I thought I’d write just a short article this month to remind you about an important service that is offered to Lake County residents and businesses. The service is the Reverse 911 Program offered by the Lake County Emergency Management Agency.
This a system in which you can receive a call alerting you to something going on in the county, in the city or even in your own neighborhood. We used this system a few years ago when the county was providing mass inoculations for the H1N1 virus. It can also be used to alert people about weather emergencies or safety and security emergencies.
When the program began every resident’s home phone number was programmed into the system. But things, as we know, have changed. Today, many households don’t maintain a “home phone.” Rather, everyone in the household uses his or her cell phone to communicate. Hence, not everyone is currently programmed to receive these emergency notices.
The EMA recognized this to be a problem and has established a site in which cell phone users can register to receive these reverse 911 calls. To register you will need to go to the County’s website, Lakecountyohio.gov. At the top of the site click on County Departments, and then select Emergency Management Agency. Once on the agency’s website you’ll find ‘links’ on the left-hand side. Click on Reverse 911 Sign-Up and enter your cell number. You’ll then be registered to receive these important emergency notifications.
You can skip all of the above, if you’d like, by going directly to
http://arcgis.lakecountyohio.gov/PublicR911Enroll/. However, I’d suggest you go to the Lake County web site and explore the site a little bit. All of Lake County’s departments are accessible from the site and there is a wealth of information that you may not be aware of. Lake County offers its residents some great services.
I certainly hope you take advantage of the Reverse 911 program and enroll. It can play a big role in your family’s safety and security. Have a great month.
The Thanksgiving season, as always, is a great time to contemplate the things for which we are thankful. During this season I’d once again like to say thank you to a special group of citizens who have dedicated many hours of their time serving Willoughby and its citizens. I’m referring to the folks who serve on our various Boards and Commissions. These people put in a tremendous amount of time during the year helping us carry out the “business of government” in an orderly and efficient manner. Here are the folks which deserve all of our gratitude for their commitment to serving us:
BOARD OF BUILDING CODE APPEALS; Tony Ranallo, Tom Ruple, Michael Gallagher, Randy Vinson; Richard Parker; Jay Byram
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION; Greg Schmidt, Eric Barbe, Jeff Mitchell
DESIGN REVIEW BOARD (HISTORIC PRESERVATION DISTRICT); Dan Volpe, Bill Henrich, John Perkovich, Paul Garcia, Mike Merhar
PLANNING COMMISSION; Greg Patt, Gerald Merhar, Ken Kary, Chuck Cox, Bob Fiala
SHADE TREE COMMISSION; Don Lewis, Lynn Sawyer, Maria Tomaselli, John Forkins, Jason Knowles, Bob Carr
SIGN REVIEW BOARD; Gerald Geisinger, Adam Brown, John Popelka, Tara M. Ward, Joseph Koscovics
ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS; Bruno Frate, Al DiFranco, Michael Wildermuth, Harry Siskind, Joseph Palmer
If you see these folks during the Holidays, please let them know that you appreciate their service. They really do a lot to help preserve and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy in Willoughby.
Have a great Thanksgiving.
This past month I received some inquiries from folks wondering how they can get a stop sign on their street or a traffic signal at certain intersections. Specifically, they asked if a petition would be needed. I know I’ve addressed this topic before, but I thought it might be time to touch on it once again.
The simple answer is that cities don’t control these decisions. The State of Ohio regulates traffic signs and signals, based on guidelines provided by the Federal Government.
The Ohio Revised Code (ORC), Section 4511.09, requires the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to adopt a manual for a uniform system of traffic control devices that conforms to the system approved by the Federal Highway Administration. To this end, ODOT publishes the Ohio Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (Manual). This manual establishes standards for the design and use of traffic control devices that conform to the national Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices published by the Federal Highway Administration. Section 4511.11 of the ORC requires that all local authorities in their respective jurisdictions place and maintain traffic control devices in conformance with the Manual.
Traffic lights and stop signs may be installed only if the intersection meets certain “warrants” outlined in the Manual. These warrants can include high traffic counts, sight-line issues, proximity to another signaled intersection, frequency of accidents, etc. It is important to note that “slowing down traffic” is not included on the list of warrants. In other words, cities are prohibited from erecting signals or stop signs simply to slow down traffic.
The reason the Federal and State governments take such an active role in this process is to try and establish some uniformity as we drive from community to community. There are also very valid safety reasons.
While most people feel that additional lights or stop signs will prevent accidents, the reverse is usually the case. Most accidents happen where signals and stop signs are placed. The reason is that drivers and pedestrians come to trust the traffic signals, or more precisely, that others will obey the signals. Rather than warily looking right and left, we proceed through the intersection when it is our turn, only to be struck by someone who was not paying attention. It is a sad fact that there have been two fatal pedestrian accidents during my term as Mayor. Both accidents were at signaled intersections and both pedestrians were walking with the green light within the crosswalk. We all need to remember to maintain our “wariness” when proceeding through an intersection.
I hope this helps you to understand the constraints cities are under in erecting new signals and stop signs. Rest assured that we listen to your concerns, however, and do our best to make each intersection as safe as we can.
Have a great month.
The summer season is finally upon us and things are heating up, both temperature and activity-wise.
I hope many of you can enjoy the 4th of July fireworks at South High. They go off about 9:45 pm (yes, on the 4th).
Our Thursday Summer Concerts will begin with the Diamond Project. This popular Neil Diamond tribute band will be kicking off the season on July 2nd at 7:00 pm. The concerts will continue each Thursday through August 27th when Alex Bevan will wrap up the season. We’ve got a great lineup this year. You can check out the complete schedule elsewhere in this paper.
The Sounds of Willoughby featuring myself and several Willoughby groups and musicians will not be on the schedule this year. We’ve relinquished our spot so a new group can perform. I will be playing the guitar, however, as part of the Artsfest on July 18th. Ten musical acts will perform during the day at several places downtown. I hope to see many of you there. The Artsfest, sponsored by the Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce, is always a much anticipated event in our downtown. Immaculate Conception’s Oktoberfest is that same weekend, making it one of the biggest weekends of the year in Willoughby.
The Lakefront Outdoor Market kicked off again on June 21st and will continue through September 27th. This popular Sunday morning market is held at Osborne Park and is sponsored by the Lakefront Business Association. Our regular Saturday Market at City Hall, sponsored by the Heart of Willoughby, is in full swing and will continue through October.
I hope to see many of you at these great summer events here in Willoughby. Have a great month.