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Stacy Turner

Stacy Turner
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Stacy Turner is a wife, mother, and contributing reporter who has lived in the Mantua/Hiram area for over a dozen years. After enjoying a career in marketing, where she spent her time writing on behalf of other people, she gets a kick out of writing under her own name. Mostly, she enjoys the opportunity to learn more about her community through the stories she covers.

Firefighters Jeff Barker and Chris Mullins, with a panoramic view of the new MSFD tanker truck.

Firefighters Jeff Barker and Chris Mullins, with a panoramic view of the new MSFD tanker truck.

Mantua – We reported in May that the Mantua-Shalerville Fire Department received an upgrade to its Insurance Services rating, or ISO rating, which could result in discounted insurance rates for residents in communities served by the department. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking, as of May 1st, 2014, the MSFD now ranks at a 4/4y. The last score received by the MSFD was a ranking of 6/9 in 1994.This phenomenal improvement in ISO rating is due, in large part, to the purchase of newer, more efficient vehicles now in service at the department.

The new tanker truck holds an impressive 4,000 gallons of water — 500 gallons more than its predecessor. In addition, the truck also features ground ladders and will also allow firefighters to draft water from nearby pools, ponds, or other bodies of water, while continuing to pump. The flat roof of the truck allows for a hose bed, something not possible with the 1988 MAC it replaced. This increase in capacity directly contributed to the improved ISO rating. The new tanker has been in service for several weeks, but firefighters Chris Mullins and Jeff Barker worked together for months to specify the particular features and capabilities the MSFD would need.

In addition, the department has just received a new, improved rescue squad, giving them better, more efficient tools to serve the community. To that end, they have planned to provide vehicles and crew at both the MSFD and at a temporary home at F & S Automotive during the planned demolition and construction project of the bridge on State Route 44. The project is slated to begin in mid-July, and will be completed in October.

These expenditures were made possible, in part, by the tax levy that was renewed in May by Mantua and Shalersville residents the department serves.

 

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In late August, you’ll have much more to celebrate than simply sending your children back to school. Portage County Celebration Week, which will be held from August 24th through the 30th, is a week of festivities to share the exciting people, communities and organizations who help stitch together the fabric of Portage County.  The first event of its kind in the County, Celebrate Portage Week will include an “Oscar”-style celebration dinner, a volunteer day, Premier of Bands, car show and KSU football home opener, concluding with a multimedia and fireworks display.

So why hold a party for the ENTIRE COUNTY? According to Regional Planning Director Todd Peetz, “Portage County Celebration Week is an awesome opportunity for residents to share and celebrate the great things happening throughout our county.”  The festivities will kick off on Wednesday, August 20th with a High School Band show. The Premier of Bands will be held at 7 pm at the Theodore Roosevelt High School Stadium in Kent. Performing bands include Kent Roosevelt, Ravenna Ravens Marching Band, Stow-Munroe Falls Bulldog Marching Band, Cuyahoga Falls Tiger Marching Band, Tallmadge Blue Devils Marching Band, and the Springfield Marching Band. For more information, contact Erin Latina at erin@brimfieldinsurance.com or Mary Jo Cline 330-677-3714.

Next up is an “Oscar”-style dinner on Sunday, August 24th that will bestow awards in several categories, including: Most Engaging High School, Best Community Service Project, Biggest Community Hero, and Best Art or Cultural Event. Nomination forms are available at visioninginportage.org. Download a nomination form today and make sure your favorites get the Oscar nod — forms are due by Friday, July 18th.

On Monday, August 25th, each community is asked to pick a local community or social service project to participate in a Community Volunteer Day. Does a local park need some sprucing up? Can a local landmark use a little love? Celebrate Portage is looking for community and nonprofit based volunteers and volunteer projects.  Here’s the perfect chance to work together with your neighbors to see what you can accomplish to enhance your community. Projects will be completed August 25, 2014 between 9 am and 4 pm.  Project organizers will need to provide all necessary material, tools, safety equipment and supervision.  For more information, contact Brian Duchon at briand@uwportage.org.

After all that hard work, come and relax at Cruise-In on Wednesday, August 27th, sponsored by the City of Ravenna. The car show, at both the A&W Drive-In and Mongoose Motorsports on SR 59 will run from 5-9 pm. Plan to stop by for root beer floats, hot rods, and an evening of family fun. Contact Terry Montz at (330)603-2299 for more information.

The festivities will wrap up at Kent State’s Dix Stadium, where the Golden Flashes will take on the Ohio University Bobcats at 6 pm. After the game, a multimedia presentation and fireworks display will close out the week of fun…and maybe get you in the back-to-school spirit.

The Portage Foundation, Visioning in Portage, and AMETEK, sponsor Portage Celebration Week. For more information, visit visioninginportage.org.

 

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Mantua - The U.S. Flag Code stipulates that when an American flag has served its useful purpose, “it should be destroyed, preferably by burning.” Recently Mantua’s American Legion Post 193 conducted a disposal ceremony of unserviceable flags at the Mantua Village Park. Such ceremonies are solemn occasions for the retirement of unserviceable flags. As such, the ceremony, which was originally scheduled for June 14th, was moved to June 21st so the ceremony wouldn’t conflict with the Soap Box Derby, which took place at the Park on Flag Day.

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Back row: Bernard Kinter, Robert MacLearie, Commander Mark C. Bray, Sargent at Arms Russell Workman, Eric Six, Roy Mayfield, Ralph Bright. Front row: Chaplain Jesse Crate, Alvin Sweet, David Pifer, raffle winner Victor Grimm, Ray Corbett.

After the brief ceremony, the winning ticket for the Legion’s fundraising raffle was drawn. Mantua Township Trustee Victor Grimm’s ticket was drawn, making him the winner of a rifle. For more information about American Legion Post 193’s activities, contact Post 193 Ladies Auxiliary Secretary, Sharon Steiner at (330) 808-0774.  If you have any flags that are no longer serviceable, take them to your local American Legion post for inclusion in their next disposal ceremony.

 

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art-on-the-hill-mantuaIf you’re an art lover looking to feast your eyes on some fabulous local art, or you’re simply looking for an unusual way to enjoy the weekend, you’re in for a treat this weekend. Starting in nearby Hudson this Friday evening, you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of Hudson’s local artists and tour their studios and galleries to see where they make their magic. Seven venues — all working studios or art galleries — will be open, offering different types of artwork for viewing and for sale at the 2nd Friday Art Hop from 5-8 pm. Works include paintings in various media and beautiful handmade jewelry. If your studio visits get those creative juices flowing, you’re in luck, since many of the artists offer instructional classes. Featured artists and galleries include: Hudson Fine Art & Framing, Chentini Gallery in the Evaporator Works, Bellabor Art Jewelry, Life Needs Art, Mary Catherine Haneline Studio, Creative Fingers and Shannon Casey Studio. In addition, the Open Door Coffee Company, next to Hudson Fine Art & Framing, will have art on display and live music until 9 p.m. A map, featuring the complete list of studio addresses, is available at lifeneedsart.com.

hudson-artAnd the fun continues on Saturday, so make plans to attend the 5th Annual Art on the Hill & Wine Tasting event in scenic Mantua Village. The event, which is hosted by the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC), will feature an impressive mix of over 70 artists and craftsmen, local food vendors, demonstrations, and children’s activities lining both sides of Prospect Street. Area businesses will be bringing special offers to customers during the event, and musical entertainment will fill the air. This day-long event will engulf Prospect Street from 10 am until 6 pm. Some 2,500 guests are expected to attend, so make sure your family is among them to enjoy this local treasure.

 

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Hiram – In 1863, when James A. Garfield bought the home on Hinsdale Road, Hiram College was just thirteen years old.  Garfield had just begun serving in Congress when he and his wife, Lucretia, moved in. Garfield was Principal of the institution, the equivalent of College President. The couple sold the home to Burke A. Hinsdale, who served as the first permanent president of Hiram College. In 1882, Hinsdale eventually sold the home to Phebe Boynton Clapp, Garfield’s cousin, and the house has been in the family for three generations.  That legacy ended with the recent passing of long-time Hiram resident Phebe Zimmerman.

It was Phebe’s great-grandmother Phebe Boynton Clapp, who established the family’s Hiram legacy. Like her cousin, James A Garfield, Clapp was also a student at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, which became Hiram College. Garfield returned to Hiram as college president, and then moved on to higher offices. Phebe Boynton Clapp also returned to Hiram. She held the position of Lady Principal, the equivalent to Dean of Women. Unlike her cousin, however, she stayed on in Hiram, and in 1883, she purchased the Garfield family home on Hinsdale.

The home remained in the family, and was used as a summer residence. In 1946, Phebe and John Zimmerman came to the house in Hiram temporarily, after John returned from service in WWII. But like her great-grandmother before her, Zimmerman stayed on. With her family, she lovingly maintained the home.  In 2013, however, Phebe Zimmerman sold the home to Hiram College, with an understanding that she would reside there as long as she chose to do so. In announcing the sale she stated “I am happy that the house will be preserved and will be used for a purpose that honors its history.”

By terms of the sale the house will be called the Garfield Robbins Zimmerman House, to reflect the history of those who owned it. The home will house the offices for the Garfield Institute for Public Leadership, which instructs students in public service. Eventually, it will serve as a venue for discussions and guest speakers and a mini-museum showcasing the legacy left by James Garfield.

 

Mantua Township – If you’re a community-minded individual who is looking to help make a difference for fellow residents, than the Mantua Township Trustees want to hear from you. They’re looking for your help to transform a historic gem into a vibrant community resource. You may remember that late last year, the Portage County Regional Planning Commission (RPC) was asked by Township Trustees to solicit community wants and needs regarding the potential renovation of the Mantua Center School property. 

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Mantua – At the June meeting of the Crestwood School Board, District Technology Supervisor Jeff Woolard was asked to give a presentation to the Board sharing his team’s achievements this year, and the projects they’re looking to implement within the District over the coming months. With the help of his team, District Network Technicians Carl Zeleznik and Nicholas Karman, Woolard shared that the group has added 65 access points, took ownership of the District’s domain (crestwoodschools.org) and is in the process of implementing Google Cloud platform throughout the District. The current and ongoing advances will help provide platform reliability, increased storage capacity and better online project collaboration, “even on snow days,” joked Woolard. As an added bonus, many Portage and Stark County school districts have already chosen, or are migrating to Google. The Stark-Portage Area Computer Consortium (SPARCC) is able to provide technical support for Google, as well. SPARCC, of which Crestwood is a member, also serves school districts in Stark, Portage and Carroll counties.

As a part of his group’s three-year plan, Google chromebooks will used throughout Schools in the District. During the current school year, a new mobile cart, complete with 30 laptop computers, has been tested in the Intermediate Building, with positive results. The purchase of this cart was made possible through an anonymous donation. Future District plans include providing laptops on similar carts, which include charging stations, for use throughout the District. These new laptops will be the primary vehicle used in online standardized testing. In addition, the District’s web site is in the process of being redesigned, and will be launched over the summer.

