Home Authors Posts by Mialie T. Szymanski

Mialie T. Szymanski

Mialie T. Szymanski
In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski's picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.

Newton Falls – For years, inhabitants of Newton Falls would be intrigued as a newly-cut and freshly-decorated evergreen tree sprouted up seemingly overnight in the traditional spot of Four Corners Park. And each year, when the holiday season completed, that otherwise healthy, sparkle-covered bunch of boughs would disappear just as seemingly overnight, just another Christmas memory, until its successor took its empty place the following winter. Eventually it was decided that a permanent tree planted in that plot could beautify the area all year round and provide the setting for the glitzy greenery on a continual basis for each annual lighting ceremony to come. The first large blue spruce selected for such a task unfortunately did not last until even the next year, so it was replaced with a similar tree waiting to fulfill its festive duties. All seemed well until that tree then began to lean a bit under the weight of the giant ornaments during the post-Thanksgiving trunk-trimming merriment! Would it too follow the apparently new tradition of standing in the square for not even a full year? It appeared it would take a Christmas miracle, but…

Despite concerns that yet another anonymous donor would have to step forward to rescue the holiday habit, the tree that proudly stands representing the seasonal spirit of the community is indeed still the one that was planted over a year ago! Though the tree itself is something older, the decorations themselves are something new, replacing the bulky though beautiful adornments with something a bit shinier and a bit sleeker which were shown off during this past weekend’s lighting ceremony.

On Saturday, residents and visitors to the small town gathered together to welcome a familiar face who returned from his post at the North Pole. Delivered to the scene by a local fire engine, Santa took a few moments to greet old friends and meet new ones who escorted him into the park singing strains of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Though the brisk winds contained quite a bit of chill, they also carried with them the carols sung by community members who braved the cold to spread a bit of cheer. While Santa made his rounds, giving hugs and extending warm wishes for the winter, a uniformed helper made sure every child there received a stuffed toy, many tots hugging plush kittens, puppies and teddy bears while watching in anticipation for the tree to join in the joy.

Sounds of the season transitioned from songs to momentarily hushed silence to an excited countdown before finally erupting into cheers as the switch flipped and the shadowy scene disappeared, making way for the main event of the evening. The big man in red was dwarfed (or elfed?) only by the tree itself, in all its glistening glory as he directed the chorus of carolers back to singing Christmas favorites. Accented by the tiny but mighty crowd, the tree radiated in its new decorations, draped elegant strings of lights and a glowing star shined in the night.

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up

And here we meet a sleepy pup,

Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,

Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.

After all the walking around town he’s been doing lately, Doodle Dog decided today he was going to relax on the front porch and enjoy the view of the neighborhood from there. Better yet, though he knew snow would soon be coming, for now his floppy ears still felt the calming warm air. Ahhhh….  And for now there was no other place he’d rather be than right at home on his comfy mat surveying the hustle and bustle from afar. As he rested, Doodle Dog thought how grateful he was to be able to take a few moments to just be, to just watch the world go by from his perch, to just lie back with his paws toward the sky and his ears flopped out in both ways behind him. 

Trying to keep his eyes open with little luck, the floppy-eared puppy thought that for just one afternoon he would most certainly be energetic and ambitious and go on a wonderful new adventure… energetic and ambitious, that is, in his imagination. That way he didn’t have to leave his safe place on the porch! Quite thankful for this little quiet spot in the middle of it all, Doodle Dog didn’t have to go far in the wide reaches of the world in his mind or think much too hard at all to remember the fun activities he’d been able to do recently. Curling up a little tighter on his mat, he tried not to shiver in his sleepiness as he thought of the impending wintry days ahead of him. Sure, they could be fun too, if he didn’t have to dig himself out of a wet flurry mound again! Seeing all the beautiful ice sculptures glistening in the sliver of sunshine brave enough to peek out during the last season of the year was indeed quite fantastic. Doodle Dog wondered if the talented snow sculptors would make another one of him again this winter. It was nice to have something to count on year after year!

Of course, as much as Doodle Dog loves being able to look forward to favorite traditions, there is something great about having unexpected places to be too. The little floppy-eared puppy remembered how he had a different porch last year and, although it was a little bit scary at first to be somewhere unknown, his curiosity was quite enjoying the new view too! Indeed it took some time to settle in, and Doodle Dog thought how grateful he is that the shadows on the wall were not real spiders – he won’t be going up to the attic again anytime soon thank you very much! – but now that he knows the nooks and crannies and every hidey place (well, almost), it’s quite fun to explore the not-unusual-anymore space.

While he considered all the changes in his own world, Doodle Dog found himself grateful for all the exciting new aspects going on around him as well. He thought of the lovely bride and groom starting their lives together surrounded by family and friends – and a furry flower bearer or two – in a ceremony in the park. And though one of his favorite familiar places, the park itself was constantly changing whether it played host to a whirlwind romance, set the stage for zipping and zooming around a go-kart track (Doodle Dog thought he could still feel the rush of anticipation as he approached the finish line, or was that the breeze simply getting faster as it blew over the porch…), or served as a welcome spot for planting baby bulbs that would grow up to be beautiful buds for spring.

No matter how the park temporarily transformed, one part of the experience stayed the same and Doodle Dog was grateful he was always able to find something interesting and wonderful whenever he visited. Flopping to the other side of his mat so the wind could catch that bit of his fur, he remembered the extra-special bouquet he’d found all wrapped up in one little sparkling bundle of rainbow. It seemed as though he could hold all his imagination and every memory in one paw too that day! Just as the sun shone through the clouds and peeked onto the porch, the floppy-eared puppy opened one eye just slightly and caught sight of the stoop next door where he recalled the kind man delivering a real bouquet to the neighbor. Doodle Dog was happy he had been there at the right time to provide a helping bark! Then the floppy-eared puppy thought of how thankful he is for the animals and humans who are nice to him too. If he peered right through the front window he could just see the tiny clay sculpture that looked quite a bit like him made by the smiling street artist. And posing for that one was a lot warmer than the ice sculpture for sure!

Doodle Dog hoped he would always find a reason to smile too, even on the days when the sky was gloomy and gray. As the sun now felt toasty on his toes, the little puppy remembered the sweet little spot where he could go whenever he needed a bit of cheer and made a note in his mind to go there often throughout the year. Besides, it was easy enough to find the sun, not so easy to find his chewy toy as he certainly discovered not too long ago. To be fair, that one time when he wanted nothing more than to take a nap, the warm spot of sun shining through his window sure was a tricky little character! Doodle Dog was grateful it seemed to be staying put for now. Next time it moved, he would just have to find his favorite human with the little red wagon full of books. Diving in to a new story always made him smile from ear to floppy ear no matter where he was sitting. The sandy shore may not be the best place for books so perhaps the lake’s edge was better left for taking leaps of the splashy kind! Now that Doodle Dog thought of it, he really did successfully put in more than just a paw this year! The floppy-eared puppy started to smile as he thought of another successful adventure during his class at the cupcakery and the fun picnic with all the cats and dogs! He was grateful for all the pretty posies to smell and all the yummy doggie treats to eat. The colors of the cakes followed him long after, first for his pawdicure – there’s still a tiny spot on his toe! – then on the balloons bouncing along the breeze, then on the saddles of the carousel horses going round and round. (Doodle Dog now wondered if perhaps they would have liked their hooves painted. A hooficure?) It must be boring sometimes for those ponies riding up and down and nowhere in particular. On the porch, the little floppy-eared puppy turned around and around on his mat before plopping down again. Going round and round the neighborhood himself, sniffing out yummy biscuits for Trick or Treat wasn’t boring though. By now he’d become pretty good at searching with all his senses! Sunshine, chewy toys, biscuits, fairy princesses in distress and not-so-scary squishy toy noses… what could be next for the doggie detective? 

Without opening his eyes fully, he could feel the familiar mat under his back and thought of the sidewalk under his paws whenever he walks. He could still taste the flavor of the homemade pumpkin biscuit from the barkery and smell the crispness of almost-exiting autumn mixing with the fresh chill of nearly-entering winter air. Then his floppy ears picked up a sound he loves to hear: bong Bong BONG. A definitely wonderful part about the new office is that it is even closer to the town’s tall clock tower! And just as he coaxed his eyes open, a familiar sight greeted his gaze: the brilliant hue of his red leaf friend wafting on the wind. Doodle Dog was grateful for their next adventure – whatever and wherever it may be!

Growing a wee bit tired from all the pattering around town in the quest for yummy snacks, Doodle Dog was still having so much fun that he didn’t notice the sky around him was growing a wee bit darker. He knew he should get home soon and could hurry to make it back to the office before the stars came out to light the night, but for now the floppy-eared puppy figured it would be okay to meander just a wee bit longer since there were still plenty of children out and about scampering this way and that way too.

Waddling along in his cotton-candy cloud-sheep snowball-giant dust bunny-misty fog sort of getup, Doodle Dog’s floppy ears perked up at the sound of little feet racing behind him. A pint-sized fairy princess hurried along, her glittering wings flapping in the wind created by her dashing and her tiny toes trying unsuccessfully not to trip on the long hem of her silky dress. One misstep and her skirt caught on the tip of her foot and caused her to fall flat on her elbows, the dainty pail in her hand falling to the ground and most of the candy inside it flittering briefly in the air before skittering across the sidewalk. Oh no! Her petite crown followed the route of the candy, slipping off the top of her brown curls and flinging itself more than a few feet down the street. A nearby streetlamp starting to glow for evening glinted off the tiny tiara marking its silvery trail.

As the sky grew darker, the air around the pair grew thicker as though a cloud much bigger than Doodle Dog was settling over the town. The floppy-eared puppy didn’t want the little fairy princess to get lost in the fog, so he did his best to dart over – as well as a waddling whatever-he-was could dart – to her rescue. Even in the translucent cover of the misty surroundings, Doodle Dog could hear the very beginnings of a scared sniffle and just as tiny tears started to sparkle in the corners of her eyes, the floppy-eared puppy nudged the little fairy’s hand with his gentle nose, the cloud fur brushing up against her arm in comfort. Once the fluffy cotton candy-like dust bunny fuzz tickled her skin it made her giggle and Doodle Dog knew she would be just fine, so he went to track down her crown and nudged her candy back into her satin pouch piece by piece. As she stood up and brushed off her dress, the floppy-eared puppy nosed around her, circling once to check her ankles and again to check her knees until he was sure nothing was twisted or broken or otherwise unusual looking, at least from the little puppy’s level. The bumbling dust bunny bumped this way and that, encouraging the little fairy princess to walk along with him and together they would make it home.

It’s not TOO scary, Doodle Dog thought… though it was nearly twilight the two continued along quite happily enjoying a slow pace so there would be no more tumbles and only giggles as the fairy kept trying to pet the floppy-eared puppy’s fur and wound up with more fluffy fuzz in her hand every time. The wind had picked up a wee bit with the approaching nighttime and bits of the curious puppy’s costume constantly floated this way and that way down the sidewalk from where they had just been and up the street where they were about to be. No, not too scary at all… Doodle Dog even saw something colorful waving up ahead – a lot of somethings in fact! A bunch of balloons like the ones he saw from the carnival were floating in the wind like the tiny tufts of fluff from his cotton cloud cushion costume. They looked friendly enough, with their pretty purples and bright blues and yellows so cheerful they looked like a bouquet of tiny sunshines tied together. They looked friendly enough… but then the breeze blew the balloons to the side and revealed the person behind them. Eep!

The person wasn’t a person at all but someone who seemed ten feet tall with pasty blank powder where the face should be, neon pink discs for cheeks and crazy orange hair like the goop that comes out of the inside of a pumpkin. Decorated from head to feet in stiff ruffles and multi-colored stripes, the creature’s costume was as mismatched as could be. That was the scariest thing of all on the sidewalk! But then the not-person took off its bright red nose that made Doodle Dog think of Rudolph the Reindeer and gave it a quick squeeze to make it squeak just like one of the floppy-eared puppy’s favorite chewy toys! Without his glowing nose, Doodle Dog could imagine what the man looked like behind the red round spot, beyond the chalky white cheeks and beneath the unkempt pouf of hair. The not-so-scary clown-man stooped down with one hand still holding the balloons and the other hand in his pocket. Soon Doodle Dog could smell a whiff of pumpkin biscuit and an instant later he could see the doggie treat gently held between the clown-man’s fingers. The floppy-eared puppy gave it a curious sniff to make sure it really did smell okay to eat, and then he took a little nibble that was really a great big bite. Yum! While Doodle Dog enjoyed his snack, the man took his now-free hand and untangled a bright yellow balloon from the bunch, handing the tiny sun to the little girl standing cautiously next to the little puppy. And with that, the fairy princess and her guard dog made their way down the street, tugging the brilliant sunny bauble bouncing in the air behind them. Doodle Dog was definitely glad he hadn’t hurried home and was able to lend a helping paw on Halloween!


