Home Authors Posts by Denise Bly

Denise Bly

Denise Bly
Denise Bly has been a correspondent for the Weekly Villager for five years. She also does the public relations for Garrettsville SummerFest and the Garrettsville Area Chamber. In her spare time, she can be found at most local events, especially J.A. Garfield’s, high school and middle school athletic and musical events. When not out and about in the community, she can be found at home reading, sewing, cooking and spending time with her family.

Garrettsville – This past Sunday, over 70 contestants competed in a closed audition, hoping to keep their dreams alive of becoming the next Garrettsville Idol. This was one of the largest competitions they have had in recent years and the judges, Danny Deakins, Wendi Brown and Jackie Rinearson were given the difficult task of selecting those who would move on to the semifinals. After some lengthy deliberations, 51 contestants’ dreams of being named the next Garrettsville Idol were still alive.

There will be two incredible shows for the semifinals on May 18th. The first show will start at 4pm and will feature the youth and teens, while the second show will start at 6 pm and will feature the adult contestants. Each contestant will perform an entire song with music accompaniment before a live audience at James A. Garfield High School’s Iva Walker Auditorium. The winners of the semifinals will advance to the finals held Sunday June 29th during Summerfest.

Advancing to the semifinals in the adult division (top photo) are Sara Apthorpe, Aimee Beelen, Bryan Bier, Tiffany Bolton, Christy Brown, Raelyn DeBevits, Tammy Doumanian, Stephanie Ewell, Ryan Hecky, Jeremy Keeney, Rachael Maddox, Russ Martin, Devin Maze, Josh Owens, Linda Perrault, Sarah Jane Ralston, Jackson Ramsey, Kristina Rossi, Ambur Scales, Selina Slaughter, and Jason Stachowski.

Advancing to the semifinals in the adult division are Sara Apthorpe, Aimee Beelen, Bryan Bier, Tiffany Bolton, Christy Brown, Raelyn DeBevits, Tammy Doumanian, Stephanie Ewell, Ryan Hecky, Jeremy Keeney, Rachael Maddox, Russ Martin, Devin Maze, Josh Owens, Linda Perrault, Sarah Jane Ralston, Jackson Ramsey, Kristina Rossi, Ambur Scales, Selina Slaughter, and Jason Stachowski.


Moving on in the teen division (center photo) are Molli Betters, Elisha Bly, Anna Brown, Taylor Brown, Emilie Clites, Corin Colton, Hannah Cottrell, Lexy Dall,  Jay Davenport, Jainequa Davis, Megan Duderstadt, Caitlyn Hallden, Kaylee Martin, Kaylee Maynard, Jasmine Nevaraz, Rachael Pelter, Mariela Ruschak, Kirsten Sellers, Hannah Simpson, Julie Simpson, Taylor Shuman, Kyle Stern, Haylee Tasker, Cody Tetting, and Kiley Weis.

Moving on in the teen division are Molli Betters, Elisha Bly, Anna Brown, Taylor Brown, Emilie Clites, Corin Colton, Hannah Cottrell, Lexy Dall, Jay Davenport, Jainequa Davis, Megan Duderstadt, Caitlyn Hallden, Kaylee Martin, Kaylee Maynard, Jasmine Nevaraz, Rachael Pelter, Mariela Ruschak, Kirsten Sellers, Hannah Simpson, Julie Simpson, Taylor Shuman, Kyle Stern, Haylee Tasker, Cody Tetting, and Kiley Weis.

Youth singers are Lillian Anderson, Alee Blohm, Makenzie Fink, Maria Roderick and Olivia Sheer.

Youth singers are Lillian Anderson, Alee Blohm, Makenzie Fink, Maria Roderick and Olivia Sheer.

Tickets for the semifinals are $3 for each show and are available at Sky Lanes Bowling Alley.  You can also reserve tickets and pick them up at the auditorium on the day of the performance by calling Aaron King at 330 524-2646.