In her Sports Report, Board Member Debra Soltisz reported that the following students received All-PTC Recognition: In Baseball, Gabe Surgeon was named to First Team, Josh Hampton and Matt Lyons were named to Second Team, and Jared Bailey and Ross Nielsen earned Honorable Mention. In Softball, Bailee Kodash earned First Team, while Reanna Szarka and Holly Hoffman earned Second Team status and Miranda Brothers and Taylor Chism earned Honorable Mention. In Boys Track, Jeremiah Fitzgerald and Jacob Ondash earned First Team. Austin Usher, George Lesnak, Craig Davis, John Kilbourne and Brendan Fannin were named to the Second Team, while Tyler Brady and Michael Picone earned Honorable Mention.

In Girls Track, Alania Nuti, Taylor Rector, Marissa Midgley, Lindsay Thut, Hayley Zigman and Abby Soltisz earned First Team. Lindsay Thut, Challis Roberts, Hayley Zigman, Kira Judd, Maddie Sorrick and Abby Soltisz earned Second Team and Carlie Cofojohn and Melissa Soltisz received Honorable Mention. Lastly, Justin Vaughan was named to First Team for Tennis while Andrew Shahan and Tyler Roth earned Honorable Mention.

In his Academic Report, Board Member Todd Monroe shared that the use of Blizzard Bags was successful, as was the fifth grade orientation at the Middle School. In addition, he reported that Crestwood Middle School Leadership students held their second annual walk to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Over fifty students walked to raise funds totaling $1,069.71 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. CMS Leadership advisor, Kristen Tekavec, shared, “It’s so amazing to have such awesome students and staff raise funds for such a worthy cause.”

In her Maplewood Update, Board Member Bonnie Lovejoy reported that construction had begun on the Animal Science facility. The program will include training for employment opportunities including vet assistant, grooming, kennel, doggie daycare and pet shop industries.

This meeting was recorded; the video can be viewed at crestwoodschools.org. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Crestwood School Board will be held on Thursday, July 3rd at 7 pm in the CHS library.

 

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DeYoungHiram - This spring, Hiram-based advertising agency the Communications Factory used a little helium to help an area high school senior on her way to earning a higher education. Over its last eleven years in operation, the Factory has awarded a $1,000 scholarship every spring to a deserving northeastern Ohio high school senior to help them in pursuit of a college degree. This year, however, Plant Manager Brad Turner wanted to do things a little differently. Instead of waiting to attend the scholarship recipient’s Senior banquet, Turner chose to surprise this year’s winner, Ms. Allison DeYoung of Field High School in Uniontown, Ohio.

Unbeknown to DeYoung, Turner had worked with administrators at Field High School to stage a covert operation on a random day in May, during DeYoung’s English class. At intervals throughout the class period, some of DeYoung’s classmates entered the room, each handing her a single, shiny, red, star-shaped Mylar balloon. DeYoung sat mystified, surrounded by her equally puzzled classmates, as the excitement mounted with each new delivery. Within a few minutes, nine balloons floated above DeYoung’s desk. When the card attached to balloon number ten was delivered, the secret was revealed, to the amazement and delight of DeYoung and her classmates.

According to Brad Turner of the Communications Factory, the card read, “While balloons alone are a great way to boost your spirits, what’s inside of each of these will boost it even more. Congratulations, Allison. You’re the winner of the 2014 Communications Factory Scholarship. Pop each balloon and celebrate!”  As the words from the card began to sink in, DeYoung’s’s teacher handed her a pair of scissors and urged her to start popping the balloons. As she did so, she uttered, “Oh my goodness!” and “Oh my gosh!” many times over while she located each tightly rolled one-hundred-dollar bill, one per balloon, for a total of $1,000. Shortly thereafter, she called her mom to share the exciting news…and to ask her to please come pick up the money.

In a heartfelt note she later wrote to Turner, DeYoung expressed her gratitude. “Thank you so much for choosing me as the winner of this year’s scholarship. And especially thank you for the wonderful surprise in my English class! I have to say that I was not expecting that at all!” To see the event as it unfolded in the Field High School classroom, view the video at: facebook.com/communicationsfactory.

In April of 2015, the Factory will be awarding another scholarship to help another deserving student’s dreams take flight. Visit www.communicationsfactory.net for more information.

 

Hiram – At a recent meeting of the Hiram Village Council, Village resident Susan Merrill thanked Council for the effectiveness of the emergency siren that sounded during a recent storm. But she inquired as to how people without cell phones and radio or television reception would know when an emergency is over. This prompted a discussion about whether a long blast of the siren could signify an emergency, while another, shorter blast could signify an “all clear”. This topic will be discussed at the next Safety Committee meeting, and their recommendations will be presented to Council at an upcoming meeting.

Next, Township Trustee Kathy Schulda shared that the Township Trustees are in the process of reviewing a proposed contract between the Township and the Hiram Village Police Department. Under the terms of the contract, the Township would agree to hire the Village Police Department for 10 hours per week from June through December of 2014. This time would be spent on traffic enforcement, in high-visibility and targeted areas, and would not detract from services provided in the Village. The proposed effective date of the contract will be June 18th, allowing time for both Village Council and Township Trustees to approve this resolution. Currently, Township residents needing law enforcement assistance must call the Portage County Sherriff’s office.

Later, in his report, Mayor Bertrand reported that Chairman Norm Christley had canceled the Planning & Zoning meeting scheduled from May 6th due to no pending business. Further, he advised Council of his recommendation that the Village Recreation and Park Board request input from Todd Peetz at Regional Planning and Chris Craycroft from Portage Parks prior to putting forth proposed resolutions regarding the planned development of the Hiram School Park property. On the matter of the AMATS Sidewalk Grant, the Mayor reported that the Village received an estimate to construct the new sidewalks in Hiram at $336,000. This amount includes the cost of $43,515 in engineering fees, and an AMATS grant of $268,000, making the local cost share estimated at: $67,200. In addition, the Mayor noted that the Village is currently accepting bids to sell the old Fire Hall located near the Village Post Office. Bids will be opened at noon on June 9th.

Lastly, Mayor Bertrand noted that planning had begun for Hiram’s Fourth of July festivities. As in previous years, Dr. Willard Greenwood will be taking the lead, with assistance from Council member Chris Cobb, Fire Chief Bill Byers, Police Chief Ed Samec, Village Administrator Bob Wood, and additional volunteers. For more information, contact the Mayor’s office at (330) 569-7677.

In other news, it was noted that the Hiram Corner Store and Café, formerly known as Fire & Ice, has applied for a liquor license. Council approved the application, pending Zoning Inspector approval that the proposed usage is appropriate and in compliance with Village codes and ordinances. In legislation, Council approved Resolutions renewing an existing Tax Levy for EMS and Fire Fighting purposes, and authorized an agreement between the Village and the College for work on a hike and bike trail.

The next meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be held on Tuesday, June 10th at 7 pm.

 

Mantua – At the last meeting of the Mantua Village Council, Village resident Jim Oster, requested Council’s approval on behalf of the DMRC, to post a banner spanning Main Street to promote the Art on the Hill event. Council agreed unanimously to grant this request, pending Zoning approval, specifying that the banner is removed three days after the event. DMRC has already received approval from the two landowners where the proposed banner would be affixed. Art on the Hill will take place in Mantua on Saturday, July 12th from 10 am – 6 pm.

In addition, Beth Sluka spoke to Council on behalf of the Mantua Potato Festival Committee. Ms. Sluka requested permission for the Festival to have fireworks at this year’s event. The proposed location across the river from Buchert Park, near the service building, was deemed unsafe, as it is too near the propane pipeline. The Potato Festival Committee will work with the Mayor, Village Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief to identify another, more-suitable location.

In other news, the Soapbox Derby will be held at the Buchert Park on Saturday, June 14th. The race takes place on High Street, near the park. Later that month, the Boy Scouts will hold a flag burning ceremony in conjunction with American Legion Post 193 at the Park on June 21st at 11 am. Any wishing to properly dispose of an American flag that has been worn beyond repair is encouraged to bring it to the Park and take part in the ceremony.

In her Financial Report, Fiscal Officer Jenny August reported that $100 was donated to the park fund by Dave Pifer in memory of his sister, Ruthie Pifer Aldrich. In addition, $1,290 was donated to the Cemetery Board in her honor. A public hearing was scheduled on June 17th at 6:45 pm for the purpose of approving and adopting a permanent budget for 2015. This hearing will be immediately followed by the regularly scheduled Council meeting.

Council is entertaining a Resolution for a five-year, 3.85 MILL tax levy for general construction, resurfacing, and repair of streets, roads, and bridges within the Village. The proposed levy would cost taxpayers an estimated $12 per $100,000 home. Lastly, Village Engineer Rich Iafelice reported that his team had visited the water treatment and wastewater treatment plants. They have developed a list of necessary repairs and will work with Council to prioritize the tasks and funds needed. Some of the projects and costs involved may help the Village qualify for a grant through Ohio Public Works Commission.

Councilman Bill Zoller reported, on behalf of the Fire Board, that Mantua-Shalerville Fire Department received an upgrade to its Insurance Services rating. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking, Departments are judged on performance, speed, efficiency and training. As of May 1st, 2014, the MSFD now ranks at a 4/4y. The last score received by the MSFD was a ranking of 6/9 in 1994.This phenomenal improvement in ISO rating should lead to a decrease in insurance premiums for property owners in the Mantua-Shalersville community.  Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies to determine if the new ISO rating will decrease their premiums.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council is Tuesday, June 17th at 7 pm.

 

Mantua – Specialist Adam Scott Hamilton was one of the top marksmen in his unit and was assigned as a sniper. Since joining the U.S. Army in March, 2009 Specialist Hamilton has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal. But he was more than that to Crestwood student Nick Krestan — Adam was his big brother. Three years ago, when Nick was a student at Crestwood Intermediate, he and his classmates wrote letters to Adam, sharing what they were learning in the book, On the Wings Of Heroes  by Richard Peck. Nick’s class, and the entire school, read the book as a part of the school’s first One Book, One School program that year. Unfortunately, Adam, who was serving in the US Army in Afghanistan, died in battle on May 28th, before he had the chance to meet his brother’s classmates at CIS. Adam was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and NATO medal. He was 22 years old.

At the time of his death in 2001, a tree was planted in his honor on the grounds of the school. This past Friday, Adam was once again honored by Crestwood Intermediate School when his memorial was dedicated in the presence of his family. The dedication coincided with the closing event of this year’s One Book, One School program, which again featured Peck’s book, On the Wings of Heroes.

“It fills our hearts to know that these communities wrap their arms around and comfort us. It’s wonderful how much people care,” beamed Adam’s father, Scott Hamilton. “Memorial Day is so much more than hot dogs and a day off. It’s so important to help keep Adam’s memory alive, and all the other men and women who are lost.”  After the dedication, Crestwood students, the Hamilton family, and area veterans enjoyed a jalopy parade similar to the one described in Peck’s book.

