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Estelle R. Brown

Estelle R. Brown
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Estelle R. Brown is a freelance writer who lives in Garrettsville with her family. She has written and taken photos for newspapers, magazines and e-zines for the past 25 years. She also enjoys working on public relations projects, including web content, newsletters, posters, brochures, press releases, and other creative endeavors. She enjoys writing compelling stories about her community as a contributing reporter for the Villager.

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Perhaps you’ve heard it said recently that technology is today’s pencil. That’s quite evident at James A. Garfield local schools this year, where a $5 Million Straight A Grant is providing every student in grades 7-12 with an HP Chromebook.

While parents should pick up their child’s laptop computer before the first day of school on August 26, they still have a traditional list of school supplies to purchase, as well. It’s tempting to think pencils and paper have gone the way of the dinosaur by now, but here’s a look at the seventh grade supply list:

  • 1 Large Box of Tissues (given to 7th period teacher)
  • Loose Leaf Paper
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Colored Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • 2 pack black Sharpie Markers
  • Spiral Bound Notebooks (2-3 subject and 3-1 subject)
  • 4 – 2 in. binders
  • 5 tab dividers (4 packs)
  • Folders
  • 3X5 Index cards
  • Ruler with inches and centimeters
  • Earbuds or headphones

With the exception of earbuds or headphones, these items have stood the test of time over the generations. And shopping for them still stands as a demarcation between the fun of summer and the anticipation of a new school year.

However, the way we shop for back-to-school supplies has changed. In the name of convenience and speed, online spending for school supplies is outpacing in-store spending, growing 16% and reaching $27 billion in online sales over a three-year period. Combined sales for Back-to-School and Back-to-College readiness is estimated to hit $72.5 billion US dollars this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The Federation expects families to spend $670 on average during the back-to-school season, up 5% over last year, on supplies, clothes and electronics.

Multiple studies of consumers have confirmed that free shipping provides the most powerful incentive to convert consumers to online shopping. Just beware of free shipping offers tied to purchase thresholds. These are a tried-and-true way to lure shoppers into spending more than they intended.

According to USA Today, retailers like Staples, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, Sears and Kmart top the list for offering cheap prices and price-matching guarantees to customers in an effort to stay relevant and competitive over the back-to-school shopping season.

While August is crunch time for back-to-school shopping, peak shopping days for 2014 will likely be Wednesday, August 27 and Thursday, August 28, when summer clearance and back-to-school promotions converge. But the back-to school shopping season lasts through Labor Day (Monday, September 1), which retailers consider the Black Friday of the third quarter.

Be a smart shopper. If you can hold out for major purchases until Labor Day, you may get your best deals a couple weeks after class has already begun.

 

missles-in-portage-county

Ravenna - Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center (Ohio Army National Guard) is one of four new sites being considered by Congress as an “East Coast” national missile defense location. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) hosted an informational open house for the public at Ravenna High School gymnasium on August 5, with representatives posted by various placards to answer questions from the public. An environmental impact statement is also being prepared for presentation to Congress.

If the local site is selected, ground-based interceptor missiles would be transported along public roads from Akron-Canton Regional Airport or Youngstown Air Reserve Station to Camp Ravenna. Lieutenant Colonel Chris Snipes said the 55-foot-long, 22-27-ton solid propellant missiles would be housed in 20 underground interceptor silos (missile defense complex), with possible future expansion of up to 60 such silos housed under Camp Ravenna’s 22,000 acres. Their range would be up to 10,000 kilometers to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile.

During the public meeting, if a civilian wanted their concerns expressed in a formal report to Congress, they could fill out a survey form or speak to a court reporter stationed in a corner of the gym. People opposed to the missile interceptor site being located at Camp Ravenna taped paper bulls-eye symbols to their shirts, saying that Portage County is too densely populated for such a purpose, property values would plummet, and the community would become an attack target if the missile site were located here. They also voiced concerns that the large number of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) waste injection wells in Ohio makes the state more prone to seismic activity, which may not be a stable environment for ground-based missiles.

The other federally-owned locations under consideration include Fort Custer Army National Guard Base in Michigan, SERE East Navy Base in Maine, and Fort Drum Army Installation on New York. Thirty ground-based interceptor missiles currently stand at the ready for homeland defense from Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg AFB in California. Aegis warships are equipped to deploy sea-based interceptor missiles.

In what was termed by MDA representative Ken Anderson as a “capabilities race” rather than an arms race, these additional East Coast sites are being submitted to Congress for consideration in order to bolster the homeland’s capacity to defend itself “against threats from nations such as North Korea and Iran.”

According to an MDA Fact Sheet, “One of the greatest threats facing the world today is the increasing proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.”

The estimated $1-$5 billion proposed Ballistic Missile Defense System at Camp Ravenna would “engage and destroy limited intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats in space,” intercepting and destroying them before they reach their intended targets. In doing so, the MDA says, “The ultimate goal of missile defense is to convince aggressors that ballistic missiles are not militarily useful or a worthy investment and place doubt in the minds of potential aggressors that a ballistic attack against the U.S. or its allies can succeed.”

Camp Ravenna — formerly the Ravenna Arsenal — was used by the Army during World War II, employing up to 18,000 people to manufacture bombs and projectiles. The site became a National Guard training center in 1971 and now is used to train troops for deployments. Proponents of the missile defense plan see it as an opportunity for Camp Ravenna to be fully utilized again, with the potential for economic benefits for Portage and Trumbull counties.

Of the four sites under deliberation, none is “preferred,” but all meet the criteria for consideration. The environmental impact statement for Camp Ravenna could take up to two years to complete, assessing potential environmental changes on land use, water resources, air quality, transportation, socioeconomics and other factors. The Department of Defense has not made decision to deploy or construct the CIS at this time. This proposal is considered a fact-finding mission in response to Congress’ request in December 2013 for this study to be conducted.

For more details, go to www.mda.mil. Members of the public can respond to this proposal through September 15. Email comments to MDA.CIS.EIS@BV.com, fax to (913) 458-1091 or mail a written letter to Black & Veatch Special Projects Corp., ATTN: MDA CIS EIS, 6601 College Blvd., Overland Park, KS  66211-1504.

 

Hiram - Starting out just ten years ago in 2004 with two full-time agents and two part-time assistants, Ohio Health Benefits, LLC  (OHB) in Hiram has more than doubled in size, filling their office space on Hayden Street. From health insurance issues and Medicare criteria  to navigating through the Affordable Care Act, OHB works to provide over 6,000 families, self-employed individuals, students, and retirees with affordable health insurance.

Fueled by his background in mechanical engineering, Auble and his team help translate the latest, often perplexing health care information into something his clients can easily understand. This is what really drives his business. “Since we are authorized to offer insurance from many carriers like AARP, Anthem, Medical Mutual, Summa, and more, my colleagues and I undergo constant training to stay apprised of the latest updates and developments in the healthcare arena.” Auble stated, “I really enjoy helping people by taking what most see as a complex, boring topic and explaining it to them in a friendly, understandable way. As a company, we strive to continue to grow and be the best in the industry as a regional authority on individual, family, health care reform and Medicare health insurance.”

