Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Year's Eve an OK time to let minors drink?

Awhile back, I was working on story about underage drinking and how a grassroots group was trying to amend Ohio’s “Social Host Law,” in an effort to hold parents more accountable for allowing alcohol use by minors.

I tried to get a pulse on how parents and other adults feel about underage drinking by posing this question on my personal and the News-Herald’s Facebook accounts: Is it OK to allow your minor child a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve.

Since that holiday is upon us — and I didn’t end up using the info in my story — I thought I’d share some of the responses here and now:

From the News-Herald site:
Joe Simonetti  — A sip, no more.

Rebecca J. Wells — As long as the child is with parents, it is acceptable for them to have a glass of champagne.

Larry Puskas — Absolutely wrong. Would you give them a beer on their birthday?

Carie Beckwith Campbell — I think it depends on the age and the child.

Kathy Brownfield Dalton — Depends on the age...I have twin 18 year olds. Just went on a cruise to celebrate their birthdays and we let them have their first drink in the foreign ports where they are considered “legal.” They were with us (their parents) and as far as I’m concerned they are responsible adults.

From my page:
Ed Bonchak (Euclid Community Policing Officer and former DARE officer) — No one under the age of 21 is allowed to possess or consume any alcohol in any public or private place, unless the underage person is accompanied by a parent, spouse who is not an underage person, or legal guardian. Also anyone under the age of 18 is not allowed to possess or consume any low-alcohol beverage in any public or private place, unless accompanied by a parent, spouse who is not an underage person, or legal guardian.
Bottom line...You can offer your kid a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve, as long as you are in his/her presence. Important note...I would not do it with his/her’s friends around. It might send the wrong message!

Charlene Martorana — With all the festive, sparkling ciders and juices, why would you have to?

Shelley Zeiger Evans — Why on earth would any parent want to promote drinking alcohol...I believe this law should be black and white not gray. You should be 21 to consume alcohol period. We send the wrong message to our young people when we promote laws with all the “ifs ands or buts”...

For more on underage drinking stats & the proposed Social Host Law amendment, visit

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mentor offering first sports swap, New Year's eve fun & more

The holidays usually are a time for employees to take those last vacation days of the year, but Mentor staff appear to be busy as ever, based on some items in the Dec. 23 city manager’s report to City Council.

Some highlights include a plan for New Year’s Eve family fun on ice and a first-time event involving a swap of used sports equipment. For more, see below:

Economic and Community Development
• Approximately a dozen economic development brochures were sent out to members of the greater Cleveland brokerage community.

Engineering and Building Department
• The Single Family Rental Inspection Program is ready to begin its third year. In 2011, there were 182 inspections performed. Forty-four of these were first inspections on new rental properties; the remaining 138 inspections were done on properties that were initially inspected two years ago. Of all the inspections performed this year, 95 properties required a re-inspection for code violation citations. Since the Rental Inspection Program began in 2009, about 58 percent of the code violations cited are in the area of general property maintenance both interior and exterior (i.e. unlicensed vehicles, debris in yard, holes in drywall, etc.). An additional 25 percent of the violations are electrical in nature. The remainder of the violations, approximately 17 percent, relate to plumbing or fire code concerns. The code enforcement inspector for this program continues to seek out new rental properties and to notify property owners when their property is up for re-inspection.

Finance Department
• The city’s application was approved by the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for the retrospective-rating plan for the 2012 policy year. The city began participating in the retro plan in 2005, and as a result, continues to save significant amounts on our workers’ compensation premiums.

Fire Department
• Fire Prevention is continuing to monitor the bars and retail businesses with a focus on fire lanes, occupancy loads and clear exits to ensure that holiday celebrations continue in a safe fashion.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Plans for New Year’s Eve? There is a special skate from 6 to 9 p.m. at Mentor Civic Arena. All three rinks will be open for skating and the city will provide music and prizes to go along with the skating.
• On Jan. 7, 2012, the Recreation Department will have its first “Recycle Sports Swap” at Mentor Beach Park starting at 9 a.m. Bring all those outgrown shoes, bats, gloves, sticks, balls, skis, etc. Purchase a table and sell or trade your gently worn sports equipment. Call and sign up for a table soon; there is limited space and tables are going quickly.

