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Burton – The holiday season is fast approaching.  Historic Burton, Ohio, has so many ways for you to celebrate this magical time of year.  Mark your calendar for the weekend of November 26 as the beginning of all the fun.

The festivities start on Friday, November 26, from 9 am until Noon at the Geauga County Historical Society’s Century Village at 14653 Park Street.  Here you can have a pancake breakfast while visiting Santa, peruse a holiday gift store and take a wagon ride, if the weather permits.  Also be sure to make a card to send to a soldier, as that is so important to do this time of year.

Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 440-834-1492.  The cost is $7 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under 6.  Sorry, but no member discounts can be used for this event.

Later that evening, stop by the Gazebo in the park to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree.  After the lighting of the tree, there will be caroling and then refreshments at the Burton Congregational Church.  This event is free and starts at 6 pm.

There will be other events happening around the square all weekend, such as live music at Coffee Corners, hot chocolate and cookies with Santa in the afternoon at the Log Cabin, special events and demonstrations at many of the local stores and a gingerbread house display at the Burton Public Library.  You can also drive east on Route 87 a little ways to White House Chocolates to watch candies being made from 10 am until 6 pm (White House Chocolates is closed on Sunday).

Santa stops by Burton again on November 27 at the Atwood-Mauck American Legion Post 459 located at 14052 Goodwin Street in Burton.  Here is another chance to have breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit from 9 am until 1 pm.  You can even do some gift shopping at the craft fair that runs from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the post.   Proceeds from this event will benefit Atwood-Mauck’s scholarship fund.  The cost to have breakfast with Santa is $6 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free to children 5 and younger.  You can reach the American Legion hall at 440-834-8764 with any questions.

On Sunday, November 28, you can visit the Crossroads Country Store at Century Village from 10 am until 5 pm.  Santa has also set up shop there with lots of Christmas goodies and you can visit Santa at the Log Cabin from 12 pm until 4 pm.

If, perhaps, you cannot get to Burton on the weekend of November 26, you can enjoy many of the Burton activities again the following weekend on Saturday, December 4 and 5.  The gingerbread houses will still be on display at the library, Santa will visit the Log Cabin in the afternoons, hot chocolate and cookies will also be available there, and Coffee Corners will be having live music.  White House Chocolates will be making chocolate candies on Saturday also.

On Sunday, December 4, the Red Maple Inn (just south of Burton Square) will be hosting a Christmas Floral Design Show and Luncheon from 10:30 am until 1 pm.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Please call A.H. Christianson’s at 440-834-9760 to make your reservations for this delightful event.

As you can see, the people and businesses of Burton are full of Christmas spirit and they want to share it with you.  Any one of these events, or a few, are a great way to get into the holiday mood, so think about coming out to Burton and visiting with Santa, enjoying some treats and doing a little shopping.  A good time will be had by all.

Garrettsville – The turkey has been eaten, pie plates hold nothing but the remaining crumbs, Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is yet to come. What better way to start off your Christmas season than to attend Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday Lighting ceremony!

Bring your family to celebrate this tradition that began in 2001 as a way to bring some cheer back into the community after the September 11th tragedy. That first year a tree was lit downtown and shops were decorated for the season. Unfortunately, a blizzard kept most people from coming out to celebrate that first year, but future years have seen a rise in community attendance.

The second year of the lighting ceremony also included a Holiday Social at the high school, which has since been taken over by the Curtains Up Theatre. Each year Chamber adds something new to the lighting ceremony. What began with the tree now includes the Clock Tower and surrounding bushes and the Police Department.

What holiday event would be complete without caroling, cookies and a special visit from the man in red? Santa arrives each year in the bucket lift of a fire truck, coming down Main Street to arrive in front of the Clock Tower to greet each child, get a heads up on their wish list and pass out a treat.

Grab your boots, your camera, and your family, even the neighbor, and head down to Garrettsville Chamber’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 27th at 6pm at the Clock Tower on High Street.

“And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow.” Join in the holiday caroling and wish your neighbors goodwill.

Taking the approach that it certainly does take a whole village to raise a healthy child, the state of Ohio now mandates that schools are somewhat responsible for keeping children from becoming obese.

Governor Ted Strickland signed Senate Bill 210 — the Healthy Choices for Healthy Children bill — on June 10, 2010. The law mandates that school districts implement specific activities to inhibit obesity, such as measuring each student’s Body Mass Index, offering healthier meals in lunchroom cafeterias, and providing more opportunities for physical activity.
Childhood obesity is considered one of the most profound public health issues confronting Ohio and the nation today, according to Healthy Choices for Healthy Children, a coalition of organizations dedicated to preventing and decreasing childhood obesity in Ohio. The coalition advocates for public policy in Ohio that supports research-based solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic, such as this new law.

“The ABC’s of ending childhood obesity are accountability, bipartisanship, and comprehensive solutions,” says Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO Steve Allen, M.D, a coalition leader and promoter of the legislation. “Accountability means holding everyone that interacts with our children accountable to higher standards, from parents to schools to businesses. Bipartisanship means lawmakers from across the political spectrum taking responsibility for our children’s health. And, comprehensive solutions mean making change at all the places our children interact with food and exercise. This legislation accomplishes all three, in a way that will help our children avoid becoming the first generation in Ohio history to live shorter lives than their parents.”

The law is designed to improve the nutritional value of foods offered during the regular and extended school day, and to raise the bar for physical education. The bill also provides for Body Mass Index (BMI) screenings upon school entry and in the 3rd, 5th and 9th grades, and a pilot program for daily physical activity during the school day.

An amended version of the bill includes opt-out waivers for a requirement of 30 minutes of physical activity and BMI screenings for school districts demonstrating financial hardship. The Ohio House of Representatives passed an amended version of the Senate bill, creating a pilot program for districts to provide 30 minutes of daily physical activity in grades K-12. Districts participating in the pilot will be recognized on their district report card.

Key provisions of the bill include offering more nutritional choices for the a la carte menu and vending machines, providing free breakfast to all students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches when funds are appropriated, creating a statewide council with teacher representatives to address childhood obesity, creating a school district waiver for the body mass index (BMI) measurement requirement, and incorporating the importance of healthy eating habits and physical activity into the health curriculum. Implementation will begin during the 2011-12 school year, starting with BMI measurements taken for students.

This is nothing new for local students at Garrettsville’s James A. Garfield School District, says Superintendent Charles Klamer. “For the past five years, freshmen and sophomores have had their BMI measured and we research ways to lower it. In 2008/09 we partnered in a wellness grant with the Portage County Health Department and Kent State for BMI testing in grades 3 and 6.”

Additionally, Sue Rossi, grade 5-8 physical education teacher, was awarded a Kohl’s Fitness Grant last year, and again this year. This includes a partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital for 7th and 8th graders. Along with BMI testing, Rossi incorporates instruction on how to control BMI with physical activity and sensible eating habits.
“I believe Garfield Schools have been proactive with academics but also with solid physical education activities,” says Klamer. “Teaching proper exercise and nutritional information are important.”