Garrettsville Summerfest is traditionally held on the fourth full weekend of June at the intersection of State Routes 88 and 82 in downtown historic Garrettsville. For more information on the event visit the website, www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com 


Garrettsville Idol is brought to you by  The Middlefield Banking Company

Nelson Twp. – On Thursday, April 10, 2014 the Portage County Drug Task Force (PCDTF) visited the Nelson Community House for an educational forum on drug abuse in the region. Trustee Joe Leonard opened the forum and thanked folks for coming. He also explained why they were hosting the PCDTF. Leonard said, many of the area residents had requested that the township do an educational forum on the rising drug issues in the region, which is why Leonard invited Larry Limbert from the PCDTF to speak on the issue.

Lyndhurst – Last year the Manolio family, who had been creating the mosaic art pieces from real egg shells in their front yard for 55 years, announced it would be the last year they would do it. The unexpected death of Ron Manolio, in the fall of 2012, made the 2013 display a tribute to the creator Ron Manolio, make the end of an era; at least it was for the Manolio family. 

Windham  Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday April 3, 2014 with all trustees in attendance, along with the fiscal officer, seven residents and two guests.

The first item on the agenda after approving March’s expenditures and the minutes, was roads. The Road Supervisor Brian Miller reported that the roads held up well during the harsh winter but there was still some work to be done. Werger Road and Horn Road have the usual problems that they will continue to work on.  Brian Miller said he received a suggestion that the township consider filling in the cracks on Bryant Road early rather than later to prevent them from getting larger. The trustees took the suggestion under advisement.  Dann Timmons said they had yet to hear back from Dale Soinski’s lawyer on the cul-de-sac, but expect to see some paperwork on the issue soon. Trustee Rich Gano asked what roads they would consider chipping and sealing this year. Timmons said they will evaluate the roads as soon the weather breaks. 

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Sports Boosters held the first ever “Love the Dress” prom dress sale at the high school on Sunday April 6, 2014. The sports boosters were able to collect new and nearly new dresses and then resold them at a fraction of the price they originally sold for, making prom more affordable for many. All the dresses were in a variety of colors and sizes with prices starting at $5 but were no higher than $50.

Friends of Melana (FOM) will hold their Fourth Annual Memorial 5k and 1 mile run/walk at Garrettsville Summerfest, Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 9am. Proceeds from the event are used to fund research for kid’s cancer specifically for Gliomas. Participants are asked to register at www.stopkidscancer.org and click on events. The cost is $25 per runner and $15 for the fun run/walk.

Windham – Hope springs a new with Windham Community in Action’s (CIA) Community Garden of Hope. This past Saturday, Windham CIA held a ground breaking for their community garden that they will plant when the weather breaks.  Prior to the ground breaking ceremony, they held a name the garden contest and Victoria Showalter won the contest with the name, Community Garden of Hope. The new garden will be located just north of the Cortland Bank on Maple Grove Road.

windham-community-gardenThere are two parcels of land they will use for the garden, one is owned by the Village of Windham and the other is owned by Portage Woods.  Windham CIA has lease agreements with both entities at a very minimal cost.

The stage was set, approximately thirty people were waiting for the actual ceremony to begin when all of a sudden right before the scheduled start time the skies opened up and it poured. The rain did not dampen the spirit and the show went on, which included several speakers. Mary Lou from the county extension office and Portage County Master Gardeners talked about how gardening is beneficial to the community and the future of Windham. Bill Kot explained the process of composting and how it will be used in the garden. Paula Daniels explained how the schools will be involved in the garden and how beneficial the garden will be to the students as they learn about plant life. Julie Kelley, pastor of the Nazarene Church in Windham spoke on hope and how it is a gift, that it is intangible, invaluable and never ending. Hope is the beginning of the future.

Following the speeches, the first shovel was inserted into the ground only to hit roots. Following the ceremonial first shovels, the event was then moved to the fire station for refreshments.

This year, they plan to have approximately 10 raised bed, fruit tree, grape arbors, black berries bushes, and strawberry plants, with more items being added each year. They plan to have lighting, benches, a walking path and more, making the garden a place to reflect as well as help meet the nutritional needs of the community. A tentative design was drawn, however Matt Sorrick, Director of the Center for Science Education at Hiram College will assist with the layout and a new design to ensure the plants are getting the right sunlight etc for optimum growth and production.

