COLUMBUS - When Pat Tate placed fresh flowers at her son's grave Memorial Day, she left wondering whether they will stay there.
Some people who leave flowers and other decorations at the graves of loved ones have learned that theft is unavoidable, even in cemeteries.
At least three times, flowers that Tate placed at her son's headstone were stolen at St. Joseph Cemetery. Twice, grave blankets draped over the ground were snatched from the burial site for Douglas Lee Tate, who was killed in a car crash in 1997 when he was 18.
"I planted them, and somebody took them right out of the ground," said Tate, of suburban Grove City. "You just feel like it was your heart that got ripped out."
Cemetery officials said there's little they can do to stop the thefts, short of mounting surveillance cameras and putting up fences.
"It's very unfortunate that there are people out there that don't respect the sanctity or memory of others," said Rich Finn, director of cemeteries for the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
"Unfortunately, it's part of our culture. Things get stolen from people all the time, and cemeteries are not immune from that."
Pet lion given away after woman attacked
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - A man whose pet lioness attacked his daughter has given away his second big cat.
Charles Peters had to shoot and kill Sheba Friday evening after the lioness wouldn't let go of the arm of Peters' 33-year-old daughter, Lisa Peters.
He said he was ready to do the same to Simba. "My family has to come first," he said. But a volunteer firefighter's chance encounter helped save the male lion's life.
Bryon Thornton, assistant chief of the Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department, ran into an animal trainer and exhibitor at a festival Saturday and mentioned the lioness attack.
The trainer contacted a colleague at Noah's Lost Ark Animal Sanctuary in Berlin Center, which said it would take Simba. Several hours later, the lion was on his way to the northeast Ohio refuge.
Thornton said he would have hated to see such a beautiful animal destroyed.
Baby boomers seen straining health system
MUNCIE, Ind. - Aging baby boomers are on the brink of putting big demands on Indiana's health care providers, a health industry official says.
Bob Morr, vice president of the Indiana Hospital Health Association, said one-fourth of Hoosiers are 50 to 64 years old and need more health care every day.
Boomers' health needs will be more demanding in Indiana because many Hoosiers do not eat right or exercise and rank fourth in the country in the number of smokers, Morr said.
Boomers also use the health system differently than other generations, he said.
"My grandfather prided himself in the fact that he never saw the inside of a hospital until he was 66," Morr said.
In contrast, boomers undergo 25 percent more outpatient surgeries and voluntary diagnostic and screening tests than the general population, he said.
Catholic service agency to unveil renovations
COVINGTON - The public is invited to see the results of a two-year, $1.7 million renovation and expansion of Catholic Social Services.
The agency, at 3629 Church St., in the Latonia neighborhood, will host an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, featuring refreshments, a ribbon-cutting and a blessing by Bishop Roger Foys.
Individuals contributed about $1 million to the project, said marketing manager Matt Hollenkamp, with the rest coming from the Diocese of Covington and several foundations.
Programs are now accessible to the disabled, and the building, occupied by the agency for 25 years, now includes a 100-person meeting room for community groups and additional office space.
Eight additional offices will alleviate a logistical problem for the agency, which squeezed 41 staff members into 35 offices, Hollenkamp said.
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