Monday, August 27, 2012

Is a Mentor rec fee increase on way?

Mentor officials helped celebrate the grand opening of plasma center creating 50 jobs, the city’s unemployment rate dips again, and is a hike in Parks and Recreation fees on the horizon? Those items and more in the latest weekly city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• The unemployment rate for the City of Mentor decreased 0.2 percent to 5.6 percent for the month of July 2012 from its previous rate of 5.8 percent for June 2012 (Mentor’s rate was 6.4 percent in July 2011). In Lake County, the unemployment rate also decreased, to 6.2 percent for July 2012 from 6.5 percent in June. The City of Mentor continues to have the lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio with a population over 50,000. Ohio’s unemployment rate remained stable for the month of July 2012 at 7.4 percent.

Fire Department
• On Aug. 18 at 10:40 a.m., paramedics responded for a 26-year-old male who apparently overdosed on heroin. The patient was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Aug. 17 at 10:50 a.m., paramedics were called to Mentor Avenue for a 15-year-old male cyclist who lost control of his bicycle. The male suffered minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.

Police Department
• Another suspect has been identified after posting a surveillance photo on the department’s Facebook page. Within three hours, detectives received a tip on the identity of the suspect and even what type of car he drives. He was identified as a 19-year-old male from Eastlake. The clarity of this photo assisted with the identification.

• On Aug. 21, the Eastlake Police Department requested assistance attempting to locate and arrest a suspect in a felonious assault in their city. The suspect shot another male during an alleged robbery at the Eastlake Walmart. Information was received that the suspect was staying at a condominium on Kirkwood Drive (Bellflower Terrace). Due to the violence of the crime, the Mentor SWAT team was activated. After making entry to the condominium the suspect was not located. Eastlake PD is continuing their investigation to locate the suspect.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The entire Parks and Recreation Divisions have started to work on the 2013 budget and are reviewing all fees in all divisions for the upcoming year.
• Black Brook Golf Course was the site of the JV Golf Tournament last week featuring 15 high school teams. The tournament overall winner was Orange High School. Mentor golfers were in the hunt individually for scoring honors.
• Mentor Lagoons Manager Dave George continues the electrical inspection of each dock’s electrical system. The inspection of B Dock is nearing completion. The process will speed up as we start on C and D docks because these are the docks with the newest electrical supply.

• The Lagoons maintenance staff has been pushing back invasive species in the vicinity of the trail head for the preserve. This maintenance function will make the trail feel open and will not be encroaching on the trail surface.

• This past week, the first Special Needs Soccer Camp was held at Krueger Park under the direction of Mindy Bakos. The camp was very successful and we have received compliments from parents of the participants about how great the program was and will we be offering more programs for children with special needs. We will be evaluating what we can do to offer programs to this population.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub, Ken Filipiak and councilmembers Dowling and Krueger attended the BioLife Plasma Services grand opening at 5656 Emerald Court. The 15,000 sq. ft. plasma collection center is expected to create over 50 new jobs and has 70 beds for plasma donors.  Plasma is used to produce various medical therapies for patients with hemophilia, pulmonary deficiencies and for surgical and emergency room patients.

• The Mentor Economic Assistance Corporation received approval from the U.S. Small Business Administration on an SBA 504 loan for Hartman Personnel Services, which is purchasing the building they currently lease at 8789 Tyler Blvd. The total project cost is estimated at $360,000. The current SBA interest rate on a 20-year loan is 4.5 percent fixed.

• State Rep. Peter Beck is holding a Municipal Income Tax Interested Party meeting on Sept. 5 at the Cleveland State University Student Center. The hearings are a continuation of discussions relative to the State’s efforts to develop and implement local income tax uniformity. David Malinowski and Bonnie Lingafelter are registered and will attend the meeting.

• The Lake County Budget Commission held a tax rate hearing this week. The county revaluations of property were recently provided to the Ohio Department of Taxation. We are anticipating reductions in property valuations similar to the previous revaluations three years ago.

