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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Kenyon Commencement speaker Shaka Smart - "Choose what makes you come alive"

 By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

GAMBIER - 445 members of the Class of 2017 were recognized at Kenyon's 189th Commencement ceremony Saturday morning which was held inside the Kenyon Athletic Center. The featured speaker was Kenyon alum Shaka Smart from the class of 1999. Smart has become one of the best-known basketball coaches of his generation. He currently coaches at University of Texas after holding coaching positions at Virginia Commonwealth University, Clemson, Florida, Dayton and Akron. At Kenyon, Smart majored in history and graduated magna cum laude and with high honors. He earned multiple records for assists during the 1996 and 1999 seasons as well as recognition as the the North Coast Athletic Conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year for 1999.

During his commencement address Smart shared that the day was also his 11th wedding anniversary and his wife and daughter accompanied him to Gambier. As he began his remarks he proclaimed, "You made it!" After sharing some of his experiences at Kenyon as a student he told the class of 2017, "The world needs you to choose what makes you come alive."

And he said that feedback, though often negative - is food. He continued, "There's always a chance to re-calibrate, you need not be perfect."

Honorary degrees were given to Kathryn L. Edwards, John M. Elliott, Linda D. Metzler, Smart, and Hideo Tomita.

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Friends and family joined the class of 2017 for Kenyon's commencement at the KAC Saturday  - KP Photo

Kenyon Youtube video of Smart's address:

Recovery stories shared with Women United

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - Sobriety stories were shared and applauded Friday morning at the first Women in Recovery Breakfast sponsored by Women United, a United Way of Knox County program.

Georgette Burritt, Women's Program Coordinator and Licensed Social Worker at The Freedom Center, introduced two women she counsels in recovery. Bayliss said, "Every woman that comes in there (The Freedom Center) is an inspiration to me. I've seen them overcome struggles and hardships..and become a better person than maybe they would have been if they had never had some of these challenges in life." 

Erica and Georgia

Erica Bayless, left, and Freedom Center counselor Georgette Burrit at Friday's Women in Recovery Breakfast - KP Photo

Erica Bayless, 31, of Mount Vernon said she has been 9 months sober after many years of substance abuse, jail, and rehab. A bright, enthusiastic woman, Erica told KnoxPages.com that she was happy to openly talk about her experience without anonymity.  Erica came from a good home with a loving mother. Her parents were divorced and owned a local bar. In 2008, Erica had a 3 month old baby and a good job when she fell at work and received a doctor's prescription for pain pills. She stayed on the pain pills for eight months and then turned to street drugs. In 2010 she was charged with her first felony and a judge sent her to rehab, where she stayed for three months and walked out. In 2011 she was charged with a different felony and put in drug court in Franklin County and put on medication assisted therapy, or MAT, to help her get through cravings and triggers. Despite that she went back to using.

In 2015 Erica said she was empty inside, broken and beaten and faced another felony for drug possession. She took off.

"When they found me the judge said you need to see the inside of a prison," said Erica. She was sentenced to 18 months and while behind bars she went through withdrawl and her mind became clear.  She asked herself , "How did I get here again? something's gotta change - I have two young kids."

Following that revelation she was rleeased after 4 months, sent to a relapse prevention class and a halfway house in Mansfield.  After 4 months there she was allowed to go home.  Now she visits the Freedom Center regularly for counseling and has been sober for more than a year.  She started a new job as restaurant server a couple of months ago and likes it.

Another woman in recovery, Barb, shared that she is feeling free now that she is in recovery and said she loves Knox County. 

Shoe donations sought to help couple adopt children from Ukraine

MOUNT VERNON – Got shoes?  New and gently used shoes can help a Newark family adopt three children from Ukraine by raising funds through an organization called funds2org.com. The shoe drive has been organized by Mount Vernon’s  Arley Clinedinst. She is helping Caity and Brett Blacet adopt by collecting at least 2500 pairs of shoes by the end of May.  

The adopting couple is traveling to Ukraine at the beginning of June.

Among the local businesses collecting shoes is Duke’s Quick Lube and Quality Auto Service at 311 S Mulberry St. Several hair salons are collecting as well.   

Both adult and children’s shoes are being collected.

Fox sentenced after conviction on assault on 6 year old


MOUNT VERNON - Mount Vernon Director of Law Rob Broeren announced that on May 19, 2017, a jury in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court convicted James E. Fox III of Fredericktown, Ohio of Domestic Violence and Assault after a two-day jury trial. The charges arose out of an incident that occurred on February 5, 2017. Mr. Fox struck a 6-year old in the face, loosening a front tooth and slitting the child's bottom lip.

Assistant Director of Law Brittany Whitney tried the case to the jury. She presented testimony of Deputy Sheriff Tim Knell and Detective Sergeant Dan Bobo of  the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the 6-year old victim, the victim’s 7-year old half-sister, a school counselor, and a RN from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


The jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning the guilty verdicts. Judge John C. Thatcher ordered Mr. Fox to serve 180 days in jail with 90 days suspended on the following conditions: that the Defendant serve a term of probation for three years, complete a Batterer’s Intervention Program, and have no contact with the victim or her mother pursuant to an ex-parte Civil Protection Order issued by the Knox County Court of
Common Pleas. The Court also assessed a $500 fine and ordered Mr. Fox to pay the costs of the prosecution in this matter.

For purposes of sentencing, the Assault charge merged into the Domestic Violence charge.

Mr. Fox was represented by Attorney Andrew Wick.


Summer tennis lesson sign ups extended

MOUNT VERNON - The City Recreation Board and the Kokosing Valley Community Tennis Association announce that registration for their summer tennis lessons is continuing and will end Wednesday, May 24. All Knox County students are welcome. The lessons will be at Mount Vernon’s Memorial Park’s tennis courts.

Lessons for three age groups will be offered. The age groups are determined by the grade that a player will be attending starting next August. The age groups are kindergarten - third grade, fourth and fifth grade, and sixth through ninth grade.

The lessons will be offered on eight Wednesdays from May 31 - July 19th, with the date of July 26 reserved as a date to make up any rained out sessions. The cost is $85 and includes a t-shirt, instruction, racket, ball and tennis goodie bag for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Middle and high school students receive a can of three balls rather that a bag.

On May 31, the lessons will be offered at 1:00 for grades K-3, 2:00 for grades 4-5, and at 3:00 for grades 6-9. For all other Wednesdays, the times will be 9:00 for K-3, 10:00 for 4-5, and 11:00 for 6-9.

To register, go to the website http://www.midwestteamtennis.com/

For additional information, send an email to [email protected] or call Steve Tier
at 740-398-2626.

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