The City of Westerville is now seeking nominations for the next round of the Property Improvement Program, a friendly, semiannual awards program in which Westerville residents and businesses are recognized for significant improvements made to their home, building or landscape within the last year. All nomination forms must be received by the City no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, May 31.
“Despite the challenging economic climate, Westerville residents and businesses continue to buck the trend by investing in and improving the aesthetic appeal of their properties,” said Westerville City Manager David Collinsworth. “The Property Improvement Program will showcase these residential and commercial transformations by highlighting local efforts to keep Westerville beautiful.”
Awards will be distributed to individual properties based on their landscaping, building and/or window design improvement efforts:
• The plant materials incorporated into the landscape enhance the total overview of the property.
• The colors of the landscape attract viewers from the street or sidewalk and harmonize the surrounding landscape, i.e., the trees, shrubs and the structures.
• There is uniformity of the layout and proportions of plantings and structures.
• The design is balanced – planting beds relate to scale and design of structure, visually flowing through overall landscape.
• The landscape is pleasing to the eye and creates an atmosphere of tranquility.
• The garden beds are kept clean, mulched and deadheaded.
• There have been any improvements in the general style of the original structure.
• Simple improvements such as awnings, painting, paint removal and window replacement have been made.
• Additions to the existing structure enhance the property aesthetically.
Window Design • Business window displays a creative layout that is visually stimulating to outside traffic. • Noticeable improvements have been made to the window display.
A selection committee consisting of community representatives and City staff will review the nomination forms and select one recipient for the Commercial Property Improvement Award and another for the Residential Property Improvement Award. All nominees must either own or lease property in the corporate limits of the City of Westerville, and all improvements for this round of awards must have been implemented no earlier than May 31, 2012.
Program materials, including nomination forms and program guidelines, can be found online at www.westerville.org/PIP. For more information, please email PIP@westerville.org.
Public Safety Profile
Self-Defense for Women Course Helps Educate, Train
The Westerville Division of Police starts each Self Defense for Women training course with the facts.
One such fact: A forcible rape occurred every 6.3 minutes in the United States in 2011. Another: Aggravated assaults are the most reported violent crimes, followed by robbery, rape and murder (www.fbi.gov).
Because women are often targets of violent crime and assault, the Westerville Division of Police created a learning experience to help defend against would-be attackers. Now in its 13th year, the course is designed to pair education with risk reduction and defense techniques so that women are less likely to become victims of violent crime.
“Our goal is to help the class participants develop a defensive instinct,” said Lieutenant Tracey Myers of the Division’s Community Services Bureau. “We build a defense strategy around three rules, and train women to assess risks and protect themselves.”
The three course rules and principles:
• React immediately when in a dangerous situation.
• Resist an attack.
• Crime scene No. 2 is always worse than crime scene No. 1. Statistics show physical injuries are more likely if a woman is moved to another location.
Women of all ability levels (some portions of the class are physical) will learn and practice simple, effective defensive skills from certified self-defense instructors, as well as a series of tips from safety experts focused on how to react to an attacker.
“If the safest way to escape an attack is to run, we teach women how to make that assessment and flee,” says Myers. “Sometimes that’s simply not possible, so it’s our objective to teach women how to confront the situation and fight back to ideally get attention, help or an opportunity to escape.”
A $25 deposit is required for the course, which is refunded upon course completion. Women 18 and older may register; girls 14 years of age or older may participate, but must attend class with a parent/guardian.
The next Self Defense for Women course will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Westerville Community Center.
The self-defense curriculum is offered five times a year. For more information, please call the Community Services Bureau at 614-901-6860.
Email Notifications Now Available
News, information and event alerts may now be delivered directly to your inbox.
The City has recently launched a new Web-based feature designed to help you keep track of upcoming City events. Known as e-Notifications, this system sends emails directly to you on event information. Subscribers can opt into the following categories:
• City Events
• City Meetings
• Westerville Electric Division Events
• Parks & Recreation Events
• Westerville Senior Center Events
• Public Service Department Notifications (leaf collection, snow removal updates, refuse, recycling and yard waste)
To sign up today, please visit www.westerville.org/notifications to select your preferences. From there, you can also change what alerts you receive or unsubscribe at any time. For more information, contact Community Affairs at 614-901-6400.
