Thursday, September 25, 2014

She's blogging? Why? Why NOW?



Two months ago, I announced my intention not to seek re-election. After more than a dozen years of serving as your mayor, and over two decades of public service to the City of Gahanna, this will be a major life change for me and my family. As I reflect on my remaining 15 months in office, it's natural to think of what I yet wish to accomplish before my service is complete.

One of our biggest challenges in recent years has been the ability to effectively communicate with our citizens. When I first ran for office in Gahanna, back in 1991, it was relatively easy. The community had two local weekly newspapers, and most people read them. Writing a letter to the editor, or a column, or pitching a story to the local reporters generally got most of the important local stories in front of citizens.

Today, it is much more complicated. There is one local paper now, and readership is down. With social media, email, websites, blogging, texting - communication is instant, personal - and the audience is splintered. To try and reach large numbers of citizens, we must use a wide variety of communication channels to try and get information out. Despite our best efforts, we still find that communication with citizens is not at an optimum level. We are not alone - as I talk to other city's leaders, we realize we all face the same communications challenges.

Some of our peer cities have large public information staffs to help solve this challenge. We have one person, but our employee also assists the police department handle media requests, and that task takes a lot of time. Still, we have made great inroads utilizing the official City website, with more content than ever, Facebook pages, Twitter Feeds, electronic newsletters and the like. We still work with our local media, mostly the newspapers, but the space they can dedicate to local news is limited. So we began to brainstorm about ways we could get accurate and complete information out to folks. Funding is extremely tight for non-essential services, so additional staff or paid media are out as alternatives. We also want to have the space to say what we want to say, when we want to say it, without the space and message limitations of standard media.

We also wanted to find a medium that was not an unedited, unmonitored free-for-all without the benefit of fact checking, but official forums that citizens can feel confident in, are trustworthy and factual. That eliminates most social media, including Twitter and Facebook, in my opinion.

A few years ago, we launched a blog on the City website, but it has not been used much, and readership is very light. Recently, we decided to relaunch our blog in an effort to engage our citizens. So if you are reading this, congratulations -- you have found our blog. Please come back often. I intend to write on a wide variety of topics, frequently. I also will invite other administrative staffers to contribute, depending on the subject matter and expertise required.

Have a question or an issue you would like to be discussed here? We hope so! Please email these to information@gahanna.gov, and we will select questions, research the answers, and post the discussion here. And if you have other suggestions of ways we can enhance our communication efforts, please let us know. I hope you find this to be a helpful and interesting resource for factual city information. Talk with you again soon.


Mayor Becky Stinchcomb
City of Gahanna

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It's Mosquito Season!



Mosquito season is officially in full-swing. The City of Gahanna has contracted with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH) for mosquito control this year. FCPH uses an Integrated Pest Management approach with a public health focus to reduce and control disease-carrying mosquitoes.

Many tools and techniques are used throughout the mosquito season to help control the mosquito population. These include:

  • Larviciding areas of stagnant water and storm water catch basins to prevent mosquitoes from hatching in these prime breeding sites.
  • Surveillance of adult mosquito populations by the use of traps.
  • Testing of adult mosquitoes for the presence of disease.
  • Adulticiding (spraying) using Ultra Low Volume (ULV) truck mounted equipment to treat residential areas to reduce adult mosquito populations.
  • A variety of educational materials and awareness approaches. 
In addition, historical data about mosquito breeding locations, areas that traditionally have high adult mosquito populations, and the frequency and distribution of mosquito-borne diseases throughout Franklin County assist FCPH in concentrating and focusing their efforts. FCPH also relies on residents to report areas that they suspect may be mosquito breeding areas and/or when there is an increase in adult mosquito activity.

During mosquito season, Franklin County Public Health will set traps out every Monday night throughout central Ohio and test the mosquitoes on Tuesday for mosquito-borne diseases, such as the West Nile Virus (WNV).  The criteria for spaying is based on an increase of mosquitoes trapped and/or if West Nile Virus is found in the mosquitoes trapped. To date, no pools of mosquitoes have tested positive for the WNV this season. Click here to view the weekly trap results.


If there is a need to treat a specific area in Gahanna, pre-spray maps will be featured on the City of Gahanna's website prior to treatment.

Did You Know...

A single water-filled bucket can produce hundreds of biting mosquitoes.

  • Most disease-causing mosquitoes spend their entire lives near their container-breeding site. 
  • While the adult mosquito’s life expectancy is not usually more than a few weeks, the female may lay several batches of eggs each containing several hundred eggs during its life.