In terms of providing healthy eating options, the superintendent says, “Our cafeteria has offered fresh vegetables and fruit
every day with lunch for over 25 years. Our secondary schools only offer limited sweet items. The Garfield Schools will be ahead or on target to implement the activities specified by this new law.”

Considering that 70 percent of the cost in health care is related to chronic disease, and obesity is a major cause of chronic disease, this law is expected to help to reduce the disease burden on taxpayers by helping children learn to lead healthy, active lifestyles early in life. It is hoped to improve students’ future quality of life and also help to take billions of dollars in unnecessary costs out of Ohio’s health care system.

Middlefield – If you are looking for a unique place to buy locally-made, handcrafted gift items, you need to stop by Amish Home Craft & Bakery.  They are located at 16860 Kinsman Road in Middlefield, just 1 1?2 miles east of downtown Middlefield.  Their regular hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 am until 4:30 pm and closed on Sunday.

Owner, Jonas Miller, Jr., spoke with me about the diversity of visitors that come to the shop.  They have several return customers from Utah, Texas, and as far away as  Dubai.  I took a look at their guest book and there were visitors from Arizona, Nevada, Canada and the Czech Republic.  While I was there Mr. Miller was regaling visitors from the far west side of Cleveland with delightful local stories.

The store provides its customers with a variety of handmade items.  They have items for the children such as Amish dolls, wooden trains, wooden puzzles, story books, use-your-imagination toys and games, corn hole bags and warm blankets.  You can pick from many items for the home, like quilts of all sizes, natural soaps from Pine Breeze Farms, rugs, table runners and placemats, baskets of every size and shape, wall hangings, hickory rockers and coat hooks.  You can also find lamp parts and other smaller household items.

Other items available are a line of Nature’s Sunshine herbs, supplements and vitamins.  Nature’s Sunshine first encapsulated herbs in 1972 and has been around ever since.  Miller’s Country Jams are available as well as other canned items and honey.

The homemade items are one component of this adorable shop and the other component is the daily bakery.  The Millers have an on-site bakery kitchen and offer a large variety of baked goods.  You will find several varieties of breads, cream rolls, cakes, pies, cookies, donuts, crème sticks and fry pies.  Now with the larger ovens, they are able to offer large fruit danish and other specialty baked items.  The bakery is in and of itself a worthy reason to stop by.

With the holidays fast approaching, you can get special orders made for your holiday meals.  By calling 440-632-1888 (let it ring as the phone is not in the shop or the house), you can order pies, dinner rolls, breads or sweets so you can do other things and enjoy the holidays more without the extra work for you.

The renewed consumer interest in locally-made products makes shopping for gift items and home items a perfect option at Amish Home Craft & Bakery.  Mr. Miller told me that most of the items they offer are locally made either by Amish or Mennonite artisans.  Buying there helps local economies and helps your personal economy because the pricing is extremely reasonable.

Christmas is a great time to stop by and do gift shopping, but don’t forget gifts for yourself and your dinner table.  You will be glad you stopped by.

Garrettsville – “People are flying blind,” says financial planner Chris Perme of this generation of retirees and those soon approaching retirement.

“We are living through the Great American Retirement Crisis — a perfect storm for Baby Boomers whose retirement benefits got whacked 30-40 percent at just the wrong time, thanks to the recession. Now people who have overspent and under-saved are very concerned about outliving their income.”

Previous generations worried about dying before reaching the Golden Years of retirement, but now — with rising longevity and exponential rises in living expenses — people are worried that their bodies will hold out, but their retirement portfolios won’t.

Due to this very real threat, Perme finds himself “busier than a one-armed paper hanger.” Since 1989, Perme has offered retirement services, annuity and life services, disability income insurance and executive benefits for individuals from his office at Perme Financial Group in Garrettsville. These asset management services address six key areas: financial position, adequate protection, wealth accumulation, tax reduction strategies, retirement analysis, and estate planning.

Now, more than ever, retirees are coming to him for advice and resources — as well as “someone to trust, someone to listen,” as Perme puts it. “I’m a financial therapist. By listening to people’s dreams and fears, I can customize solutions for their particular situation. Some advisors prescribe to people a list of financial products even before they know their clients’ goals. That’s backwards. And it wastes individuals’ money.”

With all of this in mind, Perme has begun hosting free public seminars to equip the community — especially those aged 55-70+ — with the knowledge they need to navigate through the new and confusing realities of retirement planning.

By sending out mailers to 6,000 individuals, he drew people from Garrettsville, Mantua, Hiram, Chagrin Falls and beyond to The Main Street Grille and Brewing Company restaurant last month, where Perme supplied dinner as well as a half-hour PowerPoint presentation covering Social Security, pensions, projected tax rates and other retirement issues.

Titled “But What if I Live? The American Retirement Crisis,” the content is based on a book, But What If I Live: The American Retirement Crisis: A Retirement Guide for Baby Boomers, by Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D., executive vice president of Jackson National Life Distributors LLC, the distribution arm of Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

Salsbury’s motivation for the book is “My profound worry is that the Boomers will be the first generation that will be worse off in retirement than the generation before.” Perme plans to offer these community service events quarterly with the next seminar expected in March or April.

The seven key issues that now stand between Boomers and their retirement goals are identified as: 1) the Aging of America, 2) Disappearing Pensions, 3) Social Insecurity, 4) The Tax Axe, 5) The Invisible Enemy – Inflation, 6) The Healthcare Nightmare, and 7) Red, White & Broke. This final element exposes how Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement. In 2004, America’s savings rate hit its lowest point since the Great Depression and personal bankruptcies hit an all-time high. In spite of these trends, the spending continues, according to Salsbury.

Essentially, Perme says people need to prepare for retirement with forethought and a strategy. They cannot afford to let it simply creep up on them from behind. “You’ve got to have a plan. How much money do I need for the next five years after retirement… and the next five years after that… and the next five after that?

“Where is that income going to come from? Your pension? Social Security? Assets? If it’s too confusing to figure on your own, you need a financial planner who will walk with you, hold your hand, and help you reach your goals. I enjoy bringing that security to people, protecting their wealth and generating income for them. It’s a lot of responsibility and a sacred trust.”

For more information, see www.ButWhatIfILive.com, www.permefinancialgroup.com, or call the Perme office at (330) 527-9301.

Newton Falls – Cloey Essa is all girl. She loves wearing dresses and her pageant crown; however, there’s more to this 7-year-old first grader.

Cloey is “Little Miss Buckeye Tourism”. She and her mom decided to use the title to give back where they can. One way they are doing this is making gift boxes for soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.

Chrystal Paszkowski, Cloey’s mom says that they are very lucky to be able to help the soldiers to feel the love and support from even the smallest of children, and to help people less fortunate than they are.

