Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some Mentor cops had a tough week

Recent Activities in the city of Mentor include a police officer getting pinned by a vehicle, blood spatter analysis training and closer look at retail vacancies in the city. Those were among items in Friday's city manager memo to City Council:

Police Department
•    An officer was injured during a traffic stop on SR 2. An undercover officer observed a driver of a vehicle possibly completing a sale of narcotics. During the traffic stop the driver was ordered out of his car but did not initially comply and was moving around inside the driver’s area. He eventually began to exit the vehicle but did not put the car in park. An officer tried to enter the vehicle, after it started rolling, to stop it. The vehicle, which was pulled off to the left of the highway, moved left and struck the median wall with the driver’s door, pinning the officer between the door and the car. The officer injured his ribs, but was able to enter the car and place the car in park preventing it from entering the lanes of travel on SR 2. The driver was charged with Driving Under Suspension, however no narcotics were found.
•    Two officers were injured while arresting a juvenile male for domestic violence and underage consumption of alcohol. The juvenile punched and headbutted officers during the fight. After being handcuffed he still resisted until secured in the back of the patrol car. The officers were able to return to work the next day.
•    On Feb. 11, there was a five-car accident on SR 2 because of the heavy snow fall. An officer was on another accident on SR 2 at the same time and was struck from behind by a vehicle because of the road conditions. The officer sustained some injury as a result, and the vehicle sustained minor scuffs/scrapes on the rear bumper.
•    On Feb. 7, two houses were burglarized in the city. One house was at 5552 Hillcrest Ave. and the other house was at 8242 Lakeshore Blvd. Nothing was stolen from the Hillcrest home but items were stolen from the Lakeshore address. One of the items stolen was a credit card. The card was used at two stores in Mentor and one in Willoughby. Video surveillance was obtained from the Willoughby transaction. A still photo of the suspect was released to the media and on the Police Facebook page. The male was identified via Facebook and an anonymous call. Through our investigation another male was identified as being involved in the burglaries. Both men were arrested by Willoughby PD on Sunday for unrelated charges. The lead detective interviewed both males on Sunday and obtained confessions. Both men are involved in several burglaries and car break-in’s throughout the county. They will be charged with all involved crimes in Mentor in the near future.

Manager Comments 
•    Last week the Police Department participated with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to provide free evidence technician training on the topics of Touch DNA and Blood Spatter Analysis. The course was taught by an agent from BCI’s Crime Scene Unit and held in the Woods Room of the Ice Arena. The class was opened to other area departments, including the Lake County Prosecutors Office. Seventy-seven officers attended from 18 different departments. 
•    Next week the Police Department will begin department-wide Ethics training. The training will be provided at no cost by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy.  Mentor PD has opened up the training to other Lake communities who plan to send officers to participate.
•    Grants Coordinator Abe Bruckman has been communicating with representatives of ODNR’s Abandoned Mine Land Program, which resides within the Division of Mineral Resources Management. They have expressed an interest in participating in the City’s working group committed to Mentor Marsh restoration. DMRM could be a very effective partner for our future efforts.
•    Jay Luteran and I met with School Superintendent Hoynes and their IT Director, Hank Hartman, to discuss a possible joint project that could include linking school and city facilities with fiber optic cable. We are just beginning to explore the advantages to both organizations with such a project, and more detailed cooperation will continue.
•    I attended the Northeast Ohio Mayors and Manager’s Association quarterly meeting last Thursday, and much emphasis was placed on the coordinated efforts being made to stop efforts for state municipal income tax collection. The organization plans on advancing a resolution in opposition, and they are reaching out to the various legislators representing our respective communities for support. I expect to introduce a similar resolution at the Lake County Mayors and Manager’s meeting.

Fire Department
•    On Feb.15 at 5:40 p.m., the department was called to State Route 2 west of Center Street for treatment of an injured Mentor police officer. Reportedly, the officer was injured as he attempted to stop a slow-moving vehicle and then became trapped between the car and the retaining wall.The patient was treated for injuries and ground transported to Hillcrest Hospital in stable condition.
•    During the Feb. 14 Mentor School Board meeting, the Mentor Firefighter’s Historical Association honored Mrs. Marion Lipinski for all of her work with developing the Mentor Fire Museum and the Mentor Safety Village.  Retired Mentor Firefighter Ernie Johnson representing the Mentor Historical Association presented her with a plaque and a picture frame of some of the old Mentor Fire Department patches. Mentor City Council President Marn presented Mrs. Lipinski with a proclamation from Mentor City Council. Some of the noted highlights of Mrs. Lipinski’s continued support of the Mentor Firefighter’s Historical Association were her development of the curriculum used at the Mentor Safety Village. Also she has supported fundraisers to help fund the cost of busing the students to the Mentor Safety Village. Also noted was how her work on the curriculum taught to the third graders for their visit to Mentor Safety Village has impacted on average 1,000 third graders every year for the past 10 years. More than 10,000 students reached.

