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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

GoFundMe account set up for Remillard family

MOUNT VERNON - The funeral for Nick Remillard, 20 of Gambier, will be held on Saturday at 1 p.m. at The Church of the Holy Spirit in Gambier with calling hours on Friday 1-3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. at Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home, 619 E. High Street. Remillard was found dead behind his home on Sunday. His cousin, Kevin Remillard has been charged with Nick's murder.

A GoFundMe campaign has been created in Nick's name to help cover the funeral costs. So far over $8,700 has been raised. 
Members of the public who wish to make a contribution or who wish to learn more about the life of Nick Remillard can visit the website: https://www.gofundme.com/nick-remillard-funeral-and-memorial
According to his obituary, Nick K. “Remi” Remillard was a 2015 graduate of East Knox High School where he played baseball. In his senior year Nick led the team in strikeouts with 41. He was also a member of the East Knox F.F.A. and Creative Kids 4-H Club. Most recently Nick was very active with the Gambier dog park and was beginning his own dog sitting business. 
"He will always be remembered as a kind and compassionate young man that always filled the room with laughter and cheer. Nick never met a stranger and will be sadly missed by his family and many friends," the obituary reads. 
Friends may call on Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. at the Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home, 619 E. High Street, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050. A funeral service will be held on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit, 102 College Park Street, Gambier, Ohio 43022. The Rev. Rachel Kesler will be officiating. Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery in Gambier.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Gambier Dog Park, C/O Village of Gambier, PO Box 1984, Gambier, Ohio 43022 or East Knox Baseball, C/O East Knox Athletic Boosters, PO Box 15, Howard, Ohio 43028.
To share a memory of Remi or leave a condolence for the family, visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com


Local landlords learn about Section 8 and inspection process

By Cheryl Spain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — What was meant to a meet and greet between Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority officials and local landlords quickly turned into a monopolized conversation from one landlord.
The meeting was intended to educate the community on housing choice vouchers, also known as Section 8, and let individuals know how to become a landlord in the program. After KMHA Executive Director Jennifer Epling gave a brief overview of the process, housing inspector Ryan Kessell began a review of what he looks for during the inspection process.
Several landlords wanted clarification as to when and why the inspection process changed and KMHA stepped up enforcement. One landlord then gave multiple examples of what he has been required to fix, adding that the violation is often the tenant's fault. Forty minutes into the program, another landlord left after his request to let the KMHA representatives continue their program was not heeded.
Eventually, Carrie Hale spoke briefly about protection rights, confidentiality issues and flexibility in moving to another unit for renters involved with domestic violence issues. The landlords still remaining had an opportunity to ask questions regarding responsibility for safety devices such as carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors, whether KMHA is planning to streamline the paperwork process by putting it online and drug testing of prospective renters.


City budgets $95,000 for traffic study

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter


MOUNT VERNON — The city has awarded a $95,000 traffic study contract to the Columbus-based GPD Group. City Engineer Brian Ball said that the next step is to set up a meeting to go over the scope of the work.

“Part of our request we put out is a wish list. Now we need to prioritize,” he told KnoxPages.com on Friday.

Short-term, GPD's task is to prepare the city to apply for the next grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the next phase of the South Sandusky Street project. GPD Group will also review the entire downtown area, looking at ways to improve traffic without taking away from businesses, evaluating the timing of traffic lights, identifying whether the flashing light time frames are appropriate and the proper integration of bike traffic in the downtown area.

“We've identified some funding sources, but we need some hard findings to back up our applications,” said Ball. “It's getting some science into our methods.”

As price tags are determined, Ball anticipates the work will take place in phases over 2017 and 2018. He also said that the traffic study will alleviate incidents of tractor-trailers on roads not designed for heavy-truck traffic. “They have a lot of good advice on what we can do to get trucks to turn properly,” he said. “We know we have some easily improved problems, some are longer term.”


City Finance Group explores adding income and property tax combo


By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — The discussion on how to solve the city's financial crunch took a new direction on Monday when it was suggested to raise the money through a combination income tax increase and property tax increase. Previous discussions centered on raising the income tax by ½ percent and how the additional revenue would be divided among roads/bridges, capital improvements, police/fire and the general fund.

The new proposal involves a suggested ¼ percent income tax increase for safety services and a 5- or 6-mill property tax for roads and bridges. The idea behind a combined revenue stream centers on the desire to avoid placing a larger burden on one demographic population over another.

