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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

Zoning change makes way for new business

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Monday's City Council meeting was relatively brief, with only a few items on the agenda.

Council passed legislation changing the zoning for 1199 Newark Road from R3 residential to General Business. The Wooster-based Smetzer's Tire Service plans to build and operate a tire sales and service outlet on the 4.49-acre parcel.

The measure passed as an emergency, with council waiving the required three readings. Councilman John Booth noted that council usually does not pass rezoning measures as emergencies. Councilwoman Nancy Vail, chairwoman of the city's Planning and Zoning Committee, said she usually supports three readings for rezoning.

In this case, however, Smetzer's Tire, the administration and the city engineering department requested the fast track so that Smetzer's Tire can put the project out to bid and get construction started and completed in a timely manner. She also noted there has been no opposition to the rezoning, either from residents, the Municipal Planning Commission or public participation at a public hearing on the issue held March 27.

Council also fast-tracked an ordinance setting the wage of the newly hired court security officer at $18 an hour. Mayor Richard Mavis swore in Officer Thomas Brown as an auxiliary police officer on Thursday. A resident of Newark, Brown formerly was part of the court security detail for the Ohio Supreme Court.

Council approved four financial measures authorizing the payment of bills, transfers among accounts, participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation's co-operative purchasing program for road salt, and appropriation of money.

Of the $40,250 in appropriations, $33,000 was transferred among accounts. The remaining $7,250 is from Ariel Corp. for the city's annual fireworks display. The Chinese fireworks manufacturer raised the price, so Ariel Corp. increased its donation from $5,000 to $7,250 to cover the additional cost.

The final two pieces of legislation council dealt with included a second reading on the annexation of 3.249 acres from Clinton Township and emergency passage of an ordinance setting the number and wages of seasonal recreation personnel.

Mavis reminded residents not to throw away correspondence from the city as it contains information about the recent water and wastewater increases. Along with increased rates, the billing cycle will change to monthly.

Law Director Rob Broeren reminded council and the public of the funeral for former Sheriff David Barber on Tuesday. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Glenn A. Gallagher Centre, 1451 Gambier Road. A service will follow at 7 p.m.

Councilman Sam Barone said that an educational session on home rule, also referred to as charter government, is set for Tuesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in council chambers. Noting that it has been an interest of his for awhile, Barone said that 75 percent of cities have become home rule cities. Following a meeting last fall among local and political leaders, the consensus was that council and the community should at the least become educated on the issue.

Rep. Carfagna supports bill for timely access to mental health care

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Scott Ryan (R-Newark) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation that would allow certain advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to have an individual involuntarily hospitalized for a mental health evaluation in the event of an emergency and if they are a danger to themselves or others. The bill works to provide faster and more efficient care during these mental health emergencies.

House Bill 111 allows an APRN with a psychiatric sub-specialty to have an individual hospitalized if the nurse reasonably suspects that the individual could be a risk to self or others. A mental health professional must perform an evaluation within 24 hours of a patient’s admittance to the care facility, and at the end of this 24-hour period, the individual must be released unless it is recommended following a full mental health exam or a court order that they should be detained.

“I’m extremely grateful to Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and the entire Ohio House membership for their affirmative vote on HB 111 and for understanding the importance of this legislation,” Carfagna said. “I’m eager to see the Ohio Senate take up this bill, and hope they’ll likewise work quickly to empower these highly-trained nurses to intervene in mental health emergencies."

In Ohio, there are approximately 700 APRNs with a psychiatric subspecialty, according to committee testimony. To become qualified, an RN must receive a graduate degree in a nursing specialty or related field. The nurse must then sit for a national certification examination, and obtain a Certificate of Authority from Ohio. This certificate must be reviewed biennially with a continuing education requirement.

This bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support last general assembly when it was sponsored by former State Rep. Margaret Ann Ruhl. However, it did not receive a full Senate vote. Following last week’s House passage, it now returns to the Senate for further consideration.

Muni Court sentences March 27, 2016


MOUNT VERNON – The following cases were resolved before Judge John Thatcher at the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on March 27, 2017.
Jonathan W. Walker, 35 of Fredericktown, changed his pleas and the Court found him guilty of driving with a suspended license and violating terms of his probation. For the driving under suspension charge, the Court sentenced Walker to pay court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended, and placed him on two years of probation and ordered he serve 30 days in jail, concurrent with his other sentence, for violating the terms of his probation.

Dustin M. Potter, 32 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of failure to pay income tax. The Court sentenced Potter to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs.

Stephanie Potter, of Mount Vernon, changed her plea and the Court found her guilty of failure to pay income tax. The Court sentenced Potter to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs.

Frank J. Stoutenburgh, 37 of Mount Vernon, changed his pleas and the Court found him guilty of driving under an OVI or ALS suspension, diving under a financial responsibility suspension, resisting arrest, and violating terms of his probation. The Court sentenced Stoutenburgh to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 150 days suspended, placed him on two years community control for the driving under OVI suspension charge, to pay no fine and serve 30 days in jail for the resisting arrest charge, and that he serve 30 days in jail as a sanction for violating the terms of his probation.
Additionally, the Court fined him $200 fine plus court costs for the driving under a financial responsibility suspension charge.

Abbie D. Hinger, 28 of Howard, changed her pleas and the Court found her guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or a drug of abuse and two separate counts of petty theft. The Court sentenced Hinger to pay a $500 fine plus court
costs, serve 180 days in jail with 135 days suspended, placed her on two years community control, and complete a 72-hour driver intervention program for her conviction of driving under the influence. Separately, for her convictions on the two counts of petty theft, the Court sentenced her to pay court costs, serve 180 days in jail
with 135 days suspended, serve 45 days concurrent with all other sentences, and placed her on two years community control.