What can you do?
Take a few minutes to go outside and look around your yard. Anything that holds water could be a potential breeding site for mosquitoes. It doesn’t take much water and it doesn’t take much time. Why raise mosquitoes in your own back yard? Dump those containers; turn them upside down; or better yet put them inside your garage or basement. It is such a simple, but very effective way, to protect your family from mosquito-borne diseases like encephalitis and West Nile virus.

To report an area of concern or to learn more about the mosquito program click here or call Franklin County Public Health’s Mosquito Bite Line at (614)525-BITE (2483).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Embrace the Power of Camp!


Written by Sara Crombie
Guest blogger and camp leader extraordinaire

It’s powerful, fun, life-changing and available right in your own community!

It causes parents to strategically plan which weeks to take the family vacation, children choose to miss birthday parties and they develop skills that will help carry them through life. Summer can never come fast enough, and many times the countdown to “the big event” begins in January. What am I talking about, you might ask. SUMMER CAMP, of course!!

For decades, youth across the globe have been participating in summer camp programs. Overnight camps, sports camps, day camps, theater camps, robotics camps and hundreds of other options all coming together to bring the youth of today a wonderful experience they will never forget. Watch adults smile as they remember the glory of their camp days. Watch children’s faces light up as they talk about all the fun they have during their camp summers. For those lucky enough to experience it, camp seems to become a way of life. It’s where tie-die is the accepted fashion trend, everyone wears friendship bracelets and no one judges your horrible “camp tan”.

However camp is more than personal stories and experiences. Camp does kids a world of good! Countless research studies and journal articles are able to support all of the great things camp does for children. According to a study done by the American Camp Association, “children who attend camp become more confident and build increased self-esteem. Children develop more social skills that help them make new friends. Children grow more independent and show more leadership in decision-making qualities. Children become more adventurous and willing to try new things. Children gain mastery in core emotional areas such as resilience and self-regulation,” (2004). If research proves that children gain all of these and more, while having a fantastic summer with friends and creating positive relationships with adult role models, why wouldn’t you want your child to go to camp?!

My love for camp really developed once I began working as a counselor.
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing campers grow socially and developmentally across the span of a summer and seeing what an impact you can have on them. To see kids’ eyes light up as they finally master some craft or sport, to watch them come out of their shells and gain confidence, and to watch them grow year after year makes the job of camp counselor unlike any other.

I have worked summer camps for over six years and would not change a minute of it! I can honestly say it has helped make me who I am today. Being able to see campers out in the community during the school year and have them run up to tell me a quick life update, tell a “remember that one day at camp” story, or my absolute favorite – when they run up to me and start rattling off their thoughts and ideas of how camp can be better this summer. “Sara, we should do this.” “How about this?” “Can you make sure I’m in Purple group this year?” “What if we did this all-camp activity?”


To help a child experience the power of camp is one of the best gifts to give. Then once you experience it, you’ll probably want to share it with anyone who will listen as well. Embrace it, and experience the power of camp. You won’t regret it!

This summer, the camp experience is offered for ages 6-12 through Jump Start Traditional Camp at Friendship Park, ages 5-12 at Camp Friendship at Hannah Park and CORE (at Friendship Park) for ages 12-14. Please call 614-342-4250 or visit the Camp page at www.Gahanna.gov for details. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Camp Friendship: Parent & Kid Approved!


With just a few more weeks left of summer break, Gahanna kids are staying happy, healthy and helpful at Camp Friendship. Over the past several weeks, campers have enjoyed playing games of knock-out and capture the flag, taking field trips to the Air Force Museum, COSI, the Columbus Zoo, and participated in games during before and after care.

Parents have shared some positive reactions about summer camp as well. One parent wrote, “Thank you so much for this program; my son looks forward to it every year. It's just as good for the parents as it is the children. Counselors are amazing, programs are amazing, field trips are amazing. Listening to my son talk about his day at camp...priceless.”

Other parents love the relationships the counselors develop with the kids.

 “This is our third year at the camp and I think this has been the best so far. We are so happy with all of the counselors. I love the relationships that the counselors have developed with my kids. Both of my kids have very different personalities. The counselors interact with each of them differently, in ways that are best suited to the kids.”

Camp Friendship really is the place for children ages 5-12 to be! With the new school year just around the corner, a week or two of camp may just be what your child needs to wrap up their summer, especially with weekly trips to Gahanna Swimming Pool, field trips to Groveport Aquatics and Gahanna Lanes, just to name a few.  Oh, and of course we can’t forget about the infamous talent show on August 16, the last day of camp!

