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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.

Mantua – In her report, Mayor Linda Clark announced the unofficial report that issue 42 passed by 12 votes. She remains cautiously optimistic until the absentee and provisional votes are counted, but stated, “I want to thank the voters for their support of issue 42 and a very big thank you to the DMRC. I feel without their help in promoting issue 42, it would not have passed.” 

In addition, she shared word that ODOT plans to open the bridge on State Route 44 at the south end of the village on Tuesday Nov 25. The village will hold a brief opening ceremony for the bridge and sidewalk project at 2 pm. 

In his report, Police Chief Harry Buchert informed Council that the Police Department was in the process of purchasing a K9, to be used in Crestwood Schools by Student Resource Officer Joe Urso. The K9 is trained in narcotics, and was offered to the Department by Excel K9 Services in Hiram. The Department has raised $3,400 in donations toward the cost of the dog and training needed. There are three fundraisers currently in progress at the schools. Buchert assured Council that the pending purchase would have no impact on the General Fund.

Village Administrator Kate Rogers updated Council on the Service Department projects currently underway. She noted that the repairs to the wastewater treatment plant were in process as was general winter readiness. She reported that due to the low salt supply, the Service Department would be directing the limited salt supply on safety areas (hills, intersections and curves), just as neighboring communities plan to do. In addition, she thanked the DMRC for their donation of holiday banners valued at $400. Moving on, Rogers asked Council’s permission to approve a purchase order to replace the park lodge roof. After some discussion, Council approved this expenditure at a value not to exceed $6,300. Council also approved a purchase order for a trailer to haul Service Department equipment.

Village Engineer Rich Iafelice reported that the village has received an OPWC grant for improvements and upgrades to the Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment plants. The funds will be available in July 2015, but Iafelice would like to complete the construction documents in late winter or early spring to start the project as soon as the funds are received.

Next up, Edie Benner, President of the DMRC, discussed plans to utilize a grant her group had procured to add decorative light poles and landscaping at the south end of the village. According to Benner, the DMRC had identified Union Metals in Canton as a potential supplier of the necessary light poles. She provided images for Council’s selection — Council unanimously chose the “Euclid” style as the historic light post to be used in the village.

In other news, Council approved a motion approving the village’s participation in the Historic Landmark Commission. The group will work together with like-minded groups, including the DMRC and Mantua Restoration Society to help foster an appreciation of the area’s historic structures. 

Lastly, it was announced that Advanced Rehab will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day at 8 am. Then, to help spread a little holiday cheer, on December 5th at 6 pm, The Mantua-Shalersville Chamber of Commerce will host Santa’s visit the village’s mini park. The following day, Saturday, the 6th, the Jingle Bell Jog, hosted by the Crestwood High School Band Boosters will be held at 9 am at the High School. 

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be held on Tuesday, December 16th at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.

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Mantua - For the second year in a row, Patty Timbrook, Visual Art Teacher at Crestwood Intermediate School, lead her students on a field trip to experience the art studios at Kent State University and Hiram College, exposing them to both college and potential careers in the arts.  This year, 14 students attended, with four parents and one grandparent acting as chaperones.  The trip was held on a weekday — NEOEA Day  — when school was not in session. Timbrook explained the value of such an excursion, sharing, “Field trips like this inspire young people to envision their future as a college student, pursuing an interest in the arts or any other field of interest.”

At Kent State, the group explored the art building, visiting the textile studio to check out the looms, and the ceramic studio, where students learned about the various kinds of kilns. In addition, the group watched as a student-artist created a pot thrown on the potters’ wheel, silk-screening in printmaking studio, and they watched an exciting demonstration of a bowl being blown in the glass studio. As an added bonus, one student for the group won the glass bowl to take home. After the touring the art studios, the group enjoyed lunch at the Student Center. While at KSU, the group also learned that next year, all art disciplines will be housed in a new art building that is currently under construction. That news was bittersweet for Timbrook, since she spent many years in the existing building as both an undergraduate and graduate student, where she met her husband.  In addition, her oldest daughter will soon graduate from KSU with a degree in Visual Communication and Design. 

That afternoon at Hiram College, the group visited the art building to see the painting areas, ceramic areas, drawing, printmaking, photography, and art history spaces. Timbrook continued, “This trip also broadens the definition of art that a young person may have.  They see many interesting approaches to personal expression.”  In addition, students had the opportunity to visit Hiram’s on-campus art gallery as it was being prepped to hang a show.  Timbrook gushed, “The student ambassadors at both campuses that worked with us were exceptional, professional, and had a wonderful rapport with our CIS students.”

Planning for next year, Timbrook shared, “I would love to have time to tour the graphic design studios, new poetry house and surrounding outdoor performance area, and eventually, the new Architecture building, since those areas of study would be of great interest to students.” Timbrook marveled, “And the parents seem to enjoy themselves as much as the students, sharing how educational these tours and demonstrations were for them. From the bus ride to the studios, we all had an enlightening day that inspired many student towards a college career and possibly a career in the arts.” 

The field trip was funded through a grant from the Hiram Community Trust. For more information, contact Patty Timbrook at ptimbrook@crestwoodschools.org.

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Mantua - In light of the recent school shooting in Seattle, Washington, Crestwood District Superintendent David Toth shared the information about safety procedures at the start of this month’s School Board meeting. Toth shared, “I got into this field to educate kids, not necessarily to talk about guns in schools, but unfortunately, it’s a reality of the time. That being said, we do multiple drills here at the Crestwood District, to try to be prepared for as many situations that we can to protect our students and staff.” 

Toth went on to explain how the District uses a drill technique called ‘A.L.I.C.E.,’ (which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate). They also provide training videos with professional staff to provide them with guidance and support to help them anticipate what to expect and how to react in the event of an active shooter incident at school. At a recent professional development day for teachers and staff, the schools underwent an active shooter drill where law enforcement officers shot blanks in the school buildings in order to make teachers and staff aware of the sound such a disturbance creates. They trained staff in how to respond, and what to expect, should first responders enter the schools. Further, the district utilizes hard and soft lockdown drills with students and staff on random school days, to give students and staff time the opportunity to utilize best practices, should the need ever arise. 

In addition, district officials meet twice yearly with local police, rescue and sheriff’s office personnel in order to keep apprised of the latest safety information and procedures. Speaking on behalf of himself and his staff, Toth remarked, “The way we see it, they’re all our kids. We’re trying to do the best we can to make the outcome, if it should happen, the best we can for our students and our staff.” In summation, Toth directed individuals to contact his office, or his building principals, should they have any questions or concerns about school safety. 

Moving on, Middle School mathematics teachers Eddie Judd and David Wesley shared information on a new College Preparatory Mathematics program (CPM), being rolled out for Crestwood’s eighth graders. The goal of the program is to make college-preparatory mathematics accessible to all students by providing the latest professional development and curriculum materials in line with the Common Core standards. CPM courses are used in 35 states, and over the past 20 years, more than 5,000,000 students have taken CPM courses. Mr. Judd and Mr. Wesley shared that the program will start with students in the eighth grade, but the program will eventually incorporate students at both the Middle and High Schools in courses from Algebra up to Calculus.

Lastly, the Board recognized four employees for being named ‘Employee of the Month’ within the District. Intermediate School Teacher Kristin Patton and Food Service employee Jane Petro were recognized in the month of September, and Middle School Teacher Eddie Judd and Custodian Butch Mills were recognized in the month of October. 

The next meeting of the Crestwood School Board will be held at the High School Library on Monday, December 1st at 7 pm. The Crestwood community is encouraged to attend. 

Hiram – At the start of the last regular Council meeting, Hiram Mayor Lou Bertrand swore in Firefighter Austin Bracken to the Hiram Fire Department. Firefighter Bracken, a Garrettsville native is currently in EMT school. Upon completion of the EMT program, he will serve the Department in that capacity as well.

In his Police Report, Chief Ed Samec shared that his Department received the AAA Platinum Award for their extensive programs within the local community. This is the second consecutive year the Department has received this prestigious honor. In addition, Samec reported that Corporal Gilbert received the Hiram Police Department MADD Officer of the Year for being instrumental in removing impaired motorists from community roadways. Moving on, the chief reported to council that his department had received a body camera and support equipment valued at roughly $1,500, at no charge from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The unit will be worn on an officer’s uniform to record audio and video during shifts throughout the community. Similarly, Chief Samec requested permission to use Police Capital Funds to purchase two Taser® units for training and field use by his department. Samec stated matter-of-factly, “In my experience in other agencies, aggression ceased in 99% of situations where a taser is used.” Council passed the motion unanimously.

In his report, Assistant Fire Chief Mark Kosak shared that plans to implement increased staffing at the Hiram Fire Department would be discussed at the upcoming Safety and Finance meetings. He reported that the average response time for calls in October was 5 minutes and 49 seconds, which reflects an increase in calls to township residents.

In his report, Mayor Lou Bertrand shared that Dr. Robert Greenwood had been sworn in as a part of the Zoning Board. In other news, he shared details of his meeting with Hiram College President Lori Varlotta regarding the Beautification committee. The previously defunct committee is a joint effort between the village, the township and the college, with the College maintaining and disbursing the funds. At the upcoming meeting, Mayor Bertrand has requested copies of the original endowment document as well as fund balance and expenditure information. All members of the committee have been seated, and the Mayor is optimistic about moving forward.

In legislation, Council approved a Resolution acknowledging the transfer of the 29,000-foot Hike & Bike Trail from Hiram College to Hiram Village as project sponsor. The project, which is paid for through an ODOT grant, is the first part of a multi-phase plan to connect Hiram College and Village to the Portage County Headwaters Trail.

