johnstown, johnstownindependent, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Candidates want to boost success, restore magnets

Friday October 16, 2015 5:16 PM

Westerville City School District voters will have four candidates to choose from when filling two seats on the Board of Education next month.

Incumbent appointee Richard Bird is facing challengers Jim Burgess, Gerrie Cotter and Greg Lawson on the Nov. 3 ballot. Incumbent Carol French is not seeking re-election.

Absentee voting began Oct. 6.

The top two finishers will win four-year board terms.

Richard Bird

Incumbent Richard Bird, 48, is seeking his first full term in office. He was appointed to the board in June 2014 to complete the unexpired term of Cindy Crowe, who died after a lengthy public battle with ALS.

Bird said in an email he couldn’t be happier with the course of the campaign thus far.

“I’ve received a huge amount of support, ranging from parents groups, other local elected leaders and our teachers and the Westerville Education Association,” he said.

He is the board liaison for the district’s facilities and operations.

Bird’s campaign slogan, “Bird is the Word,” is featured on T-shirts and signs.

“I can’t get a cup of coffee or pick up groceries without hearing someone say, ‘Bird Is The Word,’ ” he said. “I think this is a confirmation that a large part of the community knows that I am their voice on the Westeville school board.”

Bird has lived in the district for 14 years and is the global head of information security at Mettler-Toledo International.

Bird has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University and completed advanced studies in project management at George Washington University.

He described the biggest issue facing the school board as continuing the momentum they have built as a team over the past two years.

“As we’ve restored key programs and are now in the process of expanding our capabilities and focus on efforts as diverse as all-day kindergarten, significant building projects, transportation route improvements and pay-to-play scaling, teamwork is vital to the success of this board,” he said.

He stressed the importance of building upon the leadership and successes the district has achieved already.

Bird is the father of four, with his youngest son and daughter attending Westerville Central High School. He is a longtime member of Heritage Christian Church.

Jim Burgess

Jim Burgess, 49, unsuccessfully ran for the school board in 2013 and applied for Crowe’s seat last year.

He, his wife and three children have lived in the district for 11 years. His oldest son is a junior at North, but his other children do not attend Westerville public schools.

Asked what one thing he wanted to do to improve the district if elected, he said he wanted to bring back and expand the magnet program.

“The current school board cut the magnet program by 40 percent and that’s terrible. It was one of the best things the district offered and was a top-rated phenomenal program,” he said. “If elected, I would work to restore the magnet program to what it once was and expand it.”

Burgess said thus far his campaign is “going fine” and “people seem to appreciate” his message.

He said he lives in the south end of the district and so could offer a fresh perspective on issues.

“Currently, none of the board members live south of Uptown and there hasn’t been a voice for the south side for decades,” he said. “You want a board that represents all the segments of the community — whether geographic or household makeup.”

At the Meet the Candidates forum Sept. 24, he said he wanted to focus on reducing the amount of time students spend taking standardized tests and look into removing Common Core standards.

He said he wanted to focus the district’s attention on work being done inside the classroom instead of focusing on things that were not necessarily education related.

Burgess praised other districts where athletics directors pay for their departments through advertising.

He graduated from Washington State University, where he studied broadcast communications and management.

He is a manager at Ashland Inc. and is involved with the band boosters at Westerville North, where his son is a member of the marching band.

johnstown, johnstownindependent, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Library livens up scavenger hunt with an undead theme

Monday October 19, 2015 12:09 PM

Here’s a clue: In the center of town stands a sturdy building in which one could hide. Don’t expect to find anyone singing anymore, but it might be a good place to lock up some zombies.

And here’s the answer: It’s the town hall/opera house.

This Halloween season, the community is invited to take part in learning about the village’s history in a Zombie Apocalypse Survival and Scavenger Hunt, hosted by the Mary E. Babcock Library.

Those interested in participating should stop by the library and pick up a clue sheet with 20 questions about spots around town.

The clue sheet, which also is an entry form, has questions about the opera house, the T.J. Evans bike trail, the American Legion Post 254 Wall of Honor and even Whit’s Frozen Custard.

Depending on how well participants know the village’s history, how long they’ve lived here and how Internet-savvy they are, the scavenger hunt could take one to two hours, said branch assistant Audrey Finkle.

Participants do not have to go to the locations for the answers.

Finkle said the Babcock library previously hosted a scavenger hunt inside the library.

When she proposed the idea in September about a scavenger hunt throughout the village, branch manager Julie McElhaney expanded upon the idea to give it a zombie-apocalypse theme for the Halloween season.

