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Heather Braddock

Heather Braddock
Heather Braddock is the reporter for the cities of Aurora and Streetsboro. She hails from Bedford, where she and her husband Michael (who is also her photographer) live. A Kent State University graduate of 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Adolescent and Young Adult education for Integrated Language Arts, Heather is a high school English, media studies and communication teacher at Akron Digital Academy. She is pursuing her Masters in English for Teachers with a focus on journalism.


Aurora – The City of Aurora’s plan to purchase and restore a portion of the Aurora Golf Club and restore the 186-acre section, which includes over 8,000 feet of the Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River and 13 acres of wetlands, is moving forward. The property now belongs to the city and this fall, the city will issue their Request for Proposals pending the outcome of its case at the appeals commission. The city procured the property due to a $4.7 grant from the Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program (WRRSP).


Aurora – The City of Aurora hosted their 5th annual Bark Bone-anza Sunday, May 19th at Tails n’ Trails, the city’s dog park near Sunny Lake Park. The event is largely planned and run by Freedom Greyhound Rescue (FGR).

According to Colleen Martin, the Community Events Coordinator for Aurora’s Parks and Recreation Department, Bark Bone-anza started five years ago after the city opened the dog park. That was when Peggy Hilinski stepped forward.

Hilinski is the President of Freedom Greyhound Rescue. FGR is a non-profit organization that is run entirely by volunteers. They rescue greyhounds and place them into foster homes because they do not have a physical site to hold them in kennels. According to Hilinski, “We get our dogs from Florida and then place them here. Our intention is to get the dogs from the track retired. They’re race dogs, and some of them only last 18 months, others 5 years, and then they’re destroyed, so we find homes for them.”

She decided to plan events such as the Bark Bone-anza not only to help educate the community about FGR, but also to help other rescues. “We do this to raise awareness for all the local rescues, and we also held a pledge walk. Any pledges that we get are split amongst the groups that participate.”

According to the FGR website, the next event benefiting the group is the Dog Days of Summer car wash taking place at Waterway Carwash. One dollar of each carwash is to be donated to FGR. For more information, visit www.freedomgreyhoundrescue.org

Streetsboro – The City of Streetsboro hosted the Tough Towner competition on Saturday, April 20th. The four-mile course’s starting and finish lines were at Streetsboro City Park and included a section through school grounds. According to Matt Campana, owner of Corporate Motivation, which is the company that brought the race to Streetsboro, 191 competitors braved Saturday’s chilly temperatures to complete the course, including a mud bog, a stream to run through and walls to climb over.

Streetsboro – Streetsboro City Schools (SCSD) has been offered the opportunity to rebuild all of the district’s educational facilities. This opportunity comes from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC).

According to Streetsboro City Schools Superintendent Dr. Tim Calfee, the district will build a new high school on the east side of the single campus location and will include an auditorium. The current high school building will be renovated and have an addition built and will then house a 6-8th grade middle school. The 4-5th grade Henry Defer Intermediate School will remain as is and the existing PreK-1 building will be renovated and have an addition built so it can then accommodate Prek-3rd grade. The existing middle school will be kept for district use such as for the indoor sports facilities as well as Board of Education offices and meetings, but the existing 2-3 elementary school will not be used as a school building.


Streetsboro - The City of Streetsboro will host the Tough Towner competition on April 20th. It will start and finish at Streetsboro City Park and the 4-mile course, which will also travel throughout school grounds, will include 25 obstacles such as a mud bog as well as a wall for contestants to climb over. According to Streetsboro Parks and Recreation Director Greg Mytinger, the competition was brought to Streetsboro by Corporate Motivation, Inc.

Last November, Marty Drexler of Canton took second place at Slim and Jumbos in the Fourth Garrettsville Comedy Show competition, which was a fundraiser for the Garrettsville Curtains Up Theatre. He has competed at numerous local venues for stand-up comedy. On Wednesday, February 27th, he had the opportunity to take his material to an all-new level when he competed in the final round of The View’s competition for America’s Funniest Teacher.

Aurora -  Aurora Memorial Library partnered with the Aurora Historical Society to hold a quilt code scavenger hunt this week. The quilt codes are from the Underground Railroad and Civil War era clues that helped escaped slaves reach freedom.


Streetsboro – The City of Streetsboro has plans to update its new park, which was recently named Thomas Heritage Park via a vote by the residents last November. The name comes from Osman Thomas, who operated the property as a farm in the 1920s.

According to Mayor Glenn Broska, the land was actually acquired as the result of a lawsuit that had been filed against the city a couple of years ago, but they have recently begun updating the property to turn this parcel of land, which offers a number of ponds, including a fishing pond and a beaver pond, into a nature park and recreation haven for residents.

