Service Expo/Touch-a-Truck Event Returns to Gahanna Saturday, August 24, 2019

The City of Gahanna’s Department of Public Service and Engineering is excited to announce the return of the Service Expo/Touch-A-Truck event on Saturday, August 24 at Hannah Park, 6547 Clark State Road, from 9 am until 1 pm.  This community event provides a great opportunity for the whole family to see, touch and sit on the big equipment that makes Gahanna run.  Visitors will have a chance to get up close to a backhoe, bucket truck, tractor, fire truck, police car, snow plow and a garbage truck, just to name a few.

“We’re excited to bring this event back to our community,” said Gahanna Mayor Tom Kneeland.  “Having a service expo like this gives everyone the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge of the services our Department of Public Service and Engineering provides to our businesses and residents.”

In addition to the Touch-A-Truck opportunities, visitors will be able to see public service-related exhibits from organizations that work closely with Gahanna, like Mifflin Township Fire, Franklin County Engineer, Franklin County Public Health and Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District.  City officials and staff will be available to answer any questions about City services while kids can explore the Kids Zone, customize hard hats with stickers, color and participate in outdoor games provided by Gahanna’s Department of Parks and Recreation.  Food trucks will also be on site featuring lunch items, cold beverages and frozen treats available for purchase.

“This Expo allows children of all ages the opportunity to explore much of the equipment used to maintain Gahanna and keep our city safe,” said Grant Crawford, Interim Director of the Department of Public Service and Engineering.  “This event also provides a great opportunity for our residents to meet our staff, ask questions and learn how the equipment works to make Gahanna such a great city.”

Volunteers from Gahanna Residents in Need (GRIN) will assist City employees in staffing the event.  Although there is no charge to attend, GRIN will accept donations of canned goods, non-perishable food, toiletries and monetary gifts to help support residents in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District in times of need.  Cereal, oatmeal, canned fruit and peanut butter are particularly in high demand at this time.  GRIN cannot accept expired items.  Attendees will receive a raffle ticket for a prize drawing for each food item or each dollar donated to GRIN.

For more detailed event information contact the Department of Public Service and Engineering at 614-342-4005.

Story Trail Opening – May 31

Gahanna Parks & Recreation has collaborated with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Gahanna School students to present the Gahanna Story Trail. This year’s story titled “The Big Walnut Country Club” remembers the history of the Big Walnut Country Club, which was an African-American Country Club that owned the land and operated as a social gathering place during the early to mid-1900’s at the current Friendship Park property. Join us as we kick-off a brand new story with a ribbon cutting, live music, and free family activities. The event will also kick off the start of the library’s summer reading program.

 

COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING POSTPONED FROM 5/23 TO 5/24 @ 5:30 PM

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Council Special Meeting scheduled for this evening will be held tomorrow, Friday May 24th, at 5:30 p.m. The agenda has been posted online.

 

Unidirectional Hydrant Flushing Has Begun

The rate that water flows through water mains is fairly low. Due to this factor, solids may settle on the bottom of the pipes. Over time this reduces the amount of water that can easily flow through the pipes. Furthermore, it can potentially cause color, odor or taste issues when sediment is stirred up in the pipes. Unidirectional flushing is a systematic and controlled procedure that uses water at a high velocity to remove sedimentation, improve water quality and increase the flow efficiency within the waterlines of the distribution system. This preventative maintenance technique is endorsed and encouraged by the Ohio EPA.

Specific valves on each waterline are closed to allow the water to flow quickly through the pipes and exit a specified hydrant. A diffuser will be attached to the hydrant outlet that spreads the released water over a large area. This prevents damage to roads, sidewalks and vegetation. The fast moving water removes sediment and stale water out of the waterlines. Water will continue to flow until it is clear.

Gahanna is continuing another year of unidirectional waterline flushing. The City will be flushing the NE quadrant of Gahanna beginning in May and will continue through the summer ending in August.

GAHANNA AND RITA RESOLVE TAXPAYER LAWSUIT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Brian Metzbower

Brian.metzbower@gahanna.gov

GAHANNA AND RITA RESOLVE TAXPAYER LAWSUIT

Damages to be paid from carry-over reserves accumulated from prudent spending and City will continue to seek reimbursement from insurance carrier

[GAHANNA, OHIO, May 13, 2019] A lawsuit brought by the law firm of Allen, Stovall, Neuman, Fisher & Ashton LLP against the City of Gahanna and the Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA) is now resolved, with city council tonight approving an ordinance to adopt an agreed resolution.

The resolution was reached after months of intense negotiation and it ensures that the city will be able to reduce its legal costs and expenses, while bringing closure for many residents affected by the lawsuit.

