The city of Upper Arlington recently presented awards to residents and organizations for positive contributions to the community in 2019.

The Upper Arlington Community Awards were handed out Jan. 27 at the State of the City address.

As in past years, city officials handed out recognitions for the Business of the Year, Community Enrichment, Community Safety, Super Senior and Youth awards.

Each year since 1998, the city manager, mayor and previous award winners collect nominations.


The Business of the Year Award went to Cover to Cover Children's Books, 2116 Arlington Ave., and its owner, Melia Wolf.

Wolf and her business were recognized following a nomination from Andra Gillum.

"The front window of Cover to Cover Children's Books reads 'Welcome Friends,' " Gillum wrote in nominating Cover to Cover and Wolf for the award. "That is exactly what Cover to Cover and its owner are to UA.

"The bookstore supports the entire community through monetary and gift donations, free publicity and a welcoming place to gather. Melia is a supporter of Equal UA, (the Upper Arlington Education Foundation) and many other community groups."

Gillum went on to say Cover to Cover "supports local authors like Upper Arlington High School student Paige Plagenz and the students of Greensview (Elementary) School with their Golden Bears A to Z books."

"Beyond UA, CTC is a strong supporter of the Columbus community," she said. "CTC is a welcoming place to hang out, see an author, meet new friends, play chess or build at the train table, or get a great book recommendation."

Community enrichment

The Community Enrichment Award went to Jim Nicklaus and Bob Wandel, who organized a permanent tribute to golf legend Jack Nicklaus at Jack Nicklaus Park, 2470 Tremont Road.

In addition to spearheading efforts to rename the former Parkway Park in the Hall of Fame golfer's honor, Jim Nicklaus and Wandel are credited with spearheading a $130,000 fundraiser to install plaques at the park that commemorate Jack Nicklaus' amateur career.

"Jim and Bob had a vision to recognize Jack Nicklaus and the start of his career here in UA," said Upper Arlington Parks and Recreation director Debbie McLaughlin, who nominated the two. "Jim and Bob helped to rename Parkway Park to Jack Nicklaus Park, then set about efforts to build a tribute to Jack in the park.

"They collaborated with an architect, staff and a committee to design a tribute that celebrates Jack's early accomplishments. They conducted a fundraising effort with the UA Community Foundation and worked with a construction firm to implement the park feature. The tribute to Jack highlights his accomplishments as a youth and young adult, illustrating to our community youth what is possible and to follow their dreams."

Community safety

The Community Safety Award went to The Stand Project, a nonprofit started in 2015 by parents and other volunteers in the community to provide resources for substance-abuse prevention and treatment.

Those recognized included organization members Alison Scott, Sonya North and Jenny and Dan Ledman, as well as such community partners as UA Schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff, former UA school board member Stacey Royer, Dr. Joh Leff of OhioHealth, Upper Arlington Police Division school resource officer Jon Rice, Upper Arlington High School principal Andrew Theado, Jones Middle School principal Jason Fine and former Hastings Middle School principal Robb Gonda.

The group was honored for creating a video series on the dangers of vaping.

"In 2019, The Stand Project took on the issue of vaping in multiple ways," said Scott, who nominated the group. "We partnered with UAPD, UA Schools, Syntero, local businesses, OhioHealth, parents and students to educate the entire community about the risks of vaping and to spark this critical conversation.

"We created a six-part video series and distribution strategy that has been wildly successful, with over 19 (thousand) views on Facebook and YouTube. We also created a companion presentation and a resource page for parents and students. We know an integrated community approach to substance misuse prevention is the only proven way to impact our community."

Super senior

Susan Maxey won the Super Senior Award.

"(Susan) has diligently collected and shared important city information to the community through social media and her various involvement in city meetings and organizations," Angela Lanctot and Debbie Johnson wrote in nominating Maxey.

"She has proven to be a trusted community member as people seek her out to get her input and knowledge on city issues and services. If she doesn't have the answer for someone, she seeks it out.

"Upper Arlington is fortunate to have a woman like Susan who cares about the well-being of our city, her neighbors and residents as a whole. This takes a tremendous amount of her time and Susan happily performs this community service to keep others informed. Her love of the community is very apparent and her involvement helps the city better communications throughout the community."

Youth award

Greensview Elementary School second-grade teacher Mark Walter and students at the school were recognized for their contributions to the creation of a book, "Golden Bears A to Z," which covers highlights in the history of Upper Arlington.

Backed by a $6,000 grant from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation, Walter led about 90 Greensview students in grades 3 through 5 during the 2018-19 school year in the writing, publishing and marketing of the book.

Greensview media specialist Jill Merkle, first-grade teacher Blair Cerny, second-grade teacher Blythe Lamount and third-grade teacher Jamie Trainor also helped write and edit the book, and third-grade teacher Jana Holland did the illustrations.

According to Walter, sales from the book have topped $10,000 since its release last June.

Those proceeds will go back to the UA+Ed, which provides funding for programs, materials and opportunities to maintain, strengthen and enrich the environment and educational experiences for Upper Arlington students.

"Students applied for one of several positions including writers, editors and marketers," Alice Finley, UA+Ed executive director said. "A grant given by the UA Education Foundation allowed the students to work with Mascot Books to publish the book.

"The book highlights favorite places, traditions, history and people in our community. The proceeds of the book sales have been donated to the Upper Arlington Education Foundation to 'pay it forward.' "