Monday, March 26, 2012

A Mentor intersection you might want to avoid til Sept.

A Mentor power outage explained and a potential traffic bottleneck reported in the latest city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• On March 22, major construction was initiated beneath the SR 2 bridge on SR 615. The net effect of this construction will be to reduce north and southbound traffic from three lanes to two lanes in each direction. Traffic back-ups will be particularly pronounced during the morning and evening rush hour. The result of the project will be a resurfacing of Center Street and the addition of a second left turn lane in each direction for traffic entering SR 2 eastbound and westbound. Although the contractor has indicated that they will attempt to expedite construction, the project is anticipated to be completed by mid-September.
• The Engineering & Building Department has completed the design and assembly of bid books for the Corduroy Road Streetscape Improvement Project. This project will use CDBG funds to improve approximately 375 feet of the right of way streetscape of Corduroy Rd. in the vicinity of the Headlands IGA market. The existing tree lawn will be improved with grass, sidewalk and street trees. Bids are to be opened April 5.
• On March 20, the city experienced a widespread power outage due to a substation problem. Dispatch was flooded with calls for service and inquires regarding the outage. The power was restored in less then an hour and none of the calls proved to be significant in nature.
• On Thursday morning, the expansion to the lagoons marina boat ramp was installed. Two large (20 x18 ft) precast concrete sections weighing 20,000 lbs each were maneuvered into place alongside our existing ramp. The approach area to the new ramp addition should be poured next Tuesday with it being ready to use by the second week of April.

Fire Department
• The department responded to two more heroin overdoses. The first was on March 16 and the second was reported on March 19. Both patients were treated by paramedics and transported to Lake Health West Hospital.
• The Fire Department received reimbursement payment from Dominion East Ohio in the amount of $29,775 for the emergency response and expenses incurred during the Fairport Harbor fire emergency on Jan. 24.

Police Department
• On March 20, a female was stopped driving a vehicle because the male passenger in the car was hitting her in the head (NOT SMART TO DO IN FRONT OF POLICE -- Editor’s note). The officer discovered an open beer in the car along with two juvenile children. The female was intoxicated and was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, child endangering, open container, possession of drug paraphernalia and no child safety seats for the children. The male was charged with domestic violence and had a warrant for his arrest with Willoughby Hills for failing to appear for a possession of marijuana charge. The female has a previous charge for child endangering.
• Over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, the Police Department arrested 6 people for OVI and 3 people for disorderly/public intoxication.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The work has started to replace the concrete floor of the Walsh Park Shelter. The floor had severe cracking and heaving.
• New electric circuits have been installed in the jail. This installation will eliminate the circuits blowing on a regular basis and the collection of extension cords can now be eliminated.
 • Last week, Black Brook Golf Course had over 200 rounds of golf in one day.  Re-opening and dedication of the new practice center is 10 a.m., May 5.
• Superintendent Paul Hegreness has been busy working with the United States Tennis Association on securing a grant to rehab the tennis courts at Civic Center.
• The Lake County Visitor’s Bureau has assembled a Program Committee to review how the Visitor’s Bureau operates and who the members are and how to best meet the needs of those members. Program Manager Jill Korsok has been asked and accepted a position on the committee. The Lake County Visitor’s Bureau has changed its name to Think Lake County.
• The Ice of March Hockey Tournament  and Hockey Time’s tournament were held recently at Civic Ice Arena.
• With the grass growing, seasonal employees at the cemetery and Lagoons were called back to work early to get started with clean-up.

Economic and Community Development
• A. Bruckman, R. Traub, R. Spence & B. Ashurst met with a representative of Chagrin River Watershed Partners and a facilitator from CSU to evaluate the group’s effectiveness in its dealings with the City.
• Traub & J. Loftus, Lake County Port Authority met with representatives of NAI Daus, a local brokerage company regarding their experience with development on an “active” airport property.
• Traub met with an existing Mentor business regarding a prospective relocation.

Engineering and Building Department
• Plaza Blvd. Roadway Extension Project: Bid books have been assembled for the demolition of a storage building on Plaza Blvd. as part of the Plaza Blvd. Roadway Extension Project. Bids will be opened on April 6 for this project. 

