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Published: Saturday, 6/29/2002

Treatment agency rallies over closing

Angry employees of a local drug and alcohol treatment agency picketed in downtown Toledo yesterday to protest the loss of their state certification, a move that has shut down the organization.

“I think this is a terrible, terrible infraction, and our clients are suffering,” said LaMarr Norwood, chief executive officer of Fresh Attitude, which employs 33 people.

His agency provides shelter, treatment, and counseling for the homeless, veterans, and those just released from prison or jail. Before the organization's certification was suspended June 1, it had about 150 clients.

The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services inspected Fresh Attitude's offices at 525 Hamilton St. and halfway-house locations at 3211 Mayo St. and 3212 Chase St. in May as part of a routine inspection required for recertification. Inspectors found 123 deficiencies and decided not to renew the certification, according to Stacey Frohnapfel, department spokeswoman. The deficiencies dealt primarily with procedural and policy infractions.

Mr. Norwood has requested a hearing to appeal the department's decision, and one will be held sometime after July 1, Ms. Frohnapfel said, although Fresh Attitude's certification will not be renewed before then. She said the agency has corrected most of the deficiencies, but because so many were found initially, the department didn't renew certification.

Mr. Norwood contends the department didn't follow its own rules in not giving Fresh Attitude time to correct the problems.

The certification lack means the agency can't receive funding from the local Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services board. ADAS awarded $57,021 directly to Fresh Attitude this year. But counting other funds the agency has normally qualified for, it stood to collect about $200,000, Jay Salvage, executive director for ADAS, said.

Mr. Salvage said ADAS has helped move some of Fresh Attitude's clients to other programs, and will assist the remaining clients move.

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