Betterment receives updates on Project Safe, Festival of Lights
By Matt Echelberry
The Galion Betterment Commission held a meeting on Nov. 5. Fire Chief Phil Jackson was the guest speaker and provided an update on Project Safe Galion.
Project Safe comes from the FEMA grant that the department received in August. Funds totaled $74,000, composed of $70,300 in federal dollars and a $3,700 in local share. The money was spent on: 2,200 smoke detectors, 800 lithium batteries and 2,500 blue reflective house signs from Guardian Graphics. Fire inspectors also performed some home safety inspections on request.
All of this was provided free of charge to Galion residents who applied. They have processed more than 600 applications for 1500 items of service to date.
“This is an ongoing effort. We’ve had an overwhelming response from citizens and we appreciate them taking advantage of this opportunity,” Jackson stated.
He also mentioned that local volunteers Dave Duncan and Danny Sword helped with some of the smoke detector installations. Applications may still be picked up at the Fire Department.
Jackson explained that incident data and run time analysis for the previous five years was used to determine Galion’s greatest needs. There was a very high percentage of fires in homes that had smoke detectors either not working properly or not present all. In fact, Jackson said that just three weeks ago, there were house fires on North Liberty and Atwood streets where this was the case.
Also, there was a trend of delayed response times due to poor house identification. In addition to some home addresses not being adequately visible, there are numbering problems throughout the city, including addresses that are out of sequence.
Some money from the grant is still left over. Jackson said it will be used for fire inspection/preplan software and electronic tablets. This will also help with locating homes to increase response time, as well as assisting safety inspectors with locating shut-off valves.
In member reports, Joe Kleinknecht spoke for the Chamber of Commerce. The thrift shop on Harding Way has closed. Kleinknecht said the latest Cash Mobs have been successful and the stores have been appreciative.
He encouraged anyone who wants to do some local shopping to stop by the Public Square on the third Thursday of every month at noon. Cash Mob will meet November and December, but there will be nothing in January or February.
City Manager Gene Toy spoke on behalf of the City of Galion. He reported that it is working on fiscal planning and budgeting and department heads have submitted their preliminary budget requests. For the State Route 598 widening project, property owners will be contacted soon to negotiate right-of-way acquisitions.
County Commissioner Doug Weisenauer spoke for Crawford County. He announced that the Crawford County Partnership for Education and Economic Development will have a new headquarters. It will be in the former Courthouse Annex building. This was announced at a news conference last week.
Patti Rice Groth of the Hospital Auxillary said the kick off for the Festival of Lights will be Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. The Auxilliary is still looking for a children’s choir to perform. The full Festival of Lights schedule is:
2 p.m. — entertainment begins
4:30 p.m. — parade
5:15 — opening ceremony
5:45 — Santa House open
“Leading Ladies,” the latest show at the Galion Community Theatre premiered Nov. 9 and continues Nov. 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. On Dec. 9 there will be a holiday concert at the Theatre. Details to be announced.
Amber Wertman, director of the Galion Historical Society, said the “Back to the Browns” event on Oct. 27 and 28 was successful. “Come Home to Galion” is on Dec. 1. The Society will have an open house at Brownella Cottage that day from 1–4 p.m.
Vicki Eckenrod, director of the Galion Public Library said she is still looking for a children’s librarian to replace Ellen Buehrer, who leaves this month. GPL is having an open house for her on Nov. 15.
Also, November is National Novel Writing Month. Eckenrod noted that some local writers are participating and their progress is being tracked at the library. Dec. 1 is GPL’s Christmas open house.
Galion City Schools Superintendent Kathy Jenney announced that the Middle School was rated Excellent by the Ohio Department of Education in its recent release of district report cards. The other buildings were rated Excellent or Effective and the district’s overall grade was Effective. Also, Galion had three NCC championship teams this fall.
Dave Halsey, president of Rotary Club, thanked uptowne businesses for helping with the Trick or Treat Walk Your Feet event on Oct. 25. Also, Galion local Dustin Fox has been selected to go to India for Rotary’s Study Exchange Program. Next year’s SEP location is Australia. Halsey told the group to mark their calendars for July 6, 2013, which will be the Independence Day celebration.
The Kiwanis Club’s annual Toys for Tots program has begun.
The Golden Age Center is having a Thanksgiving Dinner on the third Wednesday of November (members only). It will also have a dinner on Thanksgiving Day that is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Ministerial Association.
United Way is combining to form a county-wide organization next year. Over 300 people participated in the Drive 4 Your Community event; $12,000 was donated altogether.
Betterment Commission’s next meeting is Dec. 3 at 12 p.m., in the Galion Hospital cafeteria.