Finance Department
• A training session on Ohio’s Sunshine Laws and Records Management and Retention is being offered by the Office of the Ohio Attorney General.
• On March 21, several Ohio representatives held a press conference to announce the formation of the Municipal Income Tax Uniformity Coalition and the goals of the coalition in seeking legislative changes to areas of non-uniform practices in the application of local municipal taxes.

Public Works Department
• Eclipse Company will continue with Tyler Blvd. inlet basin repairs on Wednesday.
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Baseball fields – grooming all infields; WWC – garden project, water supply and fence install is 50% complete; Garfield Road – crack sealing, complete from Rt. 20 to Rt. 84; UPS (uninterrupted power supply) testing at 11 intersections is complete; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; 9030 Terrace Park – storm sewer repair – complete; 6484 Antoinette – storm sewer repair – complete; 7575 Bellflower – storm sewer repair – complete;  and Farmington Meadows (Bellflower Ext. area) storm sewer cleaning.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Movie? What movie? I, um, didn't see any hot new movie

Sometimes, in the business of journalism, you make agreements with sources to hold off on releasing information. For news reporters, that could be holding off on putting out the name of a criminal suspect, a detail in a coming lawsuit or the revelation that Community X will be pouring millions of dollars into a much-needed renovation project.

As the entertainment editor at The News-Herald, I don't deal with such things. I do, however, regularly review movies. (You're right. It's the better gig.) What's the connection, you ask? Geez, keep your pants on; I'm getting there.

Often, an invitation to an advanced screening of a movie comes with a stipulation that review of the movie cannot run online or in print until its opening day. As a paper that prioritizes getting content into your grubby, digital hands as soon as possible, our movie reviews generally hit at 12:01 a.m. Best we can do.

I understand why movie studios that have sunk millions and millions into the making and marketing of movies would want some control over when reviews run, and I'm generally happy to oblige them.

However, a studio has taken it to a new level. I attended a screening on Monday to an upcoming film and didn't initially realize it had any additional restrictions. But, after hearing about a writer in Columbus seeing a movie on Monday that he was forbidden to tweet about, I took a closer look at the invitation. Sure enough: "All blogs and Tweets must be held until opening day ... ."

Really? A blog entry, I get, as it easily could serve as a full review. But a tweet? A harmless collection of 140 characters? Meh.

Hey, these studios aren't playing. More and more, attendees -- critics and non-reviewers alike -- of advanced screenings are forced to leave their camera- and microphone-equipped smartphones in their cars. Such was the case Monday afternoon, when maybe 10 of us sat in a an auditorium at Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights to watch a highly anticipated movie.

With all this fuss, and I hope it's OK if I tell you if I generally liked the movie. Check the web or paper on Friday to learn the identify of the movie and what I thought about it.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't wonder if everyone followed the rules or were made to play by the same rules. In a TOTALLY UNRELATED MATTER, esteemed critic Roger Ebert released his review of "The Hunger Games" today.

-- Mark Meszoros | | @nhfeatures

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mentor cops nab vehicle theft suspects

Wow, watch your car in Lake County.
Mentor police recently busted up part of an organized vehicle and equipment theft ring, and the city administration is researching a method to perform a citywide deer count. Those items and more in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Police Department
• On March 8, two males were arrested for stealing a pickup truck from the Home Depot parking lot. The males were stopped on Diamond Center at Heisley in two separate vehicles (one being the stolen truck and the other vehicle they drove to Mentor). Both males are part of an organized theft ring responsible for numerous thefts of vehicles, motorcycles and landscape equipment in Lake county and surrounding counties. Our investigation is continuing to identify other suspects.  
• On March 10, a male was involved in an accident on Beaumont Dr. After the accident, the male fled on foot from the scene. A K-9 track was attempted but failed to locate the male. He was eventually found at the Speedway gas station at Center/Tyler. The vehicle the male had been driving was reported stolen out of Indiana which appears to be the reason he ran from the scene. He was charged with receiving stolen property, driving under suspension and hit/skip.