In addition to running Ohio Health Benefits, Auble uses that same friendly and straightforward approach to help build businesses in his hometown. In addition to leasing out office space in the Hiram Professional Building, where OHB is located, he recently purchased the former Village Fire Hall. He’s currently in the process of transforming the space to become a cabinet showroom for Goodnight Kitchen & Bath, a company that was slated to open in Garrettsville prior to February’s fire. Hiram’s Mayor, Village Administration, and Police Chief have been very helpful in the process of bringing more businesses to Hiram, Auble shared.

For more information about OHB, visit ohiohealthbenefits.net.

 

peachesGarrettsville -  The peach crop throughout Ohio is the pits this summer, but that won’t put a dent in the annual Peach Social and Classic Car Cruise sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce. Cruise Night at the Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Fire Station (8035 Elm St.)  which  will proceed as planned, 5-8pm on Saturday, August 9 (Rain Date: August 10).

Mayor Rick Patrick envisioned the first peach social/car cruise about 15 years ago, and it has proven to draw the biggest crowds of the cruising season, year after year. He reports that “last year’s peach social proved to be incredibly popular, with over 50 homemade pies, 15 gallons of ice cream and a ton of delicious peaches served over the course of the evening. This year we are anticipating an even larger turnout and expect to go through at least 60 peach pies.”

While Chamber members typically supply all the homemade pies for the social, reinforcements from the community are being sought this time around. Please call Mayor Patrick if you plan to contribute a pie. Peach pies can be dropped off at the GFN Fire Department at 4:30pm on Friday, August 9.

While Monroe’s Orchard on Pioneer Trail in Hiram traditionally supplies the event with their own peaches, they — like fruit growers throughout Ohio — have no peach crop this summer, due to sub-zero temperatures following an unseasonable thaw in January which killed off tree buds. However, Monroe’s is coming through with peaches from another orchard in eastern Pennsylvania which escaped the brutal cold of last winter.

Local grocer Sky Plaza IGA supplies the ice cream for the slices of pie and bowls of peaches served at the social. Anyone who would like to assist in the peeling and cutting of fresh peaches on Friday are welcome to Mayor Patrick’s home at 8174 South Park Street, starting at 6pm August 8.

Center Stage Band will lend to the atmosphere with their range of live feel-good tunes from rock-n-roll and Top 40 hits, to Motown, R&B, oldies, and beach music. Enjoy the tunes as you savor the peaches, visit your neighbors, meet new friends and check out 200 or so classic and collectible cars on display.

Winter may have killed off the local peach crop, but here’s a little slice of summer we can sink our teeth into before the kids head back to school and autumn falls upon us.

 

Brendan and his Grandfather Larry uncovered a fossilized horn coral along the banks of Silver Creek in Garrettsville. The fossil dates back 299-419 million years!

Brendan and his Grandfather Larry uncovered a fossilized horn coral along the banks of Silver Creek in Garrettsville. The fossil dates back 299-419 million years!

Garrettsville – Summertime for a certain 9-year-old boy is an endless string of sun-filled days spent cooling off in Silver Creek, digging for buried treasures alongside his cousin and grandpa. A typical day along the creek bed turns up ancient brachiopod fossils, historic bricks from long-gone Garrettsville streets, or even desiccated cattle bones that could be mistaken as the skeletal remains of a dinosaur.

Until one fine day, as they were creek walking near Liberty Street and the water treatment plant. It was June 26. Grandpa Larry Beatty asked, “What’s this?” Grandson Brendan picked up the blackened, 2-inch, cone-shaped relic, convinced they’d found a dinosaur tooth.

They were initially convinced they’d found a dinosaur tooth.

They were initially convinced they’d found a dinosaur tooth.

There was only one way to find out. Mom Tara Bailey contacted Dale Gnidovec, Curator Orton Geological Museum at Ohio State University, asking if he could identify the relic by a photo.

The next morning, a reply from Gnidovec was in her email box, confirming that Brendan’s treasure was indeed an ancient fossil, estimated to be 299-419 million years old! It is a fossilized horn coral; once an upside-down jellyfish/sea anemone that lived in a cone-shaped shell. These creatures first appeared in the Ordovician Period around 450 million years ago and didn’t become extinct until the big Permo-Triassic extinction event 250 million years ago, according to Gnidovec.

Gnidovec added that most of the rocks in this area were formed during the Pennsylvanian Period, 323 to 299 million years ago (MYA), but some of the streams cut down into much older rocks, including those from the Devonian Period (419-359 MYA) and the Mississippian Period (359-323 MYA), so Brendan’s fossil may be anywhere between 299 to 419 million years old.

Community outreach identification services are available for treasure-hunters curious about their finds. If it’s an artifact  — something made by humans, such as an arrowhead — contact the Ohio Historical Society (http://www.oplin.org/point/index.html).

If it’s a rock, mineral, fossil or bone, Gnidovec is the scientist to contact (614-292-6896; gnidovec.1@osu.edu). You can arrange an appointment to bring it to the Orton Museum in Columbus for identification, or send photos via mail or email. Make sure the photos are in focus, show more than one side of the object, and include something for scale (a coin, ruler, etc.)

beattys-horn-coral-fossil-garrettsvilleHorn corals, colonial corals, snails, clams and brachiopods are among the most common fossils in the local area. At the time they were alive  — 380 million years ago during the Devonian Period — Ohio was under a warm tropical sea and was situated much closer to the equator. Today, Ohio lies 40 degrees north of the equator, but during the Devonian Period, Ohio was only about 20 degrees south of the equator, about where Australia is today.

It’s hard for Brendan to imagine that Garrettsville was once covered up by a warm and tropical ocean, and that Ohio was comparable to the Bahamas. But his imagination has been fired up by this recent find, and he’s hungry to unearth a dinosaur tooth next.

As he heads into fourth grade at James A. Garfield Elementary, Brendan is armed with a prime show-and-tell treasure that’s certain to inspire his fellow classmates to put down their electronic gadgets and head outside for an old-fashioned hunting expedition along Silver Creek.

 

scan0132-1Garrettsville - This village was settled 210 years ago, in early July 1804, by John Garrett of Delaware. On the occasion of Garrettsville’s Centennial Celebration, the history of early Garrettsville was written by S.M. Luther and published in SOUVENIR of Garrettsville ~ Centennial Home Coming. (Interesting to note it was published three years late in 1907!) Local businessman Christopher Perme discovered a copy of this relic on eBay, and has loaned it to the Villager in order to share these little-known facts about our hometown…

1) When Garrett founded Garrettsville in 1804, it was part of 300 acres of Nelson Township he bought for a grand total of $1,313. The Garrett family was accompanied the Dyson family and two slave girls (aged 6 and 10) who earned their freedom (by law) when they turned 18.

2)Garrettsville is located in territory that was originally Trumbull County. Portage was the third county formed from it in 1808 (which was the same year Hiram Township was formed. In 1817, Hiram Township was divided into the six townships of Mantua, Freedom, Windham, Nelson, Shalersville and Hiram.)

3)  “Following their arrival, they were encamped for several weeks where the pavement of Main Street now is, and busied themselves erecting cabins. The newcomers seemed to have energies equal to the exigencies of the conditions that faced them. They were located in the midst of an undisturbed forest, with few hands to do the work, yet early in the following year they had built a dam across Silver Creek and had a saw mill in operation, soon followed by a grist mill.”

4)  Abraham Dyson was a blacksmith who “is said to have had considerable patronage by the Indians in repairing firearms. The natives and settlers at times had altercations, but in general their policy seemed to be that of tolerance up to the war of 1812, after which an Indian was rarely seen.”