Cloey is trying to gather donations of cash and  monetary items to make care packages for troops overseas. It’s something that hits close to home. Her dad has been deployed four times.

Her father, James Anthony of the 583rd Police Detachment out of Austintown says “It’s nice getting a box like this for a unit. It was like Christmas every time we got one, like Christmas or your birthday. Always something new and exciting.”

The giving doesn’t stop here. Cloey has also raised $330 for homeless kids by holding a bake sale on October 16th  at Lakers Food Mart in Lake Milton. Her parents say they couldn’t be more proud of Cloey and all that she wants to do to help the community and also to show her love and support for the brave men and women who fight for our freedom everyday.

Cloey has been–and wants to continue to be–a role model for everyone. Cloey’s mom Chrystal says  “It helps everyone to understand, and  appreciate that just because she’s small, that doesn’t mean she can’t do things that older people can do.

On Saturday, November 13th Cloey Essa, “Little Miss Buckeye Tourism”, will be having a meet and greet at Newton Falls Brew Basket from 8 – 11 a.m. While there, she will be collecting donations for the gift boxes, and will continue to collect items and cash donations until November 30.

In addition, if anyone has a family member or friend that is deployed overseas, and has the correct address, Cloey will personally send them a box of “goodies.”

Listed below is a partial list of some items needed or wanted for these boxes:

Hard candy, cookies and candy bars, small notebooks and ink pens, deodorant, shampoo & body wash, playing cards, toothbrushes & toothpaste, gum, pretzels , mints and $10 phone cards.

There are more items you can purchase which could be boxed and shipped. Cash is also needed to defray shipping cost on these boxes — all donations are very much appreciated.

Maschek’s vision for the Irwin Hardware Building.

Garrettsville – Main Street has avoided the wrecking ball and will retain its storefront profile, thanks to action taken by Garrettsville Village Council and Mayor Craig Moser.

“We are moving ahead with needed repairs on the Irwin Hardware Building,” Moser reports. “Council authorized the mayor and clerk to do so at the October 21 meeting.”
Work has already begun on the two repair projects that will shore up the sagging Irwin Hardware Building and retain the four businesses that depend on its structural integrity. The building at 8143 Main Street is privately owned by Michelle R. Ward Clayton, but has stood vacant for years and is under foreclosure.
Two adjacent buildings containing the businesses of Shiffer’s Clock Repair & Sales, Miller’s Lawn and Garden, Hearth & Home Fireplace Shoppe, and podiatrist Dr. Michael Maschek are structurally integrated with the Irwin building. These business owners would have been forced to relocate if the Irwin Building was to be demolished. They threatened to leave Garrettsville altogether if council chose to demolish rather than repair the structure. After much deliberation, council decided to accept the lowest bids for two repair projects from two different contractors.
Commercial Roofing Systems had the low bid of $20,500 for reframing and reroofing the two-story addition in the northeast rear corner of the building, where the roof  has collapsed. These repairs began November 1.
Paxson Builders submitted the low bid of $12,800 for repairing and resealing the main roof of the building and repairing the bowed-out front beam facing Main Street. This repair project should also start soon.
When completed, the repairs are expected to substantially improve the weather resistance of the building. “Most important, the needed repairs will move us away from considering the total demolition of the three interrelated properties,” Moser says.
Upon completion of the repairs, the village will place the incurred costs on the tax duplicate ($33,000 in unpaid back taxes), plus a number of liens and a past-due water bill to set a purchase price for sheriff’s sale. So, should the building be sold, the village would be reimbursed for its expenses. The village may also exercise its right to eventually sue Clayton for damages, according to Council President Rick Patrick.
Should no buyer come forward with an adequate offer, council has been approached by private developer Mike Maschek, who is committed to repairing, renovating and improving the Irwin Hardware Building to restore it into a useable space… “if and when he can gain ownership of the building for a nominal sum,” Moser says. “The village will move through the legal process toward this end. Mr. Maschek has a nice vision for this renovation.”
Maschek’s vision includes a one-year timeline from time of purchase to restore the original look of the front face of the historic building. Maschek would place two rows of five shuttered windows across the second and third floor levels, install new siding, replace the old metal awning over Miller’s Lawn & Garden with one that matches the canvas awnings over the clock shop and podiatrist’s office, re-open the front entrance over a central stairway that leads to an old ticket booth on the second floor, accentuate the ticket booth with stonework, create at least two new office/retail spaces for rent, and place moulding across the front  exterior to restore the Western Reserve architectural style to the building.

Garrettsville - Garrettsville Village Council wrestled with the pros and cons of either demolishing or repairing the Irwin Hardware Building, with several members initially hesitant to allocate public monies for a privately-owned building. Despite the controversy, detractors had to agree that the privately-owned building has become a very public hazard, due to its deterioration in the heart of the business district.
Village Council had no choice but to act before winter weather set in and caused even more structural damage. “It’s in the whole town’s best interest,” says Council President Rick Patrick. “This is a good plan. Even if we had decided to tear down the building, it would have cost the village at least $100,000 — then what? Just leave a gaping hole on historic Main Street? If this building came down, the whole block would go down with it.”
Speaking of historic Main Street, council members and contractors rediscovered an old stage still standing upstairs in the Irwin Building. Talk began about perhaps restoring it later in order to bring live theatre and musical performances back to the historic Buckeye Hall, as it was originally called.
Discussions about the stage undoubtedly evoked fading memories of the Old Opera House, built in 1889. For 75 years, Garrettsville’s Opera House was a village showpiece. The three-storied building–with its imposing bell tower–was considered the village’s cultural center for generations, hosting dances, plays, graduations, movie shows, lectures and holiday parties. It housed village hall, an auditorium, the fire station, police headquarters and council chambers.
After 69 years, structural weaknesses were discovered by state building inspectors and the future of the Opera House began to be questioned. Estimates for correcting its faults kept increasing and the huge building became a drain on the village treasury when rental fees from the auditorium stopped. The famous old landmark fell to the wrecking ball in 1964. Only the clock was saved in a new clock tower built 14 years later on the same site at the corner of High and Maple Streets, now surrounded by parking lots.
In addition to this sad history, council members recalled that Mantua’s old hardware store burned down about 20 years ago, and even now Mantua’s Main Street has an empty lot where that storefront once stood, despite the village’s efforts to attract new business there.
Village Council did not want to bring the same fate to Garrettsville, so, according to Patrick, “We did what we had to do, before it’s too late.”

Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all council members and the fiscal officer in attendance. The council approved the fiscal officer’s expenditures, and the September bank reconciliation. Items on the agenda were: the purchase of new cruisers, revisions to income tax filing requirements, mineral rights lease, water and sewer agreement with Portage County and questions from the public.
The board authorized $55,000 to purchase two new police cruisers from Ford Motor Company. The agreement will be a three-year lease to purchase.
An ordinance to revise and amend section 181.07b of the Village of Windham income tax code and filing was defeated. This would have required village residents to provide their 1040 federal when filing their village income taxes.  Some council members stated that they objected to this because of privacy issues. They felt that the social security numbers of their children and other items on the 1040 form other than income was none of the village’s business. After a discussion was held on redacting private information the council decided they would review the ordinance during their committee meeting next month and revisions will be made before being brought to a vote again.
Council then approved a gas and oil lease with Kenyon Energy, LLC for the rights to explore oil and gas on village property. Part of the contract would require that the energy company do a water study before or after they start drilling to ensure the water quality remains as it was prior to the drilling. The energy company will pay $550 per acre for the exploration of minerals. The village owns approximately 100 acres that would be involved in this lease.
The board approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with Portage County, Ohio for water and sanitary sewer discharge. This agreement is part of the contract the village has with the arsenal. The contract is to sell water and sanitation services at the current rates residents pay. The tap-in fees for the arsenal are expected to generate approximately $250,000 for the village.
Residents  asked questions about when they would name a new chief, inquiry on the ballot, and the library building. The mayor stated that the new chief should be announced in the next week or so. A resident and a council member questioned the ballot inquiry about moving the council offices to Renaissance Family Center (RFC) when the center is owned by the church. How can we enter into a lease with RFC when they do not own the building was asked? The mayor stated that the item on the ballot was an inquiry and if RFC doesn’t own the building then they would not be entering into a lease with them. (Council objects to entering into any lease agreement with a religious organization such as a church. Currently the church is the registered owner of the facility.) He said they were just trying to see what the public’s preference was prior to making a decision on the issue. Several residents and a council member thought the item on the ballot was deceptive, especially when they do not know who has the authority to enter into a lease agreement.
A resident asked what was going on with the library. The mayor responded by saying that after council toured the facility they have determined that a new facility would be needed. The council agreed to subsidize the cost for a new facility providing it was located within the village limits; however the library board would have to search for an acceptable facility. (Public libraries in communities rely on either community subsidy or the community providing a proper facility for the library) Other questions to council were: What happens to the current building if village offices and council chambers move to another facility?  Does the village have a reserve set aside for emergencies? The response to the building move was that they will either rent it or demolish it. The resident stated that if it is good enough to rent why don’t they just stay there? The mayor stated that it would be a short term rental and ultimately the building would need to be demolished in the near future. The mayor responded to the question about reserves and stated that the village has a 10% carry over to pay for emergencies.
The village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in council chambers.

Garrettsville – The November 3rd Garrettsville Area Chamber Meeting was held at the Nelson United Methodist Church. Thank you to Pastor Rick for hosting the meeting and a big thanks to Pam and Norma for the tasty breakfast.
Ruth Simera gave the treasurer’s report and was happy to announce that there is over $2000 in the flower basket fund for next year. The recently held Masquerade Ball brought in approximately $2,200 for the scholarship fund.
Roger Angel invited everyone with children and grandchildren to come to Story Hour on Tuesday nights at the Dairy Queen. Children are welcome to wear their jammies, bring a blanket and settle down in front of the fire with a free cup of hot chocolate.
Hallie Higgins mentioned the need for donations for the People Tree again this year. The retired Telephone Pioneers, that have provided toys in the past, are no longer able to donate toys for walk-in families and to fill in the gaps. Lists will be available shortly if you would like to participate in the Adopt-a-Family program. This year the maximum age for children on the list is sixteen. Volunteers are needed for bell ringing, moving day, distribution, and clean up day. If you are able to volunteer time or would like to donate, please contact Hallie.
Jackie Reinearson spoke about the upcoming Holiday Social that is scheduled for December 4th. Admission to the social is a donation of a new toy that will be donated to the People Tree. New this year is a Letter from Santa. The cost of this letter is $8 and letters will be mailed to children with an ornament from Santa. Curtains Up Theater has been working hard on this year’s play, Miracle on 34th Street, which will be presented at the Intermediate School. The live greenery sale will also begin soon to help you get ready for the holidays.
Tommie Jo Marsilio and Kathleen Clyde were recognized for winning at the polls on November 2nd. Tommie Jo will be taking office as a Portage County Commissioner in January, while Kathleen will be taking office as State Representative. Both of these hometown girls fought a hard battle and captured a deserved  win. Congratulations!
At  the Chamber Board meeting in October, a letter that was sent anonymously was discussed. The Board members decided that it was best to share the overall meaning of the letter to the Chamber members. The writer conveyed that he/she feels that only certain people say what is or is not happening for Chamber events. He/she feels that any new idea not in line with thoughts of those people are shot down rather than discussed and built upon. It is this persons thought that Chamber will remain as it is without any new ideas that could bring about good things for the community as a whole.
Many of the members suggested that the person who wrote the letter step up and get involved more or even take over and chair one of the committees. However it was brought to everyone’s attention by a Board member that this letter described the desire to feel involved and have his/her thoughts heard, not take over a position but simply to be an equal part of the group.
The Board wishes to convey to the person who wrote the letter, and any others who feel the same way, that they realize that perhaps after being involved in Chamber for many years and trying things, they are quick to say what won’t work. It is not the intention of the Board to alienate people and they encourage new ideas. The Board members expressed their apologies and asked that anyone who had an idea please bring it to the meeting or call one of the Board members if you are not comfortable speaking in a group setting.
The letter brought about an introspective look into the Chamber and is a positive step in changes for the betterment of the group and community. A listing of all committees and positions will be included in the next newsletter. All members are encouraged to select committees that they wish to be a part of and also write down any ideas that they may have for Chamber to help better the community.
If you would like to join the Garrettsville Area Chamber, you don’t have to be a business owner, simply a community member who has an interest in the betterment of the community. For more information on becoming a member, contact Gretchen at (330) 527-2121.

Garrettsville – Where? Garrettsville. You know, north of Ravenna, tucked up in the corner of Portage County. And for the many who didn’t know we existed, or barely gave us a passing notice, we are definitely on the map now, thanks to the election last week.
James A. Garfield graduates, Tommie Jo Marsilio and Kathleen Clyde, are hometown girls with hometown values. Each girl threw her hat into the race for a chance to bring about a change in government by looking at it from a whole new perspective.
Congratulations to Kathleen Clyde, State Representative of Ohio’s 68th District. Kathleen is looking forward to fighting for our values, jobs, kids and seniors in the Statehouse. She will focus on economic development in our area and work to strengthen our education system. Kathleen thanks everyone for their support during her campaign and looks forward to their continued support during her term in office. She is ready to listen to her constituents whose tremendous knowledge and experience will be her most important asset in Columbus to help her make a difference in these difficult times.
Congratulations to Tommie Jo Marsilio, Portage County Commissioner in winning her seat in a heated debate, breaking through the long-time Democratic control of Portage County. She is looking forward to working hard for the residents of Portage County and making sure that accountability is brought to government. Tommie Jo thanks all who have supported her in her campaign and who continue to support her as she is preparing herself to take office in January. She would like everyone to know that she is still the same person she was before she won the election – a hometown girl who works and pays taxes just like the rest of us. She welcomes the opportunity to speak with any resident about concerns they might have and promises to work toward making government serve and protect its citizens. Tommie Jo is looking forward to being your voice in the Portage County Commissioners office.
Tommie Jo would like to invite those who supported her, volunteered during her campaign, or who would like to join in the celebration of a win for the people of Portage County, to a party on Monday, November 15th at the Brimfield Comfort Inn at 6:30pm. If you would like to contact Tommie Jo you may email her at TommieJo@neo.rr.com.