Public Works Department
•    Distributed recycling containers throughout City parks
•    Installed signage at Willowbrook easement access to lake
•    Began replacing Garfield Park pavilion roof
•    Hot patching roads throughout the City
•    Inlet basin rebuilds - Bunker Cove and Ellington
•    Slab-jacking - Deepwood Blvd.
•    Crack-sealing - SR 84
•    Preparing design specifications to upgrade Plaza/Dillards Driveway intersection
•    Storm sewer repairs - Lorrich and Hidden Hollow
•    Storm sewer cleaning - Sutherland, Palmerston and Glencairn
•    Raised manhole castings on St. James, Durham and Spring Blossom
•    Designing layouts and compiling cost estimates for drainage assistance projects
•    Drainage assistance project on Cumberland - 65 percent complete
•    Two trees removed from Ice Arena entrance way

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Additional Willowick council meeting notes, Aug. 21, 2012

The Aug. 21 meeting of Willowick City Council saw successive readings of four ordinances pertaining to strengthening city policies on vacant properties. Read the full story and watch a video of Law Director Michael Lucas discussing the demolition ordinance by clicking here.

Written reported from the Beautification Commission and the Recreation Department were released to the public at the Aug. 21 meeting.

Willowick Recreation Department Report from Julie Kless, recreation director

Youth Leagues: Youth basket ball sign-ups will begin Tuesday, Sept. 4 at Manry.

Programming: Our fall/winter program guide will be in the Sept. courier for all residents

  • Soccer and football have started their fall seasons.
  • Our Doggie Swim will be on Monday, Aug. 27, at Manry pool. Dogs weighing 50 pounds or more will swim from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and dogs weighing 50 pounds or fewer will swim from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
  • A thank you to Terry and the parks crew for all their hard work this summer.
  • The middle school football team will be starting their games at Manry on Wednesday, Aug. 29th.
City of Willowick Beautification Commission Report from Ann Turk, commission director and Ward II councilwoman

Notes from the committee meeting on July 26, 2012:

  • Voted to take the words "LED lights" out of our goals and just have our goal be planting "Redspire Pear" and "Honey Locust" trees along Vine Street in Willowick. We can add them (the lights) later to the trees but we should not have this in any letter when requesting donations.
  • Ann discussed a list of contacts she has contracted for grant applications for our committee: ODNR; USDOT; Dan Troy, Lake Co. commissioner; Lorraine Fende, Ohio House Rep.; and Ed Rahel, director of this ODOT district. No results. Presently checking on "Tiger Grants," which stands for "Transportation Investment Generating Economic Growth."
  • We discussed a letter requesting donations from corporations, businesses, chamber of commerce and doing an advertisement.
  • We need guidelines from our mayor and law director on setting up a bank account for deposits.
  • Established a motto for our Beautification Commission, "Preserving our City to be Attractive, Vibrant and Green."
  • Discussed a beautification program for residents to participate and giving out awards such as gift cards from area businesses and having an award sign put in their yard.
 Beautification Commission meetings are the second last Wednesday of every month. The next meeting will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mentor plans road dedication for fallen soldier

Honoring a fallen hero, responding to a wedding reception fire and scoring some drug busts — those are among the things that Mentor public servants have been up to lately, based on the latest Mentor city manager memo to City Council.

Manager Comments 
• We have been making arrangements with the family of Sgt. Mark T. Smykowski for the dedication of his Memorial Highway as previously authorized by the State Legislature. The signs will be located on Route 84 at both the 306 and Chillicothe intersections. As you will recall, this young man, age 23, and Mentor graduate was killed in action in June of 2006 in Iraq.

We would like to have the ceremony at the start of our Sept. 4 council meeting, at which time we will present a short video of the family unveiling the memorial road signs and have Council officially dedicate the road and present the family with commemorative memorial street signs which they can keep. We also anticipate that State Sen. Eklund and Reps. Young and Yuko will also be in attendance.

• At 4:58 p.m. on Aug. 16, the Mentor Police Department responded to a disturbance call at Mentor Square Apartments located at 6615 Center St. While on scene, officers attempted to speak to a male involved, and this male fled on foot while appearing to be carrying a firearm in his waistband. A perimeter was set up and a search for the male was conducted. The male was located hiding under a porch on Mansion Drive a short time later. He refused commands to come out from the porch. 

