Pickerington may see ban on text messaging while driving
Pickerington drivers may soon see a ban on text messaging while behind the wheel.
At their Nov. 17 meeting, Jeff Fix asked his fellow Pickerington council members to ban text messaging while driving.
Fix said that on Nov. 7, as his family prepared to leave for the Central-North playoff game, a loud crash occurred outside his home.
A teenager had wrecked into a tree, Fix said.
Police and paramedics arrived quickly, but before the squad whisked her to the hospital, Fix heard her say, “Oh my god, my parents are going to kill me. I was texting.”
Fix said that some people may see the proposed ban as “taking away liberties," but to him it is a public safety issue.
“It’s worth exploring,” Fix said.
Bexley passed a texting ban in September and state representatives are considering similar bills.
In Bexley, texting while driving is considered a primary offense, which means that a police officer may stop a vehicle if that officer suspects the driver of texting.
Anyone caught texting while driving in Bexley is charged with a minor misdemeanor and must pay a $150 fine.
The Pickerington Council Safety Committee will further discuss the proposed ban.
The Safety Committee will also discuss how to acquire a tornado siren for the new Sycamore Creek Elementary School.
Councilman Keith Smith said that last August he learned that the new school was beyond the range of any local sirens.
Smith said he contacted the Fairfield County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEMA) for advice on how to fix the problem.
Last week, City Engineer Greg Bachman received an e-mail from FCEMA recommending that two refurbished sirens be placed near the Sycamore Creek subdivision – one in Violet Township and one within the city, Smith said.
The e-mail explained that because the county lacked funds, the township and the city would need to cover the $11,000 cost of the refurbished alarms, Smith said.
Fix said that the county should pay.
“The county commissioners need to step up,” Fix said.
Hill Road temporary closing
Beginning Nov. 23, Hill Road between the post office and Olde Pickerington Village will be closed to replace a culvert, Bachman said.
“The culvert has damage to it and would certainly not go through next spring,” Bachman said.
Beheler Excavating, Inc. plans to work around the clock to complete the project early, Bachman said.
The project is scheduled to last one week, however should Hill Road remain closed longer, Beheler would pay a $1,000 per day penalty, Bachman said.
Should Beheler complete the project early, it would receive a $1,000 per day reward, Bachman said.
The company seems to be “confident that the work will be done early given that it’s Thanksgiving week,” Bachman said.
Finance director steps down
Linda Fersch will step down as finance director after 29 years, Fix said.
Beginning Jan. 1, Deputy Finance Director Chris Schornack will assume Fersch’s finance responsibilities.
Fersch will remain on staff in her role as personnel director and to assist Schornack then retire at the end of 2010, Fix said.
New police dog
Police Chief and Interim City Manager Mike Taylor announced that the police department has collected enough donations to purchase a black Dutch Shepherd police dog.
“I am happy to say it is going to happen,” Taylor said.
Last week, students at the three Pickerington middle schools submitted name suggestions for a $1 donation.
The fundraiser netted $272 for the K-9 unit and Shadow will join the force as soon as she is trained, Taylor said.
Mayor Mitch O’Brien said he looked forward to swearing-in the new officer in February.
Rose Bowl trip
O’Brien presented a $3,500 check to Pickerington Central Band director Mike Sewell to help fund the bands Rose Bowl trip in January.
The band had been unable to raise enough funds to send all the band members to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Tournament of Roses Parade.
Violet Township Trustee Terry Dunlap proposed that the township pay half of the $7,000 cost and the city cover the other half, O’Brien said.
“Thanks for representing us so well,” O’Brien told Sewell and several senior band members.
Sewell thanked the city officials.
“All kids who wished to participate can go now,” Sewell said.
Next week, the band will be the last before Santa Claus at the Macy’s parade, Sewell said.
As for the Rose Bowl, Sewell said, “I thought it was nice for Ohio State to join the party.”
The Tigers marching band also participated in the 1997 Rose Bowl when Ohio State played Arizona State, Sewell said.