Garrettsville – Where? Garrettsville. You know, north of Ravenna, tucked up in the corner of Portage County. And for the many who didn’t know we existed, or barely gave us a passing notice, we are definitely on the map now, thanks to the election last week.James A. Garfield graduates, Tommie Jo Marsilio and Kathleen Clyde, are hometown girls with hometown values. Each girl threw her hat into the race for a chance to bring about a change in government by looking at it from a whole new perspective. Congratulations to Kathleen Clyde, State Representative of Ohio’s 68th District. Kathleen is looking forward to fighting for our values, jobs, kids and seniors in the Statehouse. She will focus on economic development in our area and work to strengthen our education system. Kathleen thanks everyone for their support during her campaign and looks forward to their continued support during her term in office. She is ready to listen to her constituents whose tremendous knowledge and experience will be her most important asset in Columbus to help her make a difference in these difficult times.Congratulations to Tommie Jo Marsilio, Portage County Commissioner in winning her seat in a heated debate, breaking through the long-time Democratic control of Portage County. She is looking forward to working hard for the residents of Portage County and making sure that accountability is brought to government. Tommie Jo thanks all who have supported her in her campaign and who continue to support her as she is preparing herself to take office in January. She would like everyone to know that she is still the same person she was before she won the election – a hometown girl who works and pays taxes just like the rest of us. She welcomes the opportunity to speak with any resident about concerns they might have and promises to work toward making government serve and protect its citizens. Tommie Jo is looking forward to being your voice in the Portage County Commissioners office.Tommie Jo would like to invite those who supported her, volunteered during her campaign, or who would like to join in the celebration of a win for the people of Portage County, to a party on Monday, November 15th at the Brimfield Comfort Inn at 6:30pm. If you would like to contact Tommie Jo you may email her at TommieJo@neo.rr.com.

Newton Falls – This election season residents of Newton Falls visited the polls, not once, but twice.
In addition to the usual opportunity to vote for various state officials and cast a yea or nay toward potential levies, a special election was held on Thursday regarding what could arguably be the recognized figurehead of the town: the mayoral seat. The occasion was unusual because voters had two questions to answer: first, whether or not the current mayor, Mr. Pat Layshock, should remain in the position or if he should be removed from office, vacating the seat earlier than the expected end of his term. The second question offered a choice among three candidates vying to be Mayor Layshock’s successor should he, in fact, be recalled.
For months the council meetings in Newton Falls have been tense, with council voting consistently split; a 3-2 vote is common on most issues. Members of the public who wish to stand and speak at the forum often feel they are not being heard and their concerns are not being taken seriously. Many residents blame this discord on what they call Mr. Layshock’s ineffective management and personal issues amongst the various city officials affecting the productivity of the meetings.
The public had their say last week at the polls.
Mr. Layshock was indeed recalled.
With a tally of 526 to 500, the ballot results were split nearly down the middle, but the count weighs against the current mayor. Taking his place will be Lyle Waddell, a vocal resident of Newton Falls with city experience who intends to bring professionalism back to the council meetings. Referring to the gatherings as business meetings – in other words not the appropriate time and place to carry out personal agendas – Mr. Waddell hopes that under his leadership potential grievances will be guided through the proper channels. Mr. Waddell will take office as the new mayor after the Board of Election verifies submitted provisional ballots and the final vote becomes official. However, even if all 17 reported provisional ballots happened to be in Mr. Layshock’s favor, it would not be enough to alter the already counted outcome.
Open to the public, council meetings are currently held at the Community Center on Quarry Street, the first and third Monday of each month at 6pm, or can (usually) be viewed on the public access channel for those who wish to watch from the comfort of their homes. Only time will tell if Newton Falls can expect new episodes in the fall line-up, or if citizens will simply be watching reruns of the same old storyline unfolding with a new leading man at the helm.

Newton Falls – This election season residents of Newton Falls visited the polls, not once, but twice. In addition to the usual opportunity to vote for various state officials and cast a yea or nay toward potential levies, a special election was held on Thursday regarding what could arguably be the recognized figurehead of the town: the mayoral seat. The occasion was unusual because voters had two questions to answer: first, whether or not the current mayor, Mr. Pat Layshock, should remain in the position or if he should be removed from office, vacating the seat earlier than the expected end of his term. The second question offered a choice among three candidates vying to be Mayor Layshock’s successor should he, in fact, be recalled.For months the council meetings in Newton Falls have been tense, with council voting consistently split; a 3-2 vote is common on most issues. Members of the public who wish to stand and speak at the forum often feel they are not being heard and their concerns are not being taken seriously. Many residents blame this discord on what they call Mr. Layshock’s ineffective management and personal issues amongst the various city officials affecting the productivity of the meetings. The public had their say last week at the polls.Mr. Layshock was indeed recalled.With a tally of 526 to 500, the ballot results were split nearly down the middle, but the count weighs against the current mayor. Taking his place will be Lyle Waddell, a vocal resident of Newton Falls with city experience who intends to bring professionalism back to the council meetings. Referring to the gatherings as business meetings – in other words not the appropriate time and place to carry out personal agendas – Mr. Waddell hopes that under his leadership potential grievances will be guided through the proper channels. Mr. Waddell will take office as the new mayor after the Board of Election verifies submitted provisional ballots and the final vote becomes official. However, even if all 17 reported provisional ballots happened to be in Mr. Layshock’s favor, it would not be enough to alter the already counted outcome.Open to the public, council meetings are currently held at the Community Center on Quarry Street, the first and third Monday of each month at 6pm, or can (usually) be viewed on the public access channel for those who wish to watch from the comfort of their homes. Only time will tell if Newton Falls can expect new episodes in the fall line-up, or if citizens will simply be watching reruns of the same old storyline unfolding with a new leading man at the helm.