In the Public Comment portion of the meeting, Township Trustee Kathy Schulda requested that Council entertain a request to formally detach from the Village the property where the Hiram Township garage is located. The less than .25 acre parcel property is located at the edge of the Village, south of the cemetery on Ryder Road. As a part of the agreement, the township has agreed to cover reasonable expenses associated with the proposed agreement, and will continue to maintain the .25 miles of Ryder Road from State Route 82 to the Township garage, which is under the jurisdiction of the Village.  Schulda also noted that, should the Township ever sell the property, the parcel will revert back to the Village of Hiram. After much discussion on the matter, Council member Paul Spencer suggested merging the Village and Township entities, stating, “ It would be the best thing — look at Aurora.” In summation, Council President Tom Wadkins informed Schulda that council will consider the township’s request and provide a response at the next council meeting.

The next meeting of the Hiram Village Council will be held on Tuesday, December 9th at 7pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.

In Mantua, Black Friday means more than just scooping up the latest deal, or the official start of the Christmas holiday season. It’s also the much-anticipated day that the bridge at the South end of the Village on State Route 44 officially re-opens.

Victor Botosan, Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS), was present at the recent ribbon cutting ceremony. His organization provided roughly $135,000 grant for the bridge and sidewalk project through its Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). The Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) raised matching funds of approximately $29,000, and the remainder was funded through generous donations from F & S Automotive, Sierra Trucking, Perfect Choice Auto Collision, Stamm Contracting, and Tom VanAuken, owner of the Bank Building.

According to Craig Dunbar from ODOT, the project start of late July was delayed due to utility issues. Prior to starting construction work on the bridge, utility poles needed to be relocated to accommodate the bridge’s new pylon support structures. Construction officially began at the start of September, and will be completed once the grass has been seeded on Black Friday, Dunbar stated.

Jodie Fiala from DMRC couldn’t be happier. “This is going to open Mantua back up,” she remarked. Businesses like Miller’s Restaurant, K & K Meats, and Mantua’s Secret Attic saw a reduction in visitors when the bridge blocked the main artery through town. They look expectantly to the return of commuter traffic as the holiday season begins and the road opens. Angie Zoller, Manager of Barky Mart gas station and convenience store, agrees. “We’ve continued to see lots of our regular customers throughout the road closure, but have missed the flow of morning and afternoon commuters. Now that the bridge is open, it will be nice to get back to our regular routine.”

Village Administrator Kate Rogers concurs. “With the road open, the Fire Department can go back to regular operations.” During the closure, the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department, located south of the closure, opened a satellite station to the north of the closure, in order to reduce fire and rescue response time to Village and Township residents to the north. Dean Stebbins, Owner of F&S Automotive, saw a reduction in tow truck and service response times to the south, as well. His company made room at their facility north of the road closure to accommodate the satellite Fire Station’s fire and rescue vehicles and staff. In return, the MSFD provided space for F&S towing vehicles at the station to the south. “We help the community, and the community helps us,” he explained.

“With the road open, this should make a big impact on businesses in the downtown area. School bus routes will return to normal, and our side streets should see much less traffic, as well,” Rogers concluded. And in the Village of Mantua, that’s the best Black Friday deal to be had.

Hiram Police Chief Ed Samec attended the last meeting of the Township Trustees to discuss extending the Police contract.  Township Trustees each shared that they had received positive feedback from residents on the Village Police patrols taking place within the Township limits. After some discussion, it was decided to continue the contract through the first quarter of 2015 at the current number of hours. In February 2015, after the Township’s budget has been reassessed, Trustees will determine if funds will be available to fund an increase in police presence through the remainder of the year. Those discussions will take place after both the year-end audit and 2015 budgets have been completed. In addition, Trustee Schulda suggested that if adequate funds are available, Trustees should also consider paying off the remaining portion owed by the Township for the Hiram Fire Department’s new truck.

Next, Dan Brokos reported on behalf of the Community Evaluations & Accomplishments Committee (CEAC) that plans were confirmed for the Open House hikes at the Township’s property on State Route 82 on November 15th & 16th. Mr. Brokos inquired as to whether the Trustees would agree to allow the CEAC to host a Facebook page in order to more quickly and efficiently share information with residents. After some discussion, the Trustees decided not to proceed with this suggestion.

In similar news, it was noted that the Beautification Committee, of which the Township is a part, has been seated, with an organizational meeting to be held on November 25th at 5 pm at the Village’s Rosser Building. Representatives from the Township, Village, and College have been asked to attend. It was noted that Joe Phillips, Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, had tendered his resignation. Ron Thompson will be asked to finish the remainder of Mr. Phillips term, which is effective through July of 2015. Trustees are in the process of selecting a new candidate to join the Zoning Board of Appeals. In her report, Fiscal Officer Diane Rodhe reported that a title search on the Kosher property was received, showing no liens on the property.

Later, Road Supervisor Tom Matota was asked to follow up with ODOT regarding the removal of a potentially dangerous limb over the roadway on Route 700 in the south end of the Township. In addition, Mr. Matota reported that 500 feet of road was ready for installation at the Township’s new property on State Route 82, which would bring the property drive 600 feet back into the nearly 30 acre plot. Mr. Matota shared that a building permit was needed from the County. Mr. Matota suggested potential changes to the original plans, such as moving from wooden trusses to metal, in order to achieve significant cost savings. In order to receive a permit, the Township must supply four sets of prints signed by a registered architect. Trustees agreed to meet to review the project further with their architect, Mr. Jim Zella from Hiram.

Lastly, Trustee Schulda announced that Dave Auble, from Ohio Health Benefits in Hiram, will be in attendance at the first two meetings in January in order to present new health plan information and answer any questions from Township employees.

The next meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees will be held on Tuesday, December 2nd at 7 pm in the Township Hall. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Mantua Twp. – In his cemetery report, Jim Aldrich reported receiving $450 in burial fees, $160 in foundation fees, and $1,855 in grave sales. He also reported that several trees had been removed, their stumps ground down, and monuments repositioned back in place, as had been planned. Continuing, he informed trustees that in the new section, the access drive has migrated and needs work, relating that the bottom drive turns too sharply to the east. He requested help in researching where graves are located in that section, in order that the work does not disturb those interred there. Trustee Victor Grimm will assist Mr. Aldrich in this matter. In addition, the trustees discussed revisions to the proposed cemetery fee schedule previously presented by Mr. Aldrich. With minor changes, the fee schedule was approved, with new prices to take effect starting December 1st, 2014. The new fee schedule can be found on the township’s website: mantuatownshipohio.gov.

In addition, according to Trustee John Festa, in the rules for West Lawn Cemetery, “some improvements are needed to make it more concise.” Trustee Jason Carlton agreed, noting several such examples, such as those regarding the transfer of previously purchased graves. All three trustees agreed to review suggested revisions for discussion at an upcoming trustee meeting.

Frank Horak reported on behalf of the Veterans Memorial, that the flags representing each branch of the military have been received and installed. On behalf of the committee, he thanked those businesses and individuals who donated time and resources to complete the project.

In old business, Jason Carlton reported that the township exterior painting project has been completed, and thanked everyone involved for his or her time and monetary donations. Formal thank you letters will be forthcoming. It was noted that the Mantua Restoration Society donated 35 gallons of paint for the project. In similar news, contractor and resident Cal Brant, who completed the work on the Township Hall exterior, has wrapped the bell tower at the Center School in weatherproof material to “keep out the winter”.

Next, Trustee Carlton shared that he had contacted Teresa Skully, a teacher at the High School, for help designing a logo for the Township. Ms. Skully will be assigning the project to her graphic design class, which will start in January of 2015.

Lastly, regarding the Center School committees and volunteers, Trustee Festa commented that he was, “not thrilled that non-professionals were added to the Assessment Committee.” Trustee Festa plans to discuss it with Todd Peetz from Regional Planning, but is, “looking forward to the next phase.”

The next meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be held on Thursday, November 20th at 7:30 pm in the Township Hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

Mantua - Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, which commemorated the signing of the armistice, which ended World War I on November 11, 1918. Although it became a federal holiday in 1938, President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954 in order to include all US veterans. And on Veterans Day, 2014, children and adults honored local veterans at Crestwood Primary and Intermediate Schools, first at a solemn ceremony and flag raising outdoors, immediately followed by a ceremony in the cafeteria of the Primary School.

The school hallways were decked in red, white, and blue, covered with students’ patriotic artwork thanking veterans for their service to the nation. After the second grade choir sang, families watched a slide show honoring the service of countless veterans from the area, supplied by students and their families. Veterans from all branches of service were honored during the event. One such veteran, 94-year-old Bill Wysong from Aurora, was the special guest of his great-grandson, second-grader Grant Wysong. The elder Wysong is a US Army veteran who served on the Pacific front during the Second World War. He enjoyed observing the day in such a special way with three generations of his family.

In addition, in honor of Veterans Day, flags representing each branch of service were flying high at the Mantua Veterans Memorial. This was the first Veteran’s Day observance at the Memorial, which was dedicated last Memorial Day.

Mantua - As many people know, Lieutenant Ken Justus and his K9 partner Vader have been working successfully to keep the Mantua community safe on behalf of the Mantua Police Department. Due to the overwhelming success of that partnership, the department would like to add a second K9 unit to the force. As many local communities fight the war on drugs in local neighborhoods, streets and sidewalks, the Mantua Village Police Department is heading back to school. This new K9 will be assigned to Officer Urso, for use inside Crestwood Schools on a daily basis.

Mantua’s School Resource Officer (SRO) Joe Urso is no stranger to Crestwood Schools. He has become well known throughout the district, not only as a calming force for kids during lock-down drills, and a comforting presence to staff and teachers, but also as friendly face, never too busy to high-five students. But there’s only so much that SRO Urso can accomplish by himself. With a new, specially trained partner, SRO Urso will have another tool to protect Crestwood students.

