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Bethel saw new water tower, street improvements in 2014 By Cindy Schroeder

BETHEL — Infrastructure improvements that included a new water tower were a key focus in the year just ended, Mayor Alan Ausman noted in his annual state of the village address. “In 2014, we had two street comprojects pleted, two sections of water mains replaced, Mayor Alan and at the very Ausman end of the year we saw a new water tower take form that will change the look of our town for years to come,” Ausman told Bethel Village Council Jan. 8. “We should all be proud of the work that has been accomplished this past year.” The new 200,000-gallon water tower on the south side of Burke Park should be operational by June, the mayor said. The current 150,000-gallon leak-prone structure built in the 1930s will be removed. “That will be something new for all of us, as there are not too many people alive who remember our village without the old water tower standing guard over us,” Ausman said. improveInfrastructure ments in 2015 will include replacement of a badly deteriorated bridge on Spring Street behind the cemetery. Ausman thanked former Mayor Judy Spiller for working with village officials on an easement for that project. In 2015, Bethel will face funding challenges, the mayor said. “Moving forward, we will have to decide on a funding mechanism for our general fund, and more specifically, our police department,” Ausman said. “There are many munici-

palities around us that are facing the same dilemma, and there are no easy answers to the problem. However, I have complete confidence in this council to come up with the best possible solution for our village.” Bethel’s five-year levy funding police department operations expires at the end of the year, and the village was unsuccessful in passing a larger police levy in November 2013, officials said. The village also failed to pass several park levies in recent years. On Jan. 8, council authorized Solicitor Julia Carney to draft an ordinance for a 1 percent income tax with no credit that would take effect Jan. 1, 2016, if approved by council. The action does not commit council to adopting the tax, which would be on earned income only, and it would not affect retirees or unemployed residents. The measure would require three readings before adoption, and the public would be given a chance to comment before council votes on the proposal by June, officials said. In this digital society, where is often communication through social media, the mayor also called upon residents to get to know their neighbors and to look out for one another, as they did in past generations when children couldn’t get away with anything because adults in the village knew everyone and looked out for their neighbors. “My challenge to each and every resident is to do something this year, not for yourself, but for a neighbor,” Ausman said. “I believe these acts of kindness will bring a sense of community back to our village and the surrounding area.” CINDY SCHROEDER/THE COMMUNITY PRESS

Bethel Mayor Alan Ausman, left, discussed streetscape improvements with Rep. Brad Wenstrup, the Republican representing Ohio’s Second Congressional District, and Bethel Council Member Jeremiah Hembree during a tour of the village’s business district last October.

Want to know what’s happening in Bethel? Follow me on Twitter @CindyLSchroeder.

Gatch: A Milford First UMC and music maven By Jeanne Houck

Orpha Ann Gatch was a real presence at Milford First United Methodist Church, whether she was playing the organ or not. Which surely pleased her ancestors. “Orpha Ann Gatch not only is a lifelong member of Milford First United Methodist, but also a link to Philip Gatch, one of the founders of the church in 1797,” said the Rev. Mark Weatherman, pastor of discipleship at the church. “Ann has been an encourage-

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ment to the members of Milford First for years. “Not only in her 45 years as organist, but in the last few years when she was always in the fourth pew, lectern side, smiling, enjoying the worship,” Weatherman said. “Ann will be sorely missed.” Gatch died at her home in Terrace Park Jan. 9. She was 95-years-old. Besides being church organist for 45 years, Gatch taught music at Cincinnati Country Day School in Indian Hill for 35 years. She earned a bachelor degree

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at the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan. Gatch was a co-host of “Sharps and Flats,” a musical quiz radio program for children on WKRC in the 1950s. She gave private piano lessons to students of all ages during her teaching career and after retirement. Gatch enjoyed the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Opera and in recent years sponsored some performances. “Ann Gatch was a true patron of the fine arts,” said Tim Car-

penter, who is director of music at Milford First United Methodist Church, as well as a choral music teacher at Milford Junior High School, co-director of the Clermont Festival Chorale and vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Choral Consortium. Gatch also was a patriot. She served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) for the U.S. Navy during World War II, operating a flight simulator at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida designed to teach returning pilots the latest techniques in instrument flying at night and un-

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der adverse weather conditions. Gatch is survived by her sister, Diana Avril (Tom), her brother, Lewis Gatch (Noralee), 12 nieces and nephews and 17 grandnieces and grandnephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, three sisters and a brother. Gatch is the daughter of Orpha Gatch, after whom the Clermont County League of Women Voters named a citizenship award given annually at a “suffragist event” to recognize the

The Bethel Journal 394 Wards Corner Road, Suite 170 Loveland, Ohio 45140

Published weekly every Thursday Periodicals postage paid at Bethel, OH 45106 ISSN 1066-7458 • USPS 053-040 Postmaster: Send address change to The Bethel Journal, 394 Wards Corner Road, Suite 170, Loveland, Ohio 45140 Annual subscription: Weekly Journal In-County $18.00; All other in-state and out-of-state $20.00

Vol. 115 No. 41 © 2015 The Community Press ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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