Council recognizes service from all ages

Lisa Keller recognizes Joe DiGenova for his military service in Vietnam.

Lisa Keller recognizes Joe DiGenova for his military service in Vietnam.

Involvement in local civic participation and service in the national defense were prominent features of this week’s City Council meeting, held the day before Veteran’s Day.

“I just wanted to take a moment, on this Veteran’s Day eve, to honor one of our own,” said Second Ward Councilwoman Lisa Keller.

She was speaking about Third Ward Councilman Joe DiGenova, who served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1968.

“We thank you for your service to our country, and on behalf of City Council and all of America, we thank you for your service,” Keller said.

“If there’s anyone else who’s present in the audience this evening who served our country, we’d like to extend our gratitude on behalf of City Council. Thank you very much.”

During public comment, DiGenova said that they’d received funding from the County toward the Veterans’ Memorial Park, and he hopes it will be completed by this time next year – the 50th anniversary of his tour in Vietnam.

St. Mary Parish Cub Scout Loyal Eagles Patrol Pack #249 leads the Pledge of Allegiance.

St. Mary Parish Cub Scout Loyal Eagles Patrol Pack #249 prepares to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.

While it’s been customary for a local faith leader to offer the invocation, this week’s meeting also saw special leaders for the Pledge of Allegiance – a local Cub Scout Pack from St. Mary’s Parish, led by Pack Leader Rob Gabel.

The Cub Scouts weren’t the only young leaders at the meeting – Council also recognized their high school counterparts in the Youth in Government program. Earlier in November, the eight students joined Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle, Fourth Ward Councilman Andrew Brush, City Manager Tom Homan and Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker in the Saturday morning event carried out with the Delaware YMCA.

The Youth in Government is usually focused on involving students in state politics, but in this new program they learned about city issues.

Local YMCA Youth in Government participants are recognized.

Local YMCA Youth in Government participants are recognized.

In general business, the city approved consideration of Speedway LLC’s request for a liquor permit at their future location on U.S. 23 North. Although local residents John and Susan McGrail raised some questions and concerns about the process, City Attorney Darren Shulman advised Council that there’d be no legal reason for an objection to the permit request.

Susan McGrail requests to speak during the liquor permit consideration.

Susan McGrail requests to speak during the liquor permit consideration.

Council also recognized and approved expansions for local acts of service – they granted conditional use permits to expand the Delaware Health Care Center and the Salvation Army’s site at 340 Lake Street. The Salvation Army hopes to build to offer short-term housing on their property, currently to between 20-24 people through double-occupancy rooms.

The city also considered an ordinance to renew their contract with the Delaware YMCA for another three years, although they held it over to a second reading.

No Shave November: Fourth Ward Councilman Andrew Brush offers advice ("Use conditioner") to Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski, who's growing a beard to raise funds for the United Way.

No Shave November: Fourth Ward Councilman Andrew Brush offers advice (“Use conditioner”) to Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski, who’s growing a beard to raise funds for the United Way.

DC professor predicts GOP victory in OWU lecture

George Washington University professor John Sides names battleground states of the 2014 midterm election.

George Washington University professor John Sides names battleground states of the 2014 midterm election.

Ohio Wesleyan has a strong politics and government department, but they added to it with a pre-election analysis from George Washington Univ. professor and Washington Post contributor John Sides.

Like the discussion with columnist Connie Schultz, Sides’ presentation was open to the public and had a strong following from Delaware residents. Sides, like many analysts, expects the Republican Party will win the Senate majority by a narrow margin; he explained why and what impact that could have.

Sides’ cooperative forecast for the Washington Post, based on scientific analysis of polling data, gives the Republican Party 52 seats and Democrats 48, with a 67 percent probability. It involved historical data on midterm declines for the President’s party, the President’s popularity, the party base of seats in question and the candidates selected.

Sides takes questions from the audience while OWU assistant professor Jenny Holland  moderates.

Sides takes questions from the audience while OWU assistant professor Jenny Holland moderates.

After a lengthy explanation, Sides took numerous questions from the audience, starting with OWU politics professor Jenny Holland on how public dissatisfaction with the government would affect voter turnout. Sides responded that turnout is hard to predict, but dissatisfaction may be counteracted by competitive races, which Americans tend to enjoy.

