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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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United Way to move to make room for Public Defender's Office

MOUNT VERNON - The United Way of Knox County office is moving a couple of blocks east.  On February 23, 2017, the United Way purchased 305 East High Street, the former home of the Murray, Rauzi and Kidwell Law Firm, for $165,000. Currently, the United Way offices are located at 110 East High Street, a building owned by Knox County.  Due to the need of additional office space for the Public Defender’s Office, the commissioners have asked United Way to find another location.

United Way Executive Director Kelly Brenneman said, “We are so appreciative to the commissioners for allowing United Way to lease 110 East High Street for the past several years, we’ve enjoyed our time in this building. We always knew this day would arrive and we are fortunate to have found a permanent home for United Way.”

“As a taxpayer this makes perfect sense, the commissioners should use a county owned building to house the Public Defender’s Office, it is cost effective and the location across from the Courthouse is ideal," added Brenneman.

The United Way plans to move into the new building in early May.

Municipal Court: 3 found guilty, 3 warrants issued

MOUNT VERNON – Judge John Thatcher found three guilty after trials to the court and other hearings held in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court on March 1, 2017.

Philmore B. Cooper, 32 of Columbus, was found guilty of speeding, 69mph in a 55mph zone, after a trial to the Court. Trooper Anthony Matheny of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Mt. Gilead Post testified for the State of Ohio. The Court sentenced Cooper to pay a fine of $45 plus court costs.

Scott Owens, 20 of Fredericktown, was found guilty of possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia after a trial to the Court. Patrolman Ronny Flynn of the Fredericktown Police Department testified for the Village of Fredericktown. The Court sentenced
Owens to pay a fine of $75 plus court costs.

Todd J. Rhinebolt, 32 of Mt. Liberty, Ohio, changed his plea and the Court found him guilty of driving under financial  responsibility suspension and failure to use reasonable control while driving. The Court sentenced Rhinebolt to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs for the driving under suspension charge and an additional $75 for the failure to control charge.

Thomas C. Kemmer, 43 of Fredericktown, failed to appear for his scheduled court trial. The Court issued a warrant for his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $250 cash or surety without the application of the 10%

Justin L. Pfeiffer, 19 of Howard, failed to appear for his scheduled court trial. The Court issued a warrant for his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $250 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision. The Court also forfeited his previously posted bond.

Quinton T. Blair, 41 of Mount Vernon, failed to appear for his scheduled court trials. The Court issued a warrant of his arrest with county and adjoining county radius and set bond in the amount of $500 cash or surety without the application of the 10% provision. The Court also forfeited his previously posted bond.

Director of Law Rob Broeren represented the State of Ohio and the Village of Fredericktown in all of these cases

Council considering legislation to better collect fines for parking tickets

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — Council gave a first reading on Monday night to legislation that gives the city the authority it needs to fully collect the fines for all parking violation tickets issued.

Law Director Rob Broeren told council that although the city parking attendant issues tickets, if the offender does not voluntarily pay the fine, the city has no other recourse to collect the fine.

“We have an informal process now with the Mount Vernon Police Department, but you have to have an explicit appeals process to collect fines,” he said.

The legislation establishes a Parking Violations Bureau to which offenders can appeal if they disagree with the ticket or feel there are extenuating circumstances. Current wording leaves the door open for additional personnel to be hired to serve as violations clerk, hearing examiners and clerical employees; Broeren will amend the legislation before the second reading, making it clear that no additional personnel will be hired.

In response to Councilwoman Janis Seavolt's question as to how much the city should be collecting in fines but is not, Broeren said that a significant number of fines are unpaid. He did not have an actual cost because parking violations are still tracked on a paper system. Councilman Sam Barone said that it seems like “we should be adding up the ledger” to find out a comparison between what the city pays the parking attendant to enforce parking violations and the amount of unpaid fines.

The discussion turned to whether the parking attendant was needed at all. Barone said a survey of downtown merchants would probably show a 50/50 split about enforcing parking, adding that he was waiting to see council chambers crowded with downtown merchants. “We're doing it for them, it's costing us money, and I have never heard a thank you or response from them,” he said.

