2015, december, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Board gives Kellogg, Griffith updated contracts


The top two leaders in the Westerville City School District each received a thumbs-up and a revised contract from the school board.
The school board Nov. 23 gave Superintendent John Kellogg a new five-year contract and amended his current contract as the result of a positive performance evaluation.
Kellogg received a 3 percent raise, which is retroactive to Aug. 1 and runs through July 31, 2016, when his current contract expires. His new contract covers Aug. 1, 2016, through July 31, 2021.
Kellogg’s previous annual salary of $190,550 is now $196,266.50. Information about the value of his benefits was not available.
According to information from the district, Kellogg will continue to pay 10 percent of his required contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio. The district pays the remainder, now 3 percent.
Also, Kellogg’s required number of workdays dropped from 260 to 245 per year, and his number of vacation days went from 25 to 10 per year. He may work up to an additional 15 optional days per year at his per-diem rate.
Treasurer Bart Griffith’s contract also was amended, retroactive to Aug. 1, through its expiration of July 31, 2018. He also received a positive performance evaluation.
Griffith received an additional five days of vacation, for a total of 15 days, and a $10,000 district-paid annuity.
His current salary of $168,243 per year did not change.
Griffith will pay his own Medicare expenses; the amount previously paid by the district will become part of his salary. Sick-day severance calculations changed from 62 days in fiscal year 2016 to 52 days in fiscal 2017 and beyond, according to the district.
“Both men save us money daily, and we want to keep them as long as possible. They are the best in the business and are very concerned with saving the taxpayers money,” said board member Carol French.
The contracts were approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda for personnel items.
Land buy, curriculum
Also Nov. 23, the board agreed to purchase the property at 755 Sunbury Road. The 0.88-acre lot is adjacent to Central College Elementary School.
The district will pay Judith Holtzapfel $105,600 for the property, which includes a 993-square-foot house built in 1919, and will plant three spruce trees.
The sale price matches the current market value listed by the Franklin County Auditor’s Office.
Officials said the property would be available to be zoned for school use should the need for a new school arise.
The board also reviewed the district’s curriculum adoption process last week.
Jen Knapp, director of curriculum and instruction, presented information about the revised curriculum and instructional-materials adoption process.
The curriculum, divided by grade level and subject, will be written and developed in a four-step process reviewed every three to four years.
Based on teacher, student and parent feedback, the curriculum could be adjusted.
All courses of study will be available for review online and in print at the Westerville Public Library.
The curriculum is developed by a council comprising half teachers and half administrators. Usually, one person from each academic department and new members are selected each year.
Board member Nancy Nestor-Baker praised the process, its transparent structure and focus on teachers’ and parents’ voices.
Board member Rick Vilardo said he is pleased with the new process.
“It seems to me that in a very thorough way, we have laid out a great road map that will allow us to look at data and get significant input from all the stakeholders,” he said. “This will help us meet the needs of all our learners.”
During the superintendent’s report, Kellogg addressed the preliminary state test results that had been released the previous week. He said individual student results would be available soon.
Students exceeded state averages on all given tests except American Government, Kellogg said. This test was voluntary and did not affect students’ ability to graduate.
“There is still no excuse for Westerville students to not meet the state average on any test,” he said. “Good curriculum and instruction is test-proof. We will build a system that is test-proof.”
In other business:
* The school board unanimously approved the 2016-17 academic calendar.
Ninety-one people provided feedback during a 30-day comment period. Most comments focused around the timing of winter break, spring break and the start date of school.
The district will start school one week later, in the third rather than the second full week of August, but the amount of instructional time will not change.
* French was recognized by her colleagues for her four years of service on the board. She did not seek re-election, and her term ends at the end of the year. She served as a finance liaison and was part of the district’s effort to keep a reserve in the budget.
* The board is scheduled to meet next for a retreat at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 14 at 936 Eastwind Drive.
december, johnstown, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Deficit shown in proposed budget delays council vote


