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Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Media center closes for repair

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - The middle school media center has been closed for the remainder of the year due to the vandalism committed during the weekend.
During the regular board meeting on Tuesday evening, Superintendent David Riel said the center is closed for the rest of the year as there are slivers of glass everywhere. A professional cleaning service will be hired to vacuum every book, along with the carpets and cabinets.
Travis Buehler, 18, 4314 Lange Road, St. Henry, has been accused of incurring up to $25,000 worth of damage at the school. According to police reports, he allegedly entered the building after smashing a door possibly with a manhole cover and then traveled along the inside corridor, known as Main Street, breaking interior and exterior windows.
Five of the media center's six large plate glass windows were destroyed.
Riel praised the efforts of middle school Principal Ted Shuttleworth, who coordinated a community volunteer initiative on Sunday morning to remove the glass so a choir concert could go on and school could open Monday morning.
Riel said such an incident could either split a community wide open or bring it together. He said Shuttleworth, who arrived on the crime scene in the wee hours of Sunday morning, was instrumental in bringing the community together.
"It was very heartwarming," Shuttleworth said about the community response to the cleanup, which included 50 volunteers. "People (went) to church and heard about it."
Board member Dan Kahlig said much of the community was shocked, as if someone had destroyed their homes.
"It was almost like it was their own house," he said.
Kahlig pointed out the windows can all be replaced. The important thing, he said, was that no one was hurt. He said the incident was a "gut check" for the community.
"The school is a symbol of pride," high school Principal Dave Warvel said.
When asked how the students responded to the vacant or boarded up windows, Shuttleworth said they were very quiet.
"They kind of took it personal too," he said. "This is their house ... someone came in and invaded it."
Riel said the school has been in contact with the insurance company, but he did not state how much of the cost will be covered.
In other news, board members approved the hiring of Doug Bihn as the varsity girls basketball coach. According to a press release from the school, Bihn has been the girls junior varsity coach since 1998, with a record of 119-61.
Bihn is employed at Fanning/Howey Associates, Celina, where he is a civil designer/project manager and head of the surveying team.
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