have determined that the recent
merger of their funeral home businesses is a winning situation.
"My family and I win and the community we serve wins," Ballinger said.
Both men grew up in funeral homes, living with their parents in the
second stories. And both were from families who operated an ambulance
service. In fact, Stofcheck's parents, Ed and Barbara Stofcheck, still
operate the family ambulance business.Ballinger and Stofcheck also share
the same goal - to better serve the Richwood, Prospect and LaRue communities.
"Truly, what gets you out of bed in the morning and gets you to work is
that thought of helping people and that is what has kept me going, is
the responsibility to the people you serve," Stofcheck said.
He said he had envisioned a partnership between the two Richwood
businessmen for "awhile."
"I had through the years a couple different times broached the subject
... " Stofcheck said.
But the timing and business climate were not quite right until recently
when Ballinger and his wife, Gina, purchased the business from Greg's
mother, Janet Ballinger, who was retiring.
"We decided that the time was perfect to take Kyle up on his
long-standing offer to bring the two businesses together," Greg Ballinger said.
The men are finding that their business styles complement each other.
Stofcheck, for instance, really values the fact that Ballinger is much
more computer proficient than he is. Ballinger had a Web page featuring
the new business name and logo designed in no time.
"One of the things I greatly appreciate about Greg is his knowledge
about that," Stofcheck said.
Ballinger, on the other hand, respects Stofcheck's ideas.
"He's a thinker and someone who is ready to come up with a new idea to
get things done. My management style has always been much more passive,"
he said. "I have benefited greatly from watching Kyle work ... from the
way he handles inventory to the way he handles families."
Ballinger, who previously had the sole responsibility of running
Ballinger Funeral Home, also has gained an assistant.
"(Greg was) the only person he could trust to do things right and now
that has all changed," Stofcheck said.
"Kyle and I have someone to depend on," Ballinger said. "Kyle's father
is still on staff and not looking to retire. He enjoys being a funeral
director, and we enjoy having him. He's a valuable part of our business."
Because of the elder Stofcheck, the Stofcheck-Ballinger business will be
able to handle funerals at each of its funeral homes - Richwood,
Prospect and LaRue - at the same time, if need be.
Greg Ballinger is the fifth generation in the Ballinger family to serve
as a funeral director, following in the footsteps of his
great-great-grandfather, B.C. Ballinger, great-grandfather Cletus
Ballinger, grandfather Bert C. Ballinger, and father Richard Ballinger.
In 1902, B.C. Ballinger established a funeral home in West Mansfield.
Cletus Ballinger continued the operation and was succeeded by Bert
Ballinger who purchased the former Hastings Funeral Home in Richwood in
1952. He died in a traffic accident in 1969.
Richard and Janet Ballinger continued with the business and even
expanded it with the purchase of the former Gehm Funeral Home in
Prospect in 1972. When Richard died unexpectedly in 1988, Janet
Ballinger kept the business going, and Greg took over as funeral director in 1993.
Greg Ballinger is a 1989 graduate of North Union High School and a 1993
graduate of the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.
Stofcheck Funeral Home began in 1969, when Kyle's father and mother
purchased the former Ford Funeral Home in LaRue. In 1973, they also
purchased the former Cheney Funeral Home in Richwood. In 1992, Kyle
Stofcheck, a 1984 Elgin High School graduate and a 1987 graduate of the
Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science, purchased the LaRue and Richwood
funeral homes from his parents.
The old Ballinger Funeral Home at 23 E. Ottawa St. is for sale. The
Ballinger monument business at 22 E. Ottawa St. will remain in
operation, and the old Ballinger hearse will remain in use until it is
"retired." Richwood funerals will be held at the old Stofcheck Funeral
Home at 201 S. Franklin St.
New signs have been erected in front of the Richwood, LaRue and Prospect
funeral homes announcing the name change, and a home behind the
Stofcheck-Ballinger Funeral Home was recently purchased to make way for
a larger parking lot, the better to serve the community.
The two men said their wives and families have been supportive, as has
the community itself.
"Overwhelmingly, it has been so positive," Stofcheck said.
"I have been made to feel very much at home here," said Ballinger. "Just
by coincidence, one of the very first funerals Kyle and I did here was
my wife's grandmother's, and my wife said she felt very comfortable and
at home here. That is the kind of atmosphere it has been for me since day one."
