Monday, April 30, 2012

Purse thief caught, unemployment down, among Mentor news

Mentor’s unemployment rate rebounds, there’s a new system to track stormwater complaints, an observant customer helps nab a purse thief, and updates on construction at key intersections all are in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• The unemployment rate for Mentor declined for the month of March after five consecutive months of increases to 6.0%. The 1.1% reduction brings the city closer to the 5.8% noted in December 2011. The lowest rate in the previous 12 months was 5.4% in October 2011. In Lake County the unemployment rate also decreased 1.4% to 6.7%. The city has the third-lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population. The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 7.8%.
• The Engineering Department has begun utilizing the EnerGov Building and Code Compliance Software to track all stormwater related complaints within its database. This will allow anyone with access to the EnerGov software to search a property to see if there have been any historical drainage concerns or complaints and how they were resolved. Additionally, as the database grows over time, the city will be able to analyze trends where storm water complaints are occurring and look for solutions to these problems.

Engineering and Building Department
• State Route 2 Widening and Reconstruction:
o SR2 Mainline — It is anticipated the concrete median wall will be completed this week. It is also expected that it will take an additional two weeks to complete light tower installation. Traffic is anticipated to be switched to the center lanes of SR2 eastbound the weekend of May 11-12, with the westbound traffic switch expected the following weekend. The noise wall west of SR 615 is expected to be completed the week of April 27.
o Center Street  — Work on the Kelly Drive intersection has begun. Work on the center pier under the Center Street Bridge was completed this week and the traffic pattern has been modified to accommodate the widening of the westerly half of the roadway.  This modification will limit southbound SR 615 to two lanes while the work is going on. The contractor estimates it will take 6-8 weeks for completion of this work.
o Heisley Road — Heisley Road ramp reconstruction is ongoing.
• Aqua Ohio Projects:
o Prospect Street Waterline Replacement: A permit has been issued to Aqua Ohio for the replacement of 1,225 feet of 8-inch waterline. The new waterline will be located on the north side of Prospect Street between Center Street (SR 615) and Hart Street.  D.B. Bentley Inc. will be the contractor installing the waterline. Work on this project is expected to begin on May 7 and should take approximately seven weeks to complete. Work hours affecting traffic on Center Street will be restricted to between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Otherwise, work hours will be Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. During construction, traffic will be maintained.

Police Department
• On Friday April 20, a male stole a purse from a vehicle in the lot of Marc’s. The purse owner left the purse in her car while she pushed her cart back to the cart return. The suspect approached her vehicle, opened the passenger door and stole the purse. He fled the scene in his own vehicle. A witness observed the theft and obtained the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was located by Wickliffe Police driving W/B on SR2. He was stopped and arrested. The purse and all of its contents were recovered. The male was charged with felony theft, possession of criminal tools (vehicle), possession of drug abuse instruments (syringe) and possession of drug paraphernalia (burnt spoon used for heroin).
• There was a short stand-off on Collins Rd. on Sunday. A female resident had allegedly been drinking, abusing prescription pills and threatened to harm herself with one of several weapons inside the house. When the police responded to the house she refused to come outside. Members of the department’s Hostage Negotiation Team arrived and convinced her to come outside. She was ultimately taken to Lake West hospital for a psychological evaluation. The incident lasted from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Fire Department
• On April 20, the department was called to 8350 Munson Road for a house fire. Crews arrived to find a small fire in the first floor of the vacant home. The fire was quickly extinguished and the owner was called to the scene. The owner had plans to demo the structure later in the day and it appears that the fire started from a faulty fireplace that was used by salvage crews earlier in the day.  There were no injuries and the structure has since been torn down.
• On April 23 at 5:33 p.m., fire crews responded to MABAS Box Alarm 2311 for a house fire at 1254 West Jackson St. in Painesville. Mentor crews, along with five other departments, assisted with the fire. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
• The Fire Department hosted a meeting with the Lake County General Health District and other officials to discuss and review our readiness to receive and distribute the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile medicine and medical supplies to our community should a need arise. CDC has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency (terrorist attack, flu outbreak, earthquake) severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.
• The City is currently engaged with the part-time firefighters’ union in negotiating a successor labor agreement. Assistant City Manager Tony Zampedro is representing the city in the negotiations.
• Firefighter Paramedic Alan Prizzi announced his retirement from the department after 22 1/2 years of service.

Economic and Community Development
• The number of foreclosed homes in Mentor for the First Quarter of 2012 remained at approximately the same number as the first quarter of 2011.
• MEACO has scheduled an SBA 504 loan closing for Parker Precision, Inc. The total project cost is approximately $1.6 million, where MEACO is financ-ing $650,000. Parker Precision, Inc. will have a twenty year fixed rate of approximately 4.5%.