Sean Kay, director of OWU’s Arneson Institute for Practical Politics, raised the question of several races expected to go Republican but are very close currently. Sides acknowledged this but said the Republicans will still likely win, but only narrowly.

Arneson Institute Director Sean Kay listens to Sides' response.

Arneson Institute Director Sean Kay listens to Sides’ response.

History professor Michael Flamm raised a question about the influence of outside money in political races as a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and others; Sides said that it’s hard to tell what role this plays when a candidate wins or loses.

In the 2012 presidential election, the Obama campaign raised $1.1 billion, including $300 million from outside left-wing groups. Romney’s campaign raised $1.2 billion, around half of which was outside money as Sides put it.

“Outside money helped Romney keep pace, because he himself was not raising as much as Obama himself was raising,” Sides said.

On foreign policy, Sides predicted that President Obama would take more unilateral action should the GOP win the Senate.

“Then the question is, what’s he going to do?” Sides said. “And that’s where I don’t know the answer. I think the Middle East peace process is once again non-existent, you’re going to have this limited war in Syria and Iraq that he’s already announced.”

When asked about the effects of gridlock on the 2016 election, Sides pointed out that the leading predictions put the Republicans short of the 60 votes needed for a supermajority, which affects many areas except federal appointments and the budget.

Congress and the White House may compromise, he said, or the President could be sent laws that he would certainly veto on political grounds, causing more gridlock.

“That’s the same old political game, nothing’s happening,” said Sides.

Since the 2010 midterms, the House has largely acted in opposition to the Democratic agenda, he pointed out, but they may pursue passing policy when they have more power.

Pulitzer-winner talks politics at Ohio Wesleyan
OWU Journalism Department Chair Paul Kostyu, with Schultz.

OWU Journalism Department Chair Paul Kostyu, with Schultz.

With the midterm elections just days away, Ohio Wesleyan University hosted Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz for a discussion on current issues and the election with students and local residents.

She was introduced by OWU’s journalism department chair Paul Kostyu, who described Schultz as someone who is “infinitely attached to the political landscape (in Ohio) and knows it well.”

In Schultz’s 2005 award citation, the Pulitzer Prize Board calls her work “pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged.” She writes a nationally syndicated column, previously wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and is married to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

Schultz discussed her views on several partisan issues while taking questions from the audience, which included a large number of female students and residents. The importance of women’s involvement in politics and the press was something she stressed repeatedly.

“I am a feminist, I don’t see how I could not be,” she said, crediting the women’s movement with allowing her to work as a national columnist. “…I get to write about politics and get to be one of the only women often on the op-ed page because of the feminist movement. I am a feminist out of gratitude, if nothing else.”


She said that both the Democratic and Republican parties need to cultivate more young people, including women, as active members so they could remain competitive.

“You need multiple parties, you need multiple voices and multiple viewpoints to reach consensus on things and also to gain the public trust,” Schultz said.

“…When you’re talking about politics, you’re supposed to represent all of us in all our varied views and (officials) are supposed to represent the best in all of us.”

She also discussed likely candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Ohio’s Governor John Kasich. She also thinks he may be challenged by Republicans including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

On the Democratic side, she expects former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will run but named New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland, and potentially Vermont’s Senator Bernie Sanders as candidates who may run if Clinton does not.

“You’ve got two open fields, this is going to be quite a season,” Schultz said.

She said definitively that Sherrod Brown would not be running for the Democratic nomination, and described how challenging the position of President must be.

“There’s a reason they go gray so quickly, we have no idea,” she said. “Every day, they are told about threats to Americans around the globe. That’s how they start their day.”

Schultz takes questions from the audience.

Schultz takes questions from the audience.

Local resident Marianne Gabel said Schultz’s program was the kind of discussion politicians should have with voters but often don’t.

“I thought she nailed the issues pretty well,” Gabel said, adding that the program went well.

“You’ve got a real breadth of the community out here, all ages, students,” she said. For Gabel, a lawyer, the message about women in politics was particularly important.

“I think women in politics can have more of that compassion, more of that understanding of life experiences of people who aren’t at the top and empowered.”

Ohio Wesleyan student Lauren Rump, a Cleveland native, has followed Schultz’s writing since it appeared in the Plain Dealer and was very excited to see her in person.