As spectators waved American flags, the Crestwood marching band led the parade, which also featured Army vehicles and classic cars. Through their month-long literacy program, CIS students and staff raised money for the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Virginia. In addition to a financial donation, two bricks will be placed in the Museum’s walkway — one in honor of Mantua veterans, and one in honor of Specialist Adam Hamilton, with the designation ‘On Wings of Heroes’ to commemorate this year’s program. In addition, students and community members have the opportunity to register veterans into the National Museum of the U.S. Army soldier database. The Soldier’s Registry provides an opportunity to recognize and honor soldiers who are currently serving or have previously served in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. The Soldier’s Registry will be prominently displayed at The National Museum of the United States Army, and is available at no charge. For more information, visit armyhistory.org.

“It’s amazing how they were able to bring students in touch with what happens during war,” continued Hamilton, noting that the U.S. has been engaged in war in the Middle East for over ten years. “There are a lot of families impacted,” Hamilton noted, “but events like this can effect them in a positive way.” He expressed his hope that some day, some of today’s students might return here to share his son’s memorial, and today’s experience, with their own children.

Specialist Adam Hamilton is survived by his parents Scott and Connie Hamilton of Kent and Nancy Krestan, of Mantua; as well as his siblings Nick Krestan; and Brandon, Shawney and Taya Hamilton. In his honor, the family has created the Adam Hamilton Memorial Academic and Athletic Scholarship Fund. The Fund helps keep his memory alive through recognizing major accomplishments of Kent Roosevelt students, where Hamilton graduated in 2007. Each year, the Fund awards two $10,000 scholarships – for graduating male and female Kent Roosevelt High School students. For more information, call (330) 274-2961.

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Mantua – At the last meeting of the Crestwood School Board, the 2014 District retirees were honored for their combined 255 years of service in the District. Middle School Principal Julie Schmitt, Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick, Director of Pupil Services Mike Maglionico, and past School Board member Martha Phillips spoke on behalf of the retirees, sharing laughter and a few tears as they thanked their colleagues and wished them well. Superintendent David Toth remarked, “I’d like to commend these people for their efforts and dedication and thank you for your service. You’ll all be missed.”

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Crestwood District retirees Patricia Eskridge, Pamela Braden, Mary Lou Bernotas, Edward Nichols, Janet Wilkins, Gerrie Zimkosky, and Eileen Shahan were honored at the last School Board meeting. Retireees Theresa Duesing and Rick Hall were not present that evening.

Next up, District Treasurer Jill Rowe presented an updated five-year-forecast for the district. The forecast represents budget cuts and payroll reductions, as well as considerable savings in forecast healthcare costs. Regarding the improved budget, Ms. Rowe stated, “It took a lot of hard work to get here.” In similar news, Superintendent Toth shared that he and his team had completed several grant applications that would help provide Crestwood with resources to become a 21st century learning campus.

The Straight A grant is valued at between $1 million and $15 million, and could provide funds for online courses, STEM classrooms, and resources for a media center that would be available to the community. Other grants include a federal health and wellness grant to cover the cost to employ additional therapists and guidance counselors to the District, and a grant to fund a K-grade four summer reading program. Grants will be awarded later this year. Mr. Toth explained, “It’s part of my job, and my team of administrators, to find money to help our kids and teachers to the betterment of Crestwood.”

In other news, Primary School Principal Cindy Ducca and Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick explained the latest changes and how their schools are working with the Third Grade Guarantee. They highlighted plans to help those students in danger of scoring below the acceptable target reading scores, and outlined the many ways the school is currently intervening and providing additional support to the students and their families. In addition, a summer reading program has been implemented. Afterward, School Board member Dave Becker commented about the dangers of becoming too test-focused, stating, “We want to develop a love of reading, not a fear of testing.”

Later, Crestwood High School teachers Angus McDougall and Sarah Moore shared their thoughts on teaching the American Experience Academy, a cross-cultural class in experiential learning. According to McDougall, the class helps students develop a unique skill-set that helps them, “engage with learning.” McDougall shared that the program benefits the district in many ways, including as a collaborative opportunity among other buildings within the district, serving as a field trip destination for classes at the Intermediate School. In addition, next year’s program will incorporate a journalism element, where students will write articles and shoot photos about various aspects of the Academy.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting will be held on Monday, June 2nd at 7 pm in the High School Library. In addition, previous meeting minutes and video recordings of school board meetings can be viewed at crestwoodschools.org.

 

Hiram Twp. – At a recent meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, there was a brief discussion regarding the tax issue between township employees and the Village of Hiram. Road Supervisor Tom Matota shared some questions raised by his crew. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that Service Department employees would forward their questions to Chairwoman Kathy Schulda, who would, in turn, follow up with Village Solicitor, Thomas Reitz. It was decided, however, that from this point forward, the crew would keep track of the time they spend within the village versus within the township. Further, Fiscal Officer Stan Carlisle will withhold local taxes from each paycheck based on the documented number of hours reported.

In other news, Road Supervisor Matota reported that his crew would begin mowing along roadsides and the cemetery very soon. They had been busy trimming trees and doing patchwork on winter-damaged roads. In addition, Mr. Matota will be working with the league manager to discuss maintenance plans and needs at the township’s baseball diamond in Hiram Rapids. The Port-O-John is now in place near the field. Trustee Steve Pancost will request a copy of the League’s insurance information to be filed.

In old business, the appropriate records have been organized and stored, and those no longer required were destroyed. Fiscal Officer Carlisle will file the appropriate paperwork to document this. The Board of Zoning has been asked to meet concerning distances of oil holding tanks from a home and the FHA VA standards. That meeting was scheduled for June 24th.

Shortly thereafter, the trustees went into executive session. When they resumed, Chairwoman Schulda announced that the trustees have reached an agreement to purchase 31 acres in Hiram Township on State Route 82, west of State Route 700.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Township Trustees will take place on Tuesday, June 3rd at 7 pm. In the Township Hall.

 

Mantua Twp. – In a recent meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees, Zoning Inspector John Dickey reported that he had issued verbal notices to 28 residents for excess, unlicensed vehicles. He also reported that the new signs were now posted in the proper locations at the LaDue Reserve development.

Cemetery Sexton Jim Aldrich reported that he has received $1,065 for foundation fees, 1,925 in burial fees, and $2,540 in grave fees. He also reported that the newly refreshed signs have been set in place. The trustees thanked Mr. Aldrich and the volunteers who accomplished the job.

Frank Horak reported on behalf of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee that they are in the final stages of preparation on the Memorial, and that plans are in place for the Memorial’s dedication on Monday, May 26th at noon, immediately following the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at the cemetery. The committee plans to use the Town Hall to display documents, and ask the Historical Society to open their museum for the occasion.

Later, Trustee Jason Carlton read an email from Assistant Chief Matt Roosa of the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department asking him to let township residents know that the department received an upgrade to its insurance services rating. The email explained that on average, the ISO evaluates fire departments every 10 years.  The Fire Department was last evaluated in 1994. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best ranking, departments are judged on performance, speed, efficiency and training. The last score received by the MSFD was a ranking of 6/9. As of May 1st, 2014, however, the fire department ranks at a 4/4y. This phenomenal improvement in ISO rating should lead to a decrease in insurance premiums for property owners in the Mantua-Shalersville community, so residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies to determine if the new ISO rating will decrease their premiums.

In other news, Fiscal Officer Marie Stehli requested a budget workshop to be held on June 10th at 7 pm, and a budget hearing to be held on July 3rd at 7pm, followed immediately by the regular trustee meeting. In addition, she requested that the trustee meeting originally scheduled for Thursday, July 17th be moved to Tuesday, July 15th due to scheduling conflicts.

Lastly, the trustees discussed the proposed road repair list, estimating that 4.76 miles of township roads will need chip and seal work, and 13.39 miles will require crack seal work.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be held on June 5th at 7 pm in the Township Hall.

 

Nelson Twp. – A study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that in the five-year period ending in 2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings. Over 1,300 of those victims were under 25 years of age. A federal study of unintentional shootings found that 8% of such shooting deaths resulted from shots fired by children under the age of six. Close to home, near Kent, OH in March, an 11-year-old was accidentally shot and killed by his 15-year-old cousin.

“The primary concern when handling firearms is safety,” explained National Rifle Association (NRA) instructor Tammy Peters. Peters, a certified NRA instructor from Garrettsville, recently taught a Youth Shotgun Clinic at the Streetsboro Sportsmen Association’s facilities in Nelson Township. The class was offered at no cost to area children ages 10 – 18, accompanied by a responsible adult.

According to Club member Russ Vandercook, “People are scared of guns because they don’t understand how to safely use  them.” Peters concurred, remarking, “The major cause of gun accidents are the lack of knowledge of how a firearm operates, and carelessness.” Safety courses like those offered by the club help to teach gun enthusiasts of all ages the basics required to handle and operate firearms in a safe manner.

Fifteen youth from the area learned the basics at the Club’s recent Youth Shotgun Clinic. Before ever touching a firearm, the group learned gun-safety basics. Peters mentioned the incident in Portage County, stressing the dire circumstances that can result when firearm safety precautions aren’t utilized. She told her students how to respond in a similar situation, if they ever find themselves around an unsecured gun while visiting a friend or neighbor. “Don’t touch it! Make sure that you and your friends leave the room immediately, and go tell an adult.”

During the course of the morning, students were familiarized with the basic parts of a gun, and how they function. Key concepts were also covered by Peters, who directed her class to, “Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction where it won’t damage people or property.” She continued, “Always keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire, and always keep your gun unloaded until you’re ready to use it.” A question and answer session was held after her informative lecture, and each participant received a copy of the NRA’s “Basics of Shotgun Safety,” handbook.

Afterward, the students were invited to practice the techniques they learned, under the watchful eye of their parents or guardians and a handful of the Club’s 150 members. Although the group was predominantly male, several females were in attendance. One young woman, Emily, was there with her father, Earl. Proud of Emily’s skill and expertise, her dad shared that he and Emily have been there and elsewhere to learn and practice. “It’s important for young people to learn how to handle a guns safely,” he stated. “It’s also a great way for kids to learn discipline,” he concluded.

The Streetsboro Sportsmen Shooting Club is a private facility that features a trap range and ranges of 25, 50,100 and 200 yard for bench rest, prone, silhouette and pistol matches. For more information on the club, visit streetsborosportsman.org.

The Streetsboro Sportsmen Association will be holding another free clinic at their Nelson Township facility. This upcoming clinic, held on May 31st, is entitled, ‘Women’s Introduction to Firearms’. This event will run from 9 am until 1 pm, and is offered at no charge, but requires advance reservations. For more information, or to register, contact Russ Vandercook at (330) 274-3566.

 

Middlefield – A new shop will soon open in Middlefield, notable not only for it’s distinct mix of products offered, but for the individuals who staff it. Upon entering the storefront, you may be greeted by Celeste, a friendly, hard-working store employee from the Metzenbaum Center, part of the Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, who helps staff this unique store.

