Joshua Morrison/News On Thursday afternoon at the Mount Vernon Police Department, awards were handed out to officers. Pictured, from left, are Patrolwoman Jessica Butler, 2016 Officer of the Year; and Beth Marti, James DeChant and Tim Arnold, the detective division which received the 2016 Thomas Bartlett Award for outstanding performance in the line of duty.

Joshua Morrison/News File Photo

Pictured, from left, are Patrolwoman Jessica Butler, 2016 Officer of the Year; and Beth Marti, James DeChant and Tim Arnold, the detective division which received the 2016 Thomas Bartlett Award for outstanding performance in the line of duty.

MOUNT VERNON — The newest member of the Mount Vernon Police Department’s Detective Bureau is Jessica Butler, a 15-year veteran of the force.

Chief Roger Monroe made the announcement Friday during the mayor’s weekly press briefing. He said Butler should start her new duties in two to three weeks.

The bureau now consists of Det. Sgt. Beth Marti, who heads the unit, Det. Cpl. J.T. DeChant, Patrolman Tom Arnold and Butler.

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Joshua Morrison/News Confusing signage alerts motorists that Parrott Street is closed but still open to Peppy’s Pull Thru making a difficult situation worse for a business dependent upon traffic flow.

Meeting set

City officials will meet with Columbia Gas representatives Wednesday morning to discuss the recent incidents in which a contractor on the Parrott Street project broke a gas line.

The mayor, along with City Engineer Brian Ball, the city’s project consultant and a representative of the contractor will meet with the Columbia Gas representatives to discuss the cause of the breaks and how to prevent them from happening again.

Ball said they will also be discussing the curb, sidewalk and storm sewer project planned in the north Mulberry Street area, which overlaps with the area where Columbia Gas will be replacing old gas lines next year.

“We want to build a bridge for future projects,” Ball said. The city doesn’t want any repeats of the incidents in the Parrott Street project, he said.

Ball also has some reports from the Parrott Street project area. He said the storm sewer installation began this week and by Friday had installed about 500 feet of sewer.

All residents who were to be connected to the new water lines have been connected.

He also reported that the Ohio Rail Commission has agreed to a six-inch increase in the height of the Genessee and Wyoming line across Parrott Street, Ball said the rail commission is preparing its cost estimates and will soon advertise for bids.

He said they are still aiming for a date in mid-November to have the first layers of asphalt down.

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Feedback sought

The mayor said he has put out a proposal to reduce the enforcement hours for parking in the central business district and is asking for feedback from downtown merchants and others.

The proposal would reduce enforcement hours to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of 7 p.m., and on Monday through Friday, instead of Saturday.

This would also apply to the four-hour parking on both sides of Gay Street from Howard Street to Chestnut Street, and both sides of South Mulberry Street from West Vine Street to Phillips Drive.

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Line replacement

Utilities Director Mathias Orndorf said work should begin Monday on the replacement of an old galvanized water line between Mount Vernon Avenue and Kirk Street.

Orndorf said one the temporary crew of summer hires who was working on the project to upgrade the water meters in the city with the installation of MXUs for remote reading has left and he is looking for a replacement. Call the Water Office for applications.

Street Department

Superintendent Tom Hinkle reported that the last mechanical signal controller in the city has been replaced by an electronic controller cabinet. Appropriately, it was located at Mechanic and High streets.

Hinkle said a problem at the intersection of Harcourt and Ohio 229 was reported when the signal there would go into flash mode. They couldn’t find a problem and finally determined it must have been a voltage problem. The was also a problem with power at the street garage and at the water treatment plant at about the same time. Hinkle said he called AEP about the problem and they were to look into it. He doesn’t know what was found, but the problem has not reoccurred.

Hinkle said his crews replaced one of the 34 electrical outlets in tree boxes downtown. They will also be removing the small fences around many of the downtown trees.

A $3,000 grant from Ariel Foundation will pay for materials needed for the change.

“We’re going to try to do the project before winter,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle said he is looking for applicants for a temporary job as a raker for the leaf collection season. The job will last about four weeks, beginning near the end of October. Contact the Street Department for information.

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Goose hunts

Two more goose hunts have been scheduled at Ariel-Foundation Park, Parks Superintendent Dave Carpenter reported. Hunts will be held from 30 minutes before sunrise to 1 p.m. Applications are available at the Parks office at 307 Wooster Road and must be submitted by 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23 for the random drawing for each date. A mandatory orientation meeting is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, right after the drawing.

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Halloween event

The Hocus Pocus Trick or Treat Trail will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, in The Woods section of Ariel-Foundation Park, were there will be treat stations from local businesses and organizations, along with games, crafts, facepainting and more.

That will be followed by the showing of the Disney Halloween movie “Hocus Pocus” at 7:30 p.m. in the Schnormeier Event Center.

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Work reports

Carpenter said the flooring is being laid in the new law director’s offices in the Plaza Building. He expects the work to take about two weeks, followed by a small amount of plumbing and painting work to complete before the moving of the office can begin.

Repairs to the B&O train depot roof are scheduled to begin Monday. Carpenter said some damaged and missing tiles were recently discovered and General Restoration Co., which did the original restoration on the building, has been hired to do the work. There are no local firms that can do the work.

The cost is expected to be about $4,600.

The planting of about 100 evergreen trees has begun in West Foundation Park, with the planting of more than 50 native trees plus wildflowers due to being soon.

The Foundation Park Conservancy has received grant from Women United to install a water fountain near the Schnormeier Event Center. The fountain will include a bottle filler and dog bowl.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews




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