Finance Department
• The city welcomed new employee, Bonnie Lingafelter to her position as Accounting Supervisor. Bonnie is a CPA with an Accounting degree from Cleveland State University. She will be overseeing several important department functions, such as purchasing, accounts payable, and income tax compliance.
• On April 26, several Finance Department staff members participated in a regional user group meeting sponsored by Harris Corporation, current provider of the city’s financial software.  The morning session was primarily focused on the vendor’s ERP offerings and included an overview of its newest product — “Innoprise.” The city’s current financial software was purchased and implemented in 1999. Future meetings and evaluations of how to maximize use and improve financial software functionality will continue throughout the year.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were:  Wildwood community gardens are completed and open to the public; Civic Center Pool — door replacement is 98% complete; Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Middlesex to RT 306 eastbound; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping — ongoing; Aster Dr. — repair of 6 curb inlet basins is 90% complete; Edward R. Walsh Park — asphalt repair to walking path; Restoration of fall projects — including Carter at Two Town Ditch, Reynolds, Lakeview, Cedarwood, Washington, and Grove; and North side of Bellflower — cleaning inlet basins.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The weather has been a bit cool but people have been out at the Community Garden preparing their plots for planting as soon as the weather permits.
• The new canoe trailer arrived this week at the Mentor Lagoons. The new trailer will be used to haul the stand-up paddle boards from the garage to the lesson area through out the summer. This trailer was purchase in whole by the Boating Grant.
• The Public Facilities Division awarded a contract for the replacement boiler at Garfield Park Community Center. The new boiler is over 90% efficient and much more compact. This will give us a chance to clean-up and reimage the boiler room to give us some much needed storage in the Community Center building.
• The Family and Personal Safety program being offered at Wildwood has shown a great deal of interest. This week the class featured self-defense for all ages and was attended by 30 people.
• The Cemetery staff and staff from Public Works are very busy forming foundations in preparation for the spring pour. If the weather holds the pour will take place next week. That will be a couple weeks ahead of schedule and will allow enough time for the monument companies to install monuments before the Memorial Day weekend.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Of taxes, prostitution, hockey & much more

Police bust a prostitution problem at the Super 8, the city’s hockey program gets a boost, and concerns are raised about a uniform tax code in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council.

Police Department
• On April 17, a male was arrested for promoting prostitution. An investigation was initiated after receiving information that 44-year-old John Moleterno from Chesterland was providing a hotel room for two females to perform sexual acts for money on other males. After the sexual acts were performed and the females paid, Moleterno would take a sum of the money paid by the “client” to the females. The incident took place at the Super 8 motel. Moleterno has not been arrested for this type of crime in the past.
• Ten catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles in the southwest part of the city. The midnight shift is aware and increasing patrol activity in the areas of the thefts.
• There were three reported thefts from vehicles on Cedarwood overnight April 14 to April 15. In addition to the thefts, a van was set on fire in the driveway of 6268 Cedarwood. The unoccupied van was burned beyond repair.  It’s believed the person(s) committing the thefts from vehicles was the person who set the van on fire. An investigation is continuing to determine the cause of the fire and suspect in the thefts.

Fire Department
• On April 15 at 5:14 a.m., the fire department was called to 6268 Cedarwood for a reported structure fire. Crews arrived to find a vehicle fire involving a Chevy Astro that was parked close to the house. Fire crews extinguished the fire and determined that another vehicle in the driveway may have been broken into. The fire investigation unit was called out to work with the police department as the fire appears to be criminal in nature.
• On April 17 at approximately 4:55 p.m., Squad 1162 (a reserve squad responding from Fire Station #4) was involved in a noninjury motor vehicle accident while responding to a fire alarm at 7677 Reynolds Road, Studio 6.  The accident occurred near the intersection of Reynolds and Hodgson when the driver of a Toyota Avalon was turning northbound onto Reynolds from Hodgson and failed to yield to the rescue squad. The fire alarm at Studio 6 was a false alarm. Rescue Squad 1162 suffered front-end damage.
• On April 18 at 6:51 p.m., Mentor Fire Department Crews responded with five other departments to a house fire in Willowick.

