Monday, April 22, 2013

Mentor hotel gets millions in renovations

A Mentor hotel got a major makeover (on the inside), drug dogs swept the high school and it appears that more grant money is rolling toward a bikeway connector project in the Headlands. Those items and more in the latest, weekly city manager memo to City Council.

Manager Comments
• U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce spoke Friday at the newly renovated Holiday Inn on Route 306 (former Comfort Inn). He discussed the status of budget discussions, important pending legislation (such as his co-sponsorship of a bill that would eliminate the medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act), and answered numerous questions. Afterward, some were treated to a tour of the renovated hotel, which came out beautifully. A total of $5 million was invested in the complete renovation of all rooms and facilities.

• On Tuesday, 12 K-9 units from Mentor and surrounding law enforcement agencies conducted a drug sweep at Mentor High School. The sweep was requested by the school administration and coordinated by Mentor Police.  All of the lockers were searched, including locker room lockers. The K-9s alerted on a few lockers, which were searched by school administrators. No drugs were located in any of the lockers.

• Friday morning the NOACA Regional Transportation Investment Subcommittee voted to approve our request for approximately $115,000 in additional funding ($715,000 total) for the Morton Headlands Trail Connector Phase 2 Project. This project is currently listed in our cap plan as the Corduroy Bikeway Connector Phase 1 project and constructs bike lanes along Jordan Drive from Corduroy Road to South Rambler. The recommendation now goes to the Transportation Advisory Committee, and then to the Governing Board final approval. It is very likely the additional fund will be granted.

Fire Department
• On April 12 at 12:56 p.m., Paramedics responded to a person hit by a car. Upon arrival, the patient was seated in a store with knee pain. Patient refused to be transported at this time. A release was signed.

• On April 12 at 3:12 p.m., Paramedics responded to a possible overdose. Upon arrival, the patient was treated and transported to Lake West Health.

• On April 12 at 4:06 p.m., Mentor Fire responded to a dumpster fire next to a loading dock on Tyler Boulevard.  Upon arrival, it was discovered the fire was contained to the dumpster; however, smoke filled the building. Due to the height of the dumpster, the aerial ladder was set up to apply water directly from above the fire. Smoke was cleared in the building; through an inspection it was discovered that an overhead door next to the fire had burned.  Value was estimated at $500.

• On April 14 at 1:15 p.m., Mentor Fire responded to a possible structure fire on Shandle Boulevard. Upon arrival, there was a working fire on the exterior of the home.  Per the home owner, cold ashes from the food smoker were dumped into the garbage can and apparently caught the siding on fire. Fire was extinguished, live power lines were secured. Loss is estimated at $25,000. There were no injuries.

• On April 15 at 1:38 p.m., Mentor Fire responded to an oven fire at a church. Upon arrival, they found an electric heating element was broken causing arcing and burning. Electric was disconnected and the church was advised not to turn power back on until serviced by a qualified appliance repair person.

• On April 16 at 10:32 a.m., Paramedics responded to a home on Beechwood Drive for a patient with chest pains.  Upon arrival it was discovered that the home was in the process of having a search warrant carried out by Mentor Police Department and the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The patient refused treatment at this time.

Police Department
• On April 13, a male was arrested for possession of ecstasy and carrying a concealed weapon. Officers conducted a traffic stop and questioned the driver. The male was nervous and said the pants he was wearing were not his. Officers located one ecstasy pill in his pocket. Officers also located a loaded semi-auto handgun in the vehicle.

• On Wednesday, Ptl. Erik Kupchik, a member of the U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, participated in the execution of several search warrants of Internet Cafés in Cuyahoga County. The Task Force was responsible for recovering any and all electronic equipment associated with the illegal activities at the Cafés.  The Electronic Crimes Task Force is a multi-agency unit consisting of Federal, State and Local law enforcement officers.  The unit is responsible for the recovery and forensic examination of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

• Congratulations to Lt. Ken Zbiegien who has been chosen as the “Outstanding Criminal Justice Student/Graduate for 2013.” Lt. Zbiegien will be receiving his award at the Lakeland Community College Academic Awards Ceremony on May 9. Lt. Zbiegien is currently working on his sssociate’s degree at Lakeland.

• 2013 Sidewalk Repair Program — The Engineering Department is continuing with sidewalk inspections for Zone 3B. Brambleside Lane, Union Street, Chase Drive, Inland Shores Drive, Captains Ct., Lighthouse Ct., Anchor Drive, Bay Ridge Ct., Manry Ct., Melshore Drive, Reynolds Rd., Ford Drive, Carter Blvd., Faye Lane and parts of Lakeshore Blvd. and Brooks Blvd. have been inspected for sidewalk deficiencies. Sidewalks that are identified as deficient have been marked with paint in the field.