Richwood police begin new program
By MAC CORDELL
The village of Richwood Police Department is getting some new faces.
Actually, they are old faces.
They are the faces of everyday residents who want to help the police
department make Richwood a safer place. Citizens on Patrol is an
initiative of new police chief Monte Asher.
"We are trying to get this police department to get more involved in the
community," said Richwood Police Sgt. Rebecca Frazier.
One of the ways police officials want to do that is by having more of
the community involved in the police department. Sometimes called a
block watch or a community patrol, Citizens on Patrol uses community
residents to help watch the community and hopefully, with the increased
presence on the street, reduce crime.
"People know when we are on a run or when we are on the other side of
town," said Frazier. "We want the town to be safer. Maybe they can be
our eyes when we are on a call. Maybe they can be our eyes when we are
on the other side of town."
She said there is an additional, less obvious benefit to the program as well.
"It gets the community involved in what we do," Frazier said. "A lot of
people don't realize what we have on our plate and this will let them
see what we do everyday."
Participants will be trained in matters such as traffic control,
emergency management, park watch, downtown watch and other community
patrol issues. They will be given a vest and a flashlight. Community
members will patrol in pairs and on duty police officers are to monitor
them, always knowing where the pair is.
Sign-ups began at the Richwood Independent Fair and are continuing.
Frazier said once the police department has enough recruits ? she is
hoping for 10 ? a meeting will be called. Participants will be informed
further about the program. Background checks will also be done.
"We can't have them working with us if they have felony arrests," said Frazier.
Once background checks are completed, the department will begin training
its new volunteers. Frazier said there will be no set schedule or
routine for the patrol, but volunteers will be able to work on their
schedule at their convenience. She added that the village could really
use additional help between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
"We are hoping before the end of September we can have this in place," Frazier said.
She realizes this is an ambitious goal, but as winter approaches,
"that's when you get more burglaries."
The police department has a ideal candidate in mind for its program, and
many villagers fit the criteria.
"We need mature people, people who care about our community, who have
the same goals we do - to see a safer community," said Frazier. "We
can't have a bunch of young kids doing it, when that is our main
problem. We need people who are serious about it. We don't want someone
who just wants to play cop. We don't want vigilantes."
Those wishing to get involved with the Citizens on Patrol program are
invited to stop at the police department between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.,
Tuesday through Friday.
"We welcome them," Frazier said. "We want people to come in and
volunteer. This is a good program and we want to see the village come in
and get involved with us."
North Lewisburg short changed?
Officials won't sign off on fund distribution
By CORINNE BIX
North Lewisburg plans to once again contest the distribution of
state-funded local government and revenue assistance.
Council voted 4-2 that the village should not sign off on the current
distributions, which are based on relative need versus population or acreage.
Steve Wilson and Curtis Burton voted to sign off on the mandated
distribution form as required by the Champaign County auditor.
Last year the village council passed a resolution which was sent to the
Champaign County Budget Commission contesting the way in which funds are disbursed.
Barry First, village administrator, said last year that it was his
understanding that the method by which funds are disbursed countywide
has not been reevaluated since the 1940s.
For 2008, North Lewisburg has been allocated $28,000 in local government
funding while Mechanicsburg is set to receive close to $67,000 and St.
Paris will receive $61,000. All three municipalities have comparable populations.
The Champaign County budget commission is comprised of the county
auditor, treasurer and prosecutor.
First and Diane Davis, village financial officer, began attending
commission meetings last year and were told in order for a change to
occur all 21 political subdivisions within Champaign County would have
to vote and have a 51 percent majority vote. This would come with some
resistance since a new calculation would take from some and give to others.
Wilson said due to the fact that other townships and villages countywide
would not likely sign off on receiving less funding, North Lewisburg
should sign off on the disbursement form and avoid any financial penalties. Burton concurred.
Council president Jason Keeran and fellow members Susan Spain, Dave
Scott and Gwen Beech agreed that risk of financial penalty should be
considered but the village should fully explore the issue with the state
auditor's office before agreeing to the current disbursement of funds.
The village is due to sign off on the form as required by the county auditor's office by Oct. 1.
Andy Yoder, water and sewer superintendent, sat in for Barry First,
village administrator, who was not in attendance at Tuesday's meeting due to vacation.