5)  John Garrett died two years after arriving here at the age of 46. He was preceded in death in 1805 by an infant son Josiah, who was the first white person to be buried here. His widow, Eleanor, became known as Mother Garrett. “A cheerful welcome was extended to all newcomers and often the hospitalities of her home. Her customary address on receiving new settlers was, “I welcome you to my country.”

6) Mason Tilden settled in Hiram in 1802, at which time he located a stream he christened Silver Creek, which runs through Garrettsville.

7)  At the time Garrettsville was settled, Garrettsville’s only passageway was an Indian blazed trail, running from an encampment in Windham to Hiram Rapids, “where there was a village of about 15 huts occupied chiefly by Indians of the Wyandot tribe.” State, Main and Windham streets were established in 1827.

scan01058) A sampling of goods and farm product available in early Garrettsville demonstrate how much times have changed since 1818: : gingham cloth-$1 p/yard; coffee-50 cents p/lb.; loaf sugar-50cents; felt hat-$5; quarter of beef-$2.62; dressed hog-$2.50.

9) Discussion to incorporate the village began in 1863, when “the condition of the streets and walks in stormy weather was intolerable, and the proper method of improving conditions was much discussed.” By 1864, a charter was granted, incorporating the town of Garrettsville. “The result was a marked improvement in many lines, notably in sidewalks and roadways.” In order to alleviate long distances travelled in order for citizens to vote, it became a township as well as an incorporated village with concurrent powers in 1874. At the time, only one other village in the state was known to have a similar form of government.

scan013110) In 1889-1990, wooden sidewalks were replaced with 6+ miles of sawed flagging. City Hall was also erected in 1889, costing more than $15,000 to build. The building included council rooms, the fire department, the jail and a boiler room. The main floor included a 600-seat ‘audience hall’ with a 23×48-foot stage and dressing rooms. In 1907, “The citizens are awaiting the placing of a town clock in the tower, which has been contracted for and amply financed by loyal friends at home and abroad.” By 1964, the opera house had fallen into disrepair, was condemned and torn down. Only the clock was saved. It now ticks on in a new clock tower built to commemorate the nation’s bicentennial in 1976.  From its location near the police department, it overlooks the  the burned-out Buckeye Block.

As history demonstrates, Garrettsville has gone through seasons of hardships and periods of focused growth. Some of its historic landmarks have fallen into disrepair or have been consumed by fire. Others — like the feed mill at Main and Center — are currently undergoing a renaissance. The Buckeye Block, which once housed one third of Main Street’s business district, is “Rockin’ to Rebuild,” thanks to overwhelming community support. In the near future, this village is poised to add plenty of good news to the history books.

Garrettsville - Timing is everything.

Volunteers help sort and stock donations at the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard.

Volunteers help sort and stock donations at the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard.

For the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC), a $10,000 grant from MassMutual couldn’t have come at a better time. The non-profit food bank has been working to re-establish itself since the March 22 fire which wiped out its former location and one-third of Garrettsville’s downtown business district.

Chris Perme — a Garrettsville financial planner who operates Perme Financial Group from 8133 Windham Street and also serves on the advisory board of the NGCC — applied for the grant just days after the devastating fire.

“MassMutual offers 11 grants per year, and I’ve applied for them in the past but never was awarded one,” Perme says. “This application deadline was March 30. With the devastation of the fire still fresh on my mind, I think my sense of urgency came through in my application.”

The NGCC will receive its grant at the same time Perme will be awarded the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company’s prestigious Community Service Gold Award, which recognizes field associates who are making an exceptional difference in their community. Perme was selected for the award based on his ‘outstanding volunteer commitment and community service efforts with the NGCC, an agency member of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. The award and grant will be presented during MassMutual’s 2014 Leaders’ Conference in August in California.

Perme is not a traditional volunteer, but is involved in fundraising, marketing, long-term financial planning and budgeting; influencing the growth, development and awareness of NGCC.

Perme is grateful that this MassMutual grant represents one of the largest single gifts the Community Cupboard has ever received and recognizes it will help the NGCC to become self-sufficient and better able to serve the hungry over the long term. Added to donations from tremendous community support, the funding will contribute toward replacing food, shelving, refrigerators, freezers and office equipment that were all lost in the fire.

“The generosity of this gift also lifts some of the short-term pressure off our organization,” he said. “It’s allowing us to think beyond survival, to take a longer term view and ensuring the food cupboard’s longevity as a lasting service to those in need. Now we can grow and develop for the next 50 years, instead of thinking month to month or year to year.”

Mike Elias, co-founder of NGCC, recognizes that this gift offers great encouragement to the organization’s volunteers, who have “worked tirelessly as a team over the past two-and-a-half years, and especially in the past three months, to establish the Cupboard.”

The NGCC, which has operated from several locations throughout Nelson and Garrettsville since 2012, had moved to the Buckeye Block of downtown Garrettsville just months before it was leveled by fire. It is now operating from 12157 State Route 88 (near the former Bil-Mar turkey farm). Regular hours of operation are Monday, 3-6pm and Wednesday, 9am-12 noon.

Expressing an intention is to move back to Garrettsville once rebuilding is complete, Elias said, “Our location in the Buckeye Block on Center Street was perfect for NGCC. We were happy to be part of Main Street’s business community, and being located near the PARTA Transportation line was a great convenience for our clients. It is our hope that a spot can be found for the Cupboard as the rebuilding efforts get under way.”

In its short history, the food outreach has assisted more than 245 families. Currently, approximately 660 residents are using the food cupboard; over 50% of them children and senior citizens — and the need is increasing. Since its inception, the NGCC has distributed more than 64,500 items of food. More than one in seven Ohio households are reportedly facing a daily risk of hunger or are considered ‘food insecure’ — an increase of 71,000 households over last year.

Needless to say, there’s no time like the present to ‘shut the door on hunger;’ the mission statement of the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard.

 

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Garrettsville – Good things come to those who wait.

Keep that in mind as Garrettsville’s Buckeye Block sits vacant, waiting for funding, conceptualizing, planning, revisions, approvals, and infrastructure before the first ceremonial shovels hit the dirt, signaling an official start to the rebuilding process.

According to primary property owner of the Buckeye Block Mike Maschek, “Even though we all had insurance coverage, no one can afford to rebuild according to modern standards at this point. We need a government grant to make rebuilding feasible — not a loan. We’re hoping such funding could become available within 60 days. If that comes through, it will take at least a year to see any action at the Buckeye Block.”

The process starts with a basic concept and design, Maschek explained. Maschek Construction Co. is working closely with Garrettsville officials (i.e., Village Council, Planning Commission, Fire, Police, Utility and Street Depts.) to ensure that everyone is on board and that the concept will flow with Main Street’s historic identity. Once the concept is approved, an architect will draw up a detailed illustration. This second step is again reviewed by village planning officials (Design Review Board/Village Planning Committee). The final step in the preparation process is for an engineer to integrate all the ideas and concepts together in formal building plans that meet all current county and state building codes for final approval by all involved committees and the Portage County Building Department.

