Rocky Fork Enterprise

Council pauses to reflect on Sandy Hook


Gahanna City Council began and ended its Dec. 17 meeting with reflection about the Newton, Conn., community, where 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook School were killed by a gunman.

Council president Brian Larick started the meeting, requesting a moment of silence to remember the victims in Conn. Then council member Stephen Renner offered a prayer that also made reference to the tragedy.

During the mayor's report, Becky Stinchcomb said that first and foremost, her thoughts are with the victims and their families and the entire Newtown community.

"I want to commend the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools for reaching to parents immediately on Friday and throughout the weekend to reassure them," Stinchcomb said. "I would also like to share that the city of Gahanna and the Division of Police are committed to the safety of the residents of Gahanna and of the students and staff of Gahanna-Jefferson schools. This commitment is built on a strong and unwavering partnership between families, the schools and the city."

Police Chief Dennis Murphy said he and Lt. Dan Williams visited all of the elementary schools Dec. 17 to discuss safety protocol.

Williams told ThisWeek about the department's philosophy on the Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE) program, which he had discussed with principals.

"In elementary schools, the essential philosophy is (that) flight and fight is better than freezing," he said. "If you're trapped in a classroom with a gunman, throw books or anything to distract and fight for your life."

He said teachers want to know where to go in cases like Sandy Hook.

"It's where the threat is not," he said. "The whole intent is to limit exposure, and it buys us time to remove the threat. If there's an active shooter, we don't want people hiding in a corner, becoming stagnant targets."

In council action, legislation was approved to make repairs to the 152 Oklahoma building near Friendship Park, where 16 service-department employees are based.

Council approved the transfer of $30,000 from Lands & Buildings Contract Services to Lands & Buildings Capital Projects, as well as a supplemental appropriation of $18,029 from the unappropriated balance of the general fund to Lands & Buildings Capital Projects.

In other council discussion, Stinchcomb announced that Niagara Bottling is hosting a job fair in preparation of opening a new location in Gahanna.

The job fair will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. today, Dec. 20, at Gahanna Lincoln High School.