Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dr. Wonderful and Sciotocized Medicine



 "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most wonderful of all?"


When you set back and look at all the wonderful people we have that do not step up, and you think they should step up, you have to look in the mirror. So, I looked in the mirror."
                                                              Dr. Terry Johnson


Since its founding, the Scioto County Counseling Center (SCCC) has branched out into a subsidiary corporation, the Compass Community Health Care Center (CCHCC), one of whose “prime missions,” to quote the Community Common newspaper (2 Feb. 2015), “is to improve the health and well being not just of our patients, but of the entire regional population.” Though the “clients” (addicts,) of the SCCC remain an important segment economically of “the entire regional population,” they are not a group the CCHCC wants to be identified with. Since the government is directly and indirectly paying for them, addicts are still profitable but because the addiction treatment industry has become highly controversial, the CCHCC appears to be distancing itself from them and from its corporate parent, the SCCC, which had capitalized on the War on Drugs.

Having recently been granted Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) "Look-Alike" status by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the CCHCC is now in a position to expand even more than it has in the last couple of years. Ed Hughes, whose $140,000 salary is paid by CCHCC, told the Community Common, “With same-day/next-day appointments, on-site pharmacy, extended hours and free transportation for our patients, Compass Community Health Care Center is dedicated to coordinated and comprehensive care.” Having achieved “Look-Alike” status, the health care CCHCC provides will be even more comprehensive, more expensive, and more profitable. Soine Hash, the program director told the Portsmouth Daily Times that one of the advantages of the Look-Alike status is that it will give CCHCC "access to enhanced reimbursement for services provided." What does the euphemism "enhanced reimbursement" mean if not increased profits?

Terry Johnson's official title is Medical Director of  CCHCC, but I think that he's really the CEO. What he is proposing for the people of Scioto County is pretty close to socialized medicine. But since CCHCC is a private corporation, it avoids the stigma of socialism, but not by much, because the government is paying the cost of the health care the CCHCC provides to the "entire regional population."  An appropriate name for the kind of comprehensive health care that Terry Johnson aims to provide the people of south-central Ohio could be called Sciotocized Medicine. Johnson and most of his associates are conservative Republicans, but conservative Republicans in Scioto County, with the assistance of Democrat Speaker of the House Vern Riffe, have led the way in milking local, state, and federal government, first in the War on Poverty and then in the War on Drugs and now in the War on Unhealthiness, Scioto being the unhealthiest county in Ohio.  That it is a war is fairly clear, or why else would Johnson  be photographed so often in his Ohio reserve officer’s uniform with all those medals surrounded by all those flags?

When did Johnson join the War on Unhealthiness? In a statement he made back in 2009 to the Community Common, explaining why he was running for public office, he said, “When you set back and look at all the wonderful people we have that do not step up, and you think they should step up, you have to look in the mirror. So, I looked in the mirror." He looked in the mirror, saw a wonderful doctor, himself,  and threw his stethoscope  in the ring. But his  deep involvement with and virtual takeover and expansion of Hughes’ shady operation suggest he is the kind of unprincipled politician we are all too familiar with. In being an officer in Hughes' shady corporation while also being a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, Johnson may be involved in a conflict of interest.

In the War Against Poverty, it was conservative local Republicans of the Southern Ohio  Growth Partnership (SOGP)  who got Portsmouth reclassified as part of an impoverished rural area, which meant the highly industrialized city was qualified to receive financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The Scioto County Welcome Center, that front for gambling, where the SOGP had its offices, was paid for by the DOA, with Rob “Porkman” Portman personally delivering the government check. The money that the now discredited and disbanded SOGP  doled out to deserving Republican businessmen came from the DOA. Under Terry Johnson’s Sciotocized Medicine, it will be other departments and programs of the federal government that will be supplying the money, directly and indirectly. Just how much money, if any, Johnson is being paid as Medical Director of CCHCC is not known. The story of how a quiet career-track county coroner became the wheeling-and-dealing life of the Republican Party in southern Ohio has yet to be told, but FQHCs are part of that story. In a footnote on an official website (http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-fqhcs/) I found the following explanation of the crucial difference between true FQHCs and FQHC Look-Alikes:
  
"Federally-funded Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) meet federal health center grant requirements and are required to report administrative, clinical and other information to the federal Bureau of Primary Health Care, HRSA. Other health centers known as 'FQHC LookAlikes' are not included here because they do not receive federal health center grants and do not report to the Bureau of Primary Health Care."

