Amherst News-Times, 1997-05-07
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Local veteran in ceremony — Page 3 lady Comets high in SWC — Pag< Amherst News-Time < O P-> o o O _> X X I— 00 M l-i C V O o 3 X CO < X M <_ m m 00 r- oo 3 -H > o 30 J> M < O m 3> O n Wednesday, May 7, 1997 Amherst, Ohib Mayor wants job benefits for fire chief's extra time by BILL ROSS News-Times reporter As head of the Amherst Fire Department, chief Ralph Zilch often puts in many administrative hours over and beyond the call of duly. Now the city is looking at a way^o provide him with more compensation than the $2,400 per year part-time position currently pays. At a recent finance committee meeting, mayor John Higgins introduced a proposal to provide Zilch with family health insurance coverage, remunerating him for all of the extra hours he works. "A lot of times chief Zilch has no compensation lor all of the extra hours he puts in," Higgins told council members. The 52,400 per year lhat Zilch receives is for his administrative and managerial work, according to the mayor, who told the News-Times that the chief usually puts in 20 hours per week, and sometimes as many as 30 hours per week in that capacity. That averages about S1.54 to S2.31 per hour. Zilch told the News-Times that his salaried position requires him lo handle a number of duties. "I do inventory, file reports, obtain information for insurance companies, placing orders and requisitions." He added lhat the idea for ihe health insurance was the mayor's, but he thinks it is a fair offer. Zilch also receives payment CONTINUED on page 3 Junk property or unfinished jc o X N I City to eye building permit limits by BILL ROSS News-Times reporter An Amherst woman who says the city has failed to do anything about a neighboring home lhat she considers lo be an eyesore, took her case before city council on April 28. Doreen Lute, of 661 Tenney Avenue, said that the home at 642 Tenney has been in a stale of disrepair for more than four years, and had been given a building permit tor an add-on that has never been completed. "Is there no lime limit on addons?" Lute questioned council, while outlining some of the problems wilh the property. "The house is a mess, there are at least three unlicensed vehicles on the property and two more in the driveway, and when they have people over, ihe cars hang out into the Ongoing renovations at this house have prompted city officials to debate time limitations on building permits. street." Lute added thai the unfinished wood on the addition is now warping, having nol been protected from ihe elements, and that the people Air Touch, city don't agree on contract After several months of negotiations and a bidding process lhat yielded only one bidder, plans to lease a small parcel of city property to Air Touch Cellular for a communications tower are on hold again. At a finance committee meeting held April 21, council voted to table an ordinance to approve ihe lease, citing unacceptable terms of the proposal. "1 contacted the attorney for Air- Touch last week and the lease- that Ihey arc offering is for 35 years," law director Alan Anderson told council members at the meeting. "It starts out at $10,000 per year and then goes to $12,000, $14,400 and so on, and at the end of each five- . year period, they could terminate the agreement." The problem, according to Anderson, is that the city does not have the same option to terminate under the current lease proposal, and Air- Touch would not say what eventually might be added to the tower. Mayor John Higgins told council that with the way technology is developing, a clause would have to be added to the lease that would require city approval before any* kind of additional communications device could be added to the tower. AirTouch first approached the city last fall wilh a request to build a 185-foot monopole and a small electrical building on city land adjacent to the police station on N. Lake Street. The tower would provide Am- herst wilh enhanced cellular phone service, and under the original proposal, a lease agreement would be signed that would require AirTouch •to pay the cily $10,000 per year for five years, gradually increasing to 317,000 at the end of the agreement. ! But mayor John Higgins told council that 35 years is too long and thai if Air Touch would nol agree to ja new draft of the lease, the city \vould have to "start over again from square one." Cynthia Saraty, who handles real estate development for AirTouch, said lhat since hearing about the city's reservations concerning ihe lease proposal, AirTouch has now begun work on a redraft of the lease that should satisfy everyone. "We are making progress and arc intending to make concessions," Saraty said. "We hope to have the real estate closed by the end of June." Troop 051 gathers together at Shupe to show support for Lizzy Druga, who recently received a merit badge for a six-year record of perfect attendance at scout meetings. Back row, left to right: Carolyn Snyder, Alison Glovac, Rachel Wasilk. Front row, l-r: Shannon McVey, Lizzy Druga, Kara Gelenius and troop leader Deb Gelenius. Perfect record: Girl Scout hasn't missed meeting yet A 10-year-old Amherst girl is set- ling a great example for others to follow, after receiving a perfect attendance patch for not missing one Girl Scout meeting in six years. Lizzy Druga joined Troop 051 as Daisy Scout while a kindergartener al Powers Elementary School, and has been to every meeting since. Debbie Gelenius, a Powers school teacher and leader of troop 051, said that Lizzy has always taken a strong interest in scouting, and her enthusiasm is contagious. "Actually, all of our girls have great attendance records, which is probably because they have been together so long." The girls receive patches for meritorious behavior, and Lizzy recently received her perfect attendance patch for another year, rewarding her for loyally lo the troop. "She has always been very eager and inter ested in scouting, which is evident by her record," Gelenius said. Lizzy seemed a little surprised that anyone would make a big deal out of perfect attendance, perhaps not realizing the extent to which some adults have difficulty in making to a job five days a week, or getting some place on time. When asked to what she attributes her record, Lizzy shrugged her shoulders and simply said that scouting "is a lot of fun." All of the girls in Troop 051 sported vests festooned with the many patches ihey have received over the years, including ones for community service projects and special skills learned through scouting. Gelenius started the troop along with Sophie Wallers, and although she now runs it by herself, most of the seven girls who remain have been together since the beginning. Troop 051, which is part of the Sandstone Service Unit, meets on the first and third Monday of each month at Shupe Middle School, now lhat the girls are fifth graders. It originally had 12 members, but