Parks and Recreation Department
• We are working on the methodology to conduct a citywide deer count to be able to comply with the requirements of the ODNR permit process.
• The Recreation Department programming staff met last week to discuss the IBIM Festival. It was a good first meeting with the staff discussing the length of the festival, location of the event on the property and some discussion on possible programs, events and activities.
• In less than 2 weeks, the Recreation Department will begin the pre-season pool pass sales. The sale of pool passes will take place at the Recreation Department’s offices in the administration portion of the Municipal Center during normal business hours with extended evening hours on April 17 and 24. As a service to our renewing pass holders you will be able to renew online, provided there are no changes in the account. This registration, like all online registration is free.

City Manager
• The City received notice this week from County Auditor Zupancic informing us that the Lake County Budget Commission is appointing a committee pursuant to the County Commissioners’ Resolution to abolish the 1982 agreement establishing an alternate formula for distribution of Local Government Fund revenues. The committee is charged with either abolishing the current alternative formula or to recommending an alternative. Each party to the agreement is offered one representative on the committee.  I have suggested to President Marn that I might represent Mentor. We must inform the Auditor by March 30, 2012. The Committee will then be asked to submit a recommendation to the Lake County Budget Commission by July 2, 2012.
• We recently met with the Mentor Yacht Club to review dredging estimates for this year and discuss an additional scope of work for both dredging and channel repairs. The Administration is evaluating the MYC request and will keep Council informed.
• Tony Zampedro attended the Mentor Port Authority’s meeting Thursday at which time John Konrad was appointed the new chairman and Tim Andrassy was appointed vice chairman. Among other things a discussion was held regarding possible missions for the Port Authority which the chairman described as securing financial support for improvements/repairs in or adjacent to the navigable waters abutting the marina; the entrance channel to Lake Erie; implementation of the coastal plan prepared by and in cooperation with the LCPA; involvement in the removal of the bridge structure; and channel dredging and debris removal/prevention in all connecting channels. Tony, on behalf of the administration, suggested consideration of a role in erosion control along the lakeside northern boundary of the marina and eastward along the City’s shoreline where the beach is now either gone and/or submerged. The meeting adjourned following a motion to have their legal counsel consult with the Law Director about how best to secure authority to perform these roles.

Fire Department
• On March 9 at 4:29 p.m., paramedics were called to assist the SWAT team while they made entry into a home to make an arrest. Paramedics stood by without incident and were returned to service by the police.
• On March 13 at 9:40 p.m., the department responded to a chimney fire on Stockbridge. Crews quickly extinguished the fire with no damage to the home. The first due Engine Company remained on scene to remove logs and ash from the fireplace and thoroughly check the fireplace, as well as, the crawlspace and upstairs attic to make sure that there was no further extension into the home.  The home was turned back over to the homeowner at 10:29 p.m.
• On March 8, the Fire Prevention Bureau performed inspections of 50 vehicles at the Great Lakes Mall after closing hours for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Racecar display event that was held on March 11-12.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub met with a prospective developer regarding a commercial site on the east end of the city.
• MEACO is working on a Mentor Small Business Loan in partnership with Lake National Bank to help a Mentor business purchase equipment.
• Tom Thielman and Ron Traub prepared an Economic Development Grant agreement for DMI Manufacturing.

Finance Department
• Representatives from the Ohio House recently introduced legislation (H.B.471) which would increase Local Government Fund distribution to equal, for the remaining months of fiscal year 2012, 3 percent over fiscal year 2011 levels and, for fiscal year 2013, 6 percent over fiscal year 2011 levels.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Painting Senior Center kitchen — complete; Garfield Park & Civic Center — grooming baseball fields; Wildwood Cultural Center — prep work for garden project, water supply and fence; Ridgeside Dr. at Trian Ct. — concrete slab replacement, westbound lane complete; Garfield Road — started crack sealing, south of Rt. 84; snow fence has been removed for the season; stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping — ongoing; Lakeview Drive — drainage improvement project complete; and started sod clean-up in all areas, topsoil and seed scheduled for mid-April.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Facebook social life of The News-Herald

This nifty infographic created via gives some basic stats for how The News-Herald's Facebook page has performed in the past month:

infographic created with

I'm interested in learning more about our fans in Zimbabwe.

