Monday, January 28, 2013

Food banks make killing from Mentor culling

Thousands of dollars in grant money are going to Mentor PD equipment and thousands of pounds of deer meat are going to area food banks, benefitting from the city’s new culling program. Those items and more are among the highlights in the latest weekly city manager report to City Council:
Manager Comments 
• The Police Department was informed this week that we are receiving $10,780 from the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services through the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to Local Law Enforcement program.  The grant will be used toward the purchase of forensic video, image, and audio equipment. The Byrne grant is made available through federal funding administered by Ohio. Mentor is the only Lake County community receiving a Byrne grant in this round. Patrolman Marilyn Satterfield has once again done an outstanding job in bringing outside resources to our community to enhance our law enforcement efforts.

• The first delivery of venison from the first 10 days of the culling season is ready for pick-up from Canal Fulton Processing to be delivered to the Cleveland Food Bank. A total of 3,500 pounds of venison will be delivered to food shelters and pantries throughout the area.

• Planning continues on this year’s CityFest. Senior staff met this week to finalize a committee structure and to review progress to date. A Festival Committee of nine persons (to include two Council members) will be established, along with 15 subcommittees. Much planning has already occurred by Recreation Staff and will be reviewed at the first official committee meeting planned for February. I have spoken to Council President Marn about Council representation on the Festival Committee and subcommittee co-chair positions. Vendor applications are being sent out this week, a festival website will be launching at the beginning of next month, and festival promo material has been ordered. We will need many volunteers and committee members, so any suggestions from Council would be appreciated.

• At approximately 11:30 a.m. Friday, 9-1-1 service was knocked out in Mentor, Lake County, and apparently much of Ohio. The cause of the outage is not yet known, but appears to be with AT&T. We began accepting calls for emergency service at the (440) 255-1234 and (440) 255-1212 numbers. A press release went out immediately after the system failed alerting the public of the outage and instructing callers to use the non-emergency lines. By approximately 3 p.m., land line 9-1-1 calls were being received (at least to some extent) at Lake County Central Dispatch. By 3:30 p.m. service was fully restored to our dispatch center. Most city land phones were also unable to send or receive calls during this period. Cellular 9-1-1 service was not affected. When an explanation is known, we will forward it to you.

• The unemployment rate for the City of Mentor remained at 5.4% for the second straight month after five consecutive months of decline; one year ago (December 2011) the unemployment rate was 5.8%. In Lake County, the unemployment rate increased 0.2% to 6.3% in December 2012. The City of Mentor’s unemployment rate ranks third lowest among communities with a population over 50,000 behind Cleveland Heights and Lakewood. The State of Ohio’s unemployment rate increased 0.1% for the month of December 2012 to 6.6%.

Fire Department
• On Saturday, Jan. 19 just before 10 p.m., Mentor Fire Department, along with eleven other fire departments, was requested as part of a response to Willoughby Hills for an apartment fire at the Bishop Park Apartments. Five apartments had to be evacuated until the fire could be controlled. An active natural gas leak and a frozen gas meter shut-off delayed fire fighting efforts. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is being investigated.
• On Jan. 22 at 2:25 p.m., the fire department was called to Orchard Road for a significant working structure fire.  Fire crews arrived to find fire coming from several first-floor windows of the home. The female resident and homeowner reported that everybody was out of the two-story house. Station #2 arrived first on the scene with only two firefighters as the rescue squad was committed to another call. Due to weather conditions (extreme temperatures and high winds) and a well-involved fire conditions, the response was upgraded to include a second alarm, medium-hazard response in which several neighboring departments assisted. It is believed that a cat perished in the fire; there were no human injuries. The loss is estimated at $250,000 and the initial cause appears to be unattended cooking.

Police Department
• A male was arrested for domestic violence after he assaulted his live-in girlfriend at their residence on Nowlen Street. The male struck and choked the female. After the altercation, the male took a necklace and ring belonging to the female and fled the home. He was located in the area of Villa Marina. Two used syringes were located in his backpack at the time of his arrest. He was charged with domestic violence, theft and possession of drug abuse instruments.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Make your reservations now for the Father-Daughter Skate on Feb. 9 at the Civic Ice Arena. The event will start at noon with games and activities, followed by lunch and skating.

• On Feb. 1, the Mentor Senior Center will join the social media by launching its Facebook page. Also, starting in April, the Senior Center newsletter will be changing to a bimonthly issue, which will enable the Center to improve the quality and readability of the newsletter for all.

