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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio


Mount Vernon JCPenney store to remain open

MOUNT VERNON - While retailers K-Mart and MC Sports are closing their local stores, word has come that the Mount Vernon JCPenney store is not one of four Ohio locations to be shut down.

The company announced in February it would be closing between 130-140 stores in the coming months.

On Friday, the company released the list of stores to be shuttered across the country. The four Ohio stores to be closed are in Findlay, New Philadelphia, Richond Heights, and St. Mary's.

The company said it expected annual savings of about $200 million from the cost-cutting measures.

MVNU Engineering Dept. to move into former Farley & Moore location

MOUNT VERNON — Ariel Foundation, a local nonprofit focused on improving the quality of life in Mount Vernon, has gifted the property located at 104 S. Main St. to Mount Vernon Nazarene University. This space will house the university’s Engineering program and a community makerspace, in partnership with Knox Labs. The MVNU Board of Trustees, at its March 17 board meeting, was pleased to accept the gift.

“The presence of MVNU in downtown Mount Vernon is a source of pride for us. We are invested in the greater community and proud to call this city our home. Our Art and Graphic Design Department and School of Nursing and Health Sciences are happy to be part of the downtown community. The decision to move our Engineering program to Main Street is a good moment for the university,” said MVNU President Henry W. Spaulding II, Ph.D.

“We are grateful for the continued partnership and support of Ariel Foundation and their investment in MVNU and the generosity of the local community. We look forward to a cooperative effort to create a thriving site for our Engineering program. This move will further enhance this city for decades,” said Spaulding.

Farley Moore

104 S. Main St. in 2016 during its last days as an antique store - KP file photo

MVNU’s Engineering program began in the fall of 2014 under dean, Dr. Richard Sutherland, within the School of Natural and Social Sciences. MVNU offers two Bachelor of Science degree programs in electrical and mechanical engineering, respectively. Engineering faculty members include Dr. David Winyard, Associate Professor of Engineering; Dr. David Che, Professor of Engineering; and Dr. Gary Koester, Professor of Engineering.

“MVNU’s Engineering program requires shops and labs for several courses and many student projects. The donation of the downtown space goes a long way toward meeting these requirements. It also opens up possibilities through collaboration with Knox Labs, a makerspace startup that develops working relationships between MVNU Engineering faculty and students and area entrepreneurs, possibly leading to internships and research projects. The partnership will benefit the local community, and MVNU engineers will be prepared to serve wherever their careers may lead them” said Dr. David Winyard, Associate Professor of Engineering.

The 10,824-square foot property located at 104 S. Main St. was most recently home to Farley and Moore Antiques before it closed its doors in late 2016. Before then it was notably home to department store J.C. Penney Co.
For more information on the MVNU Engineering program visit www.gotomvnu.com/engineering.

New Alcove restaurant opens this week

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - It's been closed several months for remodeling but The Alcove restaurant downtown is set to open once again. The oldest restaurant in the city, which first opened in 1911,  is now owned by Karen and Katie Wright.  Katie describes the remodel/renovate/redesign project as "re-imagined." The Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting is set for 5 p.m. Friday. 

Katie is a chef by trade and when she moved back to Mount Vernon she suggested to Karen changes to the menu and linens. Following that Katie agreed to get more involved and saw lot of potential, even though, at that time, the restaurant was not successful financially. Katie decided she wanted to make a go of it. The remodel began late in 2016. It was designed by Fritz Harding out of Columbus.

Alcove Heather and Katie

Heather Buck, left, Director of Training and Guest Services and Katie Wright, co-owner, in the new Alcove dining room. 

KnoxPages.com was given a tour of the new space Wednesday. When you walk in you'll notice the floor plan has changed just slightly with the hostess desk adjacent to the front door. The bar, known as the Library, is still off to your left. The decor features lots of blue, black and white. There is additional restaurant seating than in the old space, as well as two private dining rooms that seat eight. All of the light fixtures and sconces are new and were purchased in New Orleans. Wallpaper in the main dining room depicts scenes of George Washington's Mount Vernon.

Many of the artifacts displayed in the previous Alcove Library bar remain, including signs from former local businesses.  There are even some things that were stored in the basement that have now been dusted off and incorporated into the decor. 

Alcove new library

The Library bar 

"We're very proud to be an institution and that's why we kept the name, we kept the library, I think there is something familiar about it, but it's all brand new.  I call it a brand new throwback," said Katie. Former employees as well as new employees are part of the staff. 

As far as the menu is concerned, the Alcove has involvement with Cameron Mitchell restaurant group out of Columbus.  The menu is described as American Classics and, according to Katie, "We are upping the quality and the plating." The new chef is Brock Leach who had been the sous chef at the Mount Vernon Country Club.

Alcove restaurant view

The Alcove first floor dining room - KP Photos by Marty Trese

For now, The Alcove will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday, dinner only on Saturday. Valet parking is being explored as an option for restaurant patrons.

New restrooms are in place on both the main floor and on the second floor. Dinner theater and private events will be offered on the second floor.  The theater space is still being finished.



E. Vine Street Burglar caught on camera

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - A security camera recorded a burglar breaking in to a home near the East Vine/Park Street area at 12:30 this morning. No items were taken. The homeowner told KnoxPages.com that they purchased their home 9 months ago and already have had two break-ins. She said this same suspect was caught on camera casing cars parked nearby.

If you have any information on this suspect contact Mount Vernon Police at 740-397-2222.



Burglar 3172016 1230am

Surveillance photo of suspect at East Vine Street home

Grant funding being sought for onsite drug testing through courts

MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Municipal Court and Court of Common Pleas are partnering to seek grant funding for onsite drug testing. The juvenile court and children's services can also also use the onsite testing capabilities.

Dave Priest, probation officer for the municipal court, said that the system they are interested in, Thermo Fisher, offers more specificity for the same cost. The current test is either positive or negative; the Thermo Fisher system provides a 13-panel result down to nanograms. This specificity not only gives results based on what type of drug is identified, but, on repeated testing, also indicates whether an individual is really trying to curtail drug use or whether drug use is increasing.

The $5,000 system uses bar codes to protect individuals' privacy and comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements. Setup is free. The $3.10 cost per test is based on the current volume from municipal and common pleas courts. If children's services and the juvenile court use the testing, the cost per test will decrease. The courts' current contract with i-Samson ends in June.

Priest presented the information Monday at a meeting of the Community Corrections Act Board. David Erwin and Scott Zwiezinski of the West Central Community Correction Center also spoke about the center's community re-entry plan for those with fourth- and fifth-degree felony convictions. Erwin, executive director of the 144-bed community based correctional facility, said there are no restrictions on who the center accepts and that F4 and F5 offenders from Knox County could be referred. The problem is that the CBCF is full and has a wait list.

The goal of the re-entry program is to reduce the number of repeat offenders and the number of F4s and F5s who go to prison. The program operates with funding from Ohio's Probation Incentive and Improvement Grant program. Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Wetzel requested that Erwin include Knox County under the CBCF's grant.

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