Windham CIA wishes to thank the following donors Maruf Awad, Windham    Hardware, Windham Historical Society, Stoney’s Pizza, Cortland Banks, Roubic Law Offices, Randy & Brenda Slusher, Sharon & Larry Eye, Kenny & Freda Shearer, Miller Sand and Gravel, Little Tikes, Dollar general, Bob Cline, Andrea Hostetler, Michael Wallace, Cliff McGuire, Tom Hickman, The Village of Windham and Portage Woods for all their donations. They also want to thank the Windham Garden Club who has come on board to assist with the project. A special thanks to Rita Mullenax for her monetary donation to the project. Speaking of monetary donations, folks can make monetary donations at  Cortland Bank in Windham. Please make checks payable to Community in Action.


After nine months of planning and raising funds, the James A Garfield Marching Pride saw their vision come to fruition last week as they took Disney by storm. On Saturday March 22, 2014 they began loading the buses with 73 instruments 73  marching band uniforms, 73 shakos, pairs of shoes, gloves spats, seven flag line flags, Marching Pride banner, two rifles, and honor guard flags. Next, came the luggage for 73 members, plus one director and 11 chaperones, all packed under the bus. It was like a life-size version of Tetris, fitting all the equipment in but they did it and did it well.   The buses were finally loaded and they were off to the “Happiest Place on Earth”, aka Disney.

Garrettsville – Can you sing? Do you like to be on stage performing before others? Are you available April 13th, May 18th and June 29, 2014?  If your answer is yes to all of the above, you need to consider auditioning for this years Garrettsville Idol. Garrettsville Summerfest announces the audition dates for this year’s Garrettsville Idol, the grand finale event that closes out the Summerfest Festival every year on the fourth weekend in June. Adults will compete for a $1000 cash prize awarded to the winner at the finals held during Summerfest, while the youth and teens will each compete for $500.  

Windham Twp. – Eight residents were in attendance at the Windham Township Trustees meeting on March 6, 2014 to see how the township conducts its business.

The meeting was called to order by the Chairman Dann Timmons. The trustees approved the minutes and the financial report before moving on to discuss the judge’s decision on granting Mr. Dale Soinski’s petition to have the trustees vacate an unused portion of Frazier Road. The trustees are disappointed with the judge’s decision and claim the ruling is a bit ambiguous, but voted 2-0-1 (Timmons yes, Rich Gano yes, Miller abstained) not to pursue an appeal. The residents in attendance also felt it was unwise to spend any more money on the issue and agreed with their decision.   

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield (JAG) Band has once again made the community proud by earning a superior rating last weekend at the Ohio Music Educators Association’s (OMEA) Northeast Regional Band and Choir Adjudicated Event held at Revere High School and advancing them to the State competition held in April.

The band performed “Gallant Marines”, by Karl King, “Kentucky 1800” by Clare Grundman and “Three Ayers from Gloucester” by Hugh Stuart. They performed before a live audience as well as the judges. Following their on stage performance, they retreated to a private room for the sight reading portion of the competition. The students were given a piece of music, and a few minutes to look it over, and then were expected to play the piece. When the performance was completed, the band was awarded a “1” which is a superior rating.  The band’s superior rating at districts advances them to state competition in April; once again making the district proud.

The band is under the direction of Theo Cebulla, assisted by Joe Gaither.


Windham – The Windham Board of Education (BOE) meeting was held on February 27, 2014 with all board members in attendance. Darryl McGuire, president of the BOE called the meeting to order. Melissa Roubic reported that Maplewood will add an animal science program to the career center.  Dawn Kilgore gave an update on Ohio House Bill 416, which is a bill that will add extra calamity days for Ohio schools for this school year only. Currently it has passed the Senate but has stalled in the Ohio House.  The sticking point appears to be the number of days being added, the senate wants to add four days while the house want to add only two. 

