You are browsing the archive for 2009 October.

Train jumps tracks

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

LODI — No one was injured when about 19 cars derailed on the CSX tracks near Railroad Street on Wednesday afternoon.
Fire Chief Andrew Wurstner said CSX officials told him a mechanical
failure caused the accident, which occurred just after 4 p.m.
“Right now railroad recovery crews are investigating and haz-mat is down there,” he said around 8 […]

Lorain police increase reward for info on two murders

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

LORAIN — Police announced Thursday they are upping to $5,000 the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting deaths of two Lorain teenagers, as well as the city’s other unsolved homicides.

“Hopefully, this will get us some more information,” said Sgt. Mark Carpentiere.

The reward is per case.

“The cost is being born by the Lorain Police Department and the Lorain County prosecutor’s office,” Carpentiere said.

Christopher Hill, 16, was shot in the face June 22 while sitting in a car parked on Long Avenue at West 18th Street. He died the next day in a Cleveland hospital.

Marquis McCall, 18, died at the scene after being shot in the chest June 22 during a drive-by at West 13th Street and Long Avenue. Seventeen-year-old Craig Roberson was shot in the leg.

“We haven’t gotten much helpful information at this point,” Carpentiere said. “We’re hoping more people will contact us at this point.”

Police are hoping surveillance video that captured four suspects shortly after McCall’s murder will lead to identifying the people responsible for what police have called a “revenge” slaying for Hill’s shooting.

Police believe the shootings were spurred by territorial issues — south side versus west side — and have said McCall and his friends were not specifically targeted but were shot for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

People can leave information anonymously, however, if they want to receive a reward, they will have to identify themselves at some point, Carpentiere said.

Christopher Lundberg, 35, of Lorain, was shot near West 29th Street and Ashland Avenue and died Feb. 4 in what police believe is a drug-related crime. Two men were arrested in that case, but Carpentiere said it’s still under investigation.

Georgino Melendez was gunned down inside his Packard Drive home Oct. 5.

To share a tip

Anyone with information on Hill’s murder is asked to call Detective Steyven Curry at (440) 204-2105 or (440) 204-2100.

Anyone with information on McCall’s murder is asked to call Detective Buddy Sivert at the same numbers.

Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or

Surveillance video of individuals believed to be involved:

Baby care timer helps new parents keep track of all the new duties

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

By Emilie Le Beau,  McClatchy-Tribune News Service

New parents have the right to be tired. Newborns need to eat every two to four hours and parents must feed their new arrival around the clock.

Besides feeding, parents also have to track sleep, wake and changing schedules. Parents administering medicine must also monitor daily doses. All this information can be confusing, especially for overwhelmed and tired parents. Using a digital monitor can help parents set reminders and stay on schedule.

The Itzbeen Baby Care timer is a one touch gadget that allows parents to record baby’s feeding, changing, sleep and wake times.

The gadget has four timers and also allows parents to track medicine administered and exercise times. These timers indicate how much time has passed since the last feeding, changing, or nap. It has a display backlight and can be read in the dark. It also has a nursing reminder to help mom remember which side the baby nursed from last.

The gadget is portable and has a back clip that attaches to a diaper bag. It’s available in pink, blue or green. Twin packs also available.

$24.99 at specialty baby stores. A store finder is available at

Why do my kids need skinny jeans?

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

By Marla Jo Fisher, The Orange County Register

My kids have suddenly insisted they must own a pair of “skinny jeans” and this is putting me into a bit of a quandary.

My first problem was that I had no idea what skinny jeans were, except that they probably fell in between emaciated jeans and chubby jeans, and you didn’t find them in the Husky department.

However, some people who are more hip than I am have explained to me that they’re, drum roll please … really skinny jeans.

I guess that means they’re like the Levis my parents wore in the 1950s, and they wore in “American Graffiti,” where you would buy them and then jump into a scorching hot bathtub while wearing them, so they would shrink to fit your body exactly.

Good idea, huh, young ‘uns? Except for the second-degree-burn part.

I bet the Levis were a lot cheaper, though, than any designer denim today.

I must say I’m in favor of the concept of skinny jeans, if it means my son won’t beg to wear pants so baggy that he has to hold up his crotch while he runs.

And I suspect they probably won’t fall so low on his hips that everyone can see his boxer shorts.

I can’t count how many times I pointed out to him the comically pathetic sight of boys trying to run while holding up their baggy jeans, or grabbing their waistbands to keep them from falling to their knees.

