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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

United Way kicks off $1 million "Give where you live" campaign

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - The 2017 United Way Kick-Off Breakfast, Good Morning Knox County, was held Friday morning and it was announced that the fundraising effort is already at 29% of its one million dollar goal.  United Way has three investment areas  - education, financial stability and health. For 2018 United Way will invest in 26 programs in 16 partner agencies.

United Way wide shot breakfast

Friday morning's United Way kick off breakfast held at MVNU's Ariel Hall - KP Photo

 The breakfast, held at MVNU's Ariel Hall, featured the introduction of the United Way's new Resource Development Coordinator Karen Schroeder. She replaced Katie Peterson who left the agency earlier this year to move out of state. A humorous video was shown highlighting Schroeder's first day at the United Way office in which she was incessantly reminded that Katie previously had Karen's job and was told she had big shoes to fill. Video of the program can be seen here. MVNU staff and students and local producer Matt Starr collaborated on the video.

Videos were also shown highlighting the Knox County Health Department's FACES program. FACES stands for falls, assessment, community, EMA, and support & service which is designed to help elderly persons stay in their own home longer. The idea is to ease the demand on first responders who are sometimes dispatched to help someone who has fallen at a cost of $800 per run. Through FACES, a dedicated nurse - funded by United Way - can go out and assist those who have fallen or may need help getting something off the floor or even turn on a nightlight. 

The ROX (ruling our experiences) program helps middle school girls develop and maintain self-esteem in this day of bullying via social media.

Schroeder announced that 29.2 percent, or $292,723 has already been raised by individuals and companies known as Early Bird Pacesetters.   

This year's campaign is chaired by Ryan Sponsler who announced that his car dealership, Donley Auto Group, will give away a two year lease on a Ford Escape or 5,000 via a drawing for those who contribute $250 or more. The board chair this year is Clint Bailey.  

Sponsler at UWAy breakfast

Ryan Sponsler is this year's United Way Campaign Chair - KP Photo

Executive Director Kelly Brenneman acknowledged the Women United Affinity Group which was founded last year. It fills the gaps inthe community that can't be accomplished with traditional funding. The members are investing $42,000 back into Knox County with the O'Hara Chris-Fit Porgram, Women in Recovery Breakfasts, Girls on the Run, Recovery Housing for Women and children, ROX, Stuff the Book Bags and Diaper Bars/Wine and Cheese Night. 

Community members can donate to United Way through their employer or directly to United Way.  For more information visit uwayknox.org.

Pending approval Bike Trail will be rerouted near viaduct

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Pending final approval, the Kokosing Gap Trail will soon be rerouted around Creno's parking lot.

Mayor Richard Mavis told city council members on Monday that a Nature Works project at Ariel-Foundation Park cannot be done, so with the verbal approval of Nature Works officials, the bike path reroute will be substituted.

Instead of reaching South Main Street via Creno's parking lot, the bike path will be extended north of the parking lot and tie into the bike path. Users can then turn left toward South Main Street and continue on the bike path, or they can turn right, cross the bridge and enter town.

Safety-service Director Joel Daniels anticipates the $30,000 project will be completed this year. Nature Works officials must give their formal approval, and city council must approve the project and matching funds.

The original project involved construction of a fence along the path on East Foundation Lake. City Engineer Brian Ball determined there is not enough space between the path and the lake to install posts. He is working on another solution that includes placing logs, rock and mortar to stabilize the earth.

Councilwoman Nancy Vail was concerned that this solution would not alleviate the safety issue that was council's original reason to install the fence. “For people who are neglecting the safety of their children, it's an issue,” Mavis said. “So is the bike path and every sidewalk.”

Bike route redo

This photo shows how the Kokosing Gap Trail will be rerouted to avoid using Creno's parking lot.
Photo courtesy of the city's engineering department


Regarding traffic on Edgewood Road, David Pressler told council members he wants to “try and keep this on your minds and see if we can get some movement and long-term solutions.”

Pressler, an Edgewood Road resident for 25 years, said the traffic has doubled in that time. “It's not designed as a crossover to Coshocton Avenue,” he said.