Manager Comments 
• This week I attended a Northeast Ohio Mayors and Managers Association meeting that was quite informative.  Our association representatives updated the group on the current state of hot issues affecting cities. It seems most everything is on hold until after the November elections. This includes any real modifications to the state budget, although state revenues are quite healthy right now, any changes in collective bargaining rules, workers compensation, OPERS pension reform, or the centralized collection of local income taxes. In the latter case, although it seems very unlikely centralized collection will occur, there is a shift toward a uniform tax code. This could include consideration of the definition of taxable income, exemptions, net operating losses, stock options and non-deferred investment, and perhaps even rates themselves. Continued diligence is needed by all cities so that new regulations don’t create yet another significant revenue and control loss at the hands of the state.
• Dave Swiger and I met this week with Dave Becker, who is now with URS Consultants, to discuss the recent Network Access Report that was accepted by ODOT regarding the Route split ramp option. Dave has assisted the city with traffic engineering and review in matters regarding the Shamrock development and city of Painesville. He is confident that the main purpose of the report is to incorporate the split ramp as the preferred option for a future improvement and that we need do little at this time. Council may be asked to accept the report at a later time. The city engineer is also reviewing the work.  
• Norfolk & Southern Railroad will have the Maple Street crossing closed until Friday.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Congratulations to Civic Ice Arena Assistant Manager Andy Anderson who won the “puck chuck” at the Monsters game last week. For his efforts the Monsters are donating $1,000 to the Hockey Program. The donation will help by new goalie equipment for the program.
• The Wildwood Garden Club is taking advantage of the early spring and the ladies are cleaning all the planting beds around the house this week.
• Black Brook Golf Course opened the Practice Center on April 14. The weather finally cooperated on Sunday afternoon and the golfers came out in full force to try out the new facility. Golf Course Manager Tim Ausperk reported we sold over 550 bags of balls. The golfers that had the chance to use the facility commented on the new layout making you feel like you are on the fairway and how nice it looks and plays.
• The Marina is prepping for the launch season by moving boats around to get boats in position to launch. In their spare time, they are cleaning the walkways and filling some potholes that have developed in the road. The road will be repaired by Public Works with the chip and seal process we are using on the Lagoons roads. The staff has also repaired a couple of water leaks and repaired the B dock exit gate that was hit by one of the dockers over the weekend.
• The Senior Center was informed this week that they have been selected by the Mentor Rotary Club for a project.  The Rotary Club will be redoing the main entrance landscaping. The design of the entrance landscaping was completed by local Landscape Architect Dave Lamer, who is also a member of the Mentor Rotary. The group has a nice, clean plan that will dress up the front of the building with a low maintenance design. The Rotarians are hoping that this is phase one of the project and that they will be able to continue their work around the entire building working on the hardscape as well as the landscape.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman & Ron Traub met with representatives of the Greater Cleveland Partnership regarding opportunities to work together.
• Abe Bruckman and Traub met with representatives of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Trust for Public Land regarding the potential donation of lands in the Mentor Marsh.
• Thielman and Traub met with a former Ohio Department of Development International Trade representative regarding the city’s import and export assistance initiative.
• Traub and Thielman attended the Lake County Development Council’s monthly meeting which featured John Rogers, deputy Lake County treasurer, with information about Lake County’s new Land Bank program.

Finance Department
• Legislation is being prepared relative to next year’s street lighting assessments to benefiting properties. The assessment rate was calculated at 95 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This rate is higher than the previous year by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation; however, it is still lower than the rate set back in 2007. The rate is adjusted each year to account for factors such as changes to assessed property valuation and the cost of electricity.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Park Maintenance – Field prep for 30 ball fields, 17 soccer fields, and 3 football fields; Installed grills at Mentor Beach Park and Walsh Park pavilion; Civic Center Pool – door replacement is 90% complete; Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Plaza Blvd. to Middlesex; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; Center St. at I 90 – reinstalled reflective tape (dash guide lines) for east bound exit to go north; Repairing damaged sod from snow removal activities and restoration of fall projects; and 6401 Cambridge Park – storm sewer repair.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Mentor business professionals learn about better leadership

Patrick Perry, president of ERC, had local business professionals roaring like lions Tuesday at the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon at LaMalfa.

He asked everyone in the room to close their eyes and imagine that they were in the first grade; he then asked them to roar like a lion.

After a weak grumble came from the large audience, he exclaimed that it was pathetic, and that had they truly been in the mindset of a first-grade student, they would not have felt awkward and would have roared with pride.

By the end of the meeting, and after his motivational speech about being the right kind of leader, the room let out a hefty roar.

He talked about business practices, and how to retain good employees by treating them right and eliminating rigid policies.

“We gotta be kids again if you want innovation in your organization. If you’re workers are inhibited and are following procedures and practices and so forth and are not taking risks, don’t expect much because you are getting exactly what you asked for,” he said.

He addressed a group of scholarship-winning high school students in the room, and told them to never lose their youth.

Remaining curious, taking risks and encouraging others to do the same is the path to a successful workplace, Perry said.

He also spoke about the recession, and how it was caused by a lack of action.

Afterward, he stated that he hoped that the CEO’s and the management in the room would go back to their offices and think about what they could do to change.

Caitlin Fertal

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mark Podolski shares his awkward story

Ever wonder how a journalist gets an interview? Sometimes it involves some awkward cold calling.

Mark Podolski wrote about a situation he recently encountered over on the NHPreps blog: Cold calling can be awkward.

I don't envy his position at all. But I'm glad he went through what he did, because he was able to talk to Cory Snyder about the 1987 Indians and Sports Illustrated picking the team to win the American League. If you haven't given that story a read yet, you should do so now.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Euclid applies for $25,000 grant to improve Euclid Avenue Corridor passenger shelter and waiting areas

The city of Euclid has applied for a $25,000 grant in hopes of using the funds to improve passenger shelter and waiting areas along Euclid Avenue.

The improvements, if the grant is awarded, are part of the downtown revitalization that city officials have been working toward.

The grant is offered by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority for a Transit Waiting Environment Project, Mayor Bill Cervenik said.

Officials should know whether they have been awarded the funds within the next 60 to 90 days, Cervenik said.

At this time, it is not known where specifically the money would be implemented, or an exact time frame on when any construction would begin.

--Caitlin Fertal

Monday, April 16, 2012

Route 2 noise walls don't match?

 Some new noise walls being installed along Route 2 in Mentor may need repainted already, changes are coming to the construction at Route 615, and the city has given out nearly a million bucks in Mentor Incentive Grants for economic development projects last year.