The dog is being acquired through a specialized trainer, Mr. Paul Shaughnessy of Excel K9 Services, located in Hiram Township. Through a special arrangement, Excel K9 Services will provide a trained German Shepherd to the Mantua Police Department. “The cost of the dog is being donated to the Department,” shared Lt. Justus. “Vader and the new dog come from the same kennel in Hiram,” he remarked. “Vader is a patrol and narcotics dog. The new dog will be trained in narcotics only.” Officer Urso added, “I don’t know of any other school district that has had this opportunity presented to them. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity for Crestwood Local Schools.”

But a project like this comes with a price tag — around $10,000 — and the project is being funded completely by donations. “The money we raise will be used to cover the cost of the training, certification, and equipment needed to place the dog in service with Officer Urso,” stated Lt. Justus. “We hope to be able to raise enough funds to begin this project before the end of the month.”

Excel K9 will conduct training for the dog and his partner, Officer Urso. Once certified, the dog will be trained to identify the odors of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamines, and ecstasy. Through this special program, Officer Urso and his narcotics-trained K9 could be in the schools within a very short time. According to Officer Urso, “We are about 1/4 of the way there with the funding. Together, we can make this opportunity a reality!”

Donations can be sent to: Mantua Village, Police K9 Donation Fund, P.O. Box 775, Mantua, Ohio 44255, or simply dropped off at the Police Department or the Clerks Office at Mantua Village Hall.

Mantua – On Saturday, October 25th, volunteers joined forces to complete a myriad of projects in Mantua as a part of the Make A Difference Day national day of service. Community-minded residents, CHS students, and Eagle Scouts took part, using a little bit of elbow grease to help make their local community that much better.

That day, volunteers spent time sprucing up the railroad switching station/guard house on the Headwaters Trail, as well as sprucing up Village signs and benches. Trail repairs were completed at Mantua’s Glacier Esker Trail, and work was also completed at the nearby Rotary Grove site. In addition, volunteers went door-to-door in the Village sharing coupons to encourage residents to shop locally, and providing information regarding the Village’s Road Levy.

The Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) organized Make a Difference Day in Mantua. That day, volunteers in Mantua joined with millions of volunteers across the country to improve the lives of others.

For more than 20 years, USA WEEKEND Magazine, together with the Points of Light charitable organization, has held Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. To find out how you can help make a difference in Mantua, contact the DMRC at 330-274-4040.

Hiram –  “TREE House exemplifies what is distinct about Hiram,” beamed Dr. Debbie Kasper, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at Hiram College. From its radiant heat in the basement floor to its R60-rated insulation in the attic, the TREE House is a model of energy efficiency and sustainability.

Work was done by local contractors, and supported by volunteers from faculty, staff and the community.

Local resident Scott Robinson supplied the fine carpentry work. Mike and MJ Viggiani from Mike’s Electric in Hiram, OH completed electrical work. They installed the energy-conserving LED lighting systems and energy-monitoring systems to enable Hiram College to track energy usage throughout the structure. Dominic Gualtieri, of Gualtieri Construction in Hiram, worked on foundation and footer work, helping the TREE House, much like trees themselves, grow from the ground up. Using less traditional materials like foam blocks, and simple tools including a drill, a reciprocating saw or other cutting tool, and plenty of zip ties, Gualtieri remarked, “the process is easy enough for an average homeowner to do.”

Insulation guru Nate Adams from Energy Smart Home Performance in Mantua, lent his expertise to the project as well. According to Adams, at the start of the project, blower door tests — used to measure a home’s airtightness, — were measured at 6,700. The team’s goal was to reduce that number to 2,000. After all the work the team has completed, the TREE House now scores under 1,000.  A Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index rating measures how energy efficient a home is. A score of 100 is the goal for structures to meet the 2009 standards. Adams continued, “The TREE House started at 208, but is now listed at around 50.”

According to Jim Zella, the architect and builder from Hiram who served as the Project Manager, “Air leakage is the most important factor for energy use. To improve comfort and reduce moisture problems, tighter is better. But if a home is too tight, air quality may suffer.” To solve this issue, an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) was installed to give the bad air a way to get out. The ERV pulls fresh air in, while filtering incoming air and exhausting stale air. In the process, exhausted air helps to warm the incoming air, making the system more effective.

Zella shared how the old siding, which contained lead paint, was left in place and encapsulated in cement board siding. This not only kept harmful materials out of a landfill, but serves to diminish the heating system requirements of the building. Since the envelop of the house is tight, it doesn’t require as much energy to heat. “I’m very pleased with what took place at this green and sustainable project,” Zella continued. It was truly a team effort that resulted in a reduction of energy usage at the TREE House — a whopping 75% lower than the original structure.

Several foundations have helped fund this project, including the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust; Dominion’s Higher Educational Partnership; and the Lubrizol Foundation. In addition, private donors have also given their support, including Jane & George Rose, Merrill Preston, Jr.; Damaris Peters-Pike & Ken Pike; Steve Zabor, and Kathryn Craig. The overwhelming support is what Kasper says made it, “genuinely special and rare. All in all, it has been a grand learning experiment, and the kind of thing Hiram does best,” he continued. “What we’ve created is a wonderful space to teach and meet and learn.”

The windows on the first floor and some of the second floor have been replaced with more energy-efficient models; the rest will be replaced as budget allows. The old parts of the home were repurposed on site, for example, old windows now top display tables created by local artist Barry Bishop, and an unneeded door was transformed into a corner shelf for a quiet space off the kitchen. One of the goals of this project was to show people how to salvage pieces of older homes, preserving the character while diverting useful items from the landfill. Water collection system will irrigate the on site gardens.

“We’ve been working so hard and dealing with unexpected issues on a nearly daily basis for so long now, it feels really surprising — in a good way — to have most of the major work behind us and to think we’ll actually be able to use the house,” shared Kasper.  One member of the Environmental Studies Department has already moved in, while the rest of the Department is scheduled to do so over the holiday break.  “Ever since the grand opening, we’ve been getting lots of questions from students who are eager to use the space!  They will be very happy to know that we plan on teaching several classes there this spring,” beamed Kasper.

The next steps for the TREE House will be to learn how to effectively use the space, given its collection of advanced technologies. In addition, the team will be hard at work compiling data they’ve been collecting throughout the process. “We learned a lot through the process, and continue to do so,” shared Kasper. The TREE House team has documented throughout the process, and will share that data so that others can learn from their experiences. Data regarding the various systems and cost savings will be posted on the TREE House website hiram.edu/sustainability/tree-house. In addition, over the next few months, information about some of the most important features will be shared on informational placards that will be posted throughout the house, allowing visitors to learn more and link to the website for additional resources.

Minor work is still being finalized on the TREE House, with a schedule for public access to be established in early 2015. Contact Debbie Kasper at kasperdv@hiram.edu for more information.

Mantua – While some kids treasure their extra days off school by sleeping in, on NEOEA Day, several kids donned  rubber boots, joined their families to hunt for treasures in the heart of Mantua Village. At Mantua’s Buchert Park (4800 East High Street), the group met Ryan Moss from the Ohio Division of Natural Resources. Moss donned his waders to enter the river, showing firsthand some of the hidden treasures that can be found in a typical Cuyahoga River monitoring exercise.

First, Moss used a Turbidity Tube — a narrow PVC tube roughly two feet long — to show participants how to measure the river’s water clarity. Looking through the side of the tube, the water appeared remarkably clear. But changing perspective and looking through the top of the tube, participants realized that because of sediment, the bottom was hidden, just as the river’s bottom is hidden from view. Moss’s next step, however, shed plenty of light on some of the interesting creatures that call the Crooked River home. And while the depth and current of the river made it impossible for the children, mostly third graders from Crestwood Intermediate School, to enter the river, Moss brought some of the river to them.

Moss used two plastic shoebox-sized bins as mini aquariums, which he filled with river water. Taking a three-foot section of netting, Moss entered the river and used his feet to jostle the rocks resting on the river’s bottom, sending its former occupants into the waiting net. After carefully closing the net, Moss exited the river, opening the net flat so that the group could locate critters, examine them, and place them into the waiting bins. Hidden among the fall leaves, participants found crayfish, a multitude of insect larvae, tiny freshwater clams and a water penny beetle. Moss and a team of volunteers monitor the Cuyahoga in various locations during early spring, summer and fall to test water quality of the river by the variety of creatures found within it. According to Moss, the river quality at Buchert Park rated excellent that day.

After releasing their treasures back into the river, participants followed Rosemary Krupar, CIS third grade teacher and Teacher-Ranger-Teacher for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, down the nearby Headwaters Trail to investigate the Oak Ridge Trail. The boisterous group startled a snake sunning itself along the trail as they identified leaves, explored the woods, and enjoyed the crisp fall day.

Nature Treks is a free extracurricular program to provide outdoor education to Crestwood students and their families. During several sessions throughout the 2014-2015 school year, families will meet at various sites in the area for interactive nature experiences. These sessions take place on select weekdays when school is not in session. For more information on upcoming Nature Treks, contact Rosemary Krupar at Crestwood Intermediate School, rkrupar@crestwoodschools.org.

Hiram – Justin Lonis is the founder of Justimagine, LLC, located in his hometown of Mentor, OH. The company’s first product is the Advanced Balance Board, which was developed by Lonis as a senior project while he was still a student at Hiram College. The idea was born after Lonis, a 6’6” basketball forward at Hiram College, injured his ankle. Essentially, his design consists of a balance platform with an LCD display that shows the number of touches, or times the platform tips, in a given time period. His innovative product aids in lower body stability testing, ankle stability, and rehabilitation. A recent Hiram College graduate, Lonis won first place in the Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) this month.

