Amherst News-Times, 1998-04-29
|Save page Remove page||Previous||1 of 20||Next|
Loading content ...
e artist wins award - Page 3 43rd Comet Relays held - Page 8 Amherst News-Times April 29, 1998 Amherst, Ohio 5Ck cents Police contract remains unsigned by QLEN MILLER "W Creative kid Maximo Meggitt, 4, gets help Irom his mother, Ann Meggitt, and art instructor Peggy Hibber (standing) of the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA) while making a mask out of a paper plate and colorful feath ers during Mask Mania at the Amherst Public Library. Sponsored by the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts (FAVA), the event was made as part of the Week of the Young Child. News-Times reporter A new contract for Amherst patrolman and sergeants remains unsigned seven weeks after a factfinder's report was unanimously approved by cily council as the basis for a new three-year agreement. The contract was approved by council March 16 but has not been signed by the Amherst branch of the Ohio Patrolman's Benevolent Association (OPBA) because of a disagreement over what benefits will be retroactive to Jan. 1. "Wc seem to have a heck of a problem here and it looks like it will have to be settled by the state," local OPBA director Wjilter Gould said. Under the contact, the city contends only regular pay for full-time patrolman and sergeants is retroactive. According to the contract, they will receive a four percent increase retroactive to Jan. 1 and a 3.5 percent raise in 1999 and 2000. The union contends that pay and benefits for court-time, call-in pay, sick leave and other contract points also are retroactive. Pending a last-minute resolution, Gould and OPBA business agent Nick Codrea said the matter is ex- Librarians today are information gatekeepers by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter Webster's dictionary defines a librarian its a person who is in charge of a library who helps people locate books in it That's a simple definition, too simple. Chances are you would get a much longer and more complex one from Amherst librarians Don Do- vala, Jan Turner and their boss, Judy Dworkin, library director. Dovala, Turner and about a half dozen full and part-time cohorts are the people who staff the library's second floor children's reference section, probably the most widely used part of the library. It's not that patrons don't browse through the first floor where fiction, magazines, newspapers and video tapes are kepL They do. At one time, the sales of paperback books were the biggest single factor for decline in library use, not TV, movies, video games or computers. Based on circulation studies, the library still is the main source of "recreational reading" and probably will remain so in the future, Dworkin said. More people are finding their way back to it as the price of books and paperbacks have increased, she added. It's just that the children's and reference section has received a larger influx of curious patrons since the introduction of computers accessible to the Internet a litde more than 18 months ago. There are three, all of which are widely used — so much Dworkin plans to add two more before July as part of an effort to digitize more of the library's reference materials. "Can I use an Internet computer?" is a question Turner, Dovala, children's librarian Paula Shadle and other librarians are constantly asked. These days, librarians, especially those working in reference, are researchers, computer experts, and the guides and gate keepers of all kinds of information. If they're not looking something up on the Internet for a patron, Turner said they're showing others how to find books using the Dewey Decimal System. And then there are the reports Marion L. Steele students have to do, many of whom wait until the last minute. Hot topics in the last few weeks have been the Titanic, famous mathematicians, scientists and artists. It's not uncommon to see a panic- stricken young face when they leam classmates have beaten them to the reference materials that can be taken out. When that happens, the solution is a browse into the Internet or one of several encyclopedias and lots of climes for the copy machine or information printed out by a computer. It's 10 cents a page, so it not uncommon for someone to spent $4 or $5 or more. "We get every kind of imaginable question. You name it, we get it," Turner said. What kind of food was served on the doomed ocean liner? Was Leonardo Da Vinci a painter, inventor or scientist? Who was Walt Disney and what did he draw? What's the meaning of E=mc2? Dovala said patrons are encouraged to call for a reservation. Some do, although dozens of others walk in and often wait, sometimes as long as 90 minutes. These days, the library has become a source of consumer information about the value of new and used cars, antiques, coins and sports trading cards. And then there arc kids. Until recently, Tuesday night was a storytelling and creative night for youngsters. While waiting for the session to begin, some frequently used computers into which CD Roms with educational stories and games can be loaded. Franklin the turtle is the most poplar. One busy night, a part-time librarian saw a two-year-old fiddling with the CD Rom drive reject button on a computer. The bored child had found a new use for a compact disc. As he walked toward the child, the librarian saw the disc zoom through the air like a frisbee. He caught "Franklin's Reading Race" in mid air. It was preserved for others to use, but the child's mother showed the boy what it means to tan someone's hide. But having the reference and childrens' library on the same floor has its pluses, too. "I emphasize that a child is as valid a patron as is any adult," Turner said. "Their questions carry the same weight." Busy times are after school until dinner time and 7 p.m. lo 8:30 p.m., closing lime. Saturdays and Sundays have become more popular, especially among families who usually come to help their children with school reports. They end up brows- CONTINUED on page 6 Library director Judy Dworkin checks a computerized catalog in search of book for a patron. Citizen's group wants to raise $75,000 for city hall renovation A small group of citizens has offered to help