Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Man tries to make meth while in Mentor store...

A cheeky fellow in Mentor Walmart tries to concoct drugs, the city’s unemployment rate dips again, and a big business officially opens its doors — those items and more in the latest Mentor city manager memo to

City Council: Manager Comments
 • A male was arrested at Walmart on June 17 for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine inside the store. The suspect was combining camping fuel along with household cleaners to begin the process. Store security alerted MPD of the situation. MPD and the Fire Department both responded and the male was arrested. He was charged with Illegal manufacturing of drugs, illegal assembly of chemicals for drugs, and theft. The substance created by the suspect was secured and disposed of by members of Lake County Narcotics Agency who were contacted and responded to the scene. They were assisted by Mentor Police and Fire.
 • The unemployment rate for Mentor decreased for the third consecutive month to 5.4 percent in May (Mentor’s rate was 6.4 percent in May last year). In Lake County, the unemployment rate decreased 0.2 percent to 5.9 percent. The city has the lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population. The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 6.9 percent in May 2012.
• Council President Marn, Councilwoman Bucey, state Rep. Ron Young, Tom Thielman and the city manager attended the Mentor Mitsubishi Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony last Wednesday. The president of Mitsubishi USA was there to help cut the ribbon and celebrate the dealership’s success. Mentor Mitsubishi is currently the No. 1 performing dealership in the U.S.
• Ron Traub and the city manager met with Jim Brown of Classic Auto Group this week and discussed several important issues, including the city’s plans for the 615 detention area once secured. The meeting was productive and a good opportunity to solidify our working partnership.
 • A significant part of the city’s economic development advertising campaign kicks off this week with a 10-week cable schedule featuring Roger Sustar from Fredon Corp. explaining why he “chose Mentor to grow his business.” Approximately 130 commercials will air each week from June 25 through the end of August on select cable channels in portions of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga and Summit Counties. Spots will air in all day parts (prime, daytime and overnight) on the following networks: CNN, FX, History, TBS, TNT, ESPN, USA, CNBC, MNBC, Golf, AMC, and TVLand. In addition, the campaign includes print ads in Crain’s Cleveland Business and banner ads on www.crainscleveland.com. We will also utilize keyword ad placement on Google for geographically targeted ads (www.Cleveland.com) and pre-roll video and display advertising on www.Newsnet5.com and www.WKYC.com.

 Police Department
• On June 19, at 5:40 pm, a male called the police department requesting to meet an officer at Krueger Park to provide information about recent burglaries. When the officer arrived he ran the license plate of the vehicle the male was driving and found out the vehicle was listed as stolen. The male was outside of his vehicle. As the officer exited his vehicle the male produced a handgun from his waistband. The officer ordered him several times to drop the weapon. Unfortunately, the male shot himself in the head. The officer was not physically injured. Mentor Fire/Rescue responded and transported the male to the hospital. He died the following day from his injury.
 • The 2012 Law Enforcement-Ohio Special Olympics Torch Run came through the city on June 19, at 10 am. Members of the police department and their families participated in this event. The Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fundraising event benefiting Special Olympics Ohio. The annual intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and to gain awareness for the athletes who participate in Special Olympics Ohio, along with providing officers visibility while giving back to their respective communities.
• On June 21, we conducted an unannounced fire drill in the jail. All procedures were followed properly and movements of the lone prisoner were controlled. This was an important exercise to ensure the safety of everyone in the building, including the prisoners under our care.

