Wednesday, December 26, 2012

More behind-the-scenes news from Mentor

A Mentor business owner spies scrap metal thieves in the act, a new police chief is about to step into his new role, and a new tack is being taken to curb deer damage at Veterans Park. Those items and more in the city manager’s latest weekly report to City Council.

Manager Comments 
• The ESID bonds for the Great Lakes Mall project were sold, and the funds in this transaction were sent and received. This bond issue is now closed. This project represents just the third issue of “property assessed clean energy” bonds issued in Ohio.

• Lake County Community Residential Recycling Grant funds were received in the amount of $63,464.40.

• A Swearing-in ceremony for the new police chief, Kevin Knight, will be on Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. in the 3rd Floor Council Chambers of City Hall.  This event will be open to Kevin’s family and friends, City Council and any Mentor employees who would like to attend.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 14 at 4:15 a.m., paramedics responded to a one-car MVA where the car drove into a ditch at the exit ramp to Rt. 615. The patient was treated and transported to Hillcrest Hospital.

• On Dec. 14 at 4:24 p.m., paramedics responded to two assault victims in the Gabriel Brothers parking lot on Market Street. A female, the theft suspect, got into an altercation with a security guard. The security guard was treated at the scene as well as the suspect’s sister. A release form was obtained and no one was transported.

• On Dec. 15 at 1:44 a.m., the Mentor Technical Rescue Team was requested, via MABAS Box Alarm 1974, to respond to Kirtland for the rescue of a distraught male who reportedly slid down a steep ledge at Chapin Forest. Kirtland Fire was able to access the male using ropes and canceled our Technical Rescue Team prior to our arrival.

• Dec.16 at 9:57 a.m., paramedics responded to a two-car MVA in Heinen’s parking lot. One female was transported with minor injuries and the other was released.

• On Dec. 16 at 5:20 p.m., the Fire Department assisted Eastlake with a house fire at 610 East 331st St. We sent the air truck and a Chief Officer as part of MABAS Box 1711 1st Alarm.

• On Dec. 16 at 10:54 p.m., paramedics responded to a male with a possible drug overdose. The patient was administered Narcan and was then transported to Lake West.

Police Department
• Two males were arrested for stealing 80 lbs. of scrap metal from behind a business on Production Drive. The owner of the business contacted police while viewing the theft in progress via a surveillance system. Both suspects were charged with theft.

• A male was arrested for attempted voyeurism for peering into an apartment window of a child’s bedroom at Heatherstone apartments. Two officers observed the suspect peering into the window while in the parking lot of Heatherstone. The suspect saw the officers, hurried to his car and drove away. The officers stopped the suspect and noticed his pants zipper was down. A marijuana smoking pipe was recovered from his vehicle. The suspect has two previous incidents, one for public indecency and one for theft of undergarments from another apartment complex outside the city of Mentor. 

• Black Brook Road Waterline Replacement Project – Aqua Ohio’s contractor, D. B. Bentley Inc. is installing an 8-inch replacement waterline on Blackbrook Road between SR44 and the entrance to the Lake County Engineer’s Office. The project length is 2,450 feet, of which 1,020 feet is located in the City of Mentor. The installation of the water main has been completed and they are awaiting the results of the bacteria tests before individual service taps are made to residences. The waterline work should be completed by Jan. 11. Restoration will be completed in the spring.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Mark your calendars for the Mentor Ice Arena’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 12. There will be a pancake breakfast from 9–11 a.m. Donations for the breakfast will benefit the Mentor Special Skaters Program. Also, there will be a rededication ceremony at 10:45 a.m. We hope to have the attendance of City Council, city officials and any staff who would like to join us for the ceremony. This invitation is also open to any members of the community who may have helped with the Ice Arena Project 30 years ago or who may have participated in the programs since that time.

• The Natural Resource staff is working with Lake Metroparks to create a deer exclosure at Veteran’s Park. The exclosure is designed to keep deer out of an area to demonstrate how the forest will regenerate itself if it is not over browsed.