Newton Falls – In the creative world, at any given time, there are countless aspiring actors, writers, musicians or dancers hoping to one day see their name in lights so to speak (or on a byline, CD cover or playbill) but not all of them are able to watch their respective dreams come to fruition. For one local hopeful, filmmaking is the route of choice for personal expression and bringing his own special brand of storytelling to the world.

Independent filmmaker Tom Denvir is currently immersed in turning his goal into a reality through the production of his debut movie which is being captured on camera throughout this month. The film, Accidental Heroes, is described as a buddy comedy with some character hints of the writer’s own personality. A 1997 graduate of Windham High School, Denvir admits quite a bit of the inspiration for the antics and dialog of the on-screen cohorts comes from his interactions with his own friends. “There’s a part where one of the guys says his graduating class only had 56 students,” he explains. “That’s straight out of my life.”

After completing high school, Denvir attended the Ohio Center for Broadcasting where he learned about radio broadcasting and how to use a camera. Otherwise a mostly self-taught aspiring filmmaker, Denvir originally intended to be a standup comic as a way to satisfy his love of being a storyteller but ultimately decided behind the camera was a better vehicle for showcasing his talents. Aside from his own experiences, Denvir mentions he is heavily influenced by the work of Kevin Smith as well as Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, citing in particularly the movie Clerks. “If they can do it, why not me?” he said. Approaching his 36th birthday in the coming weeks, Denvir intends to not waste any time following through with his dream. “I want people to see I’m a former Bomber making something of himself.”

To a point, Accidental Heroes does mimic the style of these comedians but, according to Denvir, though his script pushes the limits a bit, it is definitely “not as vulgar” as what his idols have produced. In addition to writing and directing, Denvir is funding the entire project himself, utilizing area connections to help him stay on budget with set locations as well as incorporating local talent to make on-screen appearances. In a way to “give back” for his experiences during broadcasting school, he plans to invite current students to participate in some scenes so that they will gain experience and the film itself can benefit from the skills they are learning as professionals-in-training.

Shooting is expected to take place on weekends at various locations around Newton Falls including a private residence near the Community Center and the Budget Lodge near the turnpike exit on Route 5. If all goes well, filming should be wrapped within seven working days so Denvir is doing everything he can to make the best use of each call time. With an expert film crew and nearby actors running lines of the main roles, even the normal house where the project completed its first scene seemed instantly morphed into a mini movie set. As the key players crowded into the kitchen for an important encounter between the boy-meets-girl portrayal, the living room doubled as a viewing area where, just like a big name Hollywood director, Denvir was able to watch a live feed of the filming to ensure each frame translated to the screen exactly the way he envisioned.

Starring Tim Wolfe (a standup comic from Warren) as the main character of Tom, and Cleveland native Engy Ayad as his love interest, Julie, Accidental Heroes also features Akron native Steve Haas playing the role of Steve. Adding one more responsibility to his résumé, Denvir himself is stepping in as Tim’s sidekick, Dave. With strong language and a certain kind of humor, it’s definitely not a family movie (chances are due to content it will be rated R when it hits the big screen) but fans of Smith and company will appreciate the awkward situations Denvir’s characters find themselves trying to escape.

When production is finally wrapped, Denvir knows it’s only the beginning to actually getting his work into the world. Though it’s not quite the right fit for the famed Sundance, the hope is to release it at the Nantucket Film Festival in June. A crowd-funding campaign has been set up through Indiegogo to alleviate associated costs. To read the synopsis or if you’d like to help a local creative turn his dream into reality, check it out by searching for “Accidental Heroes” at www.indiegogo.com or find “T&D Films” on facebook and you may see your own name in lights in the end credits.

Hiram - Members from the Hiram College community, past, present and future, made citizens all over the United States see red last Saturday.

Gathering at over two dozen locations around the country as part of the annual Alumni Volunteer Day, about three hundred alumni, friends and family – the largest registration in the event’s thirteen year existence! – invaded various sites in the name of lending a Hiram Hill helping hand.

Donning bright red T-shirts received specially for the occasion, or accented by other HC-representing flair, generations from several decades of Hiram history mingled and worked together while supporting an assortment of projects. Alumni who recently celebrated a 50th year class reunion painted walls alongside graduates who moved their own tassels across the mortarboard only a couple of years ago. Hands of inexperienced quilters were taught how to tie fabric strips into knots for children’s blankets by seasoned seamstresses while also linking decades of campus stories, interweaving the figurative threads as well as the literal ones. The options for serving were just as varied as the participants as, in addition to painting or quilt-tying, volunteers could register for opportunities to mend fences, paint playhouses, move (or even build!) furniture, perform general administrative tasks, landscaping, pantry stocking, or even to directly assist current students by clearing thorny brush from the James H. Barrow field station, an active research facility utilized frequently by Biology or Environmental Studies majors.

Approximately half of the College’s living alumni are located in Northeast Ohio, so many of the tasks were scheduled throughout Portage, Trumbull, Stark, Ashtabula and Cuyahoga counties, but the Terrier Spirit was out in force in places ranging all the way from Boston to Atlanta to Phoenix! And it wasn’t only distance that spanned further than one would imagine, it was time as well as two of the projects didn’t actually take place on Saturday the 13th which will effectively turn the whole month into a wonderful way to welcome in autumn: though April is officially National Volunteer Month, thanks to hundreds of Hiramites September is temporarily taking that title for the Terriers.

Kicking off the efforts the previous weekend, volunteers were invited to the Birds in Flight Sanctuary in Warren where new drains were installed and nets were repaired to provide a safe place for rescued feathered friends. The event served as a bit of a preview to the amazing objectives that would be accomplished during the upcoming main attraction. Warren also hosted an activity on the “official” day, encouraging those with an appreciation for the humanities to spend the morning sprucing up the Trumbull Art Gallery which recently made a major move to a new location. With paintbrushes in hand, participants may not have created the framed pieces lining the walls, but thanks to their efforts in coating the trim boards around the interior of the building, the facility itself is now framed even more beautifully.

And for those who share the love of fuzzy friends, the four-pawed have certainly not been forgotten as this year’s collaboration will wrap up with the final weekend’s activity taking place in Kirtland at the Holden Arboretum in honor of the Rescue Village’s Woofstock festivities. (Doodle Dog will be proud!) On Saturday, September 20th, volunteers will set up tents, tables, chairs and other supplies to help organizers prepare for the furry fundraiser on Sunday, September 21st.

Alumni Volunteer Day is not just for Hiram College graduates – friends and family are more than welcome – so for more information or details on how you can be involved next year, contact the Hiram College Alumni Office toll free at (800) 705-5050 or visit http://alumni.hiram.edu.

For more information on the quickly-approaching Woofstock, contact the Geauga Humane Society at (440) 338-4819, on the web at http://www.geaugahumane.org or find them on Facebook. With a one-mile dog walk, agility course, pet-friendly activities and adoptable dogs, it’s a great day to be a fan of canines. (Who knows, you might even find your very own floppy-eared puppy to bring home!)

With the freshly made doggie biscuits out of the oven and cooling on top of the counter, Doodle Dog could smell the delicious flavors wafting from the trays, off the tippy top of the table and all the way down to puppy-sniffing level. He could see the steam rising from the still-warm treats as it swished and swirled above the cookie sheets, seemingly twisting and twirling with the yummy scents of the completed recipe. Weaving together on the wind, it appeared that not only were the smells dancing around the bakery kitchen but they were so excitedly looping from one spot to the next it looked as though they might just escape right out the window! Not only did the floppy-eared puppy’s gaze follow the silvery steam and his nose follow the airborne aroma as it circled around the cooking area, but as it went out the exit to the outside world, so did he, chasing it right into the garden behind the store. Still hot on the trail, Doodle Dog emerged from the back door of the bake shop to find that more wonderful whiffs awaited him.

Just beyond the bakery building, a patch of grass served as the perfect place for a picnic and several of the other culinary class participants were already settling in around a beautiful blanket spread over a section of the yard. The soft covering created a cozy space to land as Doodle Dog scampered toward his friends. But before he settled in he wanted to explore the assortment of odors mixing around him! He had been smelling the cookies for a while now, waiting patiently as they baked, and there was a plate near him ready for the picnic, but he couldn’t quite figure out the enticing scents mixing with those tasty treats. The floppy-eared puppy could still see the steam and smell the biscuits, and now his paws could feel the soft sod under him as he searched out this new flavor just tempting him to taste! But what was it and where was it hiding? He paused a moment to listen to the wind gently rustling in the leaves of the nearby trees hoping it would direct him but all he heard was the faint giggling of his friends getting comfortable on the colorful squares covering the ground. Hmmm…

Lush hedges bordered the yard, so high they were that the floppy-eared puppy couldn’t begin to look over them. He bet the taller humans wouldn’t even be able to try to see what was on the other side! Poking out of the thick foliage in its varying shades of green, tiny flowers peeked through as though they were bright polka-dots on someone’s shirt. Tucked into the leafy bushes, the buds seemed cozy and content, their colors calling out to the curious Doodle Dog who immediately snuck a sniff. There! The floppy-eared puppy eagerly bounced from one blossom to the next, promptly poking his nose into the center of each one and drawing in its delicious scent. All around the boundary of the backyard little flowers posed on display in their shrubbery frames and Doodle Dog was determined to smell them all. He was so excited in fact, as he scampered from petal to petal that he nearly forgot about the other source of his nose’s enthusiasm ~ the yummy treats he could actually eat! Distracted by the tempting scents and the eye-catching colors, the floppy-eared puppy didn’t hear his friends telling him the biscuits were ready for munching, nor did his tongue remind him how much he wanted to taste the peanut butter and pumpkin bites he’d made with his very own paws. Well, it probably did, but the floppy-eared puppy was doing a pretty good job ignoring it for the moment! But then, as the soft, silky petals tickled his nose, a leftover drop of dew, cold and wet, stuck to the top of Doodle Dog’s mouth and he instinctively licked it off. It reminded him of the icy treats they had put in the freezer and he suddenly remembered how much he had wanted to try them!

The floppy-eared puppy immediately bounded back to the blanket in search of those puppy popsicles and as soon as the picnic party was in sight he could see the display of everyone’s treats dotting the green grass like the flowers did in the wall of flattened trees. Doodle Dog was glad he could share the treats he helped make! And as everyone else brought their recipes to share too, the arrangement of edibles enticed even the most patient of pups.

Doodle Dog set about excitedly sampling each one, taking in their delicious smells and also the bakers’ gleeful smiles that came with them, each four-legged friend and human too gathered together to enjoy their handmade recipes just as wonderful as the unique posies nearby!

As the afternoon sky melted into its own evening blanket, Doodle Dog couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the summer as it melted into autumn.


It is said that the show must go on and, despite quite the heavy down pour, the show certainly did just that at the Portage County Randolph Fair which recently showcased locals “Livin’ the Dream 2014” during its 156th season.

Clear skies and sunshine shone at various points during the weeklong festivities, encouraging visitors to take their time perusing a wide variety of skills on display ranging from handmade crafts and artwork to homegrown and kitchen-preserved produce to aptitude with raising and training animals.

Though there were exceptional events continually on the schedule, a few days were designated with special themes such as the Kids’ Day on Thursday, which is when those same sunny skies opened up for an impromptu rainstorm unfortunately drenching the spectators but fortunately serving as a way to cool down the late summer heat. Nevertheless, those present enjoyed the cornucopia of offerings that included amusement rides, a K-9 demonstration, mini horse shows, Little Squirts tractor races and “make and take” activities geared just for the younger crowd. Friday acknowledged senior citizens and veterans with free admission and spotlighted entertainers reminiscent of the good ole days such as Elvis (well, an impersonator at least) and the not-at-all-minuscule sounds of the Akron Big Band.

Festival fans had the opportunity to explore the plethora of participants throughout several different styles of venues whether in the barn stables corralling cows (beef and dairy alike) or the aforementioned mini horses and their not-so-mini counterparts; livestock pens housing sheep, goats, pigs and even alpacas; or exhibit buildings presenting everything from flower arrangements, sewing selections and fine art to a veritable rainbow of delectable edibles in the form of jams and jellies, wine (red, white, blush and dessert subcategories just to name a few), right-off-the-tree-or-bush fruits and the freshly made pies and pastries that go with them. Due to the recent trend in home brewing, a new category may be created next season for homemade beer as well giving a new twist to look forward to for those who make a tradition of fair attendance year after year. And for an extra taste of creativity, “art” projects combining ingenuity with natural materials found right in one’s garden allowed viewers to look at vegetables with a new perspective as a barrel-racing scene made out of a cucumber obstacle course was run by a cherry tomato-topped peapod “cowboy” riding a corncob “pony” protected by a green bean “fence” while another tongue-in-cheek landscape depicted an iceberg (of iceberg lettuce, of course) obstructing the world’s most famous cruise ship. The scarecrow army returned as well with one section portraying straw-stuffed likenesses of prominent inventors in history.