Police Department
• Officers located a runaway juvenile at Americas Best Value Inn, 8370 Broadmoor. The juvenile and three young adults were located in a rented room. The room contained numerous open and unopened beers, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. All of the occupants were cited for underage possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. The juvenile was turned over to her father.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works Activity Highlights last week were: Continued to repair failing spots on SR 615 bridge with flexset; installed new drainage basin — Hopkins at Markwood; emptied and cleaned cracksealer; coldpatching throughout city; repaired damaged pole at US 20 and Old Johnnycake; repaired signal interconnect on SR 84; Two Town ditch cleaning — 90 percent complete with section adjacent to Chestnut Commons; located laterals for residents — Frederick, Sugarbush; storm sewer cleaning — Bellflower; installing 6-inch pipe along section of Washington; inlet basin repair — SR 306 @ I-90; ditch re-profiling — Clover; taking advantage of warm weather to clean planting beds; replaced drinking fountain at Garfield Park; painting restrooms and repairing floors at Civic Center; and providing snowplowing instruction and training to city hall employees.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A citywide CPR campaign among Mentor's goings-on

The unemployment rate for Mentor remained at 5.3% in November (Mentor’s rate was 6.6% in November 2010). The City’s unemployment rate was last at 5.3% or lower in November, 2008. In Lake County, the unemployment rate increased 0.3% to 6.2%. The City has the second-lowest unemployment rate of the 65 communities in Ohio for which data is collected. The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 7.6% (a 0.8% decline) in November 2011.

In other news (from the Mentor City manager’s weekly report to City Council):

Fire Department
• Mentor Fire is joining other Lake County agencies to develop a “hands only” CPR campaign called Cardio-Cerebral Resuscitation. The goal is to train 4,000 Mentor residents in this method of CPR.  Cardio-Cerebral Resuscitation has been shown to greatly increase survival rates from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. 
• The Mentor Part-Time Firefighters Annual Auction raised $2,200 for needy families in the community.

Police Department
• On Monday, the Police Department promoted three officers. Acting Capt. Ken Gunsch was sworn in as captain, Sgt. Dan Molnar as lieutenant and Ptl. Mark Stansbury as sergeant. These officers assume their new duties Jan. 4.
• The City has received a $5,000 donation from Marc’s to help fund our second police canine unit in 2012. A ceremonial check presentation from Marc’s President Kevin Yaugher to City Council will be held  at a January or February meeting of council.
• On the morning of Dec. 14, an officer stopped a vehicle on SR 2 for a license plate violation. When the officer approached the car he could smell a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A subsequent search of the vehicle uncovered a hidden area under the floor shifter. In this compartment, the officer located 1.5 g of crack cocaine, 4.7 g of marijuana, a digital scale and empty baggies. The driver was arrested and charged with trafficking in crack cocaine and marijuana, drug paraphernalia and a citation for the license plate violation. The vehicle, a 1999 Chrysler 300, was seized and the Department will go after forfeiture of the vehicle.

Finance Department
• The City continued its evaluation of an automated time and attendance system by hosting a cost/benefit session with KRONOS. The forum provided a detailed explanation of several potential cost savings areas where automation provides a solution.

Engineering and Building Department
• Over the last several months, Code Enforcement has received numerous complaints regarding a single-family home located on Hendricks Road. The tenant of this property was running a tree-trimming business from the residence. While some progress was made in relocating the heavy equipment to an acceptable location, the property remains in violation of property maintenance codes due to the fact that excess amounts of firewood, cut trees and miscellaneous equipment continue to be stored at this location. A code violation notice was issued to the property owner. When full compliance was not met, a summons was issued. The owner has appeared in Mentor Court. Noticeable progress is currently being made at the property.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works Activity Highlights this week were: repaired more of failing SR 615 bridge deck with flexset; cracksealing – Garfield Rd; coldpatching/durapatching – citywide; replacing old batteries in traffic signal battery backups; completed drainage assistance program Enfield/Erie; cleaning storm sewers – Bellflower; storm sewer repairs  - Johnnycake, Dorrwood; drainage improvement completed on Roosevelt; drainage improvement on Washington; recontoured drainage ditch – Clover; Interior repairs – WWCC; bathroom repairs – Krueger residence; seeking quotes for Garfield building boiler replacement; and property cleanup on Rosemary per code enforcement.

