The Times Herald from Port Huron, Michigan on March 24, 1999 · Page 3
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The Times Herald from Port Huron, Michigan · Page 3

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Port Huron, Michigan
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Wednesday, March 24, 1999
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Page 3
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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 1999 WHOM TO CALL TO DISCUSS LOCAL NEWS Andy D. Henion, city editor 989-6257 Stacey Henson, assistant city editor .989-7641 Bob Gross, River District 765-4081 Deanna Weniger, St. Clair 326-1231 TIMES HERALD, PORT HURON, MICHIGAN 3A OCAL & 5 TATE IN BRIEF CITY & COUNTY Canada plan reopens Plutonium debate ' SARNIA Plutonium from Russian and U.S. nuclear warheads may be shipped to several Canadian ports including Sarnia. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said he is open to a plan to dispose .of the radioactive plutonium at the Bruce nuclear power plant on Lake Huron beginning in 2005, a Toronto newspaper reported Tuesday. The plutonium would be mixed with uranium and used to make electricity. Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley said the prime minister later backed down to say there were no plans at this time. Mayor Bradley said he predicts civil disobedience would occur if the plan goes forward. "You can't ram things down people's throats without a negative reaction," he said. "At this point there has been no dialogue on either side of the border." He said the cost would be huge to Canadian taxpayers, $2.2 billion over 25 years. A U.S. plan to send plutonium over the Blue Water Bridge was scrapped late last year amid protests. Mom faces abduction charge in Florida Former Harsens Island resident Michelle Lee Lanham, 28, turned herself in to Charlotte County, Fla., authorities this week to face a charge of child abduction. Mrs. Lanham faces up to five years in Florida prison on charges that she took her now-9-year-oId daughter, Chrystal, and kept her away from her father and Mrs. Lan-ham's first husband, Ron DiDo-nato, Mr. DiDonato has custody of Chrystal in Florida. A St. Clair County jury acquitted Mrs. Lanham of similar charges March 12, after she was charged with taking her now-4-year-old daughter, Jessica Abraham. A Charlotte County Circuit Court judge set bail for Mrs. Lanham at $10,000, which she posted Monday. A public defender w as assigned to represent Mrs. Lanham. The next court hearing is April 15. Luncheon honors social workers The National Association of Social Workers honored two area citizens for their work in community service today. Dana Gray, a retired school social worker for Port Huron area schools, and Clifford E. Schrad-er, Port Huron councilman and Owner of Schrader Realty, were recognized for their public service. The luncheon was from noon to 2 p.m. at The Fogcut-ter, 5 1 1 Fort St. Clergy to discuss environmental issues I A coalition of Blue Water Area clergy will meet Thursday at the Unity of Blue Water, 43 1 7th St., Port Huron, to discuss vays to raise awareness of Environmental issues. Invitations have been issued to ministers and lay leaders from St. Clair, Sanilac and Lambton (Ontario) counties as well as governmental officials and representatives of environmental brganizations. The general public also is invited to attend. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. tall 982-2820 for more infor-Jnation. Board of Education approves promotions J The Port Huron Area School pistrict Board of Education approved district officials' recommendation to replace There-$a Balboa, outgoing director of state and federal grants, with kichard Chapman, Port Huron Jslorthern High School assistant principal. Ms. Balboa will retire June 30. The board also appointed Patricia Burnell as permanent principal at Garfield Elementary School in Port Huron, where she was serving as acting principal. CORRECTIONS AND AMPLIFICATIONS The Times Herald strives for fair And accurate reporting, and we regret it any time an error is made. i is the policy of this newspaper to tarred substantive errors in fact at appear in its news columns. 'Please bring errors to the attention 4j Gary Miles at 989-6257. Economic Development By JAN MITCHELL Times Herald A man partly responsible for bringing 3,700 new jobs to the area in the past eight years is leaving the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County in April. Todd Brian, 37, the alliance's executive director, has taken a similar post with the Flint-Genesee County Growth Alliance. "The organization is stronger today than ever before. Todd is leaving a positive mark," said Donald Fletcher, president of I l I nil. II. ii im.-.i.i.iiMmn. it , .in.. itOt trmM ,. J By TONY PITTS, Times Herald HELPING BABIES ALONG: Laurie Krantz works with a curious Nathan Camm, 14 months old, as Nathan's mother, Bonnie, looks on. Ms. Krantz was working on Nathan's ability to distiguish texture in a program for special needs children at McKinley Elementary School. A countywide (orum today is addressing various preventive health and educational care for local children. Countywide forum investigates ways to better help families raise children By SYEDA FERGUSON Times Herald Local school and health officials meet today with lawmakers and private businesses in a countywide forum on how to raise a child. The St. Clair County Ready to Learn forum will look at ways to get more funding to implement preventative health and educational care for area families. However, it likely will be a tough sell, said Michael McCarten, St. Clair County Community Mental Health executive director. "The hardest programs (to prove) have been preventative programs, because if they work, you don't see those problems," he said. "It's a real Catch-22." Mr. McCarten heads Community Services