In  being a Look-Alike organization, rather than the real thing, the CCHCC does not have to report to the House Rehabilitation and Services Administration.  Does it have to report to anybody? What about the Internal Revenue Service? Is the IRS keeping track financially of CCHCC or is CCHCC hiding behind the skirts of the SCCC, which does have to report to the IRS?  As billions of American dollars and thousands of lives have been tragically lost in the war in  Iraq, what guarantee do we have that Sciotocized Medicine and the War on Unhealthiness  will not be a costly mistake as well?




Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Little Old Lady with the Bad Knee and the Unlicensed M.D.




Above is a grainy photo of a little old lady who is no longer with us. That's her hair not a pillow behind her head. It's so full and flowing she must have been proud of it. Her name is Helen M. White, or was, for she died in 2007 at the age of 80, having been born in New Boston in 1927. In 1993, if not earlier, she had the misfortune to have had a partial knee transplant operation performed by Dr. Ronald R. Turner, a Portsmouth orthopedic surgeon with a drinking problem. In February 1994, she filed suit against him for malpractice but apparently without knowing that  the Medical Board  had concluded  he was an alcoholic. Had she known, that might have made all the difference.






Any patient who has a doctor with a drinking  problem has a problem. If that doctor is an orthopedic surgeon, the patient has an even more serious problem, for not only is a surgeon's judgment affected by alcohol, so is his dexterity. An alcoholic surgeon with the slightest  tremor is more than a problem: he is dangerous. He should no more be allowed to operate on a patient's knee than he should be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Helen White was lucky Dr. Turner was not operating on her brain. But a misaligned knee  is still painful live with. The operation was not a success, not only in her opinion but in the opinion of another orthopedic surgeon, an orthopedist not connected with the Southern Ohio Medical Center, an orthopedist not being called on the carpet by the State Medical Board for being an alcoholic, as Turner was, and an orthopedist not afraid to testify on behalf of a patient  with few financial resources.


 Here lies Helen Marie White
Who fought the good fight.
But instead of putting the heat on Turner,
They put her on the back burner.




Born in 1942,  Ronald R. Turner  began his medical career as an orthopedic surgeon in the state of New York, in July 1970, at about the age of 28.  He continued practicing in New York for about five years. Around 1975, when he was in his mid-30s, he and his wife Mary and their children  moved to Ohio living at 1130 24th St.  But the 1980 city directory shows him with two home addresses: 1130 24th and 603 Colony Drive, in Wheelersburg. By 1984 he was no longer married to Mary, for public records show that in that year  he married Carol S. Kitchen, a nurse, who  lived in an upscale neighborhood of Wheelersburg, on Havenwood Drive, which was where the newly married couple made their home.  On the basis of the restraining order she got against him in 1994,  it seems that alcoholism was causing  havoc in Turner's personal and professional life. Carol Turner  divorced him that same year, 1994, after ten years of marriage.