Parks and Recreation Department
• On Jan. 7, the Recreation Department will have its first “Recycle Sports Swap” at Mentor Beach Park starting at 9 a.m. Bring all those outgrown shoes, bats, gloves, sticks, balls, skis. Purchase a table and sell or trade your gently worn sports equipment.  Call and sign-up for a table soon, limited space and tables are going quickly.
• The Chili Open is about a month away. Call the Recreation Department for more information or to sign-up.
• There have been major phone problems with the phones at Wildwood. The line is functioning again.

Economic and Community Development
• MEACO conducted its quarterly Board of Directors meeting. Tom Thielman presented information regarding the current SBA 504 and Mentor Small Business Loan activity. Tom also updated the Board about MEACO’s finances, the Mentor Technology Greenhouse initiative, and the recent changes to some of the SBA programs.
• The MEACO Loan Review Committee approved an SBA 504 loan for Cleveland Geriatrics, Inc. for the purchase of a small office building in downtown Willoughby. MEACO is authorized by the SBA to provide lending across the State of Ohio. MEACO will realize approximately $8,000 in fees for this loan.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, December 12, 2011

There may be a remedy for sign clutter in your retail neighborhood

Tired of seeing multiple cardboard signs screaming "sale" as you make your way down Route 20 near the mall in Mentor? Apparently, those are no-nos, according to city sign code.

Friday's Mentor City manager report to City Council noted that,
due to an increase in the number of sign code violations reported along the stretch, the city would be increasing its enforcement efforts during the holiday season.

A code enforcement officer worked Saturday and Sunday to monitor the commercial corridors and to remove signs placed in the right of way. Violations were be documented and processed.

"At the manager’s recommendation, we had one of our planners go out and canvass the retail corridors and meet with those business owners and representatives regarding signs that were in violation," Economic Development Director Ron Traub said. "The officer indicated what can and can’t be done. The offending signs were removed immediately."

Along with signs in the right of way, violations included multiple signs and retailers posting signs on private property. "Multiple signs, banners, pennants, search lights - that whole gammet of advertising parephernalia - can be a distraction to motorists passing by," Traub said. "Our requirements are fairly standard ... and it presents a cleaner, more business-like environment to the shopper."

Other highlights from last week in the city of Mentor are as follows:

 Economic and Community Development:
 •    An analysis of single-family home sales data for the City of Mentor and Lake County for the second quarter 2011 (versus second quarter 2010) revealed:
o    The number of homes sold declined 22% at the County; 10% within the City.
o    The average sale price declined 6% at the County; less than 1% within the City.
o    The average number of days a home is on the market increased 8% within the County and 20% within the City.

•    SOLD – Closings occurred on two more Neighborhood Stabilization Program homes this week, bringing the total to eight vacant homes renovated and sold to low- to middle-income buyers under this grant program. Three additional vacant homes are expected to be renovated prior to the expiration of the grant in March of 2013. Down Payment/Closing Cost assistance of up to 10% of the purchase price is available for qualified buyers. Interested persons can contact Tom O’Hara, Economic & Community Development Department at ext. 2454.

• Tom Thielman met with James Moll, President and owner of Sunbright USA, Inc., a Mentor business which is participating in the MEACO SBA 504 loan program to purchase a building located at 8909 East Avenue. Sunbright currently leases space on Tyler Boulevard and are experiencing 20% year to year growth. Sunbright USA is a wholesale OEM parts supplier.

