City Profile: Carolyn Sharp
When Carolyn Sharp goes to work each day, she never knows what challenge she may be facing.
It could be sending an officer to the scene of a crime, helping a family locate a missing child, calming a victim until an officer arrives or helping an elderly man with dementia retrace his steps.
For 25 years, the Pickerington Police Department communications supervisor has been a calm voice on the phone when the community calls 9-1-1.
When she started with the communications department in 1987, there were five full-time employees, and Sharp was one of three part-time dispatchers. Two years later, the single mother of two daughters, Jessica and Angie, was hired full-time.
In 1999, Sharp was named head of the department of nine highly skilled dispatchers.
“She was the driving force behind our communications personnel becoming emergency medical dispatchers. She has also been invaluable in respect to the upgrades made to the equipment that has put us ahead of the curve for technology, such as texting and contacting the police via the Internet,” said Matt Delp, operations commander of the Pickerington Police Department. “It has been her indefatigable pursuit of excellence in the dispatch center that has made it what it is today.”
Over the course of her career, Sharp has encountered many challenges when callers have dialed her department for emergency assistance.
“I have taken many horrific calls over the span of 25 years, but a few that come to mind include talking to a victim who had just been shot in an armed robbery, talking someone through CPR on their mother and any calls that involve children being hurt or sick. Those are really tough calls for me,” Sharp said.
Sharp’s daughters are now grown and married. She is also the grandmother of “three wonderful grandchildren, and one little angel that we lost in 2005.”
Each year, Sharp’s department helps the local food pantry; participates in local parades, downtown activities and school events; provides tours of the department and 9-1-1 education; collects items for the Violet Township Fire Department’s toy drive; produces a newsletter for city employees; and even helps with the city’s holiday adopt-a-family.
As Seen on Pickerington TV
Pickerington residents can now tune into Pickerington TV on their home or office computers to get on-demand, 24/7 news about the city.
Last year, SOH Productions-C.I.T.Y. Networks, an audio-video multimedia production company in Gahanna, approached the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce with an Internet TV proposal to create channels on PickeringtonTV.com.
On Dec. 20, Pickerington TV with its news show format was officially launched at the Chamber membership luncheon.
Channels feature news and feature stories about the Chamber, the city of Pickerington, the Pickerington Public Library, the Pickerington Local School District, Ohio University and Violet Township.
There is also a community channel.
Each organization has a link to Pickerington TV on its website, said Chamber President Helen Mayle.
A programming committee is responsible for the topics, the content and determining whether there is a need for additional channels.
SOH Productions President Ron Smith, who launched the first Internet TV station for Gahanna, said on-demand video has become so important in our society that people want information to be just a mouse click away.
“People want information on what is going on in their hometown and this is what drives this program,” Smith said.
Community members are able to subscribe to PickeringtonTV.com for free and new programs will be added each month, Mayle said.
Funding for the station is provided by local businesses, which air their commercials or infomercials on the community channel for the entire year.
You can tune into Pickerington TV through any of the sponsoring sites or by logging on to www.pickeringtontv.com.
The city of Pickerington is working with its employees to write a prescription for their health and safety.
In 2009, the city began its wellness initiative by adopting a high-deductible health plan that was tied to Health Savings Account investments, said Lynn Miller, human resources director.
By investing in the wellness of its employees, the city hopes to curb insurance costs, keep staff safely on the job and provide incentives for employees to stay well.
“This type of health insurance program reinforces employee engagement in quality health care choices and costs. This leads to an increase in proactive, preventative care and built-in incentive to modify or mitigate more costly health behaviors,” Miller said.
This program was enhanced in 2010 when City Manager Bill Vance came on board and made safety in the workplace a top priority.
As a result, an internal safety team now meets to review practices, and monthly OSHA and other training programs are provided to all 95 full-time and regular part-time employees.
A recent Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) grant, initiated by Miller, now allows the city to put another key health and wellness puzzle piece into place.
Over the next three years, the city will receive $15,000 to measure the health of its workers and to determine if its wellness programs are working.
More than 40 employees volunteered to take part in the initial comprehensive health screening provided by Mount Carmel Workplace Health.
The screening will determine and record the blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, as well as height and weight, of each employee.
“Using these results, the employee is encouraged to visit the city’s health insurance carrier’s website to complete a health risk analysis,” Miller said.
The health insurer and the city then provide incentives to employees participating online as well as those who take the advice of wellness coaches.
All this information, which the BWC tracks, will be used to help the city determine if any employees are in “high-risk” health groups so that it can work toward reducing or eliminating those risk factors.
With the grant money, Miller is also hoping to establish more on-site lunch and learn programs for employees that are designed to help them stretch, tone and reduce stress.
“Hopefully this will provide that first step in new, personal fitness goals for 2013 that end with a 5K fun run, bike tour or some other personal fitness achievement,” Miller said.
I Need to Get in Shape, but OW!
By Joy Davis, Economic Development Specialist, Violet Township
Each year, resolutions are made. And each year, resolutions are broken.
One of the most popular in each category is getting in shape and losing weight. Why is it so gosh-darn difficult to stick with that one?