retain city hall as an historical landmark by raising $75,000 for its renovation. Lead by Amherst resident David Williams, the group stepped forward last week just as mayor John Higgins was considering asking for private donations to help the city defray the $200,000 plus price of roofing the 114-year-old building. Higgins made the announcement March 20 as city council's finance committee was being briefed on various roofing alternatives by construction consultant Bud Griffith. Williams, an Amherst resident for nearly six years, said city hall is the "icon" of the city, similar to Lorain's lighthouse, and needs to be historically preserved for future generations. As such, the group feels a new slate roof should be installed to preserve the building's status as an historical landmark, he added. The government relations director for Invacare Corp., Williams he and other interested residents are in the process of creating a fundraising plan that will involve at least 20 civic, service and other clubs in the city. "We want to involve as much of the community as we possibly can," he added. "It's a way people can feel they own part of it. I think this will lead to a sense of community pride." Based on existing material costs, Griffith, president of Construction Resources, Inc., said the city only will save about $30,000 if it opts to use asphalt shingles rather than the slate it needs lo retain the building's historical status. The extensive re-roofing work using shingles will cost $220,000 and slate aboul $250,000. Despite the additional cost, the slate will survive nearly a century while the jjsphalt shingles only have a 25-to-30-yestr lifespan. The city had originally estimated re-roofing at nearly $180,000, leaving about $270,000 left over for interior renovations to the first floor and basement. But both estimates were low. The interior work jumped to $330,000, pushing the total project cost to $550,000, $100,000 more than the city has set aside. Higgins said he hopes the ad hoc civic group will be able k> help raise a sizable chunk of the extra $100,000. If it can, the city may be able to fix Ihe roof with slate, retain the building's historical status, and still remodel the first floor and basement to relieve office overcrowding. Additional room is needed because there is little privacy in city hall for confidential meetings or discussions, especially in the auditor's or treasurer's offices. Two weeks ago, city council agreed to advertise for bids for the slate and shingle roofing. pected to be referred to the State Labor Relations Board (SERB) for settlement this week. Gould, a veteran patrolman, said the union found a "number of discrepancies" in the contract language as it was submitted for a signature to the union by James Wilkens, the city's chief negotiator. The language dealing with retroactivity differs from thsit approved by the factfinder earlier this year. Only shift differential is not in dispute. Gould and Codrea said Wilkens and the OPBA agreed lo abide by the terms of the factfinder's report before both sides agreed to factfinding earlier this year in an effort to setde the stalled negotiations. Council voted to accept the report rather than reject it and seek arbitration as recommended by the mayor. In doing so, it became a contract, a stipulation of federal labor law. Gould said he and the OPBA were surprised to see benefits were not retroactive when they received the actual contract for approval. "These issues are very important to us and they're what we think he (the factfinder) approved," he added. "Until these things are clarified, we can't and won't sign." Wilkens has not agreed to seek clarification from the factfinder. Once the report has been accepted by both sides, he contends state law does not allow the factfinder to issue clarifications. Both sides were aware of what was in the factfinder's report and agreed to it. Therefore, the OPBA is obligated to it by federal law as is the city, he added. The report did not address economic issues other than to make the pay increase retroactive. "It was silent on making anything else retroactive," he explained. "In the city's view, they were very generous to the OPBA and it would be irresponsible at this point to be even more generous. It would be fiscally irresponsible." Unless the language is clarified, the OPBA will be forced to seek o review and determination on it from the SERB, Codrea added. "This is unusual. You seldom have a problem like this when you go through a factfinder and it is approved by one side," he said. Leavitt rezoning awaiting approval by GLEN MILLER News-Times reporter Eight Leavitt Road homeowners who want to rezone their properties for commercial use have been given three thumbs up by city officials and are waiting for an all-important and final fourth from city council. City council's buildings and lands committee gave its approval on the rezoning March 20. It previously was approved by zoning and planning officials. Pending council's final approval, the property owners living between Spruce Tree Lane and Discount Drug Mart will be able to sell their land for commercial development rather than continue to be engulfed by h. The request involves 15 pieces of property on the east side of the road, including the Discount Drug Mart The drug store was granted a zoning variance, according to mayor John Higgins. The land south of Drug Man is zoned C-2, a general business designation. Office buildings, a Convenient Food Mart and Tuffy Muffler are. located on it. The residential property is 298 feet deep and more than a 1,000 feet in width. Because it abuts residential property on High Meadow Road CONTINUED on
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1998-04-29|
|Date of Original||29-APR-1998|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
|Rights||For rights and reproduction requests, go to the Ohio Historical Society's Audiovisual and Graphic Reproduction Services page at http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/audiovis/photodup.html; Online access is provided for research purposes only. For rights and reproduction requests or more information, go to http://www.ohiohistory.org/collections--archives/digital-collections--services/rights--reproduction|