1. Archive

Assault jolts operator of Holy Ground

Published Feb. 26, 2006

Closing Holy Ground after 14 years is a decision Lisa Barabas-Henry knows will profoundly affect those who need it most.

But it's one she's contemplating after telling sheriff's deputies how a woman she helped for years aimed a gun at Barabas-Henry and her mother on Thursday in the homeless shelter's office at 8835 Denton Ave. in Hudson.

Barabas-Henry, 46, has taken in anyone in need over the years, from drug addicts to felons, but said she never had her safety compromised until this week.

"I know closing the door is a big issue for the community, but in turn, what does it mean for me to stay?" she said. "Things here have to change. The community should help decide what to do." On Friday, Barabas-Henry sat on a couch at her home, adjacent to the office where she and her mother were when Nichole Ann Clark, 42, entered at 3:30 p.m. with a gun, demanding money and pointing the weapon at the two women, according to a sheriff's report.

Smoking a Marlboro Light cigarette and watching television in her Betty Boop pajama bottoms, Barabas-Henry said the incident prompted her to consider changing the shelter's revolving door policy. Meanwhile, Clark sits in the county jail without bail and faces an aggravated assault charge.

She's also exploring hiring sheriff's deputies to provide security, which she said could make her change her mind about closing the county's only nonprofit shelter that houses men, women and children.

Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said deputies can volunteer for off-duty detail at a business for $28 per hour without use of a county vehicle. The price is $31 per hour if the deputy uses a county vehicle, Tobin said.

A business requesting a deputy must complete a contract five days before deputies are needed, Tobin said, and the deputy must work a minimum of four hours.

"She (Barabas-Henry) certainly would be missed if she no longer offered those services," Tobin said. "We will continue to do our part if there's a call for service out there."

George Romagnoli, county community development manager, said he hopes Barabas-Henry reconsiders.

"One of the things about Lisa is, she's a proud woman of a proud agency," he said. "But if she leaves us, that would be hurtful."