Purse thief caught, unemployment down, among Mentor news
• The unemployment rate for Mentor declined for the month of March after five consecutive months of increases to 6.0%. The 1.1% reduction brings the city closer to the 5.8% noted in December 2011. The lowest rate in the previous 12 months was 5.4% in October 2011. In Lake County the unemployment rate also decreased 1.4% to 6.7%. The city has the third-lowest unemployment rate for any community in Ohio over 50,000 in population. The unemployment rate in Ohio declined to 7.8%.
• The Engineering Department has begun utilizing the EnerGov Building and Code Compliance Software to track all stormwater related complaints within its database. This will allow anyone with access to the EnerGov software to search a property to see if there have been any historical drainage concerns or complaints and how they were resolved. Additionally, as the database grows over time, the city will be able to analyze trends where storm water complaints are occurring and look for solutions to these problems.
Engineering and Building Department
• State Route 2 Widening and Reconstruction:
o SR2 Mainline — It is anticipated the concrete median wall will be completed this week. It is also expected that it will take an additional two weeks to complete light tower installation. Traffic is anticipated to be switched to the center lanes of SR2 eastbound the weekend of May 11-12, with the westbound traffic switch expected the following weekend. The noise wall west of SR 615 is expected to be completed the week of April 27.
o Center Street — Work on the Kelly Drive intersection has begun. Work on the center pier under the Center Street Bridge was completed this week and the traffic pattern has been modified to accommodate the widening of the westerly half of the roadway. This modification will limit southbound SR 615 to two lanes while the work is going on. The contractor estimates it will take 6-8 weeks for completion of this work.
o Heisley Road — Heisley Road ramp reconstruction is ongoing.
• Aqua Ohio Projects:
o Prospect Street Waterline Replacement: A permit has been issued to Aqua Ohio for the replacement of 1,225 feet of 8-inch waterline. The new waterline will be located on the north side of Prospect Street between Center Street (SR 615) and Hart Street. D.B. Bentley Inc. will be the contractor installing the waterline. Work on this project is expected to begin on May 7 and should take approximately seven weeks to complete. Work hours affecting traffic on Center Street will be restricted to between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Otherwise, work hours will be Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. During construction, traffic will be maintained.
• On Friday April 20, a male stole a purse from a vehicle in the lot of Marc’s. The purse owner left the purse in her car while she pushed her cart back to the cart return. The suspect approached her vehicle, opened the passenger door and stole the purse. He fled the scene in his own vehicle. A witness observed the theft and obtained the license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect was located by Wickliffe Police driving W/B on SR2. He was stopped and arrested. The purse and all of its contents were recovered. The male was charged with felony theft, possession of criminal tools (vehicle), possession of drug abuse instruments (syringe) and possession of drug paraphernalia (burnt spoon used for heroin).
• There was a short stand-off on Collins Rd. on Sunday. A female resident had allegedly been drinking, abusing prescription pills and threatened to harm herself with one of several weapons inside the house. When the police responded to the house she refused to come outside. Members of the department’s Hostage Negotiation Team arrived and convinced her to come outside. She was ultimately taken to Lake West hospital for a psychological evaluation. The incident lasted from 12:30 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.
• On April 20, the department was called to 8350 Munson Road for a house fire. Crews arrived to find a small fire in the first floor of the vacant home. The fire was quickly extinguished and the owner was called to the scene. The owner had plans to demo the structure later in the day and it appears that the fire started from a faulty fireplace that was used by salvage crews earlier in the day. There were no injuries and the structure has since been torn down.
• On April 23 at 5:33 p.m., fire crews responded to MABAS Box Alarm 2311 for a house fire at 1254 West Jackson St. in Painesville. Mentor crews, along with five other departments, assisted with the fire. There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
• The Fire Department hosted a meeting with the Lake County General Health District and other officials to discuss and review our readiness to receive and distribute the CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile medicine and medical supplies to our community should a need arise. CDC has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency (terrorist attack, flu outbreak, earthquake) severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.
• The City is currently engaged with the part-time firefighters’ union in negotiating a successor labor agreement. Assistant City Manager Tony Zampedro is representing the city in the negotiations.
• Firefighter Paramedic Alan Prizzi announced his retirement from the department after 22 1/2 years of service.
Economic and Community Development
• The number of foreclosed homes in Mentor for the First Quarter of 2012 remained at approximately the same number as the first quarter of 2011.
• MEACO has scheduled an SBA 504 loan closing for Parker Precision, Inc. The total project cost is approximately $1.6 million, where MEACO is financ-ing $650,000. Parker Precision, Inc. will have a twenty year fixed rate of approximately 4.5%.
• The city welcomed new employee, Bonnie Lingafelter to her position as Accounting Supervisor. Bonnie is a CPA with an Accounting degree from Cleveland State University. She will be overseeing several important department functions, such as purchasing, accounts payable, and income tax compliance.
• On April 26, several Finance Department staff members participated in a regional user group meeting sponsored by Harris Corporation, current provider of the city’s financial software. The morning session was primarily focused on the vendor’s ERP offerings and included an overview of its newest product — “Innoprise.” The city’s current financial software was purchased and implemented in 1999. Future meetings and evaluations of how to maximize use and improve financial software functionality will continue throughout the year.
Public Works Department
• The Public Works activity highlights this week were: Wildwood community gardens are completed and open to the public; Civic Center Pool — door replacement is 98% complete; Crack sealed Mentor Ave. from Middlesex to RT 306 eastbound; Stop sign reflectivity upgrades and mapping — ongoing; Aster Dr. — repair of 6 curb inlet basins is 90% complete; Edward R. Walsh Park — asphalt repair to walking path; Restoration of fall projects — including Carter at Two Town Ditch, Reynolds, Lakeview, Cedarwood, Washington, and Grove; and North side of Bellflower — cleaning inlet basins.
Parks and Recreation Department
• The weather has been a bit cool but people have been out at the Community Garden preparing their plots for planting as soon as the weather permits.
• The new canoe trailer arrived this week at the Mentor Lagoons. The new trailer will be used to haul the stand-up paddle boards from the garage to the lesson area through out the summer. This trailer was purchase in whole by the Boating Grant.
• The Public Facilities Division awarded a contract for the replacement boiler at Garfield Park Community Center. The new boiler is over 90% efficient and much more compact. This will give us a chance to clean-up and reimage the boiler room to give us some much needed storage in the Community Center building.
• The Family and Personal Safety program being offered at Wildwood has shown a great deal of interest. This week the class featured self-defense for all ages and was attended by 30 people.
• The Cemetery staff and staff from Public Works are very busy forming foundations in preparation for the spring pour. If the weather holds the pour will take place next week. That will be a couple weeks ahead of schedule and will allow enough time for the monument companies to install monuments before the Memorial Day weekend.
-- Betsy Scott, BScott@News-Herald.com, @ReporterBetsy