Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mentor safety forces put to the test

Last week was a busy one for Mentor police and fire — a big drug bust, restaurant fire, fuel spill, robberies, car crashes, a lawnmower accident — plus the latest on Route 2 construction-related congestion. Those items and more in the latest city manager memo to City Council.

Manager Comments 
• One Mentor officer participated in a multicounty methamphetamine roundup on Aug. 29. This raid involved the arrests of more than 60 suspects after an extensive investigation of the methamphetamine problem in Ashtabula and Lake counties for the crimes of illegal assembly, manufacturing and conspiracy to manufacture.  The investigation was initiated by the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office and Madison Police Department.

• Center Street has been paved with an intermediate layer of asphalt. Lane configurations have been returned to pre-construction configurations with the exception of right-turn lanes at Market Street and at SR 2 Eastbound. This should assist with reducing traffic congestion during the evening rush hour. In mid- to late September, the final surface layer of asphalt will be placed and the roadway will be striped to its final configuration.

• Harrison Street Storm Sewer: A public meeting was held Aug. 28 regarding a possible Harrison St. storm sewer assessment project. About 12 residents attended the meeting to learn about the assessment process and costs associated with the project. Residents were informed that they will need to circulate the petition form around the neighborhood to collect the necessary signatures (60 percent of the lot frontage along Harrison St. at a minimum) before the project could be considered for construction. Among other documents, a sample petition form was provided for their use.

Fire Department
• On Aug. 24 at 9:40 a.m., a fuel delivery driver reported that he spilled 25-plus gallons of gasoline when he overfilled one of the underground gasoline storage tanks at the city’s Maintenance Facility (later calculations indicated that possibly 200 gallons of product was spilled). The fire department was able to contain the spill to the immediate area using hydrocarbon absorbents. Also, as a preemptive measure, a pneumatic pipe plug and floating booms were placed at the outfall culvert, near the retention pond, until a private clean-up contractor removed the spilled fuel. Ohio EPA provided the oversight of the clean-up process.

• On Aug. 24 at 3:38 p.m., paramedics were called for a rollover vehicle accident on State Route 2. A jeep flipped. The driver was found walking around the scene. There were no reported injuries.

• On Aug. 24 at 5:47 p.m., the fire department provided assistance to the Concord Township Fire Department for a structure fire at the Red Hawk Grille on Auburn Road. Mentor Fire Department responded a ladder truck, safety officer and chief officers, as several departments were requested to respond via Concord MABAS box request 1313.

• On Aug. 25 , at 1:15 p.m., paramedics were called for a 60-year-old male with multiple toe amputations from a lawn mower accident. He was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Aug. 27, at 8:02 p.m., the fire department was called to a scene where an SUV hit and drove through a garage. Upon the fire department’s arrival, two occupants were out of the vehicle with no reports of injury. The fire department secured the electrical utilities to the garage and performed a structural assessment of the home. The home was able to remain occupied and the fire department assisted the homeowner with their insurance needs. The building department was notified of the incident.

• On Aug. 28 at 11:17 a.m., the fire department was called to 8671 Tyler Blvd. for report that “the building was filling with smoke.” The investigation revealed that the cause of the smoke was a faulty rooftop HVAC unit. Power was secured to the HVAC unit and the occupants were able to return to their building. An HVAC contractor was called to repair the rooftop air conditioner.

• On Aug. 29 at 2:10 p.m., the fire department was called to Foxmill Condominiums for a report of smoke in one of the units and a strong electrical odor in an attached unit. A faulty washing machine motor was discovered as the cause of the smoke and odor.

• On Aug. 29 at 2:18 p.m. paramedics were called for a woman left in a car for reportedly two hours. The patient was weak and confused. Shortly after, her daughter came to the scene and stated she only left her in the car for 45 minutes. The elderly patient was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Police Department
• The Shell gas station on Mentor Avenue was robbed Aug. 26 at 4:02 a.m. by a black male with a handgun.  The male entered the store and demanded money from the register. Along with money from the register, the male also stole Newport cigarettes and Black and Mild cigars. He fled southbound on foot. We believe he is connected to a robbery in Chardon and a robbery of the Shell gas station in Willoughby. The description of the suspect matches in all three robberies. All three robberies happened on Sunday morning.

• The PNC Bank located at 8537 Mentor Ave. was robbed at 12:44 p.m. Aug. 29. The suspect was a black male in his 30s. He handed the teller a note demanding money and then fled on foot from the bank. The suspect was identified as a past customer by the tellers. He was then arrested driving away from Mentor Mall Village, where he lives. The male is also a suspect in the Dollar Bank robbery from July 17.    