Those items and more in the latest Mentor City manager memo to City Council:

Engineering and Building Department
• State Route 2 Widening and Reconstruction: In approximately two weeks, Center Street construction will be shifted from work on the center bridge piers to the western side of the roadway. This work will close the southbound curb lane from north of Bellflower Road to near the Sunoco Gas Station driveway. Through traffic will be maintained using the left-turn lane under the bridge, which will become a shared left/through lane. Noise wall construction west of Center Street is scheduled to be complete in approximately two weeks. The remaining noise wall to the east should be installed by some time in August. Due to irregularities in the coloring of the noise wall, the front of the noise walls will be power washed and repainted by the contractor. Final grading behind the noise walls should occur within the next week to permit drainage as per the original design.
• On mainline SR2, on or about May 15, traffic will be switched to the newly paved center lanes to permit removal and reconstruction of the outer lanes.  Work is expected to be completed this construction season.  The westbound third lane for traffic is scheduled to be opened for vehicles west of SR 615 in late June.
• Due to recent unannounced lane closures occurring on Heisley Road and Center Street, the city has asked to be notified in advance of potential lane closures. The contractor has indicated that they will try to give notice in the future.

Fire Department
• On April at 12:49 a.m., paramedics from Station 3 responded to 7085 Mentor Ave. for a 43-year-old female in full-arrest. Bystanders initiated CPR within two minutes. On fire department’s arrival, new CCR protocols were initiated. Advanced Life Support drugs were administered en-route to Lake West.  Patient converted to rhythm that could be defibrillated, one shock was administered that converted patient to a normal sinus rhythm.
• On April 9, fire personnel from Station 3 responded to a reported bomb threat at Denny’s on Mentor Avenue.  Police cleared the building, no device found, fire department units returned to service.
• On April 11, fire department personnel responded to Mentor Lumber on Carpenter Drive for a structure fire. On arrival, there was light smoke with fire reported in a wood shavings/dust collector. Fire units extinguished fire within minutes and overhauled the dust collector. The cause of the fire was determined to be lack of cleaning/maintenance.  Fire loss is estimated to be about $3,000. Fire was under control within nine minutes and units were cleared from the scene within an hour. Fire Prevention is working to restore the fire alarm to normal. 

Police Department
• A female was stopped for suspicion of drinking and driving. Passengers in her vehicle included her 9-month-old and 4-year-old children. The officer administered several field sobriety tests, which she failed. She was arrested and charged with OVI and child endangering. Her breath alcohol content was over two times the legal limit.
• There was an accident on April 11 at 3:50 a.m. at 8019 Grovewood Dr. A vehicle, being driven by a 19-year-old male, drove off the road and struck four cars parked in the driveway of 8019 Grovewood. The suspect’s vehicle flipped over and landed on its roof. The driver, suspected of drinking and driving, was not seriously injured but was taken to the hospital. He was later charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless operation, no driver’s license and not wearing a seatbelt.

Finance Department
• Mentor Incentive Grant (MIG) checks were issued for 11 companies that met the MIG Agreement requirements during 2011. The total of these checks equaled $924,000.

Manager Comments 
• Council members may recall the city negotiated and entered into an agreement with Clear Wireless, LLC (“Clearwire”) in October of 2010 to lease a portion of city property adjacent to the Civic Center Arena to erect a cellular communications tower. The terms of the agreement allow for an 18 month Due Diligence period within which Clearwire can terminate the lease without penalty.  I received notice this week that they are exercising the option to terminate indicating that the site is not “appropriate for Clearwire’s intended use.”  Bob Martin will follow up to see if he can learn anything more. The city originally got Clearwire interested in our property to avoid a much less desirable location at a residential site.
• State Auditor Dave Yost was in Lake County Tuesday morning for a press conference to announce the efforts to date of the Lake County Capital Equipment Utilization Study, which is a pilot program aimed at assisting local governments to find ways to better share underutilized capital assets. Dave Malinowski and I attended and we had a chance to have a few moments alone with the Auditor to talk about his office’s interaction with the City. I also encouraged him to consider looking for ways to make state-owned equipment (such as from ODOT) available for use by local communities as part of the pilot program. He indicated he would look into the possibility.
• This week, the City received a copy of the 2011 Bridge Inspection Report prepared by the County Engineer for bridges in Mentor. The report is thorough and does not indicate any degradation in condition of any bridge since last year. The City Engineer is reviewing the results in detail.
• I received a letter from Lake County Auditor Ed Zupancic notifying the City that the Lake County Budget Commission has assigned April 24 for the first organizational meeting for the committee that will review an alternate formula for the Local Government Fund distribution. The committee is being asked by the Budget Commission to make a recommendation to them by July 2.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Buried electrical issues were detected on A and D docks while going through the preseason checks. The problems on both docks have been located and resolved as of this week. Marina Manager Dave George and his crew have also repaired all the street lights within the Marina compound so they are ready for the boating season.
• The staff at the Civic Arena has been planning for summer as well. The Arena will shut down during the month of May for annual repair and maintenance before bringing the West rink back up and filling the East rink with summer campers. The staff has also planned an extra week of summer camp this year to accommodate the school calendar. The camp is going to be called the “Summers Last Hurrah” and will be a week of fun activities and trips.
• Civic Arena Manager Terri Rosenwald and Public Works Supervisor David Ritz are working on the replacement of the lights over the ice rinks. The pricing is in for the replacement fixtures which will produce more light, less heat, less shadowing and operate at a lower cost. Each of the 68 fixtures will be eligible for a substantial rebate from FirstEnergy, thanks to Grants Coordinator Abe Bruckman’s hard work.
• Black Brook Golf Course suffered some vandalism over the past week.Elsewhere on the golf course the Practice Center bunkers have all been put in place and it will be ready for the Grand Opening May 5. Golf Course Greenskeeper Mark Floyd and Assistant Greenskeeper John Shemitz have been out working on the bunkers on the course getting them edged and starting to refill them with sand. 