“I really like that she was saying that there needs to be women on both sides involved in politics, like Democrat women and Republican women, and independent women and Green Party women,” Rump said. “We’re only more informed if women are involved on all sides and everyone’s opinion is valued.”

Schultz meets with members of the OWU Advancement Office, including Pablo Villa (far right), a former member of Sherrod Brown's campaign.

Schultz meets with members of the OWU Advancement Office, including Pablo Villa (far right), a former member of Sherrod Brown’s campaign.

Ghost Towns in Delaware County

The Forgotten Places of Delaware, Ohio…


Have you seen this Ghost Town?

Have you seen this Ghost Town?

According to author and researcher Rick Helwig, there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 ghost towns in Ohio.  Helwig, the director of the Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, spoke to a large crowd during a program put on by the Delaware County Historical Society at the First Presbyterian Church.

Helwig runs the center from his home [Read more…]

Delaware City Council Notes: JEDD contract with Berkshire, Roops Brothers Bar Ownership

The first half of city council’s October 27 meeting was swift, as they cleared through most items as fast as possible due to the lack of power. The second half was largely focused on discussion of Ordinance 14-102, which was passed and authorizes City Manager Tom Homan to enter a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) with Berkshire Township to create a Tanger-Simon outlet mall.

City council carries on business despite the darkness.

City council carries on business despite the darkness.

The vote was largely in favor – with the exception of At-Large Councilman Kent Shafer, who was excused, and Third Ward Councilman Joe DiGenova, who voted against taking action on the second reading without Shafer being present.

Related: “Delaware City Council nears JEDD deal with Berkshire on mall

City Attorney Darren Shulman explains the details of the JEDD contract.

City Attorney Darren Shulman explains the details of the JEDD contract.

The city will receive a four percent administrative fee that the city will receive first from income tax revenue, to offset the cost of administering taxes in the JEDD. There will also be a JEDD board, which will receive one percent. Berkshire Township will get 60 percent of the rest and Delaware city, 40 percent.

The JEDD board will govern the area and will have three members – one appointed by the city, one by the township, and one by both together. When businesses fill the JEDD they will get a fourth member and workers will receive a fifth to represent them.

Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker (right) reads information by lamplight.

Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker (right) reads information by lamplight.

During the discussion among city officials, power was restored to the building and downtown Delaware; no one from the community came forward during the public hearing preceding the vote.

Council members hold the second half of their meeting in the light.

Council members hold the second half of their meeting in the light.

In other areas covered before the JEDD discussion, the city council was introduced to five new city employees who’ve recently begun working with the Economic Development and Public Works departments. The council also approved the transfer of the Roop Brothers Bar’s liquor license from an LLC owned by Al Roop to one owned by Joshua Moore and Mika Sparks.

“I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve considered for me and my brother at Roops,” Al told the council.

“…I think the city and myself needed some new guys (who are) 20 years younger to carry on the legacy of Roops in an up-to-date form and these are the guys. I thank you all.”

Update: Delay In Restoring 6000 Delaware County Ohio Residents Power


Power Outage Darkens Most Of Delaware County

Monday October 27, 2014 9pm Delaware, Ohio – It was a down feed from First Energy to a Delaware, Ohio sub-station that accounted for a power power outage for the Ciy of Delaware and portions of Southwest Delaware County.

Jeff Renni, spokesperson for AEP, stated power went out around 6:33 pm for over 18,000 customers. As of 9:00 pm 6000 area residents are without power with no ETA on complete restoration. Power crews will continue to work untill all power is restored.

Through a series of Tweets, the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency (DelCoEMA) stated they are monitoring the situation for the County.

As a reminder to Twitter users all non-funtioning traffic lights should be treated as a four-way stop.

Additionally the DelCoEMA encourages anyone who is experiencing a life threatening emergency or property damage due to the power outage to call 911 immediately. continues to monitor the situation and will update this page accordingly.  Refresh this page to check for new information.

Update Monday October 27, 2014 9:30 pm

Tweet from AEP Ohio regarding Delaware Outage: Restoration delayed due to complications. Crews checking equipment before they can safely re-energize. More info to come.

Update Monday October 27, 2014 10:16 pm. AEP Ohio shows about 4200 people are still without power.