After continued requests to come out, he was sprayed with pepper spray. He then pointed his weapon at officers. The officers on scene secured a perimeter and waited until the Mentor SWAT and the Hostage Negotiations Team responded. After several hours of negotiations, he surrendered peacefully. He was identified as Antonio F. Iaconianni, 24. He was charged with aggravated menacing, obstructing official business, and carrying a concealed weapon. The Fire Department supported the operation.

Fire Department
• Fire Station Nos. 3, 4 and 5 responded to Capelli’s Aug. 11 at 8:02 p.m. for a fire alarm. The alarm was caused by candles igniting a plastic flower arrangement during a wedding reception. The fire was extinguished by employees with portable fire extinguishers. Smoke was cleared and the reception continued. Fire Prevention is following up with this and other safety concerns.

• On Aug. 11 at 1:08 a.m., paramedics were called to Lakeshore Boulevard for a female assault victim.  Reportedly, she was leaning in the car window when her husband pulled the car forward and then assaulted her.  The female was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Aug. 12 at 2:39 a.m., the fire department responded to Grace Court for a motor vehicle accident. Reportedly, a male lost control of his vehicle and struck the attached garage of a home. Emergency crews arrived to find two males in their early twenties outside of the vehicle. Both denied driving the vehicle. One was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition and the other refused treatment. Personnel helped remove the vehicles from the garage and shored up the structure for the homeowners. The police are investigating the circumstances and, fortunately, nobody in the home was injured.

Police Department
• An injury accident occurred Saturday morning at 5 a.m. on I-90 westbound, east of SR306. An intoxicated driver drove off the right side of the rode and struck a guardrail, spinning the vehicle to the middle of the highway. The driver, who was not injured, exited the vehicle and sat on the side of the road. Another vehicle driving westbound did not see the stationary car on the road and struck it. The driver of this vehicle suffered injuries to his head, chest and knee. The crash is under investigation and charges are pending against the at-fault driver.

• A vehicle was stopped for marked lanes violations by one of our officers trained in highway drug interdiction.  The officer is part of the police department’s A.C.E. (Aggressive Criminal Enforcement) unit. While speaking to the driver, the officer smelled a strong odor of raw marijuana. The vehicle and all three occupants were searched.  Located in the car and on the occupants was a half-pound of marijuana and $1,800 cash.  The driver was charged with trafficking in marijuana, possession of marijuana and criminal tools. A passenger was charged with possession of marijuana.

• The A.C.E. unit stopped a vehicle on Wednesday evening. The officer smelled an odor of marijuana and searched the occupants and the vehicle. The officer located $5,029 in the pocket of one of the passengers. He also located drug paraphernalia and a hypodermic needle in the vehicle. The money was seized, along with six cell phones, from the three occupants of the vehicle. We anticipate trafficking in narcotics charges will be issued after a forensic search of the cell phones is completed. 

• The city opened bids for sidewalk replacement on Aug. 16. Legislation will be presented to Council on Aug. 21 to recommend approval of a Resolution of Necessity, as well as a contract to award for sidewalk replacement based on the lowest and best bid. A total of 1,517 slabs have been identified as having deficiencies. Of those, the City will be repairing 516, which includes sidewalk ramps at street intersections. The remaining 1,001 slabs are the responsibility of the homeowner to have repaired. The City will also be having a public meeting on Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at the Senior Center’s Main Hall to provide residents more information regarding this program.  Residents that have had sidewalk marked by the City have been notified by mail this week of the upcoming meeting.

• The City has estimated project assessment costs for providing storm sewer improvements to Harrison Street storm sewer. Residents will be notified this week of an upcoming public meeting here at the Municipal Center for Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. to discuss the assessment process and costs. The meeting will be held in the 2nd Floor Conference Room.

• The Bellflower Road asphalt surface course was placed and the road was opened to two-way traffic on Aug. 13.  The remaining work, which will be performed under two-way traffic, includes joint sealing, traffic loop installation and pavement markings, is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 24.