“Don’t be a fashion victim,” I begged him. And, when I see women in painfully high heels, I tell Curly Girl the same thing.

But I am loathe to rush out and buy them pants they don’t need just because all the other kids are wearing them.

Curly Girl saw a pair she liked at the South Coast Plaza today for $32.99 and decided she should have one in every color.

Ha. That ain’t gonna happen. That’s my “grumpy old mom” side talking.

My “inner child” side reminds me that I was once 12 years old, just like Cheetah Boy, and I so desperately longed for a “poor boy” dress made out of a certain type of knit fabric.

Everyone who was cool in school had one. But my mom generally made all our clothes, to save money. And she couldn’t make a poor boy dress.

Finally, after infinite begging, my mom bought me one, even though she couldn’t afford it, and I was ecstatic to wear it to school.

The dress got burnt up a few days later when our house caught on fire, but I still remember it, 40 years later.

So, now I have to decide who wins: Frugal and grumpy old mom, or inner child mom.

I have a feeling they’ll be doing battle a lot over the next few years.

Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at Read her blog at rla-jo-fisher/.

Holding on to hope in the face of breast cancer: 4 fighters’ stories

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Afraid of the unknown, Wanda Fralick of Grafton clutched the pink-studded hope pin on her first day of chemotherapy.

That delicate four-letter word, hope, cherishes a strong desire — life.

But she is not alone with her fears. In just this year, 192,369 women and 1,910 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.

One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Every three minutes, a woman is diagnosed with the disease. And one woman dies from breast cancer every 13 minutes in this country.

There are about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. today, the largest group of cancer survivors in the country, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

“It’s an equal-opportunity disease,” said Linda Bayman, 60, of Wadsworth, who was diagnosed with estrogen-based breast cancer in 2007. “It gets you when it gets you, and it’s kind of the luck of the draw. You can’t just trust statistics.”

Dr. Esther Rehmus, co-chief of the division of hematology/oncology at Akron General Medical Center, said the most significant risk factor for breast cancer is age.

“It’s a cancer of aging, primarily. The peak incidence is in the 60s,” Rehmus said. “Risk factors like family history and true genetic breast cancer account for only about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases, which most people don’t realize.”

Other risk factors include a personal history of breast cancer (if you’ve had it once, you’re more likely to get it again), being overweight, not having children or having them late in life, and drinking alcohol, said Cathy Fior, a registered nurse and breast health navigator at the Women’s Health Center at Community Regional Medical Center in Lorain.

In fact, it doesn’t take much alcohol to increase a woman’s risk, Rehmus said. “A drink a day could do it,” she said. “But a glass or two a day may have good cardiac benefit. If you’ve got a horrible cardiac heart history in your family, having a drink a day might be something you might want to consider. If everybody in your family gets breast cancer at 60, you might want to stay away from it.”

Screening is the most important tool in detecting breast cancer early, Fior said.

“Survival is greatest when you find it early — that’s why we try to educate the patients in their 20s to start doing their own self breast exams, which are very important,” she said. “Women should get their annual clinical breast exams, annual mammograms, and if you feel or sense anything that is not right, you get to the doctor immediately.”

Be sure to go to a cancer center or oncologist who can provide expert care, Rehmus said.

“I’ve had patients who have been told their lump was too big, too hard, too small, the patient was too old and a patient was too young to have breast cancer,” she said. “All of which in those five cases were not true.”

Although about 80 to 85 percent of the biopsies done at the Women’s Health Center come back benign, it’s still extremely important for women to be vigilant about their health.

“Nobody should be going around without a mammogram and to think that just because it’s not in your family, that doesn’t work,” Fior said. “You can survive from breast cancer. And you can live a very good, full life.”

Read more

Contact Chrissy Kadleck at 329-7155 or

Liberty Elementary School students take pumpkins to a new level

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — These kids should take their act on the road.

Judging from the amount of creativity evident in the 24 themed and decorated pumpkins fashioned by students at Liberty Elementary School, they could probably go pro.

“It’s amazing what the kids come up with that we’d never think of,” Liberty second-grade teacher Heather Kama-Starr said. “My personal favorite was the cheeseburger. The kids made the fries out of foam. They really got into it.”

That’s obvious.