The shop will focus on selling an equal mix of handcrafts, and gently used treasures. Artisans from Metzenbaum will supply wood products, jewelry, key rings and handmade cards. Local artisans will also consign handmade items including woven wicker baskets, aprons, and pillow covers. Other inventory will include collectible glassware, pottery, toys, books, home items, magazines, and kids items. The shop is unable to accept upholstered furniture, clothes or shoes. Individuals are welcome to consign items, or simply donate gently used items. If any donations aren’t used at the store, they will be given to another local charitable organization.

In addition to greeting customers, some of Celeste’s tasks at Special Hands Shoppe will include checking in consigners, ringing out customers at the cash register, as well as setting up and helping to design display areas of the store. Celeste will work closely with Metzenbaum staff, including Debra Griggs. The goal is that the shop’s inventory will augment what is found in the local community. “We won’t sell items that would compete with nearby stores. We want our store to be a wonderful addition to the local community.” To that end, the shop is soliciting local artists, including Amish crafters, to provide a wide selection for local residents, visiting tourists, and tour groups.

In addition, Griggs and her team hope to work with residents on beneficial community projects. And that community spirit doesn’t stop with Griggs and her staff.  Consigner Martin Weaver, a local artisan, donated a tabletop wishing well to be kept near the cash register. His only request – that any loose change donated would benefit the Ronald McDonald House. So, if you’re looking for some good gift items, but you also want to do good for the community, visit Special Hands Shoppe in Middlefield. The store, located on West High Street near Dollar General and Roadhouse Music, won’t officially open until Memorial Day. Local artists and consigners are encouraged to contact Debra at dgriggs@geaugadd.org or (440) 632-0659 to schedule an appointment.

Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities, known as The Bessie Benner Metzenbaum Center, was started in 1966 to help individuals in Geauga County with developmental disabilities. As of January 2014, they serve over 725 individuals and their families with community-based therapies, day-programming, residential services, and transportation. For more information, visit geaugadd.org.

 

Mantua – For the fourth year in a row, lively literacy takes Crestwood Intermediate students well beyond the pages of a book. At least as far as Canton, Ohio, to the Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) museum. That’s where students and staff recently visited, as a part of the fourth annual One Book, One School program, and thanks to a generous grant from the Hiram Community Trust. Although the students didn’t see a B-17 like the one in the book, “On the Wings of Heroes,” that the entire school is reading, they had the opportunity to meet veterans who did. One such individual is WWII veteran Ralph Lynn, who flew 32 missions during the war. Lynn, who is now 94 years old, serves as a tour guide at the museum, where the leather bomber jacket he wore during those missions is now on display. He served as a guide for several groups of Crestwood students, leading them through the museum’s aircraft and displays.

Lynn has a good deal of experience sharing the MAPS museum with older folks like himself, who lived through that time.  However, he noted the difficulty he sometimes has in sharing his experiences with younger children with little knowledge of that time. Since the Crestwood students were currently learning about the war through the One Book, One School program, Lynn was able to, “add a little more meat to what they’ve read,” and give them a more real picture of those who served.

While at the MAPS museum, students had the opportunity to climb aboard a C-41 plane to learn how troops may have felt as they prepared to invade Normandy, or see a variety of aircraft on display and under restoration, including a MiG-17, B-26 Marauder, and AH-1 Cobra aircrafts. They also had the opportunity to climb aboard a Goodyear GZ-22 Blimp Gondola. In addition, groups had the opportunity to tour a ‘MASH’ era field hospital; similar to the one museum guide Ted Mathies served at as a medic in Viet Nam. Within the one tent on display, Mathies explained how soldiers could receive treatment for minor discomforts like a sore throats or cavities, to major surgeries like amputations, removing shrapnel, or, “putting your nose back on your face.”

Mathies shared that a 200-bed field hospital’s 27 tents can be set up in 24 hours anywhere in the world. He encouraged visitors to handle the instruments, tools, and equipment, and ask lots of questions. When asked about an odd-looking canvas bag with a hanging loop on top, and watering can sprinkler at the bottom, he explained to shocked students how to use a field shower, explaining, “If you wanted privacy, you’d have to close your eyes.”

MAPS museum literature notes that, “History was not made by airplanes, but by the men and women who designed, build and flew them.” As such, students had the opportunity to experience aviation up close through a tour of the museum’s Gallery of Heroes. They saw artifacts, learned about the men and women who served during the war, and saw a piece of the USS Arizona, sunk by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

As we stood under the 1908 Martin Glider, Ralph Lynn remarked excitedly, “Look how far we’ve come in 100 years,” noting the development from a simple wood and canvas glider to high-tech machines for travel to the moon. “I’d love to be around to see how far we can come in the next 100 years,” he concluded.

So what did students think of their experience at MAPS? Kylie, a fourth-grader, liked the opportunity to go inside a plane to find out what it’s like to be a paratrooper, like her father. Her classmate Jackson, an automotive enthusiast, added, “I liked viewing the planes, and trying to identify the different parts.”  For more information on the MAPS museum, visit www.mapsmuseum.org.

Back at Crestwood Intermediate, students have their own mini-museum. “It’s just amazing that all this came out of a book,” marvels Crestwood Intermediate guidance counselor Gary Traveny, as he looks around the darkened classroom. The classroom-turned-memorabilia museum is filled with photographs, uniforms, artifacts, and multimedia materials about the Second World War, on loan from community members. The temporary exhibit was compiled to augment the special month-long ‘One Book, One School’ program at CIS. The featured book, ‘On the Wings of Heroes,’ by Richard Peck, is the story of a young boy, and his brother who flies B-17s during World War II.

As you enter CIS, and come face-to-face with a vintage Army Jeep®, you know that the school is entranced with  the book. The entire school — roughly 400 students and staff from grades three through five – has been reading the book, and they have toured the exhibit to study the materials, and learn what individuals  from this generation experienced in the WWII. Through the exhibit, students had the opportunity to hear a recording of the Andrews Sisters singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and see a video clip of Kate Smith singing Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America.”

They heard the amazing, true story of Nicholas Winton, a stockbroker from London, who saved 669 Jewish children from death at the hands of the Nazis in Czechoslovakia. Students were surprised to learn how the British version of the Monopoly board game was used to help troops shot down in Germany escape POW camps.  Through the interpretive classroom, students saw German and Japanese memorabilia, as well as a copy of the August 14, 1945 Akron Beacon Journal newspaper noting the end of the war in the Pacific. The materials are on loan from private collectors including the Tayerle family, Mr. Delcalzo, the Marusiak Family, Mrs. Krupar and Mr. Traveny.

This year, CIS students are supporting the National Museum of the U.S. Army through the purchase of personalized dog tags. In addition, students and community members have the opportunity to register an Army veteran through a soldier registry at no charge. Soldiers registered through this program will be included in an exhibit at the National Museum of the U.S. Army in Virginia. During past One Book, One School programs, CIS has supported the Flight 93 Memorial, provided Vermont Teddy Bears to Akron Children’s Hospital, and supplied books to an elementary school in Akron through the First Book organization.

The month-long program concludes at 9 am on Friday, May 23rd, when a plaque will be installed to honor Adam Hamilton, the brother of Crestwood student Nick Kreston. Hamilton was killed while serving in Afghanistan four years ago. The plaque will be placed near a tree that was planted in Hamilton’s honor shortly after his death. After the brief ceremony, students and staff will participate in a jalopy parade, featuring area veterans. For more information on the program, contact Gary Traveny at Crestwood Primary, (330) 357-8203.

 

Mantua - Memorial Day is the time set aside to remember the men and women who died while serving in U.S Armed Forces. And from that day forward, local veterans Roy Mayfield, Jessie Crate, Jim Aldrich, Bud Foster, and a host of others will finally have a local place to honor and remember those they served with who have passed on, and those who did not make it home.

Local veterans Bud Foster, Kathleen Miller (wife of veteran Earl Miller), Jim Aldrich, Roy Mayfield, and Jesse Crate at the newly completed Veteran’s Memorial. The memorial is located at the corner of State Route 82 and Mantua Center Road in Mantua Township. The Memorial will be dedicated at noon on Memorial Day, May 26th, immediately following the community parade.

Local veterans Bud Foster, Kathleen Miller (wife of veteran Earl Miller), Jim Aldrich, Roy Mayfield, and Jesse Crate at the newly completed Veteran’s Memorial. The memorial is located at the corner of State Route 82 and Mantua Center Road in Mantua Township. The Memorial will be dedicated at noon on Memorial Day, May 26th, immediately following the community parade.

While the need and desire for a local monument honoring those who have served has never been in question, the location has been a topic of discussion since it was first suggested in 2001. Various sites were considered before the current site was selected twelve years later. And thanks to private donations of time, supplies and money, the Veteran’s Memorial is now complete. The Memorial is situated on the green in the Mantua Historic District, a location that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.

According to Army veteran Bud Foster, who designed the Memorial, it’s been a dream he’s held to tightly over the past nine years. Before her passing, his wife, Rose, told him, “Don’t give up on the battle.” Perhaps that’s just one more reason Foster visits the Memorial, situated near his home, every night. “We wanted to place the Memorial where people would see it all the time,” Foster concluded. Steve Zielinski, who served in the Navy, shared his desire to honor those friends and family members who served in the Armed Forces. Having a memorial here, he states, “is a good thing.”

Eileen Kinter, member of the Ladies Auxiliary, commented, “When we see the memorial, it helps to remind us of all those brave men and women who served, but are no longer with us. It’s great to have something here in Mantua.” Kathleen Miller’s late husband Earl served in WWII as part of the 77th Infantry Mr. Miller was part of the initial committee planning to create a memorial in Mantua. She acknowledged, “Any time you can recognize veterans and their service is a beautiful time.” Miller currently serves as Chaplain of the Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 193.

“With over a thousand veterans from our small area, spanning from the Revolutionary war to today, it’s great to have a place for families to pay their respects,” shared Tim Benner. Benner’s father served in the Korean War, earning a purple heart. When Benner took his mother to the Memorial recently, he recalls, it brought tears to her eyes. “It’s beautiful,” she said.

The Veteran’s Memorial will be dedicated on Monday, May 26, 2014 12:00 p.m., immediately following the Memorial Day parade and ceremony at West Lawn Cemetery. Guest Speakers include Bud Foster and Scott Hamilton, the father of Adam Hamilton, a local soldier who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan. Father Michael Garvey of Saint Joseph’s Parish will conduct the invocation and benediction. Garvey is also a veteran. Kathleen Miller will sing the National Anthem, and American Legion Post 193 will facilitate a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps. After the dedication, the Town Hall and Historical Society Museum will be open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

 

Ever since I first discovered the concept a few months ago, I had been intrigued to try a swap party. Just what the heck is a swap party, you ask? Basically, it’s a great way to make time to get together with friends, share some food and drinks, and swap for some cool stuff. The items for swapping are as vast as the number of ‘pins’ about swap parties you’ll find on Pinterest. For my first foray into swapping, I decided to limit the number of guests to around 10, and limit the items to something that was handmade or foraged. This worked well for our group, as each person brought 10 items, no one brought the same item, and everyone brought something as fun and fabulous as they are. But more about that later.