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman & Ron Traub met with Cliff Somerville of Lake Erie College regarding the City’s import-export initiative.
• MEACO is preparing closing documents for various SBA 504 loans and recently approved a $16,000 Mentor Small Business Loan for a Mentor landscaping company. The funds will be used for gap financing in the purchase of machinery and equipment.
• MEACO is once again sponsoring the Small Business Symposium – Road to Success at Lakeland Community College. The full day event is being held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and includes sessions on Marketing & Sales, Professional/Personal Development, Entrepreneurial Skills and Technology.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were:  Park Maintenance – baseball and soccer fields are striped and ready; Civic Center Pool – shower repairs and door replacement is 50% complete; Blackbrook Golf Course – Driving Range improvements are complete; Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Mentor Mall. (west entrance) to Plaza Blvd. and Plaza Blvd. from Mentor Ave. to Johnnycake Ridge Rd.; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; Traffic signal upgrade at Rt. 306 and Tyler Blvd. is complete; Broadmoor Road – cleaned all inlet basins from Mentor Ave. to Johnnycake; Basin Repairs – Reynolds by Ohio, Hoover and Chablis complete; 7590 Ruth – clean and repair storm sewer; and 5881 S. Shandle – redefine ditch – complete.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dispose of your unwanted prescriptions properly

Multiple area police departments are collecting unwanted prescription drugs for proper disposal Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dropping off medication at one of the collection sites ensures proper disposal, meaning drugs don't end up in the wrong hands, or washed into the sewer system.

In October, the collection event, titled Operation: Medicine Cabinet, collected nearly 10,000 pounds of expired or unwanted medication, according to Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc., a non profit founded in 2007.

Willoughby Hills, Mayfield Village, Mayfield Heights, Gates Mills and Willowick police departments are some of the participating stations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration organizes a national collection event called National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

 Click here to locate the nearest drop off center

--Caitlin Fertal

Euclid schools to host tours of new buildings, final celebration of old

Euclid City Schools invites the public to attend final celebrations of the remaining elementary schools before they are torn down.

Tours of the new buildings will also be available to the public.

May 5:
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. tour of Chardon Hills
12 p.m. to 2 p.m. tour of Arbor/Roosevelt

May 9:
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.Upson Farewell

May 12:
9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Shoreview Tour/Upson Farewell
12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Bluestone Tour/Thomas Jefferson Farewell

May 17:
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Roosevelt Farewell

May 24:
4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Roosevelt Farewell
4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thomas Jefferson Farewell

Upson is located at 490 East 260 Street.
Thomas Jefferson is located at 1455 East 260 Street
Roosevelt is located at 551 East 200 Street.

The new buildings are located at the same site as the old.

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Euclid Schools website.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beach fest & veterans discounts coming to Mentor?

A 2-day beach festival is proposed to promote tourism, traffic-calming efforts are in place in some neighborhoods, and discounts are being proposed for veterans, according to the April 6 Mentor City Manager memo to City Council. Details on those items and more below:

Manager comments 
• I recently met with Dick Bennett, Executive Director of the Lake County YMCA, to discuss its mission in Lake County and how Mentor can better be served. We discussed our respective views on the needs of Lake County and Mentor, opportunities for the Y in Mentor, and our participation in future strategic planning processes.
• The Engineering Department is preparing letters that will go out next week to persons on the Drainage Assistance Program who have yet to return an application and those who have not returned contracts sent in the past. Home owners will have 30 days to comply or will be removed from the program list.
• Kathie Pohl attended a daylong Town Hall meeting this week hosted by the Ohio Dept. of Tourism to learn more about the significant impact tourism has on a local economy. Some interesting facts: An average day visitor spends $100, but that increases to $285 if the visitor stays overnight. For every $1 spent on tourism advertising, 14 new tax dollars are generated. The number one reason visitors come to Ohio is to attend a special event. Kathie is seriously exploring the feasibility of a two-day event for 2013 to attract visitors from outside the immediate area centered on Headlands Beach. She and Abe Bruckman recently shared details of our proposed “Headlands Beach Fest” with state tourism director Amir Eylon, who was extremely encouraging because an event like this would be so unique to Ohio. If feasible, we would very likely apply for a grant through the Lake County Visitors Bureau.
• I met this week with Willoughby Mayor Dave Anderson and Lake County Port Authority Director John Loftus.  We discussed the level of interest in establishing either a JEDD or JEDZ if a portion or all of the Lost Nation Airport were developed for non-aviation uses. All concluded that it would likely be in everyone’s interest to continue the discussion as the issues in question regarding airport operations are worked through. I also initiated a discussion with both on exploring a possible business incubator on a countywide basis. There was interest in this as well. We will continue discussion on both issues and report to Council.