• A contractor is working on roadway replacement on Stoneybrook Lane and Garfield Road. The contractor has also moved equipment to the retention pond at SR84 and Garfield Road to start work on the reconstruction of the overflow channel from Newell Creek into the pond. Guardrail on the east side of Garfield Road still needs to be installed as well as final restoration on residential properties. The scheduled completion date for construction is Sept.16.

Parks and Recreation Department
• It is finally here!  “Everything You Wanted To Do, But Your Mother Wouldn’t Let You” rolls into the Civic Center Amphitheater on Aug. 21 beginning at noon and running until 3 p.m. This messy, gooey, sticky, wonderful, entertaining program has sold out again this year and we have made accommodations to take all the people on the waiting list, so no one that wanted to join us is left clean and on the side lines!

• Most of our college lifeguards have returned to college so Garfield Park Swimming Pool is now closed. The Civic Center and Morton Pools are still open for those sultry days of August. Morton and Civic Center will remain open from 1 to 5 p.m., Aug. 20 to 24 and will be open Aug. 25 from 1 to 8 p.m. The pools will close for the season at the end of the day on Aug. 26.

• The Wildwood Community Gardens are doing well this year. Many of the gardeners have donated produce to the Senior Center for use in the lunch program. Their generosity is very much appreciated by the seniors!

Economic and Community Development
• Staff had a follow-up meeting with a prospective tenant in the Midland/ Mentor Avenue vicinity.

• Tom Thielman and Ron Traub met with a Mentor manufacturer seeking to convert manufacturing/warehousing space to additional offices, which could result in additional jobs.

• Ron Traub is attended the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) regional meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

• Tom Thielman met with Jay Fernandez, Business Advisor, Economic Development Division of Cuyahoga Community Colleges regarding the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses initiative. Goldman Sachs is investing $500 million to help small businesses create jobs by providing entrepreneurs with education, access to capital, and business support services. The program is being launched in seven cities across the nation, which includes the Cleveland market. Tri-C is in partnership with Goldman Sachs to provide area business owners practical business and management education free of cost.

• In order to reduce administrative costs and streamline payroll processes, a goal has been set to eliminate paper negotiable checks and set up all employees for direct deposit by the end of September 2012. Employees currently still being paid by a negotiable check will receive a memo with their paycheck this week instructing them to provide necessary documentation to the payroll department in order to set them up for direct deposit. 

Public Works Department
•    Rebuilt 4 inlet basins on Cornell
•    Full depth asphalt repairs on King Memorial
•    Sidewalk replacement — various sections along Mentor Ave.
•    Slabjacking concrete road sections along Deepwood Blvd.
•    Established composting area at Wildwood community garden
•    Repaired vandalized irrigation system at ERW park - $1,500
•    Dog Park pavilion — underway
•    Storm sewer repairs on Chillicothe and Lorrich
•    Completing layouts for drainage assistance projects
•    Storm sewer cleaning Georgetown and Sutherland
•    Drainage assistance project — Cumberland

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Planned DTW building project sparks debate

A new combined commercial and residential development planned for downtown Willoughby has started serious conversations between residents and at the most recent council meeting.

Read the article about the split vote from Willoughby City Council on passing a resolution approving the construction: Split Willoughby Council OK's condominium plans along Sharpe, Euclid avenues.

Here is a quick rundown on what is planned:
  • B.R. Knez Construction, Concord Township is looking to build 12 brownstone-style buildings. Each building is three-stories high with plans for first-floor light commercial/office space with residential units, both one and two-story, above. Each building will have a commercial space and there will be 18 residential units.
  • The lot is located at Sharpe, Euclid and Clark Avenues in Willoughby. Five buildings will face Euclid, two will face Clark and the remaining five will face north on the property.
Before being approved by the council, the construction plans underwent some changes:
  • The Design Review Board Historic Preservation District heard the plans twice. The first time they were denied. Knez Construction then changed the plans, making the buildings only three stories instead of four.
  • The Planning Commission agreed to the plan, but required some stipulations from the company. One of the conditions agreed to was that the buildings facing Euclid Avenue would be built first. This was to ensure that if the project was stalled for any reason, then buildings wouldn't be scattered across the lot. Another condition was that the commission would withhold building permits until the city's law department reviewed the proposed deed restrictions and homeowner's association covenant created by Knez.
Residents and city officials have expressed pros and cons to this project.

