Pickerington Sees the Forest for the Trees
The city of Pickerington is not only recognized as the Violet Capital of Ohio, it is also known as a Tree City USA.
This special designation has been awarded to Pickerington by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for 20 consecutive years.
To qualify for the honor, the city must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters.
Those standards are designed to ensure that, regardless of the size of the city or town, the community has a tree management plan and program in place.
As part of the plan, the city of Pickerington is sponsoring an Arbor Day celebration on Saturday, April 20 to coincide with National Arbor Day observances.
The purpose of Arbor Day is to celebrate and educate the community about the importance of trees, said Pickerington Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger.
“It is great to showcase that we are a Tree City USA award holder for all these years,” said Medinger. “As a city, we try our best to cut down as few trees as possible and to replant where we can.”
To be designated a Tree City USA, a community must have a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, a community forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
This year, the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring the free event, which is open to the public, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Arboretum.
To celebrate the importance of trees in the city, Mayor Lee Gray will be on hand to welcome guests before the flag presentation and the official tree planting ceremony.
A representative from ODNR will present the city with its award and Pickerington will recognize third-grade essay contest winners.
The Pickerington Community Chorus will provide music for the event, and light refreshments will be served to celebrate the Violet and Tree City USA Arbor Day.
Pool Season is Almost Here
Many Pickerington students are counting down the days to the end of school year and the opening of the Pickerington Community Pool on Saturday, May 25 at noon.
Season passes are now on sale with early bird special pricing through April 30 – a $15 savings over the regular rate.
Pool patrons are bound to notice some improvements made to the pool during the off-season.
The entire pool was sandblasted and repainted and all the awnings are being replaced, said Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger.
City residents can purchase an individual pass at the regular price of $175 for an individual or a family pass for two at $225. Individuals must be at least 12 years of age or accompanied by a season pass holder to have a pool pass.
Non-residents pay $225 for individual passes and $275 for a family of two.
The cost for each additional family member is $20 per person for the year, and children ages 3 and under are free.
Families with babysitters can add the child care provider, who must be at least 16 years of age, onto the individual or family pass for $50 for the season.
Punch passes for five, 10, 15 and 20 visits are available from July 1-Sept. 2 for $40, $80, $120 and $160, respectively.
This year, four special pool parties are planned to get the community and their pets into the swim of things.
Family Fun Night will be held on Friday, June 21 from 6-9 p.m.; Adult Only Night for ages 18 and up will be Friday, July 19 from 8-10 p.m.; Family Luau Night will be on Friday, Aug. 16 from 6-9 p.m.; and Dog Splash will end the season on Monday, Sept. 2 from noon-5 p.m.
Pooches attending the pool party must provide proof of rabies shots and current vaccinations to be admitted with their owners.
Regular hours to splash down are noon-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. each day, with an adult swim running from 5-6 p.m.
Celebrating Mother Earth
The city of Pickerington is joining hands with millions of people around the world to celebrate its part in protecting the Earth on Monday, April 22.
Earth Day started in the United States in 1970 as a way to create awareness of the environment and to encourage conservation efforts, said Pickerington Chief Operator of Water Reclamation David Jackson.
Those efforts went global in 1990, and now, approximately 175 countries observe Earth Day.
For its part, the Pickerington Water Reclamation Plant on 525 Hill Rd. S. will sponsor its third open house on Earth Day.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the city plant will be providing tours of the state-of-the art treatment plant to show the public how it works to protect the environment and residents.
“It’s important to protect our natural environment – the good Earth,” said Jackson. “We want residents to see how the city of Pickerington and our department go above and beyond the minimum requirements to make sure our children and our grandchildren inherit a clean usable Earth.”
Because the tour takes place outside, Jackson encourages residents to dress for the weather.
Large groups are also encouraged to call the plant ahead of time at 614-837-6470 so the treatment plant can better accommodate the numbers.
Representatives of the Ohio EPA Central office are planning to be on hand to answer questions.
The city is encouraging the community to join hands with it to celebrate Earth Day.
