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Mantua – Last week, the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) held the third meeting of the Headwaters Trail Collaboration at Miller’s of Mantua restaurant on East Prospect Street in Mantua. 

This is the third meeting of the group, which includes a collaboration of local mayors, city and township officials, and community organizations from Aurora, Garrettsville, Hiram Village, Hiram Township, Mantua Village and Mantua Township. Their mission is to connect these contiguous communities via improvements to the Portage Parks District Headwaters Trail, which runs through each locality.

Portage Park District Executive Director Chris Craycroft was in attendance to discuss a feasibility project slated to begin in early spring, a joint effort between the city of Aurora and the park district. According to Jim Kraus, Director of Aurora’s Parks and Recreation Department, the city has set aside funds, and has also obtained a grant from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) to complete a feasibility study on the Headwaters Trail. The city is working with Ms. Craycroft on this project. According to Ms. Craycroft, maintenance and improvements to the existing trail surface are included in the Park District’s 2015 budget. In addition, the Park District is working on obtaining necessary easements to further develop the trail.

The Headwaters Trail Collaboration also seeks to collectively solicit additional grants, such as Clean Ohio and ODOT grants in order to make improvements to and extend the Headwaters Trail from the city of Aurora to the village of Garrettsville, with input from the Portage County Regional Planning Commission. 

In Mantua, for example, the DMRC has collected an impressive 125 letters of support from residents who use the Headwaters Trail. The local Rotary Club and Eagle Scouts will provide resources and trail work, as well, showcasing the intrinsic value placed on this Park District resource within the community it serves. 

At a meeting on February 23rd at 10 am, a subcommittee of the group will meet at the Park District Office in Ravenna to discuss the creation of a countywide “branding” element for the Headwaters Trail. 

In addition, the full group will meet at noon on May 20th at Miller’s of Mantua to review the results of the feasibility study, create an updated action plan and to discuss promotion of the Trail during the summer months. For more information, contact the DMRC at (330) 274-4040 or DMRCemail@gmail.com.

Headwaters Trail Map courtesy of the Portage Park District

GarrettsvilleDr. Drew will see you now. Andrew Holpuch, DDS, that is. 

Dr. Drew Holpuch has taken over the general dentistry practice previously held by his uncle, Dr. James G. Holpuch, DDS at Garrettsville Dental Group, 8143 Windham Street. The senior Holpuch retired and moved out West after over 30 years in family dentistry at this office and a second office in Newton Falls.

‘Dr. Drew,’ as his office staff affectionately calls him, says that following in his uncle’s footsteps was more accidental than planned, but the timing was right for him to bring the dental practice forward in a new generation. “At first, it was an opportunity to work here with my uncle, starting last July. But then, what with his health issues, by September Uncle Jim decided to hang up his drill and simply retire.” 

The younger Holpuch received dual degrees (DDS and PhD) in 2014 from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Pharmaceutics and Oral Biology, with a focus on oral biology and oral cancer research. 

He grew up in Valley View. Following high school graduation from Cleveland Benedictine High School, he pursued undergraduate studies in cellular and molecular biology from Syracuse University.

While he continues to pursue academic opportunities to conduct further research/instruction involving oral cancer prevention, he values working with patients in local practice, helping them to maintain oral health. Dr. Drew wants people to realize that oral health is key to systemic (whole body) health. 

For instance, periodontal (gum) disease is related directly to cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and pre-term births. So maintaining healthy gums through regular dental check-ups and cleanings is recognized as an important component of overall preventive health habits.

In his family practice, Dr. Holpuch typically provides fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, root canals, gum therapy, extractions and implant restorations. He says he approaches dentistry from an academic point of view rather than a business mindset, so he’s conservative with diagnosis and treatment. Saying, “I don’t chase stain,” he sets himself apart from other dentists who tend to over-diagnose and aggressively treat patients unnecessarily.

Dr. Holpuch’s Garrettsville office is open from 2pm-7pm Mondays, 9am-5pm Tuesdays, and 9am-5pm Thursdays; then 8am-12 noon in Newton Falls. To make an appointment, call (330) 527-4313.

Garrettsville – Don Havener is a man on a mission. The seventy five-year-old Garrettsville native plans to hike the Appalachian Trail — roughly 2,180 miles long — from March through August of this year. And while he will begin this epic hike on March 23rd, his 76th birthday, he’s making the trek to honor his younger brother, Bob, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.

“Through it all, I want to be a blessing to those who suffer from the havoc of Parkinson’s by walking the over 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail,” Havener shared. “It’s my goal to try and raise $100 per mile for the Ohio Parkinson Foundation, an organization that has been such a blessing to my brother during his five year struggle with the disease,” he concluded. 

For nearly 20 years, the organization has provided Parkinson’s patients and their families with information on symptoms, medication management, coping strategies and supportive services. The idea of the hike, however, started nearly 40 years ago, when Havener, a biology teacher, would spend a week or two each summer hiking portions of the trail with his wife and two sons. But even at 100 miles a trip, Havener and his family only managed to hike through five of the fourteen states that make up the trail. Now, after retiring from full-time work, the devoted husband, father, and grandfather is ready to take on the journey, which he estimates will take roughly six months.

The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. Known as the AT, the trail goes through the fourteen states covered by the Appalachian mountain range, stretching from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine. An estimated 2-3 million people visit the trail every year, and 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the trail annually. 

Havener was reminded of the AT last March when he and his wife Kathy attended a talk given by a local young man who had recently completed the trail. After the presentation, Havener told his wife, “I have to do this.” She agreed to help him, and will be driving the couple’s mobile home along the route he follows, camping at National Park campgrounds, meeting up with her husband every five days to provide food and supplies. The couple will celebrate their 55th anniversary on June 18th — a monumental achievement during an equally monumental trek. Havener shared, “We’ve done a lot of weird things together.”

They share a love of activities like hiking, spelunking, and long-distance biking to places like the Outer Banks. “I couldn’t think of doing this without her,” Havener beamed. Since deciding to make the journey last March, the two have been training together, hiking 60 – 90 minutes (3-6 miles) every morning at the Hiram Field Station. In addition, they’ve sought out more mountainous regions in New York and PA to get acclimated to the terrain they’ll soon see. 

Virginia contains the most miles of the AT (about 550 miles), while West Virginia is home to the least (about 4). The Trail also traverses through GA (for 81 miles), NC (300), TN (280), MD (40), PA (235), NJ (60), NY (98), CT (38), MA (86), VT (141), NH (146), and ME (276). According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Maryland and West Virginia are the easiest states to hike, while New Hampshire and Maine are the hardest, due to rocky terrain and elevation gains. In fact, the total elevation gain of hiking the entire A.T. is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.

According to Havener, “There are lots of trail conditions I haven’t experienced yet.” New Hampshire and Vermont are quite mountainous, with steel ladder rungs mounted to the steep, rocky trail. In Maine, the Kennebec River offers canoe ferrying, if the river is too swift to attempt a crossing on foot. “I’m looking forward to all the challenges and adventures I’ll experience,” marveled Havener.

Currently, Havener works part-time at Ace Hardware in Garrettsville. Recently, a friend who heard of his upcoming journey came in, pulled a crisp $100 bill from his wallet, and paid for the first mile of the epic trip. Havener is also accepting donations at his website, www.gen524.com, which will also house his trip blog and video uploads from the trail. He hopes to raise $100 per mile – or $2,180 for the Ohio Parkinson’s Foundation.

His web address is named for Genesis 5:24 from the Bible, which is one of the rare verses to feature Havener’s personal scripture hero, Enoch. Enoch was the father of Methuselah, and the great-grandfather of Noah. Much like today, the people of Enoch’s time were focused on worldly materialism. Enoch was given a son by God at the age of 65, then spend the next 300 years of his life meditating and walking with God, in praise of God’s grace to him. Havener shared, “If we live our lives led by scripture, as Enoch did, we lose the desire for the material trappings and pitfalls.” Instead of dying at the end of his days, according to Genesis 5:24, “And Enoch walked with God, and he was no longer, for God had taken him.” During this long journey, and the vast expanse of alone time it will allow, he hopes to find another dimension to his spiritual life.

Unfortunately, during to the trip, Havener will miss his youngest grandson’s high school graduation. He knows that his grandson understands the importance of his mission. “He’s okay with what I’m doing. My grandsons appreciate how strange I am,” he joked. His wife, Kathy, will take a break from the trip to attend the festivities. 

During his six months of the thru-hike, Havener plans to cover 15 miles per day. He’ll be primarily hiking alone, but will be joined briefly by his son Mark, a firefighter from Oregon, will join him for a week or two during the summer months. “I definitely feel like I’m going to be a different person at the end of my journey,” he added. 

Havener will be blogging and posting videos from the trail. For more information on his journey, or to make a donation to benefit the Northeast Ohio Parkinson’s Foundation, visit www.gen524.com. 

Portage County – The Portage Park District needs your help as we join forces with Hiram College in Project FrogWatch. Project FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that provides individuals, groups, and families with an opportunity to learn about wetlands in their communities and report data on the calls of local frogs and toads. Volunteers collect data during evenings from February through August and have been submitting data for over 15 years. 

The dates for this years  FrogWatch training will be January 29th and February 5th (Thursdays) from 7:00-9:00 pm.  If volunteers would like to become certified, they will also need to take the certification exam on February 12th at 7:00 pm.  We will hold our sessions at the James H. Barrow Field Station (Hiram College).  There is a fee of  $5.00 fee for the training, course materials, etc.  

For more information contact Joe Malmisur at Draco1027@gmail.com or 330-770-3643

Garrettsville - 2014 was an interesting year for the Village of Garrettsville and our member businesses. On March 22nd our historic Main Street business district experienced a devastating fire that reduced over 150 years of history to rubble in what felt like mere moments. In the wake of the disaster, our community and supporters from across the globe united to help raise funds to aide in rebuilding Main Street through the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s #GarrettsvilleStrong fund; and get business owners back on their feet through the People Tree & Garrettsville United Methodist Church’s joint efforts. 