In August, Yoder was appointed the new village administrator upon
First's retirement in October.
Yoder reported that the wastewater treatment plant is almost finished,
with the majority of the mechanical construction complete. The crews are
working to finish the electrical components.
Bids for the park rest room project came in well over the engineer's
original estimate of $26,000. The lowest bid was $46,635 and the highest bid was $81,500.
The project will completely refurbish the bathrooms with $27,000
received in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.
The grant has to be used by the end of the year and the village is
exploring options as to how best to utilize the funds towards the rest room project.
Amy Longberry won the village slogan contest. The new slogan, "Where
Family, Friends and Traditions Stay for a Lifetime," will be featured on
the village Web site. Longberry will be awarded a gift certificate.
In other news, council:
.Heard Deputy Glenn Kemp give the Champaign County Sheriff's report for
the month of August. It included nine traffic citations, nine warnings
issued for traffic violations, 16 incident reports, 14 cases of
assistance given to citizens, 10 arrests, six civil and criminal papers
served, 32 follow-up investigations, three open doors, three instances
of juvenile contact, one civic activity completed and one auto accident report taken.
.Was introduced to new Champaign County interim Sheriff Brent Emmons.
Emmons was appointed interim sheriff for outgoing Sheriff David Deskins.
Emmons hopes to be officially appointed to complete Deskins' term which
ends in 2008. He would then seek re-election to the post.
Dept. of Job and Family Services plans for soothing surroundings
By MAC CORDELL
The Union County Department of Job and Family Services offices could be
getting a new look soon and county officials are hoping the department's
clients won't be too excited about it.
UCDJFS director Joe Float said he had discussed the possibility of
changing the look in several department rooms including the waiting
rooms, interview rooms and other areas.
He said that he would like to add color and other room accessories in an
effort to "minimize agitation," by clients.
"We have found that green, beige, tan colors actually tend to calm,"
said Marie Dixon, with UCDJFS.
She said that in addition to changing the room's color she would also
like to be able to add some plants, possibly some wall hangings and
change the florescent lighting in the room.
Float said the idea of changing the room came from a distraught child in
the department's waiting room. A receptionist went to the child and its
mother to see what had provoked the child. The mother answered that the
child thought they were in a doctors office.
"I think the sterility of the room frightens some kids," Float said. "We
don't want to change everything and we don't want to spend a whole lot of money."
He added that there are other times when the department's offices can
become the scene of high tension between family members.
The commissioners agreed that a rooms ambiance can have a calming effect
on its occupants, though commissioner Tom McCarthy said some changes
would be easier and more cost effective than others.
"Paint is cheap," McCarthy said. "Lighting changes can be very expensive."
He suggested changing the light bulbs, moving from a cold light to a warmer tone.
McCarthy also suggested some new flooring, saying he had recently seen
the office's carpet in some disrepair.
"I think the life of that carpet should have been longer," McCarthy said
"We didn't buy cheap carpet."
He suggested possibly not installing carpet or using carpet squares that
could be easily replaced.
Float said many of the rooms in his office needed new chairs, ones without fabric.
"We need some surface that can be cleaned quickly and disinfected," he
said, adding the chairs will be able to come from his department's current budget.
Float said no budget had been developed for the other renovations.
"We wanted to talk in the abstract first," he told the commissioners..
The commissioners said some money could be allocated next year for the
renovations, but they wanted to be able to work from a project budget.
"I think we need to get our arms around what it is going to cost," McCarthy said.
A delayed initial budget meeting will lead to expedited budget hearings
the county commissioners informed Float and other county officials Tuesday.
At the county's monthly meeting of elected officials and department
heads, the commissioners reminded them of the budget meeting scheduled
for Sept. 24. The meeting had initially been scheduled for Sept. 13, but
was delayed to accommodate the schedules of county officials.
Representatives from the sheriff's office, which represents the largest
portion of the county budget, will not be able to attend the Sept. 24
meeting because of a priory scheduled Ohio Attorney General's Office conference.
"We are going to start on budget hearings soon after the Sept. 24
meeting," said Commissioner Gary Lee. "So instead of having two or three
weeks between our first meeting (and the hearings), it is going to be
compressed because of moving that meeting back."
