Firefighters 4 Kids returns; plus other Madison Township news

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By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Firefighters 4 Kids is back and local organizer and retired Madison Township firefighter John Jones is hoping the community opens their hearts for kids in need.

Firefighters 4 Kids provides assistance with toys at Christmas for children ages zero through 12 and sign-ups are scheduled on Nov. 26-29 from 9-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-4 p.m. at Fire Station 181, 4567 Firehouse Lane, Groveport.

Families who reside in the Canal Winchester or Groveport Madison school districts must show proof of residence and need (SNAP or HEAP), a photo ID, child’s birth certificate and custody paperwork, if applicable.

“I’ve been involved with Firefighters 4 Kids for many years,” said Jones. “We provided 15,000 kids (across the county) with toys (prior to the pandemic).We’re most in need of toys for children under three and 11 to 12-year-olds.”

New, unwrapped toy donations can be dropped off at any fire station throughout Franklin County starting the day after Thanksgiving.

“I can’t imagine being a kid without a Christmas,” said Madison Township Trustee Chairman John Pritchard.

Madison Township Police news
Police Chief Gary York thinks a workable solution for communication problems within the Canal Winchester area—which contracts for law enforcement services with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office but is also covered by the township—could soon be resolved.

York, along with Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst and Fairfield County Sheriff Alex Lape, met with Canal Winchester officials to discuss the situation. Fairfield County is on a different system not compatible with Franklin County, who dispatches the township.

According to York, calls for service in Canal Winchester are routed down to Lancaster and then back up to Franklin County, which impacts response time.

To fill in the gap, York said township officers have two radios that monitor Fairfield County, but they cannot scan the Fairfield County radio dispatch because it is an older system.

However, York was told changes underway in Fairfield County, including moving repeater sites, could help rectify the problem.

“I came away with a better understanding (after the meeting),” said York.

Madison Township Trustee Michele Reynolds said the trustees are committed to working across the aisle and getting the situation resolved for residents.

York asked the trustees to move forward with a $115,932 four-year lease purchase agreement with Motorola Solutions to buy new handheld police radios to replace ones no longer repairable.

“The radios need to be replaced,” said York. “Motorola said if one of the radios breaks today, it cannot be repaired. Once purchased, it takes eight to 12 weeks to receive them. I think it will service the township for years to come.”

Gas aggregation agreement
A gas aggregation agreement with township residents expires in December and Brobst said they were unable to lock in any rate savings through Trebel, who administers the gas and electric aggregation program.

Once the contract expires, Brobst said participating residents will automatically be switched to the Columbia Gas default rate, which is currently cheaper than securing an aggregation agreement at this time.

According to the township, once it is able to secure a favorable deal with a new supplier, a notification will be sent out to residents for review, and they will be automatically enrolled in the new aggregation. Residents can still opt-out at any time without any fee.

“People need to be diligent for themselves before they sign anything,” said Brobst who said her office has fielded reports of people going door-to-door and calling on the phone peddling alternative gas companies.

Pritchard said residents should ask a solicitor if they have a permit issued by the township before signing anything. He also wanted to clear the air as to the trustees’ involvement in aggregation and alleged kickbacks.

“Those two programs (gas and electric aggregation) were voted on by residents,” said Pritchard. “No one at the township gets kickbacks for any of these programs.”

While the gas aggregation is on hold for better pricing, electric aggregation was able to secure a lower price for residents participating in the program. The new agreement lasts from December 2021 through December 2023 for a rate of $0.0459/kwh. The expiring contract has a rate of $0.0494/kwh.

Township Police statistics
October crime statistics from the Madison Township Police: 8 accidents with injuries, 6 assaults, 2 burglary, 20 domestic complaints, 3 driving under the influence, 4 fights, 4 hit skip accidents, 20 juvenile complaints, 15 larceny/theft, 3 missing persons, 1 narcotics, 37 parking violations, 2 person with gun, 19 property damage accidents, 3 sex offenses, 3 shots fired in area, 4 stolen vehicles, 12 suspicious cars, 37 suspicious persons, 22 suspicious persons/vehicles, 5 threats or harassment, 85 traffic stops, and 3 vandalism.

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