• A beaver has moved into Garfield Park pond recently. The beaver’s handy work can be observed along the south shore of the pond by the boardwalk area. We have been in contact with a trapper to remove the beaver from the pond.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman, Ken Filipiak and Ron Traub attended the MEACO quarterly Board meeting. It was reported that approximately $86,000 is available to loan in the CDBG loan fund. MEACO has loaned out over $470,000 to 18 companies since the program’s inception; eight loans have been paid in full, one discharged by bankruptcy and the remaining 11 are active loans. MEACO entered into eight SBA 504 loans in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 with a total value of over $2 million. To date, three “deals” are in progress.

Public Works Department
• Prepared & calibrated brine truck
• Cold patching - Citywide
• Completed signal pole foundations on Plaza Blvd.
• Removing stumps from Black Brook Golf Course driving range
• Storm sewer cleaning - North of Bellflower - west of SR 615
• Storm sewer inspections - Tortugas, Twinbrook, Tyler
• Completed drainage assistance project (DAP) on Carolyn
• Began DAP on Tortugas
• Ongoing - upgrade of Garfield ballroom, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, December 17, 2012

More details on rescue at home hit by car

More details about a car-into-house crash that injured a family, ice arena events are heating up, and mobile coffee truck business gets a big loan to expand. Those items and more in the weekly Mentor city manager report to City Council:

Manager Comments
• On Dec. 9 at 2:51 a.m., the fire department was called to 7044 Comanche Trail for a car into a house. Crews arrived to find a large car had been driven completely into the home, injuring all four occupants of the home. Fire and police personnel entered the house through the large hole in the front wall and a window in the pushed out rear wall to search for the injured. One injured female (home occupant) sitting in the kitchen reported her babies were trapped under the car. She was not trapped, was the least injured and was being guarded by her dog.

Police and Fire entering from the rear of the house located an 18-month-old female in the debris. She was trapped upside down (feet up/head down) in a pack-n-play that was crushed between the front of the car and a smashed couch. Space was made to lift out the baby and she was packaged on a Peds board and removed through the rear window of the house. She was transported by squad to Hillcrest Hospital/Level II Trauma Center because requested helicopters were not yet in the area. She was later transferred to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

Next removed by rescuers who entered from the front of the house was an adult male (home occupant) who was lying beside the passenger side of the car. Debris was removed from him; he was c-collared, back boarded and removed through the front opening. He was transported by squad to Lake West, placed on a helicopter and flown to Cleveland Metro Level I Trauma Center.

The third patient removed was a 3-year-old male trapped under the front driver’s side of the car. Debris was removed to get down to the floor level. The patient was trapped under the car frame and suspension. Airbags were used to lift the car and hydraulic rescue spreaders used to compression the front suspension to free him. He was packaged with a c-collar and Peds board. He was transported by squad to Lost Nation Airport and then flown by helicopter to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

After the dog could be secured and all the more seriously injured had received treatment and transport, the mother was removed from the house and transported to Lake West. After the mother was released from Lake West Emergency Center, fire department personnel transported the mother to Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital to be reunited with her children. The home suffered extensive damage and the fire department worked through the day to shore, board up and secure the residence. None of the occupants of the vehicle reported any injury.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 8 at 11:18 p.m., the fire department was called to 7333 Corporate Boulevard, Metal Seal Precision for a haze of smoke in their large machine shop. Fire crews arrived to find smoke throughout the building, but no fire. All of the machines and air handlers were checked with no source found. It appears that a machine may have malfunctioned. The building was ventilated and plant operations resumed without further incident.

• Public Education continues to promote “hands-only” CPR training with more than 3,000 people receiving training year-to-date. On Dec. 11 and Dec. 13, Public Education Specialist Nate Peters and the Station Crew from Station #5 provided instruction to students at Mentor High School.

Police Department
• The police department is investigating the vehicle-into-a-house accident on Comanche. The Lake Regional Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit was activated for the accident and is conducting the reconstruction part of the investigation. Two other officers are conducting the criminal violation part of the investigation.

• K-9’s Titan and Bo assisted Chardon Police Department with a drug sniff of Chardon High School on Dec. 11. No drugs were found in any of the lockers.

Parks and Recreation Department
• All-Day Skates will be held this week, through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ice Arena. Programs offered include skating, broomball, hockey, movies, crafts and games, It is open to children 5 years old and up. The cost is $25 per person. Please call the Ice Arena at 440-974-5730 to register.

