Amherst News-Times, 1999-06-16
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.11 Local professor is top teacher — Page 5 I His trips lift their spirits — Page 2 Amherst News-Times •il! Wednesday, June 16, 1999 Amherst, Ohio l Ci ■V I f c o A io g( ti< 1 m Si W D th B« to ii re Pi fo to li fl! c. th a $4 me mi lik gn | hit Gr ne* wi ab ci CO aci Ga joi Di CO Tli ire agi chi the the Ian he set rea am * of du sol str< cit; tax utk get ord salt , bej bei I MLS graduate killed from fall off moving car in parking lot by QLEN MILLER News-Times reporter Christina Johnson should have been celebrating her recent high school graduation on June 12. But instead, her family buried her. Johnson, who turned 18 June S and graduated from Marion L. Steele High School the following day, died June 9 of severe head injuries after falling from the trunk of a car as it was being driven about the parking lot of the Country Hearth Inn on Leavitt Road. The incident, which police say apparently started out as horseplay, ended in tragedy for Johnson's family and dozens of friends, many of whom graduated with her. Many had left flowers and cards at a traffic sign not far from the parking lot where she died. According to Lt. Lonnie Dillon, Johnson was with fellow MLS graduate Melissa Niskey, and Carl Brandon Mercer, 18, of Lorain, early in the morning at a nearby Taco Bell drive-in restaurant. They then drove to the motel parking lot in Mercer's car and began eating and talking about 1:14 a.m. Both Johnson and Niskey were sitting on the trunk of Mercer's car when he began to drive around the parking lot at about IS or 20 mph. Both women apparently were unaware of Mercer's plans and were thrown from the trunk to the pavement as he made a quick right turn around the corner of the motel, Dillon said. Niskey was not seriously injured, although Johnson struck her head. Mercer and an unidentified friend then placed the two injured women in' his car and were reportedly en- route to Amherst Hospital when Mercer's speeding car was slopped by police on Leavitt Road near Rt. 2. Library's addition falls short of money Higher than expected construction costs have forced the Amherst Public Library trustees to shelve plans to build a new two-story entrance facing its expanded south parking lot. The decision to cancel the project in favor of a future larger expansion was made during a special June 11 library board of trustees meeting. Library director Judy Dworkin said the decision was prompted by construction bids that were higher per square foot for a small addition as opposed to those anticipated for a larger expansion that is likely to be done within the next five years. Dworkin said she could not discuss future expansion plans because they have not been finalized. The new entrance only was the first phase of an overall expansion project, she added. The decision also was partially prompted by space problems that may have resulted on the second floor if the two-story addition had been built. The new entrance was seen as one of way of alleviating traffic congestion that often occurs along Spring Street near the library's entrance as motorists pull up lo drop off books or pick up patrons. Some of the funds allocated for the canceled project will be used to meat other library patron needs, including the possible coMtniction of a drive-up book drop. l>w>rkio said. Christina Johnson Police were called by motel employees, who heard screams and shouts from the parking lot and believed a fight or domestic dispute was in progress, Dillon said. "I think what they heard probably were cries for help either before or after she fell, but that's not what they thought was happening," he said. After learning what had occurred, officers began administering CPR to Johnson until an ambulance arrived at the scene. She was pronounced dead at the hospital about 2:30 am. and died of an extensive skull fracture at the base of her skull, according to the Lorain County Coroner's Office. Mercer was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, underage consumption and reckless operation. He pleaded not guilty to all charges in Oberlin Municipal Court June 10 and is free on $5,000 bond pending a pretrial hearing set for June 17 at 10:30 a.m. "This sort of thing is such a Josh Sailer, a friend and co-worker of Christina Johnson, looks over the many (lowers and cards placed by friends near the site where the young woman was killed. tragedy, such a waste considering her birthday and graduation were back to back. ThwiMa happened," Dillon said. "mri" Johnson's sudden and tragic death shocked many friends and classmates. Some solemnly wrapped pink ribbons around a traffic sign at the front of the County Hearth Inn parking lot. A Raggedy Ann doll and bouquets of flowers were at the base of the sign's metal posts. The young woman's death was especially hard on Dick and Rose Currier, the owners of the Amherst Party Shop for which she had worked part-time since last fall. "She was like one of our own. She really cared about her job and liked working with people, and customers liked her," said Rose Cuaflet. From behind the counter the Curriers pulled a photo of Johnson taken with a prom date. "We're certainly going to miss her. She had a lot on the ball and was very honest and outgoing," she added. "We're trying to make sense out of all of this." Not long ago, Johnson discovered a costly mistake made by a video company that supplies videos to the store and quickly brought it to her employers' attention. "That's the kind of person she was and that's why we'll really miss her here," Dick Currier added. Johnson's death was especially hard on the people who worked with andj-new the best, including Josh Sailer, another part-time Amherst Party Shop employee. "We're all like family here, so this hurts bad," said the MLS junior. Sailer worked with Johnson until the shop closed June 7 and had a chance meeting with her and Niskey at the beverage store about three hours before her death. "She was very happy and upbeat like she usually is, and was looking forward to her (graduation) party," he said. "I'll always remember the last time I saw her. This (the accident) shouldn't have happened. It's all so stupid and senseless." Nature's steps Students in Patti Weoehaupt'a exteiid^ tNrd <9lfjt« Pow^ the aohooTa nature habftat Each dase al tftt sctioot orsated ono Elementary School ahow off the stepptag stones they oeated - ot the stepping i and signed — that win help visitors wak through tht planta m Rezor raises ruckus among residents by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter An effort to limit the type of restaurants that can be built along a 1,000-foot section of Rt. 58 has rekindled a controversy city officials thought had been settled months ago. Pauline Cyran, one of several property owners living along the east side of the highway, bitterly complained to city council's buildings and lands committee June 7 about rezoning of the property from residential (R-l) to commercial (C-l) use. Her complaint arose after councilman John Mishak introduced a proposal limiting the construction of new drive- through or fast food restaurants to areas zoned for C-2 use. The plan is part of the city's efforts to restrict the kinds of businesses that can be located between Spruce Tree Lane and Discount Drug Mart. The area was rezoned from C-2 to C-l late last year as the result of complaints from residents living in neighboring Rock Creek Run, located to the rear of the land. Last year, Cyran and about a dozen other property owners petitioned council to rezone their land from residential (R-l) to C-2 so they can sell it for commercial development. They claimed their homes and properties were surrounded by businesses to the west and south, and could not be sold unless the area was rezoned for commercial development. Council agreed, but in doing so, compromised with opposing Rock Creek Run residents by later rezoning the area from C-2 to more restrictive C-l use. Motels and bed and breakfast inns were then prohibited from C-l zoned areas. Mishak said the proposal to limit drive-through restaurants in a C-2 zoned area is the next step in the process designed to protect adjacent property owners from excessive noise, traffic and property devaluation. It would not prohibit family restaurants from being built in the area. He said a survey of nearby communities found they also prohibit drive-through eateries from being built near residences. Cyran, however, complained the rezoning was unfair and noted two fast food restaurants are located across the road from her properly. "All the time we were led to believe we were going to be zoned C-l because that's what we came in and petitioned for. We thought this was all behind us. Now we are starting all over again," she added. She accused council of underhandedly making tte eafaea^aajaaaaaa /•**•': "You have to be naive this wasn't all well plaaned." Cy- O-uncilman Sieve P'Sitoar remii-ded Cyran that aa ney hind to tteotte aware of tte He said die ctmttm was a
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1999-06-16|
|Date of Original||16-JUN-1999|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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