City Profile: Cmdr. Matt Delp
Long before CSI hit the television screen, Matt Delp wanted to be a police investigator.
Since he was good at figuring out puzzles and mysteries, Delp knew he had the intuition and problem-solving skills needed to be successful in a Criminal Investigations Unit.
And it did not take the Pickerington Police Department long to recognize Delp’s skills.
After serving with the Sharon Township Police Department for four years, Delp joined the Pickerington Police Department in 1993 as a patrolman.
Three years later, he was named a detective and was able to use his abilities to bring criminals to justice and to solve cases.
In 1997, just one year later, he was promoted to Senior Detective. He moved up the ranks in 2003 to Detective-Sergeant, and in 2010 he was named Commander.
Over the years, Delp has gained valuable practical experience and sought additional knowledge from Ohio University, the Central Ohio Police Academy, the Police Executive Leadership College, the FBI National Academy and the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety.
Earlier this year, Delp became a Certified Law Enforcement Executive.
“By far, the biggest change in law enforcement has been the development of computers. Almost every crime these days is either solved or committed with the use of a computer,” said Delp. “At the time I started, crimes were solved by driving, knocking on doors and talking to people. All records were written, not electronic.”
For Delp and many law enforcement officers, the most difficult part of the job involves situations in which children are the victims of physical, sexual or psychological abuse.
The images of children hurt by those they expected to protect them are difficult for many officers to forget, said Delp.
“We see people at their worst. We encounter evil far too often,” Delp said. “The difficult part is compartmentalizing these events and truly believing that most of the people in the world are good people.”
But that is exactly what Delp tries to do. In several instances, Delp has seen people who were in trouble turn their lives around as a result of actions he or other officers have taken.
“When you create a positive change in someone’s life, which has a profound effect on them and it puts them on a different successful path, that is the most rewarding part of the job,” Delp said.
Drug and Electronics Collection and Document Shredding: April 27
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day has been scheduled for Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District – in cooperation with Violet Township, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s office and Lancaster-Fairfield County Recycling & Litter Prevention – will be participating in the event. The collection site will be the Violet Township Service Center, located at 490 N. Center St. in Pickerington, at the corner of Stemen Road and Center Street.
This national event marks an ongoing effort to rid the nation’s medicine cabinets of potentially dangerous drugs, particularly controlled substances. Until recently, unused drugs and expired medication(s) were commonly discarded in the trash (landfill) or flushed down the sink or toilet, leading to potential chemical contamination of ground water and wastewater treatment plants and causing harm to aquatic life and the human water supply.
During the collection event conducted in September, our effort contributed more than 100 pounds to the 276-plus tons of unused and expired drugs taken back nationally. Also, we collected 2,818 pounds of electronic equipment for recycling.
Prescription pills, capsules, liquids, creams, gels, ointments, patches, suppositories, powders, syringes and IVs will be collected. No aerosols or inhalers will be accepted. Please black out the name or remove the label before bringing containers to the disposal site. If disposable items are of unknown origin, they may be dropped off with no questions asked. Call the Fairfield SWCD office at 740-653-8154 with any prescription drug questions.
This event is also accepting electronics. Computers, laptops, printers, cables, mouses, keyboards, discs, electronic clocks, VCR and DVD machines, radios, and cell phones may be dropped off at no cost. Computer monitors will be accepted at no additional cost if they are included as part of an entire computer system. However, there will be a $3 disposal fee for computer monitors that are brought in without a processor or tower. Televisions will be accepted at the event at a cost of $1 per diagonal inch. Call Patty Bratton with Litter Prevention and Recycling at 740-681-4423 with any electronic questions. Only cash or checks will be accepted as payment of disposal fees.
Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District to Host Rain Barrel Workshop
The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District will be offering a rain barrel workshop on Saturday, May 18 at 9 a.m. The workshop will take place at the Violet Township Administrative Office located at 12970 Rustic Dr.