• The planning for “2ba Healthy Kid Carnival” is going well.  The event is scheduled for March 16 at the Mentor Senior Center from noon to 4 pm. Recreation Specialist, Maggie Kuyasa, has been busy securing sponsorship, vendors, and in-kind donations.

• Registration for Winter Session programs is going well. “Adult Volleyball” has returned this year and the program is full. Also, the “Men’s Hoops” program and “Community Gardens” are full again this year.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Care to take a virtual tour in Mentor?

A new bike trail project is on the way to north Mentor, residents soon can take virtual tours of some city facilities and the city’s senior center use is booming — those items and more in the latest weekly city manager’s report to City Council:

• The Mentor PD assisted the Painesville PD with the arrest of two females responsible for the Monday robbery of KeyBank in Painesville. The suspects were arrested in the area of 306/Rt. 2 during a traffic stop. We also assisted with the execution of a search warrant at their house in the Headlands.

• We were recently informed by the governing board of NOACA that the Jordan Road bike trail from Corduroy to Rambler has officially been funded for FY 2014. This means we may contract for the work as early as October and no later than May 2014.

• Work has begun with Public Information on filming virtual tours of our rental facilities to increase rental revenue. The virtual tours will be posted on the city’s website. Facilities will include the Old Council Hall, Garfield, Mentor Beach Park, Wildwood, the Senior Center and the Community Center. 

• Senior Center stats:  4,592 members in 2012 compared to 4,131 in 2011; 21,203 meals served in 2012 compared to 12,944 in 2011; 39 fitness and wellness classes per week, averaging 788 participants per week compared to 29 classes, averaging 538 participants in 2011; and 522 seniors 85 and older using the center compared to 483 in 2011. 

• As was mentioned at the City Council meeting, four Mentor companies “made” the Weatherhead 100 list: MUM Industries (24), US Endoscopy (44), Empro Job Network/Thomas Employment (75) and Sheet Metal Products (93). The Cities of Cleveland and Akron are “home” to the most companies, followed by Beachwood and Independence with five a piece. Five communities (including Mentor) have four companies in the Weatherhead 100 list.

• Businesses along portions of Tyler Blvd., Spinach, Justin Way and the Corporate Industrial Park were affected by two recent power interruptions; the first was Jan.15 around 1 p.m. and the second at approximately 7:30 a.m. on the 16th. The first outage was the result of a disconnect (switch gear) failure. The disconnect was approximately 11 years old, but had a life expectancy of 30 years. Corrosion was identified as the principal cause of the failure.

As a result of repair work on C phase, the B phase blew on Wednesday morning. Both phases have since been repaired, and phase A was replaced as a cautionary item. We will once again engage FirstEnergy at the highest levels possible to do whatever is necessary to make this portion of the system more reliable and to accelerate their commitment to completely replace the system components. It may also be necessary to consult with the PUCO to evaluate our options.

Fire Department
• On Jan. 12 at 12:19 a.m., paramedics responded to a possible drug overdose. The female was successfully treated at the scene and was transported to TriPoint Hospital.

• On Jan. 12 at 10:40 a.m., paramedics responded to the first motorcycle accident of 2013 after he was cut-off. The driver was traveling at a low speed while avoiding a more severe accident and complained of wrist pain. The patient was splinted and transported to Lake West Hospital.

• On Jan. 13 at 7:37 a.m., Mentor Fire responded to a MVA involving one car that collided with the cement median. The roof of the car had to be cut off to gain access to the two passengers. Both were stabilized and transported to Hillcrest Hospital.

• On Jan. 13 at 1:10 p.m., Mentor Fire responded to a car fire. Upon arrival they found a working engine compartment fire with no danger to any other vehicles or buildings. The fire was extinguished and there were no injuries.

• On Jan. 14 at 4:27 p.m., Mentor Fire Department responded to the Mentor City Jail for an activated smoke alarm. Upon arrival it was discovered the inmate pulled it off of the ceiling. All of the wires were in tact, it was in working condition and there were no injuries.

Police Department
• A house on Center Street was burglarized on  Jan. 11, between the hours of 8:45 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. The suspect used a landscape rock to break a rear window and gain entry to the house. The suspect(s) stole electronic equipment, jewelry and a 1996 Honda Odyssey. The Honda was recovered in Ashtabula city on Jan. 16, after a pursuit with Ashtabula PD. The male driver and female occupant were arrested for having possession of the stolen vehicle. Mentor detectives are currently investigating to connect both suspects to the burglary.

