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Benjamin Coll

Benjamin Coll
In addition to his roles as reporter and graphic designer at The Weekly Villager, Benjamin is involved with a number of local organizations and events including G-Men Unite and Garrettsville Summerfest among others. Currently serving as President of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Benjamin has worked hard to develop the 'Think Local' campaign which promotes awareness of what our community has to offer. He is also a member of the GarrettsvilleStrong Board of Directors.


Garrettsville  –  On Sunday, July 7th the Villager’s own Iva Walker recently hosted a Riparian Lawn Party to celebrate the repetitive 39th Birthday of one of Garrettsville’s own. This time with live entertainment.
The crowd of over 100 “close personal friends” gathered at The Walker Riparian Cottage & Convention Centre was treated to the sounds of WIXY 1260 who played   all of the great radio hits from 1965–1975.
A wonderful time was had by all those in attendance.

Windham Library and the Renaissance Family Center invite everyone to a fun filled July.  We’ll start off being entertained with the magic of Drew Murray on Tuesday, July 16 at 12:30 p.m.  Kent State Summer Stock 2013 will be doing their theatrical performance of Puss & Boots on July 29 at 10:00 a.m.  These events are open to everyone.
Join us Thursday, July 25 12:30-2:30 p.m. for a garden tea party.  The Windham Library Children’s Garden Club invites the community to view the ongoing progress of their garden.
For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9005 Wilverne Drive, is open Monday and Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm-6:30 pm; and closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For additional information about library programs and services, please visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville – After briefly franchising-out their flagship restaurant in Garrettsville, owners Tim and Joselle Weiss have returned to the helm of The Italian Garden. Opening fifteen years ago in the former Mario Angelo Pizza building (8116 Main Street), The Italian Garden quickly became known as the place to go for affordable “home-made taste without the hassle or wait”.
Since returning to the Garrettsville location, Tim has listened to the comments and concerns of former “long-time customers”.
“We spent over fourteen years building The Italian Garden’s reputation”. Tim assures  his  customers that they are returning back to their roots, which is  what made Italian Garden locally famous.
In the coming weeks, customers can expect a return to the original recipes and fresh ingredients they fell in love with fifteen years ago, and an enhanced dining space complete with comfortable booths.
As word of Tim and Joselle’s return spread amongst the area residents, they have slowly seen the return of familiar faces.
Be sure to check out the Italian Garden’s  website for this week’s specials, or visit them online at http://theitaliangardenpizza.com.


Garrettsville – Congratulations to the students and staff of the James A. Garfield Local School District. The district as a whole has achieved an “Excellent”, or “Excellent with Distinction” rating for five consecutive years with many of the schools holding these titles individually much longer than that. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, schools will be ranked using a new metric and awarded a letter-grade instead.


Garrettsville – On June 5th the Garrettsville Area Chamber held their annual Scholarship Luncheon at Cal’s Restaurant.  Pictured above are the 2013 recipients of the scholarships.  Kaleigh Gilmer (left) will be attending the Indiana University of Pennsylvania to study nursing and psychology; Garrett McArdle (center) will be persuing a degree in actuarial sciences at Ohio University; Caitlin Chartier will attend the University of Notre Dame where she will be studying architecture with a focus on historic preservation.

Congratulations and best of luck to all!

O’Henry, O’Malley, O’My! Grab your friends and neighbors, and follow the road to Garrettsville on March 17th for a fun-filled St. Patrick’s Day you won’t soon forget. And that’s no blarney!

The historic village of Garrettsville knows how to celebrate, and they are starting first thing in the morn’. Start off with a hearty breakfast, and a beer if you are so inclined. Sean’s Pub, Miller’s Restaurant, SkyLane Lounge and the Main Street Grille to name a few are serving up morn’ meals that will help get you started for the daylong celebration.

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Police Department, and Save-A-Lot are teaming up to “shut the door on hunger” this weekend. The first Fill-A-Cruiser promotion of 2013 will take place Saturday, February 9th from 8:00 AM—1:00 PM; allowing Save-A-Lot shoppers an opportunity to help fill Garrettsville police cruisers with donations of non-perishable items.  All food & home items donated will be delivered to the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC).