  • It is one of the few combined commercial and residential projects in the area. This promotes the city's work/play/live strategy for revitalizing downtown Willoughby and drawing more people.
  • Offers more options available to businesses/residents looking to locate to Willoughby.
  • Neighbors surrounding the lot, which has sat vacant for many years, are concerned about the lack of green space. Constructing 12 buildings on a single large lot may overwhelm the neighborhood.
  • Increased traffic could cause more congestion on the streets in downtown Willoughby and more people could put strain on sewer system.
Elizabeth Lundblad
Twitter: @NewsHLiz

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time to 'Drive Sober' in Mentor...

You may want to think twice if you plan to drink & drive in Mentor in the coming weeks; a big Mentor Lagoons erosion project cleared a final hurdle; and the city appears to be performing better than many in the retail arena — those items and more in the latest weekly city manager memo to council.

Manager Comments 
• The Mentor Police Department will be joining with other law enforcement officers, highway safety officials, and safety advocates across the state in support of the 2012 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The effort will target impaired drivers from Aug. 17-Sept. 3. During these dates, additional patrol units will be patrolling in an effort to identify impaired drivers.

• We recently learned the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has approved the city’s Shore Structure Permit application to repair approximately 600 feet of shoreline adjacent to the Marina. This now allows us to bid the work to restore the armor stone lost and repair the resulting erosion. The Army Corps of Engineers has already approved the repair.

• Initial steps have begun for the 2013 budget preparation. Departments should plan on turning in budget requests by Sept. 10. A formal budget memo with a specific timeline will be published soon. We anticipate a first council work session to be on or around Oct. 16.

Fire Department
• On Aug. 5 at 7:59 a.m., the Fire Department was called to Headlands Road for a 34-year-old male who nearly drowned while competing in a triathlon. Paramedics arrived to find a bystander administering CPR. Paramedics administered advance life support care and transported the male to Lake Health TriPoint.

• On Aug. 6 and Aug.7, the Fire Department responded to two separate motorcycle accidents. The first was on Tyler Boulevard where a male lost control of his motorcycle and was found lying in the grass near the roadway. The second single motorcycle crash occurred on Corduroy Road, where a male lost control of his motorcycle and crashed. Neither was wearing a helmet and both suffered head injuries, requiring transport to the hospital.

• On Aug. 8 at 8:14 a.m., paramedics were called to a home on Munson Road to treat a male who fell from his roof. The male was transported to Hillcrest Hospital in stable condition.

• On Aug. 8 at 9:53 a.m., fire crews responded to Rich’s Lounge at 9324 Mentor Ave. for a reported fire in the electrical panel. The power was shut down, controlling the fire, and an electrician was called to make repairs. The bar remains open for business.

Police Department
• A female was arrested at the Studio 6 motel after officers discovered she was promoting herself as a prostitute and conducting a massage parlor in her room. A complaint was received regarding several males coming to and leaving from the female’s room. Officers knocked on her door and found a massage table, prostitution client ledger, narcotics (prescription pills) and drug paraphernalia. This female has been known to frequent the city motels and advertise her services on the Internet.

• The department Facebook page continues to have success with over 4,700 followers in a 10-month period. We are posting information regarding crime prevention tips and activities occurring in the city.  We have also posted traffic alerts when there are accidents causing significant delays or road closures.  This is in addition to our regular postings for criminal arrests. We anticipate having over 5,000 followers by the time we hit our first year anniversary in October 2012.

Economic and Community Development
• CBRE released their mid-year 2012 Retail Overview; retail vacancy was 11.8 percent in Lake County (in Cuyahoga County East the rate was 18.9 percent). The vacancy rate in Willoughby trade area was above 15 percent; in Mentor-Great Lakes, the vacancy rate was 6.8 percent. The report continues that “some well-performing stores are looking to relocate to newer prototypes or to relocate to areas with stronger demographics…Mentor (has) been (an) active market with retailer interest and new store openings.”