At the same time Turner was fending off patients’ suits in the 1990s, he was trying to fend off the Ohio Board of Medicine, which wanted him to respond to its charge that his heavy drinking had impaired his ability to carry out his duties as a physician. If Turner had  submitted to the disciplinary authority of  the Board of Medicine and if the Board had suspended or at least censured him for alcoholism, he might have lost at least one if not all three of the suits against him, not to speak of the other suits he might have to contend with when his alcoholism was a matter of public record. Turner could have taken his medicine, enrolled in a Board-approved 12-step program for alcoholics,  achieved sobriety, regained his license and resumed his practice. But  that would have been a long, painful, and for a proud man,  humiliating process. And even had he completed a rehabilitation program, he would have been a marked man, suspect and closely monitored. But Turner  avoided exposure and all that might entail by putting  himself beyond the jurisdiction of the Board of Medicine by peremptorily surrendering his license, as indicated in the following excerpt from an old public record I found on the internet:



In surrendering his  Certificate to practice medicine in Ohio, Turner agreed that, “I am no longer permitted to practice medicine and surgery in any form or manner in the State of Ohio.” Further, he  agreed that he could not ever apply for a reinstatement of his certificate, and also that the agreement would become a matter of public record “and may be reported  to appropriate organizations, data banks and governmental bodies.” I obtained a copy of that document not as a result of a search of the internet, as was the case with the document above, but as the result of a public records request to the Medical Board.

When the New York Board for Professional Conduct learned that Turner had surrendered his Ohio Certificate  rather than submit to a disciplinary hearing conducted by the Ohio Board of Medicine, it ordered him to surrender his New York medical license, which he still had in his possession. If Turner hoped to return to New York and resume his career there, the letter below threw cold water on that possibility.



Though the odds were against her, Helen White didn't give up. Her suit dragged on for years when it might have been settled promptly in her favor if Turner had not succeeded in covering up his alcoholism by giving up his medical license. As an employee of SOMC, with a high powered law firm  representing him,  Turner had a couple of aces up his sleeve while White had little influence and even less money. She lived in  an apartment  without a view on the second floor of 416 Chillicothe Street, over a frequently changing, often unoccupied (as it is now)  commercial space.

416 Chillicothe, (2013), where Helen White lived

452 Havenwood Drive, Wheelersburg, which Dr. Turner currently owns and
occupies and which Zillow places a market value of $283,000 on



Giving up his medical career was a high price  for Turner to pay to avoid  public exposure, but his career would have been precarious even if he had achieved sobriety. And giving up his Certificate did not mean he would need  to give up the prestige  and influence of being Dr. Turner or give up putting the letters M.D. after his name, which he would continue to do, somewhat misleadingly, right up to the present time. His name, as I pointed out in a previous post on the Scioto County Counseling Center, is at the top of the list of its members. He lends his  specious, uncertified medical authority to a controversial  organization that he helped co-found, an organization that is in my opinion a drug rehabilitation racket financed largely by the taxpayers. And he continues to live in the big house on a hill in Havenwood Drive in Wheelersburg that, according to the auditor's records, had once belonged to the family of the ex-wife who had  taken out a restraining order against him. So the Board uncertified  Dr. Turner, but he like his buddy Ed Hughes in Sciotoville and Paul Vernier  in West Portsmouth, (click here) live like feudal lords, above us peasants, in  big homes on  hills above the drug-related southern Ohio high crime area they helped create by being a magnet for addicts from the tri-state region.


List of Counseling Center members with "Dr." Turner first and foremost

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Buffaloed by Ed Hughes


Is Ed Hughes' time buffaloing the public about up?

More than once, Ed Hughes and Ronald Turner, co-authors of Baffled by Addiction? (2009), say the term addict should be avoided because it stigmatizes those afflicted by drugs, but the word addict or a variant appears over a hundred times in the book’s 185 padded pages.  The failed attempt to detoxify the word addict  is part of the overall failure of  the book, one of whose primary objectives is to absolve  drug addicts of any responsibility for their addiction on the grounds that addiction is a disease that some people can’t help catching. The concept of addiction as a disease  is widely accepted, but the  conclusions Hughes and Turner draw from the disease concept of addiction are not widely accepted. To begin with they are wrong in thinking other factors besides physiology  are of little or no importance. Addiction is a disease that has a physiological basis, but so is VD.  You contract VD by engaging in unsafe sex and you get addicted by taking addictive drugs. Patients who get addicted as a result of a doctor’s prescription are not responsible for their addiction, although even they it could be argued are not completely blameless since they unwisely let prescription happy doctors over-prescribe opioids without a peep.

