MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Commissioners looked both toward the future and into the past with a pair of meetings. For a glimpse into the future, Hilary Patterson met with the board of commissioners Thursday afternoon to introduce herself. Patterson is the new director of operations for the Mid-Ohio Transit Authority, and has been on the job since Jan. 4.
Board president Robert Wise started the meeting off by noting that Commissioner Teresa Bemiller, who is on the board which hired Patterson, has been giving her fellow commissioners good reports about the new MOTA director.
“I love my job,” the buoyant Patterson said. “It’s been busy, but I like that.” She said that she has been doing some observing and evaluating, and already has some ideas for saving money. Wise was pleased.
“We needed a professional to jump in there and do some sorting,” he said.
Patterson has 20 years of governmental accounting experience behind her and plans on reviewing all bills, examining accounts with vendors, and restarting MOTA’s advertising boards.
“Our hopes and goals are to expand business and keep people mobile in Knox County,” Patterson said. “This is a necessity.”
The commissioners took a glance backward earlier in the day. Knox County Historical Society museum director Jim Gibson met with the commissioners for his annual report Thursday morning. He detailed highlights of a busy year, including several monthly programs including ones about Norman Rockwell, Abraham Lincoln’s Kenyon connections, the Lamb Glass Co. and more.
Gibson talked about presentations at the museum throughout the year, including an exhibition of the works of the late Knox County artist Vernon Johnson. Gibson said the museum is working with Johnson’s daughter Janis, who is gathering information for a book about her father. Another popular event coordinated by the museum was the open house tour of the grounds of Wolf Pen Spring, a historical home located in eastern Knox County, near the Coshocton County line.
Gibson also served on the advisory board of a demonstration project at the Ohio Historical Society which will begin to digitize their collection of historic Ohio newspapers, now on microfilm. Gibson was pleased to announce that one of the first ones planned for scanning are the 1910-1922 microfilms of the Democratic Banner, one of the two newspapers that merged to form the Mount Vernon News.
Also cited in the report were fire code improvements in the museum and refurbishment of the Dan Emmett Birthplace Home. Interesting donations to the museum in 2009 included a large religious painting by the Rev. Ernest Ollis, a sorting table with 108 drawers from the old Mount Vernon Republican News office, a cigar showcase from Heckler’s Drug Store, and more.
Gibson said that the Knox County Historical Society is appreciative of the support given over the past 10 years by the county commissioners. He added that in awareness of the current financial situation, the society has cut its budget back. Gibson expressed hope that when the financial situation improves, renewed support will be considered for the historical society.
The commissioners said it definitely would be.