Regardless of which roof the products were under, ribbons were awarded fair-wide in several classes and categories and the recipients’ entries were proudly tagged with an array of blue, red, white and yellow, with large purple ruffles designating a Best in Show.

Other honorable mentionables to notice while meandering along the grounds were humorous competitions such as a rooster crowing challenge and costume contest for various types of four-legged friends in addition to the grooming games and live races that required humans and animals to team up their talents to succeed in their endeavors. Grandstand crowd favorites returned with tractor pulls, bull riding and the quintessential smash’em ups that feature the brave contestants in the Demolition Derby. And if the flashing lights and noisy sound effects didn’t draw attention to the giant contraptions on the midway, the temporarily thrilled (or terrified?) shrieks of the carnival kiddies riding high above the numerous food stands certainly did. It wouldn’t be a county fair without plenty of snack choices, namely those that are fried or on a stick, to munch while enjoying an afternoon of being hoisted by a colorful metal apparatus into the air and any festival veteran knows that successfully combining both without some kind of messy aftermath is a talent all its own!

To learn even more about this long-standing fixture in our nearby farming world, or to find out how to be involved next year, visit http://www.randolphfair.com/ or call the fair office at (330) 325-7476.



Newton Falls – Summer may be almost over, which means classes are about to start up again for the area’s youngsters (and college co-eds too!) but for one local student the learning didn’t stop just because the school bell rang signaling warm weather had arrived. Alie Orr, a soon-to-be ninth grader at Newton Falls High School, had the opportunity to spend part of her summer vacation attending a gathering of future leaders in Columbus. Youth from all over the United States converged upon our state capital for a weekend of workshops, projects, teambuilding and networking, hoping to return to their respective regions a little bit more talented, a smidge wiser and perhaps even with a few new friends on facebook.

Once Alie received her acceptance letter to the event, the National Young Leaders State Conference, thanks to a nomination by her seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Clay, she started to fulfill the program’s curriculum requirements by producing a creative newsletter-type magazine cover about someone she admired (she picked her mom) and considered her goals and what she hoped to acquire from her time there.

For her part, Kristy Orr, Alie’s mom, had a big wish for her daughter’s attendance at the conference: to gain more confidence.

During the whirlwind weekend, students kept a special journal answering prompts in the book that required them to think deeply on different topics and to explore potentially new areas of discussion including conversations they would have in class. One workshop invited the students to imaginarily plan a community service project (Alie planned a fundraiser concert for autism awareness) while another put the participants in the spotlight, engaging them as discussion leaders, which helped polish their skills and become better public speakers. Though the service project Alie planned in class is only imaginary right now, she has organized a real one taking place this weekend: a bake sale to help the homeless in our local community, set up during the City Wide Yard Sale (August 15, 16 and 17).

Before she temporarily left the small town of Newton Falls for the big city of Columbus, one of Alie’s own goals was to talk more and make new friends and all around “to better myself,” she said. Sorted into themed teams of other kids her age from various parts of the country (the 8th grader sets were named after rivers), Alie as part of the “Amazons” spent the conference getting to know a diverse group of students and honed her social skills as well as her academic abilities.

She mentioned that the experience has indeed helped her ask questions more and be more engaged with those around her. “I spent four days with complete strangers and walked out with a bunch of phone numbers,” she said with a smile.

If there’s one thing this bright young lady hopes people will know about her it’s that there’s more than meets the eye and she may be quiet but that doesn’t mean she’s shy. “I’m not just a bookworm,” she explained. “I’m fun to be around and I pick and choose my friends wisely.”

So did Kristy’s wish for her daughter come true?

“I am most proud of her for finding herself,” Kristy said. “This past year was a difficult year for her and I’m proud of her for staying true to who she is, that she owns who she is. Embrace your weirdness!” And the confidence? Kristy mentioned that she has indeed seen a higher level of confidence in Alie. “I’ve noticed that difference ever since,” she said.

So what’s around the corner for this year? In addition to continuing her already full schedule of interests including playing snare drum in the marching band and serving as defender on the soccer team, Alie would like to study drama, journalism and photography in the upcoming school year as well. And if that isn’t enough to juggle, Alie is looking forward to being the first freshman at Newton Falls to take college classes at Kent Trumbull. As she doesn’t have a high school GPA yet which is a requirement for taking courses, this first semester will be strictly high school classes to officially earn that status. Then she will incorporate the higher learning one class at a time, to which she states there’s only one problem: her small height in comparison to all the older college students. “I’ll just have to wear high heels to look taller,” she quipped.

And for after she officially graduates from high school, well, she’s thought that out too. Although mom Kristy attended Kent State University and dad Ron is a Hiram College alumnus, Alie has her sights set on Ohio State with plans to study veterinary medicine. Alie’s love for animals is shown in the two cats and one dog that keep her entertained at home and caring for them is a good start for her intended career.

It appears that with a little bit more planning, a smidge of ambition and perhaps even a touch of luck, Amazon Alie will be achieving amazing accomplishments!http://www.envisionexperience.com/explore-our-programs/national-young-leaders-state-conference?region=ohio – what-to-expect


Hudson2Exercise your legs and exercise your mind!

This summer dozens of locals have played history buff for the day thanks to the Hudson Library & Historical Society’s walking tour series led by Library Archivist Gwen Mayer. One of the tours, the Scandals of Hudson, features mischievous tales of the most – you guessed it – scandalous in nature (well, depending who you ask – some are actually relatively tame in today’s times). The first stop on this pleasant promenade rocks the reputation of the quaint community almost immediately as Gwen explains the building behind the iconic clock tower has a long record of housing banks, one of which once played host to an embezzlement scheme that took residents quite a while to recover from when it was discovered. More secrets surround this section of the settlement known as Brewster’s Row, named after the original store’s well-to-do owner and builder of several of the structures along that piece of land. What did Mr. Brewster do that made him think the Hudson Green was his very own front yard? And why did he continually expand his empire right on down the street adding one formation after another? Catching clandestine clues such as these is only part of the fun to be had during this intriguing event.

Depending on the topic of the tour, the historical hike around Hudson is approximately a mile and a half so patrons will want to wear comfortable walking shoes. Our outing was just over an hour and a half of scenic storytelling and there were plenty of chances to sit for a spell or two during the easy-going afternoon.

A resident of Garrettsville who has been digging up Hudson history as part of the Library for nearly twenty years, Gwen is engaging, informative and informal, encouraging participants to ask questions and chime in, adding to the anecdotal atmosphere. Bits of true crime gleaned from the library archives chronicle tales about other long-ago (and not so long ago) inhabitants including another wealthy man, James Ellsworth, who became the town’s most well-loved benefactor and several ways he influenced the growth of the area, not only in architecture but in attitude as well.

How a polar explorer once on a US postage stamp is connected to a speakeasy when Hudson was a dry community even before Prohibition? What happened to make the town’s clock tower mouse one of the quite recent scandalous “tails”? You’ll just have to sign up for these mini expeditions to find out!

The tours are: Disasters of Hudson (August 2nd at 2pm), Architectural History (August 4th or October 7th at 6:45pm), Kit Homes (August 11th at 6:45pm), Scandals of Hudson (September 2nd at 6:45pm), Underground Railroad (September 25th at 6:45pm) and, just in time for the fright season that is Halloween, Spooky Hudson (October 28th at 6:45pm).

Registration in advance is required as tours are limited to about 25 participants. To secure your spot, stop by the library, call (330) 653-6658, or visit the website at www.hudsonlibrary.org and click the register link on the event of your choice. (A waitlist option is available in case a selected tour is already full.)


From the edge of the red and white blanket, Doodle Dog watched his favorite kind of humans splashing in the slight surf at the edge of the shore. As much fun as he was having listening to stories and snacking on yummies, the floppy-eared puppy couldn’t very well spend all afternoon on the blanket, especially being that he was still in the middle of a goopy mess. A very tasty, frosty, creamy mess, but a sticky, slimy, icky mess all the same. It had been fun for a moment or two, but Doodle Dog did not quite wish to stay covered in this concoction that made him appear as though a vanilla volcano erupted all over his fur. Licking the tips of his paws only worked so well because soon his tongue became just as sticky as his toes and he found the more he tried to get clean, the more he was actually getting gooey! The melty ice cream drops started to turn a bit gummy as they mixed with the fuzzy flecks on his feet and, well, it was NOT what the floppy-eared puppy had in mind when he thought maybe he would try a new look for summer! This was definitely a fashion faux “paw” of puppy proportions! Doodle Dog certainly didn’t want to commit such a canine crime, even if it was of the yummy confectionary kind, so he wondered how he could get himself out of the – quite actual – sticky situation.

There! A very simple solution to his current condition shone in front of him by the form of the sprawling, shimmering lake where the little humans splashed and scampered. As their toes swished in the ripples, it appeared they had the right idea to get un-sticky! Splashing and scampering are what the floppy-eared puppy does best so not another moment went by before Doodle Dog decided to join in the fun. As his paws swished in the ripples, the spaces between his toes loosened and the clumps in his fur disappeared. Dozens of boys and girls were scampering, splashing, swimming and shrieking with delight as gentle waves washed over them. Skipping over the ripples, the little red wagon boy was now leading something other than a pile of books. Several children danced and pranced along beside and behind him as he made his way down the shore to the far end of the lake, his bare feet leaving a trail of toe prints in the sand as he went, toe prints which were soon joined by those of the other children and then the paw prints of one very curious – and now considerably cleaner! – floppy-eared puppy. At the curve of shore just up ahead, Doodle Dog could now see what everyone was excitedly approaching. A wide ladder, which really more resembled a series of steps, reached up from a solid, sturdier piece of ground off to the side of the sandy bank spread under their feet. And, at the tippy top of the staircase ladder, a length of colorful lumber stuck out like a long, flat limb jutting out of a tree. The little boy immediately scurried up the sturdy rungs and balanced on the protruding panel, his small feet light tan against the bright orange overhanging from the ladder. Doodle Dog couldn’t help but think the diving board resembled a flattened traffic cone that hadn’t jumped out of a bicycle’s way in time. He also couldn’t help thinking that he generally avoided objects that reminded him to take caution!

Despite the friendly child beginning to bounce up and down on it, that diving board did not appear very welcoming to the curious but cautious floppy-eared puppy. As the other children scrambled up the ladder to watch the boy take his leap into the liquidy lagoon below, Doodle Dog preferred the view from right where his paws were planted. He could see plenty from right there on the safe shore.

But as the brave little boy went to the very end of the diving board, wrapping his toes over the edge, and bounced once, then twice, the floppy-eared puppy watched first in fright, then in anticipation and awe when the boy’s toes left the platform, then excitement as he splashed in, and then finally in eager delight while waiting for the jumper to resurface. The onlookers cheered from their various positions on the platform, the ladder or on the ground waiting to climb up themselves. One by one the group thinned out as its members took turns scrambling, springing and splashing. Soon the floppy-eared puppy was the only one not swimming.

The children in the water called out to Doodle Dog, encouraging him to try the dive himself. Several pets dove with their humans: a Golden Lab had already taken the plunge and was now happily chasing a small ball as it bobbed up and down in the wrinkly waves and a very wet German Shepherd shook itself dry after returning to the shore right next to the floppy-eared puppy. Doodle Dog knew if he was going to try it, this was his chance. If he waited too long, everyone would be tired of splashing around and he’d be all by himself at the top of the ladder! Eep!

Taking a deep breath, he put one front paw on the bottom rung of the staircase ladder, then his next front paw and then finally his two back paws cautiously followed. Rung by rung, one at a time, one paw then the next and then the rest, the floppy-eared puppy climbed. When he reached the top, he didn’t bounce out to the board right away like the little wagon boy, but instead stopped to look out over the lake and the treetops surrounding it. Then he took a deeper breath and slowly scooted paw by paw, inch by inch along the traffic cone-colored beam. This must be what it’s like to walk the pirate plank! Doodle Dog imagined all the sea stories he read with sleek ships and salty air. A swift wind made him shiver as he went to the very end of the diving board and wrapped his paws over the edge, his claws digging in slightly while he convinced himself to take the path between holding on tightly and letting go to fly in the air. Taking his deepest breath of all, the floppy-eared puppy bounced once… then twice… and … SPLASH!

The onlookers cheered from their various spots in the surf and on the shore as Doodle Dog resurfaced and swam to the water’s edge. Doggie paddling? Now that’s something he can do quite well!


great-lakes-medieval-faireGeneva – Rain or shine, step back in tyme and the enchanted shire shall be thine!

Would you like to roam through a mystical woodland inhabited by fantastical faeries, intriguing imps and beautiful butterflies? Spend a day winding your way through a medieval maze of merriment around every turn? Come to the grand gates of Avaloch and allow the lands beyond to captivate you as gallant knights and lovely maidens await you.