Windham Twp. – While many townships, cities and municipalities are struggling to get road salt, Windham Township seems to have dodged that bullet for now. According to Road Supervisor Brian Miller they are currently doing all right with their salt supply after securing a delivery from the county engineer earlier in the year. For now they are holding their own so to speak with their salt supply. In other road news, the township workers have done a great job on keeping the roads clear and even found some time to do the sidewalks so the students could safely walk to school. Trustee Rich Gano looked at their secondary broken salt spreader and tightened up the chain. It seems to be working now. Gano suggested they consider selling it since they only use one anyway. No decision was made on the spreader.

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly- scheduled meeting on January 27, 2014 with all council members present, along with fiscal officer Lloyd Billman, and solicitor Tom Reitz.

Council approved the minutes from the December 17, 2013 meeting and the minutes from the January 7, 2014 organizational meeting. They also approved the financial report, the dispatcher’s report for the month of December. 

Windham – The Windham Board of Education (BOE) met for their regularly scheduled meeting at Katherine Thomas Elementary School Thursday, January 23, 2014. All BOE members were in attendance along with Treasurer Samantha Pochedly. Superintendent Gregg Isler was excused from the meeting to coach the girl’s basketball game scheduled that evening.

Windham Twp. – Windham township trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all trustees in attendance, along with the fiscal officer. Chairman of the Board Brian Miller called the meeting to order. The trustees approved the minutes from November’s meeting and the expenditures.  After a brief discussion, the trustee agreed to raise the insurance reimbursement from $6500 a year to $7500 a year as the maximum reimbursement.

Windham – Folks flocked to the streets and braved the bitter cold Sunday night to watch the first Winter Lights Parade sponsored by Community in Action for Windham (CIAFW). The event was held in conjunction with the Windham Community Church Fellowship Tree Lighting in the gazebo on the township green.

Windham -  Windham Village Council  met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with one board member delayed, by the weather; otherwise all other members were present. The meeting was called to order and council approved the minutes, expenditures, and the fire and police dispatcher’s report.

Mayor Rob Donham reported that the asbestos report was done on the 13 properties the village is planning to demolish through the Move Ohio Forward Program. The buildings are expected to be down by the end of the year.

The Community in Action for Windham has been very busy since their inception, earlier this fall. The group was started with an idea to serve the community of Windham and its people.  This is being accomplished by helping those folks in need and to bring the community together as a whole, by having events for families, individuals and the youth. In doing this, they plan to work along with other organizations, groups, churches, clubs, schools and businesses to make this the best community that they can. They are very busy achieving their goal.  Although they are the new kids on the block, so to speak, they have been making some noise and getting a lot of things accomplished, while many are just contemplating getting things done. 

Shalersville - The Mantua-Shalersville Area Chamber met for their monthly meeting at the Shalersville Town Hall last Wednesday November 20, 2013. President Christine Pittsinger called the meeting to order.  After brief introductions were made, the guest speaker, Peter Young from Benefits 1 was introduced. Mr. Young talked about the up and coming changes to workers compensation and other insurance benefits available to the business community. He discussed discounts that will begin next year for those businesses that use random drug testing as a preventative measure along with other insurance changes.


Windham - Windham Village Council called a special meeting for Tuesday November 12, 2013 at 6pm to finalize the financing of the new building and property they are purchasing at 9083 North Main Street Windham, Ohio.  That being said, the meeting did not start until after 7pm because they did not have a quorum and they decided to hold committee meetings first.

Windham – On October 26, 2013 the Bombers Junior Varsity Youth League Football Team was playing in the game of their young lives.  The team assembled at the Ed Liddle Field in Windham in front of a packed crowd and was ready to play the “Super Bowl” Game of the Portage Trail Conference Youth League. The game was scheduled to be played under the lights at dusk.

Windham - It was a “Make a Difference Day” like no other in Windham, this past Saturday. It was a cold, blustery fall day, but that did not deter 200-plus folks from coming out to express their love and appreciation for Maruf Awad, owner of the local Sparkle Market in Windham. Instead of doing something specific for the community as a whole, they decided it was time to pay it forward to one of their own.