State of the Community to Air Feb. 26
Tune in to WOCC-TV Channel 3 on Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. for the annual State of the Community address.
Westerville City Council Chairman Mike Heyeck and City Manager David Collinsworth will be joined by leadership from Westerville City Schools, Otterbein University and the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce to address the citizens. The broadcast will air live, then be replayed on WOCC-TV and available online at www.westerville.org (select “Watch City Council” on the homepage to access the menu).
Don’t-Miss Event: Honor Flight Jukebox Revue
In the tradition of The Ed Sullivan Show, the annual Westerville for Honor Flight Jukebox Revue will take place on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Westerville North High School.
All proceeds from this fast-paced variety show featuring musicians, dancers and other acts and entertainment benefit Honor Flight Columbus to support a 2013 Westerville-community sponsored flight for World War II and Korean War-era veterans to visit Washington, D.C. for a day of honor.
Tickets for the event are available for $10 at Westerville City Hall. World War II and Korean veterans are admitted free of charge. For more information, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/westervilleforhonorflight.
Special Events in Westerville
Take any given weekend in Westerville and there is likely to be a special event, whether it is a race, fundraiser or community celebration. With our expansive parks system and public facilities, Westerville is a popular destination for organizations when they select a site for their event.
The City of Westerville requires a permit for special events, defined as those including festivals, performances, competitions or other organized public events in which public rights-of-way or public property will be used or significantly impacted as a result of the event.
Events of these types are considered to require the involvement of public personnel and equipment, particularly to consider the safety of the public. Parades, block parties, events on private property and private rental agreements are not considered special events that require a City permit.
A committee comprised of staff members from each of the 10 City departments meets each month to review and approve special event applications. Event organizers and community organizations are invited to this meeting to have a discussion about what City services, facilities or streets and public property may be needed for the event.
Last year, the committee endeavored to complete a thorough review of the Westerville application and event management process as compared to other municipalities in our region. Committee members also worked to streamline, improve or repair processes as it related to past event issues or administrative concerns.
As a result, the Special Events committee has updated its application procedures with changes designed to improve processes and recover public costs where appropriate. An updated application and process are now posted online at www.westerville.org/specialevents. If you have hosted events in the past or regularly host events in Westerville, we encourage you to read the application for policy updates. For more information, please contact us at 614-901-6400.
Westerville Adds Award to Finance Accolades
The City of Westerville has again received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting (2011), awarded late last year by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA).
The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and financial reporting, representing a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.
Westerville Finance Director Lee Ann Shortland was presented the award for the 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), produced and published by the City’s Finance Department.
“We’re pleased to be able to add this recognition to those earned by the City that demonstrate our diligence and commitment in providing excellent financial stewardship to our community and our residents,” said Shortland.
To learn more about the CAFR, view other recent awards and recognitions presented to the Finance office or inspect documents and reports, please visit www.westerville.org/finance.
Reminder: Trash/Recycling Bins
Trash bins and recycling containers need to be picked up within 24 hours of refuse and recycling collection each Tuesday. If you have any questions or concerns about a collection date, please contact the Westerville Public Service Department at 614-901-6740.
By the Numbers
Number of community events and special occasions making up the “Year of the Arts” in Westerville throughout 2013. More events may be added! For more information, consult the 2013 City of Westerville community calendar.
Didn’t get a calendar? Pick up a copy at City Hall, 21 S. State St., or call 614-901-6400.
Staff Profile: Bryan Mundy, Information Systems
Not Your Average “IT Guy”
Staff colleagues of Bryan Mundy’s know him as a technology enthusiast. You don’t get the stereotypical “IT guy” frustration with Bryan; every help request or technology conundrum presents an opportunity to talk about what program, device or system may best provide a solution. He’s one member of a team that keeps Westerville poised to know and appreciate how emerging technologies can help us best serve our residents and businesses.
Where are you from? How did you come to your position in Westerville?
I’m originally from Marion, Ohio. During my high school years, I was active in local BBS (Bulletin Board Systems – before the World Wide Web) and computer meetings. During this time, I met peers in the same line of work. This led me to a full-time position at the City of Dublin. While I was there, I gained experience and worked my way up to an administration position. I had moved to the Westerville area in 2004 and saw there was a job opening much closer to me that offered more responsibility. I applied and the rest is history.
