Published: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 10:26
By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor
MOUNT VERNON - Dozens of veterans were saluted at the beginning of the annual Memorial Day parade as they led off the procession in all sorts of vehicles Monday morning. The grand marshall was World War II Army veteran Mel Helmich. Crowds gathered along E. High and nearby streets to witness the spectacle which included the JROTC color guard from the Knox County Career Center, the MVHS marching band, scouts, youth softball and baseball players, llamas, horses and more.
Grand Marshall and WWII U.S. Army Veteran Mel Helmich led the Mount Vernon Memorial Day parade
Following the parade a ceremony was held on the steps of the newly refurbished Memorial Building. Speakers included Jim Gibson, of the Knox County Historical Society, Bob Monette, U.S. Army veteran, and Kevin Henthorn, director, Knox County Veterans Service Office.
Gibson gave a brief history of the building before an attentive crowd. Over a hundred years ago plans were discussed to build a memorial building to commemorate the services of the soldiers, sailors, marines and the pioneers of Knox County. The budget was not to to exceed $250,000. There was spirited debate and controversy about the cost, location, and use of such a building. On November 4, 1919 voters of Knox County narrowly approved a bond issue.
Jim Gibson of the Knox County Historical Society giving a history of the Memorial Building Monday - KP Photo
Over the next few years planning and oversight was done by a five person local memorial building board of trustees apppointed by Ohio's Governor Cox to represent all parts of Knox County. Serious consideration was given to a wide variety of proposals including constructing the building on the Public Square and also others proposed construction of four separate memorial buildings in Mount Vernon, Centerburg, Danville, Fredericktown.
But by May 1923, the site of the memorial building was agreed upon and an architectural firm had been selected. A large house on the site was divided and relocated to nearby lots.
The cornerstone was laid October 23, 1923 and the building was officially dedicated May 27, 1925. An additional $15,000 in bonds were required to properly finish the roof. By February of 1926 the building was available for public gatherings and meetings for community organizations. The first general meeting of the Knox County Historical Society was held there in June, 1942. It has served as the headquarters of the local American Red Cross chapter, serving as headquarters during the major flood of 1959.
Gibson shared that the building has served us well as a venue for movies, for musical and theatrical productions that has drawn visitors from well beyond Knox County who frequently comment on the beauty and comfort of the theater.
Gibson said, "We should be very proud of our Knox County Memorial Building, it has been well cared for nearly a century by those responsible for its care. I am certain that those countless veterans who served their country and Knox County would be proud to see this beautiful facility that we rededicate today."
Bob Monnet, U.S. Army Retired, spoke at the Memorial Day ceremony Monday on the steps of the Memorial Building - KP Photo
Featured speaker for the event was decorated Vietnam veteran and Mount Vernon native Bob Monnet. "Today we must take pause to honor, reflect and remember those who served." He said the day is designed to honor those who defended our democracy and lost their lives. We must never forget their sacrifices. He said, "Heroes don't have to have a chest of medals. Heroes are all around us - parents, teachers, firefighters, paramedics." In his closing remarks Monnet said, "A patriot loves their country every day."
Veterans Service Office Director Kevin Henthorn, an Air Force veteran, also spoke about giving gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives and their future for our freedom. He said, "Let's pause, respect and honor those who have served. We owe them regard, respect and honor."
The ceremony also featured patriotic music performed by the MVHS Marching Band, the Heritage Singers, and "Amazing Grace" by a bagpipe trio.
Following the ceremony guests were invited in to the Memorial Building for refreshments, tours, and a showing of the film "Uncommon Brilliance", and more music from Megan Campbell and the Mount Vernon Community Band. Visitors found the newly refurbished ballroom with new decor, beautiful colors and more light. An elevator has been installed to make all floors accessible. The facilities are available for rental for meeings and events 365 days a year. Hear more about the building from Executive Director Sara Lynn Kerr in a KP Radio mini podcast at this Soundcloud link.
Published: Monday, 29 May 2017 09:21
HOWARD - East Knox Schools Superintendent Steve Larcomb says it has been a "whirlwind school year" as the district graduation ceremony is set for Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Larcomb said in a Facebook post, "There are so many positive things happening that I’m not sure I can even begin to do it justice in the form of this letter. Our students, staff and indeed this entire community are reinvigorated thanks to passage of our school levy last November. Our school board soon afterwards passed a resolution doing away with pay-to-participate fees as they said they would do. Promise made. Promise kept. The Board recently negotiated with our teachers and on March 7th approved a new three-year contract in which our staff received the first base salary increases in seven years."
Larcomb shared that he has spoken with Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer to discuss the possibility of a part-time school resource officer (SRO) for the coming school year. The funds would come from county sales tax receipts with no cost to the EK school district.
Larcomb said, "I remain confident that our school campus is a safe environment especially with the tools and procedures put in place since my arrival in 2012. Some examples include, but are not limited to: improved camera security, better lighting, implemented a phone notification system, wrote/updated school security plans, coordinate emergency procedures with local law enforcement officials and other appropriate agencies and practice evacuation drills with students and staff. Adding an SRO will certainly benefit our students and staff."
Larcomb said the district is moving toward a paperless registration process. The district is partnering with eSchool View to establish the availability to fill out forms online. Once the forms are in the system, parents will only need to make changes as needed rather than start from scratch each year. The goal is to have it in place on or before August 1st and no later than August 14th.