I compared that to N-H Varsity's Facebook page and wonder why all our N-H Facebook fans don't also like N-H Varsity (though it seems like most of the N-H Varsity fans may fall in the high school male athlete demographic):

infographic created with

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl


Lake Metroparks employees moving on up

Moving on to greener pastures from out of Lake Metroparks are several now-former employees.

Having left for a job with a ranch in Arizona was Bill Emrick, who worked with the horses at Lake Metroparks’ Farmpark.

Saddling up and riding off into the sunset as well from the Farmpark was Ray Patacca, who was the park’s education manager. Patacca has now the same position with Cleveland Aquarium, housed in the former power house located in the Flats of Cleveland.

Several other employees have left for one reason or another and most likely will not be as the agency develops its 2012 budget.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Route 306 resurfacing slated in Mentor

Mentor's unemployment rate sneaks up, the police nab nearly $100,000 in (likely) ill-gotten gain, and officials begin discussing coordinating a major route resurfacing project. All these and more were reported in the latest city manager memo to council:

Manager Comments 
• On March 6, a Mentor Police Officer conducted a traffic stop on SR 2 at SR 306. The driver was driving a rental car under contract by someone other than the driver. The vehicle was past the return date for the rental period. The officer obtained consent to search the vehicle and located $97,100 dollars in a shoebox on the backseat floor. The money was seized and the vehicle was towed per the rental company. The suspect would not say how he obtained this large amount of cash. The money was seized as possible illicit gains.
• The unemployment rate for Mentor increased to 6.9 percent in January, up from 5.8 percent in December.  In Lake County, the unemployment rate increased 0.9 percent to 7.7 percent for January. The city has the third-lowest unemployment rate (behind Cleveland Heights and Lakewood) for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population; of the 65 cities of all sizes for which unemployment rates are calculated, Dublin’s is the lowest at 5.2 percent, followed by Upper Arlington and Shaker Heights at 5.4 percent, and Mason at 5.9 percent. The unemployment rate in Ohio increased 1 percent from 7.6 percent in December 2011 to 8.6 percent in January. An examination of unemployment rates from December to January over the last 10 years reveals the City experienced a similar 1.1 percent change in 2002/2003. On average, the City has experienced a 0.7 percent “swing” during a 10-year time period. Whatever the reason for this swing, income tax collections for the month of February were up $376,000 when compared to February of last year. The current total year collections through February as compared to last year are up 6.35 percent.
• On Feb. 23 the PUCO approved the 3 percent “System Improvement Charge” that will allow Aqua Ohio to recover costs related to water line improvements in their service territory. The request was made in December. This will cost an average residential customer approximately $1 more per month.

Engineering and Building Department
• SR 306 Resurfacing – A project coordination meeting was recently held with ODOT, the City of Willoughby and the City of Kirtland regarding the resurfacing of SR 306 from Kirtland Road to SR 84 through the state’s Urban Paving Program.While it was anticipated that the funding would be available early in state fiscal year 2013 (beginning July 2012), the funding has been programmed for the spring of 2013. Presently, it is anticipating that the project will be awarded in April of 2013. Due to the majority of the work set to take place in the City of Willoughby, they will serve as project coordinator. Plan preparation will take place this year. The total project cost is estimated at $712,000. ODOT is funding approximately 80 percent of the construction cost, with the cities splitting the remainder of construction costs and all of the design
costs proportionately.  The City of Mentor’s overall cost is expected to be ap-proximately $95,000.
• SR 2 Widening and Resurfacing – Construction activities are currently scheduled to begin within the next few weeks.  It is anticipated that ODOT’s contractor will resume all activities by the end of March, as weather permits.  Work this season will involve the completion of SR 2 mainline widening to SR 44 south, the widening of SR 615 at the SR 2 ramps, construction of an additional right turn lane on Heisley Road from Diamond Centre to SR 2 eastbound, lighting and ramp reconstruction.