I am extremely pleased to announce that as of December 22nd, the GarrettsvilleStrong fund has accumulated over $84,000 to help defray reconstruction efforts once building begins at the site of the March 22nd fire. Fundraising will continue into 2015 with sales of Rich Teresi’s fire documentary DVD, and Pamela Montgomery’s Garrettsville Strong book which will feature memories about the buildings lost in the fire. 

On behalf of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and our membership, thank you to everyone who has made a donation, held a fundraiser, or helped spread the word about our community’s efforts. By coming together for a common purpose, you have helped make our community GarrettsvilleStrong.

If you would like to hold a fundraiser to raise money for the #GarrettsvilleStrong fund we ask that you contact Chamber of Commerce Secretary Michelle Zivoder. This required step helps protect our area business owners and residents. Michelle can be reached at  330.472.7304 or via email at news@weeklyvillager.com.

Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas On Main Winners Announced

Garrettsville Area Chamber announced the winners of the Christmas on Main, the area’s annual local shopping event. The drawing took place at the Chamber Christmas Social held at the Sugar Bush Golf Club on December 17, 2014.

The first place winner is Gail Williams; she has won $500 in “Chamber Bucks”‚ to be used at participating area businesses. The poinsettia lottery tree went to Lisa Schwan and a holiday themed gift assortment from Enchanted Books & Antiques was awarded to Doretta Frohring. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

This year the shopping event, Christmas on Main, generated over $213,000 in local spending based on the completed cards turned in  during the holiday season. This event began November 7th  and ran thru December 14th.

The Chamber wishes to thank all those who helped make 2014 a fantastic year and we look forward to working together to make 2015 even better.

Garrettsville - Sounds of the season resonated through the Iva Walker Auditorium this past Sunday as the High School Concert Band, High School Choir and Middle School Combined Concert Band played for a standing room only crowd.  Under the direction of Theo Cebulla the high school choir sang a number of festive tunes a cappella and wowed the crowd with a perfect-sounding version of Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” The high school band followed with three holiday medleys.  The first was a series of songs from the popular movie “Frozen”.  Mr. Cebulla also arranged a medley of songs from the movie “Christmas Vacation”.  The high school students ended the show with some classics like “Fireside”, by Sammy Nestico.  

The Middle School Concert seventh and eighth grade bands usually each perform four numbers.  This year Mr. Cebulla challenged the students by asking them to combine their efforts and play eight songs together.  The students played “Sleigh Ride”, “Candy Cane Clarinets”, “Believe” (from Polar Express), “Mele Kalikimaka”, “God Rest Ye Merry Mallets”, “The 12 Days of Instrumental Christmas”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Scherzo for Santa”.  

After each concert the Garfield Swing Machine and the Jammin’ G-Men Jazz Bands played in the commons while a reception was held for students, families and guests. The Jazz Bands entertained the crowd with swinging seasonal favorites.

Garfield’s musically-talented students had an opportunity to get some practice in for the show as they sang and played for the Nelson Senior Group last Thursday.  It was a great opportunity for the students to invite some guests from the community into the schools to enjoy the many talents our students have to share.  

On behalf of the entire Garfield School Community I would like to thank all of our students, their director Mr. Cebulla, assistant director Mr. Logan, the Garfield Band Boosters, the parents, community and local businesses for all of the support that makes our band and choir so amazing!    

On Fri., Dec. 12, Hattie Larlham received the keys to a wheelchair-accessible 2015 Ford Transit Van. Thanks to the generous donations from MobilityWorks, the MobilityWorks Foundation, Put-in-Bay Entertainers and Kepich Ford, Hattie Larlham will use the vehicle to transport its residents with developmental disabilities to doctor’s appointments and community recreational programs.

“People with developmental disabilities need to have access to the community,” said Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen. “They like to go to a variety of places and this vehicle makes that happen.”

“This vehicle is an opportunity for them [Hattie Larlham residents] to experience things, get out and be active,” said MobilityWorks President and CEO Bill Koeblitz. “I just can’t say enough about Hattie Larlham and the wonderful work they do. MobilityWorks is so proud to be a part of this project.”

The project started in March 2014 when Put-in-Bay Entertainers and The MobilityWorks Foundation hosted a fundraiser for Hattie Larlham. The event raised more than $15,000, which purchased the van’s special flooring, seating, wheelchair securement systems and a wheelchair lift. Pete Kepich and Kepich Ford, a family-owned dealership in Garrettsville, Ohio, subsidized the van’s cost with a generous donation.

“It’s amazing the people that you can pull together to help other people,” said Owner Pete Kepich. “To give back is very important, especially in today’s world, and these folks need our help.”

Working with Kepich Ford and AMF Bruns of America, MobilityWorks in Akron launched the plan to up-fit the van for Hattie Larlham. MobilityWorks is the largest wheelchair-accessible van dealer in the US that provides mobility solutions.

MobilityWorks installed a SmartFloor system into the bed of the van. This allows users to reconfigure the seating arrangement. MobilityWorks also built a FutureSafe backrest that connects into the van’s floor to secure wheelchairs.

“Our mission is to help people with physical challenges,” said MobilityWorks CFO Gerhard Schmidt. “We realized this van is a very effective way we can impact many lives. Hattie Larlham is one of the first recipients of this brand new vehicle.”

Dignitaries in attendance included Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen, MobilityWorks President and CEO and MobilityWorks Foundation Chairman Bill Koeblitz, Owner of Kepich Ford Pete Kepich, Assistant to the Mayor of Akron for Community Relations Bill Soule, and Mike Sweeney and Mike “Mad Dog” Adams from Put-in-Bay Entertainers.

Thanks to the generosity of all of these organizations, Hattie Larlham can further its mission of delivering comfort, joy and achievement to people with developmental disabilities.

Hiram - Three Hiram College students recently had the chance to share research from their summer internships at an international neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C.

Emily Mortimer ’16, biology and biomedical humanities double major, Cristian Loyola ’16, biochemistry major, and Ashley Myer ’17, biology and biomedical humanities double major, presented their summer internship with Cara Constance, associate professor of biology, at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 international conference. Held Nov. 15-19, 2014, the conference saw more than 31,000 attendees.

The three students presented at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience symposium. Their poster, “Determining the developmental stage of onset behavioral circadian rhythms in Hyla versicolor (Gray treefrog) and Xenopus laevis,” focused on their work at the James H. Barrow Field Station from May through August 2014, monitoring the activity of Gray treefrog tadpoles.

It was Mortimer’s first time presenting at a large scale conference, and she said she had a great experience.

“We presented with undergraduates from many different schools and had the opportunity to go and explore the posters and presentations from the Ph.D. and M.D. level,” she said. “It was interesting to see where we could potentially be in the future. Being able to attend a conference like this one is one of the many perks of attending Hiram College.”

Garrettsville - Cavalier Technologies serves to take the mystery and frustration of technology away from people simply trying to get things done efficiently and securely at home and at work. Slow connections, crashes, viruses, network disconnects and ‘bad’ printers can all be things of the past.

Cavalier says his home-grown business moved to 8808 Main Street (inside The Villager building) in Garrettsville six months ago. This “local tech desk” provides full-service computer repair and technology consulting solutions and sales to residents and businesses in underserved areas including Hiram, Garrettsville, Middlefield, and surrounding areas. He maintains a service desk on the main floor, where common tech supplies are sold; and his repair shop is located on the second floor.

Cavalier combines his love for computers and technology with his passion for knowledge to ensure customer satisfaction.“We have the drive, devotion, and passion for technology.  Our motto is Sit back, relax, we got this. It may seem laid back, but in actuality we want our customers to have a sense of security and ease knowing that they are in good hands.”

Referring to himself as a business solutions expert providing service to streamline and increase productivity, Cavalier’s services include virus removal, data backup, networking, preventative maintenance and optimization, hardware replacement and upgrades, screen repairs, Facebook pages, custom builds, consultations and Managed Services solutions for Macs, PCs and handheld devices. Cavalier Technologies has desktops, notebooks, servers, storage servers and small form factor PCs for sale online. He is an authorized dealer for Dell, HP, Xerox and Digium products. Endorsements include being CompTIA A+ certified, Net+ certified,  GFI max approved distributor, NetGear ProSafe, and Nobilis  authorized reseller.

One vital business solution is virus removal. “We understand how much this can hurt your business in productivity as well as security levels. We will remove and restore your systems to the optimal health and provide you with tools to prevent and keep your company safe and secure.”

IT Management can help with workplace optimization and reliability, using modern technology that puts businesses at the forefront. Managed Services MSP is a low-cost solution to keep systems up to date with antivirus, patches, hardware, software, and daily health and security checks to keep your business afloat. “We are able to do remote monitoring and management of all your workstations and servers. Keeping your business up and running is our department.”

Data backup solutions range anywhere from in-house backup solutions to cloud and or hybrid solutions for small business packages or enterprise solutions. Consultation services come in handy when you’re unsure what your business needs are when it comes to technology. Is that tablet really going to help you? How can you grow safely? Are your systems secure?

Whether for home or business, Cavalier Technologies is positioned as the local one-stop  tech shop. The simple pricing structure for residential and business labor rates vary only according to whether it’s on-site (housecalls) or in-shop. Contact Chris Cavalier for more information at chris@garrettsvillecomputersrepair.com or 330-569-4196, or browse his website at garrettsvillecomputersrepair.com.