Compared to seniors, an income tax places a larger burden on younger working families, the demographic the city wants to attract,. Seniors do not pay income tax but still use city services; however, they face restricted cost of living increases and rising medical expenses compared to the younger population. A combined approach, with perhaps some sort of means testing on the taxes, spreads the responsibility over a broader demographic area.

The city finance group and city council will hold a joint working session on Tuesday, June 20, at 6:30 p.m. to further explore the combined approach. A ¼ percent tax increase generates around $1.68 million. City Auditor Terry Scott will calculate what 1 mill generates and the millage required to produce the revenue needed.

Another option discussed at Monday's finance group meeting is to dedicate the revenue from the proposed ½ percent tax increase to safety services, which would free up money for the general fund. Although a current ½ percent income tax is dedicated to police and fire, it no longer generates enough to cover the police and fire budgets. For fire/EMS, the tax covers 57.45 percent of the 2017 budget; for police, the tax covers 53.32 percent. The city's general fund subsidizes the remaining amounts.

Much of the meeting dealt with the need for a new building to house the police department, municipal court, a new magistrate court and the city law director's office. In 10 years, although the parking garage at 5 N. Gay St. can be enlarged to include an additional floor, the structure on top of the garage will be unusable, necessitating construction of a new building at a cost of $10 million to $15 million. Finance group members urged city officials to carefully consider whether current vacant buildings can be used rather than building a new structure.

Regardless of where the courts, police department and law director's office ultimately move to, Scott said the city should set aside $400,000 a year to help offset the cost of the new building. A similar approach was used to construct the fire station on West Gambier Street. The city set aside money beginning in 1993; by the time the station was constructed in 2003, the city could pay cash for the building.

City council has to make a decision soon on how it wants to proceed. The deadline for placing an issue on the November ballot is Aug. 9. With its reduced summer schedule, council meets on June 26 and July 24; council will either have to pass legislation authorizing a ballot issue as an emergency or call a special council meeting to include a third reading.

KnoxEats restaurant review: Amato's Woodfired Pizza

By Marty Trese for KnoxPages.com

MOUNT VERNON - North Sandusky Street just got a huge culinary boost with the addition of Amato's Woodfired Pizza in the building that used to house a hair salon and exercise studio. The new look is rustic with warm colors and modern lighting. There is pizza - but so much more - including appetizers, salads, a large beer and wine selection and homemade cheesecake.

Amatos exterior

When we arrived the parking lot at 668 N. Sandusky was full. We were greeted by a friendly host and one of our dinner party had already arrived so we were seated immediately. It looked like others had to wait a few minutes for their table. There were several tables - all full - and four or five booths along one wall. While it is a basically an open space, the large bar section is separated from the dining room with a wall with a large TV on it tuned to a Columbus newscast. We sat in the dining room.

Our server quickly came over and said hello and took our drink order. It was a tough decision. The menu offers red and white wines, 24 speciality/craft beers, as well as draft beers, and soft drinks.

After our drinks were decided upon, we order a meatball appetizer. The slightly spicy meatballs were in a tomato sauce and really got the tastebuds to wake up.

My husband and I decided to split a large Margherita pizza. The presentation was wonderful with fresh strips of basil on top. The crust was thin and crispy. The pizza was very tasty and we quickly ate it all. We probably could have each ordered the large and finished it. Our son ordered a small pizza with some unusual toppings. Our teenager does tend to go for the unconventional offerings. So he had what the menu called The Berliner, which included tomato sauce, sauerkraut, and kielbasa. That was quickly devoured and we were offered cheesecake for dessert.

We spoke to operations manager Dustin Overholser who told us the cheesecakes are homemade by "A little lady in Delaware who makes money to play golf by selling her cheesecakes, Cheesecakes by Bernie."

Amatos cheesecake

My chocolate raspberry cheesecake came with strawberries and chocolate sauce

I chose the chocolate raspberry cheesecake, my dining partners decided to go with the Oreo. It was the perfect way to top off a wonderful meal.

Knox eats 4 forks

The prices on the food and drinks were comparable to similar restaurants you might find in Columbus or Mansfield.

The restaurant also features a small private dining room with 8 tables. And the restroom was clean and bright with all hands free amenities. Amato's just opened last Monday and Overholser says they are still hiring. The original Amato's is in Delaware. There are plans to open a third Amato's restaurant in Marion.

Overall, I would highly recommend Amato's Woodfired Pizza for the great food and the fun atmosphere and enthusiastically give it a 4 forks (out of four) rating.

Atmosphere: 4 Forks
Fare: 4 Forks
Service: 4 Forks
Value: 4 Forks
Overall: 4 Forks



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