Untitled-1Here’s how a swap works. First, decide what type of swap you’d like to hold — it could range in theme from food, to health & beauty, home décor, clothing & accessories, plants or seeds, books, toys, or whatever your little heart desires. Next, send out invitations well in advance to give people time to make, sort, organize or forage for the items requested. Make sure to let them know the type of item you’re looking for and the quantity to bring. We kept it simple and did a one-for-one swap, which worked well. Lastly, provide food and drink. To keep it simple, and because this was the first swap, I decided to provide a light lunch, drinks, and dessert for everyone. (If you’re so inclined, you could throw a potluck affair.)

I’m so glad it worked out — it was a fun ladies’ afternoon of eating, chatting, and swapping fabulous stuff — and I’m really looking forward to doing it again. Here are the fun things we swapped: Homemade cavatelli pasta from Lori, gazpacho soup from Chris, lemon crinkle cookies from Christin, backyard eggs from Debbie, apple butter or rhubarb hibiscus jam from me, honey and homemade laundry detergent with wool dryer balls from Beth, creamy body lotion from Linda, quilted potholders or mug mats from Ellie, and handmade jewelry, cards and other crafty items from Julie. Your results may vary, depending on the coolness and talent of your friends. By the way, swaps, and my friends, totally rock!

We shared a simple lunch of potato soup and bread, and then had carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. This recipe was a big hit, free of chunky nuts or raisins, and perfect for a spring afternoon soiree.

 

Carrot Cake(courtesy of onehundreddollarsamonth.com)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups carrots, grated

Frosting

1 1/2 cups cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

5 cups powered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 2 round 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the shredded carrots.

Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans. Bake for about 45- 55 minutes {or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean}. Cool cake pans on wire racks. Remove cake from pans, wrap in Saran wrap, then aluminum foil. Place on a cookie sheet and chill cake layers for several hours or overnight.

To make the frosting, combined the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a medium-size bowl with a wire whisk until creamy. Slowly add in the powered sugar. Place one layer on cake plate or stand, top with frosting, then add 2nd layer. Frost cake with remaining frosting, then garnish as desired.

After dessert, and as the chatting continued, the swapping began.  It was an afternoon of food and fun, and our only issue was figuring out how to carry our fabulous stash of goodies home. Next time, I’ll plan to have boxes, bags or baskets for each guest. And maybe try an evening event with appetizers and cocktails — the options are as endless as the items to swap!

Hiram – Recently, roughly 2,000 high school seniors from 16 area schools arrived on the Hiram College campus. The students weren’t there en masse for a college visit or orientation opportunity, but for a serious lesson to guide them in making good decisions during the upcoming prom and graduation season.

As students arrived, they encountered a mock crash scene in the parking lot. Area fire trucks, an ambulance and EMS crews from several cities aided “victims” who were trapped inside the twisted wreckage. The graphic scene served to grab students’ attention, and served to set the stage for the rest of the morning’s events. But the purpose wasn’t to simply to show students a shocking scene. “The goal is to reduce teenage fatalities, especially during prom and graduation season,” said Lynette Basiman, Director of Portage County Safe Communities.

The None Under 21 program focuses on the simple choices students can make today, to avoid the very real consequences from drunk or distracted driving. As the program began, Hiram President Thomas Chema addressed the teens, sharing that in 2006, two of Hiram’s students were killed and another was severely injured when a drunk driver struck the car in which they were riding.

A father, Marc Streem, shared the loss of his youngest son, Ryan, a student at Rootstown. Ryan lost his life at the age of 14 in a motor vehicle accident. Next, college student and survivor of a drunk-driving crash, Melinda Mason, shared the experience and recovery. Mason began speaking publically after being hit by a drunk driver in April of 2013. Lastly, students listened as convicted felon, Aaron Cooksey, the man responsible for killing his best friend, recalls the choice he made to drink and drive, and the burden of the consequences he must continue to bear.

At the close of the program, students are directed through the “Walk of Remembrance,” an emotional tribute to local families who have lost loved ones due to traffic-related crashes. As students quietly walk through the hallway, they pause to see family members standing in tribute to loved ones they have lost. This year’s walk of remembrance honored Brad Bauer, Teresa Conti, Emily Goldsmith, Christopher Graves, Russ Wanchick, Joseph Nirchl, Donovan Svab, Ada Van Horn, Ryan Streem, Grace Chamberlain and Andy Hopkins.

Even though a mock crash scene greeted them at the start of the program, by the event conclusion, students have no doubt of the real losses that can result from poor choices. Moved by the program, many students shed tears, with some offering hugs or handshakes to families of victims as they made their way through the Walk of Remembrance.

According to Hiram Village Police Chief Ed Samec, “None 4 Under 21 hits hard! The students hear REAL LIFE stories and they feel the emotions from the presenters. The Walk of Remembrance has substantial impacts on the students. They look at the pictures and then look into the eyes of the family members standing next to the pictures. They see the heartbreak in the eyes of the family members and it’s a hard reality that this is for REAL!”

Prior to the event, one of the sponsors, Elk & Elk, challenged each school to create a banner containing a message related to the event. The winning team from Newton Falls High School won $2,000 to help fund alcohol-free prom and graduation activities at their school. A check for $1,000 went to the second place team from Windham High School.

The following sponsors made this year’s None 4 Under 21 program possible: the Ohio Troopers Coalition; the law firm of Elk & Elk; Jason Durica, Allstate Insurance; Hughes Event Production Services; Wood Kortright Borkoski Funeral Home; Portage Granite & Marble; Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci; Gateway Towing & Recovery; Hiram College; the Aurora Schools Foundation and the Fraternal Order of Police.

Mantua – For the 10th consecutive year, the Crestwood Outdoor Education Committee held an Earth Day festival at the Crestwood Primary School. While Mother Nature made it difficult to hold the festivities outside, holding the event indoors didn’t hamper the success of the evening’s event.

Aided by parent volunteers, as well as those from Crestwood Middle and High Schools, the event featured twenty earth-friendly stations for students and their families to enjoy. Habitat hikes were held outdoors, and stations offered a variety of hands-on activities and fun for all ages.  Families enjoyed giveaways like tree seedlings and sunflower seed planters, and gained  access to plant and animal facts and expertise from area naturalists, master gardeners, and wildlife experts.

Kids enjoyed speaking to beekeepers, learning about rocks, and finding out where storm water flows. They also enjoyed face painting and crafts like making radish seed necklaces. But the high point for many was the owl craft, where children and adults had the opportunity to make a simple art piece from reclaimed barn wood, leather scraps, and other odds and ends. The wood for the ‘barn owls’ was provided by the Stamm family.

He stands erect, like the captain of a ship, gazing out the upstairs window at the sea of lawn that surrounds our home. “We’re under attack!” he bellows. “I didn’t work by butt off all this time to let those worthless grubs destroy the yard I worked so hard to grow.” I ask him to calm down. My protests are met with exasperation. “Just look at this. We’re surrounded,” he hollers.

He would prefer to handle the offending pests ‘Chemical Ali’-style, by dousing the nasty buggers in enough caustic cocktail to kill them instantly. Preferably holding up little white flags of surrender before their untimely demises. I prefer a more natural approach. At least he realized that running through the yard, tearing up patches of lawn to squash every grub he saw, made him look, simply put, like a crazy person.

It doesn’t matter that we’ve spent money to introduce beneficial nematodes into the yard, trying to help get nature back in balance in our little corner of the world. We had to order them through the mail. He compared it to waiting for a packet of sea monkeys to arrive. He just applied our sea monkeys to the lawn yesterday afternoon. I ask him to give them a few days to take effect. “You clearly don’t understand,” he says, retaking his position at the healm, er, upstairs window.

We are at a stalemate in this battle of the grubs. And all I can think, rather flippantly, is, “Let them eat cake.” Chocolate cake, to be exact.

 

Chocolate Cake (recipe and photo courtesy of addapinch.com)

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup unsweetened

cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 cup milk

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

chocolate frosting

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well.

Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

Distribute cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely. Frost cake with chocolate frosting and enjoy. Perfect for spring holidays or insect debates alike.

 

 

cis-mantua-schools-art-visit-cleveland-museum-of-art-cmaMantua - For the second year in a row, fifth grade students and parents from Crestwood Intermediate School toured the Cleveland Museum of Art during two special Saturday field trips in early spring. Crestwood Intermediate Art teacher Patty Timbrook received the grants, which funded the trips, from the Hiram Community Trust.

Each grant covered the cost to transport two groups of students and chaperones to the museum. In addition, each grant also provided funds for three Ipads to allow students to research the trip, and to use during the excursions. After the field trips, the iPads are used regularly in Timbrook’s CIS art classroom.  According to Timbrook, “Last year’s students created a digital album of the CMA’s Egyptian collection in preparation for their trip to the museum. Students shared this album with the trip chaperone on the bus on the way to Cleveland.”

For many students and parents, this was the first time they had been at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Several parents hadn’t visited the museum since they were children and were awestruck by the changes what they saw. Timbrook marveled, “Many people mentioned that they will go back; that they were interested in the other museums in Cleveland, as well as other art museums in nearby cities, which was one of goals of this program.”

To prepare students for the trip, Timbrook showed short videos and photos of pieces from the museum’s collection on Ipads, which prompted discussions about what students would see there. Timbrook explained to students that people come from all over the world to see what CMA has to offer, but that her lucky group can get there in just a short ride.

At the museum the group was free to view any galleries during the visit. Timbrook remarked, “They loved the Egyptian gallery since we do a lengthy mummy and Egyptian project in the art room. Next year I plan on having a scavenger hunt at the museum – find Monet’s water lilies, Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe etc.”

The trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art is limited to fifth graders, and is funded through the Hiram Community Trust. Each year, Timbrook leads groups of third graders through the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. Fourth graders visit the Akron Art Museum. In addition, during NEOEA Day in October, she took 20 Intermediate, Middle and High School students and a few parents to KSU and Hiram College to tour their art facilities.  Students toured the facilities and watched artist demonstrations in the various studios. This program was funded by the Hiram Community Trust, as well, and offered gifted art students with a great introduction to potential college majors in that field.

“I think it is essential that kids learn about other cultures, history, art history, and about themselves through art education and by seeing this outside of the classroom at our local museums. They can’t take it all in through one visit but I feel that I planted the seed,” beamed Timbrook.

        

 Alyssa Perez and her parents investigate an exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art through a Crestwood Intermediate School program funded by the Hiram Community Trust.  

       Photo provided by Patty Timbrook

 

Photo provided by Michelle Gerbrick

Photo provided by Michelle Gerbrick

Mantua – Recently, students at the Crestwood Intermediate School received a surprise gift of technology to help them with their studies. According to Crestwood Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick, the school recently received an anonymous donation of over $10,000. The donation was earmarked to purchase a computer cart and thirty laptops for student use. The cart also serves as a charging station for the laptops.