His idea and resulting business plan earned first place at Hiram’s IdeaBuild Competition, and third place at the regional competition. He earned first place at the GSEA in Cleveland. Following his mom’s advice, he is trying to retain as much equity in his company as possible. He’s currently in the prototype phase of his invention — or as he stated, “It’s more selling a dream than a product.” He estimates that the prototype is 90% complete, and he plans to show a completed prototype at the next round of competition in early November. Potential users of his product include orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and athletic trainers.

As a part of the Cleveland competition, Lonis was thrilled to be a part of the sold-out Thrive event, sponsored by the Cleveland Entrepreneurs’ Organization earlier this month. The event featured Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. “Just being in the competition gave me access to over 300 entrepreneurs. The insights they provided made it the most valuable experience for me.” It also gave Lonis the chance to play Air Combat — co-piloting an actual fighter plane flying over Lake Erie — and manning the controls during simulated dogfights. “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever done!” he beamed. Lonis reinvested his prize winnings into his company, and will move on to compete in the US Nationals in Chicago next month. A victory in Chicago would qualify Justin for a chance at the title of Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year (GSEA) in April 2015 in Washington, DC.

Justimagine, LLC currently holds three USPTO provisional patents and has working relationships with local area colleges, hospitals, sports teams and entrepreneurial agencies. More advanced versions of the initial product may be used to help quantitatively diagnose concussions. But Lonis admits that his biggest challenge is simplifying his “elevator pitch” — the 30-second summary of his product for potential investors or buyers of his product. “It’s a huge challenge for me. My goal is to break it down in a way that even my eight-year-old brother, Mikey can understand.”

The GSEA (Global Student Entrepreneur Awards) is a global competition hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) for students who own and operate businesses while attending high school or college. During the competitions, nominees like Justin compete against their peers from around the world. With more than 1,700 competitors from more than 20 countries, EO GSEA is an awesome opportunity for student entrepreneurs to make connections, find resources, and grow their businesses.

The Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global network of more than 10,000 business owners in 46 countries. They strive to inspire students to entrepreneurship by showcasing undergraduate business owners through the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA).

Mantua – Miller’s of Mantua celebrated their grand opening this past weekend when husband and wife team Jason and Nicole Miller opened their new restaurant on East Prospect Street. The Miller’s new restaurant is located in the space previously occupied by Jake’s Eats. In a nod to the previous owners, the new Miller’s menu features some previous customer favorites, including the Jake’s Plate at breakfast, and the Jake’s Salad and Jake’s Club on the lunch and dinner menus. But they’ve added their own spin with daily specials like Tuesday’s pasta night and a Friday fish fry.

Facebook friend Yvonne shared, “different name but same delicious food,” while Claudette added, “great place to meet up with friends.” In addition to providing daily good food and a great place to meet, Millers also became good neighbors, collecting non-perishable foods for the 4Cs food cupboard throughout their Grand Opening weekend.

Miller’s of Mantua is open Tuesday through Sunday — visit them on Facebook or at millersofmantua.com for hours, daily specials, and events.

Mantua – This October 25th, millions of volunteers across the nation will unite to improve the lives of others as a part of Make a Difference Day. That same day, volunteers in Mantua will be working together with the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) locally, as a part of this national program. USA Today Weekend and the Points of Light organization created this largest national day of community service over 20 years ago, and although Make a Difference Day has been taking place each October, this is the first year for a special workday in Mantua Village.

During that Saturday from 8:30 am until 3 pm, volunteers will be repainting street stanchions, weeding & trimming flower gardens, sweeping sidewalks & removing leaves and litter to help beautify Mantua. Volunteers from Crestwood High School’s Senior Seminar group have already signed up. Residents, service clubs, and others are also invited to join in.

From 11:45 – 12:30, volunteers are invited to take a break and enjoy lunch at the nearby Glacial Esker Trail, where Portage Park District staff will share information about the trail. Parking is available at the Mantua Water Treatment Plant on Line Street and Mats Road, off of Orchard Road. The talk is sponsored by Portage Park District and Mantua McDonald’s.

You can help make a difference, too. Gather a group of family or friends and make plans to help DMRC support Mantua on Saturday, October 25th. For more information on this program, contact Greg at (330) 274-0218 or DMRCemail@gmail.com, or visit makeadifferenceday.com and search for the ‘Mantua Means More!’ project.

Mantua - A special meeting preceded September’s regular Council meeting. The public meeting provided a forum for village residents to find out more about the street improvement levy, which will be on the ballot in November. The meeting gave residents the opportunity to ask questions of the mayor and council, and to voice their concerns about the state of the village’s streets and roads. If you missed that meeting, you’ll have another opportunity  — another public forum on the street improvement levy will be held at 6 pm on Tuesday, October 21st, prior to that evening’s regular council meeting. According to Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) member Sue Steinberg, “It’s imperative that this passes. It’s just so necessary.”

Next, Greg Balbierz, also from DMRC, presented Mayor Linda Clark and Council with a proposal for DMRC participation in the national Make a Difference Day effort on Saturday, October 25th. Council approved the project, through which volunteers from the DMRC, Crestwood High School, and the greater Mantua area will join with others to repaint street stanchions and generally spruce up Downtown Mantua. Individuals and groups are invited to join the effort. For more information, visit the Mantua Matters project page at makeadifferenceday.com.

Similarly, Eagle Scout candidate Dan O’Sickey finalized his plans with Council to place two large benches on Village-owned land near the Esker and Buckeye Trails. Village Administrator David Akerley worked with Mr. O’Sickey to determine exact placement of the benches, which were installed at the end of September.

Later, Mayor Clark announced that two individuals would be sworn in at council’s October meeting on October 21st. Wes Hawkins will join the Planning Committee while Ashley Hawkins will join both the Parks and Shade Tree Committees. In addition, the village has a position open in the Service Department, with several promising candidates who have expressed an interest.

On behalf of the Fire Board, Bill Zoller reported that the MSFD new squad is in service, and that the department received a good trade-in value for the old squad. The department now has 3 squads in service. Mr. Zoller also reported that the temporary station has been set up north of the bridge closure, and is working well. He noted that the additional cost to man two stations during the road closure is estimated at $50,000.

Lastly, candidate for Common Pleas Judge Becky Doherty introduced herself to the group. “Heroin is an epidemic,” remarked Ms. Doherty. “It’s not an inner city problem — it’s all our problem, and it affects our kids, our friend’s kids, and our grandkids,” she concluded. Doherty served as a Trial attorney for 21 years, and as Chief Criminal Prosecutor in Mahoning County, as well. If elected, Ms. Doherty plans to implement a Drug Court in Portage County, similar to the one in Mahoning County, to combat the growing heroin problem in the area.

The next regular meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be held at 7 pm on Tuesday, October 21st. The meeting will be preceded at 6 pm by a Town Hall meeting regarding the upcoming street improvement levy, which will be on the ballot for village residents in November. Residents are strongly encouraged to attend this informative meeting.

The Hiram Village Fire Department has two levies on the ballot next month — the renewal of a 2-mil EMS levy and an additional 3-mil Fire Protection levy. Mr. Dave Loader, a long-time resident of Hiram Township, shared the reason he plans to support these valuable tax levies in November.

Early one morning late winter morning in 2013, Dave’s son-in-law Rob stopped by the house, to drop off a grandson for Dave to babysit. Shortly after Rob’s arrival, however, without notice, Dave suddenly dropped to the floor. Dave related the story he’s been told, since he has no memory of what happened — the last thing he remembers is talking with Rob.

Luckily, as Dave fell, his son-in-law caught Dave’s head in his hands, guiding it gently to the floor. He then grabbed the nearby phone and immediately dialed 911, summoning the Hiram Squad, who arrived within 5 minutes. According to Hiram Village Fire Department Chief Bill Byers, “On that snowy morning, the Fire Department received a call to assist a man who had fallen. Upon arrival, the team found Mr. Loader not breathing, with no pulse.” He was in full cardiac arrest. Dave’s heart had stopped, but the Hiram EMS crew was able to use the automated external defibrillator (AED) restart his heart. “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,” explained Chief Byers. Dave was told that the AED was needed again on the way to University Geauga Hospital. For saving his life on that blustery day, Dave credits, “my son-in-law, Rob; the Hiram Squad; and God — all three worked together in perfect timing.”

The next thing Dave remembered was waking up in University Geauga Hospital, where he spent several days. During that time, it was determined that Dave would need surgery to place stents to improve blood flow to the arteries in his heart. But to further complicate matters, it was learned that Dave’s heart had shifted inside his chest cavity. This was due to the fact that several years prior, Dave had undergone a lobectomy, in which part of his lung was removed to combat lung cancer. As a result, according to Dave, his heart had moved, making the surgery more challenging. After Dave and his family consulted with his doctors, it was decided that the procedure would take place at University Hospital’s Cleveland location. Dave made a full recovery.

Dave and his wife Danielle, have lived in Hiram since1967. They moved to the area when they left California, where they had both been stationed in the Air Force.  His wife, who is originally from Mantua, wanted to return to the area where she was raised so they would be surrounded by family as they started their life together.

They have four daughters, four sons-in-law, and 11 grandchildren. Rob, who is married to their youngest daughter, is the newest son-in-law to join the family. “We joke that after this experience, Rob quickly moved to the top of my list as favorite.”

Also at the top of his list is renewal of the Hiram Village Tax Levy for Emergency Medical Services, which will be on November’s ballot. Renewing this levy will allow the Department to have two people on duty around the clock. “Because I know firsthand that quick response is so important,” Dave concluded.

