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Chris Gerez

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Garrettsville – In their first council meeting since the fire on March 22 that destroyed a significant portion of downtown businesses, council was proactive in taking steps toward a rebuilding effort.  Upon the recommendation of the planning commission, council approved Ordinance 2014-18, which waives zoning fees that would be charged in the rebuilding process for properties impacted by the fire.  Council also approved Ordinance 2014-16, a tax abatement program focused toward community reinvestment.  

Garrettsville – The main topic of discussion after the opening of the March 12, 2014 Garrettsville village council meeting was water rates and how much of an increase there will be if council approves proposed Ordinance 2014-13.  The Board of Public Affairs (BPA) had asked a representative from Arcadis in February 2013 about a rate study for the village water utility that could be used to plan and budget future water projects and to assure current rates were adequate.  (Arcadis is company that specializes in infrastructure and water planning & design which  has consulted on infrastructure projects like the State Street water main replacement project last year and the coming Liberty Street bridge replacement project.)

Garrettsville -  The January 8, 2014 Garrettsville village council meeting opened welcoming new councilman Tom Hardesty (Hardesty was elected last November and replaces retired Councilman Bob Matson).  Immediately the floor opened for nominations for council president.  Councilwoman Becky Harrington nominated Tom Hardesty for the job.  The motion was seconded and council voted him in.   Hardesty’s first act was to open a public hearing to discuss proposed Ordinances 2013-39 and 2013-40 which would eliminate the requirement that business signage be reviewed by the Design Review Board and would allow the zoning department to approve applications for signs that meet current codes.
There was no public comment – actually, there was only one resident in attendance in the audience.  Hardesty closed the hearing and regular session began.  Minutes from the last council meeting were approved with corrections.  Council then discussed revenue, expenditure, cash balances and income tax reports.  

Garrettsville – At the November 13th village council meeting, Mayor Rick Patrick introduced Nelson Township Trustee Tom Matota.  Matota addressed council about the issues over chip/seal to Brosius Road that the township and village share responsibility for.  Matota explained his understanding of how ODOT divided up roads for maintenance.  Matota also stated it appears that Nelson Township’s assigned responsibility actually extends approximately 400 feet further than originally thought toward Silica Street.  Matota said that the township would maintain the portion of the road assigned to them.  He also said that the Township couldn’t always commit funds, especially on short notice.  

Garrettsville – Are you wondering what is a ‘walkable neighborhood’?  If you Google the term, it is broadly defined as a community that is a desirable place to live, work, learn, worship and play.  It fosters smart growth because goods (such as housing, offices, and retail) and services (such as transportation, schools, libraries) are located within an easy and safe walk of each other.  Walkable neighborhoods foster pedestrian activity by mixing land uses, building compactly and ensuring safe and inviting pedestrian corridors.

Garrettsville – A Public Hearing was held September 11, 2013 prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting for Proposed Ordinance 2013-30 that would amend the current zoning codes to allow for a “walkable neighborhood” overlay district in the current R-2 residential zoned district.  Dave Harrington of The Reserve at Eagle Creek and Fox Hollow Developments stated that a lot of the people that have considered moving to Garrettsville and have come to the Fox Hollow Development to look are discouraged by of the amount of land that they would have to take care of if they purchased a lot to build on.  Currently zoning requires a minimum of a half-acre lot for single-family homes.  

Garrettsville – –  Minutes from both the regular May 8, 2013 meeting and the June 1, 2013 special council meeting which authorized the mayor and clerk to enter into an agreement for the provision of dispatching services for the Windham Village Police Department were approved.  Immediately after, discussion ensued about the state of the village’s finances.  The current report shows that approximately $94,000 has been expended more than current revenues.  Councilman Matson asked clerk/treasurer Nancy Baldwin, “Are we in trouble?” to which she replied, “We could be”.