Councilman John Francis said he was against setting up another bureau.

In other business, council passed emergency legislation authorizing Auditor Terry Scott to pay bills and appropriate money. Appropriations include $2,000 from the Youth Philanthropy Group at the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County to the Youth Assistant Project at juvenile probation; $100 from the Knox County Retired Teachers Association to the MERIT Drug Court; and $240,930 from the Ariel Foundation to the city's tree planting and removal program.

Council also authorized the safety-service director to bid and contract with a vendor for janitorial services and gave a first reading to legislation raising wastewater rates.

Health Commissioner Julie Miller updated council on health department activities. Highlights include:

*Working with Bullock's Drive Thru and Grocery on West High Street to sell fruits and vegetables in the carryout
*Nutrition and cooking programs at the Escape Zone
*Working with Fredericktown and Mount Vernon EMS to do fall safety and medication assessments
*Newborn home visit program
*Parent education program
*Adult work site wellness program with a focus on obesity

Council will hold a public meeting on Monday, Mar. 27, at 7 p.m. in council chambers to review a request to rezone 1199 Newark Road from R-3 multiple family district to general business.

Liquor control permits were received for Mafi LLC, DBA MAFI at 812 Coshocton Ave. Unit 4 (D1) and the Woodward Development Corp., DBA Harvest at the Woodward at 107 S. Main St. (D2 D2).

Video: New signage goes up on Grand Hotel in downtown Mount Vernon

MOUNT VERNON - New signage went up this morning on the Grand Hotel on south Main Street just off the Public Square. Traffic was blocked off for a time.  

Here is video from Drone KP by Westie Productions.


Armory transformed to The Escape Zone community center

By Marty Trese, KnoxPages.com Editor

MOUNT VERNON - The armory at 1 Mansfield Avenue had stood vacant for years. Back in 1931 the building was dedicated as the State Armory, the new home of hospital company, 136, Ohio National Guard. In the 1970's the upstairs gym was used for high school dances on the weekends. On Friday the ribbon was cut on the building which has been renovated to become The Escape Zone community center.

 The Escape Zone is a Christ-centered, multidenominational organization that provdes a fun, friendly, safe environment for all youth.  Those involved in the facility say the self-worth of youth, their quality of life, community involvement, moral values, and faith in Christ will be enriched through building relationships and participating in activities.  

Terry Walter is the president of the Escape Zone. He told KnoxPages.com that the building has 13,000 square feet of recreational space for kids of all ages.  They will be offering basketball, foosball, ping poing, Wii games and several other kinds of activities.  The gym on the second floor has a stage area which was renovated by the current Leadership Knox class. Walter said, "We wouldn't have pulled this off without funding and volunteers." Walter says the next step is to hire a director and recruit volunteers to oversee the facility. The goal is to have the building open 7 days a week.


Escape Zone ribbon cut Knox Chamber Tina Cockrell

Ribbon cutting at the Escape Zone on Friday. L to R: Ryan Dillworth, Cong. Bob Gibbs office; Michelle Turner, Dean's Jewelry; Terry Walter, Escape Zone board president, Mark Ramser, building owner; Jan Reynolds, Ariel Foundation Executive Director; Lisa Behr, Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County; Karen Bush, Secretary, Escape Zone board, Marc Odenweller, Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County, Carol Grubaugh, Executive Director Knox County Chamber of Commerce - photo courtesy Knox Chamber, Tina Cockrell.

The Escape Zone is a ministry started by people who saw a need for a safe, Christian place for the youth of Knox County to meet.

The Organizing Committee met from October, 1999 to June 2000. A building at 316 S. Main St. was rented on June 5th and the Grand Opening of the Escape Zone was in June, 2000. 

Armory gym

The Escape Zone gym  - KP Photo by Marty Trese

The building was renovated for the 15 year anniversary but within a year there was a thought to find a new location.  After much searching and prayer they found themselves in the center circle of the gym on the 2nd floor of the Armory building asking for God's direction. The plan was presented to the buiding owner, Mark Ramser, and he and several community foundations and individuals provided the funds for the renovation.

The facility is open to everyone. You can follow The Escape Zone on Facebook.


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