The cart enables an entire classroom with enough computer workstations for each student, offering more opportunities for access to technology. In the past, each class has been limited to a brief, weekly Technology class in the school’s computer lab. The cart is used in CIS classrooms, from grades three through five.

“The lab will come in handy for testing, integrating technology into the classroom, and so much more.” beamed Crestwood Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick. The gift to the Crestwood Intermediate School was made possible through a generous donation from an anonymous benefactor from Aurora.

 

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At the start of this month’s School Board meeting, High School Principal Arden Sommers spoke about the value of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) within the District. District-wide, PLCs are formal times when teachers collaborate to develop shared missions, discuss student outcomes, create action plans, and develop continuous improvements within the various schools within the District. At the Primary and Intermediate Schools, the 25 minutes of student recess time can be used without impacting instruction time. At the High School, this isn’t an option. To provide CHS teachers with this necessary time, Crestwood will implement a delayed start to the school day on alternating Wednesdays starting next fall.

Instead of starting the day at 7:40 am, on alternating Wednesdays, CHS classes will start at 8:30 am. Freshmen, as well as students in grades 10 thru 12 who are missing assignments, or students using District busing will arrive at the usual time. Freshman will have access to orientation, tutoring, or time to make-up work, with assistance provided by Leadership Workshop students.

In addition, the Board approved the adoption of a calamity day make-up plan. The plan utilizes Blizzard Bags, an option presented by the Ohio Department of Education, to help offset school days missed during the winter.  Blizzard Bags are available online or as take-home lessons that students complete to make up a missed day of school. The first assignment was due Friday, April 25.   The second assignment was assigned on April 28 and will be due on Friday, May 9.  The third assignments will be assigned on Monday, May 12 and will be due on Friday, May 23. Blizzard Bags will make three instructional days, allowing Crestwood to make up only one day at the end of this school year. Please note that failure to turn in a Blizzard Bag will result in a day of absence.

Lastly, congratulations are in order for third grade teacher Rosemary Krupar and fourth grade teacher Kristen Patton. Krupar was nominated for the Presidential Academic Excellence in Science, Math and Technology (PAESMT) Award, and was also selected as Conservation Educator of the Year by League of Ohio Sportsman. Patton is a Greater Cleveland Council of Teachers of Mathematics Outstanding Mathematics Professional award winner for 2013-2014.  Excellent work, ladies!

The Board has scheduled a special meeting on Monday, May 19th at 6 pm in the High School library. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss certified and administrative contracts.

The next regularly scheduled School Board meeting will be held on Monday, May 5th at 7 pm in the High School Library. Prior to the meeting, at 6:30 pm, retiring teachers and staff will be honored for their years of service to Crestwood Schools. Those individuals are Mary Lou Bernotas (Secretary, 29 years), Pamela Braden (Speech Pathologist, 35 years), Theresa Duesing (MS Teacher, 35 years), Patricia Eskridge (MS Teacher, 23 years),  Rick Hall (Custodian, 30 years), Edward Nichols (MS Teacher, 30 years),  Eileen Shahan (CIS Teacher, 18 years),  Janet Wilkins (CIS Teacher, 21 years), and Gerrie Zimcosky (CIS Teacher, 34 years). The public is encouraged to attend.

 

*Please note: The April meeting was recorded and posted online. To view the video, visit the District website at crestwoodschools.org.

 

Hiram - The last meeting of the Village Council began with a work session held in conjunction with the Hiram Township Trustees. The purpose of this meeting was to iron out issues relating to taxes due to the Village by Township employees and a proposed resolution put forth by the Trustees to detach a parcel of land to the Township.

When asked her thoughts on the outcome of this first joint meeting, Hiram Township Trustee Chairman Kathy Schulda remarked, “It was a very good start. The next step will be for us to gather information to back up the hours Township employees are in the Village. Then we also need to figure out the percentage (or time) we feel would be a far amount.” Schulda continued, “The detachment is not so clear cut. We can ask but I’m under the understanding they don’t have to grant it. The township was there long before the Village and when we were separated into two entities I’m sure the predecessors had no idea all these problems would arise.”

During the meeting, Council President Tom Wadkins suggested that instead of using a formula to calculate taxes owed by Township employees, that the Township keep a log of actual hours worked by each employee, so taxes would be based on actual hours worked within the Village. It was the general consensus that the Village and Township would work to resolve issues with the current tax year before addressing the two years of past due taxes. The detachment resolution was tabled by Council, pending further direction from the Trustees.

Next, Hiram Village Park Board Chair Susan Merrill and Park Board member Chris Szell reported a summary of residents’ input the Park Board gathered at two public community meetings. Basically, the community expressed a desire that the park space have multiple uses. The feedback they received indicated that residents do not want the property to remain idle, but that exclusive use of the property by any entitle was not recommended. Later, Hiram College Athletic Director Ellen Dempsey presented Council with a memorandum of understanding from Hiram College to build an NCAA baseball field at the site. It was noted that a park could be included on the same property. After much discussion, the motion to accept the memorandum of understanding was not approved by Council.

Next, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Kozak reported that the Hiram Fire Department responded to 27 calls in March, and was the first Department to provide mutual aid at the Main Street fire in Garrettsville. Police Chief Ed Samec reported that his Department filed 287 offense reports, up from 213 in the previous month. In addition, he reported that his Department held a Distracted Driving event at Hiram College, where participants used a driving simulator to experience scenarios, learning the penalties, costs and adverse results that can occur. Chief Samec also noted that the Department received a $500 ODNR grant for the annual Cops and Kids Fishing Day, which will take place on August 23 at Camp Asbury. He also received a $300 donation from Metro Security in Brimfield for the Shop With a Cop program. Lastly, he welcomed Reserve Officer Rob Kern to his Department.

In his report, Mayor Lou Bertrand recommended that Council ask Solicitor Tom Reitz to draft a resolution to allow the Village to advertise for bids for the old Fire Hall building. Council concurred; the resolution will be presented at the next Regular Council meeting. Fiscal Officer Susan Skrovan reported that the Village will undergo an Audit on April 16. She also reported that she’s been working on the transfer of tax data to the Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA), and asked Council to pass a motion to allow her to go through all the steps necessary to move forward with RITA, including the termination of a contract with the previous tax assessing company used by the Village. In addition, Council scheduled a Records Retention Committee meeting, followed by a Budget Committee meeting starting at 6 pm on June 10th.

The next meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be on May 13th at 7 pm in the Municipal Building.

 

hiram-school-prarie-park-ohio-project-natureHiram – At the last Regular Council meeting, Hiram Village Council heard a presentation by the Hiram Village Park Board, which was established in March of last year. The Board’s first task was to focus on how the Hiram School property – 5.2 acres within the Village that was acquired in June of 2013, should be used.

Although the Park Board is a new institution, the process to transform the property in question began six years prior, when both the Village and the College worked together to have the vacant school, which had been owned by an out-of-town landlord, relinquished to the Village and demolished due to concerns regarding safety. According to Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand, the purchase price of the school property was $160,000, although the appraisal value was $300,000. The Village and College worked together to procure two grants for a total of $86,000 toward the purchase price. In addition, the cost to conduct an environmental study (at an estimated cost of $17,000) and to demolish the school (at an estimated value of roughly $80,000) was also paid for by grants. The Village now solely owns the property.

At that evening’s meeting, Park Board Chair Susan Merrill and member Chris Szell reported a summary of residents’ input the Board gathered at two public community meetings. In general, the community expressed a desire that the park space have multiple uses. The feedback they received indicated that residents do not want the property to remain idle, but that exclusive use of the property by any entity was not recommended. The proposed uses of the space included a playground, picnic tables, softball field, gazebo, fitness trail and prairie alternative. It was proposed that the Park Board should be responsible for oversight and maintenance of the property. The Park Board proposed that any work to develop the park should be completed in phases, according to a five-year plan currently under development by the Park Board. The cost to complete the first phase, which includes solving drainage issues, asphalt disposal, and maintenance to the existing baseball field are estimated to cost roughly $5,000. Potential funding sources could include Beautification Funds and grants.

Next, Hiram College Athletic Director Ellen Dempsey presented Council with a memorandum of understanding from Hiram College to build an NCAA baseball field at the site. All work on the proposed field would be done in partnership with Hiram College and the Cleveland Indians Development Group. In addition to an NCAA appropriate field, the property could also include a playground or other features. The proposed document presented to Council for consideration stipulated that the College would maintain the property, and retain exclusive use during the baseball season, estimated to run from March 1st through May 15th. The proposed agreement served as a lease agreement between the Village and College, in effect, paying off the $75,000 balance due by the Village. Under this agreement, scheduling use of the park outside of baseball season would be handled through the Athletic Director’s office. Dempsey deferred to Doug McGee, who served as the College’s consultant on the project, to answer any questions on the initial stages of the project, as they occurred previous to her involvement in the project.

After much discussion, the motion to accept the memorandum of understanding was not approved by Council. Later, Chris Szell of the Park Board, remarked, “We appreciated Council’s time and interest in our thoughtful approach to address the multiple residents would like to see for the use of the land. We will continue to press on with the development of a long-term plan for the land, and to explore other funding opportunities.”

McGee responded later as well, stating, “The College accepts what the Village has decided, and will move forward with plans to develop an enhanced baseball facility on another College-owned property.” He added, “When the College and the Village have worked together in the past, the two can accomplish wonderful things, like the extension of the eastern section of Hinsdale Street, which benefitted both. It’s unfortunate that this time, it didn’t work out, but we will move forward. ”

 

A temporary sign marks the newest location for Maggie’s Donuts -- Hiram Village -- in the space formerly occupied by Harrison’s Hideaway.

A temporary sign marks the newest location for Maggie’s Donuts — Hiram Village — in the space formerly occupied by Harrison’s Hideaway.

Hiram – Local donut-lovers are thrilled at the news that the Middlefield-based donut bakery will open a new location in Hiram Village — at the location that formerly housed Harrison’s Hideaway on Wakefield Road.

But what prompted owners Bill and Staci Poole, who have been at the helm of the 55-year-old donut dynasty for 26 years, to choose a location in Hiram? “People have been asking via social media,” remarked Bill Poole. And the good news traveled fast, as Facebook friend Kathryn recently posted, “Hooray…welcome Maggie’s Donuts…looking forward to your arrival!” Ali joked about the locations planned drive-thru window, posting, “Can’t wait to welcome you to Hiram! Great idea on the drive thru, with five kids, we would never make it inside!”

If you choose to step inside, you’ll find donuts and other special treats, made according to the same recipes locals have enjoyed for over 50 years. Donuts are prepared at the Middlefield and Bedford locations early each morning, and delivered fresh, seven days a week. Soon local residents can sit down to enjoy hot coffee and fresh donuts, or take some “to go”, via the drive-thru window, delighting family, friends or coworkers with Maggie’s tasty treats.

Poole went on to explain that he has known Hiram Police Chief Ed Samec from his work in Middlefield, where Samec was Police Chief and Poole served as Mayor for 12 years. Poole continued, “Hiram’s Chief, Ed Samec, knew we were scouting locations. Ed called and recommended that we check out the building in the Village.”