For us 21st century folk, the door to the magical 13th century is located just off Rt. 534 in Geneva in the form of the Great Lakes Medieval Faire and, though it’s not quite like walking through that famous wardrobe or a certain blue telephone booth, it will instantly transport visitors to another place and another time quite effectively! Each weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from now until August 17th, you are cordially invited to promenade with the Royal Court, wander through the wooded forests and exchange pleasantries with paupers and princes alike. For an extra layer of excitement, each weekend venture presents its own unique theme, encouraging guests to envelop themselves in a different persona with every experience. During opening weekend of July 12th-13th, capes and super powers were a-plenty in honor of any Super Heroes, Super Villains, & Super Pets (even those in disguise!). There was a plethora of goggle-donning “doctors” in the house for July 19th-20th which was the Tyme Travel, Alter Ego, Steam Punk, Comic-Con Blast. Next weekend, July 26th-27th, needs only one word: pirates!! Trade your goggles in for an eye patch and stay out of the way (or join in the ruckus!) as the plundering invade Avaloch. Plaid is the word for August 2nd–3rd’s Celtic Celebration or if you prefer the elegance of a toga you’ll have your chance to party at August 9th–10th’s Togas, Tiaras, Masquerade & Dreams weekend. Wrapping up the season, the battling brutes have a chance to shine as August 16 th-17th is the Barbarian, Viking, & Mongul Conquest.

To procure entry into the festivities, tickets for adults are $22 at the gate, children are $6 (or buy online and save a few dollars). Desiring a longer visit to the kingdom than just a few marks on a sundial? A season pass is available at $50, valid for the remaining eight Faire days, or come simply for one consecutive Saturday and Sunday with a weekend pass which is just a few dollars more than your original gate ticket. No matter how you arrive or on what day you choose to knock at the gates of Avaloch, plan to stand ready at 10:45am to be officially welcomed during a ceremony featuring the royal family.

Aside from the abundance of entertainment to be discovered throughout the afternoon, Avaloch is famous for the exquisite marketplace featuring crafters of all talents. Those who love all things shiny will be continually delighted at the array of offerings presented in the way of bits and baubles to carry home a small piece of the shire. Even though it rained last weekend (or maybe it was the Wenches at it again) and making one’s way through the “path of least yuck” was a challenge, it was quite worth it as it caused one to slow down and appreciate the surroundings (and the covered booths available) while encountering gorgeous glassmaking demonstrations or humorously being caught off guard by a mini catapult pummeling passersby with marshmallows. (Note: to see a real catapult, and a pair of archers with real talent, the Field of Honor is the place to be.) Mine for your own gems or choose from an assortment of pre-arranged pretties. A visitor with a keen eye should keep a lookout for a certain character of the day sponsored by the Tanner Customs jewelry stand. Be one of the first to spot her and earn a very special shiny for yourself! (For a clue before you go, find them on the modern contraption that is facebook, in advance, under the secret name of “Medieval Millinery & Embellishments.” Shhh, don’t tell anyone I said so lest I be chased by dragons for giving away kingdom intel!)


As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up

And here we meet a sleepy pup,

Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,

Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.


The best place to find the sunshine and the best way to see it for sure is to go outside and today was as good a day as any for meandering through town. Doodle Dog ambled out the office door, his tail wagging excitedly as he hopped down the front step and dropped onto the sidewalk.

Not only was the sun right there where he expected it to be, a bright, bold yellow ball high in the sky above him, but that sky itself surrounding that sunny orb spread a brilliant, beautiful blue on top of, below and every which way around it. A few white clouds here and there dotted the atmosphere like fluffy versions of the smattering of stars scattered in patterns on the fabric flags hanging from patriotic poles and delicately draped over balconies bursting with the colorful pride of the season.

The floppy-eared puppy scampered past the shops along the main street of town, only stopping for a moment to admire a simple scene of summery selections carefully clustered together to create a lovely window display. A red and white checkered blanket cushioned a tiny inflatable pool with plastic walls clear and see-through so passersby could spot the family of rubber duckies lazily floating on the top of clean, sparkling water tinted blue for extra effect. Soft ripples bobbed each duckie up and then down, one by one, as Doodle Dog watched the gentle, peaceful motion, and he only slightly wanted to jump after the creatures and chase them! (But he managed to refrain.) However, causing him to pause for much longer than a moment, the storefront a few windows down caught the floppy-eared puppy’s attention entirely. The bake shop had been decorated with several yummy designs, strawberries, blueberries and vanilla icing serving as edible art supplies. Masterpieces made of assorted munchies lined up like soldiers on the shelves and petite pastries were arranged just so that they became one small part of what turned out to be a giant star if viewed just right. Mmmmm! Doodle Dog would have to remember to come back to nibble a puppy-friendly treat, but not now. No, he was too excited that the sun was still following him and wanted to make the most of the day. Stars and bites would just have to wait!

As soon as he returned to his path, Doodle Dog noticed a small boy tugged a little red wagon filled with something else quite wonderful. The brim of a blue baseball cap pulled way down low shielding his eyes from the sun way up high, the boy took great care with each step to make sure his cargo stayed in place. Filling the space behind him, stacks and stacks of prettily-bound books formed a sort of fortress in this child-size carriage. Doodle Dog wondered how long it would take for the little boy to read all those stories, or maybe he already had! And then, perched on the books and riding in the very center of the wagon, a white cat as fluffy as the clouds above politely meowed at the floppy-eared puppy as he padded past. It would be easy to read all those books with a buddy to hear the stories too! Before continuing on his way, Doodle Dog took a moment to nudge the back of the wagon a few squares on the concrete to make the load a little easier for the boy to pull. From under his baseball cap, he giggled gratefully as he let his temporary guard dog give him a helping paw.

Down the hill the little boy went, his wagon, his books and his cat in tow. The floppy-eared guard dog could see they would be just fine on their journey, but decided it would be a good idea to follow them at a short distance behind in case they needed him. Eep! Not quite. They may not need help, but the guard dog might! Doodle Dog ducked as a bright cherry red cardinal and a blue jay with markings the color of a muted blueberry zipped after one another in an airborne game of tag so intense that for a moment all the floppy-eared puppy saw was a blur of purple until the birds finally became separate streaks zooming around him. The not-so-guard dog dropped to the ground and hopped out of the way as the feathers flew above him. When all was clear he followed where the wagon, its passenger and its conductor had disappeared on the path, sniffing his way to find them. Soon his nose picked up the scent of pages, fur and metal warmed by the sun and he not only found his new friends, but the glistening blue lake behind them. Next to the lake, a giant blanket spread over the ground, its tiny red and white squares playing patterns that disappeared under a plate and reappeared on the other side of a mug. Seated around the blanket were various humans chattering happily while smaller humans splashed on the shore. A little girl ran up and down the sandy bank of the lake trailing a kite, a patch of red floating against the blue sky and white clouds. The little boy took out his books and shared them with the other humans sitting there, making sure to place one next to him for his cat too. Then he patted a spot for Doodle Dog as well! Along with the tales, which were definitely treats in themselves, an assortment of summery yummies were spread on the blanket. The little boy chose an ice cream cone, soon beginning to drip from the warm day. The goopy vanilla swirled on top just like the icing on the cupcake in the bake shop window. Mmmm! The little boy offered the floppy-eared puppy a bite, but as Doodle Dog took a lick he wound up with frosty, sugary drops dripping ALL over his nose! The drops went from his nose to his paws and down to the blanket making it covered in red, white and goo! Ew!



Newton Falls – It may only be June, a time when residents are finally out and about enjoying the warm weather or trying to find someplace cool to rest from the humid air and hot sun, but for one local organization, conversation has already begun about a different kind of heat. The Newton Falls Firefighters’ Auxiliary, who sponsors the Annual Chili Cook Off every fall, is planning for this year’s event and needs your hep! Soon to celebrate its 25th year of chili competition, the Cook Off is the most popular and well-received event that raises funds to benefit the town’s fire department, Station 43, and assists the local first-responders in obtaining vital equipment such as an inflatable boat for river emergencies that helps them help those in distress as well as advanced personal gear such as oxygen tanks and fireproof clothing to keep them safe while doing it.

ChiliPotThe festival itself features nearly two dozen contestants, who all  make their special chili recipe from scratch, right on the spot, starting at 11am the day of the event. Some are there just because they love to make chili, some come for the bragging rights, and some absolutely have one goal in mind: the $500 grand prize. But deciding which team’s chili will walk away with that prize – and the other prizes of $300 (second) and $200 (third) – is no easy task! Understandably, the organizers are in search of local residents who love chili to come cook, come eat (Chili Cups go on sale after the judging and allow you to sample any and all entries) and, most importantly, come judge! Though anyone who attends the Chili Cook Off has the option to purchase a vote and have their say in the People’s Choice award, the Auxiliary is specifically looking for seven brave community members who would be willing to taste every chili and help decide the score for the grand prizes.

To keep the final results as fair as possible, these official judges must be unaffiliated with the Newton Falls Joint Fire District and any of the teams who are entering the competition. (The unofficial requirement is that one should have a strong stomach or at least a tolerance for all manner of spicy!) Past judges have included townspeople, business owners, members from other emergency departments and even local celebrities such as radio station personalities. Once judging commences, the elite panel members are reasonably sequestered while the chili is served to them from coded containers so the only person who knows which team’s chili is in which jug is the assisting volunteer who scooped it from the pots! (And she’s not talking!)

If you’d like to participate as a judge for this year’s Chili Cook Off and help determine the winner, please contact the Newton Falls Firefighters’ Auxiliary IN WRITING at P.O. Box 472, Newton Falls, Ohio 44444. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just your name, information such as phone number and address, and a brief sentence saying why you are interested in becoming a judge.

Applications for cookers and table vendors will be open soon as well, so everyone can mark their calendars for Saturday, October 4th and join Station 43 in commemorating twenty-five years of chili celebration!


The Newton Falls Area Commerce Association opened its May meeting by relaying any communications received since the last assembly. This included an email sent by Robert Gensler, Jr., who could not attend the meeting, expressing his comments regarding the proposed changes to the bylaws that were submitted during previous meetings. His email stated that he recommends no changes at this time.

After the minutes from last month’s meeting were approved, old business was addressed. First up was the Finance Committee’s recommendation regarding the Kiwanis Labor Day Run sponsorship request presented at the April meeting. To ensure no appearance of a conflict of interest due to his involvement in many city events, President Lyle Waddell, who is also the town’s mayor, turned the direction of the meeting over to the Vice President for this discussion. After much conversation about the mission statement of the NFACA, the desire to support community events and causes, and how to effectively and fairly utilize the association’s budget, the membership ultimately rejected the Finance Committee’s recommendation of donating $75 in favor of a higher contribution. The membership voted to donate $300 which would place them in the second tier of sponsorship (according to the guidelines offered by the Kiwanis members) and provide a larger spot on the T-shirts for the sponsoring logo. Since this amount is over the $75 threshold, as stated in the existing bylaws, the amount endorsed by the membership will then be presented back to the Finance Committee which has ultimate approval. As a matter of housekeeping, during this time the financial report was also presented and approved.

A second topic up for discussion is the continued attempt at coordinating a Small Business Saturday event. Mr. Jim Drake of the town’s Parks and Recreation committee was present to relay information about a wine tasting scheduled for August 16th on the grounds around the Community Center from 2pm-11pm. The event, intended to raise money for beautifying the parks, will include a concert by G-Force and opportunities for businesses or vendors to be spotlighted through advertising sponsorship. Mr. Drake stated that they will be inviting wineries from all over Ohio to participate, so this might be a good opportunity for the chamber to become involved and help out as co-sponsors. After much discussion, the membership voted to co-sponsor the event in conjunction with Small Business Saturday, and Carol Sole, the chairperson for the SBS committee, will be meeting with Mr. Drake to find out exactly what that will entail.

The floor was then returned to President Waddell who continued the agenda with new business. A committee is needed to plan the annual summer picnic, so “Santa” Rick Kerlin and Councilwoman Nancy Hoffman were volunteered to assist in that. There will be further discussion on the details of the picnic and whether to open the event up to the community, instead of just the NFACA members and their families, at the next meeting. As a reminder, membership renewals are due by the end of the month. Also, by way of membership news, new members Gionino’s Pizza and Accurate Land Surveying, LLC were voted into membership.

Also at the afternoon’s meeting, Mr. Paul Woodard, the school district superintendent, mentioned the recent successful Senior Service Day which is already being looked forward to for next year. In an effort to beautify the town, the students did mulch and landscaping work around the parks, and are even willing to help businesses beautify their properties during the next service day. The work the students did was commended and it was relayed that there are great kids in town – as much as we see vandalism, there is the other side too and we have hard-working kids in our community. Before moving to the next item on the agenda, Mayor Waddell expressed his gratitude for the students’ efforts.

