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Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio

Local Government

Clouds partially obscure Solar Eclipse in Knox County

MOUNT VERNON - Clouds partially obscured the view of the Great American Solar Eclipse in Knox County Monday. Several public viewing events were held in the area including one at Wolf Run Park on Yauger Road. The Knox County Park District hosted the event at the park and provided the special glasses needed to view the spectacle of when the moon passed in front of the sun between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Among those who turned out to watch the eclipse at Wolf Run was home schooled 10th grader Anna Emmelhainz of Mount Vernon. In addition to the glasses, she and her mother/teacher Jill Emmelhainz showed up with some appropriate snacks including Sunny D, Moon pies, and Star Crunch.

Eclipse Anna

Anna Emmelhainz had the appropriate snacks for eclipse viewing at Wolf Run Park Monday - KP Photo

News Coverage of the eclipse was extensive nationwide on television and the internet. In case you missed it, parts of Ohio will be in the totality of the next solar eclipse in 2024.


Commissioners move to install gas pipeline on Fairgrounds Road


By Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com Reporter

MOUNT VERNON — The county commissioners have agreed in principle to grant an easement to Ohio Cumberland Gas Co. for installation of a gas pipeline on Fairgrounds Road. The line will extend from 781 Fairgrounds Road, the former Seventh-day Adventist bookstore, to about 400 Fairgrounds Road.

Mark Ramser of Ohio Cumberland Gas told the commissioners on Thursday that the 3-inch plastic pipe will run parallel to Fairgrounds Road on the north side. It will be buried 3 feet deep. The pipeline easement will extend 60 feet from the center of Fairgrounds Road.

The county will receive 50 cents a foot for the right-of-way easement. The commissioners forwarded the contract to the Knox County Prosecutor's office for review.

Ramser is requesting a similar easement from other landowners located between 781 Fairgrounds Road and 400 Fairgrounds Road. He plans to install the pipeline before the 2017 heating season starts.

Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer also spoke with the commissioners on Thursday. Before going into executive session to discuss personnel, Shaffer told the commissioners he was going to talk with counsel from the Public Defender Office about scheduling their visits to the jail. Shaffer said that consultation space is limited, and when several attorneys are visiting clients at the same time, space and privacy are issues.

The Knox County Jail population stands at 96: 82 male and 14 female. Three are prisoners from Lawrence County; one is federal. Due to consistently high population rates, Shaffer said he was going to talk with Chief Roger Monroe of the Mount Vernon Police Department about the possibility of MVPD officers simply issuing a summons rather than making an arrest in certain low-level misdemeanors.


Rastin Challenge showcases first responders

MOUNT VERNON - The second annual Rastin Challenge will be held on Saturday, Aug. 26, at Ariel-Foundation Park, and will showcase teams of first responders (firefighters and law enforcement) in a variety of competitive physical challenges. The public is encouraged to support first responders by coming out to watch, cheer them on and enjoy informational displays. Children's activities will also be available.

The event is hosted by Foundation Park Conservancy, Mount Vernon Police Department and Mount Vernon Fire Department. A short opening ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. in the Schnormeier Event Center. The challenges include the Rastin Challenge Stair Climb, Firefighter Combat Challenge, Tactical Obstacle Course and Police Bike Challenge (provided there are enough registrants). Free breakfast is available for first responders. Lunch will be available for purchase.

Winning teams' departments receive prizes of $500, $250 and $100, in addition to the more than $2,000 worth of door prizes for individual first responders. Proceeds from the Rastin Challenge go to a scholarship fund for current Knox County first responders (fire/law enforcement) seeking advanced training or college credit.

RAstin Challenge 2016 file

2016 Rastin Challenge file photo - Photo used with permission from Bostic Imagery

This event has grown in support and participants compared to last year's inaugural event. According to MVFD Chief Chad Christopher, a team of firefighters is coming from Florida. Carrie Haver, executive director for the park, believes "This is an amazing opportunity for everyone, especially children, to see some of central Ohio's finest first responders demonstrate their skills. We'd love to have a big crowd there to watch and cheer them on."