Nelson Twp – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the Community House on October 16, 2013 with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance. A representative from the Outspoken Wheelman Bike Club was in attendance and thanked the trustees for allowing the club to use the township garage for the North East Ohio Century Bike Ride held in September. He also presented a contract for use of the facility next year as well. The trustees will look over the contract and consider his request. A few residents and a trustee are uncomfortable with renting out the service garage since they really do not have a policy on rental use of that facility. They were also concerned about the safety of those using the facility, along with liability and the inability to secure township equipment and other items stored in the garage.

Windham Twp – The Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday October 3, 2013 with all trustees and fiscal officer present. Chairman of the Board Brian Miller called the meeting to order. The trustees approved the minutes from the previous meeting and the expenditures. Trustee Dann Timmons announced that Dale Soinski was appealing the county commissioner’s decision on not to vacate the unused portion of Frazier Road. They have set a date for pretrial on October 10, 2013 at 1pm. in Judge John Enlow’s court room.

Garfield Boys Soccer Team has dominated their opponents all season and the past two  weeks were no different. The boys have kept their winning streak going by defeating Streetsboro 8-0. The group played as a team, with the scoring being spread out. Four players managed to score goals for the G-Men. They were Ante Dejanovic, who scored four goals and had one assist, Travis Gorby scored two and had two assists, Noah Reider scored one goal and had three assists and Kyle Heim with a goal. Mason Maddox also had one assist that helped the G-Men chalk up another victory.

The G-Men took on Ravenna later in the week and defeated them as well with a score of 3-1. Scoring goals for the G-Men were Ante Dejanovic two and Travis Gorby one. They were assisted by Noah Reider, Mason Maddox and Sean Tannehill.

On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, the boys traveled to Woodridge and kept their streak alive, by winning 2-1 over the Bulldogs.  Goals were scored by Ante Dejanovic and Noah Reider. Reider was also credited with an assist.  Garfield Goal Keeper Nick Crawford had eight saves on the day

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, the boys were on the road again and traveled to Southeast High School. The game was a white-knuckle game as both teams fought hard and in the end, the G-Men took a 1-0 lead on an Isaac Cumberledge goal. This was the only goal of the game, giving the G-Men the win and keeping the streak alive. The G-Men have a 9-0 record and are 5-0 in the Portage Trail Conference (PTC).

The Lady G-Men played host to Streetsboro and were not gracious hosts, as the Lady G-Men held Streetsboro to zero goals. Garfield’s Goal Keeper Taylor Brown had seven saves. The Lady G-Men took 11 shots at the goal, with goals scored by Erin Shea and Meghan Kenesky. Abby Woolard was credited with the assists.

The Lady G-Men also played host to the Ravenna Ravens and were far more accomodating with Ravenna than they were with Streetsboro. Ravenna defeated the Lady G-Men by a score 3-1. The only goal scored was by Alicia Witte with Megan Kenesky assisting. The Lady G-Men goal keepers, Taylor Brown saved four and Emma Harvey was credited with two saves. Ravenna took eight shots on the goal, while Garfield only had six.

The Lady G-Men also travelled to Woodridge on Tuesday September 10th and suffered a 3-1 loss to the Bulldogs. Madison Geddes scored the only goal for the Lady G-Men. Garfield had only four shots on the goal and Goal Keeper Taylor Brown had two saves.

On September 12th, the Lady G-Men had another rough game as they traveled to Southeast to face the Lady Pirates. In the end, the Lady Pirates finished on top, 2-0, giving the Lady G-Men their third straight loss. The Lady G-Men have an over all record of 4-5 and 2-3 in the PTC.

The next game will be September 26, 2013 at Streetsboro. The boys and girls rotate who has the first game. The boys will play at 5pm on Thursday and the girls play at 7 pm.


Garrettsville – Last Saturday, the 900 Coalition presented their second Tools of the Trades. The event was held in the side parking lot of Sky Plaza IGA. It offered many vehicles and large equipment used everyday in various trades. The Tools of the Trades gave one a chance to get an up close view of the vehicles and some of them they could even get their hands on. 

