Amherst News-Times, 2001-11-21
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Historians plan holiday meal — Page 6 Secret Shop for kids opens — Page 10 J Amherst News-Time ( * Q O t- O O o _> x x » M "" CO M M -J C en O O * a » M Wednesday, November 21. 2001 Amherst, Ohio Captain leads women to enter 'man's' world of police work by ERIK YORKE News-Times reporter Though sad, Amherst Police Department captain Barbara Cowger-Vilagi says she is anxiously awaiting her retirement After 25 years as an Amherst police officer, Cowger-Vilagi went to work for the last time on Friday, Nov. 16, the same date that she began on the force in 1976. At that time, Cowger-Vilagi said, the Amherst Police Department had female police officers in title only. She said that females at the time served primarily as dispatchers and did not have the certified police training necessary to work the field. "1 was the first certified woman police officer in Amherst,'' she said. She herself worked as a part-time dispatcher at the police department before deciding to take the test to become a police officer. She said that in the 1970s, there was still a lot of inequality between genders. _ 'There used lo be recruit- mem posters, 'Can you measure up?'" die $akL The posters, die added, spouted height and weight requirements more suited to a majority of male recruits than female. Shortly thereafter, she said, the United States Supreme Court stepped in, doing away with the restrictive requirements and allowing more women the opportunity to pursue police careers. Still, having gotten into the department, she did encounter some insensitivity from her male colleagues. One particular insult she remembers involves men making kissing noises on the dispatch radio when she would call in. She remembers one such call she made to a department outside of Amherst that indicated to her that things would indeed get better. In the midst of the kissing noises, another male voice spoke up. "I don't know who the voice was, but I really wish I did know," she said. "Someone said 'For crying out loud guys, why don't you give the lady a break. She's just trying to do a job like the rest of us are.'" In 1979, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant and was moved «o Hie eight shift She received a commendation in 1980 by participating in the arrest of robbery suspects. Capt. Barbara Cowger of the Amherst Police Department takes a moment to thumb through an album chronicling her 25-year ca reer in police work. Cowger retires this month, as the highest ranking female officer in the department's history. wrote %ll-l__ puoat. She said that she men acting suspicious*] at Lawson's store in was a iooi>er*^e*-**ee*«*aw«**> ~ son's in Amherst and the descriptions of the suspects matched the men she had seen earlier. Cowger-Vilagi formed her fellow officers and the suspects were caughi She wasjxrombied to ^* lieutenant the following year and then in 1983, on Nov. 16 once again, Cowger-Vilagi promoted to the rank of lice captain, the rank she ed as until her retirement ^bbaMy held that rank longer than any other CONTINUED on page 6 Exchange student enjoys adventure here by ERIK YORKE News-Times reporter Nice teachers, Ranch dressing and a cat named Bluby are among Julia Hils's favorite things since coming lo Amherst Hils, 16, is a German exchange student staying at the home of Matthew and Maureen Bernard and their three children, Craig, 13, Madolin, 11 and Steve, 10. Hils, from a small town in southern Germany near the city of Stuttgart, is an only child. She said that it is nice to live in a house with other children. "It's fun living in a loud house," Hils said. "Having brothers and a sister." For the Bernard family, Hils is the third exchange student to stay with them. In the past they have welcomed a young man from Mexico and another young man from northern Germany. Matthew Bernard said that the family is excited to host their first female exchange student especially Madolin. "She loves having an older sister," Bernard said. They've gotten to be pretty close." Hils said that she has also become rather attached lo one of the Bernards' three cats, Bluby. The Bernard, also have a golden retriever. One of the aspects of American life Hils found to be most different hi her high school experience at Marion L. Steele. She said that the Lower* : dwellir . idea nl' by offici CD < X M c m m O |- 00 _» -t H H» 3> O -^ 73 (9 J> M N) < O ^ m i> <s> oo o o m mf O I U IM &■& by ERIK YORKE Juia Hils, with Bluby the cat. is an exchange student from south- em Germany attending Marion L. Steele High School. She is pic- teachers there are much nicer and more personable than her teachers at her school in Germany, called Hans Buldung Gymnasium. tured with Matthew Bernard (left) and Craig Bernard, two members of her host family. "It's a lot different" Hils said easier." "It's a lot more strict but I think it's CONTINUED on page 6 k. Local cable channel gets upgrade check Amherst cable viewers will