Garrettsville –  Village Council, by a unanimous vote, approved the appointment of Matthew Noah as a new full-time police officer for the village.  Noah’s appointment fills the position left vacant by the retirement of Officer Mark Rich.  Councilman Kaiser, a member of the village’s safety committee, stated that there were two great candidates for the position, and it was a difficult pick.  Noah brings great experience with him including his work with the Portage County Drug Task Force.

Garrettsville –  Representatives from the James A. Garfield Historical Society and all three Portage County Commissioners, Kathleen Chandler, Maureen Fredrick, Tommie Jo Marsilio, were present at the last regularly scheduled Village Council meeting held April 10, to present their ideas on the old Paul’s Feed Mill building at the east end of downtown and elicit cooperation and support from Village Council.

James Mayer of the historical society gave a brief history of the 1852 structure and of its importance to the village.  He also stated that though the historical society hoped to save the original structure, they had yet to develop a clear-cut plan of how to do so.  He presented a rough sketch of what the property could be transformed into.  The plan showed the front building at the intersection of Main and Center Streets, and a parking area with a scenic overlook behind the structure where currently buildings two and three of the feed mill are located.  Mr. Mayer went on to say that they had just begun to look into grants to finance the project.  Many of them required some sort of matching funds and or needed to be submitted by a government agency.  He asked for a formal commitment from council to support the society’s endeavor.  He also asked for financial support if council was able to provide it.  Mayer stated that in addition to funding issues, the current owner of the property intends to have the building razed by June 10, 2013.  

Garrettsville – A Public Hearing was held prior the regularly scheduled Village Council meeting March 13, to discuss proposed restructuring of the Design Review Board (DRB).   Residents and business owners discussed the opinions and asked questions about the proposed ordinance.  Mayor Patrick assured everyone that if these changes were made the Historic District would not be affected.  Solicitor Stuck added that the existing laws and rules pertaining to zoning would still be in effect.  Mayor Patrick also explained that the DRB as it is now, is only an advisory committee.  The Planning Commission makes the final decisions.  These proposed changes would only streamline a currently cumbersome process.  The proposed new legislation does allow for the re-establishment of the DRB in the future if it is deemed necessary.

Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting.   The public hearing that had been scheduled at last month’s council meeting to discuss proposed restructuring of the Design Review Board (DRB) was postponed due to an error in publishing the announcement.  Instead, proposed Ordinance 2013-01 was presented for second reading.  The Mayor stated that the Planning Commission, at their last meeting, voted to give their support and recommend passage of the proposed ordinance as well.

Garrettsville – Sugar Bush Golf Club, owned by the Koval family, was recently awarded The Small Business Leadership Award at The National Philanthropy Day Awards Celebration hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) North Central Ohio Chapter.  The awards luncheon, which was held November 9, 2012 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, celebrated the work of the Kovals and six other honorees for their philanthropic contributions.

Garrettsville – Village Council, at the November 14, 2012 council meeting, voted down proposed Ordinance 2012-15 that would have enacted an exterior maintenance code for every property (residential and commercial) in the Village.  Council had tabled the ordinance and sent it back to the Planning Commission to rework it after receiving much opposition from residents at the Public Hearing held before the August 8, 2012 Council Meeting.  The Planning Commission sent it back to Council with a recommendation for final consideration.  Without any discussion, Council un-tabled the Ordinance and unanimously voted it down.  Residents in the gallery thanked Council for listening and supporting their views.

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Project Be Somebody is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, with a mission to serve the community.   Lisa Booze, founder of the organization and owner of Lisa’s Little Angel Daycare states her goal is to serve the needs of her community and “build a safe environment for our children to grow and develop into responsible community members”.  Lisa is no stranger to giving.  She began her quest to make a difference in her community by giving away Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to needy families she found out about through her business or word-of-mouth.  Being a go-getter, Lisa knew that she could do more and looked for ways to be more involved.