Burton – Geauga County Fair Band celebrates their 75th year as they perform at the 191st Great Geauga County Fair (GGCF) this Labor Day Weekend.  The band is the only all-volunteer fair band in Ohio and was organized by Cliff Rossiter after the 1936 fair. They first performed at the 1938 Great Geauga County Fair, under the direction of Azro Cheney and have performed at every fair since that time.


Troy Twp. – This past weekend Troy Township held its  Annual Homecoming Celebration behind the community center off  State Route 422, near the intersection of State Route 700. They had many things one would expect to find at an old fashioned homecoming celebration. Horseshoe tournaments, magic show, Civil War encampment,  pick-up truck pulls, a parade, live music, pet show, crafts, food, cloggers, Jungle Terry and his menagerie and so much more. The event was a time to slow down, kick back and enjoy a relaxing weekend getting reacquainted with one’s neighbors and community.
The event kicked-off Friday morning with a pancake breakfast followed by crowning of a queen later in the evening, to preside over the festivities. They also held a Mrs. Troy Contest and a Mr. Best Legs Contest. The event ran all weekend with a parade, live music and a hot air balloon launch.
On display in the community house was the Troy Museum which held the history of the township and the homecoming celebrations of yesteryear. When one stepped into the history museum they were greeted by a committee member who was well informed on the event’s history, which was quite interesting.  I discovered that although the township was established in 1811, historians believe the homecoming wasn’t started until 1911. Historians believe the posters that advertised the homecoming celebrations like the 150th Troy Homecoming were actually referring to the year the township was settled, not the actual homecoming celebration.   The first homecoming in 1911 was actually a Troy School Reunion. Sometime later it was referred to as the Troy Homecoming and School Reunion, then finally Troy Homecoming as we know it today.


Windham – WFVD Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting at the fire station on August 8, 2013 with two members having an excused absence. Dann Timmons filled in as chairman since the chairman and vice chairman were not in attendance.

Nelson Twp. – Often when we think of wineries we think of a nice glass of wine, a plate of cheese and crackers, and some relaxing music; we usually do not add dogs to the mix, however, this past Saturday was Pug Day at the winery which brought out pugs and all sorts of other breeds as well. Pugs were the featured dog, but all friendly dogs were welcome to attend the party.  There were pugs of all sizes and ages, from fawn -colored to the richest black, all eager to be petted and played with and spend the day with their newly acquired doggie friends. Nelson resident, Susan Guy had her Great Danes there too, who were just aching for anyone to pay attention to them as well, which many folks obliged, self included.

Windham -  The Brick by Brick Scholarship Committee will hold their annual fundraiser dinner this Saturday August 10, 2013 at Windham High School. Each year, the committee searches for the just the right person or group to honor at the dinner. The past honorees have been authors, local business people, Windham graduates who were/are superintendents, corporate clothing executive, musician, coaches, distinguished athletic teams, athletic directors, state troopers and more.  This year they have chosen to honor the district’s four baseball teams that went to the final four of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) State Tournaments. The teams are from the years 1961, 2001, 2002, 2006.

Middlefield – When one thinks of a Summerfest they think of blue skies, a balmy 80°, food, live entertainment and just good ole fun, and that was just what the committee for Middlefield Summerfest had in mind when they planned the event. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans. Cloudy skies blanketed the area Saturday, along with on and off showers throughout the day, but the soggy weather didn’t put a damper on Middlefield Summerfest.  It went off without a hitch under a sea of umbrellas.

Nelson Twp. -  The Nelson Township trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm at the community house. Chairman of the Board Tom Matota called the meeting to order and asked if anyone would like to address the trustees with any issues.
Nelson resident, Ted Lysiak introduced himself, gave a brief biography and announced that he is the new superintendent of J. A. Garfield Schools. He also stressed that he has an open door policy and looks forward to the school year.

Windham – Excitement filled the air as youngsters and their families converged on the old Katherine Thomas site Saturday, to see the Kelly-Miller Circus, an event that is becoming an annual must–do event for area residents.
This year, the Kelly- Miller Circus is celebrating its 75th  Anniversary and in honor of the occasion, they brought all of the hoopla and fanfare one would expect to see at an anniversary party at the circus, including a “cake” and confetti.