A variety of health/safety displays will also be exhibited throughout the event, including an AirEvac helicopter and a variety of military vehicles. Youth can participate in a series of physical challenges, coordinated by Mount Vernon's YMCA: softball throw (with a weighted ball), broad jump, push-ups (as many in one minute), terrace run, bear crawl, sack race, spoon/egg walk and hula hoop. A fire truck sprinkler will also be available for children.

The Rastin Challenge was developed as the brainchild of local resident and park supporter Tom Rastin as a way to honor our first responders. Scheduled in late summer, the event is intended to also honor the memory of the firefighters who climbed the steps of the World Trade Center. The Rastin Challenge Stair Climb event consists of four firefighters climbing the tower in full turnout gear, relay-style. "This event has a powerful symbolism. The combined total of the four climbs roughly equals the height the 9/11 firefighters reached before tragedy struck," noted Melanie Bolender, Foundation Park Conservancy board member and Rastin Challenge volunteer.

The park will also host a free concert that evening with "Motown: The Sounds of Touch" at 7:30 p.m. in the Schnormeier Event Center. 


Solar eclipse viewing events scheduled throughout Knox County

MOUNT VERNON - On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. The eclipse's path will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path, including those in Ohio, will still see a partial solar eclipse. 

For those who would rather watch the event on a screen, NASA will cover the eclipse live from coast to coast, beginning at noon EDT.

In Knox County there are several public eclipse watching events planned. Public library locations in Mount Vernon, Danville, Fredericktown, and Gambier will present programs about the eclipse as well as Ariel Foundation Park and Wolf Run Park.

The solar eclipse for the Columbus region is scheduled to begin at 1:04 p.m., reaches peak at 2:30 p.m., and ends at 3:52 p.m. Coverage of the sun for the area is expected to be 86 percent.

In case of bad weather, or for those who cannot be outside in the heat, the library will have special live streaming of the solar eclipse and informational programs on the big screen in the lower level multimedia room beginning at noon at the main library in Mount Vernon.

Refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to all ages.

This program is available thanks to grants obtained through the Space Science Institute, NASA @ My Library, the Moore Foundation, StarNet Science Technology Activities and Resources for Libraries, and the National Center for Interactive Learning.

The public is also invited to view the solar eclipse at Ariel-Foundation Park on Monday.  Two Kenyon College students will be on site to answer questions and facilitate viewing the eclipse. They will have a limited number of eclipse glasses for people to share (but not to take home). If you have your own eclipse glasses, please bring them with you. You likely will not be able to acquire appropriate glasses between now and the event date as most of the reputable manufacturers are out of stock.

While not outside viewing the eclipse, event goers can stay cool in the Urton Clock House building where the students will have a slide presentation regarding the eclipse.

At Wolf Run Regional Park, 17621 Yauger Rd, the Knox County Park District will host an eclipse watching event from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. They will have eyewear to lend.

The last total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States occurred in 1979 and the next one will not take place until 2024.

Attendees are asked to bring a bag chair and snacks to share. The park district will provide lemonade and iced tea.

SPI on South Main Street will also offer solar eclipse viewing from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm in the Wright Center Parking lot. Imagination Playground, Water play, Eclipse activities and more. They say they have 50 safety eclipse viewing glasses to make use of.  SPI will not be open inside during the eclipse.  Eclipse watchers are encouraged to bring their own chairs.


Mavis: Goose hunts set for Ariel Foundation Park, Hiawatha pool hours reduced

MOUNT VERNON - Mayor Richard Mavis announced that the city will offer permits for goose hunting in Ariel Foundation Park September 6th and 8th. Hunters should call 740-393-9577 for an application. 

Mavis also announced that August 16th is the last day for regular operating hours at Hiawatha Water Park/Pool.  From August 17th through September 4th the pool will be open weekends only. 

The city's Shade Tree and Beautification Commission will host Tree City USA awards in April 2020 with the Village of Gambier and Kenyon College. The commission will also be starting a new tree planting program to be known as the Tree City Partners. An Ariel grant will be offered to make trees available to residents who want them for the tree lawn area and who will commit to watering and caring for the tree. City Engineering Department will accept requests for fall plantings. For more information call 740-393-9528.

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