• A male was arrested over the weekend for disorderly conduct/public intoxication. While in the jail he damaged a ceiling tile and a smoke alarm bracket. He did not disable the smoke alarm. Additional charges were filed for the damage he caused.

• In late 2011, the City Police Department was successful in negotiating with Lake Health a revised fee structure for inmate medical expenses. The city is now being charged in the same manner as the County, which by ORC can only be charged the Medicaid allowed amount. We are pleased to say that the total savings from this change amounted to over $46k in calendar year 2012.

• Sgt. Rich Slovenkay has been named the 2012 Terrorism Liaison Officer of the Year by the Northeast Ohio Regional Fusion center. Sergeant Slovenkay has been instrumental in the Terrorism Liaison Officer program over the past several years.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The annual Little Princess Valentine’s Dance for Ages 4 and up is on Feb. 1. There are 30 spaces still available (as of Jan. 18); 165 are currently registered for this event.

• First quarter paper was submitted and approved by ODOT for the Safe Routes to Schools grant. Maggie Kuyasa attended a meeting with area SRTS coordinators in Chagrin Falls; Mentor will host the next meeting. We are working with the schools on a pedometer take-home program and working to tie the program into a “space walk,” which will bring together math, science and walking fitness.

• Black Brook had 163 players on Jan. 11. We are still waiting on additional quotes to build a new tee on #12.

• Black Brook’s revenue for 2012 was $949,532 and expenses were $708,754, leaving an operating balance of $240,778, compared to 2011 at $815,018 revenue, $634,762 expenses and $180,256 operating balance. 

• The United Way has dropped off tickets at the Recreation Office for the charity event, “Harlem Legends vs. the Lake County All Stars” at Mentor High School on Feb. 9. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with a 3-point competition beginning at 6:30 p.m. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $20 for VIP reserved seating, $10 general admission or $35 for family (which consists of 2 adults and 3 children). All proceeds benefit the Society for Rehabilitation.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub and prospective businessmen viewed a webinar entitled “How Can a Microbrewery Grow in Your Local Economy.” We have been working with a prospect since November 2011.

• The Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee had its first meeting. The Committee is composed of large manufacturers to small retailers and identified several long- & short-term initiatives.

• Tom Thielman participated as a speaker at Leadership Lake County’s new seminar series called Community Builders. The six part seminar is designed for encumbered workers who are new to leadership roles at their jobs. The Lake County Development Council and AT&T are underwriting the class for 30 participants.

• Audit fieldwork was completed this week for much of the compliance phase of the City’s 2012 audit. Since the City had approximately $1 million of federal grant expenditures during 2012, the auditors will be required to perform a single audit for federal awarded grants. The auditors will return on-site in late spring to complete the audit of the 2012 financial report.

Public Works Department
• 8728 Rosebud – Install storm sewer crossover and inlet
• Road Maintenance - cold patch Rt. 306, Rt. 84, Hopkins, Munson, Mentor Ave. and Center Street
• Mockingbird at Birdie – remove sediment at headwall
• Police Dept. – renovate office space
• Station 5 – interior renovations, painting/flooring/misc.
• Garfield ballroom – interior renovations, flooring
• Court – installing shelving and replacing shower bay
• Senior Center – interior renovations, painting/flooring
• Storm Sewer Cleaning – Debonaire, Twinbrook, Pine Tree, Edgewood
• Deer Program – assist Mentor Police Dept. and Recreation Dept.
• Plaza Blvd. – pull boxes and conduit installed for traffic signal upgrades
• Heisley Road at Rt. 2 – setup and program of opticom detectors for lane closures, @ReporterBetsy

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, January 14, 2013

Behind scenes in Mentor, from finances to fire calls

Unemployment numbers were up a little, income tax collections down a bit, and police & fire have been busy the last couple of weeks, based on the latest weekly Mentor city manager reports to City Council. Here’s more info on those and some other items worth noting in the most recent memos:

Fire Department
• The fire department provided hands-only CPR training to 3,649 students in 2012.

• On Dec. 28 at 10:21 p.m., paramedics were called to another overdose. Advance Life Support treatment, including the administration of Narcan was provided to an unresponsive patient. The patient was then transported to the hospital in stable condition.

• On Jan. 5 at 1:46 a.m., paramedics responded to a possible heroin overdose. The female was successfully treated at the scene with Narcan and the patient then requested no transport to the hospital.

