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DAILYCITIZEN Informing Champaign County Since 1838



wants new
sign laws,
hears turbine
Peterson is
top girls update
basketball By KATHLEEN FOX
Assistant Editor
player Sign regulations, particularly busi-
ness sign regulations, were targeted
WL-S’ Becka Peterson is by the Urbana City Council during
the county’s top girls bas- Tuesday’s work session. Although it
ketball player ... Citizen photos by Alex Howell was the council that ultimately
See Page B-1 approved the commercial overlay reg-
A shotgun and cigarettes were gathered as evidence in the back of a Mechanicsburg police cruiser on ulations in 2005, today’s council con-
Tuesday after catching an armed robber fleeing from Valero on South Main Street in Mechanicsburg. sists of mostly new faces. Councilman
Larry Lokai back in 2005 voted in
URBANA favor of the regulations in a split vote
and now says it was the worst mistake
he’s made as a council member.
Father, son Mechanicsburg gas station Councilman Al Evans said the reg-
ulations need to be scrapped and
plans started afresh.
arraigned “You can’t tell a retailer how to

on sex
target of armed robbery retail and have him be happy about
it,” the retailer/councilman said.
The discussion started with
Councilman Robert Thorpe saying
new businesses have trouble with
Staff Writer
MECHANICSBURG – A Union County teen was
county regulations.
“We need something to help these
arrested in connection with an armed robbery at people,” he said.
Cassady’s Valero, 90 S. Main St., on Tuesday after- Lokai then brought up the overlay
noon. regulations, an attempt to improve the
Staff Writer
Zachary David Deskins, 19, with a last known looks of Urbana’s main streets. The
A father and son charged
address in Milford Center, was arrested by proposal got down to a deadline and
with sex crimes against a
Mechanicsburg police around 12:30 p.m. after he wound up having three readings in
minor female were released
reportedly walked into the gas station, handed the three days.
on recognizance bonds with
clerk a note demanding cigarettes and money, and “We wanted our city to look a cer-
no-contact conditions after
then fled when she refused to turn over the cash tain way, so we had those standards,”
their arraignments in
from her register. Evans said. He said a goal was to spur
Champaign County
“I had a meeting in my office when it happened economic development, but that this
Common Pleas Court
a little after 11:30,” said Tim Cassady, the owner of did not happen.
the business. “My door was closed, but the clerk Community Development Director
Junior Burl Gibson, 69, Mechanicsburg police officers gather and photo-
came in yelling that she’d just got robbed. He Melanie Kendrick noted that the 2005
and Jarrod Burl Gibson, 33, graph items from a Chrysler car driven by a rob-
handed her a note that said he wanted a carton of laws were amended to be more flexi-
both of 346 Hill St., Urbana, ber at the Valero on South Main Street in
Marlboro Reds and if she didn’t panic, no one ble after local business people were
were indicted March 4 in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday.
would get hurt, then showed her the gun he had asked to give their input.
connection with allegations
stuffed in his pants with the barrel down his leg.” After listening to council talk of
made by a 15-year-old female
Cassady said the clerk couldn’t read the scrawl local business people’s complaints
victim from Urbana, as a
about money at the bottom of the note. about working with the city, city
result of a separate investiga-
“Two or three people who were at the Subway ing arrangements, so a lot of people wait,” he said. staffers indicated the council doesn’t
tion involving a different vic-
getting lunch heard her say, ‘no, I’m not giving you “I got back and noticed the car was still sitting hear about those who are pleased
tim that resulted in the
cash,’ and watched him turn around and walk out,” there with the keys in the ignition, so I notified dis- with their relationship with the city.
indictment of James Eldon
Cassady said. patch.” “These folks need to follow the
Ray Gibson, 41, of the same
After the clerk alerted him to the situation, The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office law,” Doug Crabill, assistant to the
Cassady went outside where another employee responded with “Bailey,” and the K-9 search and director, said of the staff, in the staff’s
Jarrod Gibson was indict-
had confronted the armed man, not realizing he rescue bloodhound tracked the second subject, a defense.
ed on nine counts of unlawful
had a shotgun. 20-year-old male, who was also questioned but not “You guys make the law,” Hess said
sexual conduct with a minor,
“He pulled it out and told us to back off, but we taken into custody. Cassady said it was astonishing after hearing council’s complaints
while his father was indicted
chased him down the street so he wouldn’t get to watch the dog follow the exact path of the sec- about sign regulations. He added that
on three counts of unlawful
away, and the Mechanicsburg police were quick in ond man’s post-holdup trip through the back door council can change the laws.