Mantua – Last Friday, on a gorgeous fall day, the kids at Crestwood Primary and Intermediate Schools strapped on their sneakers to raise money for field trips, field day, and educational opportunities at their schools. Instead of hitting the sidewalks to sell candy, wrapping paper, or other items to family and friends; to raise much-needed funds, parents and their students sought out community sponsors. They asked for support, not just of the schools, but for student wellness, as well.

crestwood-mantua-walkathon-october-2014-outdoorOver the course of the school day, each student in every class — from preschool through grade five — as well as teachers and staff — took a one-mile hike around the perimeter of the campus. Their teachers led the way through the campus green space, wearing pedometers to track the number of steps. At the end of the day, the grand total of 1,287,442 steps was reached — or nearly 130 miles!

Students wore shirts to signify their grade levels; Preschool wore light blue, Kindergarten in yellow, first graders were in dark blue, 2nd graders wore orange, 3rd graders wore red, 4th was in grey, with 5th graders in white. And most everyone wore a smile as they enjoyed being outdoors for the school-wide activity.

In addition to raising an estimated $2,500 per school, the event also raised awareness of healthy choices. Before starting their walk, students warmed up by jumping rope and using hula-hoops. One first-grade participant rejoiced, saying, “Watch me — I was made to hula hoop!” Halfway through their hike, participants stopped for a water and music break. Accompanied by such songs as ‘These Boots Are Made for Walking’ and “Happy,” they continued their trek, refreshed, and with a kick in their step.  After completing their mile, each participant received a healthy snack of apple slices and a bottle of water, courtesy of McDonalds & Subway in Mantua, and Giant Eagle in Ravenna.

Event sponsors included: Ace’s Well Service, Sayre Construction, Fortis College, RDP Printing, Star Therapy, Streetsboro Family Days/ Allen Alloy, Coldwell Banker Streetsboro, Mantua Station Drug, NAPA, Oscar Brugmann Sand & Gravel, OK Brugmann Jr & Sons Inc., Aurora Auto Wash, Candance Academy, Piranha Technologies, Trinity Farm, Varkala Services, Inc., F & S Automotive, Carlton Harley Davidson, Kuchenbecker Farms, Express Systems, Sunshine Cupcakes, Advanced Rehab, Montgomery’s Pallet Service, Derthick’s Farm, Portage Trim, Gateway Towing, Kristoff Electric, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Crestwood Intermediate School Staff, Valerie Agle (Equestrian Vet Clinic), and Streetsboro Sports Medicine – Dr. Bartsokas.

Due to the success of this first-time event, teachers, staff, and parent volunteers look forward to holding it again next year.

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Across the world, many nations are engaged in political conflicts. At the same time, millions of paper pinwheels emblazoned with childrens’ messages of peace and hope spin worldwide, in places like South America, the Middle East, and even Mantua, Ohio. Last Friday, Crestwood students from kindergarten through grade five planted hand-made pinwheels at Crestwood Intermediate & Primary Schools to help commemorate the International Day of Peace.

Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started nine years ago by teachers in Florida as a way for students to express their feelings about what was happening in their lives, and in the world around them. In the first year of the project, groups in over 1,325 locations around the world were spinning nearly 500,000 pinwheels on the International Day of Peace. Last year, over four million pinwheels were spinning in over 3,500 locations, including the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Locally, School Counselor Gary Traveny coordinated the project. He explained, “This project is non-political. Peace doesn’t necessarily have to be associated with the conflict of war, it can be related to violence or intolerance in our daily lives.”  To participate, each student created a pinwheel; one side features their thoughts on peace, tolerance, and living in harmony, they drew images to express their feelings on the opposite side.

The school-wide program was held outdoors on a crisp, autumn day and featured student-read poetry and music performed by the fifth grade choir. Afterwards, students planted their pinwheels around the grounds of Crestwood’s Primary and Intermediate Schools. In addition, children received a special bookmark to remember their part in supporting “whirled peace.”

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award-portage-countyPortage County – Wondering how the first annual Portage County Celebration Week turned out? “In a word, it was awesome!” beamed Todd Peetz, Director of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission (PCRPC). “Everyone who participated really enjoyed it,” he concluded. The week-long event kicked off with a sold-out Premier of High School Bands, which was held at the Theodore Roosevelt High School Stadium in Kent. Performing bands included 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.

In addition, the United Way of Portage County sponsored a Volunteer Day, with 12 projects being completed simultaneously around the county. Local projects of note included sprucing up the grounds around the Center School in Mantua Township and scraping and repainting the stanchion streets markers in Mantua Village. Later that week, over 700 car enthusiasts showcased their classic cars in Ravenna at the A&W Drive-In and Mongoose Motorsports.  Area businesses were swamped as families flocked to see hot rods, enjoy root beer floats, and family fun. But the highlight of the week was an  “Oscar”-style awards dinner held at the Bertram in Aurora, and featuring winners from throughout the county.

Mantua’s Art on the Hill event won the Cultural Arts Initiative Award, which recognized a program of arts and cultural awareness that helps to enhance the value and character of their community. The annual summer event, ‘Art on the Hill’ (‘AOTH’), from the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC), is an arts & cultural event music, food, and artisans, and draws thousands of visitors to their one-day event each year. “We are really excited and hope it will help bring more artisans and attendees next year to our Annual Art on the Hill event,” marveled Edie K. Benner, Downtown Mantua Revitalization President. She continued, “Our committee worked tirelessly and they deserve recognition for doing such a great job. And kudos to the Portage Regional Planning Commission and their team for hosting the event,” Benner concluded. Art on the Hill won this category, which also included the Ravenna Balloon Affair, Streetsboro Family Days and the Kent Heritage Festival.

Next up was the award for Most Engaging High School Initiative, honoring the innovative programs that have successfully and measurably enhanced relationships between the school and its community. Aurora High School was honored for a non-traditional program offered in place of study hall, where students dictate what they are going to learn, the conditions they are going to learn under, and how they will demonstrate what they learn.  As a result of this program, students have investigated: graphic design, electronics (hardware), computer science (coding), comic book development (storyline & artwork), investigation into design including the use of Sketch-Up, fashion blog, recycling process (separation of rubber from steel-belted tires), running shoe design & development, video game development, and fashion illustration. That’s quite an impressive list of projects undertaken.

Next up, the winner of the Economic Development Award, for an organization that has provided valuable develop in terms of employment, income, and quality of life was the Catacel Corporation. Founded in 2001 originally as a manufacturer of emission control products, the company has become a leader in fuel cells and industrial hydrogen.  Today, their engineers and manufactures break-through, proprietary catalytic heat exchanging materials, holds 22 US patents, and significantly reduce costs in the hydrogen production and fuel cell industries by increasing process output and improving energy efficiencies. In September of 2013, Catacel moved to an idle manufacturing plant in the City of Ravenna, where the company is now a cornerstone tenant. Catacel arrived with 26 employees and has grown to 30 with plans to add more this fall. Occupying 22,000 square feet in the newly- renovated facility, the company has also made many facility improvements, included new windows, energy efficient lighting, office renovation, and an epoxy-coated manufacturing floor that sparkles. Catacel is engaged in sales, engineering, and manufacturing operations that serve customers in markets all over the world.

The award for Community Hero was given to Streetsboro resident Kathleen Schuman for her work at the Streetsboro Community Pantry. This busy wife, mother and grandmother, finds time to volunteer at the Streetsboro Community Pantry, purchasing groceries, ordering food & arranging pick ups at the Akron Food Bank; she also stocks shelves, trains volunteers, and takes on the many other responsibilities to operate this agency, which serves between 70-100 families each month. She would be the first to insist that this operation succeeds because of the team effort, but there are many people relying on her energy, focus and inspiration to be able to provide free groceries to the numerous families of Streetsboro who rely on this service.

The last award recognized an initiative that demonstrated an action or activity that brings young people, adults and families together. The award for Community Service was given to Root House, the first-ever residential addiction treatment facility in Portage County, which opened in June of 2013.  Founded by Mike and Valerie Root, who tragically lost their son to a heroin overdose, and recovered addict Jeremy Taugner, who struggled with the same issues. They shared the vision of opening a treatment center in Portage County for men so that others would not have to suffer like they did. With assistance from Family and Community Services and Portage County Mental Health and Recovery Board, they were able create a 90-day residential program for struggling addicts who have detoxed and are committed to staying clean.

“We learned a lot, made a few mistakes along the way, but all in all it turned out very well,” concluded Peetz. Due to the success of this year’s program, PCRPC plans to hold the event next year. Plans for next year’s Portage County Celebration Week will begin in January 2015. For more information about next year’s events, visit visioninginportage.org.

Mantua – At the last meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees, it was announced that an organizational meeting will be scheduled to discuss committee positions and next steps for work on the Township’s Administrative Building (AKA Center School). As you may recall, letters of interest for committee position were due at the end of July. Director of Regional Planning, Todd Peetz, reviewed those submissions, which he reviewed and provided to trustees. Mr. Peetz will moderate the organizational meeting, which will be held on October 22nd at 7 pm in the Civic Center. The public is encouraged to attend.

In other news, several residents voiced their concerns to trustees over letters sent by the township’s Zoning Inspector, John Dickey. According to residents, Mr. Dickey is requesting information that is not specified in the township’s zoning book, namely, license and registration for vehicles and trailers without BMV license plates that are stored on residents’ property. Residents also maintain that the letter they received notes that no vehicles of this type are permitted, while township regulations state that “no more than one,” is allowed. In addition, the letter in question gave residents 15 days to remedy the situation, noting penalties for non-compliance. Township zoning guidelines stipulate that residents are allowed 30 days for compliance.