Manager Comments 
• On Dec. 2, the Police and Fire department responded to two separate cases of suspected heroine overdoses. The first incident involved an 18 year old female who, while operating her vehicle, passed out at a red light on Plaza Blvd at Mentor Ave. The two responding officers found her not breathing, and immediately began CPR. Paramedics arrived and administered Narcan to successfully revive her, after which she was transported.  Hypodermic needles, suspected Heroin, and marijuana were found in her vehicle.  The second incident involved a male staying at Value Place Inn, 5650 Emerald Ct. The male was reported not breathing at the time of the call. Police and Fire arrived at the same time and found him conscious but unable to speak. Narcan was again administered by paramedics and he was transported. A female friend in the room was arrested after attempting to dispose of hypodermic needles used by the male to inject Heroin. She also had unused hypodermic needles on her person.

• The City received a Bronze Award for our “Special Edition” community newsletter through the 2011 APEX Awards. Hosted by the Lake Communicators, the awards recognize exceptional advertising, public relations and marketing work.

•    The Finance Department was awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers’ As-sociation of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its most recent 2010 comprehensive annual financial report.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 1 at 4:35 p.m., the department was called to West Jefferson for a child stuck in a tree. Paramedics arrived to find a small child wedged in a tree. A chain saw had to be used to free the ten year old girl. She was not injured.

• On Dec 3 at 12:36 a.m., the fire department responded to an injury accident (van vs. pole during police pursuit) at Hopkins and Lakeshore where a male was extricated from his vehicle, treated by paramedics and ground transported to the helipad at Lake Health West and then airlifted to Metro General Health in Cleveland.

• On Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7:53 p.m., the Department responded to a roll-over injury accident on Center Street at Station Street where the driver was trapped in his vehicle. Fire Crews extricated the driver, provided treatment and ground transported him to Hillcrest Hospital.

Police Department
• Adults and  juveniles were located at Uncle Bob’s storage, 8650 East Ave. All involved were located inside a storage unit which one of the adults had rented. The adults were cited and released while the juveniles were cited and released to their parents.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works Activity Highlights this week were: Two town ditch sedi-ment removal ongoing – completed section near St. Johns (phase 1), now working near Carter (phase 2); Drainage assistance project – Enfield/Erie; Storm sewer repair – 7646 SR 84; Resolved drainage problem at Mentor Lumber by removing slat/calcium buildup in city storm sewer; Began drain-age improvement at 6910 Roosevelt (Mrs. Blevins); Interior painting – WWCC; Installing holiday lighting; Replaced lights at Ice Arena; Installing additional flexset on SR 615 bridge over RR; Applied brine to hills and bridges (Thurs) in anticipation of snow on Friday; Durapatching and cold patching – throughout City of Mentor; and, Secured traffic signal pole at Lakeshore/Hopkins and scheduling replacement.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The Mentor Senior Center had 70 people attend the Back to School Dinner Dance at Mentor High School. This event was sponsored by the Mentor High School National Honor Society. The high school students and the seniors alike danced the night away to the music of the Billy Kaye band. This was a truly delightful interactive evening with the seniors and the students. Dr Hoynes, Principal Bill Wade, and Food Services Supervisor Jenny Lange all volunteered their time to serve our seniors. We plan to continue the relationship with the National Honor Society group; we will host a slightly different event next year at the Senior Center.

• Safe Routes To School (STRS) coordinator Maggie Kuyasa started a new “Pedometer Take Home Program” at Orchard Hollow and Sterling Morton. The pedometers can be checked out from the school librarians. The children fill out a walking punch card, which they turn in for a chance to win prizes. The SRTS grant has provided traffic safety books and DVDs to the two elementary schools as part of the continuing education program for each school. Each of the schools has embraced the program and has permitted us to have a SRTS bulletin board.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Friday, December 9, 2011

Auction with Hal Lebovitz's sports book collection starts today

If you haven't yet checked out Fusco Auctions to see what piece of Hal Lebovitz's collection you'd like to own, head over to do that soon. The live auction begins in just a few hours, and online bidding has already begun.

I went over to Fusco's yesterday to take a look at Hal's things and all of the other sports memorabilia for sale. Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps wrote this great preview for the auction, and I even let Sports Editor Mark Podolski include me in his video about the auction, which I've embedded below:

Instructions on how to look at Hal's items up for auction are here, and more about my journey with Hal's books can be read here.