There are numerous reasons – it’s difficult to find time to devote to a new regimen, it’s easy to feel uncomfortable in a typical gym surrounding and, quite frankly, it hurts to use those muscles that have grown accustomed to sitting.
Here are some ideas to deal with two of those problems.
Being uncomfortable in a typical gym surrounding is not unusual. The residents of Violet Township and the City of Pickerington have several options available to explore to find an environment suitable to their fitness level or ability.
There are facilities geared toward improving the overall health of a range of age groups and fitness levels. These fitness centers offer brightly lit workout areas and a wide selection of cardio equipment as well as weight machines and free weights. Patrons are encouraged to be mindful of others by not yelling, swearing, grunting loudly or dropping weights.
There are facilities that cater to weight training or training for specific events such as fitness competitions, marathons and triathlons. The environment at these facilities is more competitive or more “hardcore” than at a fitness center. Residents may also explore group fitness with options such as Zumba, belly dancing, yoga, spinning and boxing. Or one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer at a private gym may be more comfortable.
All of these options are available, and many will give guest passes. Try any or all of the options at different times during the day. The early morning crowd is different from the mid-afternoon crowd, and the mid-afternoon crowd is different from the late evening crowd.
As for the pain that follows an attempt to break back into the workout habit or try it on for the first time, try a deep tissue massage or a post-event massage. When muscles are heavily used, a person will develop delayed onset muscle soreness over the next day or two after a workout. Massages, hot baths and relaxation techniques can help to alleviate some of this soreness.
Violet Township and Pickerington are fortunate to have multiple facilities that specialize in these massage techniques and relaxation therapies. And massage and relaxation are beneficial to a healthy lifestyle even when not paired with a workout.
Do not be afraid to get in shape. It is not easy to make it a habit, but the payoff is worth the effort. Educate yourself. Find a suitable environment. Heal tired muscles. And enjoy!
Health Care, Wellness and Insurance
By Doug Foust, Ohio Insurance Services
One of the duties performed by the Violet Township Board of Trustees is overseeing employment-related practices and policies. When we take steps that help to keep our employees healthy and on the job, everybody wins.
In order to support a culture of wellness, the Township has taken some important steps over the last couple of years, and they are starting to pay off.
• The Township has an insurance committee comprised of labor, management and administration that actively oversees our plans. We use this forum to communicate openly, meet with our insurance advisers and consider new ideas.
• One of the ideas that grew from the committee was our Wellness Program. Because most of our employees are here for the long term, it makes sense to help them adopt healthy lifestyles as a means to slow the escalation of our health care expenses. This becomes a win-win for the Township and for individuals. More than just education, our program is activity-based. Every employee is encouraged to choose from a list of activities every year as well as complete certain mandatory ones, such as getting an annual physical and completing a Health Risk Assessment. Our plan was created in cooperation with our insurance advisers, a wellness consultant and the Principal Wellness Company.
• The employee insurance plan includes programs to help employees manage the most common chronic conditions and illnesses. These programs provide guidance on lifestyle changes to help control illness as well as support for proper use of medications.
Today, the Township is actively exploring the impact of health care reform and how the new laws will affect our plan now and in the coming years. We continue to look at how we can encourage healthy choices through our insurance plan, and how we can pool our purchasing with other public entities to gain even more savings.
Violet Township Fire Department
Department Works to Keep Personnel in Firefighting Shape
January is usually the time when people get inspired to kick it up a notch in regards to getting healthy. Now is the perfect time to begin by making this a year-round commitment.
A great way to start is by getting a yearly physical from your family doctor. Early detection and treatment is something we feel strongly about at the Violet Township Fire Department.
For the past three years, our firefighters have had annual physicals. These are performed while the firefighter is off-duty so our service to the community is not compromised in any fashion.
We follow the Fire Service Joint Labor Management Wellness/Fitness Initiative of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Fire Fighters. This initiative was developed for the sole purpose of developing and maintaining fit uniformed personnel.
Fire department personnel who respond to emergency incidents are required to put forth an incredibly high level of physical effort over a significant length of time. This output, over time, can and will affect the overall fitness and wellness of the firefighting and emergency response system.
Our physicals consist of a stress test, pulmonary function test, chest X-ray, blood draw, eye exam, cancer screening and hearing testing every two years. Many of the things we check for in our blood work are cardiac-related due to the fact that, from 2007 to 2011, 46.5 percent of firefighter line-of-duty deaths in the U.S. were from heart attacks.
In 2011, 61 on-duty firefighter deaths occurred in the U.S. Stress, exertion and other medical-related issues, which usually result in heart attacks or other sudden cardiac events, continued to account for the largest number of fatalities.
More than half of the deaths resulted from overexertion, stress and related medical issues. Of the 32 deaths in this category, 31 were classified as sudden cardiac deaths (usually heart attacks) and one was due to a stroke. These numbers have been slowly been decreasing over the years due to early detection, fitness initiatives and proper education.
Annual physicals comprise just one component of the program we have initiated to produce healthier firefighters, lessen time off duty due to injury or illness, reduce our Bureau of Workers Compensation claims and rates, and, most importantly, decrease the likelihood of a sudden cardiac-related death of any of our firefighters.