The trustees assured residents that the letter in question was meant by Mr. Dickey to be purely a warning letter and not an official citation.  The trustees plan to work with Mr. Dickey to revise the document and clear up any inconsistencies. “We’ll work through it,” stated Trustee John Festa, explaining, “It’s a new thing for all of us,” referring to the newness of both the Zoning Inspector and the township’s zoning book. According to Trustee Jason Carlton, “Changes to the warning letter will be forthcoming.” Proposed revisions will be discussed at the next Trustee meeting. Anyone who has received the letter in question is encouraged to contact the trustees for clarification.

In Old Business, Cal Brant of Brant Carpentry updated trustees on the Town Hall repair project. Mr. Brant thanked volunteers John Festa, Carole Pollard, Ellie Monroe and Mark Hall for their assistance with scraping and repair work to the structure. He noted that representatives from Coon Restoration would be on site next week; an updated project timeline will result. In addition, it was noted that the township’s help-wanted ad for an on-call snowplow operator ran in the paper and was posted on the Township’s website, mantuatownshipohio.gov. Applications are due by October 13th.

Lastly, the township will again be hosting a Flu Shot Clinic on October 8th from 4 – 6 pm at the Township’s Civic Center. According to Trustee Victor Grimm, a four-strain flu shots will be offered for children age six months to 18 years at a cost of $10; adults age 19 – 64 may receive a flu shot for a cost of $30. Individuals age 65 and up can received a high-dose flu shot for $45 and/or a pneumonia shot for $80. The Flu Clinic is provided by the Portage County Health Department.

The next meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be held on October 2nd at 7:30 pm.

Mantua – Now that the weather is turning crisp, many folk’s thoughts turn to drives through the country for pumpkins and a chance to see the changing leaves. And nothing says country like a visit to Derthick’s Farm, a 200+ year-old family operation in Mantua.

Starting this weekend and running through the start of November, Derthick’s Farm is home to a massive corn maze, where folks come to get “corn-fused” while navigating through a complex maze cut into field of corn. But the experience is enhanced this year, as Derthick’s holds its second annual A-Maze-ing 5K Adventure Fun Run on Sunday, October 5th.

This year’s event builds on the success of last year’s A-Maze-ing Race event, which coincided with Crestwood High School’s Class of 1988 25th reunion. Last year’s race was held in memory of several CHS class of ’88 members who lost their battles with cancer, and all of the proceeds went toward cancer research. This year’s race proceeds will benefit both The Meghan R Brant Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of former CHS ’88 classmate Meghan Brant, and the Crestwood 4C’s Food Cupboard.

The A-Maze-ing Adventure Race course winds through rolling farmland, and includes such obstacles as hay bales, large tires, gates and a balance beam. In addition, a less-strenuous two-mile trail walk is also available. Due to the rough nature of the course, strollers are not permitted. Preregistration is $20.00, any received by Sept. 25th earn a free commemorative race t-shirt. Entries will be accepted on race day at 8:30 am at a cost of $25. Each entry includes a free maze pass valid for one Corn Maze admission during regular hours, through the close of the corn maze season.

In addition, Derthick’s will host a farm market on race day, featuring a variety of spices, oils, jams, and jellies and lettuce from nearby Mantua Gardens. For more information on becoming a vendor, call MaryEllen at (330) 351-3124. For more information or to register for the October 5th event, visit hmapromotions.com.

Derthick’s Farm photograph appears courtesy of Amanda Saylor Huebner.

Freedom – Charlene Cermak of Freedom loves children. “I see children through God’s eyes,” she explained, “No matter what they look like, they’re innocent pure, and gorgeous,” she continued. But this 65-year-old self-described “active grandma” had an experience recently that caused her to think of children in a new way. Now she thinks of one in particular as her hero.

Char loves her grandchildren, and keeps in touch with her four granddaughters in far away California via Skype. Due to health complications, which require her to administer breathing treatments and oxygen therapy throughout the day, making the cross-country flight very difficult. But those health issues don’t stop her from planning special outings with her grandsons in nearby Austintown.

It’s what happened during one of those special outings with grandsons Jacob, age 9, and Jordan, age 4, that Char felt compelled to share. She explained, “People always talk about the bad things kids do. A lot of children don’t get credit for the good they do.” The story begins at Chuck E. Cheese arcade in Boardman, where Char took her grandsons Jacob and Jordan, their first stop on an afternoon of fun. After the arcade, they planned to see a movie, and then get some ice cream. But their plans for an afternoon of fun changed in an instant.

Char had an adverse reaction that, “hit me like a ton of bricks,” she shared. She found Jake intent on a game, with his cup of tokens next to him. “Jakey, we’ve got to go. I can’t breathe,” she told him. Forgetting the game and the cup of tokens, he immediately grabbed her hand and his little brother’s hand, and helped guide Char outside and to the car. Once she made it to the vehicle, Char had couldn’t respond when Jake asked, “Grandma, are you okay?” Thinking quickly, Jake ran to the nearby BestBuy store and asked an employee to call 911.

Amazingly, the ambulance arrived within minutes. The EMTs were eventually able to open Char’s lungs and restore her breathing after administering three treatments. She would receive two more treatments at the hospital as well. “I was really worried when my Grandma couldn’t breathe,” Jacob shared. Char is convinced that the quick thinking of her grandson, in addition to the skills of the EMTs, saved her life.

After the ambulance arrived, Jake called his mom, who left work immediately to come and pick up her sons. While they waited for her to arrive, an employee from a nearby Dollar Tree brought the boys some small toys to keep them busy while they waited for their mother to arrive.

“He’s my little hero,” Char beamed. “There’s no doubt in my mind. If he hadn’t responded so quickly, I wouldn’t be here today.” When asked, Jacob admits that he does feel like a hero. Especially when Grandma calls on the phone and asks, “Is this my hero?” When asked how that makes him feel, he quickly responds, “happy, because my Grandma can breathe now.”

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Have you ever heard of local sites like Forty Foot Falls, Dingle Dell and Jeddo Station? On Sunday, September 21st, you’re invited to take a walk through Hiram’s past in the Memorial Garden behind Hiram Christian Church to learn about these sites, and to get a better understanding of Hiram’s past.

Whether you reside in the Village or the Township, this forum will provide an opportunity to learn about the area’s colorful history. The informal setting will allow guests to ask questions and share stories, photographs and items of local interest. The Hiram Historical Society in conjunction with the Hiram Township Community Evaluations & Accomplishments Committee (CEAC) sponsors the event, and will run from 2 – 4 pm.

CEAC Chairman Tim Kasper remarked, “This is an opportunity to bring everyone together to share stories about what Hiram used to be like. But we also see it as a starting point to learn how residents would like to see the area progress in the future.” Light refreshments will be served at Sunday’s event. Afterward, Hiram Historical Society will provide tours of the nearby Century House.

Hiram Township trustees formed the CEAC earlier this year as a tool to help implement the Hiram Comprehensive Plan. That plan establishes policies for the future development of the community, so that future growth can occur in a coordinated, unified and sustainable manner that is beneficial to the village and township as a whole. The CEAC is tasked with reaching out to Hiram Township and Village residents to access needs and desires within the community, then report these findings back to public officials for consideration in the economic and social issues within the communities.

For more information on the CEAC, attend the event on Sunday from 2 – 4 pm. The CEAC meets monthly at various locations around the community — their next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 15th at 7 pm at the Hiram Corner Store. For more information on the CEAC, contact Tim Kasper at (330) 569-7387 or tkasper@sbc.edu.

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Starting September 2nd, according to the Mantua Shalersville Fire Department, State Route 44 will be closed just North of Canada Road as ODOT repairs the bridge. These bridge repairs are estimated to take 75 days. In order to keep MSFD response time to a minimum, the Department has opened a temporary, second station for the duration of the project. (See story page 1).

Similarly, the Village has elected to pursue a proposed levy on the November ballot to generate $75,000 per year, for a total amount of about $375,000 over the next five years, to fund necessary road improvements. Mayor Linda Clark noted that 100% of the revenues raised would be dedicated for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets, roads and bridges in the Village. To find out more about this issue, residents are invited to attend a public meeting in Councils Chambers on either September 16th at 6 p.m. or October 21st at 6 p.m.

During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, council heard from several residents regarding ongoing water drainage issues. Residents’ specific issues were heard; Village Administrator David Akerley shared the village’s plans for catch basin repairs in nearby areas he anticipates will help remedy the situations. In addition, Mayor Clark commended Mr. Akerley and his team for exemplary service during the recent water main break, sharing similar sentiments from residents who called and wrote notes of appreciation.

In other news, Council approved participation in a Volunteer Day on August 25th, and agreed to allow volunteers to scrape and paint the red and white street markers along Main Street to Second Street. Volunteer Day was part of Portage County’s Celebration Week. In addition, Council also approved a request from DMRC for volunteers to repair and paint the Village of Mantua sign that was erected to commemorate the Village’s Diamond Jubilee. The Village has agreed to supply the tools and paint required to complete the project.

Lastly, Boy Scout Dan O’Sickey asked council for permission to construct two or three large benches along the Esker Trail in Mantua Village to earn his Eagle Scout rank. The benches would be constructed off-site using materials donated by the Red Gate Saw Mill in Mantua. Council approved his request, and O’Sickey and his crew of volunteers will have the benches installed by October 8th. The Esker Trail is located behind the Water Treatment Plant near the Cuyahoga River in the southwest portion of the Village. The trail is named for the eskers, or deposits of sand and gravel that dropped through ice tunnels in a melting glacier. These ridges, in the shape of long serpentine mounds, were deposited throughout the region during the Pleistocene Ice Age. The Esker Trail is located in the southwest corner of the Village near Mats Road, and runs between a small lake and the Cuyahoga River. In 2011, Eagle Scouts Cash Harris and Kyle Wright constructed an observation deck at the Esker Trail.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council will take place on Tuesday, September 16th at 7 pm, immediately following the proposed road levy informational meeting, which begins at 6 pm.