What are your job responsibilities?
I work for the City as a Network Operations Manager, which really means that I get the chance to lead a great team in all things technical. We are the driving force behind all of the technical services at the City, from Web pages, wireless access and online services to telephone networks and fiber optics to pretty much anything else that is part of the technology framework that we manage behind the scenes. With the rapid pace of emerging technologies, things never get boring!
Technology experts typically talk about “taking things apart” and rebuilding them to learn their skill set. How did you first become acquainted with technology?
My first experience with computing was with a Texas Instruments TI-99. I was very lucky; my father had plenty of computer equipment to “fix.” At the time, I was breaking more than fixing, but after much trial and error, I would go to my parents’ friend’s houses to fix their systems. I’ve always had the drive to figure out what makes things work.
What type of training did you pursue in your field? How do you stay in the know about new and emerging technologies?
Initially, I focused on Novell, Microsoft and Cisco training. Today, we are more focused on cloud computing and mobile technologies. It’s very difficult to stay up on trends and technology. Much of my personal time is devoted to “geeking out” with new technology as it becomes available. I subscribe to several podcasts, participate in online forums and do plenty of online training. We try to visit technology road shows when time and schedules allow. Sometimes the best thing to do is get with others in the industry and see what they are using and why they think it is the way to go.
The City recently implemented a bring-your-own-device mobile policy. How does that benefit the organization?
I’m glad you asked that. Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) is a new trend that we are seeing become commonplace. With the rapid release schedule in the mobile industry mirroring what we saw with personal computers more than 10 years ago, it’s impossible for an organization to keep the newest technology in the hands of those who need it. With this policy, the City has established a common framework to allow select devices to access data anywhere. This means if you unwrapped a new tablet or smartphone recently, it will be possible to access data that you need for work. This also allows others who like to buy the latest and greatest gadget to leverage that device for work purposes. Another benefit is that you now have enterprise-level security and encryption protecting your device, which is becoming much more important now that so much information is stored on these devices.
What is the most common question you’re asked about technology from people outside of work?
“Can you help me fix my (insert device name here)?” Or, “Should I buy a new one now or wait a couple of more months?” You are everyone’s best friend when you know how to fix nagging tech issues.
What is the most common piece of advice or tip you give about technology?
If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. When shopping for that new device, it’s worth a little extra to get what you really need. Typically, with technology, you have three levels of devices: cheap, mid-range and over-the-top expensive. I tend to stay to the middle ground most of the time. The cheap side will be last year’s technology and only end with frustration. The over-the-top expensive route will be nice at first, but when the next gadget comes out in a few months, you may regret the expense. The mid-range gives you the capacity you need and hopefully some money left in your pocket. Another piece of advice that I like to give is, “Just give it a chance.” I know that people are hesitant to change, and it’s true that change isn’t always for the best. But when a new device, operating system or application comes out, just give it a try. One thing to remember is that the vendors in the game today are not going to go back to the old version.
Where do you see technology leading us in community services and programs?
I think that there will be a natural progression to mobility and ease of access. With Web-based services dominating today (Yahoo, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) people expect to access City services just as easily. You may notice our website has a mobile format now and we are continually working on making more services available from anywhere. I think the same can be said about the programs we use today.
What do you like to do in your spare time, technology or non-technology related?
Well, I do love my technology. But in my spare time, I really enjoy hiking with my wife, summertime family cookouts and vacationing to areas without technology. I also spend time working on cars, specifically tuning high-performance engine computers. I spend many summer weekends at car shows and track days.
Each year, the City of Westerville recognizes staff members for their dedication and commitment to their jobs and the residents of Westerville. The following employees were nominated as Employee of the Year by their staff colleagues. The recipient of the Employee of the Year, as well as nine Excellence in Service winners, will be profiled in the March/April edition of Westerville Magazine.
