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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

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Calls to 911 increasing over last year

By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County 9-1-1 Center handled 138,767 calls in 2016, an average of 379 a day and 16 an hour. That number has steadily increased in 2017.

Laura Webster, 9-1-1 operations manager, told the county commissioners on Tuesday that calls January through April 2017 increased 7, 9, 17 and 21.5 percent, respectively, compared to 2016. She attributes that to the drug epidemic in the county and crimes associated with drug use.

Of the 138,767 calls in 2016, 17,731 were emergencies. Thirteen percent were wireless calls. July was the peak month; Friday was the peak day.

Webster said the center is looking at implementing Smart911, a free service to citizens who sign up. Citizens provide as little or as much information as they choose; information includes phone number, address, medical conditions, medications, details about motor vehicles, insurance information, pets, additional phone numbers and emergency contact information. “When you call 9-1-1, that information will pop up on the screen,” she said, adding that the information is secure. “You have to call 9-1-1 for the information to pop up.”

County Administrator Jason Booth said the fee to establish Smart911 is estimated at around $15,000; the annual maintenance fee is estimated to be between $8,000 and $15,000 a year. The 9-1-1 Center will pay all costs. “We want to reach out to first responders and see if it's a value,” said Booth.

The program is in use nationwide. Grove City is the closest location in Ohio that uses Smart911. To roll out the program in October, Booth must notify Smart911 representatives by July.

Also on Tuesday, the commissioners opened bids for roadway improvements in the Parkview Addition in Berlin Township. The lone bid, submitted by Small's Asphalt Paving Inc., was $99,637.95 and under the county engineer's estimate of $101,135.50. Once the notice to proceed is issued, Small's has 60 days to complete the work.

Fredericktown Community Fire District awarded $10k grant for equipment


FREDERICKTOWN - The Fredericktown Community Fire District was selected to receive an equipment grant through the State Fire Marshals (SFM) Office and was notified over the weekend. Grant money totaling $10,000 was awarded to the FCFD for the purchase of self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and protective clothing.

“Being fortunate enough to be awarded this grant is beneficial from a monetary savings perspective to the department, and an increase toward the safety of our firefighters,” said FCFD Chief Scott Mast. “We are continually seeking grant opportunities to enhance our operational capabilities, training advancements, and safety of our personnel. Through grants we are able to do this at minimal to no cost to the FCFD and consequently a savings to the community.”

Grant funding from the SFM it will go to serve two projects for the district, the purchase of lighter weight 45-minute rated SCBA cylinders and secondly the purchase of protective hoods for firefighter personnel to wear.

Currently the SCBA utilized by the FCFD are 60-minute rated cylinders that are heavier and more cumbersome. The process for slimming the weight and overall size of firefighter SCBA is something that the district had been working on and still has additional grants out to complete this process. Current bottles will be utilized as spares, for training, and for running air-operated tools.

“The shift to 45-minute bottles puts us more in line with peer departments in the area and in the industry as a whole. By reducing weight we reduce fatigue, by reducing fatigue we help reduce the risk of health issues,” said FCFD Public Information Officer Jason Bostic. “While there is less air capacity in the bottles, the actual productive work cycle for the firefighters is still substantial, more efficient, and safer. The longer a firefighter work cycle before transitioning to rehab to be evaluated, the higher the risk for health problems such as overexertion, cardiac related issues, stroke, and trip hazards.”

Firefighter hoods are the second piece of the grant which funding will allow the purchase of. The hood covers the head, neck, and extends down to the shoulders to help protect from heat. Hoods utilized by the FCFD protect well against the heat, but do not meet upcoming standards that address cancer prevention by blocking chemical and carcinogenic particulates from being absorbed into the body. Areas on the head and neck have some of the highest absorption rates on the human body and thus are a pathway to cancer for the firefighter. A newer design of hood that the FCFD will purchase places a particulate barrier between two layers of fire resistant material.

“Statistics for firefighters that are being diagnosed or dying from cancer all over the United States are astronomical. By purchasing hoods that provide a barrier that reduces cancer causing toxins from entering the body, we are better protecting our firefighters,” said Bostic. “These particulate hoods along with other decon and cleaning measures after a fire are a huge step in providing better safety by reducing risk.”

Interim State Fire Marshal Jeff A. Hussey announced on Monday morning that the FCFD was one of 153 departments awarded from 59 counties in throughout the state. In total, this grant provided $1,538,011.26 million in equipment to local governments in the state of Ohio.

"This grant helps fire departments get the basic tools and equipment they need to ensure Ohio's firefighters, and their communities, are safe, sound and secure" Marshal Hussey said. "These funds are especially impactful for smaller departments that have tight budgets."
The Fredericktown Community Fire District operates from two stations within the 115 square mile district in northwest Knox County. Fire and rescue services are provided by a team of 25 firefighters with varying levels of experience from the basic 36-hour to the 240-hour professional firefighter certification.