Garrettsville – The October 10, 2012 council meeting opened with council approving the minutes from regularly scheduled council meeting on September 12, 2012.   Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  The Mayor stated that the income tax report “looked good”.  It was also reported that collection of delinquent taxes was still ongoing and many of those that negotiated payment plans needed ‘encouragement’ to make timely payments.  Another round of notices would also be sent out soon.

Garrettsville – Four Seasons Industries and Durajoint Concrete Accessories will both be moving to a new home, and luckily it is right here in Garrettsville!  Michael E. Diskin, owner of both companies, recently purchased the empty Amweld building on Industrial Drive and has been busy renovating the structure in preparation of moving his companies.

Garrettsville – The September 12, 2012 council meeting opened with council approving the minutes from special council meetings that were held in July and August dealing with the resignation of councilwoman Karen Clyde, the death of Mayor Moser and appointment of Council President Rick Patrick as Mayor, and the filling of two vacant council seats by new appointees Becky Harrington, and Chris Anderson.  Minutes from regularly scheduled council meeting on August 8, 2012 were also approved.
Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  It was reported that 310 residents who failed to file their 2011 income tax forms had been notified by mail.  To date, 77 of those had responded to the letters they received.
Ordinance 2012-23 amending the “Village of Garrettsville, Portage County, Ohio, Employee Handbook” was brought up for discussion.  The amendment clarifies part-time employee status as defined by hours worked.  The new amendment will classify employees as part-time for any position if they work less than 40 hours per week.  Council unanimously passed the proposed ordinance.

The LAF SOMe group (That is Life After 50, Seniors on the Move for those of you not familiar with the moniker) headed out on a full bus last Wednesday for a fun-filled adventure.  Our destination was the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, NY.  The casino is located a short walk from Niagara Falls State Park where the American Falls can be viewed from walkways along Prospect Point Park.
Many of us walked and some caught a cab over to view the splendor of The Falls.  Once there, the trails in the state park led us right up to the edge of the thundering wonder and breathtaking beauty of the three massive waterfalls.  Getting close enough to almost touch the millions of gallons of water that rocket over The Falls every minute inspired genuine awe.
Personally, I had never visited The Falls from the American side.  I was impressed with the extent of the park system and its amenities.  I was told there was no closer place to feel Niagara’s flow than from the vista points and trails of Niagara Falls State Park, which also happens to be America’s oldest state park.
Back at the casino, we entertained ourselves with over 4,200 slot machines and over 100 gaming tables!   We all had disembarked with high hopes of “hitting the big one”, but many of us returned a little lighter in the wallet!
The casino was upgrading the computer system on the day we went, so instead of a free-play slot bonus, we were awarded a free buffet meal at the Thunder Falls Buffet.  The food and the service were both exemplary.  The all-you-can-eat buffet offered eight serving stations with enough variety to satiate every pallet.
The food, The Falls and the company made the afternoon quite enjoyable!  Consider joining us for our next bus trip.  Later this fall we a planning a progressive luncheon/winery tour that will include several stops and opportunities for shopping too!
Keep reading the Villager for more information.  Any adult over 21 can attend our trips and there are no membership requirements.

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Barber poles, with their swirling red, white and blue stripes, in our lifetime, have always meant a place for men to get a haircut.  Did you ever wonder what is it about the red, white, and sometimes blue stripes that mean “barber”, or how that symbol came to represent the profession?   In modern times, the term “barber” is used both as a professional title and to refer to hairdressers who specialize in men’s hair.  But “barber” didn’t always mean that and the symbol of the barber pole came from a time when the art of hair and beard trimming, medicine, dentistry and surgery were all performed by the same person.  

Garrettsville –  Proposed Ordinance 2012-15 that would create an exterior maintenance code for the Village was up for a second reading.  A Public Hearing on the proposed ordinance will be held before the August 8  council meeting.    If  passed, the ordinance will require that all properties within the Village be maintained to the code standards and will give the zoning inspector authority to investigate any observed or reported violations.