Gelenius reports that some of the girls have moved away, so there are now seven remaining. She recently received an award of her own, and was given an Outstanding Troop Leader award at a banquet honoring troop leaders in Northeast Ohio. Bui Gelenius said it is commitment to scouting by her girls that is the irue reward. "You couldn't have matched a nicer group of girls." Optometrist loses his license A former Amherst optometrist convicted of Medicaid fraud has lost his medical license. The Ohio State Board of Optometry has revoked the license of Jerry Berger, a former optometrist who worked out of the Union Eye Care Center on Cooper Foster Park Road. Berger pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud in March 19% in Franklin County Common Pleas Court and was ordered to pay $21,000 in lines and court cosls. Robert Carson, executive secret ary of the optometry board, said Berger lost his license because of the conviction and his failure to properly appeal the decision in a timely manner. Union Eye Care Center officials have said Berger did not work for the firm but was allowed to use space office space in the building. He also was allowed to store records in the building. According to Carson, Berger's conviction involved fraud mainly committed while he was an optometrist for the former DOC eye care center at Midway Mall in Elyria. He was unsure how much of the fraud occurred in AmhersL The Ohio Attorney General's Office launched an investigation in early 1995 after Berger billed the Ohio Department of Human Resources for canceled patient visits between January 1991 and August 1993. As a part of his sentence, Berger was ordered lo pay $16,000 in restitution for the fraudulent claims in addition lo $4,000, the cost of the investigation. who live in the house are not the property owners. "There is a lot of new development going on in Amherst and 1 am for ihe growth of the cily," Luie told council members. "Bui you can't allow old Amhersl lo fall into a slate of disrepair. Without ihe old Amhersl, there would be no new Amhersl." Lute also said that il appeared the property owner was planning on installing an unauthorized six-foot privacy fence, and had already placed six-foot lall four-by-four beams six- inches from the sidewalk. But upon being contacted by the News-Times, the man who has been working on the addition said his project should be of no concern to neighbors he classifies as "nosey." Howard Cline, who resides at the home along with Diane Linden (daughter of property owner John Bashak), said that no one has approached him in person to talk about the mailer. "These people are jusi a bunch of busybodies," Cline said. "Nobody wants to talk to me dirccdy — ihey just go and do it behind my back." Lute said that the matter is very much her business, since three different realtors have told her the unfinished property could devalue the home she is trying to sell. "I've lived here 32 years and CONTINUED on page 7 Carriers plan attack on hunger during Saturday mail runs On Saturday, May 10, people will be given the opportunity to help local letter carriers make a very special delivery — packages of food that will be distributed to needy area families. The National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive will be held across the country on thai day, and residents are encouraged to leave nonperishable food for their letter carriers. Jim Kastro, executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank in Amherst, said that Second Harvest is this year's beneficiary of the food drive, and plans to augment its regular supply with the additional food. Requested items include: "canned goods, such as tuna, baked beans and vegetables; and nonperishable items like pasta and other dry goods," according to Kastro. Items in glass containers cannot be picked up, due to the breakage factor. "We will be making a special effort to make sure Good Shepherd Baptist Church will be receiving a lot of the collected food," said Kastro, adding that Good Shepherd will find low-income families in the area who can benefit from ihe donations. Letter carriers are delivering flyers to area residents today, lo remind them of the food drive, and outlining the specifics, such as where to leave the lood and what kind of products are requested. Nancy Denslow, a letter carrier at the Amherst Post Office and local food drive coordinator for the past three years, said, "the food drive netted 45 million pounds of food across the county last year, which shows you how much people care." Denslow said people can leave the food actually in ihcir mailboxes or place it next to the box if necessary, and the letter carriers will do ihe rest. There are 18 routes throughout Amhersl, South Amherst and Amherst Township, and all of the letter carriers will be participating in the food drive. The Amherst area has been participating in the food drive since its inception four years ago, and both Denslow and Kastro would like this to be the biggest contribution ever. "We will be happy with any amount, but we would like to do better than last year because it was terribly rainy that day," said Kastro. "But in 1995, we collected a tremendous amount of food — over 10,000 lbs." The food drive has the participation of 1400 postal branches throughout the country and is cos- ponsored this year by Campbell's Soups, who is also printing up the informational flyers. Mayor plans quick return to city hall after surgery Mayor John Higgins is doing "better than expected," following prostate surgery at Lorain Community Hospital last Wednesday. Two days after the surgery, Higgins said he was feeling great and expected to go home no later than May 3. Although he has already been receiving a few calls at the hospital regarding matters of the city, the mayor said he will try to take a week off from civic matters for his recuperation. "Everything went very well and the prognosis is good," according to Higgins, who described the surgery as routine. The mayor is a self-described "workaholic" who has said in the past, "I couldn't slow down even if I wanted to," and would like to get back lo his office as soon as possible. During his time off for surgery and the week of recovery, council president Wayne Whyte is filling in for the mayor, aided by safety/service director Cookie McLoda and superintendent of utilities Don Woodings. "I don't anticipate any problems while I'm out," Higgins said. "What you try to do is set everything up in advance before you go into surgery, so you know the city business is being taken care of when you are gone." When the mayor is incapacitated, his duties fall to the council president for a period of up lo 45 days, after which time the precinct committee elects a new mayor. > -.. .mm
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1997-05-07|
|Date of Original||07-MAY-1997|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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