Thursday, March 13, 2003

Parents in military get extra help


Suburban Insider

Compiled by Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Ohio Rep. Gary Cates recently announced a new procedure by the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. Child care assistance benefits can be transferred to the substitute caregiver to assist military personnel called to active duty.

Patty Thomas of West Chester Township wanted to care for her niece's son while the niece was deployed overseas.

However, Thomas was unable to receive the assistance because her relative wasn't an Ohio resident and her own household income was too high to qualify.

Cates, R-West Chester Township, got involved when Thomas went to Butler County commissioners for help.

Thomas' niece, Flora Herndon, a divorced mother of a 2-year-old son, eventually ended up placing her child with a different relative closer to home who was able to receive the child care assistance.

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Better late than never? Increasingly, the Warren County Commission is later and later to start meetings on time. What's more, Commissioner Mike Kilburn has been frequently ducking in and out of meetings, leaving early, arriving late - or not appearing at all.

Tuesday, a 1:30 p.m. work session didn't get under way until 2:05 p.m.Kilburn said he arrived at 1:35 p.m.and then ate lunch because the other two commissioners, Pat South and Larry Crisenbery, were on the telephone.

But at 1:40 p.m..Crisenbery told two staff members and a reporter, "We're waiting." "No, we're waiting," corrected Dick Renneker, the county's sanitary engineer.

South emerged at 1:45 p.m.joking, "I've lost the boys," referring to Kilburn and Crisenbery. Finally, after 15 minutes, she went to retrieve them.

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Go away, little girl: A Liberty Township resident quickly got the boot Tuesday at the West Chester Township meeting after she hotly addressed trustees about a bus service they declined to continue funding.

The rider, Ali Spaeth is the daughter of Warren County Clerk of Courts Jim Spaeth.

Administrator Dave Gully called out, "You don't even live in West Chester. Go away."

Trustee Catherine Stoker added, "You don't even live here and you're going to insult us?"

Spaeth abruptly left the room and burst into tears. "My dad was a Deerfield Township trustee for 16 years and I can't imagine them doing this to someone," Spaeth furiously said.

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Ships ahoy: Mason is taking sponsorship to a whole new level.

"There are a lot of cities out there that have sister cities," said Councilman Jim Fox. "It's not many cities that have a sister ship."

Well, the USS Mason is a guided missile destroyer, to be exact. The city is sending Mayor John McCurley and Councilwoman Charlene Pelfrey to the Navy commissioning April 12 in Port Canaveral, Fla.

City officials invited its commander, David Gale, to the veterans memorial dedication in November. They've also invited President Bush to the dedication, but have yet to receive an RSVP.

The USS Mason will be home ported in Norfolk, Va.

Erica Solvig

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A risky roll of the dice: Reading Councilman Tony Gertz Tuesday suggested that the city buy back 3 acres from Viox Services Inc.

The city is seeking $200,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to determine if the land is contaminated so that Viox can sell the property to the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County. Gertz's thinking was this: Buy back the land, fix it up, watch the value grow, recoup the difference at selling time.

But Betsy Bowe, grant writer from Environmental Design Group Inc., warned that Gertz still doesn't know what lies underneath.

Susan Vela

Send insider tips to Jennifer Edwards at jedwards@enquirer.com or fax to (513) 755-4150 or call (513) 755-4147.




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