• Rick Spence and Ron Traub met with representatives of Laketran and their consultant (Parsons Brinckerhoff) regarding their long-range plans. The conversation centered on the location of existing and potential employment generators, healthcare facilities, and low to moderate income neighborhoods.

• MEACO is working on two new loan applications for AAA Stamping, Inc. and Macy Family Dentistry.

• The Engineering and Building and Economic and Community Development Departments have begun using iPads for some inspections. The iPads give the inspectors the ability to provide “real time” inspections with the results being emailed to the homeowners and/or contractors of the project. So far, this new procedure has been successfully tested on the city sidewalk program and zoning and fence inspections. In the near future, we will be looking to begin using the iPads for other types of inspections.

Parks and Recreation Department
• As of Aug. 3, pool attendance was 83,664, which is up by 16,555 swimmers compared to the 5-year average; a 25 percent increase. Overall, aquatic revenue is up $16,597 over the same 5-year average.

• The Mentor swim team was undefeated in regular season and also won the league championship.

• Blackbrook hosted 111 golfers for the Cardinal Club Boys Basketball Outing on Aug. 4. They will be host to the Kirtland Athletic Boosters Golf Outing on Aug. 14. The junior golf league completed another successful season on Thursday. Both the Mentor and Lake Catholic High Schools are having tryouts this week at Blackbrook.

Public Works Department
• Full depth asphalt repair - Hendricks @ Brownstone and King Memorial
• Rebuilt 3 inlet basins on Lenore, one on Cornell
• Completed sidewalk replacements on SR 306 between US 20 and Tyler
• Repaired street lights on SR 615 near Norton Parkway
• Provided emergency power to traffic signals on US 20 during outage on August 5th
• Dog Park improvements
• Replaced vandalized irrigation heads at Walsh Park
• Completed ditch improvements (re-profiling and stabilization) of Barto Ditch from Roosevelt to Jackson
• Storm sewer cleaning - Spring Blossom, Cherry Blossom and Georgetown
• Mentor Park Blvd. - roadside ditch cleaning
• Remove vegetative growth near culvert inlet – Rockport
• The State Forester advises that lack of rain and high temperatures are increasing the likelihood of a gypsy moth outbreak.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Robber makes restitution to victims

A robber makes restitution to Mentor victims, the Old Village Market is moving, and a softball tournament benefitting the family of a deceased Mentor firefighter is turning out to be a financial boon to the city. Find out what else is going on in the city, including construction updates, in the latest city manager memo to City Council:

Manager Comments 
•    The Lake County Prosecutor’s office recently made us aware that Paul Shimelonis, who was convicted of several robberies in the city taking place last year, made restitution to nine Mentor households for a total amount of $14,500.

•    The Old Village Market started well this past Friday, despite some initial confusion due to a relocation of vendors at the request of the Park Service. Unfortunately, this will be the last year the Market will be located at the Garfield home.  The National Park Services has informed us that their mission allows only events related in theme to the Park’s purpose and heritage. We are considering Civic Center as a new site next year.

•    The two-day Matt Henk softball tournament was played recently with 52 teams competing. The Public Safety Division was won by Columbus Fire while the business division was won by B & R Kyle.  Local teams, as well as, teams from Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Michigan participated with several arriving days early to visit the area. All Mentor hotels were filled and area restaurants were unusually busy Friday evening because of the out-of-the area teams and their families.

•    Income tax collections for the month of July were up $133,000 when compared to July of last year.  The current total year collections through July, as compared to last year, are up 12.25 percent.

•    The Mentor Police Department’s Facebook page has reached 4,000 “Likes.” This is more than the Cleveland Police Department. The Facebook page is a great addition to staying in touch with our community.

Police Department
•    On July 29, a male forced entry into the Hooley House, 7861 Reynolds Rd. The suspect disabled the alarm speaker from the kitchen and then poured himself a drink. When officers arrived the suspect tried to flee out of an opposite door, but was immediately captured and arrested for breaking and entering. Once secured in the jail, the male damaged the jail cell smoke detector and plugged the toilet causing water damage. He was charged with vandalism for the damage to the jail cell.