Johnstown Village Council delayed a vote on a proposed 2016 budget that showed a negative balance in the General Fund at the regularly scheduled council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 1.
As proposed, the budget resulted in a negative balance of $60,873 in the general fund, so it could legally not be passed, village officials said.
The vote on the budget was postponed until the next council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 15 at 599 S. Main St.
Johnstown Mayor Sean Staneart recommended another Village Finance Committee meeting, which will be open to the public and held at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 7, at 599 S. Main St.
In the proposed budget, 5-percent salary increases for village employees were factored into the budget. The amount of each potential raise would depend on an employee’s years of service and performance, as determined by department directors.
The issue of the village having outdated and low salaries has frequently been brought up at council, with both the service department and police department losing employees to other communities that pay higher wages.
When discussing appropriations for the capital improvement fund, council members debated which roads in the village most needed to be repaired next year.
Service Director Jack Liggett said he and the village engineer, Jamie Decker, ride throughout all the village streets and take into account which roads need to be prioritized for repairs.
“Part of the decision is looking at what we can afford, what can we do to prevent road failure, how much traffic there is, and a lot of hard work goes into these tough decisions,” Liggett said.
Councilman Bob Orsini viewed the road repairs as a long-term investment that could potentially encourage new residential growth in the village.
Other matters

Village Council President David Keck said this calendar year there are 28 pay periods instead of 27. This phenomenon happens every 11 years and resulted in a re-appropriation of $80,000 into this year’s budget.
He explained that because the village has had five finance directors in seven years, there was little warning about the unanticipated expense.
“It’s a weird one time thing,” Keck said. “We discovered it and are fixing it so it won’t catch us off guard again,” he said.
Council members voted to move all 2016 regular council meetings to start at 6:30 p.m. and not 7 p.m
johnstown, johnstownindependent, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Local Waste Services granted contract for refuse-hauling

Monday November 23, 2015 3:36 PM

The new refuse hauler in the village of Johnstown will be Local Waste Services.
The company was awarded the contract for the service after a unanimous vote by Johnstown Village council members during a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In discussing potential trash providers, Mayor Sean Staneart said his favorite provider was Local Waste Services and his second choice was Shackleford.
He said he was concerned Shackleford, a smaller company, was only a 7-year-old company and might not have enough necessary experiences.
“If it was for my personal business, I’d like to support the local smaller business, but this is for the entire village so we need to go with a bigger company,” Staneart said.
Council members Sharon Hendren, Bob Orsini, Cheryl Robertson, and Bill Van Gundy all said they liked both Local Waste Services and Shackleford.
Robertson said she liked Local Waste Services because they already worked with other municipalities such as Hilliard. She echoed Staneart’s concerns about Shackleford.
Van Gundy also agreed within Staneart’s opinion and said Local Waste Services had excellent reviews.
The new contract will begin Jan. 1 and be valid for three years.
Village officials said they believe the rates residents pay for refuse collection will likely be less than the current rate.
Six months ago, the previous refuse-hauler, Big-O Refuse, was purchased by a larger company, Waste Management.
Since then, some village residents have complained they have seen a decrease in service quality, prompting the search for a potential new provider.
Concord Road update
Area residents can now celebrate seeing less orange barrels around the village.
Concord Road was scheduled to re-open Friday, Nov. 20, and the Raccoon Creek Pedestrian Bridge is completed.
Village Manager Jim Lenner said at Tuesday’s council meeting he wanted to remindpeople the speed limit of the road is 35 mph and police will be patrolling to enforce the speed limit.
Johnstown Service Director Jack Liggett said he was excited about the new road.
“That road should last,” Liggett said. “It was built properly this time.”
In his report to council, Liggett said in order for the water plant to stay compliant with new EPA regulations, new water treatment equipment will need to be purchased sometime within the next five to seven years.
Other matters
Resident Lindsey BeVier spoke to council about wanting to plant a 10-foot evergreen “Tree of Hope” in Bigelow Park.
She said she hoped the tree could become a symbol of home and stability for Johnstown.
The tree is being donated by Monroe Township and BeVier asked council for a $300 monetary donation for LED lights for the tree.
Staneart said he would like to personally foot the bill instead of asking council to pay for the lights.
Van Gundy said he thought the tree was “an awesome idea and fantastic for the community.”
Lewis Main, who was elected to council Nov. 3 and will begin serving in January, said during the public comment portion of the meeting he was not pleased with the recent change in the structure of the water bills where the breakdown of the bill amount is no longer being shown.
“It shouldn’t be concealed in a raw number,” Main said. “
People should know what they are paying and where it’s going,” he said.
Teresa Monroe, clerk of council, said the village isn’t hiding anything and the breakdown information is still available if people want to call the village office.
In an unsigned note addressed to council, a resident noted Johnstown streets have not been cleaned recently.
Council members stated the village’s street sweeper machinery is not operational right now because of budget constraints.
Previously, council members voted not to purchase a new street sweeper because the necessary money was not budgeted.
Robertson said she had learned of residents with questions about how their property taxes are being spent.
She said they should address those questions with the Licking County auditor.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at 599 S. Main St.
december, johnstown, johnstownvillage, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Suspects charged in CVS robbery


Monday December 7, 2015 11:13 AM

The Johnstown Police Department in conjunction with the Licking County Drug Task Force and the Licking County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people in connection with the robbery of the CVS pharmacy Nov. 23.