Garrettsville – For those who have envisioned Main Street to be taking on the Grinch form of Christmas spirit this year due to its lack of buildings, you’re in for an unexpected surprise this Christmas season. Last Christmas, beautifully restored buildings showcased glistening Christmas lights in each window in support of the upcoming holiday. Local shops displayed unique homemade Christmas decorations in their front windows. All was well in Garrettsville last year, some may have even called  it a picture-perfect town. 

This year, Christmas in Garrettsville will look different due to the March 22 fire. But even through difficult times, Main Street will once again shine bright during this upcoming Christmas season. In addition to the Christmas tree and decorations sponsored by the Rotary,  a local church called Overtaken is once again doing what they do best — going beyond the four walls of the church and bringing the true meaning of Christmas to their community, Main Street, to be exact.

On December 19, 2014 from seven to nine at night, prepare yourself to step back in time to the town of Bethlehem. Overtaken will be presenting their first live nativity scene. Actual animals as well as people from the church will be taking on the role of the famous characters that witnessed the birth of Jesus Christ. After you enjoy the beauty of the historical event of the birth of Jesus, another surprise will be awaiting you. For all the coffee lovers of Garrettsville, you will be delighted to be able to get a sneak peek at the Garrettsville Coffee Mill that will be opening soon. The Coffee Mill will be serving hot coffee as well as hot chocolate and Christmas desserts. A group from the Garretttones, will be presenting some classic Christmas carols, the Christmas story will be shared as well. So clear your calendars, this is an event that is free for your whole family and one that you are certainly not going to want to miss. Plus, Jesus Christ, the true meaning of Christmas, will be glorified and that in itself is a good reason to come. 

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

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

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

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

Mantua – Last week, the entire Crestwood Primary School — all 400+ students and staff — had the chance to witness a special holiday performance. Thanks to generous grants, CPS staff and students boarded nine buses and ventured to the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Ohio City. But the wheels on their buses weren’t the only ones spinning round and round on this half-day field trip. The Dancing Wheels Integrated Dance Company provided some wheels of their own.

In terms of dance, the “Babes in Toyland” show entails everything from traditional ballet to modern dance, with some acrobatics added in for good measure. In addition, it features an ensemble of what the group refers to as “stand up dancers and those who sit down.” For those used to a typical ballet, this may seem confusing. But to Monica Grebb’s class of second graders, they just rolled with it. Prior to the trip, CPS teacher (and part of the team responsible for bringing the opportunity to her school), Grebb, reminded her class, “ Some of the dancers are in wheelchairs, and some are not in wheelchairs.” But as the performance ended, the children didn’t seem to notice the difference, calling it, “fantastic” and “awesome.” 

Educator Eileen Kelly, another part of the team responsible for the school trip, added, “We’ve seen a student ballet here at school and at a theater before, but the children have never seen a professional production. The bonus with this particular performance is that it showed them that people of every ability can participate and add value.” Chase, a kindergartener shared, “I liked when the nutcracker got the bad guy,” while second grader  Reagan added, “I liked when little Bo Peep found her sheep.” Hannah, also in grade two, added, “It was a fun bus ride. We got to see all the sights and a different world than we see at home.”

CPS Principal Cindy Ducca concurred, adding, “It’s important for our children to experience life outside of school, within their global community. It’s a nice opportunity for them to get dressed up and enjoy something wonderful with their peers.” In fact, one kindergarten teacher shared that a parent told her that her son was so excited for the trip, he spent 30 minutes picking out his shirt and tie the night before. 

Principal Ducca continued, “The kids were so excited to go, and so respectful at the performance. They asked great questions at the end, too. But the main reason we wanted them to experience this particular performance was to show them that no matter what they may have against them, the sky is the limit to what they can accomplish.”

And it appears that CPS students heard that message loud and clear. The children were so amazed by the physical feats of the professional dancer troupe, one student marveled, “At the end, while we were clapping, I expected the dancers to get up out of their wheelchairs to take a bow.” 

The school’s field trip to see the performance was made possible by grants from the Hiram Community Trust, the CPS PTO, The CPS Principals Account, and an anonymous donation on behalf of Dancing Wheels.

Director and performer Mary Verdi-Fletcher founded the Dancing Wheels Company group over thirty years ago. Today, the group is recognized as America’s first physically integrated dance company. This local treasure has performed throughout Northeast Ohio and across the nation, and has been featured on CNN and ‘Good Morning America’ as well. For more information, visit dancingwheels.org.

James A. Garfield Teacher is One of Twenty-Five Chosen to Participate in ‘Auschwitz: The Past is Present’ Program

Garrettsville – USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education and Discovery Education have selected Steven Howell, a teacher at James A. Garfield High School in Garrettsville, as one of only 25 teachers from around the world to participate in a unique professional development program in Poland as part of Auschwitz: The Past is Present.

Auschwitz: The Past is Present is a global communications and education program that will support the official observance of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 2015. This unique educator professional development opportunity is just one component of the education initiative between Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education.  The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum and the International Auschwitz Council are the organizers of the official commemoration event.

Howell will join educators from 11 different countries representing four continents in attending a four-day workshop designed to deepen their understanding of the historical landscape of Poland before, during and after the Holocaust and increase participant knowledge of authentic sites including Auschwitz-Birkenau.

During the program, he will work with IWitness, the USC Shoah Foundation’s educational website that brings testimonies from survivors and witnesses of genocide, including the Holocaust, from the Institute’s Visual History Archive to secondary schools via multimedia-learning activities. Sixteen activities based on testimony from survivors and witnesses of Auschwitz will be available in IWitness by the official commemoration. Four new activities have been released to date. 

Teachers will also have the unprecedented opportunity to meet with a large number of Holocaust survivors prior to attending the commemoration ceremony at Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. 

“Survivors shared their stories because they understood how vital it was that future generations never forget what happened at places like Auschwitz,” said Dr. Kori Street, USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education. “By bringing teachers to a place where so many atrocities occurred is a way to show survivors that we take seriously our responsibility of keeping their voices strong forever.”

Select content from IWitness will soon be available to Discovery Education Streaming and Discovery Education Social Studies Techbook™ subscribers.

“Discovery Education is honored to partner with an amazing organization like USC Shoah Foundation to provide this powerful, life-changing professional development opportunity to educators across the world,” said Bill Goodwyn, President and CEO of Discovery Education. “This experience will build educators’ digital-media literacy skills and give them the tools to provide engaging, primary-source resources to their students to strengthen the understanding and importance of remembering the Holocaust.”    

The Auschwitz: The Past is Present Professional Development program will begin in Warsaw on Jan. 23, 2015 at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and conclude at the official ceremonies at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on Jan. 27, 2015. 

“After 20 years of teaching in a small rural high school, I have seen firsthand why teaching the Holocaust is important – and the potential that it has for transforming students’ lives,” said Howell. “Learning about the Holocaust is not just a history lesson. It provides students a lens through which they can view contemporary issues. My experience in this program will provide me with teaching tools and strategies to bring to my classroom.”

By working together on this important project, USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education are filling an ever-present need to keep history alive for generations to come. Interacting with testimony as a primary source in IWitness shows young people how the past informs our present and what this means to students today.

USC Shoah Foundation and Discovery Education are also creating an exclusive Virtual Field Trip to bring the 70th anniversary commemoration directly into classrooms to provide students everywhere with a deeper understanding of the continued importance of the Holocaust.

Available to schools across the United States and globally in the spring of 2015, the Virtual Field Trip will provide students with firsthand accounts from survivors returning to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and motivate them to engage in a meaningful dialogue about history and its relevance today.

Mantua – Now that the Christmas season has begun, you may be on the hunt for an unusual gift for a special someone. Look no further than Mantua’s Secret Attic. Located on East Prospect, next door to Miller’s of Mantua Restaurant, the Secret Attic has a wonderful mix of vintage and collectible Christmas décor as well as handmade items, wooden furniture and reclaimed mantle pieces. In addition, the shop also features jewelry, candles, soaps and body scrubs. 

This weekend, they’ll be celebrating the first year in business with a Holiday Open House. To make the season bright, on Friday, December 5th, the shop will be open late — until 8 pm — so that the young and the young-at-heart can stop in before or after their visit with Santa at Mantua’s mini-park.  Open both Friday and Saturday, they’ll be offering holiday refreshments as visitors browse through Kringle-approved vintage and new offerings. Stop by to share the Christmas spirit, and to take advantage of door prize and gift basket drawings.

With new items added regularly, you never know what treasures await at Mantua’s Secret Attic on East Prospect Street in Mantua. The shop is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 am – 6 and Saturdays from 9 am – 3 pm. For more information, visit the shop’s Facebook page.

Ravenna – The inaugural Robinson Memorial Hospital Hospice Hope 5K Run/Walk was held on October 4, 2014. Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice staff coordinated the day’s events to raise funds to continue providing care to  uninsured and underinsured Portage County residents. Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice serves over 300 patients a year.  In 2013, over $127,000 in charity care was provided to ensure a patient’s comfort at the end of life regardless of their ability to pay.  

Despite the poor weather, 173 runners/walkers came to the Ravenna High School stadium to begin the course. The run/walk went through neighborhoods, utilized the bike and hike trail, ending in front of the stadium.  

The overall winners were Joel Dagenhardt with a time of 17:22 and Grace Homany who finished at 23:40.  

Other winners, by age bracket, were:  

1-14 Troy Dyers Calli Hahn

15-19 John Kilbourne Morgan Englehart

20-29 Dennis Kirimi Ashley Kassimer

30-39 Andrew Adam Meredith Black

40-49 Robert Black Jessica Bittence

50-59 Joe Tarantino Kathy Beers

60-69 Darrell Gammon Linda Black

70 + Bob Chittenden Phyllis Spangler

With the help of our Gold Sponsors: Altercare Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center, Inc., The Woodlands at Robinson Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Giving Well Family Foundation; our Silver Sponsors: Dave and Kathy Pangallo, Bill and Eddye White – Twin Star Lanes, North East Ambulance Service, and Giant Eagle of Ravenna; and numerous Bronze Sponsors and friends of Hospice, the event was able to raise over $10,000.  The day would not have been as successful without the assistance of the Ravenna Police and Service Department, the Ham Radio Club, the residents of Lincoln Street, our many volunteers and the Ravenna High School.  