“It was a collaboration between the two of us,” Finkle said. “It sounded like a fun idea, and plus we needed extra activities for our teenagers. We originally had it open just for teenagers, but now anyone can participate.”

The library’s staff members worked together to write the 20 questions about the village’s history — all with some sort of zombie theme.

“Everyone had a small hand in the project,” Finkle said. Those who find the most correct answers will be entered to win a Halloween prize, she said.

McElhaney said it’s a great opportunity for those who live in the village to take some time to learn more about its history.

To be entered into the drawing, entries must be returned to the library by Oct. 26.

Winners will be chosen during the family Halloween party at the library Oct. 27, and the number of winners will be determined by how many correct entries are received.

johnstown, johnstownindependent, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Council raises water, sewer fees for new buildings

Friday October 9, 2015 9:43 PM

The Johnstown Village Council approved an amendment to the rate structures for water and sewer capacity and tap fees during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Water capacity fees increased by 77 percent, sewer capacity fees increased 31 percent, but the tap fees for both remained $375.

The fees only apply to new homes or commercially used buildings in the village that will be installing a new water or sewer tap connecting to the village system. It will not affect anyone currently connected to the system village officials said.

Village Manager Jim Lenner said in an e-mail fees were set when the new water plant was built 20 years ago and have not changed since.

He said the capacity fees are meant to build cash reserves to upgrade the plants when capacity becomes less than 10 percent.

“That way we do not have to borrow more money which helps keep water rates low,” Lenner said.

“Based on current prices of expanding the water and wastewater plant and to replace aging infrastructure, we had to increase the cost to connect to our system,” Lenner said.

He went on to say the analysis conducted by the village engineer actually recommended a higher increase, however, village officials do not plan to institute the higher increase until the year 2020.

The charges, passed unanimously by village council, will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Under the new rates, if a person installs a new sewer line they will be charged a $375 tap fee and a $6,000 capacity charge and if they connect a new water line they will have a $375 tap fee and $8,890 capacity charge.

Only two-fifths of the capacity and tap fees will be charged for locally bonded government projects.

The amendment comes after the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District Board of Education recently clashed with the village, asking for and eventually receiving lower water and sewer capacity and tap fees for the new schools.

Other matters

Johnstown resident Sherman Ryan told council members he was concerned about drugs in the Rolling Meadows neighborhood.

“My daughter is living next to a drug house,” Ryan said.

“We see the people coming and going at all hours,” he said.

“We have talked to Johnstown police about this and they said they knew what went on in that house,” Ryan said.

“It seems like there’s something we should do to prevent him from operating this drug business. I get that this may not be the police’s top priority, but it’s still an issue for us.”

Mayor Sean Staneart said he had also noticed an upswing in drug use in the village and would like to see this issue resolved.

“I hope our (police) chief is working on a proactive plan to tackle this issue,” Staneart said. We will check with the police department and see what’s going on.”

The next village council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at 599 S. Main St.

johnstown, johnstownindependent, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Legion post plans Texas Hold ‘Em fundraiser event

Monday October 5, 2015 11:43 AM

Area residents can try their hand at Texas Hold ‘Em poker during a new tournament sponsored by American Legion Post 254.
The tournament will begin at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Legion Hall, 180 W. Maple St.
Post Commander Rick Petersen said nine dealers have been practicing every other Tuesday since June. On Sept. 29 the Legion held a mini-tournament for the dealers to practice.
“We have a lot of serious players in the area so we want to be prepared and have well-trained dealers,” Petersen said. “We want people to feel good about playing with us.”
John Rinard, a Legion member, will be running the tournament. He is hoping at least 50 community members come out to play.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to support the Legion as well as our community’s veterans.” he said. “The tournament will be similar to what people have seen on TV.”
Rinard has been playing the game for more than 10 years now and said he liked the strategy of the game.
“By now, I am able to almost guess what other people’s cards are,” he said.
The initial buy-in costs $40 for 5,000 in chips and $10 goes to the Legion while the rest goes into the pot.
To buy back into the tournament, before the fourth round, it costs $30 for 5,000 in chips and $15 goes to the Legion.
For those who make it to the fourth round, they can buy 8,000 in additional chips for $40 and all of that money goes to the Legion.
The money raised will be used in the general membership fund to support the community and veteran’s projects, Rinard said.
Registration is from 1 to 3 p.m. and snacks will be available during the tournament.
For additional information, call Rick Petersen at 740-901-1245.
johnstown, johnstownvillage, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Sixth annual book sale is Oct. 8-10

Monday October 5, 2015 11:40 AM

If you’re looking to donate some old books and stock up on new ones, stop by the Mary E. Babcock Library sixth annual book sale on Oct. 8-10.