Jonathan Arnold, Public Service Department Joe Bargdill, Planning & Development Jason Bechtold, City Manager/Economic Development Chris Davis, Westerville Division of Police Cheryl Denman, Public Service Department Aaron Dickison, Westerville Division of Police Gino Iasiello, Water Department Nick Jones, Westerville Division of Fire Sandy Kitzmiller, Westerville Division of Fire Dan Koch, Westerville Electric Division Nancy Mattiello, Mayor’s Court Joe Peterson, Public Service Department Lee Pierce, Planning & Development Margi Rundio, Parks & Recreation Leonard Sagar, Westerville Electric Division Toni Schorling, Parks & Recreation Rebecca Stalnaker, Finance Department James Tharp, Westerville Division of Fire Ed Townsend, Finance Department/Utility Billing Service Gary Turner, Planning & Development
UPTOWN PLAN SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT
Do you have some ideas about what Uptown Westerville should look like in the next 10 years and beyond?
Now’s your chance to “tell Westerville” through a new community engagement portal devoted exclusively to the Uptown Plan.
The Westerville Planning and Development Department has launched an online portal through MindMixer.com, a community engagement Web company that allows users to post ideas and comments and vote on the ideas of others. The system generates interactive discussion and idea development from the community that will be integrated into the Uptown planning process. The more resourceful, practical and creative the idea, the more likely it will move on to potential implementation.
The Uptown Plan will be in development through 2013, said Westerville Senior Planner Bassem Bitar.
“We think this online portal will inspire and engage the community in a new way. The user experience is all based on having fun and being imaginative with the possibilities in our historic Uptown district. What amenities do we want in Uptown? Where do we see the district in the next decade and beyond? This website allows us to see other’s ideas and explore the opportunities that seem most appealing and innovative,” said Bitar.
The project also offers rewards for participation. From personal tours of City Police and Fire departments to lunch with Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi, City staff has created simple incentives to help engage the community in the planning process.
“Many communities have used this system with success,” said Julie Colley, Westerville Assistant City Manager. “From Fort Worth, Texas to Los Angeles, California, this tool has given cities a way to pair convenience and creativity to boost civic engagement and ultimately jump-start a project.”
Check out the live site now and learn more about how to post your perspective on the future of Uptown. Visit www.westerville.org/uptownplan for more information and a link.
Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Celebration Examines Community Healing
For the second consecutive year, the annual Westerville Community Martin Luther King, Jr Breakfast Celebration has adopted a theme to celebrate Dr. King’s belief in stronger, more united communities.
In “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?” the day of honor will explore how Westerville, like many other communities across the nation, has been affected by local and national political differences as well as ever-changing and evolving social and cultural issues.
Janet E. Jackson, president and CEO of United Way of Central Ohio, will be the keynote speaker. The program also features entertainment, guest speakers and awards for students and community leaders who embody the ideals of Dr. King.
Additionally, in its annual tradition of continuing the celebration throughout the day, Otterbein University will host service projects through its
“Day On” community service program. In conjunction with the City of Westerville Parks & Recreation Department, the Cultural Divide will take place at the Westerville Community Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., featuring food tastings, crafts and entertainment. This event is free.
Registration for the breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m., with the program starting at 8 a.m. The event, presented by Leadership Westerville, takes place at Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center, 1630 Schrock Rd. Cost is $25 per adult and $15 per student; businesses may sponsor a 10-person table for $300. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/WestervilleMLK.
Parks & Recreation Seeking Input on Master Plan
The Parks & Recreation Department is hosting a series of focus groups in January to get community input on the Parks, Recreation and Open Space (PROS) Master Plan, which establishes programs and priorities for the future of Westerville parks, recreation facilities and services.
Focus Groups will take place on the following dates from 7-8:30 p.m. Interested residents and workers employed in Westerville can participate by sending a RSVP to email@example.com or by calling 614-901-6509.
Monday, Jan. 14: Westerville Community Center Tuesday, Jan. 15: Westerville Community Center Wednesday, Jan. 16: 64 E. Walnut St. Thursday, Jan. 17: Westerville Community Center Monday, Jan. 21: 64 E. Walnut St. Tuesday, Jan. 22: 64 E. Walnut St. Wednesday, Jan. 23: Westerville Community Center Thursday, Jan. 24: Westerville Community Center Monday, Jan. 28: 64 E. Walnut St. Tuesday, Jan. 29: 64 E. Walnut St. Wednesday, Jan. 30: Westerville Community Center Thursday, Jan. 31: Westerville Community Center