For more information on Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice or how you can help people at the end of life, contact 330-297-8899.

Fill A Cruiser for the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard

Garrettsville – This Saturday, while you are out running errands, consider stopping by the Garrettsville Save-A-Lot where the Garrettsville Police Department will be having a Fill-A-Cruiser event  from 10 am to 3 pm.

The officers will be collecting non-perishable food items for the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard which has seen a two-fold increase in the number of people they are assisting this year. 

In addition, the officers will be accepting cash donations which will be used  for the Hiram-Garrettsville Shop-With-A-Cop program. 

Garrettsville – After a three year hiatus, he’s back. Mr. King returns to the stage at James A Garfield School writing, directing and producing his play  “The Right to Bare Arms.” The play mixes modern day and ancient times together as a small island learns to overcome fear, to survive the curse that it has been said to be under. 

The modern day island is bound by ancient laws, such as no fishing with a shot gun, no bare arms in public, no milking their neighbors’ cow, one must only talk in the ancient language and butter is the only thing allowed on biscuits and muffins.  The islanders believe they are under a curse from Witch Golda, which causes the island to sink into the sea when anyone breaks a law. The town is so bound by the laws that no one is able to work, therefore they become dependent on the king for survival.   

Then, the cupbearer’s daughter, Maya, who doesn’t believe in curses, is determined to challenge the laws of the land and possibly be the source of the island’s demise. Maya encourages some of the young women to follow her point of view which lands them all in jail for challenging what she calls outdated laws.

The play has a king, a witch, knights, and even a jester to add humor and fun into the mix. The knights undermine the king and have a plot of their own, if only one could just figure out the good knight from the bad. The evil witch, who just wants to marry the king, has a naïve town believing in her curse as she plots against the town to get the king to love her. The king’s daughter falls for a commoner, women determined to rebel against authority all come together with one cause in the end and it is to overcome fear to save their island.

Mr. King does a great job intertwining the ancient times with the modern day and adding plenty of humor to the mix. The roles were cast well and the play was quite entertaining. Leaving an audience chanting bravo, bravo! 

Welcome back, Mr. King, we hope this is the “first” of many more to come

Garrettsville – Santa Claus is coming to town! He and Mrs. Claus are inviting children to come with their parents to get Pictures with Santa during an open house for Jursa Insurance, LLC at 8454 Windham Street (the former location of The Villager and Chamber of Commerce).

Insurance agent Shannan Shobel-Jursa is collaborating with Ronda Brady Photography to co-sponsor this community event on Monday, December 15 from 6-8 pm. That evening, area families and surrounding community members can come and receive a free digital image of their family, their children, their pets, etc. with Santa and Mrs. Claus (Michael and Robyn Stitt from Erie, PA). Any child who brings a wish list and shares it with Santa will also receive a small gift. Light snacks and beverages will be available for all.

“I wanted to provide a family-friendly event that gives back to the communities that we will be servicing,” Shobel-Jursa said of her upcoming open house. “Being a mother of three children, I immediately knew that I wanted to do something for the kids, as well. It’s costly to get a picture with Santa Claus at the store or mall. Hosting an event like this gives people the opportunity to bring children or pets in for a digital image at no cost to them.” 

Ronda Brady will be the professional photographer for the event and will text or email the digital pictures to those sitting for portraits. With digital image files, the photographs can be printed anywhere a person chooses, according to their preferred sizes and number of copies.

Shobel-Jursa’s new office will open January 1, 2015, providing auto insurance, home/renters insurance, and a variety of additional services to cover individual and family needs. The open house presents an opportunity for community members to become familiar with Shobel-Jursa, her two team members, and the office location. “Though a little outside of town, it offers great parking for our clients and is easily accessible,” she says.

Due to legal restraints with not being open yet, Shobel-Jursa is not able to advertise the commercial insurance provider’s name until after the new year. Shobel-Jursa is currently looking to fill additional staffing needs and welcomes those interested to stop by with their resume, inquiring at (330) 527-2001, or applying online via rshannan@myneighborshannan.com. Her website is myneighborshannan.com.

Originally from Youngstown, Jursa-Shobel moved to Austintown 10 years ago. “My husband and I have four-year-old twins and I have been pestering him to move further away from the city,” she says. “When the opportunity came to open an agency in the Garrettsville/Mantua area, I was elated. We plan to build our home in the area within in the next couple years.”

Shobel-Jursa has been actively involved in Junior Achievement and The American Bank Association’s “Teach Children To Save Day” for six years. Additionally, ”I have registered to become a Member of the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce and am excited to become an involved member of the community. I am thankful for the Village of Garrettsville in welcoming me thus far and look forward to many years of commitment and service to the communities in the surrounding area.”

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.

Hiram -  Two schools, separated by over 250 miles, came together in another heartfelt moment on Friday night in Hiram.

The Mount Saint Joseph women’s basketball team, located in Cincinnati, paid a visit to Hiram to cheer on the Terriers against Albion (Mich.).

Mount Saint Joseph had played at Baldwin Wallace earlier in the evening and wanted to support Hiram in its game against Albion (Mich.). In addition, the Lions wanted to pass along a gift of appreciation to the Terriers.

The teams last met on November 2, at the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University.

The game, originally scheduled for November 15 at Hiram, was moved up and to Cincinnati to accommodate Mount Saint Joseph freshman Lauren Hill and her wish to play “One Last Game”. Hill has an inoperable tumor.

Hill finished the game with four points as Mount Saint Joseph defeated Hiram. Everyone involved in the contest was deemed a winner.

On Friday, Mount Saint Joseph presented the Terriers with a framed “Play for 22″ shirt, signed by the entire team.

Earlier in the evening, Hill appeared in her second game of the season for the Lions and finished with two points.

Hiram College was honored to participate in such a special game earlier in the month. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lauren, her family and the Mount Saint Joseph community.

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.

Winter weather is officially upon us.  With this weather comes the ‘polarizing’ topic of Snow Days. Our first weather related two-hour delay on Tuesday was a great example of how making a call to alter the school day in any way is on that brings cheers and jeers.

When I was a child I participated in all of the rituals that supposedly helped the snow day cause.  I wore my pajamas backwards.  I flushed ice cubes down the toilette.  I even opened the door to the refrigerator and danced the snow-day dance.  While I will not disclose the age at which I stopped wearing my pajamas backwards, I will share that my two boys still do the same things in an effort to spend a day outside in the snow each time inclement weather is in the forecast (and though they beg ferociously, their pleas do not weigh into the decision).

Calling off school is not an easy decision.  As a parent, I realize the inconvenience it causes many families with last-minute child care.  As a teacher, I know how a day off disrupts instruction. As the superintendent I realize the lost instructional time it causes.

The calling of a snow day

Is there a magic number of inches of snow needed to call school?  Is there a specific street that has to be impassable?  The answer to each of to each of these aforementioned questions is no.  The driving factor when calling school off is the safety of students.

When poor weather is forecasted the the district transportation supervisor and I begin driving the streets of Freedom, Nelson and Garrettsville between 4:00 and 5:30 AM. We look for how passable and slippery the streets are for a school bus and if the road crews have been able to keep up with the storm. I also call the village police chief.  He is out on the roads early and is usually alerted of any accidents or areas that may present a challenge for our buses.

Once the district streets have been assessed we meet back at the board office to examine the weather forecast.  We look to see if the weather will be improving, maintaining or worsening as the day goes on. If the roads are impassable but the forecast is promising and trucks are working on the roads we try to call a two-hour delay.  This will allow time for the roads to be cleared by the village and township crews.  If the roads are impassable and the forecast is poor we will likely call a snow day. Again, student safety is the driving factor when considering the cancellation of school. We will make every effort to make this decision by 6:00 AM and begin our notification procedures immediately.

Where to check for delays/closings

If you are a parent, you should make sure you have your email, text or voice notifications set up in Edline.  This is the first system we will use to notify you of any cancellation or delay.  If you need assistance setting this up, you should contact your building principal.

We will also notify the major television (3, 5, 8, 19 and 43) and radio stations (FM: 99.5, 105.7, 98.1, 106.5, 100.7, 102.9  AM: 1100, 640).

Finally, you can always check the district website (garfield.sparcc.org) Facebook page (facebook.com/jagschools) or Twitter feed (twitter.com/jagschools).

In closing, I will never discourage students from pajamas antics, ice cube tricks or special dances. While these strategies may help children sleep better knowing they have done their part, please know that the district is taking every precaution to ensure student safety on days when weather may impact their ride to school.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me directly at the office (330.527.4336) or on my cell (216.534.7413).

Go G-Men!

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.

Garrettsville – You have permission to sneak a peek. Just like peeling back a seam of wrapping paper from a gift under the tree, we’ll all get the chance to see The Coffee Mill before it opens for business as the new year dawns.

A live Christmas nativity scene — complete with a donkey, goat, sheep and calf — will be on display at the site of the Buckeye Block on Main Street, 7-9pm Friday, December 19, in a  program with live music. Afterwards, people are invited to The Coffee Mill at 8138 Water Street for free coffee, cider and donuts.

Garrettsville’s historic feed mill at the intersection of Main, Center and Water streets has been undergoing renovation since developer Mike Maschek gained ownership from Marty Paul in May. Over the past six months, its exterior has transformed from a dilapidated eyesore to a beautiful centerpiece for the village.

