We have improved our website and the property search function with an advanced search criteria and an enhanced mapping interface. Get an overview of the changes before visiting the site or go directly to the new site.
2/28 - Metro Parks Winter Hike, Battelle Darby Creek, 10 a.m.
3/1 - Mingle With Our Mutts, Noon to 2 p.m.
3/4 - Stream Quality Monitoring Workshop, 10:30am to Noon
Planting Ohio-native species of trees, shrubs and perennials can reduce soil erosion, create wildlife habitat, support pollinators and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Native plants have evolved with our climate, soils and wildlife.
One example of this is the relationship between native plants and insects. Monarchs can use nectar from non-native plants, but need the native butterfly weed for the caterpillars.
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District sale features native plants that are well adapted to central Ohio, as well as fruit trees to promote locally grown foods. Fish fingerlings are also being sold for stocking farm ponds.
For more information or to place an order, visit the Soil and Water website.
from Children Services
African American History Month is an occasion for honoring the accomplishments of African Americans and a time for recognizing the role of African Americans in U.S. history. Since 1976, each U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
FCCS will hold several educational events for internal staff in honor of this occasion, as part of its efforts to increase our staff members' cultural awareness.
The agency also seeks to educate and inspire the African-American youth it serves by sponsoring the Simba Mentoring Program which matches African American boys with African American men and the Malaika Mentoring Program which matches African American girls with African American woman. Both programs focus on Afrocentric mentoring and rites of passage. Click here to learn more about volunteering and mentoring with FCCS.
Two public comment meetings will take place regarding proposed updates to the Central Ohio Transit Authority's (COTA) Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP). The first meeting is Thursday, February 26 at 12 noon; the second meeting is Tuesday, March 3 at 6 p.m. Both meetings will be held in the William G. Porter Boardroom at COTA's Downtown Office, 33 N. High St.
To raise awareness of the hazardous side of spring weather, Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) will recognize Ohio's Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week and National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 1 - 7, 2015. FCEM&HS is co-hosting a severe-weather spotter training seminar, urging countywide participation in a statewide tornado drill, and arranging for the posting of highway billboards promoting the dangers of floods, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms to thousands of Central Ohioans.
FCEM&HS encourages all residents to learn and understand the risks facing Franklin County, the top hazards can be found on the agency website at www.fcemhs.org. Citizens should know the difference between storm watches and storm warnings. For example, The National Weather Service will issue a tornado watch if conditions are favorable for a tornado to develop in the area, and a tornado warning if a tornado has been spotted or radar indicates one may be possible in the area. Residents should purchase a NOAA Weather Radio, build a disaster supply kit, develop a plan and practice it regularly.
For more information regarding Ohio's Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week activities, visit the FCEM&HS website.
It's time! Time to think about how a Franklin Soil and Water Conservation Fund mini-grant can help your organization get a conservation practice installed during 2015.
Our Conservation Fund will provide grants of up to $1,500 to three qualifying organizations. Applications for funding will be accepted through March 6, 2015. There are two ways you can apply for a mini-grant.
Please direct any questions regarding a mini-grant application to Kyle Wilson, (614) 486-9613. Read more about the Conservation Fund Mini-Grant Program, including preferred projects and restrictions.
from Children Services
The latest edition of the Franklin County Children Services Connects E-News is here! Features include:
Click here to view the February 2015 Connects E-News.
from Board of Elections
One candidate will remain on Franklin County's 2015 primary ballot, but another will not after a review of their nominating petitions was completed by the board of elections this afternoon.
The review determined James C. Ragland, candidate for Columbus mayor, submitted at least 1,091 valid signatures or 91 more than the minimum needed for certification under the Columbus City Charter.
Johannes J Christian, a candidate for Columbus Board of Education, was 36 signatures short of being certified submitting 264 of 300 required for the board race. Eight of Christian's petitions containing another 107 signatures were disqualified because the candidate or his circulators had failed to sign them.
The board of elections voted to give each candidate a second chance at certification yesterday after board employees neglected to check their petitions because they believed the candidates had disqualified themselves for mistakes apart from having the number of signatures required.