The suspects have been formally charged with robbery and are being held in the Licking County Justice Center while awaiting legal proceedings, law enforcement officials said.

After the robbery, police released information about a suspect to the media and received many anonymous tips from village citizens.

Using these tips, they started an investigation which led to a traffic stop of the suspect, according to Lt. Josh Boudinot.

“We can’t speak highly enough of those who came forward and gave us tips,” he said. “Those anonymous tips helped us a lot.”

So far, law enforcement officials said they have recovered only 1,149 of the 3,440 painkiller pills that were stolen. The pills recovered have a street value of more than $30,000, officials said.

One of the suspects previously had served a jail sentence for robbery, law enforcement officials said.


johnstown, johnstownvillage, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Cooperrider is recognized for helping troubled individuals

Monday November 16, 2015 8:34 PM

“I’m not any different than anyone else, other than the fact that I put on this uniform,” said Chris Cooperrider, a full-time police officer for the Johnstown Police Department.
Cooperrider came to Johnstown in April 1997, after attending high school in Heath and receiving an associate’s degree at Central Ohio Technical College.
“I’ve been here a long time and I know a lot of people in this town,” he said, and then laughed. “I became a police officer so I could help people and make a difference for others.”
Through his time in Johnstown, he’s become a specialist in helping children and individuals with mental illness.
“There was a family who noticed their son was acting strange and they were worried he’d gone down the wrong path,” Cooperrider said.
“I worked with them and advised what I would do if he was my son.
“At first the son resisted getting help, but eventually he agreed to get treatment and said ‘thank you’ to everyone,” he said.
In an e-mail that was read at the Oct. 20 Johnstown Village Council meeting, community member Rebekah Carlisle called Cooperrider a tremendous resource for her and her family.
“In a confusing, dark, difficult time, Officer Cooperrider was a lifeline,” Carlisle wrote in her email.
“He offered clarity and expertise to help guide us.”
Cooperrider said he encourages people to call him “Coop” and think of him as just like everyone else.
His step-daughter graduated from Johnstown-Monroe high school last year and his son is a senior and his daughter, a freshman.
For 20 hours he is a school resource officer and 20 hours he is on patrol in the community.
“I have kids in the schools and so I know if we can start talking to the kids now and show them the way, it will be a lot better,” Cooperrider said.
“I get to form relationships with the students and sometimes they keep in touch with me after they graduate,” he said.
“One former student is actually now my neighbor.”
Cooperrider even spoke with Lieutenant Josh Boudinot, back when Boudinot was in school.
“I try to gain the trust of students and tell them I’m here for them and I’m a great listener,” he said. “I try to kill people with kindness and treat people with respect, until I can’t.
Although he enjoys his job, Cooperrider said it can be frustrating to respond to calls and see the same people over and over.
“It’s always the same couple of families and it baffles me that they don’t seem to get it,” Cooperrider said.
“I do my best to refer them to family services, food pantries, rehab, Moundbuilders (Guidance Center), or other resources.”
Even when he is off-duty, other Johnstown police officers call Cooperrider with questions about how to handle situations with children or those with mental illness.
“My cell phone is always on and I’m happy to help how I can.”
2015, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Program empowers girls through running

Wednesday November 18, 2015 4:16 PM

A group of students at Pointview Elementary School trained for a 5K race while learning about empowerment through the new Girls on the Run club.

School secretary Molly Bussard is one of the club leaders.

“We want to empower and strengthen as many girls as possible. It’s a great program for all girls,” she said. “I wish I had something like this growing up.”

Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit program for girls in grades 3-8. The mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a curriculum that creatively integrates running.

Participants from Girls on the Run clubs across central Ohio participated in a 5K at Columbus Commons in downtown Columbus on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The club at Pointview started last year, after Bussard’s daughter was involved in the club at Alcott Elementary School.

“When she did that 5K at the end, I was so impressed. I didn’t know she was capable of that,” she said. “I thought to myself, this is a chance to start this great club at Pointview so I coordinated with other teachers and it continues to grow.”

Eleven girls participated last year. The same number took part this year.

Bussard runs the club with Pointview teacher Amanda Oakes.