The City of Gahanna’s Legal Counsel for the lawsuit Frank Reed said “this matter involving multiple parties has been litigated for years and while RITA and Gahanna may have eventually prevailed in court, the estimated costs of another three to five years of litigation could have potentially resulted in an additional nine million dollars.”

Reed further stated that in his talks with RITA, the city, and counsel for the plaintiffs, it was clear there was momentum for an agreed resolution.

“The city is ready to move forward and this resolution closes that chapter while allowing the city to focus on the future,” Reed said. “This is a responsible decision and I know city leaders look forward to re-focusing on efforts to continue making Gahanna a great place to live, work and raise a family.”

The City of Gahanna’s portion of the damages will be paid from carry-over reserves accumulated from prudent spending from prior years. In addition, the city will continue to seek reimbursement from its insurance company that provides insurance for errors and omissions coverage for the City of Gahanna.

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It’s Mosquito Season – Learn How to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus

The City of Gahanna has contracted with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) for mosquito control. FCPH uses an Integrated Pest Management approach with a public health focus to reduce and control disease carrying mosquitoes. Various tools and techniques are utilized throughout the mosquito season to help control the mosquito population. These include:

  • Larviciding areas of stagnant water and stormwater catch basins to prevent mosquitoes from hatching in these prime breeding sites.
  • Surveillance of adult mosquito populations by setting traps weekly throughout the county.
  • Testing of adult mosquitoes for the presence of disease.
  • Adulticiding (spraying) using Ultra Low Volume (ULV) truck-mounted equipment to treat residential areas to reduce adult mosquito populations.
  • Implementing a variety of educational materials and awareness approaches.

Franklin County Public Health uses the data they collect from these methods along with historical data about mosquito breeding locations, areas that traditionally have high adult mosquito populations and the frequency and distribution of mosquito-borne diseases throughout Franklin County to concentrate and focus their efforts. They also rely on residents to report areas that they suspect may be mosquito breeding areas and/or when there is an increase in adult mosquito activity.

TRAPPING AND TESTING
Mosquitoes are an all too familiar summer nuisance. They are not only annoying, but also present a potential health risk as transmitters of diseases such as encephalitis and West Nile virus. During mosquito season, FCPH will set a variety of traps weekly throughout the county to trap and identify different species of mosquitoes which have the potential to carry mosquito-borne diseases.

Gravid traps attract culex mosquitoes, which have the potential to carry West Nile virus. West Nile virus can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. Symptoms include mild fever, headache and body aches, often with skin rash and swollen lymph glands. Eighty percent of people bitten by an infected mosquito will not show any symptoms at all. Less than one percent of those who do have symptoms will become severely ill. In 2017, there were no human cases of WNV in Franklin County and only one in 2016. Franklin County had three human cases in 2015.

CDC light traps attract a wide variety of mosquitoes including Aedes Triseriatus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes have the potential to carry La Crosse encephalitis virus. Severe disease occurs most often in children under the age of 16. Many people infected with La Crosse encephalitis virus have no apparent symptoms. Among people who become ill, initial symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and tiredness. Some of those who become ill develop severe neuro-invasive disease (disease that affects the nervous system). Severe La Crosse encephalitis virus often involves encephalitis (an inflammation of the brain) and can include seizures, coma and paralysis. The last case of La Crosse encephalitis virus in Franklin County was in 2011.

BG sentinel traps attract Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes have the potential to carry zika virus, chikungunya and yellow fever. While some of these types of mosquitoes are found in our area, there is no sign that those diseases are being carried in the community.

SPRAYING
Spraying will be determined and scheduled based on an increase in the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes, presence of West Nile virus in mosquitoes, history of West Nile virus in an area, weather events or patterns contributing to an increase in mosquito populations, when attempts to control populations through larviciding efforts are not effective, or there has been a locally acquired human case of West Nile virus. Franklin County Public Health will begin incorporating more Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listed pesticides into the mosquito management program. When a pesticide is OMRI listed, it means that it can be applied on and near organic crops. A variety of OMRI listed larvicides will be used along with OMRI adulticide in the truck mounted sprayers.

If there is a need to treat a specific area in Gahanna, pre-spray maps will be featured on the City of Gahanna’s website prior to treatment. Residents have the option to sign up for email spray notifications so that you can plan outdoor activities, bring pets inside and close the doors and windows until after the spray truck has passed. Alternatively, Franklin County Public Health maintains a Do Not Spray registry of residents who do not want to have their property treated for adult mosquitoes through the use of truck-mounted spraying on public roadways and alleys. FCPH will make a good faith effort to shut off truck-mounted spraying equipment within approximately 150 feet of a registered property. This registry will be rendered inactive if the Health Commissioner declares a public health emergency where treatment is indicated. In the event of a public health emergency, FCPH will attempt to contact members of the registry prior to treatment of their property.