Its eventual function, however, was not evident until now. Originally, Maschek had discussed leasing retail space out to former Buckeye Block business owners who had lost their storefronts in the March fire. He also considered selling the mill to other potential buyers who approached Maschek with offers. Ultimately, Maschek said, “I want to hold onto the building right now. I’ve grown attached to it, and I want to maintain a presence downtown, to help bring a new atmosphere to the village.”

Maschek says the interior renovation of the 3,000-square-foot, three-level structure is just two weeks from completion. By January 1, it will open for business as The Coffee Mill: a coffee shop on the main floor, a wireless lounge in the basement, and a meeting place/community room on the third level. Since Maschek cleared away sagging outbuildings behind the mill, patio dining overlooking Silver Creek will be available in seasonable weather and green space extends beyond that for pleasant views.

Built in 1852, the mill has served the village as a carriage shop, general store, and feed supplier before going out of business more than a decade ago and remaining vacant until May 2014, when its current renovation began.

One down, one to go.

The Christmas Walk, in its 17th incarnation since being revived in 1980, seems to be off to a relatively good start.  The weather has been fairly co-operative—dampish  occasionally, cold often but frequently bright and seasonal.  What do we expect?  It’s November in Ohio! (Just a word of warning  : Typhoon Nuri or something is going to drag another polar vortex-type weather system down from Alaska to the “lower 48”.  Over here in the “effete East” we may miss the worst of it but the AOL weather item said that high temperature in Great Falls, MT would by about 7 degrees on Tuesday and a broad swath through the middle of the country would have high temperatures—high temperatures– for Wednesday below freezing.)

Anyway, plan to bundle up if you’re going to hit the second weekend.  The sights are worth seeing at all of the stops.  I was particularly taken with the Nelson United Methodist Church.  It’s such a simple country church, so nicely displayed.  Barb Shilling and her crew from the quilt club, the Village Piecemakers, with the quilt array over the backs of the pews, set a perfect tone for a bicentennial celebration; some of the patterns might have been recognized by families who sat in those seats so many years ago.  The lunch was outstanding also; I may be forced to head back out there to sample more of the homemade desserts.  The trail bosses for that round-up were Norma and Valorie McCullough and all of the “li’l doggies” were  up for the trip.  Pastor Rick was relegated to working in the chuckwagon too.

Every stop had its attractions : bodacious displays of craftsman(or woman)ship, humungous trees, amazing renovations and restorations, family moments, wit, humor, plants, views, histories, collections of every size and description…the interesting parts of any community.  We’re all missing the businesses that were downtown but determined to be like “The Little Engine That Could” by giving this biennial event our very best effort.  Sort of like the old tales of starlets being discovered in Hollywood sitting on a stool in a drugstore, we’re hoping that some enterprising soul(with pots of money) comes along, sees this place and how we’re doing and says, “Gosh, this little town really has grit and gumption and good looks and great schools!  Why don’t I come here to open my office/ grow my business/expand my production/research or develop a new enterprise?”  Yeah.  Why not?

If you see or hear this person wandering around loose, notify the Chamber of Commerce immediately, if not sooner, so they can throw a net over the individual and we can get started with the planning.

The picture in last week’s Villager was a good start, an idea with some imagination and consideration of the town and its possibilities.  Keep the ideas coming.  Let the discussion engage everyone.  Let the future be in harmony with the past but not chained to it.  Don’t forget that there are still businesses on the intact side of Main Street which could use a boost right now.  Pete Kepich of the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company is showing the way by sponsoring the Christmas tree downtown, set up by the Rotary.  Others have been pitching in as well.  We’re all in this together, folks.  “Garrettsville Strong” is more than just a slogan, it’s our way forward.  Get on board.

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.

Elvis Presley was there, and so were Marilyn Monroe and even Joe DiMaggio! Dropping in from Oz were the Wicked Witch of the East and even one of the flying monkeys! If you looked in the corner, there was Elly May Clampett, and on the dance floor Tippi Hedren was surrounded by “The Birds!”

All of these characters, as well as many, many more gathered at Sugarbush Golf Club last Saturday night for the Masquerade Scholarship Ball, where hand carved pumpkins lit by votive candles  decorated each table and pumpkins, owls and ravens, black cats, a witch and tiny orange lights adorned  the mantle above the fireplace. The James A Garfield Art classes, under the direction of Libby Frato-Sweeney were responsible for the cleverly carved pumpkins.

The first place award for costume (s) went to Aaron King and his entourage for their Hillbilly Wedding. Second place went to Trish and Tom Brett as The Spider and The Fly, while Gail and Mike Mikula as the Wicked Witch of the East and the Flying Monkey took third place honors.

Music was provided by popular band, The Boys are Back, who also got into the action by dressing up for the occasion, and the delicious meal was catered by Special Moments of Streetsboro.

The Masquerade Scholarship Ball is held biennially in the years when the Business Showcase is not being held by the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce. In 1997 three Chamber members, Barb Bejger, Joann Vance and Marty Paul went to Girard to see how their Chamber of Commerce was organizing and running a business showcase, and they were so impressed they proposed holding one in Garrettsville. The event was so popular it was held annually for several years, but when attendance began to drop off, it was decided to have a Masquerade Ball every other year to raise additional monies for the Scholarship Fund. This was the fourth year for the dance.

Garrettsville – Proverbs tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Architectural grad student Kiley Maas agrees with that premise. That is why she is eager to share her vision of what the future of Main Street could be. Since the Great Garrettsville Fire last March, the view on Main Street has been charred devastation-turned-emptiness. But Maas sees exciting possibilities.

Maas is a graduate student at Kent State University, concluding coursework toward a dual-master degree in Architecture (MArch) and Business Administration (MBA). She is also a graduate assistant as an intellectual property analyst, vice president of Net Impact, and a CAED Graduate Student Senator.

This past summer, as a result of the fire’s devastation of the Buckeye Block, her graduate architecture studio with Professor Adil Sharg-Eldin made a project of envisioning what downtown Garrettsville could become through its future rebuilding efforts. Her class presented their projects to the village in July.

What started as a class project has evolved into a personal passion for Maas. Naming her particular concept “Main Street Revival: A Sense of Place Through Shared Space,” Maas integrates walkways, bicycle lanes, roundels, gardens, green space, plus mixed-use municipal, retail and residential buildings to transform Main Street into a vibrant community center.

“I want to bring a sense of place back to Main Street and restore the lifeblood of the town,” she says. “I was the only student from the class who was familiar with Garrettsville (I grew up in Newton Falls), and my undergraduate minor was in urban design, so I took this project personally. I was careful to maintain a comprehensive approach, integrating economic, social and sustainable priorities into the plan.”

Her mixed-use concept reinvests in downtown Garrettsville with wide, aesthetic sidewalks sans curbs for outdoor dining; an enhanced boardwalk with waterfall views; 13 new retail spaces on Main Street with 26 second-floor apartments; a dozen new town homes along Center Street; restaurants featuring glass garage-door fronts that could be rolled back for open-air dining in good weather; and redesigned common-use intersections (roundels — similar to roundabouts — at the intersection of Elm Street and State Routes 88 and 82; and at the crossroads of Main, Center and Water streets). These would take dominance away from street traffic so people would feel safer to enjoy social interaction, open air dining and strolling around town. Maas also envisions a small hotel at the corner lot in front of the VFW hall.

Maas would maintain parallel parking along Main Street but would add a small parking garage with 85 spaces next to the police department, where the Clock Tower now stands. To further enhance the sense of community, Maas would move the historic Clock Tower, time capsule and new Village Hall to Main Street, set on a grassy Garrettsville Green on the north side of Main Street, where the Buckeye Block anticipates its future.

Maas’ stated mission is “To revive and create a comprehensive approach for downtown Main Street that empowers economic development by making the downtown a place to live, work, shop, dine, and entertain; a village center with a sense of place through shared space.”

By sharing her drawings through this article and other public venues, Maas wants to give people a concrete picture of the possibilities, to gain morale by visualizing what an idealized Garrettsville could offer. This may help residents believe — yes! — it could happen here if we all got on the same page in terms of a common vision and goal.

Just remember, this is a concept with elements for consideration and discussion. No design or plan has been approved by village officials… and funding must lead the way before any plan can be realistically considered. Just think of this graduate architecture student’s dream as a way to exercise the possibilities and generate more great ideas as GarrettsvilleStrong fundraising efforts continue.

If you would like to provide feedback to this design concept, send an email to e.brown@weeklyvillager.com or mail a letter to Estelle Brown, Weekly Villager,

8088 Main St, Garrettsville, OH 44231.

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.

Garrettsville –  The strongest structures are those built with the strongest foundation. The same is true for education.  Student success is often predicated on a strong foundation of literacy and mathematics. James A. Garfield Elementary has always provided students with a strong academic foundation, and Ohio recently affirmed this effort.  Last week the state of Ohio recognized James A. Garfield Elementary students, teachers, staff, administration and community for maintaining high academic achievement among their students, including many from economically disadvantaged circumstances that can make learning difficult.  They were named a School of Promise as well as a High Performing School of Honor.

The awards are extremely prestigious.  There were only 98 Schools of Promise and 48 High Performing Schools of Honor from around the entire state. Each program has different criteria.

To qualify as a School of Promise, a building must meet these criteria:

• Eighty percent or more of students in grades that took the 2013-2014 Ohio Achievement Assessments must have rated Proficient in reading and math, including economically disadvantaged.

•  Score an Ohio School Report Card grade of A or B on their Annual Measurable Objective, to narrow performance gaps between student groups.

• Receive an A, B or C on student learning progress through the school year and a grade of A or B on high school graduation rate, if they were high schools.

• Serve at least 40 percent economically disadvantaged students (JAG Elementary currently serves 41%).

The Schools of Honor initiative builds on the Schools of Promise program, recognizing schools that exceed Schools of Promise criteria. To be a High Performing School of Honor, a school must:

• Be Title 1 eligible and serve 40 percent or more economically disadvantaged students.