 

According to the Mantua Shalersville Fire Department, as of September 2nd, State Route 44 will be closed just North of Canada Road as ODOT repairs the bridge. This road closure is estimated to take 75 days. In order to keep MSFD response time to a minimum, the Department has opened a temporary, second station for the duration of the project. This temporary station is located north of the construction area, at F&S Automotive, to aid the Department in providing services to residents north of the construction area. Two firefighter/paramedics, a fire engine and an EMS unit will staff this satellite location. The main MSFD will maintain normal staffing of four, as well as the remaining equipment at their permanent location south of the village on State Route 44.

In the course of the last township meeting, trustees asked for an update on the Township Hall repair project from Cal Brant, the owner of Brant Carpentry. He let the trustees know that a swarm of honeybees had recently relocated themselves in the attic of the building. As a beekeeper, Mr. Brant is confident in his ability to successfully remove the bees and complete the project. Mr. Brant reported that the project is progressing, and that he anticipates completion of repairs and residing of portions of the exterior of the building by the end of fall. To continue moving forward, Trustees approved a motion to set aside $6,000 for Township Hall improvements. It was noted that Brant Carpentry donated roughly $800 of work on the project thus far. Mr. Brant also reported that the new exterior siding has been received, and asked that any volunteers willing to help prime or paint siding for the project should contact him at (330) 274-3538.

Next, Brian Tayerle reported on behalf of the Service Department that although weather has delayed chip and seal work, road repairs would begin soon. In addition, he reported that his two-person department would like trustees to investigate the potential of hiring a part-time person for the winter months to help ease the burden of plowing township roads. Mr. Tayerle stated that eventually, he’d like to expand the Service Department back to three people, as it had been previously. Trustees agreed, discussed options, and agreed to bring more ideas and suggestions on the issue to their next meeting. In addition, Mr. Tayerle noted that the Service Department has been stocking grits, which will be stored for winter, and mixed with salt to help extend the Townships salt supply during the coming winter months.

Trustee Jason Carlton noted that the price of road salt for Mantua Township and the 20 other communities participating in the ODOT salt bid was 300% higher than last year’s prices. Suppliers state that their salt mines can’t meet the increased demands, as communities in Ohio and surrounding states, still stinging from last year’s brutal weather, have increased the tonnage of salt they hope to order. Trustees agreed to join the ODOT bid at a reduced quantity, and will continue to investigate alternative sources to purchase salt at a more reasonable rate.

Lastly, Trustees Festa and Carlton revisited the public comment rules and procedures prior to opening up the floor to allow for such comments. Per Mr. Festa, “a trustee meeting is no place to promote vendettas or personal agendas.” Mr. Festa voiced his opinion that responses of that nature were, “uncalled for, and a disruption of the meeting.” Mr. Carlton concurred, stating,” We want to hear what you have to say, but everyone should have the same opportunity.” He urged that respondents keep their township-related comments brief to allow all residents who wish to comment an equal opportunity to do so. In addition, he reminded those in attendance that public comments are not a mandatory part of township trustee meetings, and as such, all parties commenting should do so in a respectful manner.

The next meeting of the Mantua Township Trustees will be on Thursday, September 4th at 7:30 pm in the Township Hall.

 

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Mantua – At the last meeting of the Crestwood School Board, Principal Cindy Ducca introduced two new teacher recently hired to the district: Miss Amanda Marlow, who will teach kindergarten, and Miss Tessa Mannarino, who will teach first grade. Next, Middle School Principal Julie Schmidt introduced new hire Dave Verhotz, whose focus will be on science. Lastly, High School Principal Dave McMahon introduced several new staff hires, starting with CHS alumna Jessica Mazanetz, recently added to the roster, covering AP US History and AP Government. In addition, Mr. McMahon congratulated Erin Miller, the new Choir Director, and welcomed Assistant Principal Craig Boles. Mr. Boles joins Crestwood after completing his internship in Administration at Waterloo, where he taught health and physical education. In addition, he is a former football coach. Lastly, Superintendent Dave Toth welcomed back former retirees Kristy Jones and Betty Minor, who will be returning to the Crestwood District this fall.

In addition, Mr. Toth shared that during the summer, the Technology team has installed chrome book computer labs at the Primary, Intermediate and Middle Schools, and has added 16 more wireless access points at locations throughout the high school. In addition, he shared that the Ohio Department of Education has changed the requirements for graduating seniors. While the number of credits required for graduation remains the same (4 units each of English & Math, 3 units each of Science & Social Studies, ½ unit each of Health & Physical Education, and 5 electives), new tests and an exit exam will be implemented, as well as a points system, details of which will be forthcoming. These new requirements will take effect for the class of 2018.

In other news, Transportation Manager Bill Andexler announced that two new buses were purchased for the District, and will be in service for the coming school year. In addition, parking lots district-wide have been sealed and patched in preparation for the coming school year.

This Sunday, August 24th, from 5-8pm, Crestwood Schools will hold Community Day at Crestwood High School. Come for an evening of family fun, including bouncy houses, magic, balloon twisting and face painting. A pep rally will begin at 7pm. In addition, the fire and police departments will give tours of a fire truck and police car, and local organizations will be on hand to share community information. Please bring extra school supplies and new or gently used backpacks to “Stuff the Bus” for less fortunate families in the community.

Lastly, Open House is on Monday, August 25th — Crestwood Primary and Intermediate Schools will be open from 5 – 7 pm, while the Middle and High Schools will be open from 6 – 8 pm. All Students’ begin the 2014-2015 school year on Tuesday, August 26th.

The next regularly scheduled School Board meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 3rd in the CHS Library at 7 pm.

 

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Hiram – There’s a new face on the block near the Hiram Professional Building. Hiram College Alumni and former football player Clarence Henry recently opened the Hub in the space formerly occupied by Da Bar. The new establishment takes its name from the business, which originally occupied the space in 1956. According to Henry, the name is meant to evoke an experience of a social gathering among friends. He hopes his venture provides that social networking experience to the surrounding business owners, community members and college students. Not surprising, since his opportunity at the Hub arose when Henry, a former bar manager, learned the location was available while visiting another local establishment. Originally from Florida, Henry and his family, his fiancé and three young children, now call Hiram home. In addition to being a business owner, Henry also plays football for the Ohio Golden Knights, the top ranked amateur football team in the Ohio Football League.

Since opening the Hub, Henry and his team of ten employees have added a pool table and dart league, and offers daily specials. On Tuesday Tequila Night, Henry boasts they serve the best margaritas in town. Each Friday is Ladies Night, with special prices on martinis, and special drink offerings for the men, as well. The Hub also boasts of having 10 beers on tap, from the standard Budweiser and Great Lakes, to Blue Moon, Alchemy Ale, and Guinness.

But wanting to be known as more than just a watering hole, the Hub will also be taking full advantage of its close proximity to Gionino’s Pizzaria by facilitating pizza, sub and wing orders to hungry Hub customers. In addition, Henry will soon be providing burgers from the recently re-opened Hiram Corner Store, and has plans to bring in local food trucks, O Loco Gringo and The Dogfather, who offer Mexican fare, as well as BBQ ribs and hot dog sandwiches — a perfect way to serve Hiram College students returning at the end of August. The Hub also has a DJ and plans to host karaoke, open mike night, and line dancing. To find out the latest news, be sure to follow the Hiram Hub on Facebook.

 

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Mantua – One hundred years ago, children and teachers journeyed either on foot or in wagons, as the school bell chimed out each day at the Mantua Center School in Mantua Township. Over the years — through two World Wars and many generations of local families — the school remained, a central fixture within the township. Although the last group of students departed the building for the final time in 2004, students, teachers, community members, and even a special guest from Columbus will have the opportunity to go back to school, at least for a few hours, on Saturday, August 9th, from 1 to 4 pm.

Senator John Eklund will be speaking at Saturday’s special event. Eklund was a staunch supporter of the effort to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which occurred last fall. He represents Senate District 18, which includes Portage County and portions of Lake and Geauga Counties, and resides in Munson Township. In addition to Eklund’s remarks, the event will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the building, which was completed in 1914. Up through the 1940s, the school served grades one through twelve of the entire Township. At that time, it shifted enrollment to grades kindergarten through seven. Several of the school’s oldest alumni have been invited back to the event, and to meet Senator Eklund.

The Mantua Restoration Society, in conjunction with the Mantua Historical Society, is hosting the event on Saturday, to demonstrate what Carole Pollard refers to as, “the sweep of time the building has been through,” Both groups plan to have several exhibits throughout the building, highlighting world and local events that occurred throughout its century of life. In addition, a small classroom exhibit will showcase desks, materials, clothing and photos from the early life of the school. The event will include tours of the building, as well as  ice cream and cake to celebrate the building’s historic 100th birthday.

Part of the building’s history revolves around the school bell — the 1,500-pound bell that was originally purchased by the Township to be used as a civil defense bell. The bell is roughly three times the size of the one at the Township Hall. Apparently, it took quite an effort from Stamm Contracting to fix it in place at the top historic building. During a regular school day, the bell was rung at least four times, by pulling the bell rope located in the top floor landing.