• TC Construction has begun working on Burridge Avenue and will be progressing to the west, making repairs on sidewalks in Zone 2B under the 2012 Sidewalk Repair Program.

• Station Street Resurfacing Project — On April 29, Karvo Paving is scheduled to begin work on the resurfacing of Station Street from Jackson Street to Center Street. The scheduled completion date for this project is June 12.

Parks and Recreation Department
• Black Brook Golf Course updates:
o There were 84 participants in the 51st Annual Mud Open
o Adult and Junior Golf Schools started this week. Five adults were registered for Tuesday; Thursday’s adult class and Saturday’s junior class are full
o The practice center is finished on the right side and seeded.
• Mentor Lagoons updates:
o Yearly dredging has begun at the Lagoons’ channel entrance.
o Water service was turned on at docks A, B and C; D and E will be on by the weekend and the public restrooms are functional. 
• There were 287 clients served through AARP at the Mentor Senior Center during this tax season.
• The Summer Brochure has been reviewed and sent to the printer. Distribution date is April 25 and will also be available online. Summer registration beings April 29 for residents and May 2 for nonresidents.
• Plans are moving ahead for the Marines to be in Mentor for the “Take Pride in America” presentation on June 19.
• Preparation has started for opening the pools this year. The filtration system plans for Garfield Pool have been approved by the State Department of Public Health. Once the paperwork is received and reviewed, the project will be placed out to bid.
• The 50th Anniversary Lecture program has gone very well and the five-lecture series program will be offered again in the fall.
• Memorial Day Parade letters have been sent to Mentor Veterans organizations, the schools and past participants asking for their participation again this year.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman participated in his monthly radio show on 1330 WELW. Topic of conversation was the upcoming Lake County Business Symposium at Lakeland Community College on May 15, 2013. MEACO is involved in planning the day’s speakers and helps sponsor the event, which features seminars on marketing, finance, operations, and technology for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

• Tom Thielman met with Julie Burden-Lindner, Vice President, and Dawn Huber, Business Banker, both from JP Morgan Chase, regarding the benefits of working with the Mentor Economic Assistance Corporation, and provided information about the Mentor Small Business Micro-Loan Program.

• Ron Traub met with representatives of the Comptroller of the Currency, Administrator of National Banks, regarding an overview of the local economy.

• Hearings on H.B. 5 are expected to restart next week. The bill is purportedly designed to make municipal tax laws uniform across the state. Opposition to the bill continues to be centered around the potential significant reductions in local tax revenues and the loss of critical control for Ohio cities.

Public Works Department
• Sod repair - Citywide
• Cleaned storm sewer - Garfield Park
• Leaf removal from storm ditch at Mentor Lagoons
• Re-defining ditches on Jordan Drive
• Cleared storm sewer blockage - 7651 SR 84
• Cleaning planting beds – Wildwood CC, Norton Parkway
• Morton pool prep and draining
• Ball field maintenance
• Replacing restroom floors at Mentor Beach Park
• Civic Center pool preparation
• Inlet basin rebuilds - Qual Point
• Crack sealing - Tyler Blvd.
• Cut pavement for new traffic loops - Plaza Blvd.

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mentor doles out development grants

Mentor makes good on more than $1 million in grants, the fire department has a busy week and the city's road repair program starts rolling - those items and more in the latest weekly city manager report to City Council:

Manager Comments
• Officers with the US Marshal’s Violent Fugitive Task Force (Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula), which includes one member of the Mentor Police Department, arrested a male wanted by MPD for the sale of prescription drugs. The male was arrested in Painesville and transported to the Mentor jail.

• Mentor Incentive Grant (MIG) payments were processed for 13 companies that met the MIG Agreement requirements during 2012. The payments totaled over $1 million.

• Ohio Public Works Commission Funding – Round 28 (PY-14) — The Engineering Department is currently preparing preliminary applications for funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission’s Round 28 funding cycle. The applications are being prepared for the Two-Town Retention Basin, Deepwood Boulevard Repair and Resurfacing and the Heisley Road Phase 3 project.

Fire Department
• On April 5 at 5:35 p.m., paramedics were called for a male who was injured when he jumped from a moving ATV and suffered multiple burns and abrasions. Patient was treated and transported to Hillcrest Hospital.

• On April 6 at 1:48 a.m., the Fire Department responded to Grovewood for a report of a home filling with smoke. Crews arrived to find the homeowners outside and smoke throughout the residence. The investigation revealed an electrical problem with the furnace. The furnace was taken apart and power was secured to prevent further damage. After fire crews ventilated the home and reset the smoke detectors the occupants were able to return.

