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NEWS IN BRIEF 05/25/09

Local man guilty of fleeing ODNR

IRONTON — Court sentencing last week for a vehicle pursuit that occurred last November resulted in jail time for a Lawrence County man, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

On Nov. 22, 2008, officers observed a vehicle which was spotlighting deer in Gallia County and Lawrence Counties. When officials attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled, leading wildlife officials, aided by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Oak Hill Police on a one-hour pursuit ending at the driver’s residence.

The vehicle was driven by Ethan Harbor, 38, of Oak Hill and also occupied by a juvenile. Harbor was found guilty on one felony count of failure to comply with the signal or an order of a police officer. Harbor was also found guilty of one count of possession of a weapon while intoxicated and one count of child endangerment.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Scott Bowling sentenced Harbor to serve 24 months of a four-year prison sentence. Harbor may have the opportunity to be transferred to the STAR Justice Center for good behavior after the first 18 months of sentencing for rehabilitation during the last six months of the sentence.

Scioto ambulance service owes $430K

Scioto County – Auditor of State Mary Taylor recently released the audit of Life Ambulance Services, Inc. and announced that the Portsmouth-based Medicaid service provider owes the state more than $430,000.

The report finds that the ambulance company, which also provides transportation to wheelchair-bound patients by ambulette, submitted inappropriate and erroneous claims to the state’s Medicaid program for reimbursement. As is standard practice for all Medicaid provider audits, Taylor is forwarding her report to the Ohio Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for further review.

“I will not tolerate the waste and abuse of public tax dollars,” said Taylor. “Medicaid providers who take advantage of the state’s billing system and fail to follow state law will be held accountable.”

Taylor’s office tested more than 120,000 separate services submitted for reimbursement by Life Ambulance during a three-year period.

Safe Harbor set to

dedicate apartments

ASHLAND, Ky. — Safe Harbor and AU Associates will host and open house and dedication of Harbor Hill on Thursday, June 4.

Harbor Hill consists of 34, one-, two- and three-bedroom supportive living apartments.

They are located at the former Ashland Tuberculosis Hospital, off U.S. 60 in Ashland.

There will also be a light lunch and special ceremony for the survivors and former employees of the former TB Hospital.

For more information, call Debra Wright at (606) 329-9304.

Burlington Citzens to meet on projects

BURLINGTON — The Concerned Citizens of the Burlington Area will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at the Sybene Senior Citizens Center.

There will be discussion of the memorial monument and the spring-summer playground plans.

South Point man not guilty of burglary

IRONTON — Not guilty.

That was the verdict returned Friday in the burglary trial of a South Point man.

Steven Barker, 21, of 111 Garden Court, was accused of breaking into the garage of a Chesapeake area residence and taking two chain saws.

Barker contended he did not commit the crime and an eight-woman, four-man Lawrence County Common Pleas Court jury deliberated less than an hour Friday before finding in his favor.

“This was really an excellent case,” defense attorney David Reid Dillon said. “We had a number of witnesses who, at the very least raised doubt. I think the jury saw everything clearly and came to a just verdict.”

He praised the jury for being attentive.

Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Jeff Smith said Barker could have gotten a minimum of two years and a maximum of eight years in prison if he had been convicted.

— By Teresa Moore

Chesapeake school employees join union

CHESAPEAKE — Thirty educational aides, cooks and bus aides joined OAPSE/AFSCME Local 4/AFL-CIO with a unanimous vote on Thursday, May 21.

The Ohio Association of Public School Employees represents over 38,000 members in Ohio schools, public libraries, Head Start agencies, Technical and Community Colleges, and MR/DD’s. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees is a 1.3 million-member union representing public employees and health care workers across America.