Coordinating Body, a volunteer-based organization made up of about 70 groups in health, human services, education and government. The Coordinating Body will help mediate whatever comes out of the forum with the state Balkans' ancient feud won't be "The violence of the 20th century has derived in large measure from the ethnic hatred of the Balkans. " Robert Kaplan. It is somehow fitting that the waning century, the bloodiest hundred years in history, should end as it began, with war in the Balkans. The First World War, the "war to end all wars," began 85 years ago w hen a Serbian nationalist assassinated a member of the Austrian royal family. The war lasted four years and claimed 10 million lives. Today, Europe cowers again on the brink of war and another Serbian nationalist, Slobodan Milosevic, is a principle player. Everything has changed and nothing has changed. The quote at the beginning the alliance and president and chief executive officer of Port Huron Hospital. Mr. Fletcher made the announcement Tuesday. The goal is to have a new executive director in the next 90 days. An Todd interim director will be placed as soon as possible, Mr. Fletcher said. He declined to name possible candidates for that position. "The organization has already identified some local and state prospective candidates. Plus, believe there is a direct correlation between failure to intervene and problems down the road. " ELWOOD BROWN, St. Clair County prosecutor and advocate funds for different local agencies, Mr. McCarten said. Driving the forum topic will be the findings of a series of studies on brain research over the past several years. The findings suggest a child who establishes at least one secure bond will be more likely to enter public schools pre of this column is taken from an essay published 10 years ago in The Atlantic Monthly. Mr. Kaplan, whose books include Balkan Ghosts, is as perceptive Yl. MIKE corn OPINION as any journalist now at work. He understands the region and its perils as well as any American. Not that he has much competition. The average American knows next to nothing " about the Balkans and would prefer to know even less. The region's tribal warfare has contributed to millions of deaths, including thousands of Americans, and yet few of us we've contacted a Michigan search company to look at potential national candidates," he said. Mr. Brian became the alliance's executive director in December 1990. Formerly the St. Brian Clair County Industrial Development Corp., the name was changed March 15 to reflect a new focus of helping promote retail growth and helping local institutions, such as colleges and hospitals, with expansion projects. pared to learn and less likely to face problems later, such as juvenile crime. School districts already serve special education children with help from state funding. Forum organizers would like to see these types of services extended to an estimated half of all live births or 1 ,000 eligible children in St. Clair County, said Martha Navarro, supervisor of exceptional children with the Port Huron Area School District. "Right now, because of special education laws, we are required to do parent education and to work with children to provide instruction and therapy to children that have disabilities under the age of 3, so that's already in place," she said. "We're very comfortable with expanding that, given appropriate funding." The goal of the forum is to gather input on needs and services that exist locally from a broad range of agencies, including March of Dimes, Cornell Center, League of Women Voters, Harron Communications, the Hispanic Council, Michi can distinguish Skopje from Zagreb. The reason we know so little is that it is hopelessly complicated. The tribes among them Serbs, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Magyars, Moldavians, Tosks, Ghegs, Bulgars, Bosnians, Croats, Vlachs, Walachians, Greeks, Gypsies, Jews, Bek-tashi, Yuruks are a Balkan stew. The history is a hash of ancient blood feuds. Today's troubles can be traced, more or less directly, to the Battle of Kosovo Polje, "the plain of the blackbirds," in 1389 a hundred years before Columbus sailed, two centuries before the Protestant plantations in Northern Ireland. In the Balkans, religion is not the source of all evil, just most of it. Islam, Orthodox Christianity and Roman Alliance The organization was established in 1952 and has an annual budget of about $500,000. One of the first of its kind in Michigan, it was developed to create and retain jobs through industrial development and support of "other economic activities," according to its mission statement. Its budget is funded by contributions from the county, municipalities and member businesses and industries. For example, in 1988, St. Clair gave $15,000 to the EDA; Marysville gave $24,000; and Port Huron, $102,000. gan Farm Bureau, Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County and Hillside Wes-leyan Church. Forum organizers will take today's recommendations on how to raise a child and present them at a state summit scheduled June 11 in Novi. That meeting is a culmination of the findings of 17 other forums on child rearing throughout the state. St. Clair County Prosecutor Elwood Brown, scheduled to attend the forum, supports early intervention based on his work with runaways and young criminals. "I believe there is a direct correlation between failure to intervene and problems down the road. I can't tell you how many times I hear, 'This child is lost, it's too late for them,' " he said. "If a child is acting out in this manner, even if it is not a criminal act, there usually is a problem leading up to it. There are reasons why children do this. It's not an automatic tiling. It's environmental." solved by Catholicism collided on the peninsula with dire results. In 1389, the Ottomans under their first great sultan, Murad I, routed the Serbs under