Samec beamed, “I always looked at Bill as a pillar of the community. When he told me in a casual conversation that he was looking to spread out I immediately thought that it would be great for him to be in Hiram. Maggie’s is great for Hiram and Hiram is great for Maggie’s.”

Maggie’s currently has four locations — two in Middlefield, one in Bedford, and one in Madison. The Hiram location will open just as soon as renovations can be completed — Poole estimates opening some time between the middle and end of May, with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to occur some time thereafter. Facebook friend Joan marveled, “Congrats to you guys! So glad you have another store to share your absolute BEST donuts ever!” To find out the latest developments, visit Maggie’s Donuts on Facebook.

recipeThey say you can’t buy happiness. But, you can buy donuts, and it’s hard not to feel happy while eating a donut. The folks at Peace, Love, and Little Donuts seem to agree with that statement. Since 2009, when they opened their first donut shop, they’ve grown to 10 locations of, “the grooviest donut shop this side of the Milky Way.” There are three area locations to “feed your inner hippie,” with some of their funkadelic flavors like Oreo™, apple pie, s’mores, or maple bacon donuts.

If their tasty little works of art don’t have you doing a happy dance, then the 1970s inspired décor and music just might do the trick. And dancing burns calories, so it’s ok to eat some cute little mini donuts every now and again. To find a location near you, visit peaceloveandlittledonuts.com. To make your own mini-donuts at home, use this basic recipe, adding your own special toppings to craft the groovy donuts of your dreams.

 

Baked Chocolate Glazed Mini Donuts 

(courtesy of bakerbettie.com)

 

Ingredients – Donuts

5 TBSP unsalted butter, softened

½ cup sugar

1 egg

½ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

 

Ingredients – Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup whole milk

optional: sprinkles, coconut, mini chocolate chips, or the groovy topping of your choice

 

Preheat oven to 325ºF, or plug in electric mini-donut maker. Lightly oil mini donut pan or donut maker and set aside. (If you don’t have a mini-donut pan or maker, you can use mini muffin pans.)

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined.

Mix in the baking powder, then the salt, until incorporated throughout. Then add in the flour and cocoa powder, stirring just until combined. If using mini donut pan or donut maker, transfer mixture into a zipper baggie with the tip cut off. Pipe into the pan only filling ½ of the way fill. If using the mini muffin pan, fill each well ½ full. Bake at 325ºF for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool before glazing.

For the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a saucepan over medium low heat and whisk until well combined. Dip donuts in warm glaze, top with sprinkles, if desired, and let them cool before enjoying.

You might start out having a nothing-special day, but after a few special mini-donuts, you just might be in a groovy state of mind. Can you dig it?

 

Pinwheels for prevention are on display on the lawn of the Hiram Municipal Building to promote child abuse awareness. The program is sponsored by the Portage County Children’s Advocacy Group.

Pinwheels for prevention are on display on the lawn of the Hiram Municipal Building to promote child abuse awareness. The program is sponsored by the Portage County Children’s Advocacy Group.

Hiram - According to statistics posted on the Portage County Children’s Advocacy Center’s website, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18. For 90% of those children, a known and trusted adult often inflicts the abuse. Armed only with gutter spikes (to make planting pinwheels easier), and determination to share their important message, volunteers planted 700 pinwheels in Hiram on Monday to raise awareness and promote reporting of child abuse and neglect. The program, sponsored by the Portage County Children’s Advocacy Center, has been staging similar, colorful displays at a dozen locations around Portage County throughout the month of April as a part of Child Abuse Awareness month.

The pink and blue pinwheels began spinning in front of Robinson Memorial Hospital, the site of the Portage County Children’s Advocacy Center. As the month progressed, the pinwheels were moved to other locations, including the Portage County Courthouse, Streetsboro Town Square, Aurora Police Department, and schools in Rootstown, Kent & Ravenna. The Children’s Advocacy Group is charged with improving the community’s response to child abuse and neglect and to lessen the negative impact of abuse on children. This year, Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA) joined the effort in front of the Hiram Village Police Department, having participated in similar events in Trumbull, Mahoning, and Ashtabula Counties.

BACA, an international non-profit organization, is on a mission to create a safer environment for abused children. All members refer to each other by “road names” like the group’s Chapter President and Vice President Jammer and Hollywood. According to local BACA member Mama Bear, either children’s service agencies or a child’s legal guardian makes the group aware of children who may need their assistance. The group then meets with the child, bringing them a BACA vest for protection and special teddy bear that is filled with hugs, according to Mama Bear. “We want to remove the stigma they feel — and let them know that they aren’t alone.” BACA members befriend the child during this trying time, and often sit in court with children, empowering them to face their perpetrators.

Mama Bear was made aware of BACA when her son was offered their assistance after being violated at the age of four. She shares, “When that happens to a child, they begin to feel like a freak of nature. But when BACA kids get together, they’re all the same – the stigma is removed. It’s very empowering.” She’s been a proud member of BACA for nine years. Her son, who is seventeen, plans to join as soon as he’s eighteen.

According to Judy Paydock, from the Child Advocacy Center at Robinson, exact numbers of affected children in Portage County are hard to calculate. “We serve many counties through our Center and the Children’s Advocacy Center at Akron Hospital. We receive many calls, but not all calls result in cases.” It’s important to remember, when a child asks for help, listen to them. Believe the child, and tell the child it is not his or her fault. Don’t question the child yourself – this may further traumatize them.  If you’re aware of a child who may need help, contact the Children’s Advocacy Center’s 24 hr. hotline at (330) 296-CARE (2273). For more information on Bikers Against Child Abuse, email bacasniper@gmail.com.

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For the second time this year, local folks had the opportunity to shop for clothes, shoes and accessories at a free clothing give-away event last Saturday. Although plentiful inventory rivaled many thrift stores, the free event was held at the Mantua Center Christian Church.

At the height of this spring event, a line of young ladies waited patiently to try on formal dresses they chose from the plethora of gowns that were available. In addition to fancy frocks, there was a supply of jewelry, nail polish and other accessories to choose from, all without spending a dime.

Over the course of the morning event, seventy-five shoppers browsed the well-stocked racks and tables that were piled high with clothing ranging from infants and kids sizes to men and women.  There was truly something for everyone, thanks to community donations left in the St. Pauly shed outside the south side of the building.

The program, which started in February, is aimed at distributing gently-used clothing to those in need, and helping the environment by keeping useful items out of a landfill. According to event organizers, the church plans to hold similar events on a quarterly basis, with the next event to be held in July. July’s event will focus on distributing fall clothing items.

For specific event information, watch for signs at the church in June, or check local newspapers. To make a tax-deductible donation, deposit your gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, blankets, sheets or curtains in the donation shed at 4118 State Route 82 at your convenience. Receipts are available on the shed.

 

Mantua – This past weekend, there was no need to travel as far as, “second star to the right and straight on till morning,” to visit Neverland, Captain Hook’s pirate ship, or the Darling children’s nursery.  Audiences were easily transported there on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the Crestwood High School Drama Club presented a musical adaptation of “Peter Pan.”

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The Portage County Regional Planning Commission was asked by the Township to solicit community wants and needs regarding the potential renovation of the Mantua Center School property. The school, which was build in 1914, operated in that capacity until its closure in the early 2000s, at which time Township Trustees voted to purchase the building. Tentative plans for the structure included housing Township administrative offices, a potential community center, and for potential facility rental opportunities. For nearly 10 years, the Township has owned the structure. During much of that time, the building has remained vacant. In recent years, it has been used as Township administrative offices, and as both a community center and for event rental on a limited basis, but has been a point of contention among residents for much of the time it has been owned by the Township.

Mantua Twp. – At a recent meeting in Mantua Township, the trustees announced that Spring Clean Up will be held on May 3rd from 7 am to 4 pm. Dumpsters will be available across from the Township Garage on Mantua Center Road for township residents to dispose of any unwanted items. Later in May, the township will provide document-shredding services to residents. The tentative date set for shredding is May 17th. 

Mantua - Through a special program offered at Crestwood Intermediate School, students and their families have the opportunity to experience guided adventures in nearby natural areas. The goal of the program, called Nature Treks, is to share the natural world with families who don’t have the opportunity to experience it regularly. Each trek is led by Crestwood Intermediate teacher Mrs. Rosemary Krupar, and often includes student-teacher participants from nearby Hiram College. Through this program, children and their parents or grandparents visit some the area’s hidden treasures. And the discoveries they make are priceless.

Hiram Twp. – At the recent meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, the trustees discussed a request the three trustees received to meet with the members of the Hiram Village Council to jointly meet and discuss Hiram Township Resolution 2014-3, regarding annexation of a parcel of village-situated property. This resolution was presented to Hiram Village Council for consideration at their March 18th meeting. It was agreed that all Township trustees would be in attendance at this joint meeting, on April 8th at 6 pm. The results of that meeting were not available before press time. 

Last week, during their spring break, eight Girl Scouts from Crestwood Intermediate and their siblings took a tour at Streetsboro Metal Recycling to get a head start on Earth Day. The girls brought aluminum cans with them, which they had started collecting  when the school year began. While at the facility, they learned first-hand about recycling, while earning funds for their troop in the process.

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A new work of art has recently been installed at the Crestwood Primary School. The art, while inspired and compiled by award-winning children’s book illustrator Robin Brickman, was created by Crestwood Primary’s second graders. Every last one of them. Through a generous grant from the Hiram Community Trust, Brickman’s Community Mural workshop was brought to CPS to share the art and science behind “A Log’s Life,” with students and staff.

robin-brinkman-studio

Inset photo Illustrator Robin Brickman, in her studio. (Photo courtesy of davidlharrison.wordpress.com)

“A Log’s Life,” written by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Brickman, tells the story of what happens after an oak tree falls in the forest. The death of the tree, and its eventual decay, brings life to the forest by providing food and shelter to the plants and creatures that live there. Brickman creates the remarkable, true-to-life illustrations included in the book as 3-D watercolor and sculpted paper collages, using a combination of natural materials and photographs as her reference.

Initially, Brickman spoke in a school-wide assembly to the CPS’s over 400 students and faculty. At the assembly, she explained her method of creating her 3D paintings and demonstrated some of her basic art techniques. She shared her process with the school-wide group, and showed slides of some finished work.

Later, she met with individual second grade classes for some hand-on work in the art room. Brickman always begins with research. For “A Log’s Life,” she studies the leaves, insects, birds, reptiles, and other creatures that live in a forest. She uses actual elements from the forest, as well as magazine and textbook photos for reference. Next, Brickman draws the rough shape of the specific component, like a leaf or a bird. Her advice to students was to make the drawing at least as big as their hand, to make cutting and adding details easier. The next step was to cut out the shape, and then color it, layering multiple colors, to add texture. The last step was to shape the piece by pinching, folding or rolling it to add depth.