Fire Department
• On March 3, at 1:20 p.m., the department was called to James A. Garfield Home, National Historical Site, located at 8095 Mentor Ave., for an odor of natural gas in the main house. Crews arrived to find a slight odor of gas as they entered the rear door of the house. The main gas line was shut down and the odor dissipated. The house was re-checked with gas detection meters showing safe readings. After confirming that everybody was out of the building, it was turned over to the Park Rangers until the gas company could investigate the source of the leak.
• On March 7, at 6:06 a.m., Mentor Fire Department along with nine other departments from Lake, Ashtabula and Geauga responded on various MABAS Box Alarms to Madison Township for a structure fire in a large nursing home, Broadfield Care Center, located at 7927 Middle Ridge. The facility is very challenging as it has about 130 patients. Many are on ventilators; many other have significant mental and physical handicaps. Ladder truck 1159 was used extensively at the fire to assist in ventilation, property salvage and overhaul operations. There was one civilian injury reported from the fire. The fire was contained to the administration office areas.
• On March 7, at 11:51 a.m., the department responded to a fire at 7109 Van Buren Court.  Crews arrived to find active fire in the wall between the marble tile facing and brick chimney traveling up the wall from a gas fired fireplace. Crews had to remove tile on the inside and exterior siding to expose the fire and they did a good job limiting damage as they worked to extinguish the fire. The fire was controlled within 30 minutes; however, crews were on scene for more then an hour cleaning up and assisting the homeowner.  Damage is estimated at $7,500 and the home remains occupied.

Police Department
• On March 1, officers responded to 6400 Center St., Heatherstone Apartments, for a juvenile who had injured her hand. The officers found the apartment to be deplorable with unsanitary living conditions. Two juvenile children and one adult sibling lived in the apartment with the parents. The parents were arrested for child endangering. The juvenile children were turned over to Job and Family Services.
• On March 2, an officer conducted a traffic stop on I-90 and SR 306. The driver wa sdriving under suspension and was arrested. The officer located $5,083 dollars in the suspect’s pocket. He also located 6 grams of marijuana in the car.

Finance Department
• The R.I.T.A. satellite office at City Hall is averaging about 50 walk-in taxpayers per week. The office is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday during March and most of April.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were:  Interior work at WWCC, Mentor Beach Park and Civic Center Pool; Painting senior center kitchen - 99% complete; Ridgeside Dr. at Trian Ct. – concrete slab replacement – eastbound lane complete; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; 95% complete with annual program to test conflict monitors; Marina boat ramp – poured concrete for two precast slabs; Walking/ inspecting ditches in the northwest quadrant’s of City; Lakeview Drive – started drainage improvement project; Lakeshore Blvd Bridge over Rt44 - removed loose concrete from underside of bridge deck; and Started sod clean-up in all areas – topsoil and seed scheduled for mid April.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The Recreation Department has shifted gears and is already preparing for the summer season in all the divisions from sending out the last notice of payments due for people that are docking at the Marina to getting ready for the first round of Golf School that will start next month to checking the seasonal camp and pool staffs to see who will be returning and how many posi-tions we’ll need to fill. Thinking summer, Cultural Arts Director Len Zito reports that we have raised over $6,000 in sponsorship of the summer concerts this year.   Of note in the sponsors this year Honda of Mentor is sponsoring 2 concerts this year; the first concert of the season which will be the Do-Wop Kings and the last concert of the season which will feature the band Chance. Lake Health will be sponsoring the June 26th concert featuring Arrival, a journey tribute band.  Lake Health is going to use the sponsorship to coincide with a public education session on CPR before the start of the concert.
• The Marina is getting in shape for the upcoming season. The concrete slabs for the boat ramp extension have been poured by the Public Works staff and will be curing for the next few weeks before they are placed. The Marina staff is also busy replacing a number of street lights that are not functioning after the winter. The Public Works staff has been hauling broken concrete in to use as fill behind the new bulkhead by the floating docks.   The Marina staff also ran new electric out to the boat ramp building this week. Power will be run inside to provide lights and outlets and a phone line to allow us to run our credit card machine at the ramp.  The use of the machine will help in our management of the ramp.
• With the good weather we have had this winter, play at Blackbrook was up just over 500 percent from February last year. We are off to a great start this year. The grand opening of the Practice Center is just 2 months away.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman met with a Mentor business working with Dollar Bank on SBA 504 financing for the purchase of an existing vacant facility for relocation, they currently lease. The business also met with Ron Traub regarding the necessary Planning Commission approvals required for their relocation.
• Tom Thielman met with the owners of a business in a neighboring community regarding SBA 504 financing that would relocate and expand their business significantly to a Mentor Avenue location.
• Tom Thielman participated in a webinar conducted by the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) regarding the Small Business Administration’s 504 Debt Refinancing program for Lenders and Small Businesses. MEACO approved it first Debt Refinancing Loan in February 2012. This is a temporary program as part of the Jobs Act of 2011.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mentor assists during Chardon emergency