“As a runner myself, I enjoy helping the girls get excited about being active and feeling healthy,” Oakes said.

But it’s not all about the race at the end.

“We finish up the season with a community impact project, so that the girls can experience helping and giving back to others. Last season, we decorated flower pots and delivered them to a local nursing home,” Oakes said.

This year, they will assemble care packages for female military service members.

The girls also explore issues such as bullying, handling emotions and what real beauty looks like.

For example, in one of the discussions about handling gossip, the girls played the classic “Telephone” game and learned that words and facts often get misinterpreted each time they’re told.

The girls often go running in Huber Village Park.

“It’s not a competition so everyone goes at their own pace,” Bussard said. “It’s all about doing your best.”


2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Levy renewal could help keep district in black


According to the Westerville City School District’s updated five-year forecast for fiscal years 2016-2020, as long as a renewal levy is passed in 2016, the district will be in the black.
District Treasurer Bart Griffith presented the forecast at a Westerville Board of Education meeting Monday, Oct. 26.
In fiscal 2018 through fiscal 2020, there is a decrease in revenue because the district is not allowed to project revenue from a levy renewal.
The forecast shows Westerville’s emergency operating levy must be renewed before the end of calendar year 2017 or the district will lose about $16 million per year.
In the updated forecast, $3 million was transferred from the permanent improvement fund into the general fund for supplies, materials and technology.
The budget reserve fund still holds a 45-day amount of $19 million.
This year, the district received 7.5 percent of its funding from the state, but in future fiscal years, the district is expecting to receive just 3 percent.
“We’re trying to be conservative with these numbers in our five-year forecast,” Griffith said.
The school district treasurer’s office is required to biannually present the updated five-year forecast to the board.
The new five-year forecast has $370,000 appropriated for the current fiscal year, to be used on the purchase of four new buses and additional bus routes.
There’s also an additional $450,000 allocated for new staffing each fiscal year and 2 percent annual increases in salaries factored for fiscal 2019 and 2020.
Board President Tracy Davidson thanked Griffith for the presentation.
“I appreciate how you’re being proactive, not reactive, and thank you for being conservative,” she said.
The forecast did not reflect new pay-to-participate fees that were approved unanimously.
For high school, the first sport now costs $150; a second sport is $75; and the third is free. For middle schools, the first sport will be $75, the second sport $50 and the third sport free.
Also added was a family cap of $300 for high school and middle school co-curricular, extracurricular and club fees.
The following fees will be eliminated starting in the 2016-17 school year:
* Co-curricular fee of $50 for marching band in middle school.
* Extracurricular fee of $15 per club in middle school.
* Co-curricular fee of $50 for marching band, orchestra and choir in high school.
* Extracurricular one-time fee of $50 for high school theater
* Extracurricular fee of $15 per club in high school.
The board will review all student fees, fines and charges annually.
Other matters
The board recognized individuals as Fall A-plus Award-winners, including: Jim Cowman from Westerville South High School, Holly Hughes-Carroll from South, Vicki Jarrell from the district’s Early Learning Center, Rodney Johnson from Genoa Middle School and Diane Tisdale from Genoa Middle School.
2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Puritan witchcraft trial headed to Central stage


Westerville Central High School students are getting into the Halloween spirit of witchcraft with their fall play, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
More than 25 students star in the creepy drama, which will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 29-31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.
Theater Director Megan Corbin said it is a privilege working with the group of students.
“They’ve done very well tackling very difficult language and a mature theme,” Corbin said. “We’ve had a lot of fun with the fact that we’re opening the show on Halloween weekend.”
The earthy set, with artificial trees, a prison cell and a courtroom, was designed by a tech crew of 30 students.
“It’s a set that’s creepy and dark, but still true to the story,” Corbin said.
The historical drama about the Puritan purge of witchcraft in Salem, Mass., was the winner of the 1953 Tony Award for Best Play.
A young farmer’s wife is accused of witchcraft by a young servant girl and when the farmer goes to court to save his wife, he also is accused of witchcraft.
Senior Patrick Petrilla, who plays Reverend Paris, said the language in the play was quite tough to master.
“It’s all old-timey and like Old English,” Petrilla said.
“It’s difficult because it’s English, but we don’t talk like that anymore so it’s tricky to wrap your head around,” he said.
Sophomore Noah Martin, who plays Danforth, noted this is one of the first dramas they’ve done at Central.
“I like doing dramas,” Martin said. “We can be more than just funny and it really challenges us.”
Senior Kaylee Showalter, who plays Elizabeth Proctor, said she and a lot of students already were familiar with the play.
“We knew who we wanted to audition for and had a better idea of how to act the role,” Showalter said.
Tickets cost $6 and the play is rated PG-13 with some elements not suitable for very young children.