• News Channel 5 and the Mentor Police have partnered together to complete a news segment on speeding vehicles in school zones. The objective of the story is to educate motorists and get them to slow down in the school zones. A Channel 5 reporter and photographer rode with an officer on Wednesday for the first day of school. They accompanied the officer while he conducted traffic enforcement in different school zones in the city.

• SR 2 widening:
o SR 2 noise wall work continues with a mid-October completion schedule. In addition, the contractor anticipates opening the third lane eastbound by the third week of September. The third lane westbound will remain closed until mid-October.

o Heisley Road work continues. Median removal and concrete placement is scheduled to occur the week of Sept. 4. This work will limit Heisley Road to one lane in each direction from north of SR 2 to the Burger King driveway. Upon completion of this work, the contractor will begin the addition of the second right-turn lane from Diamond Centre to SR 2 eastbound, limiting northbound traffic to one lane. This work is expected to be completed in two to three weeks.
o Signal pole delivery for the project has been delayed to Dec. 1. At this time, the contractor anticipates maintaining temporary signals to service traffic until the signal installations can be completed next spring. This office will continue to coordinate traffic-control operations with ODOT and their contractor.

• Sidewalk Replacement Program: On Aug. 23rd, the City had a public meeting concerning the sidewalk program at the Mentor Senior Center. Nineteen residents attended the meeting. The Engineering Dept. is currently mailing out notices to residents regarding deficient sidewalk. Residents will have 45 days from receipt of their notice to complete sidewalk repairs. Sidewalk repairs not completed by this date or residents not under contract with a sidewalk contractor will be placed into the assessment portion of the program to have repairs completed.

• Stoneybrook Lane/Garfield Road Culvert Replacements: The project is now substantially complete. Culverts under Stoneybrook Lane and Garfield Rd. have been installed and pavement restoration is complete. The contractor has seeded and mulched the surrounding areas. The overflow spillway at the pond at Garfield Rd. and SR84 has been repaired with new rock channel protection that has been cement grouted in place. The only remaining item to be performed is the installation of guardrail on the east side of Garfield Road.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The Classic Car Cruise-In returns to the Civic Center campus Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This event has drawn close to 1,000 cars in the past and with a little help from Mother Nature (it rained us out last year), we will have another great year. Cruise in for some great-looking cars, music and a bit of history. If it rains, we’ll do it Sunday instead.

• The Fall/Winter Recreation brochure is out and registration for classes and programs for Mentor residents begins today. Check out the brochure in print or go to the website, www.cityofmentor.com/play and click on the Fall/Winter Brochure on the bottom of the page.

• This week, the Solo Rider golf cart finally arrived at Black Brook. We will place the cart in operation immediately. The addition of this golf cart to the fleet will now allow people of different abilities the chance to golf at a premier golf course. Next time you are by the course, stop by and have the staff demonstrate how the cart works.

• On Aug. 28, the Mentor Senior Center — along with the Italian, German, Slovenian, and Hungarian cultural groups — held the first International Potluck Picnic at Mentor Beach Park. The event was bigger and better this year because all of the cultural groups involved, and there was plenty of food and entertainment shared by the 100 people in attendance.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman met with representatives for Lake National Bank regarding a new SBA 504 loan for a retail new construction project in Mentor estimated at $1.5 million.

• Thielman also attended the Ohio Jobs Creation Tax Authority meeting in Columbus representing the City in support of Cleveland Construction’s application for State Tax Credits for their proposed corporate headquarters expansion. The request was unanimously approved.

• The City welcomed new employee Jennifer Mohr to her position as accounting assistant. She will be working in the purchasing and accounts payable functions in the Finance Department.

• The City’s 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is complete. Copies have been distributed this week to all recipients and the CAFR is now posted on the city’s Wiki. We have also submitted the report to the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) for its consideration and review under the certificate of achievement award program. The entire CAFR is prepared in house, including design and printing, saving us the cost of paying an outside printer.

Public Works Department
• Dog Park pavilion completed
• Garfield Park pavilion roof replacement - ongoing
• Prepping baseball fields for Labor Day tournaments
• Inlet basin rebuilds on Jeremy (3)
• Concrete road repairs - Cornell/Ellington
• Provided emergency generators for traffic signals on 8/29
• Crack sealing - SR 84
• Storm sewer repairs - Sea Pines and Thistlewood
• Completed large drainage assistance program on Cumberland benefitting five properties
• Storm sewer cleaning - Palmerston, Traymor and Brainard

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


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