Pets perish in a Mentor fire, safety forces lend a hand after Chardon school shooting tragedy, the city’s Old Village Area is being eyed for an adult day care — those items and more are in the latest city manager memo to City Council:

Fire Department
• On Feb. 27, Medic Squad 1112, Deputy Chief Searles and Lieutenant Gandee responded to the school shootings at Chardon High School on Chardon’s MABAS Box Alarm request. Lt. Gandee is assisting with the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing process of the Emergency Responders (Police, Fire and EMS) from this incident.
• The Fire Department responded to 5720 Meister Road for a house fire. Crews arrived to find a working fire in the home and it was declared under control at 12:16 p.m. The residents were not at home, but several pets discovered during the search were removed. Despite resuscitation efforts, two cats, a dog and a rabbit perished from the smoke. There were no other reported injuries and the damage from the fire is estimated at $100,000. The five occupants (three adults and two children) are living with various friends and relatives. The cause of the fire was ruled combustibles too close to an electric heater.
• Adam Georskey who has been out of work since Nov. 7 due to injuries sustained when Squad 1132 was involved in an accident on Center Street Bridge has returned to work in a light duty capacity assisting the fire prevention bureau with fire inspections.

Police Department
• The Mentor Police Department worked with the Mentor Public Schools administration to implement standard security protocol in light of the tragic incident in Chardon. Mentor Fire provided an EMS unit and command staff support, and Mentor Police sent the Bomb Squad Unit as a precaution. The city offered on Monday, and continues to offer, any and all support needed by the city of Chardon.
• The 2011 Police Officer of the year is Lt. Dan Molnar and the Civilian Employee of the Year is Dispatcher Linda Hulderman. The awards are voted on by coworkers. The awards will be presented at City Council’s meeting March 20.
• Between the evening of March 1 and morning of March 2, six catalytic converters were stolen from cars from various areas of the city.

Manager Comments
• The Lake County Mayors and Managers Association agreed to support both a resolution opposing a change in the Local Government Fund distribution in Lake County (initiated by the Lake County Commissioner’s last month) and state collection of municipal income taxes.
• The administration completed final interviews for the new code enforcement supervisor position this week. Background checks were being done today. City officials plan to make an offer of employment this week.
• The city received the first half distribution of its 2012 Lake County Community Residential Recycling Grant this week in the amount of $63,464. This amount will be applied against curbside recycling costs to lower residential fees.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub met with a husband and wife interested in opening an adult day care facility in the Old Village area.
• Tom Thielman attended the annual meeting of the Community Improvement Corporation of Lake County as a voting member. The CIC was formed in 1964 to promote economic development through the use of Industrial Revenue Bonds. With the formation of the Lake County Port Authority the CIC duplicated services and upon the recent completion of certain CIC contractual obligations, it was moved by a unanimous Resolution that the CIC be dissolved and all assets be transferred to the Lake County Port Authority.
• Tom Thielman met with a long-time Mentor business interested in the Mentor Small Business Loan to help with an ownership transfer between family members.
• Tom Thielman and Ron Traub are working with a Willoughby business interested in purchasing a vacant building on Industrial Park Boulevard for relocation. They have recently submitted application for a Mentor Economic Development Grant and have a payroll of a little over $1 million.
• The Lake County Development Council’s next luncheon is featuring geologist Tim Reilly of John D. Oil & Gas, at noon Friday at Dino’s Restaurant, Willoughby. The topic is “Shale Fracking for Oil and Gas” Myths and Facts on the process of extracting natural gas and oil from shale fissures. For more information or to register, visit

