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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

Local People: Burgess promoted at First-Knox


MOUNT VERNON – First-Knox National Bank promoted one associate at the July board meeting. Kim Burgess was promoted to banking officer, regional commercial loan operations.

“Kim has done a terrific job overseeing the regional commercial loan operations,” stated Vickie A. Sant, president of First-Knox National Bank. “She is dedicated to getting the job done right and keeping things running smoothly.”

First Knox Kim Burgess

Kim Burgess - photo submitted

Burgess is a graduate of Fredericktown High School and The Ohio State University. She joined First-Knox i

In 2003 and has held positions as a teller, indirect assistant and loan operations specialist. Kim assumed oversight of the regional center in 2016.

Burgess resides in Mount Vernon with her husband, Ryan, and daughter, Brynn.


Local People: Ross-Gage promoted in commissioners office

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Effective Aug. 1, Kenda Ross-Gage will assume the position of clerk for the Knox County Board of Commissioners. She is replacing Rochelle Shackle who is retiring July 31 after 30 years of service to the county.

Ross-Gage has been with the commissioners since April 2014. She will receive a slight increase from her salary as deputy clerk but not the full amount as the clerk's duties are now split with the county administrator, Jason Booth. Ross-Gage will be responsible for minutes, journaling, payroll and other administrative duties.

Kenda July 282017

Kenda Ross-Gage - KP Photo

Commissioner Teresa Bemiller said the deputy clerk position will remain vacant. “We may have some sharing of an employee with another department,” she said, such as phone coverage when Ross-Gage is in commissioners' sessions.

“I want to thank her for the service to the county and to the county commissioners,” said Bemiller of Shackle. “It's much appreciated. She's been a huge asset to the county and the commissioners. She has a lot of institutional knowledge.”

“I do appreciate everything and all of the people,” said Shackle.


Residents request speed bumps for Edgewood Road

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — When residents Starla Benson and Dennis Swingle brought up the issue of increased traffic in the area of Edgewood Road and Chestnut Street, it struck a cord with City Council members.

Benson told council that since moving to 943 E. High St. in 2015, she and her husband have been “shocked and discouraged” by the amount of drivers using Edgewood Road as a cut-through between Ohio 229 and Coshocton Avenue. She said the problem will continue until the city creates a connector between the two roadways.

She said that if the city does not control traffic in the historic neighborhood, property values will decrease and there will be a “flight of responsible homeowners” from the neighborhood, leaving it to rental properties or worse.

A petition signed by more than 50 residents recommended the city install speed bumps on Edgewood Road, East Chestnut Street and a few other neighborhood streets. Benson said the speed bumps will create no problem for snow plows due to the low amount of snowfall the city gets.

Swingle, a 39-year resident of 1101 E. Chestnut St., said the current petition is the third one neighbors have signed over the years. Using time and distance calculations, Swingle estimates that more than 50 percent of drivers drive 10 to 15 miles per hour over the 25 mph speed limit on Edgewood; a few reach 40 mph to 50 mph.

He said drivers use the northbound uphill on Edgewood Road from Ohio 229 as a drag strip; the problem is more severe on the southbound downhill when drivers go straight through the intersection. He said he has heard instances where the undercarriage of a car hits the pavement.

In addition to the speed and increased traffic, Swingle said drivers using a rolling stop rather than full stop at the Chestnut Street and Edgewood Road intersection and tractor trailers in the neighborhood are two other problems residents face. Noting he has seen drivers from the Kroger Co., Donley Ford and other companies, he said, “I am sure they are not delivering Fords on Edgewood Road.”

Edgewood Chestnut

The E. Chestnut Street/Edgewood Road intersection on Monday afternoon  - KP Photo

He said he has called police more than 30 times about the trucks and was told it is city policy not to ticket them.

Safety-service Director Joel Daniels took exception to the comment about city policy, saying the city has no such policy. Law Director Rob Broeren agreed, saying, “I have prosecuted a number of these cases.” He continues to encourage the police department to ticket those drivers.

Councilwoman Nancy Vail said she hopes the administration will take the issue very seriously. “I am not opposed to speed bumps,” she said, pointing out that there has been no issue with snow and the speed bumps on Cougar Drive. She also requested Broeren to follow up with Municipal Court Judge John Thatcher regarding a proposed policy to require ticketed drivers to appear in court rather than simply mail in the fine.