Learn more about Camp Friendship and register for one of the remaining spots at Hannah Park today! Visit the Parks & Recreation page at Gahanna.gov and click on “Camps” for registration forms and more details.

Friday, July 19, 2013

What's Your Concert Personality?


Gahanna residents and visitors have a musical choice to make this summer—Music in the Park or Creekside Live @ 5. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. on Fridays, but each is distinctly different. Of course, if you can’t chose, do both!

Tonight, the blue grass band, Death by Banjo takes the gazebo stage at Friendship Park for Music in the Park from 7-9 p.m. This event is hosted by the Gahanna Department of Parks & Recreation and sponsored by Strathmore Development.

Music in the Park is a free concert series every Friday that provides a fun, picnic-like atmosphere for all ages. Families may bring lawn chairs and a picnic blanket to enjoy the sounds of Blue Level, adult contemporary on August 2; Lords of Literature classic rock on August 9; and Fo/Mo/Deep, jazz funk on August 16.

The Gahanna Parks and Recreation Foundation hosts Creekside Live @ 5 the first and third Friday of each month, June through September, from 5-9 p.m. on the Rotary Stage at Creekside Park.

Tonight, the Foundation is excited for the Reaganomics, who will take the stage at 7 p.m. Be sure to get there early for happy hour specials beginning at 5 p.m. and DJ Brad Hudson. Proceeds benefit camp scholarships, community art initiatives and park improvements.

Upcoming bands include The Prodigals, Irish Rock on August 2; John Schwab Band, party variety on August 16; Grassinine, mountain rock on September 6; and Capitol Sound, soul/funk on September 20.

It’s time to choose, but, if you can’t, spend some time at each or rotate the weeks you attend. It’s your call. Either way, get out and enjoy all the parks Gahanna has to offer!

The full schedule and details are available at Gahanna.gov and GahannaParksandRecreationFoundation.org.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Meet Your City Staff: Emanuel Torres

Image courtesy of Paul Molitor, The Portrait House

Emanuel Torres has been working for the City of Gahanna since July of 2011 as the economic development manager.  In his time at the City, he has accomplished great things for the Department of Planning and Development, and people are beginning to take notice.

As the economic development manager, Torres’ primary function is to focus on the expansion and retention needs of the Gahanna business community.

“This position allows me to develop and cultivate strong relationships with businesses and property owners,” said Torres. “I am also responsible for the administration of the tax incentive programs and serve as the editor of the Connector, the monthly economic development newsletter for the City of Gahanna.”

The Gahanna Chamber recently presented Emanuel an award for being the top recruiter of new chamber members in 2012 at their State of the Chamber luncheon in early January.

“This is the first award I have ever received and it definitely reinforces my efforts and the appreciation from the Chamber is very humbling,” said Torres.

For the City of Gahanna, this award is confirmation that they are on track, but the City and the Department of Planning and Development are still looking for ways to improve. Torres said, “We’re constantly looking into and evaluating our partnerships and going out of our way to meet the needs of our businesses.”

In the coming year, the horizon for the Department of Planning and Development is always changing and relationships with the businesses are only getting stronger.

 “I am excited to focus on the needs of the local business community and the events throughout the year for those businesses,” said Torres.


If you want to receive the Connector newsletter or would like to get in touch with Emanuel, email him at emanuel.torres@gahanna.gov.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

City Staff Teams Up for GRIN

By Nancy Savage
Administrative Assistant/Mayor's Office
As the Holiday Season comes to a close, I would like to send one BIG “thank you” to all my co-workers at the City of Gahanna who so generously gave during our holiday fundraiser. 

 As the coordinator of this effort, I am challenged to think of ideas to energize the staff yet keeping in mind that there may be those among us who may also be struggling financially.  So, I thought up a simple concept… bring in $5.00 worth of groceries PLUS a $5.00 monetary donation and called it “5 & 5 for the Holidays”.  My feeling was….make it simple and they will come, and they sure did!

How delighted I was to see my co-workers with their Kroger and Giant Eagle bags filled with canned peas, corn, tuna fish, soups, toiletries and so much more.  What stands out for me is the desire that everyone had to “help”, to chip in for an honorable cause.

I am so excited to report that our staff donated $466.00 in cash, plus a large quantity of canned foods and other non-perishable items to GRIN Gahanna Residents in Need. 

Needless to say, I work with a fine group of people who work very diligently throughout the year for the City of Gahanna and its residents and whose efforts and generous donations this holiday season are to be commended. I feel very lucky to be a part of this team!  

Thank you ALL!