 People who take addictive drugs without a doctor’s prescription with the aim of getting high bear the primary responsibility for their addiction.  American society has gone from the Calvinist view that people are inherently evil to the politically correct notion that people are innocent victims of forces and circumstances beyond their control. Hughes and Turner in Baffled by Addiction (2009) seek to assuage the guilt of their prospective “clients,” the addicts, as well as assuage the guilt of the addicts' families, the “Loved Ones,” in Hughes’ seductively exploitative parlance. Hughes and Turner say in  Baffled,  “So a person’s addiction is no one’s fault and no one’s to blame. Not the family, an unsavory peer group, or the stress of life. Not even the addicted person himself [is to blame]” (p.25). But the  majority of drug addicts are not innocent victims who are baffled by addiction but  perpetrators who are complicit in their addiction, and for saying just the opposite Hughes and Turner, for pecuniary motives, are trying to buffalo us. At least we are not sheep, who end up being slaughtered, but buffaloes, not the brightest beast in the world, are not hard to buffalo.

Drawing the Wrong Conclusions

Yes, the disease concept of  addiction is widely accepted. But the interpretations and conclusions Hughes and Turner draw from the disease concept of addiction are not widely accepted. Hughes  is wrong  in thinking other factors besides physiology are of little or no importance. In a review of Stanton Peele’s Diseasing of America (1989),  G. Alan Marlatt, Ph.D., the Director of the  Addictive Behaviors Research Center at University of Washington, wrote, "Peele makes it abundantly clear that the disease model of addiction, the ideology that currently reigns over the American addiction treatment industry, is basically an emperor without clothes. By placing addictive behaviors in the context of other problems of living, Peele emphasizes personal responsibility for one's habits. His views, well documented with timely references to new scientific data, contrasts sharply with the biological determinism of the disease model, a view that portrays addicts as helpless victims of forces beyond their control.” “The Addictive Treatment Industry,” Chapter Five of Peele's Diseasing of America, discusses the many different areas in which the profiteers in that industry, posing as Good Samaritans,  have sold the public a bill of goods. Not realizing they are being buffaloed by the addiction treatment industry, the gullible government and the baffled taxpayers ultimately pay the bills.

Though Hughes and Turner ask us to believe alcoholism and drug addiction are pretty much the same thing, they are not, any more than getting “smashed” is the same thing as getting high. In a  review of Baffled  on the Amazon website, one reader wrote, “I had a need for something about drug addiction. This is about alcoholism and some principles can be interchanged, but I didn't find it that useful.” Why does Hughes conflate alcoholism and drug addiction in Baffled? Because he understood that if he was going to come up with the money to  pay himself $140 K a year, then he had to counsel drug addicts as well as alcoholics. Because Hughes and Turner were recovering alcoholics, alcoholics were who they were best qualified to understand and to counsel. But as aspiring businessmen who could count to ten, they  knew that in the addiction treatment industry the most numerous and most profitable “clients” were drug addicts, not alcoholics. Hughes gives credit in the Preface to Baffled to Alcoholics Anonymous ( AA) and to what he calls “professional alcoholism counselors” for his achieving sobriety. But Hughes is lucky he had not sought help from a counselor like himself, who turned addiction counseling in Scioto County into a business that shortchanges  its “clients” and financially exploits the taxpayers who ultimately subsidize the treatment of those "clients." Nationally, as Peele emphasized, the drug treatment industry generally, if not exclusively, is a racket. Alcoholics Anonymous, by contrast, is a legitimate non-profit organization, a fellowship,  whose founders recognized the risks of having someone trying to capitalize on the treatment of alcoholics by turning it into a profit-driven business, which  is just what Hughes turned Scioto County Counseling Center, Inc., into.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Hughes wrote in Baffled  that, “The idea for this book came from my best friend, Dr. Ron Turner, who has also shared the vision of helping families and loved ones for a long time.” In calling the  outlook he shared with Turner a “vision,” Hughes suggests that the Scioto County Counseling Center (SCCC), with its tail-wagging-the-dog affiliate Compass Point Housing,  is  more  a spiritual, more a  humanitarian, more a philanthropic  than a profit-making operation. The  crux of the problem with the burgeoning privatized addiction treatment industry  is that too many of the hundreds of  the operators of so-called counseling centers, including the SCCC, are addicted to money. In Scioto County Ed Hughes, with his big house high on a hill in Sciotoville,  has succeeded in buffaloing the public that the Counseling Center is working miracles. But it may be that the miracle worker's time is just about up, and there is no doctor that can save him.