CLEVELAND—“This next band isn’t from Streetsboro High School, it IS Streetsboro High School!” quipped emcee Jeff Kutz as he introduced Streetsboro’s own ‘We Regret to Inform You’ at the Tri-C® High School Rock Off on January 27th. All joking aside, Kutz wasn’t too far from the truth. Brought together in a Streetsboro High School songwriting class, this fifteen member band comprised of  Jake Edgerton, Zack Madden, Marcus Bowman, Nathan Bailey, Maddie Oslejsek, Austin McDone, Alex Hahn, Ryan McCormack, Desiree Anderson, Samantha Palania, Jacey Kepich, Amber Lesak, Marissa Campisi, Cassidy Emch, and Dion Hetzel certainly filled the stage, and rocked the packed House of Blues. 


CLEVELAND—The roar of dralions (a clever blending of eastern dragons and western lions) could be heard throughout lower Cleveland over the holiday weekend, drawing thousands to their temporary home within Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion masterfully achieved just that.

Running April 4th through 8th, spectators were transported to a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals, flowing textiles and awe-inspiring acrobatics. Audience goers were treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, at a level of perfection that could only be delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audiences were treated to spectacles ranging from juggling to a high-stakes game of “Diablos”, Cirque’s unique spin on a classic children’s toy–the Chinese yo-yo. For fans of high-flying excitement, their thirst for aerial thrills was quenched by acts such as “Pas de Deux”, an aerial dance requiring both strength and flexibility from the couple intertwined in a band of blue cloth.

The level of talent on display each night was undeniable, but what goes into bringing a performance of this caliber to an arena like the Wolstein Center? On April 4th, the Weekly Villager was offered a chance to find out.

Tracing its origins back to 1999, Dralion was originally conceived and produced as one of Cirque Du Soleil’s Grand Chapiteau (big top) tours. Production Manager Alain Gauthier explained that in an effort to increase the accessibility (in terms of location), the show was “brought into a new reality” in 2010 when the Cirque creative team “redid [the technical aspects of Dralion] from scratch”. Stressing that while “[the show] remains artistically the same”, the arena tour has enabled the production team to rework the lighting and costumes to “achieve the quality of vision that both the designers and audiences expect”. Working together to produce a “stereo image”, an attempt at creating a unifying experience for audience goers, the creative team believes that “every seat should be a good seat”.

For Cirque Du Soleil, the spectacle comes not from the performers alone, but the blending of aural and visual performances. Not even the stage–described as a “twelve-agon”–escaped the creative team’s eye.
Seeking to reduce load-in/load-out times on the tour, Cirque Du Soleil’s stage supplier developed a unique “no-tool” stage that eliminates the need for screws and nails. Relying on magnets and a host of locking pins, the individual segments that compose the stage can be quickly assembled or disassembled with the “swing of an orange rubber hammer” and an allen key.

When the Dralion trucks arrive at a venue, laden with over 400,000 pounds of equipment, costumes and supplies, it is all hands on deck. Traveling with a permanent crew of 24 technicians, the production crew typically hires upwards of 60 local workers to help with load-in and over 75 for load out. Arriving one day ahead of opening night, load-in typically lasts 8-10 hours while the set and all equipment can be loaded out within 3 hours. Gauthier states that the current load-out record for this year’s tour is about 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Whether you missed your chance to see Dralion or want to experience the magic again, Cirque Du Soleil will be returning to the region in July with a new production which promises to deliver the same level of spectacle and excitement. Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour blends the King of Pop’s music with “[a] riveting fusion of visuals, dance and fantasy” that will draw audiences into “Michael’s creative world and literally turn his signature moves upside down”.

For more information about Cirque Du Soleil or The Wolstein Center, visit their websites at: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com  and http://www.wolsteincenter.com

Photographs from Dralion


CLEVELAND—Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion achieve just that. Running April 4th through 8th at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, spectators are drawn into a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals and flowing textiles. Showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, audience goers are treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts at a level of perfection that can be only delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audience goers are treated to many astounding spectacles including these favorites:

Single Handbalancing
Requiring impressing strength, flexibility and control, this act features an artist executing a series of impressing figures while maintaining her balance atop canes of various heights.

The artists of Dralion take traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances to new heights in this stunning act. Featuring dynamic and energetic tumbling sequences, acrobatics on large wooden balls and the Dralions themselves; this act is a crowd pleaser.

Putting a new spin on a classic children’s game, Diablos features four performers each with a Chinese yo-yo attempting increasingly difficult maneuvers, attempting to outdo each other in dexterity and ingenuity.

Tickets for Dralion are still available through the Wolstein Center and may be purchased online by clicking here.

Want to learn more about what goes into bringing Dralion to an arena near you? Find out in next week’s Villager.