Library announces summer reading program: Build a Better World"


MOUNT VERNON - Registration for the Build a Better World, 2017 Summer Reading Program begins on Friday, May 26 at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry Street, Mount Vernon.
Participants can stop up on the upper level Children’s Floor to register for the summer reading program in Mount Vernon.
Storytime will be held on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. in the lower level multipurpose room. The dates are: 5/30, 6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27
Elementary age programming will be held at the Y-Sports Center, 200 W. Chestnut Street on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m., except for 6/15 and 7/6. The dates and titles are:
6/1—Orange Barrel Productions presents “Building a Better You! An Interactive Theatrical Presentation
6/8—The Columbus Zoo
6/15—Library Free Day at the Movies! Meet at Premier Theatres at 10:00 a.m., 11535 Upper Gilchrist Road, for a free showing of the hit movie, “Monster Trucks.” Open to the public. Free admission.
6/22—Spi Spot—“Get Crafty and Construct Your Happy Habitat”
6/28—Duke Otherwise: Clever Wordplay, Tap Dancing, and Superb Music!
7/6—“Hang Out with Wheels!” Meet in the Parking Lot behind the Library and the Mulberry Street United Methodist Church from 10:00 am. –12:00 pm. Families can visit and take photos with vehicles of all sizes, shapes and functions and meet their owners. Free and open to the public. Children who reached their reading goals may bring their Reading Records to the lower level multipurpose room at the main library to receive a free book, courtesy of the Friends of the Library.

Special summer reading program scheduled for library branches:
5/31—Orange Barrel Productions at Gambier @ 10:00 a.m., Fredericktown @ 1:00 p.m., Old Fredericktown Gymnasium, 117 Columbus Road, Fredericktown.
6/1—Orange Barrel Productions at St. Luke Community Center, Danville @ 1:00 p.m.
6/7—The Columbus Zoo at Gambier @ 10:00 p.m., Fredericktown @ 1:00 p.m.
6/8—The Columbus Zoo at St. Luke Community Center @ 1:00 p.m.
6/15—Annual Library Free Movie Day at Premier Theatres of Mount Vernon, 11535 Upper Gilchrist Road, 10:00 a.m., all are welcome, free admission to hit movie,“Monster Trucks."

Registration is also open now for the branch locations, participants can stop in or contact: Fredericktown Community Library, 1 Burgett Drive, 740-694-2665, Danville Public Library, 512 S. Market Street, 740-599-2665, and Gambier Community Library, 115 Meadow Lane , 740- 427-2665.
For more information, call the main library at 740-392-2665 visit www.knox.net, or email [email protected]


Alleged Road Rage incident lands Westerville man in Knox Co. jail

CENTERBURG - On Monday evening a complainant reported that a man who was later identified as 38-year-old Cameron Hugh McNeil, Westerville, was following behind him on Vanatta Road at Krause Road, brandishing a gun and shooting at him from his vehicle. The Knox County Sheriff's Office report describes the incident as a road rage type incident.

McNeil was identified, arrested and taken to the Knox County Jail. He was charged with aggravated menacing. Bond was set at $5,000 and McNeil was scheduled for arraignment in Mount Vernon Municipal Court Tuesday morning.

McNeill road rage

Cameron McNeil - Knox County Jail photo

Public invited to "Overcoming Racism" course offered by several churches


MOUNT VERNON - Local faith communities have been working together on a course called “Overcoming Racism” over the last three Wednesday evenings—May 3, 10 and 17. Three more meetings are to come in this six-part series: May 24, 31 and June 7, 6:30 PM-8:00 PM, at First Congregational Church 200 N Main Street, Mount Vernon, Ohio. The classes are open to the entire community, and are supported and presented by First Congregational Church, Gay Street Methodist Church, St Paul Episcopal Church, All Souls Unitarian-Universalist Church, Apostolic Faith Church and Beulah Apostolic Church. The class centers around the book Overcome: My Life in Pursuit of a Dream by Dr. Ellamae Simmons. The book is available or can be ordered at Paragraphs Bookstore in downtown Mount Vernon.

The class on racism is jointly led by Rev. Scott Elliott, Father David Kendall-Sperry, Pastor Lauren Miller, Pastor Will Humphrey and Pastor Eddie Massey. Elliott, the pastor at First Congregational Church, noted, “The class on racism that we led last fall in turn led to a great community Martin Luther King Jr. Service in January and now it has led to this, a new class about overcoming racism based on the incredible story of Ellamae Simmons, a local woman, who breaks a number of race barriers as she embarks on (an) arduous journey to become, first, a nurse and then a doctor. Everyone is invited and welcome to what we expect to be thoughtful, respectful and enlightening discussion on overcoming racism—which is what Dr. Simmons does.”

For information on the class, visit the Churches and Others Working to End Racism Facebook page.


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