 Engineering and Building Department
• 2012 Sidewalk Program: Engineering has completed sidewalk inspections on all streets included in this year’s sidewalk program (Zone 2B) which include: Argee Drive, Barberry Hill, Bellflower Road, Burridge Avenue, Cadle Avenue, Carole Drive, Case Avenue, Center Street, Hart Street, Hollycroft Lane, Lauren J. Drive, Maple Street, Mentor Avenue, Nancy Drive, Nowlen Street, Old Village Lane, Presley Avenue, Prospect Street, Reynolds Road, Rockwell Court, Sharonlee Drive and Station Street. The results of the inspections are currently being reviewed, analyzed and documented in preparation for a public meeting, as well as, for use in cost estimates and inclusion in the “Resolution of Necessity.” • Bellflower Road Repair and Resurfacing Project: The one-way westbound construction zone was scheduled to be placed into effect on Monday. The construction zone set-up will not occur until after 9 a.m. Eastbound traffic will be detoured from Georgetown Drive to Center Street utilizing SR 2 and Lakeshore Boulevard. Two-way traffic will be maintained between Georgetown Drive and SR306. Mentor police officers with patrol cars will be utilized to aid in traffic control along the project, as well as, at other locations along the official and unofficial detour corridors. Fire Department 
• On June 18 at 4:16 p.m., the fire department responded to 5556 Primavera Drive for a report that the electrical meter on the exterior of the home was smoking. Fire crews isolated the area and notified CEI of the faulty service. The home’s interior electrical service was checked and monitored by fire crews as one leg of 120 service had pulled away from the outside meter due to ground settling. CEI arrived on scene and disconnected all service so that the repair could be made. There was no fire extension to the home or reported injuries. 
• On June 19, Deputy Chief Searles and Lieutenant Rob Gandee assisted in a graded table top training exercise at Lake Health in Concord. The training involved a multidiscipline response to a mock hazardous materials incident in Painesville Township and was conducted to meet the annual training requirements set fourth by the State Emergency Response Commission. Deputy Chief Searles served as an evaluator and Lieutenant Gandee served as a controller for the exercise. 
 • Office Personnel Jo Ann Buckley will be retiring on Friday, June 29 after six (6) years with the Mentor Fire Department, for a total of 33 dedicated years in Public Safety Services. 

 Parks and Recreation Department 
• The Mentor Senior Center Health Fair Expo will be Wednesday June 27 from 9 a.m. until noon. This Health Fair promotes ways to improve your health through screenings, health talks and senior living options. The event is free and open to the public. 
• The Wildwood Comedy Club is Wednesday June 27 from 7-9 p.m. Registration is required for this free event, but you will be able to enjoy the smooth comedy style of veteran showman Frank Krupa and preview some of the future comedians. Call Wildwood at 440-974-5735 to register for this program. 
 • On June 21, the Recreation Department hosted the 2012 Junior Olympic Trials at the Mentor High School Stadium. The children ranged in age from 6-13 and they were vying for a spot on the Mentor team when it competes in the Lake County Junior Olympics on June 27 in Wickliffe. This year at the opening ceremonies the athletes heard from Julie Koons, US Olympic Team Short Track Speed Skater in Nagano and Salt Lake City. After speaking with the athletes she led the opening ceremonial walk around the track and stuck around for a while and talked with the kids and signed autographs for them. 
• This past week has been great pool weather. On Wednesday alone we had 1,759 people visit the Civic Center Pool and 400 swimmers at Morton Pool. We have 20 people in our Lifeguarding class and 10 people in our Water Safety Instructor class. We are already hiring more lifeguards and WSI’s to help as substitutes for the summer. 
• During this past week of hot weather we also filled Skate Camp for the first time ever.
• The Fire Department put on a training class in AED/CPR and First Aid for the Civic Ice Arena staff last week. The entire 22 members of the summer staff are all certified and ready to go! 
• The new boat ramp has proved to be a great addition to the Lagoons marina with lots of usage and that has helped alleviate back-ups at the ramp. 
• Dockers that have trailers placed throughout the Marina have been notified that after June 30 any trailer that does not have a storage sticker for 2012 will be removed from the marina and placed outside the fenced area before we impound them and charge a towing and a daily storage fee. 

 Public Works Department 
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Durham Court - complete road slab replacement; Camelot Drive - complete repairs to two curb in-let basins; Crack Seal SR 84 from Center to Garfield – westbound lanes is complete; 5563 Fortuna Drive – install inlet in R/W; 7211 Green Valley Drive – complete man-hole structure repair; 7113 Green Valley Drive - ditch maintenance is complete; Park Maintenance, mowing and lining of baseball and soccer fields; Wildwood Cultural Center – install new culvert for overflow parking; Rt 306 from Rt 20 to Essex Drive – programmed new afternoon/ evening traffic signal timing pattern; and North and South side of Bellflower Road – storm sewer cleaning and inspections ongoing. 