The Friends of the Library group is currently accepting donations of gently used books in good condition, until Oct. 2 at the library, 320 N. Main St. in Johnstown.

“In my mind, it’s a good way for people to clean out their book shelves, buy more books and help out the local library,” said Charlotte Reichert, organizer of the book sale and a member of Friends of the Library.

She said there is a great mix of books at the sale such as fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, history, sports, classics, travel and more.

“We really appreciate all the community has done for us,” Reichert said. “They always surprise us with the large number of books donated each year.”

The Friends of the Library volunteer group is responsible for maintenance and upkeep projects as well as fundraising.

In previous years, the book sale has raised more than $1,000 and the Friends of the Library were able to buy new furniture for the library director’s office and organize a special event for the end of summer reading program.

More than 250 people came to the “Babcock Bash” which featured a magician, balloon artist, face-painter, petting zoo and root beer floats.

At the book sale, paperbacks will be 50 cents, hardcover books $1 and select hardcover books will cost a little more than $1.–babcock-library-sixth-annual-book-sale-is-oct–8-10.html
The books not sold during the weekend sale, will be available for a donation.

2015, johnstown, johnstownindependent, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Fire department open house set for Saturday

Come out and meet local firefighters at the fourth annualMonroe Township Fire Department’s open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at the station, 24 S. Oregon St.
New this year at the open house will be a Christmas Tree safety demonstration.
“We’re going to light two trees on fire, one that has been watered and one that’s dried out, in order to show people the importance of watering their Christmas trees,” said Josh Martel from the Johnstown-Monroe Fire Department.
“We want to bring awareness to what can happen when trees get too close to an ignition source and become dried out.”
The fire department’s open house kicks off fire prevention week which is Oct. 4-10.
Fire Chief Dudley Wright said firefighters will be visiting elementary schools that week to teach students about fire safety.
“We try to bring fire safety into the forefront and engage the community,” Wright said. “It gives us an opportunity to interact with people in non-crisis situations.”
There will also be a search and rescue trailer from the Ohio Fire Academy there for community members to walk through and get a sense of what it’s like in a smoke-filled environment.
The fire department’s new rescue fire truck will be on display, “to show the community what they have been supporting us for,” Martel said.
At the Open House, there will be free Whit’s Frozen Custard and food from US 62 Barbeque.
Children can paint a wooden fire truck, try on fire turnout gear, watch fire extinguisher demonstrations and meet Sparky the robotic fire dog.
Usually about 150 people attend the open house, Martel said.
The Monroe Township Fire Department was founded April 1, 2000 when Monroe Township took over the Johnstown Volunteer Fire Department at the private fire department’s request.
It is a combination fire department meaning the staff consists of 13 full-time, 20 part-time, and 10 volunteer personnel.
2015, apeks, johnstown, johnstownindependent, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Students, others can get hands-on manufacturing experience

Monday September 28, 2015 11:04 AM

Johnstown’s Apeks Supercritical is hosting a Manufacturing Day, also known as MfgDay, Oct. 2 for students and the public at 150 Commerce Blvd.

Student participants will have an opportunity to work hands-on with one manufacturing area of their choice — welding, pipe and tube fitting and bending, machining or electrical controls assembly.

“It’s a great opportunity for parents, teachers, students or anyone who wants to learn about manufacturing,” said Andy Joseph, Apeks owner and president.

“It’s not a course,” Joseph said. “It’s a hands-on experience. There’s nothing better than creating something with your own two hands.”

This is the first year Apeks Supercritical is participating in MfgDay, a nationwide event where manufacturers open their doors to high school and middle school students to promote engineering and manufacturing careers.

“Previously, we didn’t have the physical space to host students,” Joseph said.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and now in our new manufacturing facility, we have the space,” Joseph said.

Apeks Supercritical will host students from noon to 4 p.m. and open the doors to the rest of the public at 2 p.m.

At 1 p.m. Mayor Sean Staneart and Village Manager Jim Lenner will speak to students about what manufacturing means in terms of bringing tax dollars to the village, thus allowing for new roads and infrastructure to be built.

Joseph said they are expecting more than 200 students so far from Johnstown-Monroe schools and Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County.

