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Investigation: Harassing letter left in superintendent's mailbox

January 6, 2012

The Auglaize County Sheriff's Office is investigating a harassing letter left in the home mailbox of Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner.

Deputies with the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a harassing letter placed in the home mailbox of the Wapakoneta City Schools superintendent.
“It appears that the correspondence may be related to current contract negotiations in the district,” Sheriff Al Solomon told the Wapak-oneta Daily News on Friday about the letter found last weekend in the mailbox of Keith Horner’s Cridersville area residence.
Solomon said there was no indication that the letter was connected to vandalism that occurred during the same time period at the school district’s administrative offices, located on Gardenia Drive.
The letter was placed inside Horner’s mailbox at his home between 8 p.m. Saturday, New Year’s Eve, and 9 a.m. Sunday, New Year’s Day, and was not sent through the U.S. Postal Service.
“We’re taking it very seriously,” Solomon said. “It is a concern that this issue was taken to his home.”
The sheriff said the letter was harassing, but no direct threats were made to the superintendent or his family.
Horner described the letter as unfortunate.
He said because of its nature and being delivered directly to his home, he reported it to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office.
Horner said no other school officials, including board members, have reported receiving letters of a harassing nature.
He declined to comment further about the situation, only to say it continued to be a concern.
Between New Year’s Day and Tuesday, vandals used red spray paint to write three messages directed at school officials on the administration building, located at 1102 Gardenia Drive. The messages were discovered as students and staff returned to school from Christmas break.
The messages, “Shame on you,” “We want the truth,” and “We taxpayers want the truth” cost the district $100 in manpower hours to clean off of window screens and an electrical transformer.
Since the vandalism occurred within city limits, Wapakoneta police officers and detectives are handling that investigation, but Wapakoneta Police Chief Russ Hunlock told the Wapakoneta Daily News on Friday that they have no suspects or leads and it appears the vandals struck before a snowfall blanketed the area.
“If anyone knows or witnessed anything suspicious, give us a call,” Hunlock said. “If we do develop leads we will follow them.”
He said they are working with the Sheriff’s Office, keeping each other apprised of the situation as a whole.
On Saturday, Wapakoneta Board of Education members voted to implement a last, best and final offer with the Wapakoneta Education Association (WEA), with whom they had been negotiating since April. They have been working under an expired contract since July. The two groups had been working with a federal mediator, who still has the ability to bring the two sides together, but all discussions must be with the mediator present.
Teachers are preparing to strike and have voted to give the authority to union officials to issue a 10-day strike notice to the school administrators but notice of a strike has not been given.

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