• Have 90 percent or more of all students score Proficient on the Ohio Achievement Assessments over the last five years.

• Have 80 percent of all groups of students (economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities) who are Proficient.

• Show progress in meeting Annual Measurable Objectives and student learning progress over a five-year period.

High Progress Schools of Honor are buildings that have made the greatest five-year gains.

We should all be very proud of our students, staff and administrators.  This award affirms what we have known for some time.  Our teachers work hard to foster great relationships with kids.  They use data to help learn about student strengths and weaknesses and then work together to make sure all students grow. This, coupled with the support of a great community and parents is an obvious recipe for success.  Congratulations to James A. Garfield Elementary School staff, students and administrators on their phenomenal work.

Hiram – Hiram College’s innovative degree completion and retention programs helped the Akron region secure a $1 million grand prize from CEOs for Cities for its growth in college degree attainment over the past four years.

CEOs for Cities announced on Oct. 29, 2014, in Washington, D.C., that the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had the biggest improvement in degree attainment in the nation, out of the 57 regions competing in the National Talent Dividend. The Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) accepted the award on behalf of the Akron MSA educational community which is composed of Hiram College, Kent State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Stark State College and The University of Akron. These funds will make possible additional college attainment initiatives throughout the region.

“This award helps to symbolize and actualize the collaborative partnerships that exist between Hiram College, the other regional colleges and universities in Northeast Ohio, and NOCHE,” said Lori Varlotta, Ph.D., president of Hiram College. “Hiram takes great pride in being a part of the region’s efforts to improve degree attainment. I am especially proud, however, of Hiram’s success in educating and graduating–in very large proportions–first generation students most of whom ultimately live, learn and earn in Northeast Ohio.” Dr. Varlotta attended the award ceremony, along with presidents from Kent State University, The University of Akron, Northeast Ohio Medical University and Stark State College, the colleges and universities that are part of the Akron MSA.

Hiram College’s share of the grand prize will be put toward degree completion initiatives.

Two of the defining efforts that led to the Akron area’s recognition were collaborations between Hiram College and other institutions in the region:

• Success Scholarships: Hiram College, Kent State University and The University of Akron awarded scholarships to students within a semester of graduation who had a small amount of unmet financial need. These completion scholarships of less than $1,000 each made the critical difference in earning a degree for local college graduates over the past few years.

• Pathway Programs: Hiram College, Kent State Universities and the University of Akron all prepare future physicians for medical school through focused pipeline programs, in partnership with NEOMED. Through Hiram College’s B.A. to M.D. Pathway Program, up to five Hiram sophomores who aspire to be future primary care providers are accepted each year into NEOMED. Upon successfully completing a Hiram baccalaureate degree and passing the MCAT, students will have a seat waiting for them in medical school.

Hiram College also contributed to regional degree attainment through several of its own initiatives. The MAP-Works program, implemented in 2011, has positively impact traditional student retention. In 2013, students who accessed their MAP-Works report persisted from fall to spring at a rate of 91 percent, compared to a rate of 81 percent for those who did not access the report. A survey-based program, MAP-Works empowers faculty and staff to positively impact student success and retention by identifying student issues and concerns early in the term.  The program provides Hiram with the information necessary to identify and coordinate interventions with transitioning, high achieving, and high-risk students.

Over the past year, Hiram College awarded bachelor’s degrees to 32 students who completed requirements entirely on a community college campus. These students, the first of many to come, earned their bachelor of arts in accounting within 18 months of enrolling in Hiram’s partnership program with Lorain County Community College. 82 percent of these students earned their degree while working, and they boasted an average grade point average of 3.4. Hiram College now has established partnership programs at Lakeland Community College and Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus.

According to CEOs for Cities, the Akron MSA produced 2,139 more postsecondary degrees than four years ago for an astonishing 20 percent increase. The increase in degrees awarded was a result of cross-regional and cross-sector collaboration including two-year, four-year, public and private higher education institutions and their many collaborating partners. The Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend galvanized support for collective impact in raising educational attainment across four metropolitan areas, including Akron.

“We are so proud to recognize the achievements of Greater Akron and its peers across the country,” said Noel Harmon, national director of the Talent Dividend. “This award is the result of years of hard work, and we are hopeful all of Northeast Ohio’s cross collaborative efforts provide inspiration and a roadmap for other cities as they work to increase postsecondary attainment.

Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) has been leading Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend in four metropolitan areas (Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Youngstown) since 2009, as part of the national contest.

“Northeast Ohio boasts a gigantic increase of 92,000 more college degree holders since the Talent Dividend began, a substantial gain of almost three percentage points in attainment,” said Shawn Brown, vice president of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education. “The accomplishments in Summit and Portage Counties are significant, and they are part of an even bigger success story on college access and completion that has accelerated brain gain across Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown.”

Burton – Enjoy a day of holiday shopping in the country at a collaborative event featuring local artists, craftsman and direct sales vendors.  This event takes place Saturday, November 29th from 10am – 4pm and Sunday, November 30th, 2014 from 11 am to 6 pm at the picturesque Red Maple Inn at 14707 South Cheshire Street in Burton, Ohio.

Unique gifts, stocking stuffers, local crafts, chocolates and more will be available to purchase or custom order.  Every vendor will donate one item to go into a basket which will be raffled off to one lucky winner.  Proceeds will go to Sponsor-A-Family in Geauga County.  Last year’s event raised over $300!

Some of our vendors include Origami Owl, Gold Canyon Candles, Thirty-One Gifts, Buckeye Chocolates, Pampered Chef, Lilla Rose, Avon, Libby Lane Creations, His Daughter Soaps and Scrubs, Haute Mess Creations, Two Cheeky Cats, Jenny’s Jewelry, Hand Painted Ornaments, Beaches and Dreams Travel, Reversible Aprons and more!

We hope you will join us at this stress-free holiday shopping event!

Garrettsville – Cue the silver bells! It’s Christmastime in the village.

The traditional James A. Garfield Historical Society’s Christmas Walk is the official start to the local holiday season. Alternating with Mantua every year, the 2014 Christmas Walk is featuring Garrettsville homes and is set for November 7, 8, 9 and 14, 15, 16. On Fridays and Saturdays, the Christmas Walk operates from 10am-5pm; Sundays 12:30pm-5pm. Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased at the historical society on tour days at the historic Mott Building, 8107 Main Street. Proceeds from this event support the historical society’s ongoing efforts to preserve and display local history, and to offset its operating expenses.

Candle Light Night will kick off the big holiday event on Thursday, November 6, 6:30-9pm. This intimate candlelight tour of homes begins with appetizers served at the historical society. The evening tour includes visits to the four specially-decorated featured homes, the craft show & sale, and the Nelson United Methodist Church, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Each participant also receives a complimentary Christmas ornament and a year’s membership to the historical society. The $25 tickets must be reserved and purchased in advance by contacting historical society president Kit Semplak at (330) 569-7996 or ksemplak@gmail.com .

On regular tour days, the Nelson United Methodist Church which will be decorated for the season according to the theme, ”HEAVENLY HOST,” and will be serving a festive luncheon. Lunch hours are 11am-4 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12 noon -4pm on Sundays. The menu consists of a turkey plate, pulled pork plate, chicken salad sandwich, hot dogs and homemade soups and desserts.

Don’t forget the Crafts & Artisan Show open during tour hours at Garrettsville Village Hall, 8213 High Street. It’s  a great opportunity to buy local, support area crafters, and find distinctive handmade gifts to  celebrate the season, including Christmas décor, floral designs, jewelry, hand-sewn products and baked goods. Craft show organizer Maureen See indicates there are a few openings remaining for last-minute vendors. If interested, call her at (330) 527-4674.

Featured Garrettsville home-owners, corresponding themes, and locations include:

Earl & Bonnie Kissell with “A THYME TO BLOSSOM” at 7521 State Route 82, the original home of the Raymond pioneer family, who owned over 400 acres around the house. The home appears as early as 1850 on the Portage County map and is known as “The old Carlisle farm.” This Western Reserve home now reflects Bonnie’s green thumb. A master gardener, her home features a garden room and many beautiful holiday arrangements. The Kissell Family has also blossomed, so visitors will enjoy how the Kissell children and grandchildren are incorporated into the decor. “Thymes” gone by are represented with vintage paper dolls decorating the tree, an arrangement of antique brass candlesticks on display, and other delightful holiday assortments.

Kathy & Tom Countryman with “HOMESPUN CHRISTMAS TREASURES” at 11458 Rolling Meadows, a home reminiscent of the Southern low country. Visitors to this home will find handmade, detailed decorations, fine woodcrafts, stitchery, a cookie jar collection, and much more to inspire one’s own Christmas creations.

Back within village limits is Brenda Reiner with “HEAVEN and NATURE SING” at 8106 South Park. This ranch home was built in the 1960s. Featured Christmas decorations feature Brenda’s favorite things: her collection of angels and her love of all things in nature, including a variety of birds, butterflies, and cute little critters. Visitors will also be treated to mannequins adorned in vintage holiday clothing.

Mark & Anne Kontur with “TINKER’S CHRISTMAS” at 9032 State Route 305 in Nelson. This Western Reserve century home was built by Benjamin Stow Tinker in the 1830s. He was 5 years old when his father brought the family to  the Nelson wilderness in 1805. John Tinker, his father, was a Revolutionary War veteran, according to Semplak. His importance and influence in the Nelson community is reflected in the names of the Tinker Cemetery across the road (now known as Prentiss Cemetery) and Tinker’s Creek.

Step into the season with the area’s original Christmas Walk, a local holiday tradition since 1980. Gracious hosts, beautifully-decorated homes, distinctive crafts, comfort food, neighborly pleasantries … all bring to mind that familiar carol … “In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas!”

