North Central EMS to house own medical helicopter

Cary Ashby • Jun 7, 2017 at 12:00 PM

North Central EMS announced Tuesday it will have its own medical helicopter housed at the Milan station starting about Aug. 31.

Executive director Don Ballah shared the news with Norwalk city council during Tuesday’s regular meeting while providing the annual North Central report.

“It will be branded as a North Central EMS helicopter. … It won’t be attached to any major hospital,” said Ballah, who added that means patients will be transported to the facilities where they want to go.

Mercy LifeFlight pulled its helicopter from the Milan station Oct. 30 for an unknown reason. Ballah said more details about the new situation will follow.

From Jan. 1 through May 31, North Central received 984 requests for service in Norwalk and had an average response time of 5 1/2 minutes, Ballah told council.

In other action Tuesday, council adopted a resolution for the Huron County auditor’s office to certify the current tax value and the amount of money generated by a 0.9-mill renewal levy, which provides and maintains the Norwalk Fire Department. There was no discussion. Currently, the tax brings in a 1976 value. 

Also, council passed a resolution for the city to advertise and receive bids for the construction of the new fire station. The Whittlesey Avenue facility is expected to cost slightly less than $4.1 million. As part of the resolution, which passed without any discussion, city officials can authorize a contract after the bidding process.

In addition during Tuesday’s meeting, representatives of FI Community Housing Inc. requested council consider supporting the lease or purchase of building used as a gathering space for sober living.

“It’s a resource center run by peer supporters,” said Norwalk resident Michael Pack, a national recovery advocate. “It’s created by people in long-term recovery to give back to those who are seeking recovery.”

Pack said the proposed facility would be similar to the Sandusky Artisans Recovery Community Center, which he describes as “a beacon for recovery in Sandusky.” 

“It’s a place for kids to come and play,” Pack said and also a place with recovery resources and can host dances and other functions. 

James Matthews, most recently of Philadelphia who moved to Ohio recently, plans to run the Norwalk center with Antonio Lopez. Matthews said drug defendants and addicts need a safe place after being released from jail or prison and was shocked to learn there was no such resource in Huron County.

“I actually built my foundation through sober living,” he also told council members. “I’m here to give back. … It’s an addict reaching the heart of another addict.”

Council took no action after the presentation.

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