The Ice Arena will be offering the following programs during the holiday season:
• Holiday Family Skate from 1:30-3:30 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $4.

• Youth Stick and Puck 10:30-11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Saturday and Dec. 26. Admission is $10.

• Free Ice Skating Lessons on Dec. 26-28 from 11:30 a.m.-noon with purchase of admission to the noon Open Skate.

• New Year’s Eve Special on Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. All three rinks will be open. Admission is $4.

• The Ice Arena will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary on Jan. 12 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $3. Events for the day include a Pancake Breakfast from 9-11 a.m.; Free Lessons from 11:30 a.m.-noon p.m.; Open Skating from noon-5 p.m.; Hockey Clinics for ages 4-6 from 12:30-1 p.m. and ages 7–12 from 1:30-2 p.m.; and games will be played on the East Rink from 2-5 p.m. There will be exhibitions and prizes throughout the day.

• A new program, “Coffee Club” for seniors only, has begun at the Ice Arena. It is held on Wednesday mornings from 10-11:30 a.m. Enjoy a free coffee and skate rental with your $4 admission.

Economic and Community Development
• The Mentor Economic Assistance Corporation has approved a $25,000 Mentor Small Business Loan to Java Express.  Java Express is a Mentor coffee roasting business that also operates mobile coffee trucks. The loan is to help them acquire the assets of a local bagel shop in order to expand their business into retail and restaurant sectors.

• A reminder – the Finance Department is in the process of reviewing current year activity and identifying transactions that relate to the current year that are still pending. Please let us know about any items that affect calendar year 2012, especially transactions requiring purchase orders or payments to vendors.

Public Works Department
• Rewiring “City of Mentor” sign at Civic Center and SR 615
• All ARRA funds ($512,200) have now been expended on energy improvement projects
• Received quotes for installation of generator at FS #1
• Stump removal and grading at BBGC driving range
• Storm sewer cleaning  - Bellflower from S curve east
• Storm sewer televising  - Twinbrook, Hodgson, Tortugas
• Storm sewer repairs - Stockbridge, Dallas
• Began drainage assistance project - Carolyn
• Garfield Park recreation center ballroom painting
• Installed golden anniversary banners
• Completed four inlet basin rebuilds and two road slabs on Mercantile
• Completed replacement of 157 STOP signs that had substandard retro-reflectivity
• Provided manpower to cemetery, @ReporterBetsy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mentor trash rates, high-tech jobs going up

Mentor officials get a conference call from the VP, garbage rates are going up, and the area’s high-tech work force growth is getting noticed. Those and other behind-the-scenes news from the city manager’s weekly reports to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• Tony Zampedro and I joined in a conference call with Vice President Joe Biden and approximately 450 other local officials across the nation on Thursday. The purpose was to deliver the federal perspective on potential local impacts from failing to reach agreement on the “fiscal cliff” concern. The Vice President discussed the importance of continuing to invest in infrastructure and invited the participants to share their thoughts via e-mail on programs each would least like to see negatively impacted, assuming some programming cuts are inevitable. He also asked for ideas on how the federal government could help stimulate growth in our areas. For practical reasons, only a few questions could be asked. 

• The waste collection rates will be increasing for 2013. The “typical” homeowner will see their quarterly billing increase from the current rate of $20.40 to $22.26. This is the result of three factors: a 2 percent contracted increase, the 20 percent decline in the recycling grant from the LCSWMD, and in 2012 there was a credit due to the program not beginning in January.

• A recently released study by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute of the high tech work force throughout the U.S. indicated that the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor metro area ranked 16th of the top 25 areas for high tech employment growth. The metro area exhibited a 9.1% increase from 2010 to 2011; the U.S. average was 2.6%. Over a five year period, the increase was 4.3%, while the U.S. average was 1.4%. At the County level within the metro area, Lake County’s tech job growth was 22% followed by Cuyahoga County (7.5%), and Lorain County (1.6%). Overall job growth was 2.4% in Lake and Lorain Counties and 1.4% in Cuyahoga County.