Danielle Reynolds, 27 of Mount Vernon, changed her pleas and the Court found her guilty of two separate counts of criminal trespass. On each count, the Court sentenced Reynolds to pay court costs only, serve 30 days in jail with 30 days suspended, and placed her on two years of probation.

Caleb D. Bentley, 21 of Johnstown, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. The Court sentenced Bentley to pay a fine of $400 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 180 days suspended, placed him on two years community control, and ordered him to complete a drug and alcohol assessment within 60 days and comply with all recommendations.

Travis N. Hollar, 23 of Howard, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of violating terms of his probation. The Court sentenced him to serve 60 days in jail and terminated him unsuccessfully from probation.

Deqwan M. Hardy, 24 of Howard, changed his pleas and the Court found him guilty of aggravated menacing and assault. On both charges, the Court sentenced Hardy to pay court costs only, serve 180 days in jail with 160 days suspended, and placed him on two years community control.

Walter Kelling, 34 of Mount Vernon, pled guilty to criminal damaging and criminal trespass on March 7, 2017 and was sentenced to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs, serve 90 days in jail with credit for time served and the balance suspended, placed him on two years community control, ordered him to complete a drug and alcohol assessment within 60 days for his conviction on criminal damaging, and sentenced him to served 30 days in jail with credit for time served and the balance suspended on the criminal trespass conviction.

Jason L. Longstreth, 34 of Circleville, Ohio, pled guilty to possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia on January 6, 2017 and was sentenced to pay court costs only, serve 180 days in jail with 180 days suspended, placed him on two years of probation, and ordered him to enroll in and complete the MERIT Court program for his conviction on possession of drugs, and sentenced him to served 30 days in jail with 30 days suspended for the possession of drug paraphernalia conviction.

Rep. Carfagna co-sponsors bill to implement Computer Science for students K-12

COLUMBUS - State Representative Rick Carfagna (R) Genoa Township, District 68 (which includes Knox County), has plans to introduce a bill to prepare Ohio students for careers in computer science. 

Carfagna has reached out to school superintendents throughout the district for their input and those conversations have led to making the bill.

In a statement Carfagna said, "We will soon introduce legislation that will allow school districts to implement computer science (CS) in grades K-12. Over the past few years, there has been a national movement and conversation around states implementing K-12 CS standards."

In December, Washington became the sixth state to adopt computer science standards from kindergarten to Grade 12. Having participated in the development of the framework, Washington was able to incorporate ideas from the framework throughout their process. Other states with standards include Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Under the bill, the aim is to define “computer science”, charge the State Board of Education to adopt CS standards by working with stakeholders across a number of fields – and make it permissive for school districts to implement these standards. Also, the bill will provide flexibility to students to use CS as an alternative to Algebra II, or to fulfill a math, science, or elective unit as well regardless of the field of certification so long as the teacher has completed professional development determined appropriate by the school board.

The bill also provides teachers with the opportunity to gain professional development (PD) opportunities through the five providers of computer science principles and pedagogical support under College Board.

Lastly, the bill provides for a Technology Grant Program for the 2018-2019 school year. The grants awarded will be used to support CS programs and professional development for those districts in highest need first. The grant can also be used for (1) the delivery of online assessments, (2) wireless connectivity in school buildings, (3) network services, or (4) the purchase of computers and equipment.

To connect with Rep. Carfagna constituents can visit this link and submit an email or call (614)466-1431.

Drunk/drugged driving defendants sentenced

MOUNT VERNON – The following cases were resolved before Judge John Thatcher at the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on Tuesday.

Elizabeth A. Burwell, 54 of Danville, changed her plea and the Court found her guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drug of abuse. The Court sentenced Burwell to pay a fine of $700 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 177 days suspended, complete a 72-hour driver intervention program within 45 days and comply with all recommendations, placed her on three years community control, suspended her license for two years, immobilized her vehicle for 90 days, and ordered her to wear a SCRAM alcohol monitoring device.

Kody E. Williams, 18 of Mount Vernon, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of operating a vehicle after underage consumption of an alcoholic beverage. The Court sentenced Williams to pay a fine of $250 plus court costs, serve 30 days in jail with 27 days suspended, placed him on two years community control, ordered him to complete a 72-hour driver intervention program within 45 days and comply with all recommendations, and suspended his license for 90 days.

Jesse L. Thornton, 65 of Mount Vernon, changed his pleas and the Court found him guilty of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drug of abuse and possession of marihuana drug paraphernalia. The Court sentenced Thornton to pay a fine of $500 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 177 days suspended, placed him on two years community control, ordered him to complete a 72-hour driver intervention program within 45 days and comply with all recommendations, and suspended his license for one year. An additional fine of $150 was imposed on the paraphernalia charge.

Kelly J. Coburn-Brattain, 48 of Mount Gilead, changed her pleas and the Court found her guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drug of abuse and failure to yield. The Court sentenced Coburn-Brattain to pay a fine of $700 plus court costs, serve 180 days in jail with 177 days suspended, placed her on two years
community control, and ordered her to complete a 72-hour driver intervention program within 45 days and comply with all recommendations.

Attorney Brandon Crunkilton represented Burwell.
Attorney Morgan Giles represented Williams, Thornton, and Coburn-Brattain.
Assistant Director of Law Brittany Whitney represented the State of Ohio and the City of
Mount Vernon in these matters.

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