• On Jan. 5 at 2:43 a.m., paramedics responded to a possible alcohol poisoning where the patient requested transport. He was transported to Lake Health West Hospital.

• On Jan. 6 at 3:27 p.m., paramedics responded to a possible overdose of anti-psychotic medications. The patient was treated and transported to Lake Health TriPoint.

• On Jan. 8 2:07 a.m., paramedics responded to an assault victim in a bar. Upon arrival, paramedics found a patient with head trauma. The patient was treated and transported to Lake Health West Hospital.

• On Jan. 8 at 12:31 p.m., Mentor Fire Department responded to a vehicle into a building. Upon arrival, it was discovered that a car had hit two other cars and then drove into McDonald’s Playland. There was moderate damage to the cars, no injuries and there was minimal damage done to the building.  McDonald’s was able to remain open for business.

Police Department
• On Dec. 30, a male was arrested after assaulting his girlfriend and sister on Seneca Trail. The male ran from the house after his sister called MPD for help. K-9 Titan began tracking the suspect through backyards and over numerous fences. The suspect was found hiding under a picnic table. He would not respond to any of the officer’s commands to show his hands and to come out from under the table. Titan was released and bit the male on the forearm. Titan was able to drag the male out from under the table. The male sustained puncture wounds from the bite. He was charged with felonious assault, domestic violence, disrupting public service and resisting arrest.

• An assault occurred at the 306 Lounge in the early morning hours of Jan. 8. The male suspect assaulted a girlfriend inside the bar and then punched another patron who attempted to help the female. The suspect left the area with the girlfriend he had assaulted. They got into another argument at the corner of 306 and Hodgson. Prior to police arriving, the suspect fled on foot. A short time later, a call was received from a resident on Taft reporting a male had forced his way into his house. This male matched the description of the suspect. The male fled the house and could not be located. The investigation is continuing.

• Rape suspect Michael Yeckley was sentenced to 9 years in prison for having sexual conduct with a 13-year-old victim in Mentor on April 22.

• Stacey Robinson was sentenced to 12 months in prison for robbing the PNC bank at 8537 Mentor Ave. on Aug. 29. Robinson was arrested approximately 2 hours after the robbery.  

• The deer management culling efforts began on Jan. 8. Officers had been operating in Morton Park for the past three days. We had one incident of trespassing when a male entered the wooded area on a dirt bike. The male did not comply with orders from officers to stop and continued at a high rate of speed through the woods. He eventually abandoned his motorcycle and was discovered by officers under a tree. He was transported to the hospital by MFD for evaluation.  He will be charged appropriately. There have been no incidents of protest or any other outside disruptions to the effort, and we have been assisted by ODNR personnel.

• Income tax collections for the month of December were slightly down ($86,000) when compared to December of last year. The total year collections for 2012 exceeded $36 million and were favorable by 8.7% as compared to 2011.

• ODOT has informed the city that the start of the Heisley Road bridge deck replacement is expected to begin on Jan. 15 at which time the southbound detour will be put into effect. ODOT indicated they will be placing message boards on Heisley Road and SR2 a minimum of two days prior to the start of work.

Economic and Community Development
• The unemployment rate for the City of Mentor increased 0.8 percent to 5.4 percent after five consecutive months of decline. One year ago (November 2011), the unemployment rate was 5.5 percent. In Lake County, the unemployment rate increased 1 percent to 6.1 percent in November 2012. Despite the significant increase, the City of Mentor continues to have the lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio with a population over 50,000; however, it now ranks thirteenth of the 65 cities for which unemployment numbers are calculated. The State of Ohio’s unemployment rate also increased 0.2 percent for the month of November 2012 to 6.5 percent.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Just a reminder that the Recreation Department is accepting registration for this year’s Chili Open. The Open will be held at Black Brook Golf Course with tee times starting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 26., @ReporterBetsy

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's your New Year's resolution?

The News-Herald wants to know what you've resolved to do for 2013.

Share your New Year's resolution by commenting here, emailing, or leaving a voicemail at 440-497-0858. Your responses may be published on

Resolving to save money? Consider attending our program with Joe The Coupon Guy, scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 16 at The News-Herald, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby. RSVP by calling 440-497-0580, or on the Facebook event page.

Resolving to lose weight? Consider joining our weight-loss contest, Lighten Up. Find out how you can be part of the program at


Kronheim's coming back to Mentor

Mentor responds to its first big winter storm of the season, the Fire Department takes care of a burning tree, and Kronheim’s is coming back. Those items and more in the latest, weekly report to City Council:

Manager Comments 
• The Fire Department responded to multiple motor vehicle accidents, which occurred during the snow storm. Most were on Route 2 and Interstate 90. No significant injuries were reported. Many other non-accident related EMS treatment and transports occurred during the storm.