Students in all 24 of the school’s grades 2 to 5 classrooms revved up their imaginations and energy to come up with clever designs that included a pumpkin rock star, a spaceship pumpkin with descending alien, a purple-and-black bat pumpkin and a fishbowl pumpkin made by the Kama-Starr’s second-graders.

Each classroom picked its own theme.

Students had a week to weave their magic before a silent auction was held that raised $166 for the Friendship Animal Protective League of Lorain County.

Last year’s inaugural pumpkin decorating contest raised funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“The kids nominate charities, and student council selects the charity to donate to,” Kama-Starr said.

The pumpkins were donated and delivered to each classroom by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity of Case Western Reserve University.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or

FirstEnergy says bulb program will be voluntary

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

COLUMBUS — Consumers would no longer have to participate in an Ohio utility’s program that effectively forced them to buy overpriced energy-efficient light bulbs, under a revamped proposal the company presented to state regulators Wednesday.

Akron-based FirstEnergy said Wednesday it will make the program voluntary, but all details of that option have not been finalized.

Under the old, short-lived plan, the company charged unsuspecting customers $21.60 for two light bulbs, even as it cost only $3.50 to buy and distribute the lightbulbs, trigging consumer ire for having to pay extra to use less energy.

To make up the cost for lost electricity sales, FirstEnergy also planned to charge customers using an average amount of electricity 60 cents a month for three years.

But consumer backlash forced state regulators to pull the plug on the program earlier this month until a new deal could be worked out.

“Consumers are now very confused and angry,” said Ohio Public Utilities Commissioner Ronda Hartman Fergus. “The program itself is a very good program. Some effort needs to be put to, ‘How do we turn around that image with the public?’ ”

FirstEnergy and the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel worked together to develop a distribution plan to get compact fluorescent lightbulbs to consumers. The Consumers’ Counsel said it opposed the type of bulb that was being distributed, the cost of the bulbs, and the mandatory nature of the program.

But FirstEnergy, which said it had to move forward quickly to meet energy efficiency requirements, said consensus was reached on its original program as outlined in a Sept. 16 letter to commissioners.

Commissioners did not hear an objection at that point from the Consumers’ Counsel, which believed it had already made its concerns clear.

“This was not a collaborative process,” Assistant Consumers’ Counsel Greg Poulos said Wednesday. “This was FirstEnergy doing what it wanted to do.”

The commission on Wednesday instructed the parties to work out a new proposal that would make use of the millions of compact fluorescent lightbulbs that are now sitting in storage in northeast Ohio. There is no timeline for an agreement.
FirstEnergy proposed that consumers get the lightbulbs if they request them from their utility, and are offered them when they sign up for service, among other ways.

The voluntary program would take place over two years instead of the five weeks for which the company originally planned this fall.

Korkosz said the longer rollout also means the company can’t meet 2009 energy-efficiency standards.

The bulbs, known by their twisty, tubular shape, use up to 75 percent less electricity than a traditional incandescent bulb. Customers can save up to $60 over the life of the bulbs, which last much longer than incandescent bulbs, the company said.

FirstEnergy operates the nation’s fifth largest investor-owned electric system with 4.5 million customers in New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Mayor to get apology for unwanted phone calls

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

ELYRIA — The telephone harassment charges filed against a woman who was a one-time love interest of Mayor Bill Grace and a former City Council candidate have been dropped after an agreement was reached that calls for a written apology to the mayor.



The four counts of telephone harassment have been dismissed against Sherry Ames, whose name appeared on the May primary ballot as Sherry Tulk when she sought the Democratic nomination for the 7th Ward, said the city’s Chief Prosecutor Jay Grunda. Ames ultimately lost the nomination to retired city worker Jerry McHugh, who will face independent candidate Edward Sinegar on Nov. 3.

Ames, 48, was accused of telephone harassment for incidents that happened in June 2008 and February 2009, according to Elyria Municipal Court records. It was then Grace said Ames called him repeatedly despite him telling her the calls were unwanted.

Grace has previously said he and Ames dated for a few months more than four years ago and that things turned rocky around the time of the allegations.



In exchange for the dismissal, Grunda said Ames will write a letter of apology to Grace admitting her wrongdoing and have no contact with him except for official city business and meetings. There can be no negative contact during those times, Grunda said.

Also, Ames will undergo a psychological evaluation and follow all resulting recommendations as well as not contest any civil protection order Grace may seek.

The agreement was reached Tuesday in Judge John Musson’s courtroom.

On Wednesday, Grace said he was happy the situation was finally resolved and he was ready to put everything behind him.