Fire Department
• On April 1 at 3:57 p.m., the department responded to 8465 Tyler Blvd. for a two vehicle head-on injury accident involving three patients. Two were treated and transported to Lake West where they were then air-lifted to Metro General Hospital with significant injuries. The third patient was ground transported to Hillcrest Hospital, treated and released. The City was busy with other calls during this time.
• On April 2 at 2:15 a.m., the department responded to The News-Herald for a report of smoke coming from the building. Crews arrived and determined that the smoke was coming from a duct, however, there was no fire. The problem stemmed from a transformer on a roof top HVAC unit. The unit was isolated with no disruption to operations.
• On April 4 at 7:27 a.m., paramedics were called to the home of a 65-year-old male with severe chest pain.  -During transport by paramedics to LakeWest, he went into cardiac arrest four times and was successfully resuscitated each time. He went immediately to the Cardiac Cath lab for Heart Catherization and placement of three stents. As of Thursday evening, he was recovering in ICU at West.

Police Department
• There was a head-on collision on April 1st on Tyler by Classic Ford. A suspected intoxicated driver, driving westbound, crossed over to the eastbound lane and struck another vehicle. The driver and passenger from the suspect vehicle were seriously injured. The innocent driver from the other vehicle sustained only minor injuries.
• Last week an officer conducted a traffic stop and recovered a backpack full of jewelry, coins and two air soft guns. The two female occupants of the vehicle could not explain how they came in possession of the bag. The officer secured the bag believing it was stolen property. An investigation was initiated and it was discovered the property was stolen from a house burglary in Madison. Both female occupants of the vehicle were interviewed this week and arrested for receiving stolen property. A male accomplice came to the police department with the females and claimed ownership of the property. He was interviewed and also arrested for receiving stolen property and tampering with evidence. Another male will also be charged in Madison for his participation in the burglary.
•    This week begins the Traffic Calming program in the city along with the deployment of both SMART trailers. Below is a list of locations for the Traffic Calming program:
April 2 through May 14
Ward 1 – Chillicothe Rd. (Mentor Ave. and Johnnycake)
Ward 2 – Adkins Rd. (Reynolds Rd and city limits) 
Ward 3 – Ohio St. (Reynolds Rd. and Champaign)
Ward 4 – Plains Rd. (Hopkins Rd. and city limits)

Parks and Recreation Department
• The first meeting of the Mentor Cruise In Committee was held this week. The group reviewed the ideas for sponsorship and vendors for this year’s event. The next meeting was set for mid-May with advertising and fliers being reviewed and approved for publication.
• The Recreation Division festival committee met this week to further address the ideas for revamping the city festival for 2013. The committee has some very good ideas for making adjustments to the current event and involving the community in the operation of the event. The committee is scheduled to meet with the City Manager next week to review the proposals and make sure we are on track.
• The Department has forwarded a list of opportunities to the City Manager’s office to provide discounts to resident veterans and active military as part of the Chamber of Commerce Vet’s Net program. Upon approval we will start to publish the new fee structures.
• The Senior Center is preparing for the annual Garage Sale at the Senior Center on Saturday April 28.  This event is so popular that all vendor space has been sold out, but you can call and be placed on the waiting list, just in case a table opens.  With all the vendors you know you should come and shop because there is surely something there you need.  The event runs from 9AM until 3PM, and it’s free!
• Starting next week Wildwood Cultural Center will be hosting a series on Family and Personal Security. This free program is open to all and we encourage families to attend these very informative sessions.  Each week facilitator Frank Krupa will lead you through issues you should know about and local law enforcement professionals will tell you how to best protect yourself and family.  The program is free, but you need to register.  Call the Recreation Department at 440-974-5720 to register.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman participated in the statewide conference call of the Ohio Small Business Development Centers Advisory Council. Updates included an outline of the Ohio Department of Development’s Strategic Plan for Ohio SBDC’s.
• Tom Thielman met with representatives from Citizens Bank regarding the SBA 504 and the Mentor Small Business Loan programs.
• MEACO continues to have a very robust fiscal year. Four new SBA 504 loan applications have been received in the past 30 days and two Mentor Small Business Loans. 
• Ron Traub met with representatives of a Mentor company currently receiving a MIG regarding a potential of additional jobs.
• Traub met with representatives of a company currently located outside of the City regarding a potential relocation.
• Traub met with representatives of the Ohio Department of the Treasurer regarding four initiatives; two involving economic development and two energy conservation. Information has been forwarded to the Director of Marketing & Public Information.

Finance Department
• Beginning April 9 and through the end of the tax filing season, the RITA office located on the second floor of the Municipal Center will offer double staffing during their regular business hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to accommodate the increased demand.
• Due to extensive changes in how funds and fund balances are reported in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) required by the recent Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Statement 54, and staffing shortages resulting from retirements, the Finance Department requested and was granted a thirty day extension for filing the 2011 annual report.