By way of the city manager’s report, Mr. Haney reminded everyone that the water tower is under renovation, during which it will be cleaned and refurbished. To be noted, the water pressure in town might be a bit lower for the time being, and the efforts are expected to be completed, probably within the next 4-5 weeks. As an added touch, the words “Newton Falls” will now be painted in orange and black letters on the side of the tower. Also of note, the new additional Senior Van has been approved at Eastgate and will now go to the state level where it should be about 3-4 months before the city learns whether it will be funded.

Before open discussion, time was given to the current Vice President, yours truly, so that I could announce to the group in person that due to pursuing career goals and focusing on other professional obligations I will not be renewing my membership at the end of the month. Since the membership term does not run the same as the election term, that meant I would be resigning as Vice President and someone would be needed to fulfill the remainder of my term until the election at the end of 2014. After my remarks, during which I expressed gratitude for the honor of serving as Vice President, Carol Sole was nominated and elected to complete the open term effective June 1st. Also allotted a moment for brief remarks, Police Chief Gene Fixler reflected on the recent levy attempt and reassured that “the police department is always going to be there to give you the best service we can.” He noted that although the levy did not pass, which will affect operations, they will continue to do their best to help out whenever they are needed. The department is also looking into starting a civilian auxiliary program to help direct traffic, etc. during emergencies or community events.

During the brief open discussion it was suggested again that to promote goodwill in the neighborhood a series of community awards should be established recognizing pleasant aspects of the area such as “Prettiest Garden”, etc. which would also help connect the association to the town.

The next NFACA meeting will be noon on Tuesday, June 10 at Roby Lee’s.



Newton Falls – After weeks of tantalizing tidbits of a ray of sunshine here or a that-IS-a-shade-of-blue sky there, isn’t it… (such a tease, that Mother Nature!) it seems that warm weather is now here to stay and creatures in all shapes and sizes, fur and feather, are getting the chance to come out and play. There is a plethora of events coming up for those of us of the two-legged persuasion, some to aid others, some to entertain, and some simply to help us finally (FINALLY!) enjoy the summery season. Here’s just a few of interest:

*Falls Home Remodeling is teaming up with the Red Cross to host a BLOOD DRIVE on June 9th from 2pm-6pm at their showroom at 104-A East Broad Street in Newton Falls. Those who meet eligibility requirements (17 years of age or older, at least 110 pounds, etc.) are encouraged to come by and help save lives. Be sure and bring a photo ID. If you can’t make this one, there will be another opportunity on June 18th from 2pm-6pm at the Community Center on Quarry Street. For more information about eligibility or to make an appointment in advance, call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

*From donating blood to kicking cancer’s tush: another great cause to help in the fight to save lives is coming to Newton Falls starting at 6pm on Friday, June 13th. The American Cancer Society’s RELAY FOR LIFE will be held at the NF High School throughout Friday night and into Saturday. To find out how you can help “create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” or to buy a luminaria in advance, visit www.relayforlife.org or call Tristan Codner at 1-888-227-6446 ext. 2226.

*More summer fun traditions continue in downtown Newton Falls with the annual CAR SHOW which is celebrating its 28th year of lining the streets with classic vehicles on June 21st. Entrant registration starts at 9:30am and ends at 2pm with 131 trophies being awarded at 6pm. There is a $10 fee for show car parking/registration – as always this is a free event for spectators. Forty different classes will be spotlighted in one place! As if that isn’t enough shiny painted hoods under one afternoon sun, there’s a new class this year: Micro Cars! The event will also feature a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle and a benefit raffle, proceeds of which go to the upcoming Fourth of July celebration. (I expect my favorite attraction, the coinciding Strawberry Festival sponsored by the First Christian Church, to return again this year as well, and you can bet I’ll be making a beeline right for the shortcake and ice cream smothered in juicy red berries. Mmmm.) And for those fans of the two-wheel variety, the bike show is the next day. For information, call Tony Sabo at 330-360-4546 or visit www.NFJULY44444.com.

*FIREWORKS, fireworks, fireworks! And a parade, of course, but the big news is always the Newton Falls fireworks, and on Friday, July 4th, the Community Center is the place to be for the yearly hoopla of carnival rides, games and music culminating in the light show across the heavens once night falls. Come for the morning display of firetrucks, floats and marching groups bedecked in festive colors starting at 10am and check out the rest of the fun activities until 10pm when all eyes will be on the sky!

*There’s always something going on at the Community Center, and when the July 4th festivities are done that “something” will be made a little bit more special by the Parks and Recreation Committee who are planning a unique event for the end of summer. An opportunity to raise money to maintain the parks, a WINE TASTING is scheduled for August 16th on the grounds outside from 2pm-11pm. More information will be available as preparations progress, but the organizational committees are expecting to invite Ohio wineries to participate and have already scheduled a band, G-Force, to provide music throughout the evening.

Whether you’re on vacation for the season or just have a day to take a break, Newton Falls has plenty to offer a quick get-away this summer.


As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up

And here we meet a sleepy pup,

Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,

Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.


The silver bumblebee glittered at Doodle Dog from his bookshelf, glinting as though reflecting  an unseen source of light. Nestled among the stories sleeping there, the tiny insect reminded the floppy-eared puppy of all the wonderful things that could surround him when he immersed himself in the world. Doodle Dog thought how fun it might be to see if any real bumblebees were flittering about with their black stripes and white wings sailing them through the airy landscape, so he scampered outside hopeful of what he would find.

But when the floppy-eared puppy reached the other side of the office door, it was not a bright, dazzling day that greeted him. As his paws touched the sidewalk, gray and smooth, the clouds overhead mirrored the same subdued shade. The quiet puffs made it look like rain was coming or as if the sky was about to cry, though no tears had fallen yet. Doodle Dog continued  through the streets hoping to find something to brighten the day, but as he meandered by storefront after storefront, it became more elusive still. He paused for a moment at the window of the yummy bakeshop, the treats of which usually cheered him up. Today, instead of the brilliantly-hued icings on cakes and puppy-friendly pastel pastries that always caught his curiosity, the platters in the treat case were filled with teeny truffles shaped perfectly round like mini moons, full circles in the sky. A few were cut open to reveal the creamy cookie center and they did look quite tasty. Covered in the darkest of chocolate, Doodle Dog knew these delicacies were not for four-legged friends so he kept going to the next window on his route! But as the floppy-eared puppy continued along, every view was the same. Even the formalwear shop in town that usually had bright dresses in the front windows – the display there too was bare of color as prom season was over and now smart tuxedos stood by each other enticing potential groomsmen to stop on in for summer ceremonies.

Enough of this! Doodle Dog decided to go to the park where he knew there was always another world of vivid and vibrant creations. As the floppy-eared puppy went by the last shop on the street, a stack of newspapers piled in front of the stoop toppled over from the wind and slid right under his paws. Stepping gently on and then off the newspaper, Doodle Dog continued along… the newsprint leaving a grayscale trail of paw prints on the stone-colored cement sidewalk behind him. Turning down the path that he’d walked many times before, Doodle Dog expected to see the lush, sprawling lawn of the park any minute now. He DIDN’T expect a series of black tiles alternating with a series of white tiles to be covering the meadow as he approached! A giant chess board greeted him, the oversized horses guarding the gate to the park seeming quite a lot more enormous than they already were to the little floppy-eared puppy looking up at them. His petite paws pattered across the slick surface as Doodle Dog carefully avoided a tower that resembled a castle and made sure not to run smack into a cluster of similar-looking pieces making up an army advancing across various parts of the pale panels and their contrasting counterparts. With their limited color palette, the sights around him were all starting to resemble an old timey movie with the voiceless actors – Doodle Dog half expected lines of static to roll across the scene in front of him.

The floppy-eared puppy had yet to see a buzzing bumblebee, but another type of tiny winged creature the color of a starless sky at midnight circled over the treetops. The crow quietly looped in and out of the forest’s edge clearing the very tips of the branches. And, on the other side of the park, Doodle Dog noticed another bird floating above the land too – a dove the color of the ocean’s snowy surf peacefully dipped on the air currents over the meadow. As he watched the pair of flying friends soar across the sky, the clouds above them billowed from a steely gray to silver to slate to a smoky charcoal as Mother Nature seemed to be in quite the murky mood! Even the soil surrounding Doodle Dog’s flower garden was under a shadowy blanket as the baby bulbs slept soundly. But there, in the middle of the garden, poking just out of the dirt, was an itty-bitty blossom the neon color of a bumblebee’s other brighter stripes. A yellow tulip shone through the shadows like a miniature sun, gleefully glowing with all its might. The tough, tiny tulip seemed to smile at Doodle Dog as he gave it a friendly sniff. And with that the floppy-eared puppy knew that even though today was gloomy and gray, the sun was only sleeping, and there would be more sunny days around the corner. Just in case, he knew the spot where his own personal planted sunshine bloomed and he would be sure and visit any time he felt lonely or needed some extra cheer!


Author’s note: In honor of my feline furbaby, Alistair, who is the inspiration for many “Puppy Tails” adventures and never minded that I write stories about a dog. You will be my sunshine always.


continued from May 16th edition….

Though the film’s opening scenes chronicled events that happened on the grounds of Kent State, production took place on location at Hiram College because, our handlers said at our inquiry, Kent’s campus has changed significantly enough over the thirty years that Hiram’s facilities were closer to what Kent had looked like back then. In any case, I had just returned from my own small college out-of-state, so I felt right at home as a campus coed.

All of my scenes took place in the evening and since we needed hours of dark sky to allow for multiple takes, our filming schedule reflected the nighttime requirement. Though most of the production people reported at the crack of dawn, ready for a long day, my first call time wasn’t until 4pm. That didn’t mean I had it any easier, however, as I wouldn’t leave set until the wee hours of the next morning. Good thing I’d had practice staying up late (and being productive while doing it!) pulling study all-nighters during the previous semesters.

When not on set, we were kept in a “holding tank” in one of the campus’s lecture halls and every so often an assistant would come in and say they needed five or ten or however many extras for a given shot. Whoever volunteered first to follow the assistant would be led to wherever they were filming at the moment and instructed on where to stay and exactly what to do. Eager to participate, I was always one of the first extras to line up at the door and it completely perplexed me that many of my fellow background-fillers didn’t seem to care if they ever went to set, preferring to lounge in the lecture hall seats and chat with each other! While we waited for the next assistant to show up, we were kept entertained by a DVD playing on those oversized television carts, staples in public school classrooms, and stayed awake by munching on whatnots from the snack table (known in “the biz” as “craft services”). At one point when the assistant arrived, I excused myself from the conversation I was having with the girl next to me and asked if she was going too. Her response was that she wanted to find out what happened to the squad captain of the cheerleading flick we were viewing. I remember thinking “Did you come here to watch a movie or be IN one?!” Needless to say, it was the latter for me and I fully planned to take advantage of every moment so I enthusiastically went down the steps with the other extras who had gathered at the door. Ironically enough, at that particular instance we were directed to the college’s auditorium and, once placed in the theatre-style seats, told that for this scene we had to pretend we were watching a movie on the big screen and that while we were minding our own business, the main characters of the film we were making would be racing through the aisles and trying to stir up trouble.

So two girls I’d never met before that moment and I had to act like we were friends out for a fun evening, clinking soda bottles and munching on popcorn while we “watched” the fake show. The prop department provided us with authentic vintage items such as classic Coke bottles that were still intact with the liquid inside after all these years. WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T OPEN THE BOTTLE! We were told. Apparently simply holding it was enough to make the atmosphere seem real. But we were allowed to eat the popcorn, billowing out of era-appropriate containers, which I suspect was swiped from the craft service table anyway. The hardest part of the evening was that, although this particular scene was meant to be less than a minute or so of screen time, we spent four hours filming it due to all the different camera angles that the director wanted to employ, which involved far away shots, cuts to different parts of the theatre, and a series of close-ups when each actor said their lines. Four hours filming a scene… that eventually didn’t even get in the movie! When the final product was released the next year, the movie theatre scene had wound up on the cutting room floor!

Luckily, that was not the only scene I’d participated in as I had four more days of filming, all with later call times than the last. In what was quite possibly the most affecting situation for the storyline that I would be a part of, all hands were on deck in the middle of the campus green. All the extras, some dressed as students like me, some given helmets and unloaded rifles to represent National Guard soldiers, faced each other in the commotion that was to simulate the riot which would set off the rest of the events in the movie. Though we were all uncredited, nameless faceless surroundings, the director singled out a few of us to portray brave students who would break through “enemy” lines. Moving quickly through the group of appropriately-clad young adults, he pointed to this one and that one, and his assistant would tell “This One” and “That One” the choreography of the path they would run in order to ensure the effective placement of the cameras as well as for the safety of all involved. The guns may not have had live ammunition in them, but it would still hurt if one’s face smacked into the barrel while dashing around. After watching four other people become the featured few, to my delight the director soon turned to me and said “You! In the bandanna!” and with that I unofficially became “Girl in the Bandanna #5” and was given instructions on how to run through two very tough-looking soldiers and past the camera crew. I waited for my cue and while the others were waving large protest signs (provided by the art department) and shouting chants about love and war, I took off where I was told, secretly hoping I wouldn’t pull a Cinderella moment and leave my sandal in the mud for a crew member to trip over. (Thankfully, I didn’t.)

