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Friday 13th will be unlucky for Athalia police

ATHALIA - Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day, a day when bad things happen.

For members of the Athalia Police Department, Friday, May 13, will indeed be ominous: It will be their last day on the job.

The Athalia Police Department will be closed Friday because of budget cuts.

"We've tried to keep it going for the last six months but we're just not making it," Athalia Mayor Ron McClintock said.

According to information from the Lawrence County Auditor's Office, the village received $16,728 from the state in Local Government Fund monies in fiscal year 2004. That accounts for more than 18 percent of the village's $90,824 annual budget. Recent cuts - and threats from Columbus of more cuts - have village officials worried.

McClintock said the village finances will be reviewed monthly to see if the funding for the police department can be secured. But he is not optimistic.

McClintock recently met with an official in the state auditor's office and discussed the village's finances, the official suggested one option would be to dissolve the village altogether.

McClintock said he has asked for federal funds through U.S. Sixth District

Rep. Ted Strickland's office to repair roads in the village. He hopes to get an answer by late summer.

In the meantime, he and other village officials will rely on the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office for police protection for the village.

McClintock said they will be pinching pennies as best they can and hoping there are better days ahead.

"All we can do is keep cutting until we can't cut anymore," he said. "If we can't do that anymore, I just don't know."