Engineering and Building Department
• Shown below is Building Division activity comparing the month of February with the month of March, 2012:
                           Prior Month                 Month of
                        February 2012    March  2012
New Permits Issued             187            256
Building Permit Inspections        573            619
New Plan Review Cases                61              83
Engr/Bldg Dept. Permit Plan Reviews    165            322
New Contractor Registrations          75              87

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were:  Garfield Park - baseball field maintenance; Civic Center Pool – Misc. plumbing, spring clean up; Blackbrook Golf Course – Driving Range improvements; Mentor Ave. – crack seal, complete from SR 615 to Mentor Mall. (west entrance); Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; Boat Ramp – concrete installation is complete; 6045 Harrison – replace driveway culvert – 90% complete; Basin Repairs – Wayside Dr. (Qty 1) and Brimfield Dr. (Qty 2) – complete; Farmington Meadows - storm sewer cleaning – complete; and 5881 S. Shandle – redefine ditch – 90% complete.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Sunday

I've been working on a few stories about Easter traditions and was lucky enough to run into Shirley O'Brien at the Mentor Senior Center during my research.

She opened up to me and told me all about her family; her very large family of seven children, 21 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Myself and Duncan Scott met up with Shirley and her daughter Aileen at St. Gabriel Parish in Concord Township for the annual Easter basket blessing, where families bring in their Easter food prior to their celebration.

After the blessing, we were invited into Aileen's home to learn a little more about their family's traditions, including coloring eggs and making a meal suitable for 25 people.

This family was very, very welcoming and extremely open and friendly. I just wanted to extend a written thank you to everyone in the O'Brien/Schneeberger family for their kindness.

--Caitlin Fertal

Friday, April 6, 2012

Tribe Talk a hit; what's on tap next?

Who says work can't be fun? Tuesday evening here at The News-Herald was a great time. That was the night we hosted Tribe Talk with Jim Ingraham. You can watch it here.

We invited readers and baseball fans to join us at our offices for some popcorn and peanuts (that was my contribution with some help from our GM Brian McCloskey) and some insights from Jim who's covered the Cleveland Indians for more than 25 years.

Our Community Engagement Editor Cheryl Sadler livestreamed the event and conducted an online chat for those who wanted to participate but couldn't be here.
Managing Editor Laura Kessel was on hand to welcome folks as they arrived and snap some pictures of the evening.

Such a spirited discussion followed that the crowd wasn't even out the door when Sports Editor Mark Podolski said we needed to host another evening in advance of the NFL Draft.

And so we shall.

Join us for Browns Draft with Jeff Schudel at 7 p.m. April 25.

I'll be popping some corn and passing out peanuts, and Jeff will be sharing his insights gleaned from decades covering the Cleveland Browns. RSVP to Mark Podolski or call 440-207-0630.

And if you can't make it, don't worry, Cheryl will again be livestreaming and chatting.

We're planning to gather again to talk Tribe, Browns and Cavs, but we'd like to know what other events you'd like to see us host.

Want to discuss books, learn cooking tips, talk prep sports or Captains?

Make a suggestion and we'll see what we can do. Just comment here or drop me an email.

 - Tricia Ambrose

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mentor unemployment rate edges up again

The Mentor city manager's report to council on last week's activities includes some good news and bad news. More drug overdoses were reported, as well as another climb in unemployment in the city. On a positive note, a golf program from younger elementary-age children is on horizon.

Manager Comments 
•    On March 25th, the Mentor Shell gas station was robbed by a male later identified as John Lane II. Lane entered the gas station and demanded money from the employee, claiming he had a weapon. The employee gave him the money from the register and Lane fled the scene in a vehicle. The employee was able to obtain the license plate, which returned to Lane. An arrest warrant was issued for Lane.  Last evening, a police officer in Wakeman ran a suspicious vehicle which returned information on the Mentor warrant.  Mr. Lane was the driver and he was arrested after a short pursuit.  It is believed he may also have been involved in a robbery in N. Olmstead earlier that day and others previously in Lake County.
•    Mentor was once again named a Tree City USA community for 2011 by the Arbor Day Foundation.  The Village of Fairport Harbor and the Fairport Harbor Tree Commission are hosting the 2012 Tree City USA Awards Ceremony on May 16.  The event will be held in Mentor at LaMalfa.
•    The unemployment rate for Mentor increased for the third consecutive month to 7.1% in February 2012 (Mentor’s rate was 7.4% in February, 2011).  In Lake County the unemployment rate also increased 0.5% to 8.2%. The City is “tied” with Columbus in having the third-lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population.  The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 8.5% in February 2012.

Fire Department
•    On March 22 at 10:16 p.m., paramedics were called to what appears to be another heroin overdose involving a 19-year-old female who was found unresponsive on a bathroom floor. Paramedics provided Advance Life Support and transferred the patient to the emergency department in stable condition. Paramedics also responded to two other overdose calls over the weekend. One involving alcohol and the other prescription medication. Both of these patients were treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.
•    On March 25 at 7:31 p.m., paramedics responded to a 70 yr. old male in full cardiac arrest.  Paramedics provided Advance Life Support resulting in the return of a strong pulse. The patient was transported to the emergency room where care was turned over to the emergency room staff.
•    On March 28 at 9 p.m., the fire department responded to 7509 Belvedere for a house fire reported out.  The fire started as a result of discarded cigarettes that caught the wood deck on fire extending to the exterior vinyl siding.  Fire crews arrived to find the fire extinguished by the homeowner.  Crews checked the interior for extension and found that the fire had been completely extinguished; however, it was minutes from extending into the attic from the exterior soffit.  There were no injuries reported.
•    On March 23, two condominiums were burglarized on Kingston Ct.  Investigation revealed the resident of 7405 Kingston Ct. was the suspect. The suspect climbed into his attic and then broke a hole through the drywall in the attic that separated the units. He was then able to access the other two units via their attic.  An arrest warrant has been issued for the suspect.