While actual building concepts and designs are in their initial stages, discussions are under way considering the possibility of building a full scale street to replace the alley that now runs behind the Buckeye Block; to replace the 100-year-old water line with a fresh, new line; to replace current electric lines with an underground system; to incorporate trees, grass and architectural lighting to the historic streetscape; and to incorporate other attractive features designed to draw visitors to downtown Garrettsville. Architectural students from Kent State University have made reconceptualizing Main Street their senior project, so new ideas are coming in that planners will consider while imagining the rebuilding process.

“We may never get an opportunity like this again,” Maschek said. “So we want to make the most of this quiet time to plan carefully for something valuable and lasting. We want to measure twice, then cut; not the other way around. We can’t afford to throw something together in a hurry and see if it sticks. A pearl starts as just a grain of sand. It takes time to become a beautiful pearl.”

Considering the relatively long wait for rebuilding the Buckeye Block, Maschek has been receiving enthusiastic inquiries from potential buyers and renters for the historic feed mill at Main and Water Streets, which he expects to be fully renovated and ready for occupancy as early as October 1 and surely before the end of the calendar year.

With asbestos abatement concluded, excavators should be on site by midweek to tear down the dilapidated rear buildings. The site behind the mill should be cleared and seeded with grass by the time Summerfest begins on June 27, Maschek said.

 

Garrettsville – Garrettsville can’t get enough pizza.

Pizza_HutAt least that’s the point of view of Hallrich, Inc., which is adding a Garrettsville location to its network of Pizza Hut pizzerias. Mayor Rick Patrick said that Hallrich signed ownership papers last week, making the pick-up/delivery drive-through a soon-coming reality.

Garrettsville’s Pizza Hut will be nestled between State Street Salon and Domino’s Pizza on State Street. The new building will include two additional spaces for lease to another fast food franchise or two.

There are already 92 Pizza Hut “InnerCrust” restaurant locations in Ohio, scattered among 24 counties of Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Coshocton, Geauga, Hancock, Henry, Knox, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Morrow, Ottawa, Portage, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne and Williams, plus the cities of Piqua and Solon, and the Village of Sunbury. Locally owned and operated, Hallrich, Inc. spawned the Pizza Hut franchise in Ohio.

According to company marketing material, parent company Pizza Hut was founded in 1958. It began with two brothers borrowing $600 from their mother to start a pizzeria in in Wichita, Kansas. Pizza Hut has now become the biggest pizza company in the world.

Hallrich Incorporated is the company which bought a modest Pizza Hut franchise and then brought it to Northeast Ohio in 1968. At the time, there were fewer than a hundred Pizza Hut restaurants open nationwide, and the menu featured only three items: pizza, beer and soft drinks. Today, Hallrich employs more than 2,000 Ohioans in a variety of service and management positions.

Hallrich has helped launch two new Pizza Hut concepts; the Italian Bistro and WingStreet eateries, the latter offering a variety of wing flavors, wing meals sandwiches, and entrée salads.  Hallrich continues to revitalize the Pizza Hut brand with new signage, remodeling, and a more contemporary restaurant décor.

In terms of  community involvement, Hallrich supports the Book-It national reading program, offers fundraising programs for non-profits, and makes pizza donations to hot meal programs. Further, Hallrich has donated to the Harvest Program and Alex’s Lemonade Stand foundation to help fight against childhood cancer.

Mayor Patrick says the timeline for groundbreaking and opening of the new restaurant has not yet been settled, but a Hallrich representative will meet with the Village Planning Commission during its next meeting at 7pm on Thursday, June 5.

Garrettsville already has Domino’s Pizza, Zeppe’s Pizzeria, Italian Garden, Cal’s and The Pasta House. But Pizza Hut’s market study determines that this small village has a big appetite for pizza and pasta, and is confident that it will make plenty of room for Pizza Hut, as well.

Garrettsville – The blighted feed mill at the intersection of Main, Center and Water Streets is about to be transformed into a focal point of beauty, usefulness and historic pride. The long-vacant property changed hands last week from principal owner Martin Paul to local developer Mike Maschek.

The current state of the former grist mill. Photo by: Estelle R. Brown

The current state of the former grist mill.

Photo by: Estelle R. Brown

The change in ownership — effective May 23, 2014 — will set in motion a series of events which should result in a fully restored property within six months, Maschek reports. The abatement process of removing asbestos siding, shingles and other hazardous materials is to have started by midweek. Then excavators will demolish the two sagging rear storage buildings which face Water Street and clear the grounds for a green space in time for Summerfest the last week of June.

According to a statement made by attorney Douglas K. Paul, “Plans for the property include the preservation and rehabilitation of this landmark building and property which has served the area for 100 plus years in many different capacities, most recently, and likely the longest, as a grist mill. Earlier plans had called for the building to be demolished. Retaining this building may be an important element in Garrettsville’s historic landscape,  given the recent loss in the historic district as a result of the downtown area fire on March 22, 2014.”

The front showroom facing Main Street is structurally sound and will be restored as a landmark befitting the actual focal point of downtown Garrettsville, Maschek says. Built in 1852, it served the village as a carriage shop, general store and feed supplier before going out of business more than 10 years ago.

Photo of building dating back to the late 1800’s courtesy of the Paul family.

Photo of building dating back to the late 1800’s courtesy of the Paul family.

All subject to approval by standards set for the Garrettsville Historic District, plans call for the renovated building to feature stouter corner posts and a stone front face up to the second floor porch, which will wrap around to the back of the building for a view of Silver Creek. New windows, siding and roof will be installed, all according to historic design and colors of the early 1850s. Plans also call for a four- or five-foot glass-enclosed cupola to be added to the roofline, to light automatically each night as a warm beacon shining over Main Street. The Paul family has also committed to erecting a historic plaque out front.

The interior spaces of the basement, first and second floors — about 3,000 square feet — will be completely remodeled with new heating, electric, plumbing, insulation and drywall to create retail and office space, to be made available for rent or purchase before the end of the calendar year.

“It will be beautiful,” Maschek forecasts. “My goal is to bring Garrettsville’s hidden glory alive; to bring life back into this village and opportunity back to the fire victims who lost their businesses. I want the center of town to be lit up with promise, representing Garrettsville’s best. The fire was terrible for everyone but I believe that God will bring beauty from the ashes. ”

Maschek owns a majority of the block which burned in the March fire, and he expressed a sense of obligation to provide the burnt-out business owners viable options to return downtown as soon as possible. Restoration of the Buckeye Block is moving slowly, with demolition and clearing of the ruins now complete. Soon the vacant lots will be leveled off with soil and seeded with grass. Once the grass is established, the fencing will come down and a green space will be available to the public until rebuilding starts.

Garrettsville – Less than a year since taking over the medical practice of retired family physician Sang Leu and his successor, Dr. Armelle Jemmy-Nouafo, Dr. Timothy Neely has a brand-new office.  With more than twice the floor space than the previous location, it gives Dr. Neely the capability to offer local patients more than twice the medical services available as before.

DrNeelyDr. Neely, DO,  established his family practice last August at Garrettsville Family Medicine, located in Sky Plaza on Windham Street, where Dr. Leu had practiced family medicine for 37 years. But the cramped and outdated facility constricted Dr. Neely’s ability to offer more than basic services, primarily for adult and geriatric care.

So he enthusiastically pursued University Hospital’s plan to find a suitable new location for the family practice, which would allow him to provide new medical services for under-represented demographics. That location is the site of the former Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership owned by the Kepich’s,  just around the corner from Main Street, which had been sitting vacant for several years before renovations began in late 2013.