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

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A hike in the gorge

Anyone who has to work on Father's Day or Mother's Day or any of those family-related holidays is probably not jumping for joy about it. But this time around I really can't complain.

My assignment to cover this Sunday was the Gorge Hike at Lake Metroparks Penitentiary Glen in Kirtland. It's been quite some time since I've gone on a hike, probably just as long as it's been since I've gone camping - a few years. (At least an intentional hike, getting lost doesn't count).

A small group gathered for the hike and welcomed me and NH photographer Jeff Foreman without any hesitation.

They accommodated us when we wanted to run up ahead of them to get some good shots, and when we fell behind, too.

The hike lasted about an hour, although we were told it usually takes closer to two. Reason being, usually more people show up for the walk in the woods, but it seemed as though the weather may have scared some participants away.

Luckily, the rain held off just long enough for me to get back to my desk at the News-Herald office, and our hike was mostly a dry one.

We did walk through a shallow stream that I was told at some points during the year can be knee-high. That apparently doesn't stop the hikers from their destination.

The experience was pleasant, and fortunately no breaking news happened while I was hanging out in the woods.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mentor day camps bringing the cash

Mentor police gave out more than 100 seat-belt/child safety seat citations, city day camps are proving a big revenue generator this year, and potential improvements are coming to the Headlands library branch. Those items and more in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• Ron Traub, Tony Zampedro and I met with Lynn Hawkins, executive director of the Mentor Public Library system and Board President Amy Frank-Hensley. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Headlands Branch, express our interest in continued reinvestment there, and discuss elements of their new strategic plan. The meeting went well and they agreed to host a focus group from the Headlands area to better understand the interests of those in the immediate area who rely the most on the branch. Ms. Hawkins followed up our meeting with an email thanking the city for our consideration of the Reading Garden project proposed for partial funding through our 2012 CDBG program.
• On June 1, Gov. Kasich signed legislation making it illegal to text while driving in Ohio. Our Police Department is reviewing the new law, which takes effect 90 days from the signing, and will be prepared for enforcement.
• Income tax collections for the month of May were up $460,000 when compared to May of last year. The current total year collections thru May as compared to last year are up 14.6%.
• Code Enforcement Officers were out this week in earnest contacting business owners with outside merchandise displays. Letters reminding them of the prohibition were sent as a follow up.

Police Department
• The “Click It or Ticket — What’s Holding You Back” campaign ended on June 3. During this two-week period, the police department issued 104 seat-belt/child safety seat citations. We will continue to strictly enforce these types of violations.
• An officer was injured over the weekend while arresting a male for possession of cocaine. The officer conducted a traffic stop in the lot of Comfort Inn. There were seven (7) people in the car. The driver exited the car and ran across Reynolds Rd. towards Palisades Bowling. The officer was able to tackle the suspect and arrest him. The male had cocaine in his possession. Another male in the car also had cocaine in his pants pocket. Both males were arrested and charged. The officer injured his hand and missed two days of work.
• A robbery occurred on June 4, at the rear of Check and Go, 9354 Mentor Ave. An employee drove to the rear of the building to dispose of the trash in the dumpster when she was confronted by two males. The males took her purse and fled eastbound on Mentor Ave. The purse contained her personal items along with the deposit for the business. No weapons were seen during the robbery. The incident is being investigated by the detective bureau. 