•    An officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for excessive window tint. While speaking with the driver, he smelled an odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. The officer searched the vehicle and located a Crown Royal bag in the trunk that contained eight small baggies of marijuana. The driver admitted he sells marijuana to make money. He was arrested and charged with trafficking in marijuana. A cell phone, $280 in cash and the vehicle were seized for possible forfeiture.

•    An officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on SR2. The officer could smell an odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. The rear passenger handed the officer a marijuana cigarette, which he admitted he was smoking. There was an open bottle of vodka next to this male. He was arrested for possession of marijuana and open container in a motor vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, officers found an automatic knife disguised as a miniature handgun. A female passenger admitted the knife was hers. She was an illegal Mexican immigrant. The female was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and will eventually be turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol. The driver was cited and released.

•    SR 2 Widening and Reconstruction – Mainline work is proceeding. The contractor is working on median lighting and has begun foundations for noise walls east of Center Street. Work on Center Street should take approximately three more weeks to complete. Beginning next week, excavation will occur on Heisley Road with lane closures beginning in 2-3 weeks. Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.

•    2012 Road Repair Program — All concrete repairs and asphalt paving are complete. A punch list is being prepared for the project, and final clean-up will occur before the contracts are closed out.

•    Safe Routes to Schools Infrastructure Project — The infrastructure improvement project has been advertised for bid. Work with this contract will include a school flasher update at Shore Middle School, curb ramp improvements near Sterling Morton Elementary, a sidewalk from Eagles Nest to Orchard Hollow Elementary, a sidewalk along the southerly drive of Shore Middle School, a sidewalk from Washington Avenue to Shore Middle School and bike racks at each of the three schools. The project, funded totally by an ODOT grant, is slated for completion by August of 2013.

•    Garfield Road/Stoneybrook Lane Culvert Improvement: The contractor should be finished with the installation of the culvert on Garfield Road this week. Beginning this week, they will be performing restoration over the culverts on Stoneybrook Lane and Garfield Road. The final phase of the project will be to improve the stream overflow into the retention pond at SR84 and Garfield Road where the existing embankment has washed out.

•    City Sidewalk Replacement Program: The City will be advertising for bids for sidewalk repair work with bid opening scheduled for Aug. 16. We are anticipating that a potential contract may be available to present to council for award on Aug. 21, along with the legislation for the Resolution of Necessity to implement the sidewalk repairs in Ward 2, Zone 2B.

Fire Department
•    On July 28 at 3:59 a.m., paramedics were called for treatment of an unresponsive female, reportedly the victim of an attempted suicide from drug and alcohol ingestion. Once on scene, paramedics administered Narcan and provided advanced care. The patient was transported to the hospital in stable condition. The scene was turned over to the police department for their investigation.

•    On July 28 at 4:09 p.m., paramedics were called to treat a child in respiratory arrest. The child was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

•    The fire department union, Local 1845, will again be participating in the MDA’s “Fill the Boot” campaign on August 23-26 at Diamond Centre.

Parks and Recreation Department
•    Black Brook Golf Course & Practice Center was voted “Best of the Best Reader’s Choice Award” by the readers of The News-Herald. This is the second time we have won this award. We appreciate the recognition by all those who voted and we want to congratulate Tim and the staff at Black Brook on exemplifying the positive image of the city of Mentor.

•    The Family Campout is scheduled for Friday at the Civic Amphitheater. This family fun night is a chance for the family to go on a camping trip with out leaving the city limits, plus we’ll supply the campfire, games, crafts, snacks and a late night swim at the pool. So grab your tent and sleeping bags, give us a call and register to join us for this annual event.

•    The official name change ceremony for the Edward R. Walsh Park will be held on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the entrance sign.

•    The Children’s Pet show was held this week at the Civic Amphitheater. Aside from the normal pet, we also had a goldfish that swam upside down, the return of “Super Duck,” and we learned that an iguana’s tale is twice as long as it’s body. All the participants had a great time and we want to thank our sponsors Pet-tastic and Walmart for donating the prizes, animal treats and judging the contest.