By March 31, 2014, Dr. Neely opened the doors of his new-and-improved practice at 10724 South Street. The handicap-accessible facility features six examination rooms (up from 2.5 at the previous location), including a room for making osteopathic adjustments, a pediatric exam room, and a women’s health room for gynecological exams. There is also an in-house lab for blood and urine tests, strep and flu swabs, spirometry, Coumadin checks and other labwork.

Another new feature is the Virtual Concierge, which connects a patient to a referred specialist for scheduling of further testing or surgical procedures before leaving Dr. Neely’s office via FaceTime video messaging.

Dr. Neely plans to add an immunization program and nursing home visitations soon. To top it off, a nurse practitioner is joining the practice to meet the increased demand by mid-June.

This widening menu of health care options for the entire family is what Dr. Neely had in mind when he first established his practice last August. As an osteopathic doctor, he has a holistic approach to medicine, addressing the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the patient. While licensed to prescribe pharmaceuticals to treat medical conditions like an MD, osteopathic doctors are also licensed to manipulate the musculo-skeletal system, bringing muscle and bone into alignment, allowing the body to function optimally and hasten its own healing process.

New hours at Garrettsville Family Medicine are now: 8am-5pm Mondays; 10am-7pm Tuesdays, 8am-1pm Wednesdays, 8am-5pm Thursdays, and 7am-3pm Fridays. Dr. Neely is still accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call (330) 527-2617 or request an appointment at www.uhhospitals.org. Stay tuned for an upcoming open house at the new location this summer.

 

horseMantua - Frustrated? Anxious? Overwhelmed? Resentful? Restless? Confused?

If so, it’s time for a change — a retreat from the everyday, surrounded by nature, so you can clarify the root of what’s nagging you, then identify the goals and objectives to help you chart a new course that will bring you lasting satisfaction. It’s time to bring in the horses.

Yes, horses.

L-E-A-D is an unconventional approach to leadership, team building, coaching and personal growth developed by human resources management professional Sue E. Thomas of Mantua. She utilizes horses in a unique experiential approach to awaken one’s potential in personal and professional development.

Thomas founded Leadership Equine Assisted Development, LLC in 1999. She has extensive experience in business, human resource management, and with horses. Certified in a number of counseling disciplines, Thomas is is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and holds a master’s degree in Organizational Development and Analysis.

Thomas combines her backgrounds in executive and life coaching, organizational development, and personal/leadership development, to connect people to their life purpose, vision and values. “Working with the horses provides awareness of what holds you back, to be successful and obtain the life you desire,” she said.

At a recent What About Me? Workshop at her 40-acre farm, Thomas led a group of women through a two-day exploration in personal development, defining personal struggles, boundaries, dreams, frustrations, goals and objectives. Horses Flash, Jazz, Boss and Whiskey provided helpful feedback every step of the way. (The resident cats and golden retrievers provided comic relief.)

“This workshop provides space and a comfortable environment to look at the ‘who’ you are today by gently peeking at the past, living in the present, and looking at your future desires,” Thomas explained. “We guide you in self-exploration, and provide room for you to release what no longer serves you, strengthen what does, and gain awareness needed to direct your desired future.”

By placing each woman in a vulnerable situation with a horse — and a specific objective to accomplish inside the arena with that horse — participants quickly learned to use clear, concise, consistent modes of communication to prompt the horse through a particular exercise or obstacle course.

For example, in one exercise, each participant was instructed to take a raw egg and draw symbols or write words that identified their most valued elements of life (faith, family, health, a career, etc.) on the shell. Then, each person had to balance their egg on a spoon while leading a horse (which represented “the stuff in life you’ve got to get done”) through an obstacle course — without dropping their egg. Unfortunately, the horse was skittish about walking over the white poles along the course, and tended to shy away, pushing or pulling the participant off balance. It was a good metaphor for the common struggle to achieve balance in this life while pursuing dreams, despite stresses at work and demands from loved ones, or whatever the situation may be.

Results were mixed, depending on the approach each participant took. Two made slow, halting progress with close calls along the way, but crossed the finish line with victorious smiles. Another paid too much attention to the horse, lost track of her egg, and was horrified when she lost control of all she held dear, just to see it drop into the mud. Yet another participant marched her horse through its paces in record time, holding her egg in steady balance from start to finish (the sign of a chronic multi-tasker).

Other exercises involved leading horses while blindfolded; depending upon a partner’s verbal instructions to accomplish the task. Some activities focused on personal initiatives; others on group dynamics, trust and cooperation skills. Depending on each person’s body language, personal boundaries and subconscious cues, the horse would respond agreeably, or with stubbornness, playfulness or aloofness. Working with the horses heightened each participant’s awareness of their environment, their fears and vulnerabilities, their potential for growth, and their opportunity to change limiting behaviors that provided measurable results.

The most cited result of the workshop was clarity: the ability to clear the cobwebs and concretely identify the root of frustrations, learn how to put it into words, then devise a concrete plan to resolve the issue.

Through it all, Thomas’ mission was to inspire and nurture growth in individuals so they might reach their potential with integrity, respect, trust and honesty. In addition to personal growth workshops like this for women and at-risk youth, Thomas also provides leadership training, consulting and coaching services to corporations, organizations and other professional groups to encourage leadership development, team building and employee development using horses.

To explore L-E-A-D further for your personal or professional development, contact Sue Thomas at (330) 274-2693 or visit LeadershipEAD.com.

 

Garrettsville – Tracey Garrett is putting Garrettsville under the national spotlight… and it has nothing to do with the fact that she shares her last name with the village’s pioneer founder. Garrett — a pastry chef who owns and operates Top Tier Pastry from her home on Zupancic Drive — was one of five signature chefs nationwide selected to have their Valentine-themed dessert recipe featured in the February 2014 issue of Dessert Professional Magazine.

GARRETTSVILLE – “We’re going to do all we can to rebuild this Main Street block, restore its businesses, and revive this community,” says Mike Maschek of Maschek Construction, owner of the historic Buckeye Block Building which housed eight of the 14 businesses affected by the Garrettsville fire of March 22.

Garrettsville – “We are committed to to staying in Garrettsville and going back to Main Street when we can.”

These are the words of Dan Myers, who owned and operated New Hearing Sales & Services from 8115 Main Street until fire destroyed it and nearly every other business from Center Street to High Street in a historic blaze on March 22. His sentiment is echoed by most of the business owners who are scrambling now in the aftermath to relocate and regain operations elsewhere while Main Street gets cleaned up and rebuilt in the months ahead.

“Garrettsville is burning!”

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, that message blazed out across phone lines, the internet and news agencies throughout northeast Ohio. Main Street’s newly-renovated historic Buckeye Block Building was on fire at lunchtime. Despite prompt and robust response by local and regional firefighters, the angry fire had devoured the storefronts from Center Street to High Street by dinnertime — all but the small brick building that houses the Mishler and Kohli law offices.

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Time may not heal all wounds, but perhaps it gives us the opportunity to right some wrongs.

That’s what the nation has to offer Vietnam Veterans more than 50 years after they were swept into that conflict in January 1962. More than 3 million Americans served in the 11-year Vietnam War; 58,000 of them died in combat; thousands more suffered immeasurably from post traumatic stress disorder, physical after-effects of Agent Orange, and the painful memories of being spat upon and harangued by war protesters upon their return home. 