Parks and Recreation Department
• This week is the start of day camps. This year our registration is on a record pace with 1,618 children registered for camps so far. We are offering 148 camps this year and to date our revenue is $195,909.
• All three pools and the Spraygrounds open June 9.The Lake County Health District is making its final inspection of the pools this week and all looks good. Pool Pass sales have been going well and now that school is drawing to an end people are thinking about signing their kids up fro one of the swimming classes.
• This year again we experienced many problems with the Garfield Pool pump and filter system. The freshening up of the building is a welcome sight to the people coming to the Garfield Pool.
• Lifeguard training was held on Monday night and the in-water training and testing will be held on Sunday.
• We are receiving very positive feedback from the gardeners at the Community Garden. We are all pleased with the response and the reception the garden has gotten this year.
• Mark your calendars now for the Summer Concert Series starting June 19 at 7 p.m. at the Civic Amphitheater. Our first concert features the sounds of the 50’s featuring the “Doo Wop Kings.”
• The Mentor Senior Center was host this week to the North Coast Senior Games Cornhole Tournament. The event took place all day and the participants had many great things to say about our facility and our staff. Winners at this level move on to the state tournament which will be held in Cleveland next month and the winners there are qualified for the National Senior Games which will be held in Cleveland during the summer of 2013.
• This week the Recreation Department was informed by the Marines that we would need to change the date of our Take Pride In America event for 2013. The event is moving to June 19. We will be alerting the public to the date change starting with the fall recreation brochure.

Fire Department
• On May 31 at 5:11 p.m., Station 2 responded to 4860 Orchard for a report of a garbage can on fire. Investigation revealed someone placed a 2 liter plastic pop bottle mixed with unknown chemicals into a full garbage can. Witnesses stated they heard the can explode prior to crew arrival. Fire extinguished, and there were no injuries.
• On June 2 at 4:12 p.m., Station 1 responded to a report of a mulch fire at the Kmart Super Store at 9200 Mentor Ave. Fire crews observed a small mulch area had charring. The fire was extinguished by a Kmart employee. There was no extension to the building.
• On June 6 at 11:56 a.m., the fire department responded to 9321 Pineneedle for a gas leak inside the building. Crews arrived at the business, Pyromatics Incorporated, to find a natural gas leak inside the manufacturing area. The leak occurred after a machine operator knocked off a 3/4” down leg off the natural gas line. Fire crews shut down the gas main to the building and Dominion East Ohio was called. There were no reports of injuries.
• On June 6 at 2:38 p.m., the fire department was called to the parking lot of City Hall for a grass fire. The fire was out when crews arrived.
• On June 5, the fire department assisted with Mentor Channel 12’s video production of the “Hands Only CPR” training video, when a reenactment scene of a cardiac arrest was staged and filmed inside the Great Lakes Mall.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub joined Councilman Kirchner and Councilperson Dowling at the “ribbon cutting” for Salon Prizzo at Great Lakes Mall.
• Ron Traub attended a “grand opening” of Habibe Clothing Co., a woman’s clothing store at Heisley Pointe.
• The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved MEACO’s 504 loan for Bess Industries, LTD. The total project cost is $377,000.
• Tom Thielman met with Tim Dixon, Head of SBA Lending for Citizens Bank, regarding SBA programs and Citizens Bank’s loan activity in Mentor.
• Tom Thielman met with representatives of the Cleveland Plumbing Supply Company and Dollar Bank regarding the purchase of 7272 Mentor Ave. (former Clark Dodge site) and use of the MEACO SBA 504 loan program.
• Tom Thielman met with the owners/operators of the proposed Maracas Restaurant regarding the Mentor Small Business Loan program.

Engineering and Building Department
• 2012 Sidewalk Program: Engineering has started inspecting sidewalks and has currently completed Burridge Ave., Maple St., Hart St., Prospect St., Argee Dr., Old Village Ln., Nowlen St., and part of Mentor Ave. Sidewalk inspections should be complete by the end of June.
• Corduroy Road Streetscape Improvements: TC Construction has completed the Streetscape Improvements along Corduroy Road. Tree lawn areas have been seeded and mulched.
• Bellflower Road Repair and Resurfacing Project: Work on the Bellflower Road Repair and Resurfacing Project is scheduled to begin this week and be completed by Aug. 25. The project is being partially funded by a $299,900 Grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission. Chagrin Valley Paving is the contractor for the project. During the construction, eastbound traffic will be closed from Georgetown Drive to Center Street and westbound traffic will be maintained. A detour will be established to direct eastbound traffic.
• Aqua Ohio Projects: Hopkins Road Waterline Project: The City of Mentor has issued a right-of-way permit to Aqua Ohio for the installation of 2550 feet of 12-inch replacement waterline. The new waterline will be located on the west side of Hopkins Road between Highland Court and Chillicothe Road. Davis Diggers will be the contractor installing the waterline. Work on this project is expected to begin this week and should take approximately 6-7 weeks to complete. Work hours will be restricted to between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday thru Friday. During construction, traffic will be maintained.