There are several other noteworthy instances, but quite possibly my favorite one of the experience was the last scene we filmed that week. It was already 2am and this time a group of us were seated on the hillside listening to one of the main characters played by Meredith Monroe (famous most recently as Hotch’s wife on Criminal Minds) quite determinedly protesting the use of napalm during the Vietnam War. After the protest, Jonathan Brandis’s character walks from the hill to talk with her, picking his way through the extras sitting on the grass, but he had to start his path off scene for the camera to catch him mid-stride so the director made him back up and back up and back up…. until he backed to where I was sitting and stepped right on my bare toe! Once we had been placed we weren’t allowed to move, or make noise, so I just had to wince from behind him. But hey, it wasn’t so bad… how many people can say Jonathan Brandis, the hot former-child star, stepped on her toe?

Shortly thereafter we all followed another actor, Jay R. Ferguson, who had been riled up by the protest and decided to burn down the ROTC building nearby, encouraging us all to run after him. The climactic part of the scene involved him breaking a window and throwing a small torch inside. In the movie this is quite an effective moment, but I try hard not to smirk when I remember seeing a fully-geared up firefighter crouching inside waiting with a fire extinguisher to snuff out the torch the second it cleared the window.

The director had been concerned we would not wrap the scene by the time the sun came up and we would lose the dark of night. By now it was after 5am and the sky was just starting to lighten. We all waited as the director’s assistant yelled “checking the gate!” to make sure the shot was clean and then shortly after we all cheered as “gate is clean!” was announced. After the wrap was official and I made my way to my car parked near the actors’ trailers, I happened to walk right by Meredith at her door. In my one groupie moment of the whole experience, I mentioned I was a fan of her work as Andi on Dawson’s Creek and requested a photo, to which she kindly obliged, even enlisting a crew member friend nearby to snap my camera. In many old-timey Hollywood movies, the iconic ending scene involves the characters riding off into the sunset, but as I drove off, the sun rose in my rear-view mirror, setting in mind a chapter in my story I will never forget. And, if I ever do, it’s immortalized on the silver screen so all I have to do is watch the DVD!



Garrettsville – There’s been, understandably, a bit of increased interest as of late for materials at the library involving historic downtown Garrettsville’s main street of buildings. One such request is that of copies of the movie The Year That Trembled which was filmed thirteen years ago at locations around the area. A few prominent scenes feature the characters mingling on the street and the camera frames include glimpses of the hardware store and nearby shops that were recently lost on an afternoon that closed down that section of town and caused curious and concerned passersby to stop and observe for a while.

Actress Meredith Monroe (best known most recently as Hotch's wife on Criminal Minds) and me after we wrapped filming.

Actress Meredith Monroe (best known most recently as Hotch’s wife on Criminal Minds) and me after we wrapped filming.

Back in the summer of 2001, the same section of town was closed down for a different reason, causing curious and excited passersby to stop and observe for a while. Those who were in the vicinity at that time would remember film crews, directors, make-up artists, hairstylists, and the other various human moving parts needed to make a movie set successful crowding onto the sidewalks and going about their tasks as though they were as normal an occurrence as the usual commuters puttering by on their ordinary-day way to restaurants, shops and offices. Famous faces plucked straight from Hollywood completed the landscape, stepping in to their designated spots once the lighting and camera positioning was finally just perfect for them to most effectively deliver their lines according to the filmmaker’s vision. And, just as memorable, of course, is the contained excitement of the local townspeople patiently observing the action from behind the roped-off areas.

But a lucky few, including this writer, had the opportunity to get in on the action and rub elbows with the actors, interacting with them on screen as lineless extras filling in the backdrop around the central performers.

The summer after my freshman year of college, I came home during the break between semesters looking forward to relaxing and catching up on the “read for fun” booklist I’d been compiling throughout the year. But an invitation in the newspaper announcing an open casting call in search of local citizens to appear in a movie, set at nearby Kent State University in the not-so-nearby 1970s, sounded too intriguing to overlook and swiftly deposited that list to the back of my mind. Not too long after I attended the casting call in person, informal headshot and brief bio in hand, my phone rang with the voice of a casting assistant letting me know that I had been chosen for several scenes and giving me details on when and where I was to report for my call times as well as what to wear. Though the principle actors had the assistance of the wardrobe department, we had to dress the part ourselves and were told a few guidelines for appearing on screen such as how the color red is difficult to read properly on camera while white clothes won’t “pop” well. Since it was a historical piece we also had to choose clothes appropriate to that time period which, thankfully, was remarkably easy for me due to a recent trend in retro styles. We were encouraged to shop at thrift stores which may have older clothes ready for the finding, but one stop in a family member’s well-stored trunk and I had several vintage choices at my fingertips. The one problem was that I was not quite the right size to fit into those wonderful options so we had to get creative. My favorite find was a pair of genuine bellbottoms, dark blue denim with beautifully-embroidered back pockets, but alas, they were too small for my 21st century frame so we cut the flowery panels off the jeans and stitched them to a pair of my contemporary counterparts. The slight flare of the modern bootleg invoked the older style just enough and at least the backside was authentic! With present-day replicas of a blue peasant blouse, kerchief hair accessory and Birkenstocks completing my summery 1970s college look, I successfully made it through the costumer’s careful inspection with a stamp of approval or, in this case and more importantly, permission to continue to the set.

What happened once I fell into step with the silver screen celebrities? Tune in next week for this adventure’s exciting sequel!


Peeking around the corner of the office building, Doodle Dog leapt back before a hurried woman rushing past him stepped on his paws. That was close! What was all the excitement about? The curious floppy-eared puppy crept out again, certainly not nearly as quickly as the two-legged traveler dashing down the driveway in front of him. Even at his easygoing amble, Doodle Dog soon came upon the very center of the town which seemed unusually busy, busy even for it being the most popular place at the most popular time of day. Keeping an eye out so not to get squished, the little floppy-eared puppy made his way down the sidewalk, weaving around ankles of lampposts and between the legs of the iron benches parked at various helpful points along the main street for weary shoppers to sit and peruse a while. But there was no time to be a spectator today as there was too much to see and too much of a chance of getting swept up in the current of activity! Well, that is, of course, unless you are a little puppy who has a talent for blending into the scenery and quietly observing.

Doodle Dog did just that, effectively disappearing into a crevice of wall between two shops. Melting into the impromptu mold, the puppy may very well have always been a fixture in that part of the structure rather than a momentary visitor to the architecture. From this vantage point, Doodle Dog was able to safely survey the scene on the sidewalk. At each section of every so many concrete squares, a table was set up with various merchandise and artistic wares. One table had wonderful smells wafting from it, scenting up the air with lilac one minute and fresh citrus fruits the next and chocolate chip cookies the next as a lady stirred a small pot filled with what appeared to be gelatinous, goopy crayons. Really yummy smelling gelatinous, goopy crayons! As she continued to swirl the little wand in the pot, the goo changed color and with it the scent in the air. Quite curious and magical indeed! Another table held similarly deliciously-smelling items, but these ones were not dissolving into a jar rather were being devoured by customers sampling the treats. Real edible ooey-gooeys like brownies and cinnamon buns, carefully crafted by a chef’s talented hands, were disappearing just as quickly as they appeared on an array of plates and platters arranged on the portable counter. On and on down both sides of the street the town’s delights were on display.

Meandering safely from his melted-in perch, the floppy-eared puppy’s nose found a particularly intriguing exhibit that did not include smelling sweets or tantalizing treats. Instead a stack of books next to a table caught his attention as he recognized the characters on the covers and the spines. He knew the legends were from an assortment, some written, some gathered, all collected by a pair of brothers who loved fairytales just as much as the little curious puppy and loved sharing the stories just as much as he did too. Sitting at the table next to the stack of books were two men busily hunched over their work. Though their facial features were similar enough that Doodle Dog figured they were brothers, that’s where the similarities ended. One had longish blonde hair that swished into his eyes as he peered over his glasses focusing on what was in his hands. Working quickly, he carved and etched something into a metal strip, fashioning it a bit here and then working the edge a bit there. Soon a set of stripes appeared and then a pair of giant eyes and some spindly legs and several wings. It reminded Doodle Dog of the shadowy shapes of the puppet show bugs. Ew! At least these ones wouldn’t bite! While the blonde brother worked, the other man concentrated on his own projects, just as varied from his cohort’s as their appearance. He had short dark hair which showed off a zealous expression in his eyes as he centered his attention on making tiny sculptures out of colorful clay. Soon a herd of miniature horses galloped in unison, the ponies prancing across the table in a dainty dance, some with wings, some with tiny spikes on their foreheads like a mythological unicorn in one of those fairytales, all with beautiful, unique markings on their multi-hued backs.

Doodle Dog stopped to indulge his curiosity for a while and as he watched the clay squishing between the artist’s fingers, soon they were not forming hooves and swishing tails, rather a paw suddenly appeared and then two floppy ears. Within moments it was no longer a ball of clay – it was a tiny Doodle Dog! The itty bitty floppy-eared puppy settled onto a clay fairytale book, the perfect perch for the petite pup! The artist gave Doodle Dog a kind smile as he gently placed Clay Doodle Dog into a small bag, tucking him into a cushion of plastic bubbles. And, just before offering the handle to the real floppy-eared puppy, the other artist dropped a tiny silver bumblebee into the bag too. It wasn’t as scary as the other kind of creepy crawly critters in the collection so Doodle Dog gave a grateful bark and continued on to explore the rest of what the fascinating setting had to offer!


Newton Falls – The April meeting of the Newton Falls Area Commerce Association began with a discussion on any communications received since the last meeting. NFACA President and Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell mentioned that Patrick Hartory, an Ohio author, sent an email querying the association’s interest in having him come speak about customer relations. The membership expressed that this may be a viable option and further conversation with Mr. Hartory is expected to take place. Following that part of the agenda, the previous minutes and the financial report were approved, with discussion about how best to store the archived minutes. They are available online on the website, however, a hard copy has also usually been kept for quick reference.

Guests from the Kiwanis Labor Day Race Committee were given the floor to discuss the upcoming race were held on September 1st. The 4-mile run (4 to celebrate the 44444 zip code) is celebrating its 25th year this fall. New Kiwanis member Cassie Stroup has taken the lead in this year’s race organization and she mentioned that they hope to have even more participation this year. This past year there were 200 runners and 40 walkers so the committee is looking forward to getting the word out early with the fact that there are a few significant changes to how the race will be presented, most notably a new route around town. The committee is also hoping to create a scholarship fund this year so that 80% of the proceeds will still go to the Senior Citizens Van but then 20% will go to a scholarship for local students (capped at $1,500). There will be business sponsorship opportunities for this event, such has contributing advertising stuffers for the goody bags, so anyone interested can talk to a committee member, check out the facebook page or otherwise do an online search for information about the event.

The featured NFACA member for April was “Santa” Rick Kerlin of Our Towne Construction who mentioned that the home improvement business was started last year and they do work such as concrete work, construction work, etc. He also said that they focus on giving back to this community as they live and work in this community. Locals will recognize Kerlin and his crew as well-known characters around Christmas time. In addition to participating in the NFACA, Our Towne Construction is also a member of the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Chamber. Next month will be feature Tanya Allman with Huntington Bank.

By way of old business, the streetlamp banners are ready to go to the printers – they should be hanging up around town soon. Small Business Saturday is still in discussion and several ideas were offered to tie the event in with another event such as the annual car show, yard sale, or a specially-planned wine tasting.

In new business, advertising methods and member-to-member discounts were discussed as well as the recent presentation made by the Kiwanis. A motion was approved to let the finance committee discuss the Kiwanis’ request for monetary sponsorship and give a recommendation to the membership on how to proceed.

During the city manager’s report, Mr. Haney mentioned that Tire Collection Days are May 1st and 2nd from 8am-2pm at the street department off of Church Street. This is in conjunction with City-Wide Clean-up Day on May 2nd during which the high schoolers will be helping to clean up Veterans’ Park. In other news, work on the water tower will begin soon so residents may notice workers way up high taking care of some maintenance issues. Street paving planned for this year includes Ravenna Road, Water Street, and Arlington areas. The turn lane arrows in downtown will be restored as soon as weather permits. Also to be noted is an Income Tax issue on the forthcoming ballot. It will involve a .5% income tax up for vote (imposed on earned income only) that is expected to raise $250,000 to stabilize the city budget. Since 2005 the city has lost $430,000 and the new money would be used for the street department, police department and Parks & Rec.

Before the meeting adjourned, time was given for open discussion and it was noted that several new businesses are coming to town. The Pit-Stop Tire building by the Dairy Queen, a Mexican restaurant moving in to the old Faces Café, another photography studio moving into the freestanding building across from Cole Valley (that at one time was a dance studio, then a photography studio, and most recently an art studio) are just a few of the new storefronts popping up.