•    Tuesday night, the band “Chance” had the largest crowd we have ever had with over 1,000 folks enjoying the final concert of the year.

•    The Recreation Department had a meeting with the city manager to discuss the plan for the 2013 Fall Festival. The meeting went well and the department will continue to work on the plan for next year’s festival.

Economic and Community Development
•    Attended the Ohio Tax Credit Authority meeting in Columbus on behalf of PMi, Wiseco; a 55 percent credit for 10 years beginning in 2013 was approved.

•    Tom O’Hara & Ron Traub met with the representatives of the Western Reserve Community Development Corporation regarding the housing rehabilitation program; the Corporation has a “short” waiting list.

•    Ken Filipiak and Ron Traub toured the Center Street Village School project; the built-out of the salon is well under way and a podiatrist will occupy the first floor of the building.

•    Field work has been completed for an extension to the community reinvestment area, which will encompass an area bounded by Twinbrook and Tyler Boulevard between Hopkins Road and the B-2, General Business district on Tyler Boulevard.

•    The city received $211,000 from Time Warner and AT&T for video service franchise fees for the second quarter of calendar year 2012. First half of the year revenue equals $428,000. Estimated annual revenue from this source is $760,000.

Public Works Department
•    Remove Phragmites from easement at north end of Willowbrook
•    Fabricating/installing new sign for Edward R. Walsh park
•    Installing new radios in all City vehicles
•    Enclosing rafters at Mentor Beach Park
•    Sidewalk replacement - Center Street
•    Full depth asphalt repair - Hendricks at Brownstone
•    Inlet basin rebuilds - Deer Ridge, Cornell, Bunker Cove
•    Sign upgrade program, ongoing - replaced 105 stop signs year to date
•    FS #4 generator scheduled to go operational in end of August
•    Began improvement to Barto Ditch from Roosevelt to Jackson
•    Cleaned Martin Ohm Ditch from St. James to Meadowbrook
•    Roadside Ditch cleaning from 6199 to 6233 Mentor Park   

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

A statement from Stan Heffner

For those of us wondering what Stan Heffner, former Ohio superintendent of public instruction and longtime Madison Schools superintendent, has to say for himself after resigning Saturday amid ethical questions, here is a statement he issued afterward:

"Much needed components underway in Ohio’s schools are too important to let anything get in their way. Because I don’t want opponents of reform to be able to twist mistakes I’ve made into roadblocks to Ohio’s reform efforts, I’m stepping aside to deny them even the chance of doing that. Under the State Board of Education’s succession plan, starting at 5:00 pm on Friday, August 10, Michael Sawyers, Deputy Superintendent, will begin leading the Department of Education until the Board names a new state superintendent.

"I’ve loved working with my friends and colleagues at the Department. I think they’re some of the smartest, hardest-working and compassionate people I’ve ever met. I wish them every success in following through with the improvements we’ve set in motion to help all of Ohio’s kids. In my 38 years in this profession, I’ve always put the best interests of students ahead of the desires of adults and the complacency of institutions, and that includes me."

This statement didn't make it into the AP story we ran on his resignation in Sunday's paper. John Charlton, a spokesman for the Education Department, initially said he couldn't elaborate on the retirement resignation letter, according to the AP article. However, the statement later was emailed by Charlton to certain members of the media.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Eastlake and Lakeline agree on safety contracts

A recent agreement means the City of Eastlake will provide fire and police services to Village of Lakeline for the next three years.

Approved by the Eastlake City Council at a special meeting on Aug. 1, the city will provide fire and police protection services for another three years with the contracts ending on Dec. 31, 2015.

The new agreement has Lakeline paying a four percent increase per year for the coverage.
In 2012, Lakeline paid $2,61.77 per month for police services and $1,625.29 per month for fire services, according to numbers provided by Eastlake Finance Director Mike Slocum. In 2013, Lakeline will pay $2,726.63 per month for police and $1,690.30 per month for fire.

Elizabeth Lundblad
Twitter: @NewsHLiz

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