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Portage County – There are heroes amongst us.

Five heroes of environmental conservation will be honored during the 16th Annual Portage County Environmental Conservation Awards Benefit Dinner on April 5. Recipients of the 2014 awards have been chosen for making a significant contribution to improving quality of life in Portage County through natural resource conservation and environmental awareness and protection.

Garrettsville – The lights are coming back on at Garrettsville Cinema at 8009 Main Street. The Garfield Plaza movie theater is now under new management, renovated and updated with digital projectors and surround sound. New tenant Justin Dlugokecki of Showplace Theaters plans to re-open “the new and improved Garrettsville Cinema” on Friday, March 7, with showings  of “Mr. Peabody and Sherman”, “Winter’s Tale”, “Lego Movie” and “Robocop”. Check back at www.showplacetheaters.net for current updates.

Honestly. We are without excuse. We’re fresh into the New Year and the launchpad of New Resolutions. February is Heart Month, sponsored by the American Heart Association to build awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer among American men and women — and it’s largely preventable with a lifestyle marked by regular exercise and a healthy diet. And it’s Winter Olympics season. Even if you’re not an athlete, just watching a half hour of the world’s most fit competitors is inspirational and motivational. 

So often, we give anonymously to a good cause — whether it be a local food drive, national disaster relief effort or an international humanitarian mission — and we never really know the impact of our gift. Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to follow your donation across local boundaries, past international security checkpoints, over the ocean, onto remote dirt roads and into an impoverished village, where you can put that vital medicine, supply or food into the hands that need it most? 

Garrettsville – The holidays are prime time for devastation-turned-redemption dramas. For a real-time example, look no further than downtown Garrettsville and its restored historic district on Main Street. A little before-and-after reminder is in order, now that buildings are beautiful, lights are twinkling, and businesses are bustling.

Garrettsville – Neighbors helping neighbors.

That’s the basic premise that inspired local volunteers to establish the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC) more than three years ago, in a storage area behind Isaac Mills’ Bakery at Nelson Circle. Now the NGCC has outgrown its original home and has moved into a new locale with double the floor space at 8147 Center Street, just off Main Street in Garrettsville.

Garrettsville – Jerry Kehoe Used Cars has stood in the heart of Garrettsville at the intersection of Main Street, North Street, Center Street, Windham Street and South Street for the past 34 years.  But the car dealership’s namesake quietly prepared for retirement by selling the business to Eric Hedge last February. Now Hedge and his wife, Meredith, want the community to know that their new ownership is resulting in a new way of doing business, as well.

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If you’ve been following this series of articles, you’ve learned about the purpose behind Disaster Preparedness Month, the increasing role of EMS (Emergency Medical Services) in preparedness and how it relates to the Affordable Health Care Act, and EMS milestones throughout history. This week, we’re looking deeper into the connection between disaster preparedness and the healthcare delivery system, and how a Portage County company helps unite the two through technology.

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We know Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as the local firefighters, volunteer rescue personnel and regional ambulance transport services that respond to car accidents, at-home mishaps, heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies in public places. EMS   responds when we call 9-1-1, provides preliminary medical care while en route to the hospital, then leaves us in the hands of the medical professionals there. Job done. 

Garrettsville – School districts throughout Ohio finally learned their scores for 2012-2013 according to the new state report cards last week. James A. Garfield School District — which has achieved Excellent with Distinction for two of the past three years — maintained high scores for 2012/13 by earning an overall A grade in Progress from the state. 

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I’m beginning to think that 40-something is the new 20-something. And no, it’s not because of medical miracles, cosmetic surgery or skin cream. Rather, it’s a strange convergence of rising college costs, a constricted job market and renewed outlooks as a result of the first two economic realities. 

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Garrettsville -  The (new) doctor will see you now.
Timothy R. Neely, DO, established his family practice at 8:30am Thursday, August 1, 2013 at University Hospitals’ Garrettsville Family Medicine. Fresh from his residency at Summa Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls, Dr. Neely is seeing the former patients of Armelle Jemmy-Noufo, MD, whose last day at the practice was Wednesday.

The Image Consultants is a perfectly-named hair salon at 149 S. Water Street in historic downtown Kent. Owned and operated by Cheryl Germano-Smith, the salon sets itself apart by providing free customized consultations for every new client.

People usually can’t answer the big question, which is, “What do you want to do with your hair?“ But they can easily answer smaller, more specific questions, which lead The Image Consultants directly to the answer they seek.

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Garrettsville - I was awakened this morning to the sounds of carriage wheels rolling along and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves as an Amish buggy passed by on the road in front of the house. As I rolled over for a few more zzz’s, I smiled to myself, thinking, “Some people have the ‘burbs. We have the ‘ville.”

Having grown up in the thick of Lakewood’s suburbia, I’m often struck by the differences between life in the ‘burbs versus life in the village. Let me count the ways…

Kent – You just don’t find places like this any more.

Shops like Sue Nelson Designs, Ltd. in historic downtown Kent died off when big box hardware stores replaced family-owned interior design sales and services. But Sue Nelson has kept her shop alive at 156 South Water Street for nearly 25 years by offering an ever-widening array of quality products and customized services.

Garrettsville – Don’t get caught with your head in the sand. Parents have often been accused of being out of touch or naive when it comes to their children’s (mis)behavior. Here’s your chance to either redeem yourself or to get a rude awakening.

Looks can be deceiving. Don’t be fooled. This is the message of “Hidden in Plain Sight,” a traveling exhibit which will be on display at James A. Garfield Elementary School gymnasium on Wednesday, May 15. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with a 90-minute presentation beginning at 7 p.m. The exhibit is open to adults only. There is no charge for admittance.

Garrettsville – On March 22, James A. Garfield School District Superintendent Charles C. Klamer submitted his letter of resignation to school board president Guy Pietra. The school board is expected to accept Klamer’s resignation officially at its next regular meeting on April 11. When his resignation goes into effect on July 31, it will bring Klamer’s record-breaking 22 years as JAG superintendent to a close.

I like the way the pages feel and sound when you turn them and the way some books smell warm from decades of paper decay beneath the whorls imprinted from generations of turning, penciled notes in the margin small and fading. (Robert Andropolis)

Depending on how old you are, this little excerpt either fills you with the nostalgic memory of enjoying an old library book… or the impact of this writing is entirely lost on you. During this Digital Age, libraries themselves risk becoming objects of nostalgia — the deadly step right before irrelevance, and right after failure to transform.

Jump to:

Part I: A Digital Age Dilemma Part II: Perilous Times for Papers Part III: Perilous Times for Papers Part IV: Perilous Times for Papers

[hr]

Part I: A DIGITAL AGE DILEMMA


 It’s the end of the world as we knew it. Do you feel fine?

Yes, the Digital Revolution has truly turned modern living on its head. For those of you who can recall what it was like to pound out papers on a manual typewriter, or to have to look up an answer to your question in volumes of encyclopedias, or rifle through drawers of card catalogs to locate a library book… did you really think you’d live to see the day when you’d get everything done online through a personal computer or handheld digital device? Or did you leave that implausible concept to the realm of dystopian science fiction tales like Fahrenheit 451 or 1984?

