Retiring Police Chief Cravens honored; plus report that City landfill is filling up faster


Retiring chief presented badge, service revolver

By Gary Huffenberger - [email protected]



New Wilmington Police patrol officer Logan Schroer, left, is sworn in Thursday by Mayor John Stanforth, right foreground.

New Wilmington Police patrol officer Logan Schroer, left, is sworn in Thursday by Mayor John Stanforth, right foreground.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Retiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left foreground, is the recipient of a colorful shirt from Mayor John Stanforth, right.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Retiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left, is presented his badge and service revolver to honor his service. In the immediate right foreground is Mayor John Stanforth, joined by Public Service/Safety Director Brian Shidaker.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The volume of trash and other discarded material getting hauled to the city landfill has “increased incredibly,” the Wilmington service and safety director reported Thursday to council.

In fact, the projected lifespan of the current landfill expansion or phase has gotten shorter by about a year, said Public Service/Safety Director Brian A. Shidaker.

He’s wondering what to attribute the upswing in refuse to. Is it due to more demolitions? Is it somehow related to the pandemic?

Until an analysis is conducted, what is clear is that it is not a compaction issue at the site of the landfill, he said. The volume clearly is up.

One reason this matters is that the city is getting close to the next landfill expansion project.

Right now, officials are projecting the upcoming expansion will cost $1.2 million, said Shidaker, “and that’s what we have budgeted for with our rate plan.”

However, there was a landfill expansion in Columbus recently where the engineer’s estimate was $2 million but the bids came in around $3.2 million, Shidaker related.

So there’s a strong possibility that this time next year City of Wilmington officials will need to think hard about what type of rate structure is needed with the expansion.

City Councilman Matt Purkey said he would like to know where the increase in garbage and disposables is coming from and then try to capture that in terms of generating revenue.

If, for example, an analysis finds that the volume of commercial waste rather than residential waste has tripled, then “maybe it’s time to talk about tipping or gate fees rather than hitting everybody, across the board, with it [a higher-paying rate],” said Purkey.

“I’m curious to see what you find,” the councilman said to Shidaker.

During the Thursday meeting, council approved spending $44,400 from available dollars in the Waste Fund for engineering to be done this year for the next phase of landfill expansion.

The discussion about the landfill was part of an annual April report to council outlining current utility billing rates, future projects, and rate recommendations for what’s called the enterprise departments, including Sanitation, Stormwater, Wastewater, and Water.

As part of the report, Shidaker recommended to council no change this year in the rate plan of any of the city’s enterprise (utilities) departments.

A co-presenter of the report, Director of Public Works Rick Schaffer, said the city is working with EPA and other agencies to obtain more funding for a planned wastewater treatment plant “so it won’t all be on the rate-payers’ back.”

He showed a photograph of a sewer line that crosses Lytle Creek at the foot of a hill behind Peterson Place in town. The sewer line used to be under the creek; now a section of it is above the surface of the creek.

An engineer is hoping to find the best way to fix the problem. Schaffer hopes to receive the engineer’s report by next week.

Another wastewater issue is at the Wilmington Air Park, he said. There’s an “incredible amount” of rainwater getting into the sanitary sewer system there. A meeting is scheduled for mid-May to try to start attacking that, added Schaffer.

During City Councilman and City Services Committee Chair Nick Eveland’s report, he said people have been asking in the community about the city’s public transit system: Are its hours going to change or be increased? And is the city transit system going to be extended to countywide service at some time?

While there are grants that municipalities can use for transit expansion projects, said Eveland, city officials don’t really see countywide service on the horizon right now until they can get a handle on where they are with the taxi service and get it operating the way they want it.

So for now, it’s “not really in the cards,” he said. “Maybe later, down the road,” said Eveland.

During public comment, a resident asked about the raised pavement platform in the middle of Rombach Avenue in front of Dairy Queen, wondering how it is going to work. He commented it looks like a place where people will get stranded.

Both Mayor John Stanforth and Shidaker noted that the work on the pedestrian island is not completed. The mayor said it will be signalized later. In general, a pedestrian island serves as a protective barrier in the middle of a wide street crossing, allowing pedestrians to pause halfway more safely.

There presently is a problem with kids at the city park running across five lanes of traffic to the fast-food eateries on the other side, said Shidaker. The island is meant to address that.

Retiring Wilmington Police Chief Ronald Cravens was presented his badge and Smith & Wesson service revolver to honor him for his service and to carry on the tradition of awarding a retiring officer with their handgun and badge.

During the recognition, Stanforth said, “I had a police department that was in real trouble. And this man stepped forward with honor and integrity and cleaned it up.”

Following the remarks and presentations — including a colorful shirt bearing palm trees and motorcycles as a going-away present — the meeting attendees gave Cravens a standing ovation.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

New Wilmington Police patrol officer Logan Schroer, left, is sworn in Thursday by Mayor John Stanforth, right foreground.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_oath_c-1.jpgNew Wilmington Police patrol officer Logan Schroer, left, is sworn in Thursday by Mayor John Stanforth, right foreground. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Retiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left foreground, is the recipient of a colorful shirt from Mayor John Stanforth, right.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_flashy_shirt_c-1.jpgRetiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left foreground, is the recipient of a colorful shirt from Mayor John Stanforth, right. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

Retiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left, is presented his badge and service revolver to honor his service. In the immediate right foreground is Mayor John Stanforth, joined by Public Service/Safety Director Brian Shidaker.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/04/web1_badge_service_weapon_c-1.jpgRetiring Wilmington Police Chief Ron Cravens, left, is presented his badge and service revolver to honor his service. In the immediate right foreground is Mayor John Stanforth, joined by Public Service/Safety Director Brian Shidaker. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal
Retiring chief presented badge, service revolver

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]