Friday, January 09, 2015

The Cross, Dancing Logo, and Dollar Sign





1

The  cross, representing  the promise of eternal life  through Christ’s suffering, is the central symbol of Christianity. This particular  cross had  stood high over Portsmouth for many years in a church tower, but then that tower was toppled, as shown in this photo that I took at the exact moment the tower came crashing down. 





2
The trashed cross, part of the rubble, lay on the ground for about a week. 




3

At about that time, a new quasi-religious symbol arrived in Portsmouth, the joyous dancing logo of the Scioto County Counseling Center, Inc., with its motto of miraculous cures for addicts, 






4

In Boneyfiddle, the neighborhood of churches, the logo of the Counseling Center took its place among the steeples.  




5

But a more appropriate symbol for the Counseling Center would be a happy skeleton, dancing for joy because of the miracle cure the non-profit is profiting from.  




6

People who take addictive drugs without a doctor’s prescription with the aim of getting high  bear the primary responsibility for their addiction.  As a society we have gone from the Calvinist view that people are inherently wicked to the politically correct notion that people are innocent victims of forces and circumstances beyond their control. But Hughes and Turner adopt this tolerant approach for mercenary, not for compassionate or philosophic reasons. In an effort to assuage the guilt of the addicted and to attract them to the SCCC  them as “clients,” Ed Hughes and Ron Turner, the authors of Baffled by Addiction, conclude,  “So a person’s addiction is no one’s fault and no one’s to blame. Not the family, an unsavory peer group, or the stress of life. Not even the addicted person himself [is to blame]” (p.25).


7

But the  large majority of drug addicts are not innocent victims who are baffled by addiction but  perpetrators who are complicit in their addiction. That is the view of Stanton Peele in Diseasing of America, first published in 1989, some ten years after the incorporation of the Scioto County Counseling Center. Chapter 5, "The Addiction Treatment Industry,"  is especially relevant to the Counseling Center, which is one of the hundreds of treatment businesses that make up the industry. Of  Diseasing of America, the director of an addictive research center at the U. of Washington, G. Alan Marlatt, wrote, "Peele makes it abundantly clear that the disease model of addiction, the ideology that currently reigns over the American addiction treatment industry, is basically an emperor without clothes. By placing addictive behaviors in the context of other problems of living, Peele emphasizes personal responsibility for one's habits. His views, well documented with timely references to new scientific data, contrasts sharply with the biological determinism of the disease model, a view that portrays addicts as helpless victims of forces beyond their control. The book empowers the reader to view addiction in a new optimistic light."



In Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control, Peele wrote (p. 116),  "Why do we accept the industry and all its self-serving claims, sometimes eagerly signing on for our own groups and treatment, even when the evidence is that these groups and this treatment do little to help us as individuals and a society?" Peele published that sentence back in 1989, when the Counseling Center was just underway. Now a quarter-century later that local representation  of the addiction treatment industry, including its metastasizing affiliate, Compass Point Housing, is allowed to operate without oversight and accountability and with the complicity of corrupt city and county officials who, as Austin Leedom has pointed out,  turn over to them public buildings, such as the Scudder School, without the taxpayers being reimbursed a dime. Is it any wonder that the county and the city got into such a financial hole while Ed Hughes, the semi-absentee CEO  is getting annually a $140,000 compensation package?

8




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Friday, December 26, 2014

Judge Mowery and the First Amendment


The Mowery property at 1327 Kinney's Lane

The First Commandment of Portsmouth real estate is that when a person of influence has a piece of property that is difficult to sell in the chronically depressed Portsmouth real estate market, a public or semi-public entity will take it off his or her hands and, drawing directly or indirectly on public monies, pay appreciably more than the property is worth. (For more on the First Commandment, click here.) The Marting Foundation infamously unloaded the empty, leaking, unmarketable Marting building off on  the city a dozen or so years ago  for almost $2,000,000, and that building has been an albatross around the neck of the city and its taxpayers ever since.

A more recent, smaller scale example of the First Commandment apparently at work is the house at 1327  Kinney's Lane  (shown above) owned by Judge Steven Mowery and his wife Leasa. In a public notice in the classified section of the Portsmouth Daily Times (PDT), it was announced as required by law that Scioto County Counseling Center/Compass Point Housing intended to purchase 1327 Kinney's Lane and another house at 644 4th Street and convert them into  "dormitories" for "residents." In the lexicon of the burgeoning drug addiction treatment industry, addicts with some kind of coverage are "clients" and halfway houses for them are "dormitories," and drug clinics to dispense drugs to them are "counseling centers."

The misleading classified ad that was buried in
 the classifieds of the Portsmouth Daily Times.

Before 1327 Kinney's Lane and 644 4th Street in Boneyfiddle could be sold to SCCC/Compass Point, 4th Street residents learned about the notice buried in the classified section of the PDT and became politically galvanized, appearing at the 16/9/2014 meeting of the City Planning Commission at the Municipal Building to make clear they didn't want  the Counseling Center owning and operating any more property in their neighborhood, which was already saturated with tax-free, socially toxic Counseling Center properties. By protesting, Boneyfiddle residents had made the Mowery house on Kinney's Lane and the 4th Street house political hot potatoes. In my interpretation of what happened, in an attempt to squelch the controversy,  SCCC/Compass Point tried to drop the political hot potatoes as quickly as possible. Toward that end, Craig Gullion, the Executive Director of Compass Point Housing, appeared at the hearing in the Municipal Building to announce his organization was no longer interested in acquiring 1327 Kinney’s Lane because  it was too small for the number of "residents" that Compass Point had wanted to house there. Gullion's  explanation was fishy. Hadn't he, as the Executive Director of Compass Point Housing,  or hadn't someone else in his organization, ever been inside 1327 Kinney's Lane before deciding to buy it?  Isn’t the size of a house one of the first things a prospective buyer, especially the Executive Director of a housing company, would notice? Even if his sense of size was faulty,  wouldn’t the County Auditor’s website have provided the exact square footage for him to determine whether 1327 Kinney’s Lane was big enough to suit Compass Point's purposes?



The size of the house at 1327 Kinney's Lane may not have been the problem. The size may have been a smokescreen Gulllion  raised to cover his tracks.  Since the purchase of 1327 Kinney's Lane by the Counseling Center had become controversial, wouldn't  the fact that Judge Mowery was the potential seller raise eyebrows? It raised more than my eyebrows when I examined the fiscal year 2012-2013 federal form 990 that SCCC/Compass Point was required as a non-profit to file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. What form 990  revealed was that Judge Mowery's wife Leasa, the co-owner of 1327 Kinney's Lane, was the president of  SCCC's fifteen-member Board of Trustees. Because of her important position at SCCC and because of her husband's role as municipal judge, their sale of 1327 Kinney's Lane to SCCC would have appeared to be a glaring conflict of interest. But hardly anybody would have known that if the SCCC hadn't been required as a non-profit to publicly reveal who was who and what was what financially in that somewhat secretive corporation. Non-profits are held to a higher standard and can't get away with the unethical hanky-panky private corporations can. Just what the legal and organizational relationship between the SCCC and Compassing Point Housing is cannot be determined by the 2012-2013 990 form. Who is who and what is what financially at Compass Point needs clarification for it looks like the tail that is wagging the SCCC.