• During the snow event the city experienced on Dec. 26, the Police Department had no major incidents. The department received over 30 calls of accidents throughout the city that resulted in the officers taking at least 18 accident reports with the majority of them occurring between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

• I thought the Public Works Department did a very good job with the storm. Several residents reported to me that they felt Mentor streets were in the best shape for the evening commute when compared with our neighboring communities.

Fire Department
• On Dec. 20 at 10:08 a.m., the Fire Department responded to Bellflower Park for a tree fire reported by someone exercising at the park.  The tree was hollow and was burning inside and employees from Public Works/Parks Department had to cut the tree down so it could be extinguished.

• On Dec. 22/23rd, the Fire Department responded to three reported structure fires. The first was at 5:12 p.m. on Villa Marina and was reported by neighbors across the street who saw flames through the front window. The homeowner was lighting a charcoal grill on his back deck. The flames could be seen through the front and rear windows from across the street. By arrival, the flames had decreased. At 5:52 p.m., a fire was reported on Maple Street in an attached garage.

On arrival, smoke was coming from the garage. An overheated refrigerator motor in the garage caught wood stairs and the end plate of the wood I-beam floor joist on fire. Insulation on the basement walls prevented the fire from extending into the basement. The fire was reported by two teenage boys that were home at the time and smelled smoke. Their detection and early call saved extensive damages. On Dec. 23 at 1 a.m., the Fire Department responded to an apartment complex on Mentor Avenue for a possible fire. They located a faulty furnace that had seized causing smoke and an odor.

• On Dec. 25, the Bariatric Squad was used twice to transport large patients, each with various medical problems.

• On Dec. 26, the Fire Department treated and transported an elderly patient who fell down some stairs. She suffered significant injuries and was transported to TriPoint, the closest hospital because of the weather. She was then transported to the Trauma Center at Metro by ground ambulance since the weather prevented helicopter transport.

Police Department
• On Dec. 21, at 6 p.m., a 25-year-old female was arrested for felonious assault and domestic violence. The female got into an argument with her 25-year-old boyfriend and was hitting and punching him while he was driving. When they returned to the residence on Edgewood where they were staying, she obtained a large kitchen knife and began waving it at the boyfriend threatening to stab him. No injuries resulted to any of the parties.

• On Dec. 25 at 9:55 p.m., a resident at the trailer park at 9151 Mentor Ave. called police after hearing a woman outside yelling for help.  Upon arrival, the caller directed the officers to the trailer from where the disturbance was originating. Investigation revealed that a boyfriend/girlfriend argument escalated with the 27-year-old male striking the girlfriend in the face with a flashlight. The male then took the girlfriend’s cell phone so she could not call the police.

When the girlfriend got the opportunity, she fled the residence on foot. The male chased her down and forcibly dragged her back into the residence. Based on the investigation, the boyfriend was charged with felonious assault, abduction for dragging her back into the residence and holding her there, disrupting public service for taking her phone so she could not call for help and tampering with evidence since he hid the flashlight outside. The female was transported to TriPoint for treatment of her facial injuries.

• Over the four-day Christmas weekend, the Police Department made 6 OVI arrests and 10 shoplifting arrests.

• Heisley Road Bridge — ODOT held a preconstruction meeting to discuss the Heisley Road Bridge deck replacement over SR 2. The project is scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 7 and continue through October 2013. During construction, southbound Heisley Road traffic will be detoured via SR 2 WB, Center Street and SR 2 EB. Two lanes of traffic will be maintained in the northbound direction to minimize impact to the Heisley Road and Diamond Centre businesses. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Public Works Department
• There were several calls concerning snow removal, but all-in-all very few complaints.

Economic and Community Development
• Realty Trac, a national foreclosure reporting service, released its November 2012 report that indicated the State of Ohio ranked 7th in the nation in foreclosures at one in every 458 housing units. In Lake County, one in every 649 housing units was in foreclosure and in Mentor the ratio was one in every 789 housing units. The report shows one in every 728 U.S. housing units with a foreclosure filing in November.

• Kronheim’s Furniture is returning to its former location at 7590 Mentor Ave. most likely in the first quarter 2013. This site had been proposed to be redeveloped for a gas station several months ago., @ReporterBetsy