Parks and Recreation Department
• The award-winning 2ba Healthy Kid Carnival is noon to 4 p.m., Saturday at the Mentor Senior Center. Kids will be able to run through the inflatable obstacle course, make their own snack, test their hand-washing skills, join in on the Un-Cake Walk, and even get a milk moustache and pose with it in the photo booth! The event is free.
• The Mom and Child skate also is this weekend. There will be games, activities and a chance to have your pictures taken together to remember the day! Contact the Civic Ice Arena at 440-974-5730 or visit www.cityofmentor,com/play.
• Administrative Assistant and Cemetery Clerk Laura Trost attended the Eagle Scout Honor Court for Matt Vehovec on Feb. 26. Laura presented Matt with the resolution from the City Council acknowledging his accomplishment. Matt’s Eagle Scout project was to create a database of known veterans in the Mentor Municipal Cemetery. Laura gave Matt a listing of those individuals buried in the cemetery who were noted as veterans to get him started. The rest of the work was on his own with the help of his parents Mike & Cindy, his sister Nicole, and those associated with Troop 383.

Finance Department
• The City’s current Capital Improvement Program and the General Fund Annual Budget for 2012 that corresponds with the appropriation ordinance that council adopted on Dec. 6 is posted on the City’s wiki. The actual amounts for 2011 have been added to this final version. We will publish printed versions for users that request a paper copy.

Engineering and Building Department
• Building Division Activity:  Shown below is Building Division Activity comparing the month of January 2012 with the month of February 2012:
                        January 2012    February 2012
New Permits Issued             158            187
Building Permit Inspections        482            573
New Plan Review Cases                  45              61
Engr/Bldg. Permit Plan Reviews        280            165
New Contractor Registrations              486              75

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Complete inlet basin survey in anticipation of repair program (being plotted by Eng. Dept.);  interior work at WWCC, Mentor Beach Park and Civic Center Pool; Painting senior center kitchen; Ridgeside Dr. at Trian Ct. — started concrete slab replacement; stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping — ongoing; 80 percent complete with annual program to test conflict monitors; marina boat ramp — started form work and rebar mat for precast slabs; walking/inspecting ditches in northeast and northwest quadrant’s of city; HVAC consultant for City Hall project has requested additional information from bidders; and durapatching on Jackson Street and Chillicothe Road.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My thoughts are with Chardon

The tragedy in Chardon last week touched thousands of people - probably millions as people all over the country tuned in to learn what had happened.

It's emotional. It's horrible. It's sad. And it's real.

The families who have lost their children - their teenage children.... I just can't begin to imagine what they are struggling through.

I attended Daniel Parmertor's funeral Saturday and was amazed by the massive amount of support and love the community showed to their neighbors.

I stood with the community and cried with them as the Parmertor family made their way into the church to say their last public words to their son, brother, grandson or cousin.

Many of those who lined the street expressed that there truly were no words that could be used in a situation like this. Nothing that can be said to comfort those who have lost so much, nothing that can be shared that takes the pain away.

And so, there is nothing that I can say to alleviate the loss and the anguish. But I do keep the families in my heart and in my thoughts.

When I went back to the office after his funeral had ended, and the time came to put the day into words... I found a way. I cried a little more, as Daniel's prayer card sat (and remains) wedged in a crevice in my phone on my desk.

I don't know Daniel. I don't know anyone from Chardon. But I know, to a lesser extent, what they're going through.

I have no children, I have not had to bury my kids. I have had friends that were too young pass; cancer, alcohol, drugs.

Daniel, and my friend who died in the 7th or 8th grade, Danny, were taken, and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

It truly is a tragedy. My thoughts go out to everyone in Chardon, the Parmertor family and the families of the other victims.