Update Tuesday October 28, 2014 5:00 am AEP Ohio website shows 2227 Delaware County residents without power. No ETA for restoration.


Small fire causes OWU building evacuation


Dozens of Ohio Wesleyan students received unexpected time out of class after an apparent fire within a piece of laboratory equipment set off smoke alarms in the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center.


Chief John Donahue of DFD meets with OWU PS Director Bob Wood, right, and Inspector Richard Morman.

The Delaware Fire Department responded with two engines and other vehicles but no ambulances; Chief John Donahue personally visited the scene. The Delaware Police Department was not on site, but Ohio Wesleyan Public Safety officers including Director Bob Wood were present.


Firefighters exit the Schimmel-Conrades Science Center

Several firefighters entered the building wearing fire-resistant coats but did not appear to be using face masks or their oxygen tanks, while others entered without coats. Other individuals who appeared to be assisting the firefighters did not wear protective gear as well.


Firefighters opened the scientific oven, then closed it when smoke came out.

The firefighters received applause from the students when they wheeled out a scientific oven, the source of the fire. It was then looked at OWU professors, Public Safety officers and Inspector Mark Huston of DFD.


The fire occurred around 2:00 p.m., and re-entry began before 3:00 p.m., though the doors were left open to clear out the building.

Delaware City Council nears JEDD deal with Berkshire on mall and other Council news

Kevin Jennings, director of development for Tanger Outlets, speaks to the City Council.

Kevin Jennings, director of development for Tanger Outlets, speaks to the City Council.

City of Delaware, Berkshire Township and Tanger / Simon Work On Economic Of Building.

The city of Delaware neared final approval of months-long discussions to establish, with Berkshire Township, a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) as part of the creation of a Tanger/Simon outlet mall off Rt. 36/37 and by I-71.

Sunbury Village, which originally requested Delaware join the JEDD with them, backed out of the negotiations with little explanation provided to Delaware or Berkshire officials.

Related: “Council Approves Liberty Casting Expansion, JEDD Negotiation and More.”

Kevin Jennings, Director of Development for Tanger Outlets, came to the Council meeting from North Carolina, where the company’s central office is located.

He said that if progress is made soon, the groundbreaking could be in the spring of next year, with a construction period of 12-13 months. They project the outlet to provide $131 million in annual sales, and have over 70 percent of the interior space filled with committed vendor companies already.

Fourth Ward councilman Andrew Brush said he’d been told the outlet would create 525 local jobs and $100,000 to $128,000 in revenue for the city.

Creating the mall will require significant traffic improvements – Jennings said they’d conducted a traffic study that put the cost at around $33 million, but are prepared to provide $16 million.

Second Ward councilwoman Lisa Keller noted that there’s already traffic issues, and that it’s not Tanger/Simon’s responsibility to fix them but this could help.


Berkshire Trustee Chairman Bill Holtry and Administrator Jeff George were at the meeting as well; Holtry said he hoped this could lead to further development and potentially additional JEDDs.

Public hearings on the mall will be held by both Delaware city and Berkshire Township on Monday, Oct. 27.

Fire Department Chief John Donahue describes the need for three new ambulances.

Fire Department Chief John Donahue describes the need for three new ambulances.

Other topics of discussion included a request from the Delaware Fire Department for three paramedic ambulances, to upgrade and standardize their existing fleet, and supplemental funds to repair damage to the city airport’s maintenance hangar roof; both were approved.

During the section for public comment, resident Traci Cromwell took time to inform Council of the actions of two local police officers, Rita Mendel and Adam Graham.

Mendel – who plans to retire next year – is involved in Safety Town and the Citizen’s Police Academy, as well as regular patrol duty, Cromwell said. Several years ago, Cromwell and Mendel were volunteering together at the Delaware Arts Festival, and she saw Mendel be approached by a number of local teenagers.

Many remembered Mendel from their time at Safety Town, while another reported to Mendel that she had recently been sexually assaulted. Cromwell was struck by this, and Mendel’s work in helping a developmentally disabled resident find guardianship and day care services that allow her to thrive.

Cromwell describes how Officer Graham responded to a dangerous situation.

Cromwell describes how Officer Graham responded to a dangerous situation.