The next NFACA meeting will be noon on Tuesday, May 13 at Roby Lee’s.


Newton Falls – Fields soggy from the recent rains and sharp springtime winds didn’t dampen the day for hundreds of local children on the hunt for thousands of brightly-colored plastic spheres left behind by a big fluffy pink bunny on the grounds near the Community Center on Quarry Street. On the last Saturday before Easter weekend, the sun shone overhead, glistening off baskets tightly clutched by children eagerly awaiting the signal to clamber through the rope fence sectioning off the tennis courts and scoop up as many eggs as they could gather.

On a pile of soft, cozy picnic blankets the floppy-eared puppy snoozed, very nearly to the point of snoring, in a slumber soothed by the calm breeze blowing through the nearby trees. The patches of grass newly filled with budding bulbs circled in their wavy lines around and around him, but he didn’t notice the patterned lands at all as he napped in complete relaxation on the colorful carpet. Doodle Dog contentedly curled and flexed his paws in drowsy oblivion, unaware of the goings-on near him but still safe, secure and blissful all the same. 

As he dozed, a dream took over his subconscious, directing his imagination in a fantastical dance while he slept. Nearly perfectly still in reality, Doodle Dog’s mind was anything but as it zipped and zoomed from one scene to the next almost as quickly as an inner tube soaring over the top of the lake or a go-kart going round and round the meadow. At a particular moment when it finally calmed, the sleeping Doodle Dog found himself in quite the strange world his thoughts had created.

While in reality the sky above Doodle Dog was a soft blue, misty in parts from a smattering of cottony clouds here and there, in his dream the natural ceiling swished and swirled with the melted rainbow from the racetrack, dashing across a cloudless canvas. The brilliant hues twisted and tangled over the treetops, reds and purples mixing with greens and blues. A radiant round sun shone through the shining shades, making the yellows even brighter. Within moments, a cluster of fluffy white wisps drifted onto the scene, the clouds poufy like a bunny’s puffy tail. One by one they floated through the curtain of color, dipping out to the other side and leaving a translucent trail. One by one each white puff entered the celestial crayon box, and then, unexpectedly, when they emerged each one was tinted a different color! Soon not only was the sky itself glittering with streaks of its own colors, but the beautiful backdrop was speckled with spots of painted clouds continuing to glide along, lazily wafting above the landscape below.

And it was to that landscape below that Doodle Dog’s imagination turned next without any particular reason or intent. His dream melted from one scene to the next almost as seamlessly as the clouds changing colors above him and soon he found himself watching the ribbons of the rainbow reach down to the ground, each separate shade aimed directly for the center of each earthly pothole that the floppy-eared puppy had helped dig not that long ago. While in reality the potholes were covered with their soft, cozy sod blankets, in his dream the little curious puppy saw the flowers sprout up from their beds, pushing through the earth and silently saying “good morning” to the spring. As he crept closer to the tiny baby buds, Doodle Dog did not see flower petals, silky and delicate, unfolding to feel the sun’s warmth. Instead, when the sun spotlighted on each previously-slumbering specimen, a shiny sparkle glinted from it! Carefully creeping even closer still, the floppy-eared puppy could now see that what had sprouted in front of him was not a tulip or a rose or a daisy or a snapdragon. Where a lavender-colored tulip should have been was a sparkling violet amethyst! And where a radiant red rose should have been was instead a ruby. Now every color of the ribbons from the rainbow connecting the earth to the sky were not only represented in the dipped clouds but were now being reflected, quite literally, in the colors of the gemstones growing up from the ground!

As the floppy-eared puppy continued down the winding rows of precious jewels, enjoying the view of emeralds the shade of evergreens and sapphires the deep blue of the ocean’s waves, he wondered if there had ever before been a bouquet of such bedazzling buds! The string of gemstones almost seemed as though Mother Nature was getting dressed up for a special occasion and the flowers-turned-sparkling rocks of a different sort served as just the perfect accessory. On and on they went, curving their colors up the hillside, the amethysts, rubies, emeralds and sapphires intertwining with unusual garnets and aquamarines as they too awoke newly sprouted. Then Doodle Dog, wanting to give each the attention it deserved, came upon the very last gem in the pattern. It had no color at all! Though it seemed at first glance to be an imperfection in the line of treasure, the perfectly clear, colorless crystal sparkled up at Doodle Dog, more unique and special than all the rest. He didn’t have a chance to find out its secret in his dream, however, as the warm sun in reality persuaded the floppy-eared puppy to wake up from his nap.

As he reluctantly coaxed his eyes open, the tree next to him caught Doodle Dog’s gaze. And there, nestled among its branches, was something that wasn’t wood or leaf or furry creature. As the sunlight glistened down on the earth, warming the sleeping buds in their earthy beds, it also shone on a speck that was rather familiar. Dangling from a nearby twig, a sparkling crystal-like object caught the light just so, and one by one the sun’s rays went in through the clear container and slipped out to the other side leaving a translucent trail. One by one each entered the colorless crystal, and then, unexpectedly, when they emerged each beam was a different color! The tiny crystal seemed to hold all the colors of the rainbow in one beautiful bundle. The floppy-eared puppy HAD found a gemstone bouquet in a very unique and special little package!


Newton Falls – March’s meeting of the Newton Falls Area Commerce Association tied up a few loose ends and set plans moving forward while discussing ideas for creating new opportunities for professional growth.

The agenda opened with time for special presentations and this month featured [member], the law offices of Turner, May & Shepherd. Representative Robert Gensler, Jr. took the floor for a few moments to explain that the firm handles matters such as probate law, including estates and family law, including adoptions, in addition to several other areas of the legal system. Bob also mentioned the importance of having a will in place so that the government is not left to decide how one’s wishes are to be carried out. Next month will feature “Santa” Rick Kerlin of Our Towne Construction.

The wind still whistled through the curious puppy’s floppy ears, but Doodle Dog had so much fun at the park he decided to go back again today to see what more he could find. As he made his way down the sidewalk, his little legs tilted his body slightly to the side as if automatically remembering how to curve and sway as the go-kart zipped and swerved and whipped through the blurry lines of competition. Doodle Dog almost had to convince himself he was now safe on firm ground! But as his furry paws met the solid concrete, it wasn’t long before the floppy-eared puppy found his land legs and it wasn’t long after that he found them leading him to the grassy green carpet of the park.

It was time to go outside – Doodle Dog was tired of being cooped up indoors! Some furry rodent had supposedly predicted that winter would be camped out for quite a while longer, but some other furry rodent claimed that wasn’t true. Doodle Dog didn’t know who to believe so the only thing he could do was go and find out for himself and see what his own floppy ears told him!

Doodle Dog uncurled his little body and slowly stretched his legs so that they peeked out over the edge of his cozy bed, extending his paws so that they untucked from the soft blanket keeping the floppy-eared puppy, his legs and his paws quite warm and comfy. About to curl right back up again, Doodle Dog thought of all the woodland creatures who lived in the park, in the meadow and in the forest at the edge of the lake with the warm blankets of grass and flowers and leaves and thistles to keep them cozy. He wanted to keep exploring outside today, but one glance out the window (that he still thought was hung in the wrong place) and he could see the land still dressed in snowy white. Many of the other animals spent this time of year tucked in their warm homes and snoring away. They had the right idea – Doodle Dog thought hibernating sounded pretty good right about now!

Newton Falls – Wedding season is nearly upon us and dozens of brides-to-be, grooms, and their family-and-friends-filled entourages stopped by Roby Lee’s Restaurant and Banquet Center Sunday on the hunt for the perfect dress, desserts, photographer, tablescape trend and flower arrangements during the 17th Annual Bridal Show. Forty-eight hours after the nation celebrated the day for romance (or those whose status this February is “unattached” chose to ring in “Single Awareness Day”), vendors in the business of all things love piled in to the venue’s reception hall to display their products and present their services to the crowd of novice wedding planners piecing together the event of their dreams.

Garrettsville – It’s not every day that librarians get to be the characters in the books on their shelves, but for the staff at the Garrettsville branch of the Portage County District Library, Valentine’s Day provided one such opportunity to play fairy godmothers for two local couples celebrating their love on the most romantic of holidays. When the clock struck noon on this year’s February 14th, the place where paperbacks, magazines and audiobooks normally live completed its transformation into a space befitting the most dreamy of fairy tale settings.

Though the insides of the new office were still slightly strange to Doodle Dog, the floppy-eared puppy figured the outsides would still be slightly familiar, so he slipped out the new door to the new porch stoop and onto a sidewalk that seemed a bit strange but indeed a bit familiar too. He remembered that the moving truck hadn’t gone that far at all and that he could still see the old building from where the new building lived. In fact, in all his explorations of the town, there was a good chance that he’d scampered by this very spot several times before this – it was just now a starting point instead of a middle one.

Newton Falls – The Newton Falls Area Commerce Association wrapped up 2013 with their December meeting, briefly discussing what had been accomplished during the year and spending the majority of the lunchtime gathering presenting ideas on what they hoped to achieve in the coming months.

The conversation opened with a recap of the items from the November meeting, beginning with a reminder of the area’s recently celebrated Small Business Saturday which traditionally is the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Though Newton Falls did not specifically host a town-wide event this year, the NFACA hopes to start planning now to encourage participation for the official 2014 festivities. One of the main goals for the upcoming year is to better promote the businesses in Newton Falls, and “Shop Locally” posters can be seen around town especially during the holidays, reminding customers that there are plenty of great shops and services right in their own neighborhood. Keeping business dollars locally will help the local economy and thus benefits the community even more. A committee will be forming after the first of the year to make a plan to promote the small businesses, even those that don’t necessarily have a physical store front.

Newton Falls – After all the dishes are done and the leftover turkey bits (and stuffing and veggie casseroles and countless pies and other desserts) have been organized into just the right Tupperware containers, there are many ways to spend the day following Thanksgiving. Some of the more courageous among us will brave the official start of the crazed holiday shopping season – more anticipated than the recent Browns vs. Steelers matchup or opening day for the latest sure-to-be-a-favorite Disney movie – while some will be the ones actually manning those retail stations and serving as crowd control. But residents of Newton Falls chose another option for their Black Friday that had nothing to do with greenbacks and everything to do with green boughs.

Newton Falls – Business resumed as usual at the November meeting of the Newton Falls Area Commerce Association.

The agenda opened with the financial reports for September and October as well as approval of the minutes for both months before proceeding to old business. The annual tree decorating has been scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 29th, at noon. Anyone who wants to come out and help make the little spot at Four Corners Park (by Positive Images) festive for the holidays is welcome to join in the effort. Although the tree that was planted in 2012 did not last, another tree has already been chosen and will be transplanted with the intention of becoming a permanent fixture. The official tree lighting will be the following weekend on Saturday, December 7th at 6pm. Santa is expected to make an appearance, so bring out the whole family for an evening of Christmas merriment. Residents will have a chance to chat with Santa even earlier than Saturday as he visits the Newton Falls Family Dollar store on Thursday, December 5th at 5pm.

Doodle Dog was glad he had the chance to deliver pumpkins while the weather was still being mostly friendly because today the gentle breeze had turned into something that blew and blew and howled and howled and huffed and puffed against the windows on every side of the office. The floppy-eared puppy curled up and listened to the noisy mutant gusts and figured they probably just sounded a lot worse than they really were – at least he hoped so!

To distract himself and not let his imagination get away from him, Doodle Dog directed his imagination to think of good things instead. He immediately thought of the holidays coming up and how much he looked forward to helping out with the shiny decorations again. That little tree looked so pretty in the middle of the park and Doodle Dog was glad he had a paw in making it happy! Maybe that little snowflake still glistened on the tippy top of it. Doodle Dog felt like one of Santa’s elves designing Christmas magic for the little tree. And then the best part was wrapping presents to tuck under it and surprise his furry friends around the forest and in town. The glittering packages reminded Doodle Dog of the flecks of snow and ice making intricate patterns on the window when the weather was really, really cold. The floppy-eared puppy glanced up to see if the invisible ice skater had returned to his clear canvas, but not yet – right now the wind still blew and blew menacingly against the windowpane. Ahh!

Craig Beach – There is an empty store around the corner from the Covered Bridge of Newton Falls that at one time housed a video rental place – before movies-by-mail and over the Internet made such an establishment virtually obsolete – with a decidedly revolving name plaque of business monikers. But recently the  space was filled once again with a hustle and bustle and a dash of hope as people came together for the benefit of a neighbor. Dozens of local vendors crowded into the store, filling the shelves which once held movie cases, with a variety of wares. The big name home-party staples that are Tupperware, lia sophia jewelry, Miche Bags and Thirty-One joined with bakers (professional and home cooks alike), event planners, and numerous other organizations to join in to give a helping hand to a family in Craig Beach whose own home is now a devastatingly empty space due to a dangerous August fire that took not only their building but the house next to it as well.

