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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2005

Springfield Township, Holland: Grant application stalled

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A program designed to intervene in early delinquent behavior that officials from Springfield Township and Holland agreed to support, has hit a snag, according to Lyn Krasula, Holland clerk.

The two governments gave tentative approval for a grant application to Paraclete, a Maumee social service agency, for a program to deal with juveniles involved in non-violent criminal activity.

The proposal was made at a joint meeting of the township trustees and village council members in May.

Ms. Krasula said that when the program was presented to the joint meeting, tentative approval was given, but that she had heard nothing more until recently when the grant application arrived at Village Hall.

Mayor Mike Yunker said the grant request would require the village to pay about $7,000 of the $30,000 program and they would also be responsible for accounting and the administration of the grant.

The mayor said the village may be willing to help fund the program, but isn't ready to bear the whole cost and be responsible for its administration.

"I had the police chief take a look at juvenile arrests over the last three years,'' he said, "and we average about 40 each year.''

He said most are for relatively minor offenses, "and only a couple of the kids are from the village."

Mr. Yunker said the department has more contact with youngsters from Springfield Township and from Toledo that it does with children from the village.

He noted that the township is "about 20 times" the size of Holland and that the village usually contributes 5 or 10 percent of the total cost of any program jointly agreed upon.

The mayor said he won't approve the grant application until there is a better definition of how Holland will benefit and how the local share of the grant and its administration will be divided with the township.

Bob Anderson, Springfield Township administrator, said he has not been contacted by officials from Paraclete, but is aware of the situation.

He said he would look into the matter and probably bring it up to township trustees for discussion at their meeting Tuesday.

The program is meant to intervene in cases when police determine it is needed.

If officers believe that a youth might be better served with attention from the agency than by being placed in the juvenile justice system, police may refer the youngster to Paraclete.

The agency requires the youth to write a letter of apology, make restitution, perform community service and attend behavioral classes.

If the youth doesn't comply with the requirements, the case can be referred to juvenile court.

Richard Brinner, of Paraclete, said the agency isn't meant to supplant programs of the court, but can respond more quickly because it serves fewer offenders and can provide local solutions to local problems.

The agency operates a similar program with Maumee police.

Mr. Brinner said he is aware of the problem with Holland and that he hopes to discuss the issue with village and township officials.

"I'm hopeful we can still get the program under way,'' he said.



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