“In the long term, I would urge council and other bodies to look for other ways to get around,” he said, citing as an example the much-talked-about Eastern Star Road route. “If we don't have a plan, we don't do anything.”

Pressler said he favors the installation of speed bumps on Edgewood, saying that it is “part of the answer to make it annoying so you don't want to go that way.”

“If the tax levy is passed, I've been told that Eastern Star Road is on the list [of projects],” Vail told Pressler. “There are new plans and we are going to be respectful of property owners.”

The legislative session was short, with council addressing three resolutions:
*Gave a first reading to legislation accepting the recommendations of the Knox County Tax Incentive Review Council regarding tax abatements
*Appropriated $964.61 from the Foundation Park Conservancy for the Rastin Challenge to the police equipment account
*Authorized the auditor to transfer funds between accounts

Councilman John Francis read two proclamations:
*National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week Sept. 10-17
*Constitution Week Sept. 17-23

Mavis presented a Volunteer of the Year Award to John Owens. Owens is one of five volunteers receiving the award this year. He was unable to be present when Mavis honored the other recipients at the Sept. 1 First Friday.

Owens award Sept 11 2017


Mayor Richard Mavis, left, presented a Volunteer of the Year Award to John Owens. Owens is one of five volunteers honored for their service to the city.
KP photo by Cheryl Splain



Local People: Curry graduates from bank leadership program

COLUMBUS - Levi Curry, Banking Center Manager at First-Knox National Bank - A Division of PNB in Mount Vernon, was among 24 bankers from across Ohio who recently graduated from the 2016-2017 Bank Leadership Institute at the Ohio Bankers League. 

Created by the OBL more than 25 years ago, BLI generates leaders who will strengthen their organizations through enhanced leadership, organizational and performance skills. The 24 participants met four times throughout the 2016-2017 program year for two-day intensive study sessions and hands-on learning, and now join more than 400 Ohio bankers who are accomplished BLI graduates.

Each session concentrated on key learning activities for leadership skills development such as strategic planning, risk management, presentation, coaching and mentoring, team-building, negotiation and mediation, regulatory structure and environment, the legislative process, and more. The program was led by George Paidas, founder/executor of Embros, a strategic planning, coaching and leadership consulting firm. George is widely recognized throughout the Ohio banking industry as a past chairman of the Ohio Bankers League and former CEO of The Old Phoenix National Bank in Medina.

For the eighth time, the BLI program also included participation in the OBL Washington D.C. Fly-In last February, which for many, was their first experience in bank lobbying.

According to Mike Adelman, president & CEO at the OBL, “Mid- to senior-level bankers with executive potential are selected by their bank to participate in the BLI program. This is a sound way to establish a core network of bank leaders who will provide future direction for both their institutions and the Ohio banking industry. Given the significant outflow of retiring Baby Boomer bank executives, we need to continue to keep our industry stocked with leaders passionate about sustaining banking in communities across Ohio.”

For more information about the 2017-2018 Bank Leadership Institute program, visit the OBL Web site at www.ohiobankersleague.com or contact Susan Poling Jones, education manager, at 614-340-7611. The first session will be held in Columbus on Thursday & Friday, Sept. 21 & 22, 2017.

Living history lessons presented at Mound View cemetery

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - History came alive during the"Walk among the Tombstones" at Mound View Cemetery Sunday afternon. Event Coordinator Susan Kahrl said they had the biggest crowd ever for the event which is held every other year as a way for visitors to learn about who is buried in the beautifully maintained 41 acre city-owned cemetery.

Sunday's walking tour focused on actors portraying and telling the stories of prominent persons buried in the cemetery who played roles in early Mount Vernon and World War I. Among those featured on the tour were R.C. Kirk, James Williams, Daniel Norton, Sarah Murphy Banning, Anthony Banning, Elizabeth Hogg Curtis, Charles Campbell, and Dan Curtis Stone.

Kirk, portrayed by Walt Lewis, lived from 1821-1898. Kirk was a member of the Ohio State Senate, served as Lieutenant Governor, was an abolitionist and a strong advocate for racial justice. At one time Kirk owned the home that is now Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home on Newark Road.