Freedom Township – A large portion of the November 4 Trustee Meeting was a presentation by Mr. Ratiff of Western Reserve Farm Co-Op regarding changes being made in diesel oil used for equipment requiring its use. These changes include cleaning out or replacing storage tanks as well as potential price increases for the fuel.
A group of residents attended the meeting asking for information on drilling in the area. One resident said they received a card in the mail, but had no other information. Trustee Zizka, who has attended two different meetings on the subject, relayed all the information he was aware of.
Zoning Inspector Derthick reported issuing two permits as well as updates on progress made on remedying some problems. Computer problems were discussed.
Mr. Hammar reported $105,100 has been approved for work on Stamm Road to be performed in June 2011.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported receiving 70 tons of grit and would like to order more to equal 150 ton. He also said the new leaf bagger was received and works well. Mr. Martin said with the new bagger the work was done in one day as opposed to three days with the old bagger. Mr. VanSteenberg also spoke about the section on Hankee Road where the ditch is located right next to the paved road. Trustees approved his suggestion for 140 ft. of 12” plastic pipe with the accessories needed to connect same. Also it was decided to install delineators at the edge of the pavement.
Mr. Hammar said the furnace in the Town Hall has been hooked up for gas usage.
Trustees approved reimbursement for travel expenses to those who attend the Ohio Township Association meeting in 2011.
Trustees tabled further discussion on both the diesel fuel change and potential changes in replacement windows to be installed at the Town Hall and the rental and church properties.

Freedom Township – A large portion of the November 4 Trustee Meeting was a presentation by Mr. Ratiff of Western Reserve Farm Co-Op regarding changes being made in diesel oil used for equipment requiring its use. These changes include cleaning out or replacing storage tanks as well as potential price increases for the fuel.A group of residents attended the meeting asking for information on drilling in the area. One resident said they received a card in the mail, but had no other information. Trustee Zizka, who has attended two different meetings on the subject, relayed all the information he was aware of.Zoning Inspector Derthick reported issuing two permits as well as updates on progress made on remedying some problems. Computer problems were discussed.Mr. Hammar reported $105,100 has been approved for work on Stamm Road to be performed in June 2011.Mr. VanSteenberg reported receiving 70 tons of grit and would like to order more to equal 150 ton. He also said the new leaf bagger was received and works well. Mr. Martin said with the new bagger the work was done in one day as opposed to three days with the old bagger. Mr. VanSteenberg also spoke about the section on Hankee Road where the ditch is located right next to the paved road. Trustees approved his suggestion for 140 ft. of 12” plastic pipe with the accessories needed to connect same. Also it was decided to install delineators at the edge of the pavement.Mr. Hammar said the furnace in the Town Hall has been hooked up for gas usage.Trustees approved reimbursement for travel expenses to those who attend the Ohio Township Association meeting in 2011.Trustees tabled further discussion on both the diesel fuel change and potential changes in replacement windows to be installed at the Town Hall and the rental and church properties.

Hiram – The Eastern European Ensemble, Turli Tava, will perform at Hiram College on Thursday, November 18 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.  The location is Frohring Music Hall, 11746 Dean Street.  The free concert is part of the College’s convocation series.
Turli Tava plays energetic and creative music strongly rooted in Macedonian and Bulgarian dance traditions.  It takes its name from a spicy gumbo of the Balkan regions, a mix of flavors that reflects the cultural blend of Turli Tava’s repertoire.  The musicians in the group have been playing for Eastern European communities in North America and Europe for decades.
Leader of the group is Walt “Vlado” Mahovlich (clarinet/saxophone/gajda), an accomplished multi-instrumentalist from the Cleveland Balkan community.  Walt  also leads the well known folk group Harmonia.   Other members are Sasho Dukovski (accordion/keyboard/vocals) and virtuoso percussionist Rumen “Sali” Shopov.
The public is cordially invited.  For further information call Dr. Tina Dreisbach, Hiram College Music Department, 330-569-5303 or email dreisbachts@hiram.edu.

Hiram – The Eastern European Ensemble, Turli Tava, will perform at Hiram College on Thursday, November 18 from 12:00-1:00 p.m.  The location is Frohring Music Hall, 11746 Dean Street.  The free concert is part of the College’s convocation series.Turli Tava plays energetic and creative music strongly rooted in Macedonian and Bulgarian dance traditions.  It takes its name from a spicy gumbo of the Balkan regions, a mix of flavors that reflects the cultural blend of Turli Tava’s repertoire.  The musicians in the group have been playing for Eastern European communities in North America and Europe for decades.Leader of the group is Walt “Vlado” Mahovlich (clarinet/saxophone/gajda), an accomplished multi-instrumentalist from the Cleveland Balkan community.  Walt  also leads the well known folk group Harmonia.   Other members are Sasho Dukovski (accordion/keyboard/vocals) and virtuoso percussionist Rumen “Sali” Shopov. The public is cordially invited.  For further information call Dr. Tina Dreisbach, Hiram College Music Department, 330-569-5303 or email dreisbachts@hiram.edu.

Area residents who have lost someone to suicide will gather Nov. 20 to find support and to honor their loved ones at the 12th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day sponsored by the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
“What we know is that every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and every 17 minutes someone is left to understand the loss. There have been more than 20 suicides this year in Portage County which, sadly, is close to a new record. Our mission is to continue to educate our community about the causes and to provide support,” said Paul Dages, coalition coordinator and emergency services coordinator at Townhall II.
The free event runs from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sue Hetrick Building of Coleman Professional Services, 3922 Lovers Lane, Ravenna. Other sponsors are Coleman Access, located in the Hetrick Building, and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.
Coleman Access will be one of 260 simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss taking place throughout the U.S. and around the world. At each site participants will watch a special 90-minute broadcast by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. AFSP is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
In the U.S., conference locations will show the broadcast from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. At the Portage County site, the group will follow up with a discussion about the broadcast. The discussion will be led by psychologist Dr. Joel Mowrey, associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Becky Dempster, chief officer of Coleman Access and a suicide survivor; and survivor and advocate Iris Angle of Aurora.
“We have a very low key approach. Survivors can share what they are able or just listen. For some it is the first time they are able to tap into a support system of others who have experienced the same devastating loss,” said Mowrey.
Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registering is recommended. To sign up, call Mowrey at 330-673-1756, ext. 203, or email him at joelm@mental-health-recovery.org.
Persons who cannot attend the Ravenna event that day can watch the free live webcast from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and participate in a live online chat immediately following. The site address is www.afsp.org. Registration is required from your home computer. The webcast will be saved on the AFSP site so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. Past webcasts are also available for viewing.
The Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition was established in 2005 by local human services agencies to provide education about preventing suicide, eliminating the stigma surrounding suicide and supporting survivors, those persons who have someone close to them who completes suicide. Any interested person is welcome to join the coalition which meets at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the MHRB, 155 E. Main St., Kent. Call Dages at 330-678-3006 for more information.
Go to the MRHB Web site at www.mental-health-recovery.org to find information on local resources for persons seeking help to prevent a suicide.

