Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
By Amy Kronenberger
Rockford officials consider system to send emergency texts
  ROCKFORD - Officials are looking into implementing an emergency alert system that sends residents text messages about community announcements.
Village council member Wilbur Fox on Tuesday said he spoke with Parkway school officials about using the district's alert system for community notifications. He said the school will send him more information about joining its system.
"(The school has) the equipment and we would have our own section," Fox said.
Mayor Amy Joseph said she believes the school's notification system would be better than using other types of social media.
"Everyone has a cellphone, everyone texts, and we figured that was a better way than something like Facebook or other media outlets," she said.
Council member Steve Gehle mentioned the Mercer County Sheriff's Office alert system Nixle.
"Can't we just subscribe to that?" he asked. "You sign up and through that you get alerts for Mercer County."
Fox said the school's service alerts would be specific to Rockford events.
Village administrator Jeff Long said he might be able to notify residents of the service on their water bills if the village is able to work something out with the school. He didn't think a fee would be included with the service, he added.
Also on Tuesday, council members gave first reading to an annual ordinance that allows the Ohio Department of Transportation to perform any necessary repair work to state routes 117 and 118 and U.S. Route 33 within the village.
In other business, Joseph thanked Ron Searight for his eight years of service to the village as a council member. Searight did not run for re-election in November and his term expires at the end of the year. New council member John Dooley will replace Searight in January.
Searight thanked the village and its residents for allowing him to serve.
"I'd also like to thank all the members that sit here," he said. "We've had our outs but we've also done a lot of positive things. I thank you for the friendship; I thank you for everything you guys did. It's been a pleasure."
In other action, council members,
• learned Long recently completed an application for a grant to help improve Shane's Park. The grant would pay for another baseball diamond - Diamond 5 - and walking paths throughout the park, he said. The paths' total distance would range between a half mile and one mile and would include 10 stations for stretching or resting. Each station would have solar lighting.
• were reminded that Mercer County dog tags are available for purchase at the village hall.
• learned a Rockford Community Days meeting will be held at 7 p.m. today at the village hall.
• were encouraged to visit the Christmas light display at Shane's Park. Joseph said the display took 280 hours to implement and contains 14,000 lights.
• learned the Rockford Area Development Corporation will be handing out candy canes on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. at the four-way stop of U.S. 33 and state Route 118.
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