We’ve been so eager as a society to keep pace with all that’s new, few have pondered what’s to lose along the way. Sure, convenience and speed are alluring. But at what price?

There’s something sacred about age-old traditions we hold dear… like spreading out the newspaper while drinking morning coffee, or reading an engrossing novel while curled up near a winter’s fire, or enjoying a favorite magazine while settling in for a long flight or car ride. And yet, the Digital Revolution is threatening the survival of all of these print media pastimes.

Print newspapers throughout the U.S. are either going out of business or changing over to digital format. The parent company of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has cut several of their newspapers to three days a week, including the Times-Picayune, causing New Orleans to become the largest U.S. city without a daily paper. The Plain Dealer could be next on the chopping block, overshadowing New Orleans as the largest city without a daily.

Panicked journalists from the PD established a Save the Plain Dealer page on FaceBook last September, upon the sudden retirement of their publisher. “Our parent company, Advance Publications, has begun a series of radical changes in the markets where it operates newspapers, with the intent of focusing its efforts online,” states the About page.

“You may have heard that our sister papers in New Orleans, Michigan, Alabama, Syracuse and Harrisburg will be published three days a week or less. Advance is laying off half or more of those papers’ reporters, editors and photographers — the people who bring you the news. And it’s cut advertising, marketing and other staff… This isn’t just about jobs. Sure, we want to keep ours. But what we really want to maintain is a vibrant, committed newspaper.”

Founded in 1842, the PD is Ohio’s largest newspaper with more than 665,000 readers daily and almost one million readers on Sunday. But that’s not enough to keep it out of danger. Fifty-eight PD employees are slated to be laid off this year.

Meanwhile, actual books give way to e-readers and magazine giants like Newsweek have stopped printing glossy pages altogether, staying alive by publishing solely online.

Virtually the entire print industry is in freefall due to easy access to the Web, which offers nearly instantaneous news. It’s the end of an age. Some people — like the PD reporters –are reacting with alarm. Others shrug their shoulders and say it’s a sign of the times. Things change. You’ve just got to roll with it.

In a sense, it was all foretold in 1998, with the publication of a little book called, Who Moved the Cheese?  Written by Spencer Johnson, MD, the tale was a metaphor where Cheese represents anything we value in life, whether it be a career, a title, a way of life, print media, … whatever makes you tick.

Once we find The Cheese in this maze called life, we become attached to it. If we lose it or it’s taken away, it’s traumatic. How will we react when change inevitably comes and shakes our world? Will we deny reality, curl up in a corner, and play the blame game? Or will we remain flexible, adapt, and move with The Cheese, perhaps discovering even tastier Cheese as we make our way through life’s maze? Beyond that, can we learn to anticipate change so we’re not blindsided when our Cheese disappears again?

Take note of these basic precepts laid out in the book:

The Handwriting on the Wall:

Change happens (They keep moving the cheese).

Anticipate change (Get ready for the cheese to move).

Monitor change (Smell the cheese often so you know when it’s getting old).

Adapt to change quickly (The sooner you let go of the old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese).

Change (Move with the cheese).

Enjoy change (Savor the adventure and enjoy the taste of new cheese).

Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again (They keep moving the cheese).  

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Part II: PERILOUS TIMES for PAPERS


 Just as oil lamps gave way to electric lights, and railroads declined as the interstate highway system spread, print media has been put under pressure from digital innovations, threatening its very survival.

For newspapers, the handwriting has been on the wall a long time. The industry has always been cyclical, and has weathered previous lows. While the 1950s introduced audiences to television, diminishing newspapers’ importance as the primary source of daily news, the advent of the internet in the 1990s exploded with even more media choices for the average reader, further undercutting newspapers’ fundamental role.

[pulledquote]Where is the internet going to get its information if local newspapers go out of business?[/pulledquote]Both television and the internet deliver news faster and in a more visual style than newspapers, which are limited by their physical form and the need to be manufactured and distributed. The competing mediums also offer advertisers the use of video and audio. Additionally, the internet’s search function enables advertisers to target their pitch to readers who have already revealed what information they’re seeking –- an enormous advantage.

The internet has also gone a step further than TV in eroding the advertising income of newspapers, in that it provides a convenient vehicle for classified ads of all kinds. Free services like Craigslist have decimated the classified advertising departments of many newspapers, some of which depended on classifieds for 70 percent of their ad revenue, as Editor & Publisher reported in a 2009 article. At the same time, newspapers have been pinched by consolidation of large department stores, which once accounted for substantial ad revenues.

Further, these ‘new media’ are not saddled with expensive union contracts, printing presses, delivery fleets and overhead accumulated over decades. Many are simply aggregators of news, often derived from print sources, but without print media’s capital-intensive overhead. Estimates put the percentage of online news derived from newspapers at 80 percent, according to The New Yorker.

This begs the question, ‘Where is the internet going to get its information if local newspapers go out of business?’

Spelled out in a new documentary, Black & White and Dead all Over (a film about the end of American Newspapers, focusing on the Philadelphia Inquirer), “The great irony of the internet information age is: You ask people where did you find that out? They’ll say they got it from Google. But they didn’t get it from Google. The source of that information came from a newspaper!”

Content is vitally important. But revenue is still the bottom line.

Estimated print advertising revenues of $19.0 billion in 2012 were the lowest annual  amount spent on print newspaper advertising since its ad revenue was first tracked in 1950.

The decline in print newspaper advertising to a 62-year low is amazing by itself, but last year’s ad revenues of $19 billion were less than half of the $46 billion spent just five years before in 2007, and a little more than one-third of the $56.5 billion spent in 2004.

In other words, it took 50 years to go from about $20 billion in annual newspaper print ad revenue in 1950 to $63.5 billion in 2000, and then only 12 years to go from $63.5 billion back to less than $20 billion in 2012.

With revenues plummeting, many newspapers have slashed news bureaus and journalists, while still attempting to publish compelling online content –- much of it more interactive, more lifestyle-driven and more celebrity-conscious than hard news. Creating a vicious cycle, those cuts often spur more and deeper circulation declines—triggering more loss of ad revenues. As reported by the American Journalism Review in 2007, “No industry can cut its way to future success. At some point the business must improve.”

Editor & Publisher magazine states that circulation declines in the United States, coupled with a 23 percent drop in 2008 newspaper ad revenues, have proven a double whammy for some newspaper chains. Combined with the recent recession, the cloudy outlook for future profits has meant that many newspapers put up for sale have been unable to find buyers, who remain concerned about increasing competition, dwindling profits and a business model that seems increasingly outdated.

“As succeeding generations grow up with the Web and lose the habit of reading print,” noted The Columbia Journalism Review in 2007, “it seems improbable that newspapers can survive with a cost structure at least 50 percent higher than their nimbler and cheaper internet competitors.”

The problem facing newspapers is generational: In 2005 The New York Review of Books reported that while 70 percent of older Americans read a newspaper daily, fewer than 20 percent of younger Americans did.

“It is the fundamental problem facing the industry,” writes newspaper analyst John Morton. “It’s probably not going away. And no one has figured a way out.”

[hr]

Part III: Surviving the Surge

Diversification appears to be the key for print media to survive the digital surge. This should be no surprise to those who have studied the evolutionary principles of adaptation and survival of the fittest.

