A Happy New Year to all! After the whirlwind of the holiday season, it's back to business and what looks to be a busy year for us at the city.

A Happy New Year to all! After the whirlwind of the holiday season, it's back to business and what looks to be a busy year for us at the city.

First on the agenda will be the official formation of our new City Council, which welcomes Kip Greenhill to its ranks for his first term. Council's organizational meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at the Municipal Services Center.

Also being sworn in for duty will be returning council members John Adams, David DeCapua and Debbie Johnson.

Council as a whole will select who from its ranks will serve two-year terms as president and vice president, and several council member assignments will also be determined for participation on local and regional boards that include the Central Ohio Municipal Council, MORPC, the Commission on Aging and the Community Improvement Corporation.

State of the City Address, Award


Two weeks following council's first meeting of the year, we invite the community to join us for our annual State of the City celebration, with the theme of "Charting a New Course." I will share more details of what you can expect to enjoy at this year's address in the coming weeks, but today I want to make a reminder call for Community Award nominations.

Our deadline is fast approaching -- Friday, Jan. 10 -- so put on your thinking caps and send us worthy nominations for the categories of Business, Community Enrichment, Community Safety, Super Senior and Youth, as well as our newest award -- the Rotary Club of Upper Arlington Volunteerism Award. Full details can be found under the Headlines section of our homepage, at uaoh.net.

Changing Face

of Suburban Wildlife

Reports and questions from residents have been on the rise about coyote sightings.

It's a reality that coyotes are adapting and moving into suburban settings. During the winter months, they become more visible due to the lack of vegetation and harsh weather, making them more active during the daytime as they search for food.

That doesn't mean we should sound the panic alarm however. Attacks on humans are incredibly rare -- only about three are reported across North America annually. Incidents with pets, however, are more common. Coyotes are known to eat small rodents (and can actually help keep the rodent population in check), fruit, rabbits, birds, raccoons and a small percentage of domestic cats -- another good reason to be sure your pets are safely contained on your property and to keep them inside at night.

Other practical prevention tips include keeping your trashcans and recycling containers in your garage until it's time to put them out for collection and making sure containers have lids on them when they are out. If you feed your pets outside, don't leave any uneaten food in your yard. Another good prevention method is to minimize areas of brush or bushes on your property that might serve as good hiding and lookout spots.

While coyotes are unlikely to set up home close to walking or biking trails that have a lot of human activity, there are a few simple safety tips to follow when you are enjoying a leisurely stroll with your dog locally or in the region. First, keep your pet on a leash, but also take something along with you, such as a walking stick, that could be used to deter a curious onlooker from getting any ideas. If you do see a coyote, be dominant and don't leave the area before the animal. Throw items in the direction of the coyote, wave the walking stick, or yell and wave your arms to appear bigger.

While it's not something we have been used to seeing in this area previously, for the most part it's relatively easy to coexist with most suburban wildlife. While coyotes are very curious animals and it's not unusual for them to observe people, it's very unusual for them to show any aggression toward us. Compared with the number of dog attacks, coyote attacks are virtually nonexistent.

Additional information about coyotes can be found at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website, at http://dnr.state.oh.us/. The Ohio Wildlife Center also has a division that helps homeowners deal with unwanted wildlife visitors -- information on SCRAM Wildlife Control can be found at scramwildlife.org.

Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.