REQUEST FOR SERVICE AND REPORTING
Call the FCPH Mosquito Bite Line at 614-525-BITE (2483) to submit a request for service or to report mosquito problems or concerns. The Bite Line is a voicemail system so please leave a detailed message. All submissions will be processed in the order received. FCPH will make an attempt to respond to reported mosquito problems or concerns within 24 to 48 hours. This may include a site visit to the location reported and/or telephone call to try and obtain further information.

BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION – WHAT YOU CAN DO
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and thus many neighborhood mosquito problems likely come from water-filled containers located either on your property or nearby. It doesn’t take much water for mosquitoes to reproduce. Standing water is required for their young to hatch and develop. A single water-filled bucket can produce hundreds of biting mosquitoes. Although the adult mosquito’s life expectancy is not usually more than a few weeks, the female may lay several batches each containing several hundred eggs during her life. Once eggs are laid, a new crop of mosquitoes can hatch, grow and emerge from the water as adults in as little as one week.

Most disease-causing mosquitoes spend their entire lives near their container-breeding site. Anything that holds water is a potential breeding site for mosquitoes (flower pots, bird baths, tarps, trash cans, clogged gutters, wading pools, toys, mud puddles, unused tires, etc). It does not take much water and it does not take much time. By eliminating mosquito habitats around your home and taking simple precautions, you can reduce the mosquito population, lower your risk of mosquito-borne diseases and make your summer activities more enjoyable. Follow the tips below:

  • Empty, remove, cover or turn over any container that has the potential to hold water.
  • Change the water in wading pools, planters and bird baths weekly and store indoors when not in use.
  • Empty your pets watering dishes daily.
  • Make sure gutters and downspouts are free of leaves and debris and are properly draining.
  • Repair leaky pipes and outside faucets.
  • Properly dispose of old tires.
  • Drain or fill low areas on your property that hold water for more than five days.
  • Use sand to plug holes in trees where water can collect.
  • Remind or help neighbors to eliminate breeding sites on their property.
  • Keep window screens and screened doors in good condition so mosquitoes cannot enter the home.
  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
  • When outside, wear light color clothing, long sleeves, long pants and socks. Mosquitoes can pierce tight clothing so be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid perfumes, colognes or other heavy scents that may attract mosquitoes.
  • Use insect repellent products containing active ingredients that have been registered with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing. Products containing DEET and Picaridin typically provide longer-lasting protection than others, but products containing Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (PMD) also provide a reasonable amount protection. Always follow label directions when applying mosquito repellents and see if it is appropriate to apply to children, as some may have concentrations not suitable for small children.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND FORMS
Visit Franklin County Public Health’s Mosquito Management Program homepage at https://mosquito.myfcph.org for more detailed information regarding the general biology of mosquitoes, eliminating mosquitoes from your home, repellent information, management plan, spraying details and more. Forms are also available online to report problems or concerns (request for service) and do not spray requests. You can also call the Mosquito Bite Line at 614-525-BITE (2483) or follow Franklin County Public Health on Facebook (Franklin County Public Health) and/or Twitter (FC_PublicHealth) to receive notifications regarding mosquitoes or mosquito spraying as it is scheduled.

Get Summer Ready with Parks & Rec Activities

Have you seen our new summer activity guide, The Current? It’s packed full of events and activities for everyone in the family. Get all the information you need for your pool membership, summer camp or time out on the Big Walnut Creek or our affordable 9-hole golf course.

Be sure to check out the 2018 Year in Review to learn about the three pillars of parks and recreation, how we connect our residents with recreation opportunities, and a look ahead to pending future projects. Download the PDF here or pick up your copy at Gahanna City Hall.

New Recycling Carts Will Help Gahanna “Recycle Right”

This spring Gahanna residents will receive an upgrade to their curbside recycling program. Beginning in late April, residents will receive newly wheeled, 64-gallon recycling carts, thanks in part to a grant from SWACO (Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio) and a national nonprofit organization called The Recycling Partnership.

The new recycling carts provide residents many advantages over the current bins. Besides the fact that they’re much easier to take to the curb, they have a lid, which reduces litter on windy days, and the larger size makes it easier for residents to recycle more material. Wheeled carts also allow for automated collection to improve the safety of collection workers and greater efficiency, both of which benefit communities as they seek competitive bids for lower-cost recycling and waste-hauling services.

Before the carts arrive, Gahanna households will receive a postcard from SWACO notifying them that the new receptacles are on the way, tips on how to best utilize this tool and answers to frequently asked questions.

Residents who currently use the red bins have the option to retain them. These bins can be repurposed and used to supplement recycling efforts in their home or garage. Once the new carts arrive, residents will have the option to leave their old bins at the curb for pick up during their scheduled recycle pick up day.