Company stock at The Washington Post is faring better than most competitors, thanks to their diversification into educational training programs -– and away from publishing. Similarly, Editor& Publisher reports that Pearson PLC, owner of The Financial Times, increased earnings in 2008 despite a drop in newspaper profits, also due to diversification away from publishing.

Bloomberg Businessweek published a provocative article in 2012: “The Future of Media = Many Small Pieces, Loosely Joined,” which warns media companies away from seeking a single solution to magically cure their ills. ”Success for media entities of all kinds will come by making smaller bets on a number of different things. The big problem for the industry’s traditional players is that they have spent decades getting good at doing one thing. But now not as many people want that thing, and experimentation and rapid innovation are not in the media companies’ DNA.”

“Until recently, the holy grail was summed up in two words: replacement revenue. Now the jig’s up. No matter how fast you shovel digital dirt into the chasm of print loss, you can’t recreate the past; you can’t fill the hole.”  John Paton, the chief executive of Media News Group and a leading advocate of the ‘digital first’ approach for newspapers, has said the only possible response to the problem of ‘digital dimes’ not making up for the loss of print dollars is to accumulate as much as possible from as many sources as possible (while also reducing costs to try to stem the bleeding).   Meinolf Ellers, the managing director of German multimedia agency dpa-infocom, made a similar point: “What we all see—newspaper publisher or news agency—is that the bundle is eroding, losing its power. The more we see the bundle losing market share and reaching the end of its lifecycle, the more we have to work on smaller, fragmented products that, not each by each, but overall, can compensate. That’s the strategy.”  This brings us to a phrase that David Weinberger, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet & Society, devised to describe how the Web works: He called it “small pieces, loosely joined.” This is the idea that the Web allows individuals and small groups or entities to have almost as much power as—and in some cases more power than—established players.   We have seen the impact of exactly that phenomenon in the media industry over the past few years, with the rise of digital-first entities like the Huffington Post,TMZ, Politico and others.  Media outlets can make a number of smaller bets instead of one or two big ones, including ‘in-sourcing’—using printing presses and distribution chains to provide services to others who need those skills—as well as providing marketing services outside the traditional newsprint platform.   Also promising is encouraging a kind of membership approach, where new features or ways of packaging content or experiences related to that content are offered to readers. So live events, for example, or e-books, which are a different way of packaging content, can be remarkably profitable, even if that content has appeared previously on the Web for free.   There is no one solution in print media’s struggle to survive and actually profit in this strange, new world. But, if necessity is the mother of invention (as the ancient Greek philosopher Plato so aptly put it), print media companies with a will to fight are coming up with creative solutions that will see them well into the foreseeable future.

[hr]

Part IV: NEW NEWSPAPERS? Or ROADKILL on the INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY?

“Wherever there is change and uncertainty lies opportunity, if you’re willing to take risks.” -Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks

Undoubtedly, for newspapers to survive in this new environment of 24/7 digital information streams, they need to be nimble, flexible, experimental and bold.

Ultimately, the newspaper of the future may bear little resemblance to the newsprint you now hold in your hands. Newspapers have already become hybrids: part-print and part-internet. Eventually, they seem destined to become internet-only manifestations. Meanwhile, the transition from the printed page to its next embodiment is challenging, both for the newspaper industry and for its consumers.

“Paper is dying,” said Nick Bilton, a technologist for The Times, “but it’s just a device. Replacing it with pixels is a better experience.” What’s emerging may be ‘newspapers’ unrecognizable to older readers, but should be more timely, more topical and more flexible.

Making technological changes work for them, instead of against them, will decide whether newspapers remain vital –- or roadkill on the information superhighway, as stated in “The Death of News” in Salon magazine in 2009.

As for this hometown newspaper, co-owner and editor Michelle Zivoder says, “We will continue to print our paper weekly as has been done for over 40 years. However, we maintain our interactive website and provide our paper in total PDF format. We have done this to accommodate all readers. Currently, we have readers of our little paper worldwide.”

The Weekly Villager website was built several years ago, offering only the paper’s contact information and digital files of previous paper editions. This Web element has grown to include a Facebook page, as well. The updated website now features searchable articles by title or author, plus back issues as PDF files, available on a rolling three-month basis. In addition, anything related to Garrettsville is automatically picked up by Garrettsville Village Facebook pages.

Within the past year, 186,698 visits have been made to the www.weeklyvillager.com, with a monthly average of 15,558  and a daily average of 518, representing 6,810 unique web addresses. Online users log in from all across the U.S., and from more than a dozen countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, Philippines, Brazil, China, France, Netherlands, Chile, Venezuela, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and many foreign outposts of the U.S. military and government.

Zivoder is committed to retaining the print paper alongside its Web counterpart, as long as it’s feasible. “There is something special about sitting down with a book, magazine or newspaper. It is sad to think that there may be a time in the future where this may not be possible. While the digital age does have its advantages, it is nice to unplug at times.”

The Villager averages 10,000 copies of the newspaper weekly, including nearly 100 weekly print customers who have the paper mailed to them in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington, and Tennessee.

While printing volume has been reduced by about 2,000 copies weekly since Zivoder became publisher of the Villager about seven years ago, she and co-owner Chris Gerez have still managed to continue to offering a FREE paper — let alone print — in this day and age, while many other community papers have gone the way of the dinosaur.

“We continue to be able to offer the paper for free, thanks to our wonderful advertisers,” Zivoder explains. “The printing of the Villager is supported solely through the space ads, classifieds and obits weekly. We struggle in the winter months like everyone else. We have gone through times where Chris and I held on to our paychecks to make sure the bills got paid, which is what small business owners do. But so far this winter, we have been very fortunate to stay in the black and avoid the red.”

Recent expansion to include coverage to the communities of Ravenna, Streetsboro and Aurora not only opened doors to the Villager’s current advertisers by bringing in new customers, but also added pools of new advertisers for the paper.

[pulledquote] Somehow, in a world of downsizing, we were able to super size![/pulledquote]The additional change to a larger format paper allows the Villager to print more articles weekly (a current 12-page broadsheet paper is equivalent to the formerly-used 16-page tabloid style paper). An added benefit with The Vindicator as the current printer is improved registration and print quality, so readers are enjoying a more satisfying visual experience.

“When we were looking to improve our print paper and we started looking at options for printers, we actually had several vendors say that they were very impressed at our goals and what we were doing. With print media changing, going from a tabloid to a broadsheet paper was going against the grain. But when you look at how much more we can put into the paper for the same amount we were paying for a smaller paper, it just made sense to us. We can give the public more to read for the same cost. Somehow, in a world of downsizing, we were able to super size!”

Meanwhile, there’s a lot more going on at the Weekly Villager office than just publishing a weekly newspaper. It provides UPS shipping services while its partner company, Villager Printing, does custom printing of shirts, uniforms, banners, signs, and other marketing materials. The Weekly Villager is also in the process of becoming the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce office, where people will be able to pick up information for local chamber businesses, Garrettsville information, Welcome Wagon packets, and other useful information. In addition, Photography by Krista and Villager Printing are now shooting on-site or studio portrait photos.

The Villager certainly IS bucking the trend, thanks to their formula for success during perilous times for print. Looking forward, Zivoder says, “Our goal is to provide a little bit of something for anyone picking up the paper.  We have amazing writers and columnists that provide a diverse range of coverage and topics — and we are looking to add more.”