Council members John Booth and Susan Kahrl agreed the amount and speed of traffic is a problem. Booth said residents on Teryl, Verndale, Vernonview and Lower Gambier Road face the same problem as those on Edgewood and Chestnut. He said the increased speed creates a hazard for residents on Teryl and Verndale who back out of their driveways.

Kahrl said that not only does the city need to control the traffic on Edgewood, but it also needs to predict where the traffic will go if taken off Edgewood.

Mayor Richard Mavis told Benson and Swigle that he has asked Police Chief Roger Monroe to look into the situation.


Ohio Magazine rates Mount Vernon one of Ohio's Best Hometowns

CLEVELAND — In the November issue of Ohio Magazine, Mount Vernon will be recognized as one of five best hometowns in the publication’s 12th annual Ohio’s Best Hometowns issue.

Ohio Magazine selected Mount Vernon because of its community pride, beautiful downtown and new development that pays tribute to the town’s past.

In this special collector’s issue, Ohio Magazine also recognizes four other communities as 2017–2018 Ohio’s Best Hometowns: Bowling Green, Marietta, Milford and Wooster. The issue will be on newsstands by Nov. 3.

To determine the honorees, Ohio Magazine solicited nominations and conducted site visits across the state. The editors evaluated the nominees in six categories — Community Spirit, Education, Entertainment, Health and Safety, Business Environment and Culture and Heritage — to help finalize their selections.

Each of Ohio Magazine’s Best Hometowns will be featured in the November, January and July issues, showing readers unique places to visit and ways to enjoy each location. The Best Hometowns are encouraged to mark this special honor with celebrations throughout the year.


County makes plan to buy E. Chestnut St. property

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — The county commissioners signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to purchase the lot at 111 E. Chestnut St.

Mark Ramser of Knox County Properties LLC bought the parcel, which included a single-family house, in March for $40,000. The house was demolished last week.

The commissioners will buy the lot for $54,000. Commissioner Thom Collier said the commissioners previously looked at buying the lot, but the sale price was too high at $75,000. The $54,000 covers the purchase price and the cost of demolition.

Collier said there is no timetable to buy the lot. The commissioners ultimately plan to convert the area to a parking lot.

The commissioners approved a one-time payment from American Tower for a permanent easement to the county's communication tower located near the Knox County Jail. The county owns the tower; Verizon uses the tower and has leased the rights to American Tower. The county receives an annual lease payment of $8,000.

American Tower offered the commissioners two options in return for the easement: accept a lump sum payment equivalent to 15 to 20 years worth of annual payments or a 10-year guaranteed payment agreement at around $10,000 a year. Payments would cease at the end of the 10 years, and American Tower would still have the permanent easement.

The commissioners opted for a lump sum payment of $164,000, higher than the $150,000 initial payment American Tower offered. “That's 20 years worth of payments we are getting now,” said Jason Booth, county administrator. The county prosecutor's office has reviewed and approved the contract.

Bill Bradish of Palmer Energy told the commissioners that the solar project at the jail is moving through the legal process of approving agreements. He anticipates the agreements to be finalized by the end of the year but doubts the contractor will break ground this year.

The commissioners previously approved the solar project for the jail because it will reduce electric expenses. “Saving 10 to 15 percent on a $10,000-a-month [electric bill] is significant to us,” said Collier.

Bradish also said he has talked with Danville and Fredericktown officials and plans to talk with Gambier and Mount Vernon officials about their electric aggregation programs.

Other items addressed in Tuesday's session:
*The commissioners approved placing a renewal of the ¼ percent 9-1-1 levy on November's ballot.
*The paving project on Parrott Street began Tuesday with pavement cutting. The piping and paving portion will begin the end of July or early August.
*The commissioners accepted the recommendation of City Engineer Cameron Keaton to make no changes to the intersection of Monroe Mills and Harding roads. The intersection is a three-way stop, with northbound traffic on Monroe Mills Road being nonstop. Keaton reviewed a five-year history of crash data and considered public input before making his recommendation.



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