As part of the upgrade to the new carts, residents will receive information about how to “Recycle Right.” This information emphasizes that there are five types of materials that are accepted for recycling in Franklin County:

  • Paper and cardboard (remember to flatten boxes)
  • Plastic bottles and jugs (leave on the lids and labels)
  • Glass bottles and jars (all colors)
  • Metal cans (aluminum cans, soup cans, empty aerosol cans, etc.)
  • Cartons (milk cartons, juice boxes, broth cartons, rinse and remove the lids and straws)

As a reminder – be sure to leave the materials loose in your cart – do not bag your materials. Anything that is not on the list above should not be put in your recycling cart.

For more information about this new partnership visit  SWACO at www.recycleright.org. 

Explore Summer Camp Options in Gahanna

March is the time to enroll your child in summer camp.

Child development professionals agree that camp experiences can be valuable in helping children to mature socially, emotionally,  intellectually, morally and physical (American Camp Association). The City of Gahanna is pleased to offer high-quality camp opportunities for children of varying ages and interests.

Camp Friendship Camping Company (CFCC) is Gahanna Parks & Recreation’s signature day camp program, offering sessions for children ages 5 – 12. CFCC programs are run by Parks & Recreation seasonal and year-round staff and are accredited by the American Camp Association. To become accredited, a program must be visited by a team of camp professionals and score highly on standards that pertain to site & food service, transportation, health & wellness, operational management, human resources and program design and activities.

The City of Gahanna also coordinates a number of Special Interest Camps, in partnership with specialists in engineering, athletics and more! These programs are led by third-party contractors at city parks or other local facilities. Registration is accepted through Gahanna’s WebTrac registration system but dates, times, themes, locations and requirements/policies vary by program.

With so many choices, it can be hard to know which opportunities are right for your family. Please click here to read the 2019 Camp Guide for more details or reach out to us at 614.342.4250 for help making selections or answers to your questions.

MORPC Partners with National Weather Service to Provide Alerts As Ozone Season Begins

March 1 marks the start of Ozone Season – a time when air pollution can reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups of individuals. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is part of a network of agencies across the country that issues daily air quality forecasts and notifies the public when these levels become a threat to public health.

In 2019, for the first time, Air Quality Alerts from MORPC will also be available from the National Weather Service through its website, NOAA Weather Radio and on social media.

“Air quality is key to the health of our communities in Central Ohio,” said MORPC Director of Planning & Sustainability Kerstin Carr. “MORPC is proud to partner with the National Weather Service and to provide the region with daily air quality forecasts and to issue alerts when pollution may be harmful. By signing up to receive Air Quality Alerts now, residents – especially those sensitive to pollution like children and those with asthma – can take action to protect their health as temperatures and pollution levels begin to rise.”

Central Ohio typically experiences higher levels of ozone pollution during the warmer, summer months. Ground-level ozone is a gas produced when emissions from vehicles, lawn equipment, and industry combine in the presence of sunlight. MORPC also monitors particle pollution, a mixture of solids and liquid droplets in the air, from sources including car and truck exhaust, electrical power plants, and industrial facilities.

MORPC uses the Air Quality Index (AQI) to inform the public about daily ozone and particle pollution levels in Central Ohio. The AQI scale runs from 0 to 300 — the higher the AQI value, the greater the health concern. When levels reach above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, which includes people with respiratory and heart disease, children and older adults. MORPC issues an Air Quality Alert to the public when pollution levels are forecasted to reach 101 or higher.

People with asthma are more likely to suffer an increase in the number and severity of symptoms during an Air Quality Alert. Individuals who are active outdoors should be aware of respiratory or cardiovascular effects resulting from unhealthy air including coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. To decrease the potential for health problems, individuals in sensitive groups are urged to limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Exposure to air pollution can be reduced by saving strenuous outdoor activities for the morning or late evening when pollution levels are generally lower.

Residents can help reduce emissions contributing to air pollution by carpooling, biking, walking and taking the bus. With MORPC’s Gohio Commute available at morpc.gohio.com, residents can explore the many commuting options available in Central Ohio. Other simple actions to take for air quality include avoiding idling your vehicle, refueling after dark, and avoiding the use of gas-powered lawn equipment on Air Quality Alert days.

For Air Quality Alert notifications delivered straight to inbox or phone, residents can visit morpc.org/airquality. They can also call MORPC’s toll-free air quality hotline at 1-888-666-1009 for the latest forecast in planning their day to reduce exposure to air pollution. MORPC’s toll-free Air Quality hotline has English and Spanish language options to best serve the Central Ohio community.

Residents can also visit the National Weather Service at weather.gov to find out about Air Quality Alerts.  Providing information about air quality alerts to residents and businesses is part of the City of Gahanna’s commitment to being a sustainable community.  Click here to learn more about the City of Gahanna’s participation in MORPC’s Sustainable 2050 initiative.