“The point is to promote manufacturing for tomorrow’s employers,” Joseph said.

“A lot of other companies that participate focus on computers and automation and we wanted to focus on the hands-on basic practices of manufacturing,” he said.

“You need to understand the core basic fundamentals of manufacturing in order to be competitive.”

Apeks Supercritical will have several stations set up for the students to get real world, hands-on exposure to manufacturing processes.

Students will learn the basics of arc welding from experienced professional welders and will be able to make an arc weld on a stainless steel coupon which they can then keep.

“I’m betting 99 percent of these students have never welded before,” Joseph said.

“That’s okay. This an opportunity to weld something, keep it and show friends or family what they made,” he said.

When he was younger, Joseph had the chance to shadow at his dad’s company when there was an open house. It was his first experience with manufacturing and he said it influenced the rest of his life.

Additionally, two stations will be set up to give students an opportunity to learn about machinery to drill, tap, debur and inspect a threaded hole in stainless steel.

“Students will get to drill a hole in metal and feel what handling the machine is like,” Joseph said. “It won’t just be pressing a button.”

For those who want to learn about mechanical tube fitting and assembly, they can learn bending applications from seasoned experts and will get to measure, cut, bend and assemble tubing according to a sample part.

To get more information about electrical controls assembly, students can learn the basics of programmable logic controls from an automation expert.

Students will assemble control wires and program the PLC to put a “Knight Rider-esque” light bar in action.

Visitors should wear appropriate attire for a manufacturing facility, such as long pants, closed toed shoes, no loose clothing, and no headphones. Safety glasses, food and refreshments will be provided.

2015, johnstown, johnstownindependent, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Johnstown to seek loan for Oregon/Williams storm sewer repair

Monday September 21, 2015 11:53 AM

At the regular Johnstown Village Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 15, council members voted to ask the Ohio Public Works Commission for a $135,000 loan for capital improvements to the Oregon/Williams storm sewer.
The storm sewer collapsed in May and Johnstown Service Director Jack Liggett said repairs must be done immediately.
Village officials tried to keep the loan repayments low and made the loan term as long as possible.
The loan interest rate will be 0 percent over 30 years and payments will come from the capital improvement fund.
Furthermore, village officials announced plans to close U.S. Route 62 near Westview Drive and Bigelow Drive at 7 p.m. Sept. 30 in order to erect the pedestrian bridge. They intend to re-open the road by 6 a.m. the next day.
If weather prevents construction crews from erecting the bridge on the intended night, they will push the erection to the next weekday night with a favorable forecast, officials said.
In her report to council, Village Finance Director Dana Steffan said the village might need to think about a future income tax increase to place before voters.
The recent tax credit repeal passed in April was not enough to to sustain the village in the future, Steffan said.
As of now, the village cannot afford to pay employees competitive wages, she said.
Since the beginning of the year, three water/sewer employees and one police officer left the village for higher paying jobs.
Steffan hiring and training costs have hurt the village budget and productivity level.
“Two finance directors before you, we were advised to raise income taxes,” said Carol Van Deest, a councilwoman. “Thank you for addressing the elephant in the room.”
Police Chief Don Corbin answered questions from council members about teenagers loitering outside City Hall in Bigelow Park late at night.
“We can’t make them leave,” Corbin said.
“We get reports of vandalism there, but if we don’t see the destruction occurring, we can’t do anything about it,” he said.
“We do go out there a lot. In the past two weeks, we have been out there 20 or 30 times.
“I would like to see that park close at 10 p.m. so then we would have a reason to ask the kids to leave,” Corbin said.
The land is not entirely owned by the village, which complicates the issue.
Monroe Township Trustees have control of the building and land adjacent to Bigelow Park, and the Village Council controls the land adjoining the 20 foot strip of land next to the building.
Regarding Concord Road repairs, AEP has yet to remove its poles from the construction site.
Liggett and Village Manager Jim Lenner are working with contractors to discuss alternate plans for the sidewalk.
Lenner stated he does not want to hold up this project anymore.
Also, an amendment was made to the village budget to add $33,000 from the water and sewer reserve fund into the water operations fund.
“I need money to buy chemicals,” Liggett said.
“In fact when this passes, I’m buying chemicals at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning,” he said.
“This was a budget cut from last year that we had to make,” Lenner said.
“Jack asked for this money, but I took it away from him and he was right. He needs it.”
The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 6 at 599 S. Main St.
2015, johnstown, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Sept. 26 wine-tasting event to raise funds for food pantry

Monday September 21, 2015 11:49 AM

Johnstown community members can help those in need while sampling wines and cheeses, Saturday, Sept. 26, at the third annual charity wine tasting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the home of John and Ann Lodder, 1238 S. Watkins Road, Alexandria.