2015, october, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews, westerville

Westerville South play lets small cast shine


Westerville South High School is bringing some southern flair to Ohio with its fall show, The Miss Firecracker Contest.
Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 30 and 31, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, in the auditorium of the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.
Tickets cost $6, but the performances have limited seating so advance reservations are suggested.
Theater Director Matt Wolfe said he selected The Miss Firecracker Contest because it features challenging female characters, exposes students to a lesser-known show and has an intimate six-person cast.
“(The playwright) Beth Henley writes challenging literature for high-schoolers and I wanted to introduce her to the students,” he said. “It’s a play where the comedy isn’t slapstick but rather comes from the relationship between the characters.”
Wolfe said unique for this show, there will be three rows of audience members on stage.
“It’s part of our pursuit to engage the audience and let them experience the show from three different angles,” Wolfe said.
Junior Julia Grant, who plays Elain, said this way, it’s easier to make the audience laugh as well as notice characters’ little eye rolls.
The show is about Carnelle Scott, who wants to be Miss Firecracker, just like her cousin Elain was. When Elain comes back to town, she brings her eccentric brother, Delmount, with her and Carnelle’s seamstress, Popeye, falls madly in love with him. Together they face their unhappy pasts and turn toward a better future.
Senior Elise Wesley, who plays Popeye, said she liked working with such a small cast.
“It’s better than being in, like, a huge musical because we’ve grown closer with each other. Sometimes in bigger productions, cliques form but in this small of a group, cliques can’t form,” she said.
Sophomore Caroline Warrick plays Carnelle, a role she learned to appreciate.
“On paper, she looks like such a two-dimensional character because she’s a girl and she wants to win a beauty contest. But when you dig deeper, you see she’s actually looking for acceptance and a place to belong,” she said.
The cast started working on the show in late September and Warrick said it took a lot of self-motivation to memorize the lines.
“We couldn’t just learn the lines during our two-hour rehearsals. We really had to learn them on our own time,” she said.
Students also had to master Southern accents, but they can reuse them later this year when South puts on To Kill a Mockingbird and Big Fish.
johnstown, johnstownvillage, november, ThisWeek, ThisWeekNews

Candidates make final pitches to voters


At a meet-the-candidate forum Tuesday Oct. 27, four of the five Johnstown Village Council candidates explained to community members why they deserve one of the three open seats.
Candidates Ben Lee, Lewis Main, incumbent Cheryl Robertson and Ryan Green attended the forum. Candidate Russell Sparks did not attend the forum held in Village Council Chambers at 599 S. Main St.
Lee talked about his unique experience of growing up in Johnstown and how it has inspired him.
“The big reason why I’m running is for my two daughters,” Lee said.
“I had a tremendous experience growing up and a good childhood and I want it to be the same for them,” he said.
Lee said he is excited about the growth in the village and its schools.
“We need to embrace that progress but preserve our small town feel. I will do what I can to ensure the small town atmosphere but encourage growth,” he said.
Lee emphasized in his position as distribution center operations manager at L Brands he has experience managing budgets, planning and making hard decisions.
Main told citizens he moved to the village in 1969, spent 15 years on the Village Council and eight years on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
“I am pro growth,” he said. “I spent a lot of time initiating the first development on what is now Commerce Boulevard.”
He noted his managerial experience and said he is an “accountant and auditor by trade.”
Robertson told voters she wants to focus on three key issues.
The first is the village’s shoestring budget which she said was partially caused because of revised state tax laws and the loss of a large business in the village.
“Second, I want to focus on economic development,” Robertson said.
“We need to retain our current businesses and look for opportunities to bring in new businesses,” she said.
Her third key point was developing a plan to work together with the school board to manage the village’s future growth.
Green said he has been asking people as he goes door-to-door how he can help them.
“As a Buckeye, I was taught to pay it forward and give back to my community,” he said. “I have some experience, but I’m willing to admit I don’t know everything.”
Green said the village will continue to see plenty of change and he would like to be part of that change and continue to help grow current businesses and bring future businesses to town.
Also at the meeting, all five Johnstown-Monroe school board candidates spoke about their qualifications and so did David Cole, candidate for Liberty Township Trustee and Troy Hendren, Monroe Township Trustee candidate.