All that hard work made Doodle Dog quite tired so he decided he wasn’t going to go too very far from home today, at least not for a little while. The impromptu detour had been fun and all, in its own way, but there is so much else to see and Doodle Dog didn’t want to be sidetracked for too long. That is, until something else interesting or intriguing happened to distract him along his path! Taking one step at a time, the floppy-eared puppy slowly made his way down the sidewalk, enjoying the light breeze fluttering over his nose, cooling his forehead and tickling his ears. He knew just where he could go to take several journeys and explore endlessly without moving his paws from one spot.

Soon Doodle Dog turned the corner to the library and slipped in the open door as a lady stepped outside. The little girl keeping pace beside her smiled brightly at the floppy-eared puppy from just over the tippy top of a stack of colorful books in her arms, so many piled up that she had to stretch a bit to peek out over the small slightly-wobbly tower. Following her mother, the little girl disappeared down the street as Doodle Dog quickly disappeared into the foyer of the library, a narrow hallway which soon opened up into an enormous cave of books. Seemingly endless rows of multihued bindings called out to the curious floppy-eared puppy, their pages protectively housing the everlasting stories between the covers. So many beautiful books to distract an explorer, but Doodle Dog knew exactly which one he wanted to find today.

There! Right near the bottom, perfectly kid-level and doggie-level too, the vibrant blue the color of the summer sky waved to him from the bookcase like an old friend gleeful at its visitor’s arrival. Doodle Dog gently nudged the soft book from its keeping-place and let it plop carefully to the carpet in front of him. The book opened to the first page and the story began, but Doodle Dog didn’t need the words to know what it said – he knew this tale by heart. Looking at the brilliant pictures, the floppy-eared puppy lightly pushed each page with his nose and listened in his mind as his memory told him the story:

“As the moon goes to bed, the sun wakes up And here we meet a sleepy pup  Looking forward to a bright fun day New places to see, new chances to play  Doodle Dog gets the morning news, Then sometimes takes an afternoon snooze  Lazily the clouds float by Fluffy white against blue sky  Hide and Seek count three-two-one Doodle Dog jumps and Doodle Dog runs  Until at the end of the sidewalk can be found Paw prints in the green, green grass and the dirt so brown  Doodle Dog loves to go for a walk And always makes sure to stop and talk  To the butterflies and the bees, To the flowers and all the trees  Then every night before it grows dark, Doodle Dog says a “goodnight” bark  As the sun goes to bed, the moon wakes up And tucks in safely a drowsy pup  Tomorrow is a bright new day With new places to see, new chances to play  This is the beginning, it’s not the end. Won’t you be Doodle Dog’s friend?”

The vivid sky blue of the back cover tucking the story closed, the floppy-eared puppy tilted the book upright and propped it against the bookcase. Perhaps he would leave it out for a bit in case someone else wanted to find it. There were more pictures to see and stories to read – Doodle Dog figured it would take his entire lifetime to explore even one section of the neverending collection. In fact, it was times like these that Doodle Dog nearly wished he was a cat… then he’d have nine lifetimes to read all those books!

But no matter how many other delicious choices his imagination would have a chance to happily devour, the floppy-eared puppy would always come back to his very favorite tale: the one about a curious floppy-eared puppy who loves to explore. And so, true to the legend set before him, Doodle Dog scampered off to the far reaches of the cavernous interior of the library, covered as distant as his eye, and imagination, could see with myths and fairytales and true stories, too, just waiting to whisk him away to another distant land and then another, all without ever leaving his cozy little spot!


Newton Falls – The hunt is on for the Great Chili Recipe of Ohio! Okay, maybe not quite all of Ohio, but “in all of northwest Trumbull County” would be a good starting honor…In any case, the recipe hunt is on and the hunt for cookers who think they may possess that extra-special concoction is very much in full swing as the annual Newton Falls Chili Cook-Off planning is almost at a full boil. It may not be a Food Network show, but the Chili Cook-Off has been an area staple for 24 years, which is a lot longer than most television episodes go without being cancelled (or “chopped” if you’re a true fan of kitchen vernacular). 

Newton Falls – It’s that time of year again (believe it or not): the air is growing a little bit crisper, the leaves are starting to turn a little bit more colorful, and the shops we know and love have seemingly morphed into purveyors of all things autumn with their warm-toned décor and pointed wafting of delicious pumpkin-y and cider smells. Not only do all of these favorite things signify the arrival of the chillier months, but they also serve as harbingers for some of Newton Falls’ favorite things: the yearly fall events looked forward to by residents and visitors alike.


Randolph – The Portage County Randolph Fair concluded another successful season this week, celebrating its 155th year with the theme of “Boots & Jeans in 2013.”

A nearly weeklong festival of events kicked off bright and early on Tuesday morning with the crowning ceremony of the Horse King and Queen in the park gazebo, which is located just about as “in the center of it all” as a visitor could be. Throughout the coming days, spectators were invited into the sprawling fairgrounds where they could explore, among other intrigues, seemingly endless stables housing stalls full of various livestock. Dairy cows, beef cows, horses in sizes from little to big to even bigger, pigs, goats, sheep, and even the everyday man’s best friends that are puppy dogs made not-so-everyday by a doggie costume contest rounded out the parade of four-legged creatures. Horse shows in several categories and livestock judging added even more flair to the non-human attendees, bringing the animals and their people together to show what they could do and decorating the victorious with all manner of awarded ribbons and trophies for their efforts. Artists, bakers, quilters, collectors, fashion designers and musicians also shared their talents with several of the buildings framing examples of the many ways a county resident could spend free time. The grandstand played host to an array of special events as well including the fan-favorite demolition derby and tractor pulls. Various Boy and Girl Scout Troops and 4-H groups showed off the skills they have been learning with well-designed exhibits showcasing recent projects, progressing in the latter’s stated motto “To Make the Best Better”.


Dear Lords and Ladies, you have been cordially invited to take a step out of the 21st century and into the 21st year of The Great Lakes Medieval Faire to help celebrate the 21st birthday of his young majesty Prince Philip!

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up
And here we meet a sleepy pup,
Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,
Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.

Today is going to be a great day! Well, it BETTER be! Doodle Dog thought as he took a quick sip from his shiny silver water bowl and a quicker bite of kibble from his bright red dish, barely stopping to crunch it between his teeth before he zipped off to a corner of the office towering with boxes. There was a lot to do in that little corner and Doodle Dog was excited to check one more thing off his Doggie To-Do List!
The current project on his list was to clean up his area of the office, but over the last couple of years it seemed random objects had decided to make his home THEIR home too and had simply invited themselves into whatever spare space had once existed between Doodle Dog’s comfy, fuzzy blanket and basket of chewy toys and his neighbor: the bookcase overflowing with his favorite stories. Doodle Dog didn’t want to be unfriendly, but those uninvited objects were starting to overstay their welcome and he really needed his nice clean area back. Perhaps with a little nudge in the right direction, they would migrate back to wherever they had come from or, if not, then find a new place entirely!
With all the right intentions and his goal firmly in mind, Doodle Dog approached his mission at hand with all the gusto of somepuppy who knew exactly what he wanted and exactly how to get it, but as the little fluffy form that is Doodle Dog came nearer to the towering stacks of boxes, the little floppy-eared puppy realised just HOW big and menacing this project appeared! His early confidence quickly fading, Doodle Dog gulped and stopped right in his tracks, wrapping his tail around his front paws as he stared up at the mountain in front of him. A mountain that he was sure was growing and expanding into quite a scary kind of monster right in front of his eyes! Doodle Dog hadn’t bargained for this! But he knew there was a job to be done and he couldn’t back down now, so after he let himself be scared for a moment, the little floppy-eared puppy mustered his courage and imagined that the mound-of-mess-monster was no bigger than a molehill mouse (whether it was true or not!) and, just for good measure, he also imagined that he was not, in fact, a puppy of small size but was actually, for the time being at least, quite a bit braver, stronger and smarter than he seemed a moment ago.

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up
And here we meet a sleepy pup,
Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,
Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.

Steam rose from the pavement covering the street outside the office window and little drops of dew that happened to plop on the sidewalk sizzled away within seconds. Summer was definitely here and it was definitely hot! Doodle Dog watched from inside his cool corner of the cozy couch, calmly guarding his little piece of air-conditioned earth. The floppy-eared puppy could see some of the townspeople walking very, very slowly so not to become too exhausted that they couldn’t make it home and some walking very, very quickly to find a cool place to relax as soon as possible. If Doodle Dog let his imagination get away from him, it might almost appear that some of the people were melting right into the concrete! First their shoes, then their socks, then the rest of them as they became shorter and shorter and shorter! His thoughts were so vivid that Doodle Dog almost began to think that HE was sinking too! But Doodle Dog shook his floppy ears and remembered where he was, on the comfy couch, simply sinking into the squishy cushions, and remembered that the people weren’t actually sinking into the street. Whew!
Doodle Dog looked at the left side of the couch cushion creeping up next to his front paw and at the right side of the couch cushion sneaking up by his tail. He knew he wasn’t really supposed to be up there in the first place, but the very middle of the couch was so very comfy that he decided he would let himself squish right down with it anyway, and sank a little bit deeper.

Newton Falls – While residents of Garrettsville and the surrounding neighborhoods are getting ready for next weekend’s Summerfest, the town of Newton Falls and its community members are hard at work planning for the rapidly-approaching Fourth of July festivities. Part of that preparation every year is the organization of the warm-weather favorite that is the annual Car and Bike Show which helps raise money for the approaching July activities.


Fans of works such as Girl with the Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn  have a new story to enjoy, and the lucky few who crowded into the Flood Meeting Room at the Hudson Library and Historical Society last month were able to hear the words on the pages being read by the woman who actually penned them. 

It had been quite a while since Doodle Dog found himself outside after dark. Though indeed quite curious most hours of the day, the little floppy-eared puppy always tried to make sure he was home, tucked safely in the office, before the sun went to bed and the street lamps lit up to take over its job for the evening. It was then, on this particular occasion, just a bit unusual that as the shade of the sky deepened into a blue so dark it was almost violet Doodle Dog was not, in fact, inside his warm blanket in his favorite corner of the office, but was actually still admiring nature’s morphing ceiling… under the earth’s soft covering that is the sky itself!

Newton Falls – During the May meeting of the Newton Falls Area Commerce Association, the agenda focused on town events.

As the president, secretary and treasurer were excused, no voting could be done, due to only having one officer present. However, the gathering time was put to good use as much was to be discussed. The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted as submitted and will be revisited at the next meeting with a vote to officially enter them into record. As there were no specific communications that needed to be addressed and the financial report will be postponed until June, the floor was given to a special guest, Christine Newman who is the organizer of the Arts in the Park which will be in its third year this summer. Ms. Newman spoke about the upcoming festival, scheduled for August 10th, namely the benefits of having a gathering of creative artists, and the costs associated with creating the free event for the community. Local artists of varied genres gather in Veterans Park and use the backdrop of the waterfalls as an inspirational setting for an afternoon of demonstrations, exhibits, and hands-on activities for all ages. This year the organizers are looking for sponsors to help defray the financial responsibilities and there are multiple sponsorship levels available for those who wish to help support the cause. Ms. Newman’s specific proposal to the Association involved an option tailored to the multiple-business organization and will be reviewed by the Finance Committee and will then be voted on by the members at a future meeting. Sponsorships are open to anyone in the community regardless of business affliation, so for more information interested individuals can contact the Arts in the Park chairperson at (440) 781-4578. To see highlights of last year’s event, search for “Newton Falls Arts in the Park” on your favorite web-browser.

As the moon goes to bed, the sun comes up

And here we meet a sleepy pup,

Who was walking through G-ville one bright sunny day,

Then saw The Villager and decided to stay.


The rain had finally calmed to a slow drizzle and Doodle Dog decided he’d had enough of this hiding-inside-business. Wet or not, thundering or not, scary or not, the floppy-eared puppy was going to venture outside and face the stormy rain once and for all.

Well, maybe…

As Doodle Dog poked his nose out the front door of the office, a heavy stream from the gutter overhead gushed down suddenly, soaking the tiny buds peeking out of the mulch in the flower beds and painting the front steps dark with a fresh coat of water. Maybe the porch was far enough, Doodle Dog thought. And so he stretched out his front legs and settled onto the soft welcome mat safe under the sturdy roof of the porch. Getting comfortable on the mat that was just the size of the little floppy-eared puppy, Doodle Dog curiously peered out across the wood plank floor, over the low railings and through the open space between the two decorative pillars that were not only pretty but that served a very important purpose – holding up the roof! Doodle Dog’s gaze continued on past these very pretty, very important pillars to the street and the sidewalk that bordered it, and curiously watched the hustle and bustle that didn’t even halt one little bit despite the sort of gloomy, sort of drippy, sort of just plain yucky weather.