Garrettsville – The Garfield Stadium was a sea of pink Friday night as the G-men football team held a “pink out” night to pay tribute to those who have conquered breast cancer, those who are conquering the disease and those who lost the battle prior to the Mogadore-G-men game.

Earlier in the season, several of the football moms decided that since so many of the players families were touched by the disease, they would pay tribute to those family members. They chose October because it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The group designed a t-shirt and organized the sale of the shirts for the game. The proceeds from the event will be split, with a portion of it going to the Melissa Knight to help with her on-going medical costs as she fights the fight and the remaining portion will go to the junior class. The shirt had a dark pink ribbon on the front laced similar to football lacing that had the slogan “Tackle Cancer” on it. The team sold over 100 pink t-shirts.

Friday night, prior to the game, they honored those who have won the battle, those who are fighting the battle and those who lost the battle by wearing the pink t-shirts and by giving recognition to those family members. The football players then escorted their family member a crossed the field prior to the game.

Those honored were, one year survivors Judy Blewitt, escorted by her grandson, Christopher Blewitt, and Kathie Lutz escorted by her grandson, Kyle Borelli and honorary grandson Christopher Blewitt.   Ante Dejanovic and his dad, Mio honored Ante’s mother and Mio’s wife, Kasenna who lost her battle five years ago. Devin and Dayne Karlovec escorted their grandmother, Rella Hoskins, who is a 30 year survivor, Brad Martin escorted his aunt, Jonnie Manista who just finished chemo, he also honored his grandmother Bonnie Nedelka who lost her battle 14 years ago, Hayden Nichols escorted his grandmother Janet Nichols who is a four year survivor. Chandler Stefanek escorted his grandmother, Pat Stefanek, who is a 20 year survivor, Noah Owens escorted his grandmother, Mary Anne Dunning and lastly, Melissa Knight was escorted by her daughters, Sierra and Alexis Knight, and Dalton Fall. Melissa is currently fighting the disease.

Although the stands and sidelines were a sea of pink, the game was all green as Mogadore defeated the G-Men 49-7.

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).

Garrettsville - The week leading up to homecoming is always an exciting week as the student council held spirit week with various themes. Monday’s theme was camouflage, Tuesday was tie-dyed, Wednesday was class t-shirts, Thursday was pink for breast cancer awareness and Friday was black and gold. Besides the themed days, they had a bonfire night, hall-decorating contest, fence decorating contest, and float-decorating for the parade.

Friday night’s festivities began when the parade stepped –off at 4:30 followed by the coronation of the King Evan Beach and Queen Sara Petrie at the game.  The band was not left out of the festivities. The Marching Pride was joined by the 8th grade band and the alumni band members, boosting their numbers to 170 marchers as they performed the half-time show before a record crowd. The combined band played many of the band’s favorites like the “Garfield Fight Song,” “Cleveland Rocks,” “The Hey Song,” and “Land of a 1000 Dances,” bringing back memories for many of the alumni in attendance. The G-men came up short in the game, giving the Pirates a 13-7 win.

The class winners were as follows: Hall decorating, and float decorating went to the senior class, the junior class won the fence decorating, the sophomore class was declared the overall spirit week winner by having the largest percentage of their class participating in the class shirt day, pink for breast cancer awareness day and for black and gold day. The freshman class won the camouflage day.

The week-long festivities were capped-off by the “Winter in New York” themed dance Saturday night.

Geauga County – When preparing for the 60th season of the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild, a decision was made to highlight some of the shows from the past decades. Last performed at GLTG in 1978 and 2001 under the older title, “Ten Little Indians”, “And Then There Were None” has always been a popular title by Agatha Christie.

“And Then There Were None” is the classic mystery of  ten strangers called together in a mansion on an island, only to be anonymously accused of murder, and then begin to die, one by one.  Energetic and bubbly director Debbie Cluts challenges the actors to go beyond their comfort zone, to bring their characters alive.  Previously a part of the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, Cluts is new to GLTG as a main stage director. She has worked in the GLTG summer workshop program, directing last year’s “Dragon Tales”.

The cast is a comfortable mix of Geauga Theater regulars and brand-new actors to our stage, with some of the people traveling from Strongsville and Lakewood. One of our teen actors, making the transition into adult roles, finds it very enjoyable. “I love the combination of our light-hearted cast and dark-humored show. It brings a captivating energy to rehearsals which I’m certain will only grow as we near performance time”, says Halle Blados, who will be playing the role of Vera. “The intricate details that Agatha Christie put into her characters and story are masterful, and the build of tension in each progressing scene is intense. Whether you’ve never seen the play or have seen it twenty times, anyone who wants a chilling mystery— especially in time for Halloween— will find everything they want within “And Then There Were None”.

Reservations for And Then There Were None are being taken now. Join us in our 60th anniversary season at Geauga Lyric Theater! Thanks to our Marquee sponsor, H&R Block.

The Geauga Lyric Theater is located at 101 Water Street on the historic Chardon Square.  For more information or to purchase tickets go towww.geaugatheater.org or call 440-286-2255.

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.

Garrettsville – On Saturday, October 11th the Daisies of Girl Scout Troop 90206 learned valuable lessons in community service, fundraising, and salesmanship by selling pumpkins which were donated by J.A. Garfield alum Dennis Pochedly.

The girls, and their parents, raised $556 for the #GarrettsvilleStrong fund in only five hours! The remaining pumpkins were donated to the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard.

On Sunday, $402.26 was raised for the fund by customers taking part in the Streetsboro Chipotle fundraising event. Thank you to everyone who supported these great fundraising events.

Garrettsville – On Wednesday, October 1st, Rich Hoffman from Sky Plaza IGA presented the Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard with $500 worth of IGA Gift Cards to help those in need this holiday season.

In addition, IGA also presented the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce with a donation of $312.50 for #GarrettsvilleStrong which was  raised by the IGA bottled water fundraiser they held this summer.

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Masquerade Scholarship Ball returns this year and promises another evening of spooky fun for a great cause.

Saturday, October 25, 2014  attendees will pack Sugar Bush Golf Club located just outside village limits on State Route 88. The doors will open at 6 pm, with a catered dinner served at 7 pm. Tickets for the event are $30 each, $60 a couple, and $200 for a table of eight. Tickets must be purchased early, as the event usually sells out quickly. Tickets are available at Huntington Bank, Middlefield Bank, Dairy Queen, Skylanes Bowling, Ellerhorst Russell Insurance or by calling  330 527-2463.

Although the event is a Masquerade Ball, costumes are not required; however those who choose to wear a costume will be eligible to compete for prizes. There will be plenty of food, dancing, cash bar, 50/50 raffle and a lottery tree. Live music will be provided by “The Boys are Back”.

It promises to be an evening full of fun, so mark your calendars, purchase your tickets and join the Chamber at the Masquerade Ball!

Garrettsville – Don’t miss out on the largest fundraising event of the season. Be there October 25th as Ted  “Leapin’” Lysiak, and the rest of the Garfield Inspectors take on the Harlem Ambassadors in a one-day-only event never before seen in the area. This one-of-a-kind fundraising event pits our local team of Garfield High School alums, teachers, and administration against nationally renown basketball players for two great causes‚ raising funds for the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s #GarrettsvilleStrong rebuild fund; and Phase II of the James A. Garfield Stadium Improvement Project.  

Representing the Garfield Inspectors are:

Ted “Leapin’” Lysiak (Garfield Superintendent)

“Big Jim” Pfleger (Garfield Athletic Director)

“Techno” Tom Bartz (GHS/GMS Technology)

Josh”Calculating” Camuso (GHS Math)

Mike “Proton” Paes (GMS Science)

Steve Zivoder (Class of 2009)

Toby Gerez (Class of 2008)

Marcus Roach (Class of 2002)

Jon Daley (Class of 2007)

Cody Berg (Class of 2012)

CJ Carlise (Class of 2009)

Ben Goodknight (Class of 2009)

Bring the whole family to this fun-filled, family-friendly evening of basketball showmanship featuring high-flying slam dunks, ball-handling tricks, and hilarious comedy routines at Garfield High School Gymnasium. Tickets have been affordably priced so you can bring the whole family without breaking the bank.

Pre-sale tickets are available now at area businesses including: The Villager; Charles Auto Family; Miller’s Family Restaurant; Garrettsville DQ Grill & Chill (8013 State St); Second Style and the James A Garfield School offices.

Ticket prices are as follows: Adults‚ $10; Students (12 & Under) $7; Seniors $7; Family 4 Pack (4 Tickets & 2 Bags of Popcorn)  $30. Call 330-527-5761 for ticket information.

Tickets can also be reserved online at garrettsvillearea.com/tix

In addition to the basketball show, attendees will also enjoy a great Chinese Auction, raffles, and more. There will also be a chance to win an autographed basketball, purchase Harlem Ambassadors souvenirs, meet the Harlem Ambassadors during a free post-game autograph session. The Garfield All Sports Boosters will also have snacks and beverages available for purchase throughout the evening.

This event has been brought to you by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Garfield All Sports Boosters, and these sponsors: Charles Auto Family, Ellerhorst Russell Insurance, South Wood Apartments, The Weekly Villager, Villager Printing, Sky Lanes and Fairfield Inn of Streetsboro.

For more information about your Chamber of Commerce please visit GarrettsvilleArea.com

Burton – Autumn is the perfect time of the year to visit Burton Village.  The beauty of fall is never the same from year to year as the hardwood trees explode into an amazing array of colors.  Slower days and starry nights combine for a soothing season before being tucked in for a long winter.

The Burton Chamber of Commerce’s annual fall tradition of an Ox Roast and Ox-Tober Fest will be October 11 & 12 on the Village Green.  The Log Cabin and Green will be the center of the weekend’s activities.   Come enjoy the lush fall foliage while enjoying a delicious ox roast sandwich along with a frothy beer in the beer tent and foot stomping polka music. It will be a celebration of good food, good drink, good people and toe tapping music.