soon notice a change to the channel 12 government access station. The channel that broadcasts city council meetings lo the homes of Amherst residents will be getting some new equipment some of which has not been replaced since 1986. city at the cable television funds for the purchase of new equipment According to Pat Sanden, who is in charge of programming at channel 12, the equipment at Amherst Town Hall used to broadcast council meetings and other municipal business has been there since 1986 aad has never been replaced. reaction to an equipment shortage, but a rather a money shortage. "We bought some big expensive equipment and we ran a hide short," Sanden said. He added that the funds are still being taken from cable television money and not borrow ing from any other city ter that will run the bulletin board. The notifies Amherst iad of civic news 12 $8,136 in don of by council is not a is One particalar itetn atai add twelve board of amyr- *Tt says when the polls open, if a road or bridge is closed, ••pedal council meetings," Sanden sail "It's fenenl infon-tadon for the dtp." m old generic page," and can only be programmed about three weeks ahead of time, the new computer will allow for much better graphics and will allow him to program ia in- formation for specific dales as far as a year in advance. He added that they try to nuke improveaaeau ia die channel's aaWeat a ^W^ aW3 Waaaaa nS mmmm % News-Times reporter An Amherst city ordinance states that residential dwellings in the downtown commercial district must be located on the second floor of a building or higher. That ordinance was questioned in September, when it came to the city building inspector's attention that someone was living on the first floor of a downtown building. According to building inspector Ron Konowal, he learned of the unlawful tenant in early September after receiving complaints on the subject "I started getting calls from a few people downtown," Konowal said. The man, who could not be named by sources, was living on the first floor of the building at 135 Park Avenue. The building is owned by David and Gerri Rice, who also rent the top floor of the two-story building as an apartment David Rice said that the man had been living there for about a month, and that he and his wife did not know that they were in violation of the city ordinance. "My wife, I think, had misunderstood what the building inspector had said," Rice said. He added that he and his wife thought that they had gotten permission to rent the bottom floor as an apartment until meeting with the zoning board, something Rice said they had every intention of doing from the start. "We knew we were going to have, to go before the zoning board of board of appeals." Rice said. Rice, a, former city councilman, said that he did know about the city ordinance prohibiting first floor residency in the downtown district He continued, saying that he and his wife knew that they needed to be granted a variance by the zoning board of appeals to continue renting the property as residential. He said that they had rented the property for "around $600" per month. Rice said that the first floor of the building used to be a show room for a tile business and already had a bathroom, originally created to show to potential customers. He added that there was also a small kitchenette on the first floor, nuking it easily convertible from retail to residential space. "(Possible tenants) really had little to do to use it as a residence," Rice said. He said that his wife wished to seek a variance and convert the first floor to an apartment in order to save money on the cost of removing the remnants of the tile business. That he said, would be necessary to make the space suitable for another retail business. The variance was voted down unanimously by the zoning board of appeals at their Sept 25 meeting. The variance met strong opposition at die meeting from several key Amherst figures including Dave Fox, president of the Amherat Downtown ft Betterment Association and at-large city council member Nancy Brown. Walt McDowell, head of the zoning board of appeals gave a history of apartments downtown, including the ordinance restricting downtown apartments to upper floors. McDowell said that is was his belief that someone was living in the building for quite some time and that he personally had •tpoken with the building inspector on the subject prior to the Sept 25 meeting of the zoning bond of appeals. At the meeting, Rice argued that it was difficult to rent the property as oommeicial snd that he could lent the apace at a much higher rate as a studio apartment He added thai he did not expect the property to he According to Rice, the lean no longer there and his wife is i to beat «a» the "The person pot a let hadloaM*»entindM»4
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 2001-11-21|
|Date of Original||21-NOV-2001|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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