• On April 6 at 9:40 p.m., Mentor Fire responded to a possible structure fire on Green Oak. Upon arrival, a small fire was discovered on one side of the home involving the vinyl siding and mulch bed. Pressurized smoke was found in the door jamb and base molding. Fire was extinguished and there were no injuries.

• On April 10 at 12:01 p.m., paramedics responded to a two car accident. Both drivers were treated and transported to Lake West Health. 

• On April 10 at 3:49 p.m., Paramedics responded to a two-car, head-on accident with heavy front end damage to both cars.  Both drivers required treatment and were transported. One driver was transported to Hillcrest Hospital and the other driver was transported to Lake West Health.

Police Department
• One of the department’s SMART trailers was defaced with spray paint while set up on Edgewood Dr. at Devonshire.  Someone spray painted the letters GJ in green paint on the front of the trailer. The trailer was sent to the road garage to remove the paint.

• Four detectives attended a free 4-day training course at the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy-Richfield, titled Investigative Strategies for Missing and Abducted Children. This course covers how to manage a missing or abducted child case, including initial response, as well as an overview of interviewing and interrogation techniques.

• 2013 Road Repair Program — Preconstruction meetings were held April 9 for Contract A and Contract B of the 2013 Road Repair Program.  Work for Contract B (concrete repairs) is anticipated to begin on Monday, April 15 in the vicinity of Quail Point, Galaxie Drive and Silver Court. Markings of concrete repair areas by the Engineering staff continue.  Work for Contract A (asphalt paving) is anticipated to begin on or about April 30. All asphalt resurfacing areas have been marked by the Engineering staff. Completion date for both contracts is September 27. Further updates will be provided as the projects progress.

• 2013 Sidewalk Repair Program — The Engineering Department has started sidewalk inspections for Zone 3B this week which is bounded by Bellflower Rd., SR306, Lakeshore Blvd. and Melshore Dr. Currently, Chase Drive and part of Reynolds Road have been inspected.

• 2012 Sidewalk Repair Program – The Engineering Department met with TC Construction this week to discuss construction aspects of the sidewalk program in Ward 2 from last year’s inspection. TC Construction will begin working on the east side of Zone 2B staring Monday (Burridge Rd.) and progress to the west. Engineering will be providing on-site inspection during the construction process.

• Reedhurst Farms #2 Subdivision – JTO, Inc. has started construction of the new residential subdivision located off of Green Valley Dr. The new subdivision will be improved to have 13 new residential sub lots. The Engineering Department will be overseeing the project.

• State Urban Paving Program - The Ohio Department of Transportation has indicated that the resurfacing of SR84 (from SR306 to Garfield Road) is currently scheduled to take place during state fiscal year 2016, which begins July 2015. The resurfacing of SR615 (Center Street from Bellflower Road to Munson Road) is currently scheduled for state fiscal year 2017, which begins July 2016. The state would typically provide funding for 80% of the cost of a simple asphalt overlay. The City would typically be responsible for pavement repairs, plan preparation and construction oversight.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The Public Works Department is currently working on the parking addition at Garfield Park, so it can be ready for the upcoming baseball season.

• As a result of the use of ATV’s during the winter on trails at Morton and Lagoons Parks, trail repair work will start soon.  The Public Works crew reviewed the site for needed material and equipment.

• The video surveillance camera system has been installed at Black Brook Golf Course. Drainage improvements to the fairways have been completed.

Economic and Community Development
• Ron Traub participated in a webinar entitled “How to Bring Retail Home” in preparation for the forthcoming ICSC (International Conference of Shopping Centers) conference.

• The City Manager was joined by Kevin Malecek, President  & CEO of the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce and Ron Traub at the Time-Warner store front ribbon cutting on Plaza Boulevard.

• Tom Thielman met with a manufacturing company considering relocating to Mentor. The company employs approximately 45 people and requested information regarding utilities and SBA 504 financing opportunities.

• Legislation is being prepared for next month relative to next year’s street lighting assessments to benefiting properties. The assessment rate was calculated at $.95 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This rate is the same as the previous year. The rate is adjusted each year to account for factors such as changes to assessed property valuation and the cost of electricity.

Public Works Department
• Athletic field maintenance - soccer, baseball, football
• Added 25 tons of conditioner to Civic Center fields #3 and #4
• Layed out and tilled 32 community garden plots
• Began opening/cleaning of Morton Pool
• Inlet basin rebuilds - Tyler/SR 615, SR 306/Culver, SR 306/Texas
• 75% complete with upgrade of signalized intersections on Plaza Blvd.
• All traffic signal battery backup systems successfully tested
• Completed improvements at Black Brook Golf Course driving range
• Storm sewer cleaning - Jasani, McKinley, Taft, Grant, Hayes
• Roadside ditch re-profiling - Jordan
• Crack sealed - Fairfax
• Completing expansion of Garfield Park parking lot
• Tree Commission will host Arbor Day observance May 3 at 1:00 p.m. at Sterling Morton Elementary School
• Matt Schweikert participated in a phone conference hosted by Michelle Stys regarding the development of sharing agreement software

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy

Monday, April 1, 2013

The latest on Turkey Watch in Mentor

A baby that wouldn’t wait for paramedics, a criminal who couldn’t hide from the law, and the latest developments on the city’s Turkey Watch — those items and more in the most recent Mentor City manager’s memo to City Council:

Fire Department
• On March 29 at 12:22 a.m., paramedics from Station #1 responded to a woman in labor and found a baby already born in a van. Paramedics transported mom and baby boy to the hospital; both are doing great.

