The newspaper was tucked in a box with several other old editions of The Lima News. Its pages were yellowed, somewhat brittle and a little tattered, but overall, not in bad shape.
It carried the date January 23, 1994. What a walk through history it provided.
Phar-Mor was offering double coupons, the La-Z-Boy Gallery two chairs for the price of one, and ACME Photo in downtown Lima would sell you a Sony video camera for just under $1,000. A 17-page classified advertising section had Mike Pruitt Ford willing to put you in a new Escort for $199 a month or you could go over to Joe Ivison Chevrolet and drive off with a new Z-28 Camaro for $17,250. There were a slew of apartments renting for $275 to $325 a month, heat included. If you had bigger dreams of owning your own home, there was a newly built, four-bedroom, 2,300-square-foot house in Laurel Oaks “priced to sell” at $150,000.
On the Sports pages, LCC ran its record to 11-0 as Aaron Hutchins dropped in 34 points — including six three-pointers — in a 60-54 win over a “hard-charging” Celina squad. And Lima Senior’s Rodney Towles put on a show with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Spartans dropped Findlay, 69-57.
The editorial page told us “more gun control laws won’t reduce crime” and a sad story on Page 5-A noted actor Telly Savalas, best known for his roles as “Kojak” on TV and “Archer Maggott” in the “The Dirty Dozen” movie, had died at the age of 70.
Oh yeah, the front page?
It was dominated by the first public salary study done by The Lima News. We’ve been publishing one every year since. Yesterday marked the 27th year of informing the public about this budget line on the local government’s expense sheet.
Those first year of the salary study brought some angry phone calls from people who saw their 1993 yearly wages printed on Page 1. We’ll never forget the call from a woman protesting that “now my husband knows exactly what I make.”
Today, the complaints are few. People have accepted the fact that taxpayers have a right to know what they are paying for government services.
We only looked at the City of Lima in the first year of the study. No one made $100,000 a year in 1993, compared to 12 city employees in 2019. The top three wage earners in 1993 were fire chief John Brookman ($56,864), utilities director Gary Sheely ($55,384) and police chief Frank Catlett ($54,685). Mayor David Berger, beginning his second term in office, was No. 15 on the charts at $47,277.
Today, law director Tony Geiger is the highest paid city employee at $132,923 followed by the eight-term Berger ($123,500) and public works director Howard Elsto ($123,396).
Where do women stand?
Alice Godsey was the only woman to crack the city’s Top 10 in 1993 with the sanitary engineer being the 10th highest city employee at $48,978. A quarter of a century later, no female is in the top 10.
The salary project this year also looked at the top 25 wages paid to county-level employees in Allen, Auglaize, Putnam and Van Wert counties. Sixty-nine percent of them were men, who were paid an average of $108,050. The 31 percent of women averaged $85,691.
We may want to dig into that deeper next year.
ROSES AND THORNS: Call it law and order day in the rose garden.
Rose: To Paul Thompson, a 1999 graduate of Shawnee High School. He will be the lead prosecutor for Los Angeles County when film producer Harvey Weinstein is tried for sexually assaulting two women.
Rose: Thanks to a tip from a student, the Allen County Sheriff’s Office had a 13-year-old boy in custody within an hour Friday after Elida Schools went into a lockdown mode following a threat. The student in custody was not from Elida.
Rose: To Jessie Roark, of Lima. At 1 p.m. on May 30, she hopes to fill Spartan Stadium for an afternoon of worship, volunteerism and testimonials that she hopes will unite, heal and create hope for people throughout the region.
Rose: Students at Lima North Middle School have found a bargain. In exchange for a little cash, they got to heave balls at their teachers without risk of suspension. It was all part of a fund-raiser — students vs. teachers in a dodge ball game. The money raised will go to the American Heart Association.
Rose: A principal at Allen East and teachers at Temple Christian found themselves kissing pigs last week. Allen East principal Heather Patterson kissed a five-week-old piglet Friday after she challenged her kindergarten through fourth-grade students to read 1,000 books for their Right to Read Week. The students tallied up 4,282 books read.
Temple Christian teachers were also puckering up as the result of a community-wide canned food drive called, “Food Fight.” The school was competing against other organizations, but decided to up the ante by pitting class against class. The teacher of the class who collected the fewest cans had to kiss the pig. The school collectively brought in 4,435 cans to win the community contest and set a new record of most cans raised per student in the contest.
Thorn: A horse thief struck the Mercer County Fairgrounds in Celina. John R. Eicher, 21, of Berne, Indiana, was caught after the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an overturned horse trailer. The two horses inside were killed in the wreck. A third horse reported missing by the fairground had yet to be found as of Friday.
PARTING SHOT: “The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.