Ames’ attorney Paul Griffin could not be reached for comment. However, Grunda said everyone was in agreement that the resolution was for the best.

“This was made to bring closure to the incident so that both individuals could go on with their daily lives,” he said.

Grunda said he believes if the matter had been decided by the courts the resolution would have been similar.

Ames was ordered to pay court costs for the proceedings, and there is a stipulation attached to the agreement that allows the prosecution to re-file the charges if she fails to abide by the agreement.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or

Doorways for better living: Contest promotes health

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

GRAFTON — Students at East Elementary School are standing tall among other Midview Schools students after winning the districtwide Red Ribbon Door contest to promote a healthful lifestyle.

East bested West and North elementary schools, Midview Middle School and Midview High School for the victory. The students won a pizza party from Marco’s Pizza in Grafton.

Students have been planning and decorating since early October, said Lisa Miller, Safe & Drug-Free Schools coordinator for Midview.

East used the “Fall Into a Healthy Lifestyle” theme throughout the school, incorporating items such as pumpkins and skeletons. Along the walls, at eye level for the students, was a string with construction paper leaves that bore ideas for living a healthy life — everything from eating right to telling a joke.

Purchase a print.

Creativity showed in all the schools. The high school decorated doors inspired by the subject being taught in the room. At the door of a math classroom, the theme was “Drugs Don’t Add Up.”

At the middle school, as judges approached a classroom with the sign, “Don’t Let Life Go Up in Smoke,” a student just inside the room started a smoke machine.

West Elementary School went with a “car wash” theme, with one door reading, “We’re washing away unhealthy habits.” When the judges arrived, the library staff turned on the ’70s soul group Rose Royce’s song “Car Wash,” and library para-professionals Sue Heffernan and Gayle Lugas danced.

North Elementary School chose a sports theme. One sign read “Hit a Home Run with Healthy Choices.” The door to the visual arts room was a rendition of the Edvard Munch’s iconic painting “The Scream” with the quote, “Create a Healthy Lifestyle.”

Contact Melissa Hebert at 329-7129 or

Audit: Deputy county recorder misplaced money

October 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

ELYRIA — A 2008 state audit of Lorain County agencies has included a finding for recovery against an 11-year employee of the Lorain County Recorder’s Office who failed to deposit nearly two dozen checks covering various recording fees from mortgage companies, banks and financial institutions that were written to the office over a five-year period.

The 21 checks, totaling $736, were found in April in the overhead compartment of a workstation occupied by Deputy Recorder Tracie Mettler, who repaid the entire sum to the office Sept. 28, according to Lorain County Recorder Judy Nedwick.

Mettler was given a five-day unpaid leave, which she has since taken, Nedwick said. She will remain on probation within the recorder’s office for an 18-month period ending in early 2011.

“The checks and documents were put in her workstation and never processed,” Nedwick said. “That’s wrong.”

When confronted about the situation, Mettler told Nedwick she had forgotten to take care of them.

“How do you do that?” Nedwick asked.

The finding by Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor came after Nedwick reported discovering checks and paperwork to the state auditor’s offices on April 17.

“I can’t sweep anything under the carpet, and I won’t. I’m obligated to taxpayers. You can’t have paperwork sitting on workstations. I have to make sure everything is right with paperwork, that it’s to the ‘T.’ I can’t take a chance that this comes back to me. I have to be honest,” Nedwick said.

The 21 checks were in amounts ranging from $16 to $68. All were written between Jan. 14, 2003, and March 17, 2008. The bulk of the checks, totaling 11, were written in 2005, according to the audit.

The audit, prepared for the state by Varney, Fink & Associates Inc., included the finding for recovery against Mettler, covered the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2008. Nedwick described Mettler, who was hired prior to Nedwick’s appointment to the job in 2003, as a good, solid employee. “I never had any reason to doubt her for anything.”

Mettler is a member of United Steel Workers Local 8845, which represents county workers including employees of the recorder’s office, Nedwick said.

The discovered checks and paperwork included records that were mistakenly mailed to the county recorder’s office but were intended for other Ohio counties.

“There were documents intended for Portage and Cuyahoga counties that were sent to us,” Nedwick said. This happens all the time … they (banks and mortgage firms) get the wrong county. We sent them back where they belonged.”

Nedwick said she considered the matter closed at this point “other that the probation” period. The audit and its findings can be viewed at

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or