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, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy


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