The Albion Fire Department answered 35 calls in December, bringing its total number of responses for 2008 up to 324.
Outgoing Fire Chief Gregg Gorsuch, a long time volunteer firefighter who gave up the position after six years, sent the AFD's annual report to the Albion Town Council. Gorsuch, who has served as captain and assistant chief and is staying on as a firefighter, was honored for his service at the January 13 Albion Town Council Meeting; he was replaced as Chief by Brad Rollins.
Rollins inherits a department that stays busy in many ways, but emergency calls were average for 2008: 19 fewer than the year before, but 15 more than in 2006. Last year 77 of the calls were to fires, including: 36 structure fires; 11 brush/trash fires; 9 hazardous material calls; 5 vehicle fires; 4 industrial fires; 6 fire alarms; 2 chimney fires; and 4 fire standby's. 31 of the calls were mutual aid runs to assist other departments. That's a number that usually runs even with the number of times other departments are called to assist the AFD, but last year serious fires within Albion's 96 square mile response areas were unusually -- and thankfully -- few.
Also during 2008, the AFD responded to 29 vehicle accidents, 151 medical assist calls, and 58 public service calls. Service calls include such things as carbon monoxide checks, weather watches, and other weather related emergencies.
171 of the calls were within Albion Township, including the town of Albion itself. Of the other townships within the AFD's primary response area, 45 calls went to York; 41 to Jefferson; 18 to Green; and 7 to Elkhart. (Six square miles of Elkhart Township are within Albion's jurisdiction.)
In mutual aid runs, the AFD responded into Orange Township 14 times; Noble, 12 times; Wayne (Kendallville) 8 times; Allen (Avilla), Sparta (Cromwell), and Perry (Ligonier) twice each; and Thorncreek in Whitley County once.
The result was 2,194 manhours put into responses for Albion's three dozen volunteers.
Like all fire departments, the members stay busy with various jobs, to both stay prepared for emergencies and to meet various local, state and federal requirements. They participated in 110.5 hours of training offered during 2008, divided into 887 manhours of fire/rescue training, 252 of first responder training, and 53.5 hours of hazardous material training.
In addition, they put 643 manhours into vehicle maintenance; 539 into building maintenance; and 1,276.5 into various office and administrative jobs. 104 hours worth of fire extinguisher inspections were also done.
The AFD also pushes fire prevention and safety throughout the year, but stands ready if the need for their various services to continue to be strong.
The Albion Police Department set a four year record for the number of complaints answered in 2008, but their increased work may have been rewarded in a drop of other police related activity during the year.
Town Marshal Tom Lock gave the APD’s annual report at the January 13 Albion Town Council meeting. It showed that Albion’s officers answered 1,524 complaints last year, over two hundred more than the year before. It was the most complaints in the last seven years, with the exception of 1,570 recorded in 2004.
However, Lock provided graphs that showed other activity had dropped substantially. For instance, accidents investigated dropped to 42 – two of those involved personal injury – the lowest number in at least seven years.
With the exception of 2006, total cases drawn were the lowest since 2002. 88 adult cases and 35 juvenile cases were begun last year.
Traffic stops were also their lowest, dropping from a high of 1,241 in 2005 to 453 in 2008. Last year APD officers made 35 felony arrests, 57 misdemeanor arrests, 85 infraction or local ordinance arrests, and 23 parking arrests, as well as issuing 495 traffic warnings.
Officer assists dropped slightly to 493, while motorist assists also went down, to 160.
On the other hand, parking arrests were at their highest level since 2004. In addition, special details, which cover several different kinds of activities, rose to 892 – the highest of the seven year period Lock included in his report.
APD officers drove 46,365 miles in 2008, using 4,025.83 gallons of fuel. Lock managed to reduce overtime hours to 306.5 hours, the lowest since 2002 despite having one officer out on sick leave. Part of that was thanks to Albion Reserve officers, who stepped in to work their largest number of hours of the 7 year period: 1,289.5 hours worked by the volunteer reserves.
