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Local & State Roundup: January 9, 2009

State to close two juvenile facilities
COLUMBUS — The state agency responsible for juvenile corrections said Thursday it plans to close a corrections facility and a residential treatment center to save the state $24 million a year.

The state’s economic crunch and a decrease in the youth offender population were two factors in the decision, said Tom Stickrath, director of the Department of Youth Services.

The Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility and Freedom Center in Delaware County will be closed by July, Stickrath said. The Marion facility has 376 staff and 176 youths. The youth will be transferred to the agency’s five other facilities.

Freedom Center, a residential treatment facility for girls, has 18 youth and 29 staff. The center’s girls will be moved to Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility.

The state employees union criticized the decision, saying an independent report from 2008 had found the facilities to be overcrowded.

Mayor wants city to pick up legal tab
CIRCLEVILLE — The mayor of Circleville wants the central Ohio city to cover his $17,000 legal bill from fighting a charge he refused orders to leave a fire scene.

The misconduct case against Mayor Chuck Taylor was dropped earlier this week. City officials are now trying to determine whether Circleville is obligated to cover the mayor’s attorney fees.

Police said Taylor was arrested in September during a fire at a three-story downtown building before being escorted several blocks away and released.

Firefighters were concerned that part of the building might collapse and ordered the area evacuated of civilians.

The mayor has denied he got in the way and says he was contacting a utility company on his cell phone to ask that power be disconnected in the area. 

Army Reserve seeks teen panel members
The Army Reserve is looking for teens to get involved with its Army Reserve Teen Panel.

High school students with family members in the Army Reserve or employed as civilians by the Reserve are eligible to apply.

Members of the panel will meet three times per year to work on programs and opportunities for other teens in Army Reserve families.

Applications are due by Monday and are available at www.arfp.org/cys.