Happy bidding!

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Thursday, December 8, 2011

More on the auction of Hal Lebovitz's personal sports book collection

I blogged earlier this week about Hal Lebovitz's personal sports book collection, which will be auctioned this weekend. Fusco Auctions now has the items to be auctioned posted on its website. After getting to the homepage, scroll down to the "Sports Card & Memorabilia Auction 88" and "Sports Card & Memorabilia Auction 88 Day 2," and click the "bid online" button in the lower left side of the box to check out the memorabilia. (Or, click here for day 1 and here for day 2.)

There's plenty of other sports memorabilia mixed in with Hal's stuff. Most of Hal's stuff will be auctioned on the second day. To find Hal's stuff in either of the auction, enter LEBOVITZ in the box that says "Search this catalog." You will have to search both separately.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Monday, December 5, 2011

Sawyer House will serve again & Mentor lands big manufacturing project

Who says the holiday season is a slow-news time of year? Not in Mentor, anyway. The city has attracted a major manufacturing project and an award-winning restaurant to town.

First, the one that I’m guessing most readers will be interested in: Good food. Frank and Pauly’s will be opening at 9470 Mentor Ave. in the Sawyer House building.

The restaurant is being opened by Dennis Koury, who co-owned the Cleveland restaurant of the same name — formerly in the BP building off Public Square — with his brother. The latter opened a Frank and Pauly’s in Independence, but it closed after he passed away, Koury said.

The Sawyer House is on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the only stone homes in Lake County. “The Sawyer House had a reputation of great food and great cooking and taking care of its customers, and a great winery,” Koury said, when asked why he chose Mentor. “It’s a great historic building and we just thought it was the perfect place for Frank and Pauly’s.”

Koury, formerly a Kirtland Hills resident, also owns Midland Plaza at Midland Road and Route 20 in Mentor.
City Council will consider a liquor license for the establishment at Tuesday’s meeting. “We may be opening during the holidays without liquor — customers could bring in their own wine,” he said. “We will be doing catering for the holidays out of another restaurant (for now).”

Koury noted that Frank and Pauly’s, opened in Cleveland 1993, was voted Best Italian Restaurant several years by Cleveland Magazine subscribers. He said the new restaurant will use the same recipes and chef. For more, visit or call 440-392-9500.

In other good news, a major manufacturing vacancy off Tyler Boulevard in Mentor will be filled by newly merged company Metal Seal Precision Ltd., formerly Metal Seal Products, Inc., of Willoughby and Arrow Manufacturing of Mentor.

I’m told the company will create a world-class facility in the former Tridelta Industries building — 158,000-square-feet of empty space on Corporate Boulevard.

The project, being done with more than $5 million in financing from the state, retains 135 jobs in Ohio and will lead to creation of up to 30 new jobs initially, company Treasurer Rick Sippola tells me. He credited State Rep. Ron Young with being instrumental in the process.

Metal Seal will make precision machined components and screw machined parts and assemblies, serving the automotive, propane, heavy-duty truck, natural gas and firearm industries.

The Willoughby business will relocate to Mentor. Willoughby’s loss is Mentor’s gain (again) as the move will bring 85 jobs with it. Sippola said the project was being pursued pretty hard by Michigan and Indiana.

Keep the good news coming, Mentor.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Weekly Mentor City Manager memo to Council

Hal Lebovitz's personal sports book collection to be auctioned

I'm thrilled the personal sports book collection of Hal Lebovitz is ready to be auctioned by Fusco Auctions.

The Hal Lebovitz Collection contains hundreds of sports books, some dating back to the 1890s. I blogged about my work with Hal's books, which you should revisit if you would like to get a better idea of the types of items that are in the collection. Fusco's site says items in the auction will be posted, so I will add the link to it here when I get it.

I'm really excited the project I started nearly a year ago has finally gotten to this point. Be sure to check out the auction - especially if you're a sports fan or a Hal fan. There might be quite a few things on which you'd like to place a bid.

More about Hal:

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl