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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.

Garrettsville -  The James A. Garfield School District has once again distinguished itself with highest honors. It earned the Excellent with Distinction (A+) status on statewide district report cards for the 2011-2012 academic year. JAG was one of only four among Portage County’s 11 school districts to achieve such a high mark, including Aurora, Kent and Field.

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Ravenna – The Chesty Puller Young Marines unit recently moved back to Ravenna from Cuyahoga Falls, and the organization is spreading the word they’ve returned ‘home’ and are re-engaged with the local community.
The Young Marines is a youth education and service program for boys and girls, ages 8 through completion of high school. A national organization, the Young Marines promotes the mental, moral, and physical development of its members. The program focuses on character-building and leadership, and promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. The Young Marines is the focal point for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Youth Drug Demand Reduction efforts.
The Chesty Puller Young Marines has been a unit for 21 years, previously called the Ravenna Young Marines. The unit was founded in  October 1990. The 44th Recruit Platoon is currently completing their training. The local unit is named after Lieutenant General Lewis Burwell (Chesty) Puller, the most decorated Marine in the history of the Marine Corps, who saw combat in the years between the World Wars, World War II, and the Korean War.
The Chesty Pullers meet regularly on Tuesday nights, 6:30-9 p.m. at the Ravenna VFW post (just south of TSC), under the command of Ronald L. Pownall. Unit staff member Jamie Hilverding says there are currently 45 youth enrolled in the unit with four members in the Crestwood school system and four in the Streetsboro school system.
The unit recently marched in the Mantua Potato Festival and Ravenna Balloon-A-Fair parades. Several of the local Young Marines help the American Legion Post in Mantua with the flag duties at Crestwood’s home football games.

Upcoming events at various locations include:
October 13: 8th Annual Young Marine Ball
November 11:    Western Reserve Veteran’s Ceremony
December 19-22: Toys For Tots (distributing the toys collected over the next three months)
November 3:    Night at the Races Fundraiser
November 11:    Western Reserve Veteran’s Ceremony

In observance of September 11, the unit participated in the Summit County Stand Down, collecting enough items to create 500 packages for veterans this year.  “Each year, the number of veterans we serve at the Stand Down increases by approximately 10-15 percent,” Hilverding said. “ Last year, we provided supplies for 400 veterans.”
Other unit activities throughout the year include CPR training, campouts, historical encampments, flag-folding and flag retirement ceremonies, watercraft safety courses, clean-up days, Memorial Day and Flag Day ceremonies.
For more information, see www.chestypulleryoungmarines.com or  youngmarines.com. Or contact Recruiting Officer Katie Haring at 330-322-7275 (email: cpympaymaster@neo.rr.com).

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It’s back-to-school season! The kids have got their new supplies, clothes and shoes, equipped for a new year of hopes, possibilities and goals.They’re taking new classes, playing on new teams, joining new clubs, meeting new friends. As summer fades into fall and we turn another page in the calendar, September can be seen as the month of new beginnings. 

GARRETTSVILLE – A new grassroots organization called the 900 Coalition is hosting their first community fundraising event: “Tools of the Trades Day” on Saturday, September 8, at the former Paul’s Lumber Yard at 8018 French Street (off of Freedom Street) from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Vehicles from many different occupations and trades will be on display for kids and adults to explore. Inflatable bounce attractions will provide entertainment. Additional activities will be indoors.

“The 900 Coalition was recently formed as a way to generate funds for local projects that will have lasting beneficial impacts for the entire community,” says Garrettsville Police Department Sgt. Eric Dunn, Director of the 900 Coalition. 

Garrettsville – Restoration leads to revival. The renovation of downtown’s Buckeye Block Building is out to prove that.

Just a year ago, the village’s anchor Main Street building was in such a severe state of deterioration, officials feared it was a public threat and might need to be torn down. Along with it would go four keystone businesses: Garrettsville Foot & Ankle Clinic, Hearth & Home Fireplace Shoppe, Shiffer’s Clock Repair, and Miller’s Lawn & Garden. And at the heart of the sagging building was the long-vacant Irwin Hardware space. 

What is the Olympic Spirit? We recognize it when we see it in an athlete who excels in his sport through sustained training, discipline and competition. When he experiences struggles and setbacks, he refuses to give up. He keeps striving.

While the back story of every Olympic athlete will likely exemplify these characteristics, this story focuses on one of our own: Justin Rodhe, age 27. His road to the 2012 London Olympics has been long, winding and improbable. But due to that tenacious Olympic spirit of his, Rodhe now finds himself representing Canada in the shot put.

Garrettsville – Garrettsville unveiled its $6 million expansion and improvement of the village’s 52-year-old wastewater treatment plant with public tours on July 14. The new extended aeration system went online in February, following a two-year period of final planning and construction.

The new system is 99.5 percent effective in removing bacteria and harmful microorganisms from the wastewater before it’s returned to Eagle Creek. (A water sample is taken prior to discharge of treated effluent back to Eagle Creek, ensuring that the water complies with safety standards.)

The state-of-the-art system utilizes numerous 19-foot-deep holding tanks at various stages of the decontamination process to aerate incoming wastewater from storm sewers, industry, business and household use. The water is oxygenated and decontaminated with the use of beneficial bacterial colonies and enzymes which feed on the pollutants; plus a mechanical system of screens, pumps, and filters; as well as ultraviolet light for disinfection instead of chlorine. By the end of the process, the sludge is safe to use as fertilizer on farmers’ fields.

The village is one mile square, but 16 miles of wastewater collection flows into the treatment plant. Treatment capacity has increased nearly five times the volume of the old system, to a half-million gallons of water per day. Considering the fact that the village generates about 180,000-300,000 gallons of wastewater daily, this expansion will accommodate robust future growth.

As water department superintendent Jeff Sheehan explained during the tours, the village allowed raw sewage to be discharged directly into Eagle Creek up until 1960, when it installed the initial wastewater treatment plant. Garrettsville was actually ahead of the curve among most municipalities, who didn’t recognize their role in preventing water pollution until after the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962.

The wastewater treatment plant was upgraded and improved incrementally every decade, but this most recent expansion was a major overhaul. During the boom years in the 1990s, 15-20 new homes a year were being built in Garrettsville. With that pace of growth, the water department realized they needed a larger footprint for adequate expansion. Eventually, the village was able to expand by purchasing the Clyde property through eminent domain to the west of their existing parcel along Water Street.

Residents have been helping to offset the $6 million project cost through 8% rate increases for three years in a row (a 36% total rate increase). Loan repayment estimates are $450,000 annually. But thanks to a $300,000 Issue One grant and a 0% interest loan from the EPA, the water department is saving $2 million in projected interest costs.

Although the official tour day has passed, Sheehan says he would be happy to take interested residents on tours of the wastewater treatment plant any time. Call (330) 527-2080 to inquire.

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Garrettsville -  People want to know what’s going on along Liberty Street. At first, when the trees and brush were cleared, and a wide gravel drive was laid, the assumption was that someone must be building a new house. But then unfamiliar signs went up and big trucks were seen coming and going.

As it turns out, this is a drilling site, not a construction site. With a 500-foot setback, the rig hasn’t been visible from the street. (By now, the initial drilling rig has been removed; replaced by a production truck rig.)

Could it be fracking?