Public Works Department
The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Heisley to Hopkins Road; St. Peters Way, repairs on three curb inlet basins are complete; 5486 Wilson, storm sewer repair; Hot patch Rt. 306 from Rt. 84 to I-90; 6520 Hopkins Road, storm sewer repair; Park Maintenance, mowing and lining of baseball and soccer fields; Traffic cabinet maintenance is 75% complete; and North side of Bellflower Road — storm sewer cleaning and inspections ongoing.

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

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mentor police & fire keeping busy

Some mayhem for Mentor police & fire crews last week, and new open swim hours have been added at Garfield pool. That and more in the weekly city manager memo to council.

Manager Comments
• Detective Dan Radigan was awarded the Police Department’s Departmental Excellence Award and Detectives Collier, Collins, Malainy, Petro and Patrolman Ondercin were given Letters of Commendation for their 14-month investigation of an auto theft ring. Their thorough investigation has helped to resolve numerous cases of auto theft in Mentor and surrounding cities.
• At approximately 10 a.m. Friday, an electrical fire occurred behind HH Gregg on Mentor Avenue. Several major intersections to the west were affected, but back-up power did not allow traffic flow to be impeded. CEI was on the scene right away, but as of 3 p.m. did not yet have power restored. The Points East shopping center appears to be the only structure that lost power.
• Earlier Friday, a 29-year-old male jumped from the top of a 15-foot wall on the property owned by Osborne concrete. He sustained serious injuries to his torso and was transported to Lake West. It appears to be an attempted suicide.
• The Fire Department fought several minor mulch fires last week, three of which were on Memorial Day.
• The American Diabetes Association honors four fathers annually who have demonstrated the ability to balance their personal lives to serve as a role model for their children while helping to make a positive difference in the community. This year, mentor resident ad business owner Rob Kneen is one of the four (along with Mark Shapiro from the Cleveland Indians, Evan Koppel from United Airlines, and Robert Blackham from Roetzel & Andress).
• The pleasant weather has allowed us to make good progress with maintenance and capital activities. The annual road resurfacing program is approximately half complete, the Corduroy Streetscape improvement is nearly complete, and we are making great use of the new sewer camera. We will be mapping the areas reviewed and cleaned to keep visual documentation of the progress of our Maintenance Program.