Tom Rauber, who served as Principal from 1992 through 2004, was asked to contact the school’s former teachers and staff, to let them know of the momentous occasion. “There’s such a history there — It’s always neat to go back,” Rauber shared.  He’s been back to the school for various events, including the graduation party of a former student. Rauber’s student attended Center School, as did his parents. They chose to rent the gymnasium to host their son’s high school graduation party.

When the school closed in 2004, Rauber and his staff and students marked the occasion, in part, by sharing the stories of former teachers and students. As the final school day ended, the group rang the historic bell 90 times, once for each consecutive year the school was in operation. The interviews, as well as the rest of the closing ceremony, were recorded on DVD, and will be shared at Saturday’s event. At Saturday’s event, the bell will again be rung — and perhaps you or someone you know will have the opportunity to help ring it.

pizza pocketsOur summer has been filled to the brim with softball games, family road trips, and impromptu picnics around town. To make packing lunches a little easier, we decided to make some homemade sandwich pockets to keep on hand. They are a quick lunch or snack at home, and are an easy, healthy option to pack up for quick picnic fare. As an added bonus, this recipe is simple for kids to help at any step — by measuring ingredients, mixing & rolling dough, choosing & adding filling, sealing, and topping with seasonings.

Pocket Sandwiches (adapted from abeautifulruckus.com) 

Makes 10 Pockets

3 cups flour

1/4 cup powdered milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 tablespoon yeast

1 cup warm water

Diced, cooked meat and/or veggies

shredded or sliced cheese

 

2-3 tablespoons of milk to brush tops of pockets (and help adhere sprinkles)  more cheese or spices for topping, including parmesan cheese, garlic powder, Italian spices, etc.

Combine flour, powdered milk, sugar, salt, yeast, and water in a stand mixer or in a bowl and knead well.

Once the dough is well combined, divide it into 10 equal portions. Take each portion, and roll with a rolling pin to form rectangles. Top each rectangle with filling, and then fold in the sides and ends to create a pocket. Place pockets, seam side down, on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Brush with milk, then top liberally with cheese and seasonings of choice. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Serve while warm, or cool completely, then wrap and store in the freezer.

With one batch, we chose pepperoni and mozzarella cheese filling, topping with pizza spices and grated Parmesan cheese. My taste-testers gave these two thumbs up served warm, with or without marinara sauce. For another batch, we filled with ham and cheddar cheese, topping with shredded cheddar, and these, too, were a hit. They’re great at room temperature, and simple for kids to warm in the microwave for a quick bite.

Additional savory filling options we’d like to try include diced chicken, cooked broccoli & cheddar cheese, scrambled eggs & sausage, grilled vegetables & shredded cheese. Really, whatever flavor combinations your family enjoys will probably make tasty hot pocket fillings. Sweeter filling options could include cream cheese & berries, or Nutella & preserves, sprinkled with powdered sugar or icing once the pockets have cooled completely. Not to rush past summer, but these would be great in lunchboxes in the fall.

 

Hiram Twp. – It was noted that that as a part of the partnership between Hiram Township and the Hiram Village Police Department, Hiram Police Officers have begun patrolling in Hiram Township. The purpose of these patrols is to enforce traffic violations and provide a visible deterrent to prevent crime within the township. These services are supplemental to the services currently provided by the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

Assignments for Hiram Township police services will be directed by Chief Ed Samec of the Hiram Police Department, who stated, “Hiram Township residents will still contact the Portage County Sheriff’s Office to report crimes and will continue to have deputies as their primary law enforcement contact.” Samec continued, “Having this partnership, Hiram Police Officers will have the ability to concentrate efforts in particular geographical areas where crime and traffic violations persist.”

According to Trustee Kathy Schulda, in the first 30 days the agreement has been in place, Hiram Police officers made two stops of non-residents for OVI (Operating a Vehicle Impaired), and have issued one ticket to a driver traveling 65 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. In addition, they have issued three warnings to other drivers, and multiple notices to drivers of four-wheelers on township roads.

Samec noted that Hiram Township residents should contact their township trustees with concerns related to continued traffic violations and areas of concerns, as complaints will be assessed for Hiram Police Department’s township patrol duties. This agreement was achieved through cooperation between Hiram Village Council, and Hiram Township Trustees.

Per Road Supervisor Tom Matota, ODOT has issued a permit to construct a driveway at 6352 State Route 82, the site of the new property owned by the township. ODOT has, however, noted its “concern for site distance” of the chosen location. Matota also noted that the site is clear of underground utilities, making excavation a less difficult process. In other news, Matota noted that the crew has been, “working around raindrops,” to do chip and seal work on township roads. He also noted that at 12 miles, it’s more chip and seal work than the township crew has done in previous years.

Lastly, trustees went into executive session, per Ohio Revised Code regulations. Afterwards, Trustee Kathy Schulda announced that Township Fiscal Officer Stan Carlisle resigned his position as of July 18th. In his place, trustees have hired former Hiram Township Fiscal Officer Diane Rohde. Rohde served as Hiram Township’s Fiscal Officer upon the retirement of Fiscal Officer Dough Brewer, in June of 2011. Rohde will serve the remainder of Carlisle’s term, which expires next fall, according to Schulda. Meanwhile, the township has an extension of six weeks to get their 2015 operating budget submitted to Auditor of State David Yost.

The next meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees will be on Tuesday, August 5th at 7 pm. in the Township Hall.

 

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Mantua – At the last school board meeting, the board announced their selection of several individuals to fill vacancies within the district. Lindsay Ludlow was hired to teach at the Primary School, while Monica Lazanich, Samantha Leonino, and Jamie Vick were hired to teach at the  Intermediate School. Jacob Page will be teaching at the High School, and Julie Sandish will serve as the District’s Speech Pathologist. In addition, the Board approved a three-year contract for David McMahon to fill the position as High School Principal. McMahon formerly served as Assistant Principal at the High School.

In other news, Band Camp is currently taking place, and will run through Thursday, July 31. Friday, August 1st marks the official start for fall sports practices. Furthermore, next Tuesday at 9 am, the 9th grade, JV and varsity volleyball teams will compete in a scrimmage at Aurora. The following day, the girls varsity golf team competes against Western Reserve at 9 am at the Diamond Back Golf Course while the boys varsity team competes in the Tiger Invitational Tournement at Sable Creek Golf Course at noon. At 5 and 7 pm, the  girls JV and varsity soccer teams compete at Ellet.

On Thursday, August 7th at 5:00PM the varsity and JV volleyball teams takes on Lake Center Christian School in a Scrimmage at Lake Center CS. At 3:45 pm on Friday, August 8th, the boys varsity golf will compete against Field at the Sunny Hills Golf Course.On Saturday, August 9th, the girls varsity and JV volleyball teams will take on Northwest at 10 am. Both matches are away. At 1 pm, the boys varsity and JV soccer teams will scrimmage against Stow at Stow. At 1 pm, the girls varsity soccer team will scrimmage at home, at the Bowen Road field against Waynedale and Springfield. The boys JV and varsity soccer teams will scrimmage against Stow, at Stow at 3 pm.

On Sunday, August 24th from 5-8pm, Crestwood Schools will hold a Community Day at Crestwood High School. Representatives from the district schools, as well as community organizations, will be hosting the Crestwood community for an evening of family fun, including bouncy houses, magic, balloon twisting and face painting. There will also be a pep rally starting at 7pm. In addition, the fire and police departments will give tours of a fire truck and police car, and local organizations will be on hand to share community information. Attendees are invited to bring school supplies and new or gently-used backpacks to “Stuff the Bus” for less fortunate families in the community. For more information, contact Kristina Bronder at kbronder@crestwoodschools.org.

Lastly, Crestwood School will host their Open House event on Monday, August 25th , , giving parents and students the opportunity to meet their 2014-2015 teachers and see their classrooms. Crestwood Primary and Intermediate Schools will be open from 5 – 7 pm, while the Middle and High Schools will be open from 6 – 8 pm. All Students’ start the new school year on Tuesday, August 26th.

 

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Mantua – At the July meeting of the Crestwood School Board, the Board approved a contract with Virtual Community School (VCS), an online school based in Ohio. Through enrollment in the special program, families who choose online schooling for their students would be supplied with a computer, printer and online instruction aligned with State and common core standards through VCS. VCS would monitor and report students progress back to Crestwood, ensuring that the students meet the appropriate academic requirements.

The agreement is valid for the 2014-2015 academic school year, and will offer online and homeschool students within the Crestwood School District to continue with online instruction while becoming a Crestwood District student. As such, the student would be eligible to participate in the District’s extracurricular activities, and the District would retain some of the per-student instruction funds from State and Federal sources. According to Superintendent David Toth, the ultimate goal, at some point in the future, would be to provide such a program using Crestwood teachers as instructors, an initiative that is part of the current strategic plan.

In other news, the Board approved contracts for the 2014 – 2015 school year with Advanced Rehabilitation, Portage Physical Therapists, and the Stark/Portage Area Computer Consortium (SPARCC) for Internet services. In addition, the Board authorized the Superintendent to implement a Continuous Improvement Plan, based on a summary of findings from this Spring’s Strategic Planning Sessions for the District.

Later, Superintendent Toth and the School Board congratulated Mr. Arden Sommers on his resignation/return to retirement, thanking him for his years of service to the District. Mr. Sommers acknowledged, “It’s been a privilege.” Filling Mr. Sommers position as Principal of Crestwood High School will be Dave McMahon, former Assistant Principal at the High School.

Lastly, the Board set a date for a public hearing on Monday, August 4th at 6:45 pm, to rehire a number of Crestwood retirees. This meeting will be held in the High School Library. The regularly scheduled Board meeting will start immediately following, at 7 pm.

 

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.

 

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.

mantua-american-legion

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.

 

zimmerman-garfield-home-hiram-college

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.