The original German Oktoberfest began with the marriage of the Crown Prince of Bavaria in 1810.  Today, the folk festival observance is linked to the bounty of the harvest and the goodness of creation.   The tradition of a Burton ox roast goes back nearly 60 years when the Burton Volunteer Fire Department began serving the hearty meal as a way to raise funds for new equipment.  It was later passed on to the Burton Chamber of Commerce to continue the fall ritual.

The Chamber will be serving delicious roast (ox) beef sandwiches along with baked beans, coleslaw and dessert until 8 P.M., or sold out.  Later in the afternoon hot dogs and brats will be added to the menu.   All the work is done by an army of volunteers from Burton and the surrounding area and proceeds benefit the Burton area.

Take time to enjoy music in the beer tent.  Saturday from noon to 4 Patty C & the Guys will be playing polkas. From 5 to 8 come rock & roll with the Ted Riser Band.  Tap your toes Sunday from 2 to 6 with button box music from Kathy Hlad and Julie Tabaj.

The celebration begins both days at 10 A.M. The beer tent will be open until 8 P.M.

It may be fall and the maple trees are getting ready for winter, but maple syrup will be flowing in the Log Cabin in the park. Learn how pure maple syrup will be made come spring and enjoy a sweet maple treat or sit a spell in a rocker and enjoy the warmth of the fire in the huge stone fireplace.

There are a lot more things to see and do Ox-tober Fest Weekend. Each fall, the Scarecrows return to Burton Village.  Business around town put up fun, not scary, creations. Kids of all ages enjoy touring town and seeing the fall handiwork.  They will remain up until October 30.

Burton Village is home to an array of unique locally owned businesses.  Explore the glass-blowing shop filled with unique works of art for the home, the vintage furniture store, the new funky boutique with clothing, jewelry and accessories, art in flowers at the florist, the old-fashioned hardware store or the gift and Amish rug shop. Each store is filled with items not found in a big box store or mall.

The park will be filled with craft vendors selling an assortment of items from 10 to 5.

For those who are enjoying their visit and don’t want to leave, the Red Maple Inn and Goodwin House B&B offer comfortable accommodations.

The Apple Butter Festival will be held on the grounds of the Geauga County Historical Society the same weekend.  Large copper kettles are set up and fresh apple butter is being made.  You can sample some fresh from the kettle on homemade bread or take a jar or two home to enjoy later.

Fall in Burton Village is a special time of the year. October 11 & 12 will have many extra things to see and do.  Plan to bring the family and spend the day, or two. For more information call Tom Blair, 440-834-4949, Amy at the Log Cabin, 440-834-4204 or visit www.burtonchamberofcommerce.com.

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.

Rootstown – Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) continued the celebration of its 40th anniversary and campus expansion efforts with the dedication of the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center on Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. During the dedication, Summa Health System of Akron, Ohio, announced that it will be offering on-site, primary care services to the community beginning in 2015.

The 177,000-square-foot facility was made possible through a public-private partnership between NEOMED, Signet Development and Integrated Wellness Partners and is a major step in shifting the overall culture of health and wellness for the campus and surrounding community. The NEW Center provides medical education alongside a state-of-the-art fitness environment, physicians’ offices, advanced practice pharmacy services, conference and event space and more.

“This facility not only grows our campus in an exciting new way, but it is the cornerstone of our community wellness initiatives,” said Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of Northeast Ohio Medical University. “By collaborating with other health professionals, NEOMED is bringing an innovative vision of health and fitness to Portage County, one that promotes true wellness by addressing every avenue of care to develop and sustain healthy, active lifestyles.”

These synergies between education and wellness are further enhanced through a new partnership with Summa Health System, which will be occupying 7,000-square-feet of outfitted space on the first floor of the NEW Center in the coming year. The health system will offer comprehensive primary care, non-emergency daytime walk-in care, corporate and employee health services, pharmacy consultation,  physical therapy and lab services to the NEOMED and Rootstown communities, while also serving as a training ground for NEOMED students.

“We are excited to enhance even more our longstanding relationship with NEOMED,” said Summa Health System President and CEO, Tom Strauss. “As we continue to transform the delivery of health care away from a model of sick care to one that truly promotes healthy living, having outstanding facilities such as the NEOMED Education and Wellness Center is critical. I applaud the community for coming together to make this initiative possible, and we are proud to be involved in such an important way.”

In addition to addressing the primary health care needs of the community, the NEW Center offers first-floor amenities focused on nutrition and physical wellness. Two new public eateries, the Bistro and Erie Island Coffee House, offer healthy eating options, and Sequoia Wellness, a facility that focuses on building healthier communities by encouraging a comprehensive view of wellness that incorporates fitness, nutrition, exercise, education and more, has memberships available to the community and campus. The Conference and Event Center, located on the second floor, can host formal and informal events for up to 500 guests and will be utilized for professional and community meetings, lectures and presentations about medical field advancements, as well as personal events such as weddings, services and other private gatherings.

As a medical university, education also plays a large part in the overall use of the NEW Center. A state-of-the-art lecture hall serves as a main educational classroom for interprofessional and college-centric learning for students on the NEOMED campus;  the third floor of the facility is dedicated to Bio-Med Science Academy, the public STEM+M high school on NEOMED’s campus.

“We are truly honored to be a part of the extraordinary campus transformation at NEOMED and our team is delighted to collaborate with the University on a project that is already enriching the academic experience for NEOMED students, enhancing the delivery of health care services for the community, and creating a hub of activity on-campus for all of Portage County,” said Tony S. Manna, chairman of Signet Enterprises, LLC.

Connect directly with the NEW Center at http://www.neomed.edu/newcenter.

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.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Local School District cut a ribbon on Saturday, September 20 marking the amazing (120 days!) completion of the addition to the James A. Garfield Elementary School, bringing about the relocation of the district’s fifth and sixth graders to the Campus of Excellence, with all of the system’s students sharing the same venue.  This was made possible through a $5million Straight A Grant from the State of Ohio(The only application to have received unanimous approval) and through the outstanding efforts of a blue-ribbon design and construction team—including local firms  Scotchman Electric(Scott Russell), Doug Seaman Decorating and Rocky Gardens Landscaping(DeanHorvath).  The application process opened one year, to the day, before the ribbon-cutting ceremony and was a total team effort, spearheaded by Superintendent Ted Lysiak and Treasurer Tracy Knauer. Board members, administrators, educators, staff members, students and a community advisory group all played a part in the final concept.

With the awarding of the grant, the clock began ticking and the race was on!

Bob McCullough of Hammond Construction, Melanie Friedman of FMD Architects spoke briefly of the challenges faced.  Charlie Fury, superintendent of the whole construction project, was praised.

Guy Pietra, Board President, and Rick Patrick, Mayor of Garrettsville, offered thanks and appreciation to key players who were major factors in the co-operating elements which made the timeline work—Don Long, Carrie  Dornack, principals; Ellen Rybak, GEA president; maintenance and custodial staff; students and teachers; village maintenance crews and permitting bodies.  It was an over-all effort, one illustration of which was the newly-waxed floors   of the building, done early that morning by Elementary head custodian, Judy Gyulai, since “her” building is now “our”  building and she’s proud.

The refreshments and the tour were icing on the cake.

It’s not just about the building.  It’s about BUILDING for the future.

Portage County - NAMI Portage County is inviting walkers to participate in the Sept. 27 Walk for Recovery in Kent to support people with mental illness and their families.  Later, there will be an 8 p.m. benefit concert for NEOMED’s Early Identification and Psychosis Programs in Northeast Ohio at The Kent Stage featuring the band, “Dark Side of the Moon.”

The Walk for Recovery is a chance for residents to help families and individuals in Portage County who live with mental illness and addiction every day. Volunteers will be walking from United Church of Christ at 1400 East Main St. to downtown Kent along the Kent State University campus. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. in the chapel. Walkers head out at 10 am from the church parking lot.

Staff from the Rock and Recovery program of 91.3 The Summit will be sharing inspirational music and talking to walkers at the halfway point, Hometown Bank Plaza, the use of which was donated by Hometown Bank.  Rock & Recovery is an online and HD radio listening experience that strives to empower persons in recovery.

The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation is the presenting sponsor for the second year in a row.  To date the project has received other major gifts and support from Coleman Foundation, Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, OMNOVA Solutions, the International Chemical Workers Union, Townhall II, BeST Center at NEOMED, Children’s Advantage and Family and Community Services.

Volunteers will be raising money to increase education about mental illness and addiction and support persons working on recovery.  All money raised will stay in Portage County. Supporting the Walk for Recovery helps NAMI Portage County continue to be a resource for persons with mental illness and their families as well as be an advocate with them and for them.  If you would like to be a team captain or are interested in being a walker, call 330-673-1756, ext. 201, for a registration form and information. If you are interested in helping as a volunteer, or have any questions, contact NAMI Vice President Roger Cram at rfcram@aol.com.

NAMI Portage County is a local affiliate of the national NAMI which works to educate against the stigma of mental illness, to advocate for better treatment and to support persons with mental illness and their families through education and services. For more information, go to www.namiportagecounty.org.

The benefit concert will support the FIRST programs in Portage and surrounding counties. FIRST early identification and treatment of psychosis services help individuals who are newly diagnosed with serious mental illness. FIRST is a program of the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeSt) Center of the Northeast Ohio Medical University and area mental health organizations. In Portage County, the program is supported and implemented by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and Coleman Professional Services.

The Kent Stage is located at 175 E. Main St., Kent. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased at www.thekentstage.com, the box office or the door. For more information, go to www.neomed.edu/bestcenter.