Lock’s first priority of 2009 is to replace Detective Scott Cole’s aging squad car with a new Ford Explorer. It would have room for Cole’s equipment, as well as making a four wheel drive vehicle available during severe weather, off road needs, or disaster situations. Council members have spoken in favor of the purchase, but have put it on hold until their next meeting while they explore the possibility of lowering interest rates on the purchase.
Some of the calls worked by the APD during 2008 include:
107 juvenile related problems.
66 suspicious activity complaints.
58 EMS assists.
57 vehicle lockouts.
55 dog/cat complaints.
45 complaints of property damage.
42 drug related complaints.
41 VIN checks.
40 burglar and fire alarms.
38 welfare checks.
34 family problems.
24 lost/stolen/found bicycles.
24 loud music/noise complaints.
23 unwanted parties.
20 harassment complaints.
20 reckless driving complaints.
19 funeral details.
17 911 hang-up/kids playing calls.
14 disabled vehicles.
13 fire assists.
13 parking complaints.
12 gas theft drive-offs.
8 CSX Railroad crossing problems.
The Noble County Relay for Life needs your help in the fight against Cancer.
The organization is kicking off its 2009 effort with a meeting Thursday, January 22, at the Noble County Public Library in Albion. The Relay will be May 30-31, from 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the West Noble High School football field and track, but it takes early organization to reach this year’s goal off 55 teams. The hope is to raise $75,000 toward American Cancer Society programs, including research, early detection and prevention education, advocacy efforts, and patient services..
The January 22 meeting begins with registration at 6:30 p.m., with pizza, pop, cookies and chips available for everyone. All questions will be answered, and information will be available to assist team leaders with planning and fund raising. Registration fees will be waived for anyone who registers by the kickoff meeting, with a $10 per team member fee afterward.
School teams are encouraged, as are teams from the emergency services, and the NCRL is also hoping to get more participation from the eastern parts of Noble County. Teams camp out, and keep at least one representative on the track at all times during the overnight event. An estimated 3.5 million people participate across the country, often to honor loved ones lost to cancer and to fight back against the disease.
The theme for this year’s Relay for Life will be sports; the events include various forms of entertainment, and always develop a block party type atmosphere. Leading up to it, Relay teams and other community members may be helping to raise awareness by doing such activities as painting business windows, sports event style.
Teams can be registered prior to kickoff by contacting team recruitment chairperson Stacey Lang at (260) 894-1418, or by e-mail at email@example.com. Registration can also be done online, at www.relayforlife.org/noblecountyin.
In addition, anyone with questions can contact NCRL committee chairman Ed Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Registration can also be done at the kickoff. Teams need to provide the team captain’s name, phone number and e-mail address, as well as mailing address. Also, since teams with participants under age 18 will need an adult chaperone present at all times, the chaperone’s name and phone number will be needed.
Other meeting dates, all at the NCPL Conference Room, include:
February 12: Committee meeting.
March 12: Committee meeting.
April 9: Committee meeting.
April 23: Team Captains meeting, in the basement’s large room.
May 7: Committee meeting.
May 13: Bank night.
May 21: Committee meeting.
Now we’re looking for team members, with the goal of getting too – or better yet, going over – 44 teams. Any and all volunteers are welcome.
Anderson is chairing the NCRL committee this year, with Carla Fiandt acting as Vice-Chair. Additional Committee Members to date include:
Cholene and Ed Anderson, Survivor Development Chairs.
For Fundraising Development: Steve Kirkpatrick, Sponsorship; Brian Rupert, Relay online – technical; and Luanna Walker, Relay online – promotional.
Team Development Chair, Stacey Lang.
Team Development Sub-committee: Sherry Byers, Amy Shroeder, and Luanna Walker.
Event Development: Logistics, Eric Lang; Entertainment and Activities, Jen Williams and Holly Remke; Registration/Accounting, Carla Fiandt; Food, Susan Rittenberry and Tina Anderson; and PR/Media, Mark Hunter.
More volunteers are still needed to fill other committee positions.