• On March 22 at 4:36 p.m., Mentor Fire Department responded to a three-car MVA on Center Street and Mentor Avenue. One person was treated and transported to Lake West Hospital.

Police Department
• Officers located a male, who was wanted for a felony warrant and other criminal charges, at his home on Meldon Drive. When officers entered the home, the male was hiding in a bedroom and refused to surrender to officers. K-9 Titan was on scene and the suspect was ordered numerous times to surrender. The suspect refused to cooperate and Titan was sent in to the room to locate the suspect. Titan found the suspect and pulled him from his hiding spot. The suspect received bite marks on his arm and leg.

• Six juveniles and one adult were located inside a vacant house on Hart Street. The juveniles and adult illegally entered the house and were having a party. Alcohol was found in one of the bedrooms. Everyone was arrested for criminal trespass and the adult was also charged with underage possession of alcohol.

Parks and Recreation Department
• The elusive turkey is part of the daily activity of the Natural Resource Specialists and, to date, it has not been captured. Since it is considered wildlife, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is ultimately responsible for the removal of the turkey from the area. We will be proposing to ODNR the idea of hiring a professional trapper on Monday.

• City Council is an integral part of the community and the driving force behind CITYfest. The Recreation Department is working hard and needs your help to secure volunteers to work at CITYfest. Please contact Bob Martin, Parks & Recreation with names of business owners that we can contact about sponsorships.

• The first of six “50th Anniversary Lectures” is scheduled for Thursday, April 4 at Wildwood from 7-9:30 p.m. All who signed up for this lecture will learn why Mentor was “A Grower’s Paradise.” All lectures are sold out.

Manager Comments 
• The City has been informed by the Ohio Public Works Commission that our grant/loan for the Plaza Blvd. Extension project has been approved. The district approved a $450,000 grant and $450,000 loan. We anticipate the project will be able to go to bid soon after July 1.

• The Administration will be proposing a significant revision to its Off-Street Parking and Loading ordinance that will head to the Planning Commission for their next meeting. Changes include parking space requirements and rules, accommodations for bicycle parking, parking surface requirements and residential parking changes. This is the next phase of the long-term goal of updating our zoning code.

• This week the city collected $200,000 in TIF revenues as part of the first half real estate settlement distributed by the Lake County Treasurer. The TIF fund balance is now over $1.4 million. We appropriated $1 million in this year’s budget toward the cost of the Plaza Boulevard extension.

Economic and Community Development
• Tom Thielman participated in the annual U.S. Small Business Administration — Cleveland District Community Development Corporation lender roundtable. CDC’s from throughout the State of Ohio attended and provided an update on activities, issues, upcoming legislation regarding SBA lending, advocacy, and strategies for the future.

• Congratulations and Best Wishes to Carol VanKorngut, administrative secretary for the Department of Economic and Community Development, regarding her retirement after 25 years of service.

• FEMA is in the process of revising the flood insurance rate maps for the entire US Great Lakes Coast. As part of the study, FEMA contractors will be performing land use reconnaissance surveys in Lake County. While in the field, the Contractors will make every effort to stay on public land and rights-of-way; however, it may be necessary from time to time for the engineers to enter upon privately owned property for short periods of time to gather survey information.

Should this occur, they will make every attempt possible to contact the homeowner in advance and seek permission. The field crews will be in and around the area from April 8 through 12. Upon request, the engineers will identify themselves by employee ID badge, driver’s license and a letter of introduction. City of Mentor Engineering and Building Department personnel will be coordinating these efforts and any questions should be directed to the department.

Public Works Department
• Snow operations
• Garfield Park pool bathroom renovations and ballroom renovations
• Replaced ped pole at SR 306 and SR 2 that was hit by motorist
• Black Brook Golf Course – stump removal at driving range; storm sewer installation
• Storm sewer televising - Hart, Maple and Murray
• Prepping soccer fields
• Wildwood Cultural Center interior improvements
• Completed playground inspections
• Met with Parks Dept. staff to review Division of Public Work’s support for CITYfest

-- Betsy Scott,, @ReporterBetsy