Williams was a former slave who joined the Union forces at Vicksburg. He made his way to Mount Vernon and became a prominent barber in the community. In his later years he worked for R.C. Kirk in whose residence he died in 1888. He is buried in Potters Field at the cemetery.

Kenyon College was located in Gambier thanks, in part, to Mount Vernon's Daniel S. Norton (1786-1859). Norton, portrayed by Jeff Gottke, was a passionate patriot from Connecticut. His family moved west. He attended Transylvania College in Kentucky where he became a friend of Henry Clay, U.S. Senator and Congressman. Norton became a successful businessman in sugar and shipbuilding. He convinced Philander Chase to build Kenyon on the hill which is now Gambier. Chase and Norton are featured in the mural painted inside the Gambier Post office.

Sarah Murphy Banning, 1766-1844, was portrayed by Karen Smith. She was the daughter of pioneer William Murphy, one of the first settlers at Fort Redstone, Pennsylvania. She grew up in the atmosphere of the American Revolution on the western frontier. She married James Mansfield "Anthony" Banning in 1791 and they traveled to Knox county in 1812 with their eight children. Her life work was raising her children to the be honest and hard workers.

The Bannings were a prominent family and Anthony Banning (1768-1844), married Sarah, and after they moved to Mount Vernon built a giant mill on the Kokosing. Their farm encompassed much of western Mount Vernon. Rev. Banning was a Methodist minister and served as associate judge of Knox County from 1827-1834. He was a faithful minister and the builder of Banning Chapel.

Curtis, portrayed by Cate Blair Wilhelm, was born in England in 1803. Her family came to the frontier of Pennsylvania after The Revolution. The Hogg family founded what is thought to be the first bank west of the Alleghenies. She married Henry Curtis in 1823 with a signed premarital contract which gave her total control over her own money. Some of the Curtis family members married Nortons, Kirks and Coopers. Curtis died in 1878. Her family donated a stained glass window to St. Paul's Episcopal Church in her memory.

Curtis at cemetery tour 2017

Cate Blair Wilhelm as Elizabeth Hogg Curtis at "A Walk Among the tombstones" at Mound View Cemetery Sunday - KP Photo

Stone was the first of 31 Knox County men who died in the Great War. Portrayed by Steve Kelley, Stone was orignally buried in Europe before his remains were returned to Knox County. The American Legion was formed in 1919 and the local chapter, No. 136 is named for Dan C. Stone.

Dr. John Fowler, portrayed his grandfather Charles Campbell, who was drafted into the Army in April 1917. Campbell, 1888-1969, excelled in sports at Otterbein College. He served in the 32nd division of American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Campbell talked about the use of mustard gas during the war and how gas masks had to be used to protect soldiers' eyes and skin in the event of an attack.

Dr. Fowler as Campbell WWI

Dr. John Fowler portraying his grandfather, Charles Campbell, a World War I soldier - KP Photo 


The tour concluded with a stop at the cemetery's old chapel which is being renovated by the Knox County Landmarks Foundation. The chapel was originally built in 1887 by O. W. Hubbell. It has a holding vault in the rear of the building which was used to store caskets when immediate burial had to be delayed.

Sponsors for the cemetery tour included Black Cat Creative, Daughters of the American Revolution, Knox County Democratic Women, Knox County Landmarks Foundation, KnoxPages.com, Main Street Mount Vernon, MTVarts, Printing Arts Press, Psi Iota Xi, Town & Country Garden Club, and WAM Group of the Knox County Fair Board

Davis promoted at First-Knox

MOUNT VERNON – First-Knox National Bank promoted one associate at the August board meeting. Jessica Davis was promoted to administrative officer, mortgage lending.

“Jessica has been with First-Knox over 15 years,” stated Vickie A. Sant, president of First-Knox National Bank. “She has held a number of roles that have honed her customer service and lending skills. She is an excellent lender and resource for our customers and associates.”

Jessica is a native of Virginia where she graduated high school. She has completed numerous banking classes and is a 2013 graduate of the Knox County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Knox program. She joined First-Knox in 2001 and has held positions as a teller, customer service representative, and assistant branch manager before transferring to mortgage lending in 2015.

Davis resides in Mount Vernon with her husband, Angelo Huerte, and sons, Sebastian and Finn.

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