In addition to a couple of the usual suspects, such as Julia Wisniewski,  what follows are the names of the fifteen members of the Board of Trustees of SCCC:


Board of Trustees of SCCC 2012-2013
  
Leasa Mowery,  Pres.
Brady Womack, VP
Barbara Burke, Secty-Treas.
Mark Cardosi
Karly Estep
Susan Fitzer
Joan Flowers
Asa Jewett
Wm. McKinley 
Dr. Robert Nelson
Wm. Plettner
Barry Rodbell
Rev. Sallie Schisler
Dr. Ronald Turner
Julia Wisniewski

How much might SCCC/Compass Point have overpaid the Mowerys for the Kinney Lane property if the sale had taken place? That is anybody's guess. But if the First Commandment of Portsmouth real estate was followed, as it was with the Marting building, it might have been well above fair market value. But the petition the residents of 4th Street filed with the City Planning Commission changed the fate not only of 1237 Kinney's Lane but of 644 4th Street as well. Since the controversy broke, SCCC/Compass Point has done nothing about buying 644 4th Street, and now appears to have less than no interest in it. Because of the political blowback, that once red hot potato is colder than an ice cube and may end up on the auction block (click here).


644 4th St.: "the once hot potato is colder than an ice cube."


















Thursday, December 18, 2014

O, Little Town of Portsmouth


The Marting Building,  alias the Town Center, All Aglow

As hard as it is to believe, the empty, leaky, moldy, politically radioactive 135-year-old Marting building is  yet again being pushed as the home for city offices in spite of voters having turned it down again and again.



How proudly, how reverently
A gift from Marting’s was given,
For Marting’s imparted unto Appalachia
A little touch of heaven—

A cashmere sweater, a prom dress,
A suit, a shirt, a fancy tie-pin—
“One of Ohio’s good stores,”
A place where even a guy would buy in.

But now in the leaking building
Shineth an unearthly light:
The mold of hundred-and-thirty-years
Glows eerily at night.

O, little town of Portsmouth,
How still thy overdosing politicians lie,
Who paid two million for Marting’s
And gave the city a black-eye.

While the rich whites celebrate
Xmas on the Hill above,
Listening to the caroling
To the birth of the God of love,

The fifty-thousand-watt Weasel,
Full of holiday chatter and mirth,
Is canoodling the Skunk and the Fox,
And a Mike of considerable girth.

O, God above,
Listen to us, we pray.
Cast out the lawyers and developers,
The Philistines of today.

Let the archangel Gabriel,
The great glad tidings tell:
The rich white trash of Portsmouth
Are going straight to hell.

                        R. Forrey, 2009


This poem was originally posted on Dec. 11. 2009. For the 2006 Marting Xmas poem, click here. For more on the Marting building, click here.











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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Can of Worms Counseling Center



The Loco Fred Astaire Can of Worms Logo



The phrase “a can of worms” has not been around very long so its meaning is still evolving. I will use the phrase in this and a subsequent series of River Vices posts on the Scioto County Counseling Center (SCCC) in the sense of “creating a host of potential problems.”  There are so many problems at SCCC, or so many worms in the can, that it’s hard to know where to begin, but it would be useful to know, at the outset, who the officers in the somewhat shadowy company are. According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service form 990, which can be seen on Guidestar, an  information service that keeps tabs on American non-profit companies, there were  four officers in the fiscal year 2012-2013: Thurman Edward Hughes, Andrew B. Albrecht, Lora Gampp, and Kevin L. Blevins.