Finished product - Second-graders Ella and Rylie, with CPS Principal Cindy Ducca, by the finished mural. Illustrator Robin Brickman and CPS Art teacher Mrs. Mikayla McCall worked with parent volunteers to create the mural, which is comprised of hundreds of pieces created by the entire second grade.

Finished product – Second-graders Ella and Rylie, with CPS Principal Cindy Ducca, by the finished mural. Illustrator Robin Brickman and CPS Art teacher Mrs. Mikayla McCall worked with parent volunteers to create the mural, which is comprised of hundreds of pieces created by the entire second grade.

Once Brickman reviewed the steps, students, armed with paper, scissors, and coloring supplies, were let loose to create. According to Brickman, “I like to give them direction, but leave them with enough free choice so that the end result comes from themselves. I don’t want them to mimic what I tell them.” She continued “Students look at the reference materials, interpret them, and then make personal choices in their work.”

Students were encouraged to use whatever they could find – hands, pencils, chairs, even their elbow to shape their pieces. The completed pieces were collected throughout the day and used to create a colorful mural that depicts the plants and creatures that live in Ohio’s wooded areas. The mural now hangs near the front entrance at CPS, and will be on display through the end of the school year.

Brickman’s illustration career began nearly 38 years ago, when she made her living by creating art and natural science illustrations for medical illustrations, textbooks, and magazines. Her attention turned to illustrating children’s books around 20 years ago, once she had kids of her own. She’s been traveling across the country sharing workshops at schools, libraries and museums for the past 15 years. For more information, or to see her work, visit robinbrickman.com.

 

Mantua - Recently, area leaders were invited to attend a special breakfast meeting at the Crestwood Middle School. The breakfast gathering, lead by  Principal Julie Schmidt, highlighted a variety of educational opportunities at CMS. Leaders and officials included Superintendent David Toth, Treasurer Jill Rowe, School Board Members, professionals from Crestwood’s other schools, and community leaders. The breakfast meeting gave the group the opportunity to learn about a variety of interesting programs at CMS, and to meet some CMS students who participate in those programs.

This weekend, I had the opportunity to make some homemade mozzarella and ricotta cheeses with some friends, and the results were simply delicious. Although ricotta cheese can be made using basic ingredients most of us have in our kitchens, I chose to use a cheese-making kit, which includes everything needed to make either ricotta or mozzarella — you simply add the milk.

The kit contains cheesecloth, a thermometer, and enough rennet, citric acid, and cheese salt to make 30 batches of either ricotta or mozzarella cheese. It also includes simple recipes and tips to help you get stated. Since the process was so simple, I thought I’d share the recipes and step-by-step instructions, in case you want to try it for yourself. You can use your fresh cheese on pizza, in lasagna, or in any recipe you wish.

We sliced our mozzarella and arranged it over sliced tomatoes, sprinkled it with torn basil leaves and drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. We enjoyed the ricotta spread on crusty wheat bread, topped with a splash of olive oil, chopped sundried tomatoes and Italian spices. Any combination of those ingredients would make a wonderful Italian-style grilled cheese sandwich. The possibilities are endless — so what are you waiting for? Get cheesy!

Mozzarella Cheese (Makes about ¾ pound)

Ingredients

1 gallon milk (make sure your milk is not Ultra- Pasteurized)

1 1/4 cups cool, chlorine-free water

1 1/2 tsp. citric acid

1/4 rennet tablet

1 tsp. salt

 

Tools

1 gallon stainless steel pot

thermometer

slotted spoon

colander

knife

glass bowl

 

First, dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet into 1/4 cup of cool water and set aside. Then mix 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid into 1 cup cool water and pour into your pot and stir until dissolved. Then add the milk into a large stainless steel pot and heat to 90 degrees while stirring constantly.

Remove the pot for the stove and add the rennet mixture, then stir the mixture for about a minute.  Next, cover the pot and let it sit, undisturbed, for five minutes. After five minutes your mixture should congeal and look sort of like a floating mass of tofu. (If not, let it sit for another few minutes.) Take a knife and cut the curd into small squares, then place your pot back on the stove and heat to 105 degrees while slowly moving the curds around with a spoon.

Once the temperature has reached 105 degrees, remove the pot from the stove and continue to stir the curds for another three to five minutes.  Then pour off the liquid, which is called whey, and use a slotted spoon to transfer the curds into a large glass bowl. Reserve the whey for another use*.

Next, microwave the curds for 1 minute. Then drain any excess liquid, shape into a ball and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the cheese ball back in the bowl and microwave for another 30 seconds.  Drain, and check the temperature — The cheese must be 135 degrees to stretch properly. Stretch the cheese a few times and form it into a log or ball.

Place your stretched cheese in a bowl filled with cool water and let it sit for five minutes. Then add one cup of ice cubes to the bowl, and let it sit for an additional 15 minutes to cool down completely. You can now eat the mozzarella, cook with it, or store it in an airtight container for up to a week.

Ricotta Cheese (Makes 1 ¾ – 2 pounds)

Ingredients

1 gallon milk (make sure your milk is not Ultra- Pasteurized)

1 teaspoon citric acid

1 teaspoon salt, optional

 

Tools

large pot

thermometer

measuring spoons

cheese cloth

strainer

mixing bowl

slotted spoon

 

Pour the milk into a large pot and set it over medium heat. Let it warm gradually to 195°F, stirring constantly.  Remove the milk from heat. Pour in the citric acid and salt, stirring gently to combine.

Let the pot of milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. After this time, the milk should have separated into clumps of milky white curds and thin, watery, yellow-colored whey. Set a strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with cheesecloth. Scoop the big curds out of the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the strainer. Pour the remaining curds and the whey through the strainer. Reserve the whey for another use*.

Let the ricotta drain for 10 to 60 minutes, depending on how wet or dry you prefer your ricotta. If it becomes too dry, you can also stir some of the whey back in before using or storing. Use your fresh ricotta right away or refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

*Don’t dump that whey! You can use it in place of equal parts water in bread or pizza dough, or add it to smoothies for an added source of protein.

 

Mantua – At a school-wide assembly last Friday afternoon, staff and students at the Crestwood Middle School in Mantua gathered to learn the results of the school’s Kindness Challenge. The event, sponsored by CMS’s Rachel’s Challenge student organization, encouraged both CMS and Crestwood Intermediate students to document random acts of kindness to each other by noting them on slips of paper. Throughout the week, these paper strips were linked with other strips, creating a tangible symbol of how each simple act, when combined with others, can make a big impact. In addition, students at both schools were able to purchase links for a dollar, raising funds to send Girl Scout cookies to troops stationed overseas. As a result, the Challenge raised enough funds to send three cases of cookies to troops, spreading kindness overseas, as well.

Hiram - At the last meeting of the Hiram Village Council, Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand acknowledged the Hiram Fire Department’s Save of the Year recipients. The team was honored for the successful resuscitation of a full cardiac arrest victim on Vaughn Road in February. On that snowy morning, the Fire Department received a call to assist a man, Mr. Dave Loader, who had fallen. Upon arrival, the team found him not breathing, with no pulse. The team was able to resuscitate him, but could not transport him via Life Flight due to poor weather conditions. They braved icy roads to transport Mr. Loader to Geauga Hospital, where he made a full recovery.  Mr. and Mrs. Loader were present at the award ceremony to show their support and appreciation to the crew.

Hiram - Around 30 residents from Hiram and Mantua Townships attended a community meeting last Saturday to share their concerns about how a local storage well is affecting their lives, their roads and their families. At the meeting, citizens voiced concerns over the ill affects of the increase in 18-wheeled tanker truck traffic near their homes. Individuals provided photos taken on local roads of tanker trucks bringing fracking waste to the area for disposal at the storage well from as far away as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Texas. 

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Mantua - At this month’s board meeting, Director of Pupil Services, Michael Maglionico made a presentation on behalf of the District Leadership Team (DLT). Mr. Maglionico’s presentation introduced the team, which is charged with analyzing the district’s data, including student achievement and graduation rates, then accessing the most critical needs of the district. This team will then develop plans based on those needs, which will be implemented throughout the district. The DLT team is comprised of district administrators, teachers, curriculum liaisons, members of the community, representatives from the school board, and Superintendent David Toth. They will meet quarterly.

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Portage County – The 2014 Northeast Ohio Envirothon is an outdoor academic competition that provides area high schoolers with a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about environmental conservation and sustainability. The event features an “ecostation” format, where students travel to five outdoor stations to answer questions from the content areas of Soils, Wildlife, Forestry, Aquatics, and Environmental Issues. The students’ work is graded, and the top four teams move on to the State competition.  The State competition has the same format, but is spread over a two-day period. This year’s State Envirothon will be held on June 9th & 10th at Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County.  The winning team from the State competition will move on to the National Canon North American Envirothon which will be held July 20-24, 2014 at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia.

It seems that most everyone is Irish, at least on Saint Patrick’s Day. And although my family is truly Irish (just ask Grandma Flanagan!), we haven’t inherited a love of many of the Irish foods typically served this time of year. Sorry, Grandma, but cooked cabbage has been pretty much banned from our house due to its pungent aroma, and corned beef, looking all red and stringy, is just not our cup of tea either. While we do enjoy potatoes, since they’re such a menu staple, they don’t bring on the St. Patty’s Day spirit. My husband and children would be content to celebrate with Lucky Charms cereal, which is also a staple in our home (don’t judge!), but I want to go with something a little more traditional. And while Irish and Irish-for-the-day traditionally celebrate with green beer, whiskey, Baileys, or Irish coffee, I’m looking for a more family-friendly way to mark the day at home. 

Mantua – At Power of the Pen competitions across Ohio, students are given a topic sentence or ‘prompt’ on the spot and have 40 minutes to write a complete short story. While the exact prompts are confidential, coach Marphy shared, “In one round, students were given the topic sentence, ‘You’ve got to be kidding’ and told to use it in their story. In another prompt students were asked to consider something that is now obsolete and write a story about it.  As the competition progresses, the prompts get more difficult, and no electronic devices are permitted. At Regional and District competitions, students are permitted to use a dictionary. At the State level, however, the use of dictionaries is not permitted. 

“Maple syrup is a unique product made in a limited part of the world, and Ohio is fortunate to be located in the heart of it,” explained Nate Bissell, owner of Bissell Maple Farm and board member of the Ohio Maple Producers Association. Bissell and his colleagues at the Ohio Maple Producers Association want you and your family to visit them to find out how they make this local treasure during the ‘Maple Madness Drive It Yourself Tour,’ which starts this weekend.

Mantua Twp. – At a recent meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees, the trustees approved a resolution to certify their jurisdiction of 37.09 miles of township roads. In similar news, they have also approved a list of zoning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in response to the increase in questions received from realtors and appraisers. The updated list has been posted on the Township website, so visit mantuatownshipohio.gov for the latest information.

Mantua - Last week, students at Crestwood Primary School were on their feet, clapping wildly as their school gymnasium was filled with music and dance. Was it simply a cure for cabin fever, or the result of far too many recess periods spent indoors?  It was all that, and much more, as these fortunate kids received a visit, and a performance by the dancers of Ballet Excel Ohio.