Prince Lazar. The sultan was slain on the battlefield. Lazar was taken captive and beheaded. Serb warriors, choosing death over surrender, became martyrs to their nation. For centuries, the Serbian people we vilify today were on the front lines of the clash of Christendom versus Islam. In the 1600s, the Turks began settling Albanians in Kosovo. The Albanians, as Muslims, were the gentry. The Christian Serbs were bond-servants. By 1900, with the Ottoman Empire decaying, Kosovo's population was roughly half-Serb and half-Albanian. In World War II, Mussolini's Italy placed Kosovo into chief is "Since 1991, Mr. Brian's first year with us, the organization has worked with 50 local companies to expand, creating 1 ,800 new jobs and $ 1 1 6 million in new investment," Mr. Fletcher said. "The EDA recruited 25 new companies to the county, creating an additional 1,900 new jobs and $164.5 million in new investment." Tom Acton, chief executive officer of Pine River Plastics in St. Clair, said Mr. Brian has done an outstanding job for the county. "He has done a great job of improving the business County mis new sofa for amuiing New system would save time, be Y2K compliant By AARON KEESLER Times Herald St. Clair County officials will decide tonight whether to replace the software that keeps the county's financial records a project they have saved more than $750,000 to complete. The county has planned to the replace its computer accounting system, which is more than a decade old, for several years and has been setting aside money from the general fund. The Board of Commissioners is expected to approve the first expenditure, a payment of $281,252, to Bi-Tech Software of Chico, Calif. The software would save county employees time and would be Y2K compliant, officials said. It would be put into operation on a limited basis this summer. Deputy Administrator Robert Kempf, a driving force behind the plan, said the system could be cheaper than expected, but until Bi-Tech designs it, "they won't know what it costs." For Yale resident Richard Henry, an open-ended commitment to spend that much money on computer software is a bit hard to swallow. "I sure hope they know what they're doing," he said. "Seven-hundred thousand dollars would fix a hell of a lot of roads." Mr. Kempf said the St. Clair County Intermediate School District already is hooked up to the same system. Bi-Tech will provide the software for $281,252. The county then will contract with the district for training and support. The cost of that has not been determined. modern U.S. muscle a protectorate called "Greater Albania." First the Italians and then the Nazis encouraged Albanian settlement. By war's end, about 75 of Kosovo's population was ethnic Albanian. Today, Albanians make up more than 90 of Kosovo's 2.2 million people. In the nation as a whole, however, Serbs are dominant and Albanians a distinct minority, representing less than 20 of a population of 1 1 million. Serbs, who claim Kosovo as the wellspring of their culture, wish to regain primacy in the province. Albanians have an even deeper claim on the land. They are descendants of the aborigines, the Illyrians, who had been in the Balkans for centuries before the first Slavs arrived 1,700 years ago. Albanians would separate Kosovo from Serbia, creating an inde leaving climate for this community," he said. At his new position, Mr. Brian will have an annual budget of $1.1 million. The Flint-Genesee County Growth Alliance was established about a year ago. Organizers visited St. Clair County to use the its alliance as a benchmark for their new organization. "The Flint-Genesee County group came to me. It was a difficult decision to make, but its a tremendous opportunity for me professionally," Mr. Brian said. COUNTY BOARD SOFTWARE PURCHASE The county board will decide whether to spend $750,000 to replace software that keeps the county's financial records during a meeting a 7:30 p.m. today on the second floor of the St. Clair County Administrative Office Building, 200 Grand River Ave., Port Huron. The meeting is open to the public. The new software will affect all county employees and offices that take in or spend money. Mr. Kempf said it will allow employees to access financial information from their computers without calling the accounting office. He also said the software has the capability to place financial information on the Internet for public display. "It's something that we've been planning on, and I don't really have a problem with it," Commissioner Lee Masters, R-Goodells, said. "We have to approve all those things, and I think we've been lacking for quite a while." Terri Bartley, the county's data processing director, said the new software will replace only 10 percent of the county's current computer system. The software will handle accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, budgets and other county financial needs. There are several other costs before the system can become functional, including sending three county employees likely Mr. Kempf, county accountant Robert Amon and a third employee to Bi-Tech's offices in California for three days of training. pendent republic. This is the ancient feud we are being drawn into. It would take a special arrogance to believe American muscle can change centuries of Balkan intransigence. In the best case, our missiles and bombs will restore a tenuous peace. In the worst case, Europe will fracture again on the old fault lines, turning Russia and the Orthodox East away from the West for another generation, and thousands more will perish in another blood-stained footnote to Balkan history. Mr. Kaplan, concluding his prescient 1989 essay, predicted: "The Balkans could shape the end of the century, just as they did the beginning." Mike Connell's column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 989-6271. are y

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