Amherst News-Times, 1997-09-03
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New student council at school — Page 3 Players host awards fete — Pi Amherst News-Time O (O X X r CO h H c cn o o 3 :r 00 < X M <r "i i-( v) r c/i 3> o 50 3> n < O Wednesday, September 3, 1997 o n Amherst, Ohio I Judge to rule next week on bond counsel fl The controversy over who has the right to hire a bond counsel for the city — city council or law director Alan Anderson, is expected to be settled next week. Lorain County Common Pleas Court judge Kosma G lavas is expected to issue a written ruling Sept. 5 based on arguments presented by both sides Aug. 22. The hearing was scheduled nearly a month ago after Glavas declined Anderson's request for judgement in the case without a hearing. Anderson is seeking an injunction against mayor John Higgins, city council, treasurer Kathleen Litkovitz and auditor John Dunn to prevent them from naming the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey as bond counsel. On the recommendation of Higgins, council appointed the law firm to sell $500,000 in bonds for the renovation of city hall at a July 14 council meeting. Anderson contends state law gives him the authority to name a bond counsel while Higgins and council claim they have the right because of Anderson's inexperience in handling bond matters. In addition, Anderson said he favors the Cleveland law firm of Calfcc, Halter and Griswold, which he said will cl Squires, Sanders and Dempsey. Council said it pre! firm because of previously satisfactory dealings with the company. Higgins, council members and other administrators named in the suit have been angered by it and a letter sent to them by Anderson prior to the July 14 council meeting. The letter warned of pending legal action by Anderson against them if they approved Higgins's recommendation. Many said they regarded the letter as a threat. Keeping tabs: city hall callers will get personal attention from mayor's line by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter There arc days when mayor John Higgins and his secretary Sally Cornwcll gel a bad case of "telephonitis." It's nol lhat ihey mind answering the calls, but often the phones just don't stop ringing from the time they walk into the office until 5 p.m. Their call count is accurate. Corn- well keeps a record of every one, including who called and when. Usually, the mayor's office gets between 25 and 35 calls a day. But between them, they've answered as many as 63 calls in one day, most of them complaints, questions and even demands for instant service — by the mayor himself. Less than half are city business. Many residents don't know who or where to call, so they often use the mayor's office as a kind of a "call for action center," sometimes a sounding board. Some calls involve questions or complaints about city services. Although they can be frustrating, Higgins doesn't mind them as much as he does those he can't help resolve or over which he has no control. Take the time a woman called to complain that there was a rambunctious raccoon in her backyard. She demanded that Higgins — not the police, fire department or a county animal control officer — come over and get rid of it "right now." Higgins recommend calling an exterminator or the county animal control officer, although a mischiev ous thought did cross his mind. "Sometimes, what you're thinking and what you say arc different things," he explained. "I thought well, maybe I better take another one over to keep it company." That would have been politically incorrect. And then there was the time a woman called to complain something was dead in her house. A few things ran through the mayor's mind, one of which he wisely didn't ask. "1 wondered about when the last time was she saw her husband, but I didn't know if she was married and I never want to be offensive to people," he admitted. He didn't ask. Instead, he advised her to call the Amhcrsl police. He never did find out what caused the smell. At least 20 calls a week are requests for other phone numbers people can't find in the telephone directory or arc loo lazy to look up, like the numbers of ihe street or water departments. They arc listed. Often, callers want to know the name of so and so in the Ohio Attorney General's Office, the county commissioner's office or even the U.S. capitol. Cornwcll tries to keep a complete up-to-date list of phone numbers of key county, state and federal offices, but not every government employee. "If we did, we'd have to have a Rollodex six feet round, maybe more. You'd have to have something you could turn with a crank," CONTINUED on page 2 Mayor John Higgins fields one of dozens of calls, both unusal and unusual, received at his office daily. If his secretary can't answer the phone, the mayor often grabs the ringing line himself. Ladies lounge in luxury every two years by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter Every two years, nine Marion L. Steele High School alums leave their husbands at home and their worries behind for a week of reminiscing, sightseeing, card playing and enjoyment of each others' company. Since 1993, Amherstonians Sylvia Kovach Zilch, Lani Cen- drosky Hart, Anne Firago Harmych and Marsha Hution Dun- lop have been taking seaside vacations every two years with five women who also graduated with them in the Class of '63. They are Pal Kocsis Kinzer