A complete list of certified candidates and issues is posted online at http://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/election-info/2015.cfm.
During inclement weather, more than 100 Franklin County Engineer "Snow Fighter" personnel work around the clock to maintain safe travel on 766 lane miles of roads and streets, and provide road salt and anti-icing chemicals to 23 communities and public agencies. Learn more about Snow Fighter Operations.
from Board of Elections
Franklin County's ballot for the May 5 primary is official. The lineup of candidates for local offices and issues was certified by the board of elections this afternoon.
Forty candidates were certified for the primary. Thirty-eight others advanced to the general election in November because they were unopposed or because they are candidates for judge who are nominated by petition alone and never appear on a primary ballot.
There are no countywide issues at stake in May, but there will be local elections for municipal offices, tax issues and liquor options. Columbus will hold non-partisan primaries for mayor, council and school board. Gahanna will have a non-partisan primary for mayor. Reynoldsburg will hold a Republican primary for city council, president of council and for city attorney. The number of candidates isn't large enough to require a Democratic primary in Reynoldsburg. There's also no need for a primary to narrow the field for city offices in the Village of Brice, Hilliard and Whitehall due to the number of candidates who've filed.
Five special elections will appear on local ballots. Hamilton and Perry Townships and the Village of Valley View will have tax levies for police protection. Fire levies are at stake in Madison and Plain Townships. A tax levy for current expenses will be on the ballot in the Village of Minerva Park. Sixteen liquor options will appear on local ballots as well.
Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) is urging the community to participate in a Statewide Tornado Drill at 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, March 4, when the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System will be activated. The sirens will be activated one time for three minutes - a longer tone than in the regular Wednesday noon tests. The test tone will be the same "tornado warning" tone which would be used in an actual tornado warning.
The 9:50 a.m. March 4 siren activation will be in place of the regular weekly Wednesday noon test of the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System.
The drill is part of FCEM&HS's promotion of Ohio's Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week, March 1-7, to remind the public that with spring comes the possibility of tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods, hail, lighting strikes, and power outages.
For instructions on how to join in the tornado drill, visit the FCEM&HS website.
by Sacha Mkheidze
Winter is coming. Most of the birds have already left us behind as they seek out warmer places. However we are lucky enough to have a good number of year-round resident birds to keep us company during the winter doldrums. When the cold temperatures take hold, I like to bring a little spring into my life by bringing the birds to my back yard.
We are fortunate to have several species of birds that remain in Franklin County during the winter. Species such as the northern cardinal, American robin, Carolina chickadee, several woodpecker species and many others call this region home throughout the year. More information about the birds of Ohio can be found at this ODNR site. There are many ways to attract these birds to your property by feeding and providing water and shelter. Feeding is perhaps the easiest way to bring the birds to you. There are many different types of feeders such as seed feeders, suet feeders and squirrel-proof feeders to choose from. Thankfully Cornell University has created a website that will answer all of your bird feeding questions. They also have a page on feeder placement.
Another way to attract birds is by providing them with water. Birds have it rough during the winter, scarce food, not much shelter and a shortage of unfrozen water. By placing a heated bird bath in your yard, you are providing birds with a source of drinking water and a place to bathe. A wide variety of heated bird baths and bird bath water heaters are readily available at local nature shops. You would be amazed at what an attractant a bird bath can be in the winter. Lastly, you can also help our feathered friends by creating shelter for them during the winter months. Planting evergreen trees and shrubs is probably the best way to do so, but there are bird houses that serve as shelter as well. Bring a little spring into your winter life and attract some colorful birds into your backyard habitat. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
Sacha Mkheidze is a water quality technician at Franklin Soil and Water and has spent over ten years working with a variety of bird species all around the US, including a stint at a raptor research station in Duluth, MN.
The Economic Development and Planning Department's Report to the Community e-newsletter series highlights the activities and outcomes of recent projects, programs, and initiatives undertaken by the department. Workforce training, demolition of vacant homes, and expenditure of federal stimulus funds in Franklin County are just a few of the topics covered in these reports that highlight the county's commitment to affordable housing, business investment, and safe neighborhoods.