Cromwell also discussed a recent case involving Officer Adam Graham, a third shift officer who responded to a man with a gun by his side. Graham drew his own weapon but did not fire, ordering the man to drop his weapon. He finally did, and after Graham apprehended the suspect it was determined that the gun was a toy and the man was trying to commit suicide by getting Graham to shoot him.

“The city of Delaware, Ohio can be proud at the training and clear headed thinking of our officers,” Cromwell said. “This incident could have ended in the loss of a life.”

Cromwell’s comments come amid ongoing protests within Ohio over the death of John Crawford III, who was killed by police in Beavercreek while holding an unpackaged toy rifle in a Walmart store. A grand jury declined to indict the officers involved.

Linda Mathews of the Parks and Rec. Board receives a proclamation from Mayor Riggle.

Linda Mathews of the Parks and Rec. Board receives a proclamation from Mayor Riggle.

On an entirely positive note, Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle also took time to honor Linda Mathews with a city proclamation for her service on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Dave Berwanger and Chris Fink also received proclamations but could not attend.


Staas Brewing to host Delaware Ohio’s PREMIER Networking/Meetup Event!

Delaware’s PREMIER Networking/Meetup event will meet again Wednesday, October 15, at Staas Brewing Company from 6 – 7:30 pm. There is ample street and public parking within one block.


Stass Brewing is opening special on a Wednesday for the event so let’s have a great turnout!

Please join if you are a local business person or active in local social media. Can you think of a better way to spend a Wednesday night? You’ll enjoy:

  • You can enjoy a selection craft beers made at the location.
  • There is no fee to attend the meetup. Your only cost is your own food and beverage.

Corporate sponsors this month include Delaware, Ohio’s hometown professional lacrosse team The Ohio Machine, Toby Boyce of Howard Hanna Realcom Realty, and our hosts, Stass Brewing owner’s Don and Liz Staas.

We will again have announcements and the usually unpredictable business card drawing. If you wish to donate a gift for the drawing, let me know.

We start at 6 p.m. and network for about 50 minutes. We have announcements, do some prize give aways and then network some more and enjoy food and beverage!

Thanks to those who made the September event another fine one. The food was catered in by the Delaware Community Market and our hosts, Steve and Sandi at Blend of Seven Winery.

Register online or by contacting Delaware Insurance Advisor’s Stepehn Evenko at 740-816-7123 or by e-mail.

Staas Brewing is located at 31 West Winter Street in historic downtown Delaware, Ohio.

City of Delaware, YMCA Team Up to Offer Recreational Youth Soccer

City of Delaware and YMCA To Open Soccer Sign-ups

Delaware, Ohio – The City and YMCA in 2015 will team up for a recreational youth soccer program, providing more opportunity for area children to take part in the popular sport.

Coordinated by the YMCA, the program will feature three age-group divisions: Ages 4-5, 6-7 and 8-9, playing in the spring and fall at Veterans Park, 1121 South Houk Road.

“Our Y is excited about the opportunity to develop youth through the sport of soccer,” YMCA director Matt Bruns said. “Children will be able to learn and develop soccer skills, as well as discover who they are and what they can achieve. We are looking forward to promoting the fun sport as it builds athletic, social and interpersonal skills for the youth involved.”

Registration will begin early in 2015. The cost will be $40 for the program. The YMCA also is offering a “bundle” package – the spring league, the fall league and a winter indoor program for $95.

The Delaware Youth Athletic Association, which supports the new program, will continue to operate its recreational soccer program for ages 4 through the 8th grade and its Delaware Select Soccer Club Select/MOSSL program for ages 7- 18. Its spring and fall seasons will continue to take place at Mingo Park, with partial use of other city parks, as needed.

“We welcome the addition of a Y soccer program in our community” DYAA President Art Miller said. “DYAA was founded in 1975 and has been the only soccer program in Delaware for the past 39 years. Although DYAA has developed its strong niche in the community, we can’t possibly be ‘all things to all people’ when it comes to serving the growing number of children, youth and families interested in soccer.

Miller said the City, YMCA and DYAA share a commitment to program excellence and will continue to work closely together.

“Indeed, the more programs and activities that are available to families, the better the quality of life here in Delaware,” he said.

Source City of Delaware, Ohio.