Area residents who have lost someone to suicide will gather Nov. 20 to find support and to honor their loved ones at the 12th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day sponsored by the Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition.“What we know is that every 16 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and every 17 minutes someone is left to understand the loss. There have been more than 20 suicides this year in Portage County which, sadly, is close to a new record. Our mission is to continue to educate our community about the causes and to provide support,” said Paul Dages, coalition coordinator and emergency services coordinator at Townhall II.The free event runs from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sue Hetrick Building of Coleman Professional Services, 3922 Lovers Lane, Ravenna. Other sponsors are Coleman Access, located in the Hetrick Building, and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.Coleman Access will be one of 260 simultaneous conferences for survivors of suicide loss taking place throughout the U.S. and around the world. At each site participants will watch a special 90-minute broadcast by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. AFSP is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.In the U.S., conference locations will show the broadcast from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. At the Portage County site, the group will follow up with a discussion about the broadcast. The discussion will be led by psychologist Dr. Joel Mowrey, associate director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Becky Dempster, chief officer of Coleman Access and a suicide survivor; and survivor and advocate Iris Angle of Aurora.“We have a very low key approach. Survivors can share what they are able or just listen. For some it is the first time they are able to tap into a support system of others who have experienced the same devastating loss,” said Mowrey.Walk-ins are welcome but pre-registering is recommended. To sign up, call Mowrey at 330-673-1756, ext. 203, or email him at joelm@mental-health-recovery.org.Persons who cannot attend the Ravenna event that day can watch the free live webcast from 1-2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and participate in a live online chat immediately following. The site address is www.afsp.org. Registration is required from your home computer. The webcast will be saved on the AFSP site so that survivors can watch it again throughout the year at anytime. Past webcasts are also available for viewing.The Portage County Suicide Prevention Coalition was established in 2005 by local human services agencies to provide education about preventing suicide, eliminating the stigma surrounding suicide and supporting survivors, those persons who have someone close to them who completes suicide. Any interested person is welcome to join the coalition which meets at 3 p.m. on the third Thursday of the month at the MHRB, 155 E. Main St., Kent. Call Dages at 330-678-3006 for more information.Go to the MRHB Web site at www.mental-health-recovery.org to find information on local resources for persons seeking help to prevent a suicide.

Newton Falls – June is widely known as the typically popular month for wedding bliss, but November turned out to be the special time for one lucky local bride and her adoring groom.
Last fall, Rob Lee, the owner of Roby Lee’s Restaurant and Banquet Center in Newton Falls, announced that he and his staff were offering an opportunity to area brides who might not be able to have the wedding of their dreams. A strong believer in the fact that “every bride deserves her special day, regardless of her circumstances,” Rob invited those interested to write a letter explaining what having a complimentary reception would mean to her. Though Rob received many entries that were very worthy of the gift, he was especially touched by the hardships described in a letter from Katie Kiser, a bride-to-be from Windham. Discounted packages were awarded to runners-up. Rob’s decision was announced at the annual bridal show last November.
This November, Katie and her fiancé, Christopher Royer, were married at the United Congregational Church of Christ in Windham before celebrating their union with friends and family in the beautifully-bedecked banquet hall at Roby Lee’s.
Katie says she always wanted to have her reception at Roby Lee’s, but the wish had been put on hold. Family members from both sides of the bridal party saw the call for essays in The Villager and immediately alerted Katie and Chris, suggesting that they apply. When Katie learned her letter had been chosen, she was grateful and understandably ecstatic. “We had considered staying engaged and postponing the wedding until next year to save up,” she said, “but when this came through for us, it made everything possible.”
For the ceremony, the bride wore a lovely strapless gown and was attended by bridesmaids in chocolate brown. After the newlyweds had their first dance as husband and wife, the best man, Kevin Roark, and matron of honor, Kim Kiser, offered words of encouragement for Katie and Chris’s new life together. The new Mr. and Mrs. Royer are planning a honeymoon sometime next spring. The rest, as they say, is history. (And, well, herstory, too.)
The Villager and Roby Lee’s helped this couple’s wedding dreams come true, and it could happen for you, too. Rob is extending the offer again this year and invites brides to submit a letter to be considered for a reception held in 2011. “In appreciation of all our past brides,” the donated package, valued at $4,000.00, includes appetizers, dinner, and dancing facilities with linens, centerpieces, and decorations, for approximately 200 guests and will be scheduled on a Friday or Saturday, dependent on hall availability and with consideration of the couple’s plans. This year’s winner will be announced at the 14th Annual Bridal and Catering Show on January 16th, 2011. To apply, pick up a copy of the official contest rules at Roby Lee’s Restaurant in Newton Falls, then submit your story by December 20th. The bride must also register in person the day of the January Show, held at the restaurant, and be present to win. (No phone calls, please.)

Optimist Club PumpkinNewton Falls – Last Saturday members of the Optimist Club of Newton Falls held their annual Pumpkin Painting Party, welcoming the area’s youngest residents to the Community Center for a day of painting pumpkins just in time to get into the spirit of Halloween. Each pint-sized guest was given a miniature wooden pumpkin to decorate using any number of art materials, perfect to hang in a window or perk up an otherwise dull refrigerator front. Instant photos were available if kids wanted to pose with their creations or become a temporary pumpkin themselves.

The Club’s mission includes continuing to be a “friend of youth,” a goal members achieve by hosting events throughout the year such as the summer Family Fun Day and gift basket raffles at various NF festivities. Proceeds from the raffles and donations go directly for the children, covering expenses of the upcoming activities and occasionally even modest scholarships as funds are available. The late October day provided lunch, crafts, and an afternoon of optimistic fun, all free for kids under 12. Officer Bailey of the NFPD was on hand as well, supplying Kid Passports for Safety, a pocket-sized booklet for parents to fill out with vital information about their children. Should the children ever become missing, the Passport would contain necessary identifying facts, health information, and even a lock of hair for DNA purposes, all items that can help the local police department in the search to locate a child.

Founded in 2001, the Optimist Club will soon celebrate a whole decade of promoting positivity, and invites kids, especially, to join in optimism!

The next party sponsored by the Club will be a Breakfast with the Bunny held the week before Easter. Organizers plan to schedule it to correspond with the Easter Egg Hunt, so look forward to this event come Spring.

Garrettsville – Kids growing up in this small town have limited entertainment options. There’s the movie theatre, the indoor sports complex, the bowling alley, a couple fast food joints, a park or two… and the Roller Hutt. Since 1990, Craig and Linda Dlugokecki have provided a safe and happy place for youngsters to hang out and have some fun. Twenty years later, they’re still rolling!

It all began shortly after the Dlugokeckis and their sons moved to Garrettsville. Craig had been managing a roller skating rink in Chagrin Falls, so he had his eye on Garrettsville’s rink, the Rainbow Arena, located at the corner of Hewins Road and State Route 88. He became the third owner of the skating rink on Father’s Day, 1990. After a three-month overhaul of the 1948-era building, the Dlugokeckis opened the Roller Hutt — and with it — a new era of roller skating in Garrettsville.

Twenty years ago, sons Jason and Justin were just 12 and 8, and their favorite pastime was speed skating. By 1992-93, Roller Hutt was the state champ in speed skating with a team of 28 local youth. Jason was individual state champ for five years.