Officers at SCCC as of 2012-2013

Title    Name                           Compensation

CEO     Edward Hughes              $140,134

CEO    Andrew Albrecht             $80,674

CFO    Lora Gampp                     $83,327

COO   Kevin Blevins                   $78,007



The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the principal decision-making person in an organization. In the case of the SCCC there appears to be one too many CEOs.  I don’t understand how there can be two CEO’s in one company, but the form 990 filed with the IRS by the SCCC names both Hughes and Albrecht as CEOs. In a report in the Portsmouth Daily Times (24 July 2013), Albrecht is referred to as the Executive Director of the Counseling Center. But only  Albrecht’s  name is listed  in the person-to-contact box of IRS form 990 (above), suggesting he is in charge of day-to-day operations. Possibly Hughes, in his big house high on a hill in Sciotovlle, is in semi-retirement, but still collecting full salary. In the calendar year 2012, form 990 informs us, there were 217 SCCC employees, whose  salaries amounted collectively to about $6,000,000, which was about 60% of the roughly $10,000,000 in revenue SCCC took in that year. Where does all that revenue come from?

SCCC has what could be described as a  captive clientele, since many of them begin drug rehabilitation treatment under a court order. That captive clientele  could also be called lucrative since Uncle Sam, with deep pockets, directly and indirectly, pays most of the cost of their  treatment.

That Albrecht  would oversee so big an operation is surprising  since he does not appear to have the educational qualifications for a CEO. Anyone in  field of addiction counseling, which has mushroomed in the last quarter century,  must swim in a sea of anagrams. The anagrams that follow Hughes' name are MPS and LICDC, presumably for Master of Professional Studies and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Hughes co-authored a book titled Baffled by Addiction (2009). I will admit to being somewhat baffled by the acronyms in the field of addiction counseling. If Albrecht has anagrams after his name, it is a well-kept secret. His educational background was not mention in the PDT story that reported his promotion to Executive Director, but neither was his police record reported in that same story. His rap sheet stretches  as far back as 1996, when he was not yet out of his teens. (If he had broken  the law in his early  teens, that is no longer part of the public record.) The anagrams associated with his police record, such as  DUI and DUS, are a matter of  public record, and reveal that in addition to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs (DUI) and with his license suspended (DUS), that he was also arrested for underage drinking; for failing to yield; for driving the wrong way on a one way street; for speeding (more than once); for illegally parking on a public highway; for not wearing a seatbelt;  for possessing drug paraphernalia; for drug use (more than once); for assault; for disturbing the peace; for disorderly conduct; and for receiving stolen property. If 1996 was his earliest run-in with the police, 2013, when he was clocked doing 70 in a 55 mph zone, was his latest. It was just months after that ticket for speeding that he was promoted to C.E.O./E.D. at SCCC. During the years most bright, ambitious young men his age would have been pursuing an undergraduate and graduate degree in some professional field, Albrecht, judging by his police record (below), was into drugs, speeding, and screwing off. But since these acronyms in the field of addiction counseling can be earned at least in part online,  perhaps he too has more than one anagram. 



 

If abusing drugs and driving recklessly appear to be  requirements for holding public office in Portsmouth, as in the case of the failed grocery clerk, Jim Kalb, why shouldn’t those same lawless activities qualify someone to be the CEO of a Portsmouth company like the SCCC? It is true that Albrecht has not yet  failed in business and declared himself bankrupt, which appears to be another requirement for holding public office in Portsmouth, but he is still in his thirties. He has time. Who knows, if he is crooked and incompetent enough, he too may end up, like those  lugubrious failures Kalb, Bauer, Malone, Haas, Saddler, and Kevin W. Johnson, slithering in the can of worms  of  Portsmouth politics.