Kent City Council becomes informed on Ebola, passes ordinance to purchase properties on College Avenue

Kent City Council held a meeting Oct. 15, which took more of an informational turn as the talk of Ebola made headlines in Northeast Ohio.

Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala invited Jeff Neistadt, Kent Health Commissioner, to give the council and audience an overview of information about the latest Ebola issue related to Northeast Ohio.

“This is kind of putting a puzzle together with various pieces,” Neistadt said.

The infected individual, Amber Vinson, arrived in Cleveland’s Hopkins Airport Friday afternoon. Her mother and stepfather picked her up from the airport and returned to Tallmadge. Her parents did attend the Kent State football game on Saturday; she did not.

“At this point, there is no reason to believe that she stepped foot in Portage Country or anywhere in Kent,” Neistadt said. “This is a process, a slow process.”

Contact tracing will take place of the individuals that Vinson came into direct contact with and also who may have came in contact with those individuals.

“The biggest thing I think we need to consider right now is the accuracy of information,” he said.

A lot of misinformation had been put out to the public about what was happening in Kent and the surrounding areas regarding Ebola.

Mayor Fiala said social media is not the correct way to inform oneself about the Ebola situation.

Tweets from Oct. 15 Kent City Council meeting.
Tweets from Oct. 15 Kent City Council meeting.

“We have to get the accurate information out there,” Fiala said.

Neistadt said we are currently in good shape and just to be aware, cautious and to keep doing our job.

Dr. Chris Woolverton, Kent State professor and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness, proceeded Neistadt on further Ebola details.

“The basics of an Ebola infection really start with coming in contact with somebody who has contaminated bodily fluid—so typically, we’re thinking about vomitus, feces, urine, blood, in particular.” Woolverton said. “One of the indicators that there’s enough virus inside the body to actually transmit it to someone else through one of these fluids is the fever.”

Vinson did not have the fever while in Ohio. She did not develop a fever until a day after while in Dallas.

“In about 52% of the patients, their bodies without treatment will succumb to the virus. That’s what we see going on in Africa right now,” Woolverton said. “In about 48% of those people, their immune systems protects them, and with the extra treatment that they receive from the medical community, they’re able to thwart the virus.”

“I think it’s important that we put this in perspective,” Fiala said.

City Manager Dave Ruller commended Neistadt’s work on informing the public, along with agencies on the details of the Ebola patient.

Council passes ordinances to purchase properties on College Avenue

After information and questions regarding Ebola, the council started to things into action. One of the main topics that has been a focus during previous meetings is the tearing down of properties on College Avenue in order to build the new police station.

John Kuhar, Ward 4, said on the Oct. 1 meeting that he would vote against the eminent domain due to points made by Steve Mileski, a property manager of houses on College Avenue.

Kuhar voted “abstain” to the “ordinance declaring the necessity and intent of the City of Kent to appropriate all right, title and interest” in fee simple 0.11 acres of property known as 223 College Ave. and 0.14 acres of property known as 225 College Ave.

Despire Kuhar’s vote, ordinances passed regarding the purchase of properties 221 to 227 College Ave for construction of new police station.

An ordinance accepting a donation to the of $869.46 to City of Kent Parks and Recreation Department from the American Legion Portage Post #496 was passed, as well as a $200 donation from the Norwood Street/Beech Drive neighborhood for planting a tree in memory of Richard Rymer.

The subject of parking was brought up again as the authorization of parallel parking on the West Main Street Bridge passed. Metioned in the authorization is the need to explore future paid parking on the bridge and whether to put parking on both sides.