Economic and Community Development
•    Data assembled from CoStar shows Mentor’s overall retail vacancy rate at 4.5% or approximately 199,000 sq. ft. of available retail space. The Department of Economic Development conducts its own windshield survey and analyzes retail in two categories: large shopping centers greater than 50,000 sq. ft. and convenience style centers less than 50,000 sq. ft. in size. The vacancy rate of large shopping centers is consistent with CoStar at 4.5%. The convenience centers are experiencing a higher vacancy rate of 17%. The overall retail vacancy rate for Mentor is 8%, a 1% increase over 2011.
•    Tom Thielman met with a Mentor CNC and milling company regarding their desire to purchase a new facility to accommodate continued growth. Various incentive programs and financing opportunities were discussed.
•    Ron Traub visited Lincoln Electric Euclid facility to discuss the impact of the Baltimore company acquisition on the NE Ohio facilities.
•    Ron Traub and Tom Thielman visited CRT (Component Repair Technologies) a large Mentor business specializing in the repair of gas turbine engines used in industry and in aviation. CRT has been experiencing rapid growth and various State and local opportunities are being explored to accommodate their continued growth.

Engineering and Building Department
•    Aqua Ohio Scheduled Projects and Activities: The following waterline improvement projects or activities are scheduled for 2012:
o    Their first project involves relocation/replacement of a waterline under the culvert on Stoneybrook Lane in conjunction with the Stoneybrook Lane/ Garfield Road Culvert Improvement Project. This project should be completed by the end of February.
o    At the end of February, work is expected to begin on Crossfield Avenue from Broadmoor Road to Midland Road.  This project will be re-placing 850 ft of an existing 6-inch waterline with an 8-inch waterline. The project should take three to four weeks to complete.
o    In March, Aqua Ohio will relocate approximately 40 feet of a 16-inch waterline in order to accommodate ditching work on the SR2 project. The work should take one week to complete.
o    In April, work will begin on installing 1,100 feet of 8-inch waterline to replace an existing 6-inch line on Prospect Street from Center Street to Hart Street.  Project should take approximately 5-6 weeks to complete.
o    Beginning in May or June, work will begin on replacement of 2550 feet of 12-inch waterline on Hopkins Road from Chillicothe Road to Highland Court.  This work should take approximately 2-3 months to complete.
o    Beginning in June, Aqua will replace 1800 feet of 6-inch waterline with 8-inch waterline on Headlands Road from Lakeview Drive to the west.  Work should take 7 to 8 weeks to complete.
o    Throughout the year, Aqua is also planning to replace 30 to 40 two-way fire hydrants with three-way hydrants.

Parks and Recreation Department
•    The Civic Ice Arena debuted its new mascot at the public programs recently.  The mascot is a skating mouse brought to life by Arena staff member Valerie Bosch. Val loves her role and from all the hugs she gets when appearing at the programs she is well loved in return. The Arena held a contest to name the mouse and the winning name chosen was “Mischief.”
•    The Marina is busy preparing for the boating season. Work continues on the boat ramp widening project with the I-beams arriving this week. Once they are cut to the appropriate length and welded together concrete footers will be poured and they will be set in place. We have had some trouble with electric on “B” dock and we will be swapping a transformer out with a larger one that we have on site. This change out should make things run smoother on “B” dock this season.
•    As part of the energy conservation projects taking place throughout the city the solar shades are being installed in the Municipal Center Administrative Office Lobby over the next weekend. The new shades will help save on heating and cooling the area throughout the year.  We also will be fixing the brick walk in front of the Administrative Office entrance.  Since the installation of the new canopy we have had some shifting in the creation of voids under the brick.  The areas will all be leveled to correct the issue.
•    Learn to Skate Director Colleen Thomas has been working with a couple of the elementary schools on a program that will run as a trial during the month of March. The program is called “Mentor Has Manners” program.  The concept is to reward elementary school children for demonstrating courtesy and manners on a repetitive basis.  Each teacher at the selected schools will award up to five gift certificates, for a free pass to an open skate, to the students that do the best at remembering their manners and to be courteous.  We are hoping this program is a success and we will be rolling it out to all elementary schools in the fall. 

Public Works Department
•    Eclipse Company will complete Tyler Blvd. inlet basin repairs in the spring.
•    The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Beginning inlet basin survey in anticipation of repair program; Snow and ice control; Interior work at WWCC; Senior Center kitchen work; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades – on-going; 60% complete with annual program to test conflict monitors; Traffic pole at Lakeshore and Hopkins was replaced; Marina boat ramp - preparing to install steel rails; Lowered inlet to improve drainage - 7354 Bauer; R-o-w drainage improvement - 6121 Cedarwood; Walking/inspecting ditches in southwest quadrant of City; Dye testing - 6831 SR 306; Held pre-bid meeting for City Hall HVAC upgrade phase 1; and Processing work or-der/payment for FE re: FS #4 generator installation.

Finance Department
•    The City received an advance of funds $870,000 from the Lake County Auditor for collections from real property tax collections for the first half 2012 collections.
•    The Finance Department is currently reviewing all existing Mentor Incentive Grant (MIG) agreements to determine eligibility for incentive payments.

-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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