Karen Westlake Haller to run for Union County Clerk of Courts
Karen Westlake Haller, a native of Marysville, has announced plans to
run for Union County Clerk of Courts on the Republican ticket.
She presently serves as mediation administrative assistant for the Union
County Common Pleas Court as well as executive director of the community
service program. In June of this year, she earned a degree with honors
in applied business, paralegal studies, from Marion Technical College.
Prior to her court position, she worked for the Union County Board of
Developmental Disabilities, and has amassed 26 years as a county employee.
Calling herself a conservative Republican, she is active in the party
and serves on the Union County Republican Party Executive Committee as
volunteer coordinator. She has also served on the GOP Lincoln Dinner and
county fair booth committees, and assisted Cong. Deborah Pryce with her
July Fourth parade committee. She was elected in 2004 to represent
Marysville's seventh precinct on the county Republican Central
Committee, and is a member of the county Republican Century Club.
Haller is an eighth generation member of the Westlake family which
settled in Marysville in the early 1800s. She was raised on a grain and
sheep farm and gradauted from Marysville High School in 1972.
Her volunteer activities include the Union County Fair Board, 4-H
advisor, FFA judge and Farm Bureau membership campaign recruiter. She is
a member of the Hannah Emerson Dustin Chapter of the DAR, Paralegal
Association of Central Ohio and Columbus Bar Association.
Her campaign pledge is to serve a growing Union County in a role which
includes thorough filing, docketing, indexing and preserving court
pleadings for civil, criminal and domestic cases. She says she would
like to make the system a little more user friendly for the public.
She and her husband, Dave, attend Calvary Baptist Church. She has a
grown daughter, Emily Masters Kahrs of Lebanon, and two grandchildren.
Plain City officials plan for growth
By MAC CORDELL
Plain City Council President Pro-tem Bob Walter has told his fellow
councilmembers that he is nearly done with revisions to the village's
He said he had three more sections, each about three-quarters of a page,
yet to complete. Walter said he believes he will be done with the
changes within the week. Once those revisions are complete, he will give
them to council for review.
Completion of the zoning code is reportedly imperative to village growth
because the planning and zoning commission has tabled a motion to lift
the four-year moratorium on sewer taps for all development in the village.
The halt was placed on the taps in 2003 as officials realized they had
reached maximum capacity for the village's waste water treatment plant.
The community had seen rapid growth, but residents were growing
increasingly frustrated. Voters had just passed a referendum to a zoning
change that would have paved the way for hundreds of new homes. They
also affirmed a mandate for village government to create a comprehensive
plan and officials were working through that process. Environmental
Protection Agency regulations and a change in acceptable standards had
slowed construction of a new water treatment facility. Council reserved
less than 10 exemptions to the tap moratorium and additional growth
ground to a halt.
Earlier this summer, the waste water treatment plant was completed,
though a punch list of small items to be completed remains. Council has
since repealed its sewer tap moratorium. The planning and zoning
commission has decided to not to lift its moratorium. It won't even
review applications until council has approved the zoning code
revisions. Walter said once those revisions are passed, the commission's
moratorium will be lifted and applications reviewed and forwarded to
council with recommendations.
Village Administrator Steve Hilbert said that is the kind of planning
that has allowed Plain City to manage its growth.
"Council and the mayor have done a really good job of having an open
mind about things, but also having their eyes open that they saw this
coming and prepared for it. None of what has happened is a surprise to
them," Hilbert said.
He added that village officials have been proactive in their preparation
for village growth, rather than reactionary to it.
"A lot of how we are handling this is we anticipated this and we planned
for it," said Hilbert.
Part of that proactive approach was a $6,000 investment about 18 months
ago. Village officials consulted with the Ohio State University's
graduate school for public policy and management, which completed an
assessment of the economic health of the village.
Walter said the village was "not facing an eminent financial crisis,"
but wanted to have the study prepared and completed before the
moratorium was lifted. He called it "a baseline to work off."
The study praised Plain City for its economic equilibrium between
residential, commercial and retail growth. It indicated that the
village, as it stood 18 months ago, could sustain its services, given
the then-current mixture of land uses.
Officials decided to continue on the path they were on and now the
village has several projects in the pipeline to be considered as soon as
the moratorium is lifted.
A pair of planned residential developments are planned. Oak Grove is an
approximately 220-home development, to be built in phases over about
eight years. It is to be located in the south end of town, west of U.S.
42 near Lovejoy's Plaza. Eagle's Landing is an approximately 167 home
development planned for the newly annexed land at the northwest corner
of Plain City-Georgesville Road and Converse-Huff Road.
Walter said the homes will offer more return to the village than many
housing options since they would be "middle to upscale," averaging
between $250,000 and $350,000. He said the homes would bring more
revenue into the village through property tax and likely income tax,
than more moderately priced homes.
"We really wanted to monitor this because, in the past, its been said
that residential growth doesn't pay for itself," Walter said. "We think
their (the two housing developments) contribution will be a little bit
greater than housing in the past."
He added, "the cost of services wouldn't necessarily increase."
Mirroring the housing developments will be two community reinvestment areas.
"The study said we were at a nice balance," Walter said. "If you are
going to grow residential, we also need to stimulate commercial. You
can't do one without the other. That's why we are trying to do these
both about the same time."
Walter said pairing the projects together maintained the village's
pledge to balanced and quality growth."
The first of the CRAs is in the village's historic downtown. Walter said
village officials want it to be "a revitalization of retail, residential
and commercial growth."
"In a couple of months, these trucks are going to disappear and we want
to be able to revitalize that area," Walter said.
The second reinvestment area is adjacent to the soon-to-be completed
U.S. 42 bypass. That area will be dedicated to commercial and office growth.
"Commercial drives a higher economic return to the village than retail," Walter said.
Hilbert credits much of the growth management with the willingness of
village officials to stay true to the public's wishes in the
"We put together the comprehensive plan and there were a lot of people
who said this would never be anything more than just paper," Hilbert
said. "I think the mayor and council have done a really nice job staying
with the comprehensive plan and realizing the validity and importance of
it and how it can really help us out in the future."
Hodnichak earns rank of Eagle Scout
From J-T staff reports
Adam Hodnichak, the son of Jim and Dina Hodnichak of Marysville, will be
honored as an Eagle Scout in a Sunday ceremony at Our Lady of Lourdes
Adam joined Cub Scout Pack 560 of DeBary, Fla., as a Tiger Cub. As a
second year Webelo he earned the Arrow of Light then crossed over to Boy
Scout Troop 560, also of DeBary, in April 2000.
As a Cub Scout he earned the Catholic Religious Parvuli Dei, and then in
Boy Scouts in Troop 634 he went on to earn the Ad Altare Dei and Pope
Pius XII religious awards. He has held positions such as troop
historian, quartermaster, patrol leader and junior assistant scoutmaster.
In the fall of 2001, after he moved from Florida to Marysville with his
family, he joined Troop 634. When he transferred, he was already a First
Class Scout. While a Boy Scout with Troop 634 he was initiated into the
Arrow (OA) Mkw'alakwa Chapter where he has obtained Brotherhood and
participated in the Ceremonial Team.
Adam is also a member of Venture Crew 2037 participating in reenactments
of World War II. During Adam's time in scouting he has earned 38 merit badges.
Adam has attended various summer camps such as Camp LaNoChe in Florida,
Camp Thunder in Georgia, Sky Mount in Tennessee, Woodland Trails and
others in Ohio, and even National Jamboree at Fort AP in Virginia in 2005.
His Eagle service project consisted of designing and building permanent
wooden trash can holders at Camp Keckley that will be used for campers,
but will keep animals out. He had to build them elevated off the ground
and make heavy hinged lids. Trash cans are housed inside the containers,
along with extra trash bags to keep Camp Keckley litter free. Adam
raised the majority of the money needed through candy sales, doughnut
sales and other monetary donations.
Adam graduated in June from Marysville High School, where he was
involved in cross country, swimming and baseball, along with serving on
Student Council, as class president, in National Honor Society and a
member of the band.
On Aug. 24, he packed up and left home to head to Latrobe, Pa., where he
is attending St. Vincent College with an undecided major and swimming
for the Bobcats.
Adam has been an active member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
and involved in the Senior High Youth Group, as well as the summer
He joins an Eagle Scout tradition in the Hodnichak family - his father,
along with his father's two brothers, George and Mike, became Eagle
Scouts in the 1970s. Then Adam's brother, Josh, became one in 2003. His
grandfather, George, is a Silver Beaver recipient from his council in Akron.