Fire Department
• On May 28 at 8:30 p.m., fire crews responded to 7255 Bauer Lane for a garage fire. The fire was quickly brought under control with no fire extension into the house. Fire crews worked to isolate power to the garage area, ventilated the house and checked and installed smoke detectors so that the home could be reoccupied. Damages are estimated at $15,000 and there were no injuries. The initial investigation indicates that the fire started in the area of the freezer and was accidental in nature.
• On May 29 at 9:32 p.m., fire crews responded to Mentor Avenue and Old Johnnycake for a motorcycle versus car motor vehicle accident. One patient was transported to Lake Health Tri Point Hospital in stable condition. This was the second injury motorcycle accident of the week. The first occurred on May 24 at 3:42 p.m. on State Route 2 westbound entrance ramp from Heisley Road, where the cyclist lost control and crashed. That patient was treated and transported to Hillcrest Hospital in stable condition.
• On May 29 at 3:12 p.m., paramedics were called to Classic Ford construction site at 8150 Tyler Blvd. for an injured construction worker. Crews arrived to find a male who had been cut in the left shoulder when the power saw he was operating “kicked” back and struck him. The male was treated and transported to Lake Health Hospital West.
• On May 29 at 3:42 p.m., fire crews responded to State Route 2 eastbound just east of the Center Street entrance ramp for a dump truck versus Toyota compact car motor vehicle accident. The driver of the Toyota suffered minor injuries but had to be extricated from her vehicle. She was then ground transported to Lake Health Tri Point Hospital. The entrance 2 ramp from Center Street to Route 2 eastbound had to be shut down and was closed for approximately 7 hours.
• On May 31 at 12:56 p.m., and then a few minutes later, the fire department received two calls for smoke inside buildings at opposite ends of the City. The first for smoke in a house at 4729 Robinwood Drive; the second was for smoke inside of TJ’s on the Avenue 7485 Mentor Ave. The cause of smoke in the house on Robinwood was from a clothes dryer belt that burned and the cause for TJ’s was an exterior mulch fire that generated smoke into the building. Kirtland Fire was requested to relocate a rescue squad to the City line as Mentor had another EMS call on Tyler Boulevard and only one remaining squad in the City.
• Delivery of the new rescue squad to Fire Station #5 is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Friday June 1st. Delivery of the second squad (damaged 1132 replacement) is anticipated for late June or early July 2012.
• The spring fire hydrant testing and inspections are complete.
• Five students from Mentor High School successfully completed their Senior Projects with the Fire Department. The students spent the past two weeks participating in various aspects of the fire service from Fire Prevention and Education to fire suppression and EMS.

Police Department
• On May 30, an adult female was shoplifting from Dillards. When stopped by loss-prevention she punched the loss prevention officer in the chest. He secured her and walked her back inside the store. She broke free from him and ran through the store, knocking over clothes racks before being apprehended again. She was charged with robbery and for punching the loss-prevention officer while stealing $1,179 worth of clothing.
• This is the second week for the national, “Click It or Ticket-What’s Holding You Back” campaign. It’s been proven that a high visibility enforcement of seat belt laws is some of the most effective ways to save lives. The police department is participating in this program, enforcing a zero-tolerance towards violations. The program continues through June 3.

Finance Department
• This week we made a debt service payment of $670,000 for our outstanding general obligation and special assessment bonds. The entire amount was interest only. Annual principal payments are due Dec. 1.
• This week staff from the City’s Finance department and the Law Director met with representatives from R.I.T.A. (Regional Income Tax Agency) to consider the feasibility of participating in a program that targets non-filing taxpayers. We also, covered a few recommended improvements to the City’s local income tax code.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Summer swimming season kicks off officially Saturday with the opening of all 3 pools and spray grounds. This summer is setting up to be a good year for the pools and our staff is looking forward to the start of the season. New this year, Garfield Pool will be open from 9 a.m. until noon for open swim time.
• We are now offering a new Stroller Shape-up program for moms and kids. The program involves a full body program and is held at Walsh Park. Check out the full explanation in the Summer Brochure.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub met with Mike Keresman III, CEO for Cardinal Commerce regarding the company’s current and future status in the City. Cardinal Commerce is a global leader in facilitating and verifying online payments, secure transactions and alternative payment brands for both eCommerce and mobile commerce.
• The MEACO Loan Review Committee approved a SBA 504 loan for Bess Industries, LTD. The total project cost is $377,000. Bess Industries currently leases space in Mentor and is purchasing a building at 9475 Pinecone Drive to accommodate their continued growth. Bess Industries is a fabrication machine shop specializing in titanium and the chlor-alkali industry.
• Ron Traub met with a representative of a financial institution regarding a new bank branch facility.

Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Painesville line to Heisley Road; St. Peters Way, repairs on three curb inlet basins - in progress; St. Peters Way, slab-jacking concrete road
slab; 7635 Settlers - storm sewer repair; 6113 Thistlewood - storm sewer repair; R/W between 8095 and 8119 Lakeshore - restoration; Park Maintenance, mowing and lining of baseball, soccer and football fields; Sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping - 151 signs upgraded to date; Center Street lighting maintenance - replaced nineteen power splice kits; and North side of Bellflower Road - storm sewer cleaning and inspections.

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