The discussion will include the benefits of capturing rainwater, while preventing flooding and pollution downstream. Participants in the workshop will receive a terracotta-colored “EarthMinded” RainStation 45-gallon capacity rain barrel. The cost of the workshop, including the rain barrel, is $65. One additional rain barrel per household may be purchased at a cost of $65.
Space is limited. To obtain a registration form, please visit our website at www.fairfieldswcd.org, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District at 740-653-8154 for more information.
Emerald Ash Borer Continues Assault on Ash Trees
By Greg Butcher, P.E., Violet Township Engineer
The emerald ash borer, an ash tree-killing insect from Asia, was identified in Ohio in 2003. Various agencies have been battling the pest through detection, regulation and public outreach in an attempt to protect the state’s more than 3.8 billion ash trees.
To date, the invasive ash borer has been responsible for killing millions of trees in the Midwest, and there is no large-scale method to control the borer at this time.
The emerald ash borer kills ash trees within three to five years of infestation. Adults are ½ inch in length and 1/8 inch wide, and fly only from mid-May to September. Larvae spend the rest of the year developing beneath the bark. The borer destroys the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients and moisture by feeding on its inner bark.
Experts have noticed an increase in the number of dead or dying ash trees in communities across our area, and Violet Township is no exception. Violet Township has been aggressive in removing ash trees from the Township-maintained road rights-of-way. Specifically, dead or dying trees identified as potential hazards have been removed.
Moving forward, we will continue to monitor these trees adjacent to roadways. Likewise, we encourage Township residents to take inventory and monitor ash trees on their private property and, if necessary, contact a certified arborist to assess the integrity of the tree. It is especially important to recognize the risks of dead or dying trees adjacent to homes or other private structures.
For more information, please visit The Ohio State University Extension website, ashalert.osu.edu. Both the Ohio Department of Agriculture (888-OHIO-EAB, or 888-644-6322) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (877-247-8733) are available to answer specific questions about a potentially infested tree.
Rules to Live by
By Jim Paxton, Battalion Chief
“Together, rules we live by …” is the title of a framed set of rules and ethics that adorns the station walls of the Violet Township Fire Department.
There are four principles that serve as the foundation for these rules: Positive, Productive, Safe and Trained. These pillars of conduct set the standard by which the Violet Township Fire Department and its members strive to live and operate.
Arguably, the most important of these principles is Trained. One becomes more positive, increases productivity and develops safe practices through training and education. Driven by these principles, the department is better prepared to fulfill its role within the community.
Education is a key component of the Violet Township Fire Department mission. Education provides a pathway for the organization to evolve with the continual advancements in tools, technology and equipment. New research is reinventing the way structure fires are extinguished and medical emergencies are diagnosed and treated.
Each member of the fire and emergency services is expected to master the new information, skills and abilities of his or her profession. Members are expected to be prepared both mentally and physically for the demands of the occupation.
Training opportunities are offered through various external conferences, classes and seminars. Internally, the department is engaged in several training programs designed to keep its members’ skills sharpened through hands-on evolutions, monthly training agendas and computerized simulations. These internal learning experiences are enhanced by staff officers and certified instructors, and by hosting topic experts and lecturers from across the country.
Developing a culture that encourages education and learning, the Violet Township Fire Department has been able to cultivate ideas, methods and programs that enhance its services to the community. By teaming up with the Pickerington Local School District and area preschools, the department has been able to teach and promote fire safety to the children of the community. The Fire Prevention officers routinely work with community planners and area businesses to instill safety practices and procedures into the designs and features of their buildings and events. The fire department offers car seat installations, first aid, CPR and fire extinguisher training to area businesses and residents.
As the Violet Township Fire Department prepares for the future, it cannot afford to forget the lessons learned from the past. Department members are called upon to teach and share their knowledge and experiences with newer and less experienced members of the organization.
Education preserves the trail derived from history and traditions. It provides the opportunity to strengthen the weaknesses found in failure, while enhancing previous success. During times of transition or change, education can be the compass that guides both the individual and the organization in the direction of solution and stability.
Our test is when the customer calls us. We take great pride in doing our jobs – like lives depend on it!