Scam warning issued by police dept.
By RYAN HORNS
Marysville Police Department detectives are looking for some help
fighting e-mail scams. But the only way to do it is to get the public involved.
"I just want people to stop losing money," Detective Doug Ropp said.
In the past eight days, he said, police have been called to investigate
more than a half dozen victims from scams that may originate in other
countries, such as Canada, Nigeria or Europe.
"If you have to send anything out of this country - it's a fraud," Ropp
said. "If you are winning a lottery you didn't enter - it's probably a fraud."
Ropp said that not only have recent scams become more involved and
realistic, but they are targeting people using every means possible. The
criminals may put a sign up on a highway, pay for an ad in the local
papers, send out blanket e-mails to hundreds of potential victims, or
set up a fake Web-site.
"There are so many ways they can get to you," Ropp said. "They will go
to a lot of lengths to appear legitimate."
He said people fall victim to the frauds because they are desperate to
pay off bills or earn more money for their families. Many scams end up
affecting elderly residents living on fixed incomes.
"A lot of the people are at a point in their lives when a little extra
money would help," Ropp said. "But they don't have the ability to pick
up another 40 hour a week job."
The scams offer large amounts of money with little effort involved, he
said. It is a lot easier to fake the Web site of a major corporation
then it was years ago.
"If it sounds way too easy or too good to be true - it is," Ropp said.
Secret Shopper Scam
Ropp explained that a resident may answer an advertisement by a company
claiming to help earn them extra money. Time slips may be provided and
the promise of thousands of dollars, to help "check on" the business
practices of local companies. The victim's "job" is to buy several
low-cost items with funds the company provides.
A fake company called Master Research Inc., told victims to go to an
area store. A work sheet explained to victims that, "The objective of
this assignment will be to evaluate their effectiveness and efficiency
of a payment system called 'Money Gram' which is available."
The company claims it will provide anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. The
victim is supposed to cash the check, keep $300 for training and
services, and then send the remaining money back to the company through
Western Union (or any cash service).
Ropp said the forms and the checks the company sends look very legitimate.
"But 10 to 12 days later that check is going to bounce - and you're
liable for it," Ropp said.
The victim is ultimately out upwards of a thousand dollars.
Ropp said this scam essentially has two variations. The first involves a
victim answering an advertisement, or finding a job posting online,
associated with helping a small warehouse. The company will ship the
victim packages, which in turn are supposed to be mailed to another
location - usually out of the country. The company pays the postage and
offers to pay $50 for each package shipped out.
"Here's the bummer," Ropp said. "Those items were purchased on stolen
He said when the credit card thefts are investigated the thefts are now
directly linked to the victim's address.
In another version of the fraud, someone may go online to buy a Dell
computer, or some other brand. But they find a site that sells the same
computer for half the price. The victim buys the computer online and the
item shows up at their home.
"The next week eight more items from Dell will come to your doorstep,"
Ropp said. "When you contact the company, they say 'We made a mistake.
Could you send those back?'"
He said the victim is asked to mail the items to another address out of
the country. Much like the other version, the items have been purchased
with stolen credit card information and the victim is now tied to the thefts.
International Lottery Scam
Ropp said he had two calls on Thursday from residents reporting
International Lottery scams. These frauds tell random people over e-mail
that they have won large amounts of money in lotteries overseas. The
company claims it cannot send the money without the victim first sending
money to help with the transfer of funds.
In one version, Ropp said, the victims are sent a check for a couple
thousand dollars and then are asked to send a certain amount back to
"process the winnings." But when the checks arrive, they soon bounce -
leaving the victim liable.
Another version of the International Lottery Scam does not ask the
victim for money, Ropp said. Instead the victim has to open up a bank
account to receive the money, and then provide the company with the bank
routing and bank account numbers.
"Now they have the ability to write checks in your name," Ropp said.
"The international lottery scam plays on everybody's dream: You just won
Ropp said if any residents are suspicious of a money-making opportunity,
contact their local law enforcement agency.
According to police reports, banks are sometimes able to spot suspicious
activity and have thwarted the scam. If an elderly resident comes in
hoping to mail large amounts of money out of the country, they may look
into it further. But many fraud checks look too legitimate for banks to notice.
Ropp said that if people are suspicious, they should talk to their bank
tellers first before sending any money.
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