Proceeds will benefit the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry, an organization close to the heart of Mrs. Lodder, the event’s organizer and founder.

“I knew there was a need for help at the food pantry and we wanted to find a unique way to give back,” Lodder said. “It was really a grassroots effort and when the first one in 2013 went so well, we kept doing it.”

The event is like a mature food drive, she said.

“It’s a way for adults who can’t physically be at the food pantry to give back and support the community,” Lodder said. “There’s still a lot of hungry people in Johnstown and the Northridge area.”

Tickets include eight, 1-ounce pours of wine and plenty of food, hand-picked by Lodder.

“We try to offer a variety of wines, usually four reds and four whites, both dry and sweet,” she said. “We also make sure no one leaves hungry.”

Lodder said she hopes to feature a chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, moscato, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and a dessert wine.

Once the wine selections are finalized, Lodder researches and chooses cheeses, spices and pasta to pair with the wines.

“We are just regular people who enjoy sharing wine with others and want to give back to the community,” she said.

“We’re not the Wexners or anything, but we’ve always felt blessed to have spent 20 years doing what we love in landscaping.”

The Lodders own Lodder Landscaping, 1238 S. Watkins Road in Alexandria.

In years past, about 25-30 community members have come out and Lodder said she hopes more people from Johnstown and Alexandria come out.

At the wine tasting, there will also be a live auction of items donated from Wyandotte Winery, Lodder Landscaping and other local businesses.

Tickets to the wine tasting are $25 and Lodder recommended people buy tickets ahead of time.

Checks can be made payable to Johnstown-Northridge Food Pantry.

For more information, to donate an auction item or to buy tickets, call 740-924-2086.–26-wine-tasting-event-to-raise-funds-for-food-pantry.html

2015, johnstown, johnstownindependent, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Cabin, restored trailer to be unveiled during Autumn Gathering

Sunday September 6, 2015 8:56 PM

Timber Tunes, a consignment and antiques store at 9862 Johnstown-Utica Road, will unveil has two new display areas in its rear courtyard when its hosts its inaugural Autumn Gathering event Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11-12.

The most noticeable addition is a restored 1964 Air-stream trailer.

Shop owners, Linda and Karl Harris bought the trailer from a Powell resident who was looking to sell it for scrap metal.

“We have always loved Airstreams and own one ourselves,” Mrs. Harris said. “We are proud ‘tin can tourists’ and joke that we have aluminum in our veins.”

Mr. Harris worked for two years to restore the trailer, even replacing the soggy, rotten floor.

The renovated Airstream now houses vintage and retro items at Timber Tunes.

In addition to the Airstream is Karl’s Cabin.

Harris’ husband spent his evenings this past year building a small cabin in the rear courtyard.

“He built it from scratch and loved every minute of the process,” Harris said.

The building was opened to the public less than a month ago and Harris said only about a dozen people have seen it.

“It’s become a great display for the items Karl has finished creating,” she said.

“However, I’m trying really hard not to take over his new space.

“When he was building it, he threatened not to put outlets inside so I couldn’t take it over.”

To celebrate these additions, Timber Tunes is hosting an Autumn Gathering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

There will be wool spinning demonstrations and Karl will show children how to shell corn.

“If people come to the Autumn Gathering, they are in for a treat,” Mrs. Harris said.

“There will be fun outdoor activities, additional vendors, fall decor items and lots of antiques, vintage and handcrafted items.”

The Dashing Diner food truck will be serving food Friday.

“I think it will be a great day, not just for us but for all Licking County barns and antique shops,” she said.

Along with the two new spaces, the rear courtyard also features a rustic outhouse the couple restored when the shop first opened in 1994.

Mrs. Harris said the business’ name comes from her husband’s signature handmade folk art music boxes.

Mr. Harris said the biggest draw for people into the shop is the eclectic mix of items they offer.

“You’ve got a little bit of this and a little of that,” he said.

The shop has Christmas items, Longaberger baskets, handmade cutting boards, jewelry, old license plates and soaps handmade by their 10-year-old grandson.

Harris said she plans to continue to offer a variety of items and is looking forward to the upcoming holiday season.

“It fills our cup when someone comes in and finds the perfect gift,” she said.