of Lorain, Donna Miller Prichard of Lima, Judy Godspeed Willard of Versailles, Ky., Karen Chum Norris of Columbia, Md., and Jane Plott Cobos, of Bryan, Texas. The trips started in 1993 with a gathering in Ocean City, Md. after the women decided all the work and effort they put into organizing a 30th high school .reunion wasn't worth it, especially when the turnout was small. | It was disheartening to say the least. "We just got burnt out and decided we didn't want the hassle The nine classmates gather ip front of a marina at Camden, Me. while sightseeing near Booth Bay Harbor. From left in the top row are.Donna Miller Prichard, Lani Cendro- sky Harj, Pat Kocsis Kinzer, Marsha Hutton Dunlap, Jane Plott Cobos. At front from left are Anne Firago Harmych, Judy Goodspeed Willard, Karen Chum Norris, and Sylvia Kovach Zilch. any more bul enjoyed being together because wc all have something in common," Zilch explained. 1 The solution has become" a tradition lhal has lifted their spirits and eased their minds. The nine women, who decided they wanted lo stay in close touch, thought it would be better to lake vacations together. . Husbands are forbidden..They stay at. home, work or do the house work, according to Zilch, the owner of Zilch Florists. "None of us want our husbands on these trips because they arc an escape from real life and act as therapeutic renewals for us," she adds. "(There's) nobody to wait on or answer to." So far, the vacations have been to seaside resorts every other year. In 1995, Zilch says they laid in the sun, loafed, shopped till they dropped and played poker into wee hours of the morning in a rented beach condo al Top Sail Beach, N.C. This July, they shopped again, went sightseeing and look a windjammer cruise while visiting Booth Bay Harbor, ME. Two years from now, they'll be sightseeing in Galveston, Texas. Some day, they plan to take an inland vacation, but that's four years in the future when Zilch thinks more of them arc likely lo be grandmothers. So far, only three of them — Dun- lab, Prichard and Norris, are. They haven't started to plan for the 2001 vacation, although a few have wjsh lists. Dunlap kind of likes the idea of venturing to the Sedona Valley near Phoenix, Az. but will settle for the ocean. "Everybody seems to like the water. It's relaxing but we're CONTINUED on page 3 A planner could aid in city's future by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter The need to control growth, update cily development codes and secure grants for revitalization and other projects has prompted the city to consider hiring a consulting planner. Pending city council approval, mayor John Higgins said he hopes to contract with a Lakewood planning service within the next month. He will introduce his plan lo council al its Sept. 8 meeting. The need for a planner is long overdue considering the city's growth and need to updaic its building or zoning codes, some of which are outdated, he explained. Rather than hire a full-lime or part-time planner, Higgins hopes to save money by contracting for one on an as-needed basis. "It's kind of a try-and-see thing," he explained. 'This way, we can see just how busy he is and how much demand there is for his services before we consider something in the future." Higgins said neither he, council members or other administrators are experts on planning, grant writing or how to update city codes, some of which he thinks are "obsolete." A person with grant writing skills is badly needed. Avon Lake, a comparably-sized city, has received more than $2 million in stale, federal and private grant money while Amherst has received 533,000 this year. "No one here has the expertise. If you don't dot all the I's and cross all the T's, they'll get pitched out just on form alone," Higgins said. The grants will provide money for revitalization, including the renovation of the second floor of city hall and older downtown buildings. Changes in development codes are equally important because those which regulate zoning and planning within the cily have not been significantly updated since 1973. Amherst has been growing steadily since 1990, but Higgins said no major effort has been made to control development by updating zoning. Even though new home construction in the city appears lo a have slacked off, the revisions arc needed to ensure proper development To dale, home building within the city limits is aboul 40 percent less than last year, according to the cily. "We wanted things to be more controlled. A planner is the person who can give us advice on how to accomplish this," Hjggins said. The decline in home building is partially due to an Octr^er 1996 to April 1997 ban that was initiated in an effort to update city storm water drainage control plans. Higgins said he has no idea how many homes and new businesses may be built in the future now that the ban has been lifted. Currently, the planning commission only deals with the traffic impact of development. Higgins thinks it should do more because factors such as sewers, utilities and fire control also need to be. considered. Sewers are especially important. "We've bad problems with them because we've connected new CONTINUED on p*9* 2
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1997-09-03|
|Date of Original||03-SEP-1997|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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