NEW MIDDLETOWN -- State Rep. John Boccieri of New Middletown, an Air Force Reserve captain, will spend the better part of the rest of the year in Little Rock, Ark., for military pilot training to become an aircraft commander.
Boccieri, who served in the Air Force at the Little Rock Air Force Base from 1994 to 1998, said he is not sure if this updated training has anything to do with the United States' response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But a spokesman for the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, where Boccieri is based, said it is not unusual for pilots to receive upgraded training to learn how to be aircraft commanders.
Boccieri, D-57th, said the military is being flexible and allowing him to fly back to this area this weekend to honor two commitments he has to speak at Veterans Day events. The Ohio House does not have any planned sessions the rest of the year, but if a special meeting is called, Boccieri said he would be permitted to attend. His Columbus office will remain open while he is in Little Rock.
Gloves at toll booths
Ohio Turnpike workers have been given the option of wearing gloves to collect tolls at turnpike exits after two toll workers reported that they received suspicious material on bills, a turnpike spokeswoman said.
Lauren Dehrmann, public affairs manager, said the Ohio State Highway Patrol responded to both reports and each was a false alarm. Workers are provided gloves to wear if they choose to, she said, but they are not required to use them.
Dehrmann said it would be difficult for a driver to pass anthrax on money because the passer would have to wear gloves and any such substance would not be in its most refined format.
Overall, Dehrmann said, the entire turnpike crew is on a heightened sense of awareness since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Also on a state of high alert are Pennsylvania Turnpike workers, said Kathy Liebler, manager of public affairs and media relations for the turnpike. She said workers are paying special attention to tunnels.
She has received no reports of drivers trying to pass suspicious material to toll-takers in the state. Gloves are available for workers who choose to wear them.