Parks and Recreation Department
•    Attended the Council IBIM Committee meeting this week and reported on the restaurant survey.  Councilman Kirchner has indicated the survey will stay on hold for the time being to allow the Mentor Chamber to get their May event in order.  As a side note the Recreation Division IBIM Committee will be meeting Wednesday April 4 at 9AM to continue its discussions and plans for the 2013 city wide festival.  You are welcome to attend.
•    The Cleveland Indians season opens on April 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays at 3:05 PM. Watch the game on the big screen at the Mentor Senior Center.  Bring the whole family.  The center will be serving up jumbo hotdogs, nachos & cheese and a root beer for lunch that day or stop by our concession for complimentary popcorn, cotton candy, peanuts and Cracker Jacks. The cost of lunch is $5.50 and you will need a reservation. 
•    Black Brook Manager Tim Ausperk attended the PGA meeting last week and heard the big push for PGA’s Golf 2.0.  The idea of the program is to involve more people in the game of golf by getting young children started and encouraging people of all ages to take a lesson.  Black Brook beginner classes are full all the time and it runs a huge junior golf program.  Plans are being made for 5- to 7-year-olds.

Economic and Community Development
•    R. Traub met with representatives of Third Federal regarding outreach opportunities in the Mentor market.
•    R. Traub participated on the Tax Incentive Review Council which meets annually to review Enterprise Zone agreements for companies; two agreements (PCC Airfoils and Libra Industries) will expire this year.
•    T. Thielman and R. Traub met with owners of an existing manufacturing company that is pursuing the purchase of a building and machinery & equipment.
•    R. Traub and R. Spence met with an architect regarding a potential “down-sizing” and reimaging of their retail location.
•    T. Thielman and R. Traub met with the owners of a business from Cuyahoga County who are pursuing the purchase a building in Mentor for relocation.

Finance Department
•    At Wednesday’s State House Press Conference (March 21) State Rep. Cheryl Grossman, State Rep. Mike Henne, State Rep. John Barnes and the Municipal Income Tax Uniformity Coalition comprised of 14 organizations pleaded their case for overhauling Ohio’s municipal income tax structure.  The theme was consistent.  A uniform tax code will reduce compliance burden which will result in retaining current businesses as well as attracting new businesses to the State of Ohio.  The Representatives and members of the Coalition shared their personal viewpoints on the subject before an audience consisting of members of the media, RITA staff, the OML and various municipal officials.  The following was reported by RITA staff and other municipal officials in attendance.  Rep. Grossman referred to Ohio’s municipal tax system as “very involved and a complicated nightmare.”  Rep. Henne indicated the lack of a uniform tax.

Public Works Department
•    The Public Works activity highlights last week were:  Civic Center – Baseball fields 3, 4, 5 and 6 slit seed outfields; Garfield Park – Baseball fields 7 and 8 slit seed outfields; Edward R. Walsh Park – restrooms are open for the season; WWC – garden project, water supply and fence install is complete; Blackbrook Golf Course – Driving Range improvements; Mentor Ave. – crack sealing, complete from Hopkins Road to SR 615; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping – ongoing; SR 306 at I-90 WB exit ramp – repaired battery back up unit; 7370 Faye Lane – curb drain repair – complete; Farmington Meadows - storm sewer cleaning – ongoing; and Broadmoor from Rt. 20 to Rt. 84 – curb inlet basin cleaning – 10% complete.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, April 2, 2012

Media Lab blogger Did The Tribe Win Last Night? wins blog bracket challenge

Congratulations to Did The Tribe Win Last Night?, which won Cleveland Magazine's Blog Bracket Challenge. Did The Tribe Win Last Night is a member of The News-Herald's Community Media Lab, a network of local bloggers.

Below, the press release from Did The Tribe Win Last Night?:
The blog, "Did The Tribe Win Last Night" was named the winner of Cleveland Magazine's Nothing But Net, Blog Bracket Challenge. The challenge matched up 32 blogs from around the Cleveland area. Blogs competed for votes each round to advance.
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is a blog created by Ryan Hohman and Mike Brandyberry, with a staff of ten writers. The grassroots operation began July 1, 2011 with a dedication to covering the Cleveland Indians 365 days a year, including the day to day operations on the field, off the field and the team's history. Since its birth, DTTWLN has interviewed Vinnie Pestano, Jason Kipnis, Chris Perez, Manny Acta, Carlos Santana, Sandy Alomar Jr. and more. This season, DTTWLN has already received credentialed access to events with the Cleveland Indians, Akron Aeros,  Lake County Captains and Carolina Mudcats.
"We are honored and humbled by the outreach of votes," Mike Brandyberry said. "We are proud of our growth in less than a year and honored by our readers support. We hope this is just a step in continued growth."
The DTTWLN staff will be featured in the May issue of Cleveland Magazine. To follow the blog, go to ( They can also be followed on Facebook ( and on Twitter (@didtribewin).

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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