sexual conduct with a minor,
apprehending him,” Cassady said. “I think the of the store and out the front, as it was confirmed “You’re legislators. You can change
three counts of compelling
Mechanicsburg police and the sheriff’s depart- with electronic recording equipment. it,” Mayor Ruth Zerkle said.
prostitution and three
ment did an excellent job and I’m just thrilled no “When Mechanicsburg built the new school, I Hess encouraged council mem-
counts of sexual imposition.
one was hurt.” bought the security surveillance system from the bers not to do away with sign regula-
James Gibson, who had a
“We have the weapon,” said Chief Sam old one,” Cassady said. “We have cameras every- tions until they have something to fill
prior drug conviction from a
Faulkner. “We got him to drop it. It was unloaded.” where now. I’m glad the investment in the video the void.
2008 case, was sentenced to
11 months in prison on Faulkner said a cap that Deskins was allegedly system paid off.”
March 12 after his communi- wearing at the time of the incident, along with shot- Cassady said this is the first time the business
ty control in that case was gun shells, were later recovered from the wooded has been held up in the 25 years he’s owned it.
revoked due to the new area along Railroad Street. “We’ve had drive-offs and a little bit of employee Also Tuesday, Police Officer Steve
indictments on one count of Cassady returned to the gas station and realized theft here and there, and were broken into once Molton informed council that if action
rape, one count of unlawful that Deskins and another male had been sitting in when they kicked in the back door and cleaned us is taken before April 1, the Police
sexual conduct with a minor a car in the parking lot at the rear of the building out of cigarettes, but nothing like this ever before,” Division can purchase a new CMI
and one count of gross sexu- for a few hours prior to the robbery. he said. “I hate to say it, but this guy looked des- computer server, new computers and
al imposition. His alleged vic- “I didn’t think anything of it, as this is a pretty perate. Desperate people do crazy things. It’s a sad software at a cost of $41,445. Waiting
tim was 13 at the time of the common drop-off point for a lot of shared parent- state we’re in, with so many people out of work.” See ‘City’ on Page A-2
conduct, according to the
Urbana Police Division.
Assistant Prosecutor
Richard Houghton noted CHAMPAIGN COUNTY
that Attorney Todd Brecount
was appointed as James
Gibson’s defense counsel in
the new case and a pre-trial
conference has been sched-
Commission approves $500 expenditure
uled for April 8.
Houghton said the state Holds CDBG hearing Morris said Avetec, the entails) communication with the with Champaign County. They’ve
was not opposed to personal Advanced Virtual Engine Test Cell Department of Defense and asked us to come on board.”
recognizance bonds for nonprofit research organization Department of Energy so they don’t Morris said Avetec is willing to
Jarrod and Junior Gibson, By BREANNE PARCELS headquartered in Springfield, wants have to send people to Texas or front 50 percent of any required
with the conditions that they Staff Writer to expand high-speed fiber-optic Albuquerque.” matching funds, as it would write
have no contact with each Champaign County Economic communications lines to the north Morris said the proposal would and administer the grant.
other, the alleged victim and Development Director Mike Morris and south if it’s able to obtain a be to install the additional data lines “They’re asking others to come
witness, and any juveniles pitched a plan to seek federal stim- grant with the assistance of part- through a railroad corridor that is forth with letters of support and
under the age of 16. ulus funds in conjunction with a ners such as local government, adjacent to the NextEdge technolo- small financial contributions by
Junior Gibson retained regional effort to expand broad- schools and other entities such as gy park where Avetec is located. other partners,” he said. “My goal is
Scott Calaway of Dayton as band access Tuesday during a hospitals. “They also want to be able to con- to get 10 partners from Champaign
See ‘Gibson’ on Page A-3 meeting with the county commis- “They have to have the highest nect universities and other research County each to contribute $500
sioners. technology and ability to do things institutions, hospitals, schools,” he apiece to bring $5,000 to the table.”
“Last Wednesday we met with datawise that are world class, mili- said. “I apologize I walked out of the “I’m still in the process of getting
some groups and individuals from tary class,” Morris said. “They have office and didn’t bring my notes, all 10 on board,” he added. “The
Clark, Greene and Champaign been running a fiber ring around but (they) want to run fiber lines as grant application deadline is March
counties,” he said. “Some folks the city of Springfield and tying it far north as (Ohio) Hi-Point and as 26. I only had 10 initially that I tar-
from Logan County were invited into other networks. I apologize for far south as Jamestown to widen the geted. If some decide to pass,
but didn’t go.” not knowing the jargon, but (it ring and they want to collaborate See ‘County’ on Page A-2
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