Auburn Twp. – Diane and Tom Jones always dreamed of owning horses. As they both grew up in Maple Heights, their dream did not come true until later in life. Now, they are the proud owners of a horse farm that they call The Wind in the Woods.


Portage County – The Portage County Animal Protective League is holding a holiday adoption promotion this month. It started Tuesday, December 11th and continues through the end of the month.


Portage County – The Portage County Animal Protective League held their second Paws to Taste fundraising event Saturday, December 1st at The Fairways at Twin Lakes. The event offered heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer tasting as well as a silent auction.


Streetsboro – A conversation between friends on Facebook transformed into a whole community pulling together to help fellow Americans who have been suffering these past few weeks. On Sunday, November 11th, the community of Streetsboro held a benefit dinner at Stringz and Wingz to gather donations for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. In addition to the dinner, donations were collected via drop-off and pick-up through Friday the 16th. This past Saturday, the items were loaded onto a semi and driven to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY, with four community members following behind to coordinate the delivery. The fundraiser has earned $4,100 plus supplies to be used in the effort to help the victims.

Aurora – The Aurora Historical Society held an Antiques Appraisal Fair Saturday, October 13th at the library gallery and Aurora Historical Society Museum.
According to Diane Oberle, who is a chairperson at the historical society, the antique dealers’ specialties included, but were by no means limited to, coins, books, paintings, figurines and watches. “Our appraisers all volunteered their time. Their entire day has been devoted to us.”


Aurora – Saturday, September 22nd at 7pm, Aurora High School will behosted Thunder Over Aurora for the fourth year in a row. Thunder Over Aurora is an extended half-time show held at the high school’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Thunder Over Aurora was started in 2009 in response to the public’s enjoyment of the high school marching band’s show. According to the Aurora Band Boosters Board Vice President, Chris Meyer, the district wanted to “showcase the instrumental music programs at Aurora and surrounding communities,” and the performances allows spectators to experience the music from a “broad spectrum of bands from various schools.” A major factor in being able to host this event, Meyer said, was the installation of artificial turf at the stadium back in 2009.
Audience members can expect to hear six separate performance; the marching bands from Euclid, Notre Dame Cathedral Latin, James A. Garfield, Lakewood, and the Riverside Regiment are scheduled to participate, and Aurora’s own marching band will play the closing performance for the evening. In all, nearly 750 performers are anticipated.
Meyer said, “the presentation of the show continues to be a combined effort between Aurora’s administration, Instrumental Music Department, Athletic Department, Band Boosters, and many, many parent volunteers.” The show, which functions as a fundraiser for the Aurora Band Boosters, has been the most profitable fundraising event, according to Lindsay Draime, the Aurora City Schools Director of Bands. “This event has been a wonderful project… We invite the community to attend this event to show support for these wonderful band programs and music in the schools.”


In recent years, for the first time since 1850 when unregulated hunting and deforestation changed the ecology of the region, Ohioans have been spotting a large animal lumbering through the area with some frequency: the American black bear.

Although a few rare reports persisted throughout the years since the mid-1800’s, the American black bear has largely been considered extirpated, or rooted out, from Ohio. Earlier this year, however, reports came in about a bear sighting in Twinsburg. According to Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) wildlife research technician for district three, Laurie Graber, this one bear is far from an isolated event. District three in the ODNR Division of Wildlife covers the counties in Northeast Ohio, which include Portage, Summit and Geauga counties.

Photo: Heather Braddock

Ravenna – The Coleman Adult Day Services in Ravenna provides care and services for the elderly; services such nursing, personal care assistance, meals,  therapeutic and recreational activities. Four years ago, they faced budget cuts. These cuts would have limited the services they could provide for their patients. For the family members of one Coleman client, this budget cut was a call to action. With the help of their mothers and aunts, the teenage grandchildren of Steve and Rosemarie Mandalari decided they would create a charity for Coleman in their grandparents’ honor, and Kids 4 Coleman began.

Photo: Michael Braddock

Aurora – Aurora Farms Premium Outlets teamed up with the City of Aurora to hold Truck Day Saturday, August 4th. From 10-2, families strolled around Aurora Farms, with the children weaving between and climbing on trucks of all sorts. Some even mischievously tugged the air horn cables to unleash a blast that caused the passersby to jump. 

Portage APL held it’s 5th annual Paws for Golf charity outing at Aurora Golf Club Saturday, August 4th. In front of the main entrance, a fleet of golf carts awaited drivers, with a sign hung amongst them proclaiming: “Portage APL Thanks You!”

Aurora – The City of Aurora Parks and Recreation Department has  teamed up with local businesses to provide a free concert every other Wednesday this summer. From 7-9 p.m., family-oriented music will be played by live bands out of the Breezy Point Park gazebo, with plenty of free parking located in the shopping center parking lot off of W. Garfield Road.