• The Board of Directors for the Lake County Communities Energy Special Improvement District (Tony Pestyk, Ron Traub, Kevin Malecek, and I) met Friday morning to accept an amendment to the petition to create the ESID. The amendment was necessary to finalize the scope of the improvements proposed at the Great Lakes Mall. The petition was accepted and will be forwarded to City Council for consideration.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 3 at 3:20 p.m., the Police and Fire departments responded to a motorcycle accident on Hidden Glen Drive. Despite advance trauma life support efforts the patient died at the hospital. The operator of the motorcycle lost control and fell off the motorcycle while driving eastbound, suffering a fatal head injury. Speed appears to be the causative factor of the accident.

• On Nov. 29 at 10:19 p.m., the fire department was called to Lincoln Electric for an industrial accident. A male was treated for a penetrating injury when a piece of wire went through his shoe and into the bottom of his foot. The patient was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Dec. 1 at 11:43 a.m., the fire department responded to a car vs. bicycle MVA. Reportedly, the crash occurred at a low speed. The cyclist was treated and transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Police Department
• A male was arrested for robbery at Walmart over the weekend. The male selected DVDs and CDs and walked out of the store without paying. He was confronted outside the store by two members of Walmart loss prevention. The suspect tried to run but was grabbed by loss prevention. The suspect also tried to punch the loss prevention employees. This same male is a suspect in a theft from the Chardon Walmart. 

• Two males were arrested after assaulting the owner of Maracas, 7597 Mentor Ave. Both males began fighting other patrons in the bar before the owner was able to push one of the suspects outside. Two other friends of the suspect came out and began punching the owner. The owner sustained a cut to his chin.

• Income tax collections for the month of November were lower than November of last year by $545,000. The year-to-date November collections as compared to last year are up 9.64%.

• SR 2 Widening — ODOT has placed raised pavement markers (reflectors in the pavement) on each of the ramps at the Heisley Road and Center Street interchanges. In addition, raised pavement markers have been installed to assist in guiding motorists on Center Street in the northbound and southbound directions. Also, additional pavement markings are expected to be installed on Heisley Road to better transition traffic into the eastbound right turn lanes. It is still hoped that this work can occur before the weather conditions decline; however, no schedule has been provided to date.

Parks and Recreation Department
• There are two acts booked for Mentor’s CityFest and we are working on an agreement for the entertainment for Friday and Saturday. We are also getting quotes on the staging, lighting and sound.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman and Terry Botirus participated in a SBA 504 loan closing for Bess Industries. Bess Industries, a Mentor metal fabrication shop, purchased a building at 9475 Pinecone for a total project cost of $377,000.

• MEACO is currently reviewing a Mentor Small Business Loan application from a local coffee roaster for the purchase of an existing retail establishment in Mentor.

• The Crockett Group of Howard Hanna has shared homes sales data for the third quarter of 2012: 116 homes were sold in Mentor for the third quarter; down 27% from the same period in 2011. In Lake County the rate declined less than one percent.  The average selling price for a home in Mentor was $145,243 in the third quarter 2012; slightly higher (1%) than 2011. In Lake County the average selling price was virtually unchanged at $138,509. The average length of time a house was on the market declined 9% in Mentor to 116 days and less than 1% in Lake County (146).

Public Works Department
•    Completed installation of Christmas lights on Civic Center Blvd.
•    Renovated shower in Court
•    Move/install office furniture in City Hall
•    Dura patching - Dorrwood
•    Concrete curb repair - Glencairn
•    Inlet basin rebuilds - Mercantile
•    Completed concrete curbing for entrance island at Lagoons
•    Beginning various projects at BBGC
•    Storm sewer cleaning - Cambridge Park, Bellflower
•    Storm sewer televising - streets off of Hendricks
•    Storm sewer repairs - Cardinal, Club Ct.
•    Completed annual maintenance for all generators
•    Getting quotes for installation of FS #1 generator
•    Chipping branches from Sandy
•    Working with Engineering/ODOT for enhanced opticom functionality at Heisley/SR 2

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas lights turned on in Downtown Willoughby

I attended last week's tree lighting ceremony in Downtown Willoughby and recorded some (bad) video from the event:

It was my first time at the lighting, and I enjoyed the atmosphere and entertainment — and of course, the Christmas lights. The video above does not do the lighting justice. Make sure to head through Downtown Willoughby in the nighttime hours sometime in the next month to see the awesome display in Wes Point Park and the lights lining Erie Street.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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