Even now, both Jason and Justin (and their wives) are integral players in the family business. Justin built and maintains the Roller Hutt website. The boys built the Fortress of Fear haunted house 11 years ago inside Roller Hutt and operated it there for four years. Now, Jason and Dawn Dlugokecki operate the Fortress of Fear Scream¬park (including Fearanoia) adjacent to the Roller Hutt. This Halloween haunt was recently rated 48.6 out of 50 at http://HauntWorld.com.

Jason is also bringing speed skating back to Roller Hutt for children aged 5 and older. Practice for the Garrettsville Riders Speed Team will be two times a week for two-hour sessions.

Along with the speed skating, Roller Hutt offers a perfect place for kids to hang out on a Friday night, to rent skates and equipment, to play laser tag, to have a birthday party, to have a fundraiser, or to take lessons. And the Roller Hutt Pro Shop has all the skates and accessories a serious skater needs.

Even in this economic climate, Roller Hutt offers plenty of affordable options, including $1 Wednesday Nights, Saturday evening Cheap Skates, and Sunday Family Matinees, where parents get free admission with a paying child. The Dlugokeckis haven’t raised their rates in nearly eight years, so skaters get a bargain every day.

Roller Hutt is open Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Fridays 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., and Saturdays offer beginner skating from 10:30 a.m. to noon, then regular all-skates from 1:30 to 4:30 and 7:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday skating is from 2 to 5 p.m. Laser tag runs Wednesdays 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Saturdays 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., and Sundays from 2 to 5 p.m.

Roller Hutt recently introduced Tikki Treats Snack Shack, featuring Hershey’s Hand Dipped Ice Cream in flavors of butter pecan, strawberry and chocolate. Throughout the year, Tikki Treats will serve cones, floats, sundaes, smoothies, slushies, soft pretzels, popcorn, chili dogs, popcorn, French, fries, pizza and other festival food whenever Roller Hutt is open.

10268 Hewins Road has been the address for fun on wheels in Garrettsville for generations. Always adapting to the times to stay relevant to the 16-and-younger crowd, the Roller Hutt continually rolls out new programming. Check it out at www.rollerhutt.com or call 330-527-4633.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but  one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but one important element was missing on the field. The band.

Windham – Two years ago Windham football season started with the usual elements, players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans but   one important element was missing on the field. The band. The band helps lead cheers and adds to the spirit of the game, but they were absent on that opening day two years ago. They were absent all season except for a brief appearance of a seven-member pep band for homecoming that year. Well, that was then and this is now. This season the band has 26 members, including majorettes and a flag line, and now performs at all football games, home and away. Although they may be small in numbers as far as marching bands go, they are mighty in sound. When I first heard them a few weeks ago I thought they were bigger than 26. They had a rich sound that made one think they were larger than they really are.

What was the change? Everyone says the band director played a big role in the growth and rejuvenation of the marching band. In 2008 Becky Kresen came aboard as the band director bringing with her a fresh vision for the school’s instrumental music department. When Kresen came to the district, she told the board it would take maybe five years to rebuild the band program and probably three years before they would be able to put a marching band on the football field. Well here we are two years into the rebuilding program and she already has developed a quality marching band and so much more.

In the elementary school she started recorders for the fourth graders and then added xylophones for the third graders. She also has plans to add boom whackers to the program for 2nd graders. Kresen explained that when the kids are exposed to musical instruments prior to taking up instrumental instruction  they have less difficulty with the instrument because they already have the concept of reading music under their belts and all they have to do is learn the mechanics of the instrument.

Kresen has impressed the Board of Education so much that they approved the purchase of new uniforms last year. The school board and the music boosters jointly purchased 30 or so uniforms with the plans to have 60 uniforms purchased by the end of three years. When all the uniforms needed are purchased, they will continue to buy a few each year to replace the older ones as they wear out. The uniforms they purchased were $432 each with a reversible/removable breastplate. The band uses the breastplate for marching band and removes it for concert band.

The band that started off as a seven member pep band two years ago has grown beyond just marching at football games. This year they have marched at the Ravenna Balloon- a-Fair, their homecoming parade, Memorial Day Parade, and performed at two band showcase nights at Mogadore and LaBrae Schools. Along with the marching performances, this year they have plans to enter their first solo’s ensemble contest. As they continue to grow and develop, expect to see more of them at area competitions.

Burton - Burton is a sweet place to visit. Burton is well known for its maple syrup and maple sugaring activities.  We all know that the Burton Log Cabin offers maple syrup and candy all year round.  But there are two more reasons to find Burton so sweet.  Buckeye Chocolates and White House Chocolates have upped the sweet factor in the town of Burton.

Buckeye Chocolates is located at 14646 Ravenna Road in Burton.  Buckeye offers so many sweet treats in milk, dark, white or sugar- free options.  Stop by their store and you will find nuts, caramels, meltaways, truffles and fudge, just to name a few of their popular items.  They also offer peanut or cashew brittle as well as roasted almonds, cashews or pecans.  Their buckeye candies are a true tribute to Ohio’s state tree, the Buckeye.

If you are looking for a gift for that special someone, Buckeye has just the option for you.  You can choose from assorted chocolate trays or baskets.  Their gift wrapping is beautiful which makes your gift ready-to-give.  They also do favors for special occasions such as weddings, baby showers and other events.

Buckeye Chocolates was started in 2004 by brothers Brian, Craig and Eric Hart.  Hopefully, when you stop by they will be making candies and you can watch from their lobby which offers a view into their workshop.  If you are a chocolate lover, Buckeye Chocolates is a must-see and a must-taste.  Their hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm and Saturday from 9 am until 3 pm.  Many local grocery stores offer their boxed chocolates and candy bars.  If you cannot get out to their factory in Burton, this is always a great alternative for trying their delicious chocolate concoctions.

White House Chocolates is located at 14607 Kinsman Road in Burton.  White House offers many sweets in milk, dark, white and sugar-free chocolate options.  Check out their assortment of chocolates, chocolate-covered items (pretzels, cookies and potato chips) as well as fudge and fruit slices.  White House offers many pre-packaged items as well as a counter full of goodies so you can make up your own assortment.  Their truffles and triple-dipped malted milk balls are simply fabulous.

Inside the white house that contains their chocolate store, you will not only be able to enjoy all the sweet treats, but you will also find a wide selection of gift items and greeting cards.  They also carry the largest selection, in this area, of Jim Shore figurines which make perfect gifts.

Ken and Debbie Butler are the owners of White House Chocolates and take pride in the quality of their products.  Their store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 6 pm.  They offer weekly specials and have great holiday specials too.  For example, their triple-dipped strawberries are a huge hit on Sweetest Day and their chocolate, caramel-dipped apples leave me wanting more.

I cannot say which chocolates I like best, as they both offer superior products and taste great.  My suggestion would be to try them both.  Remember, one can never have enough chocolate, chocolate is what makes life so sweet.

1942 Windham Bombers Basketball Team

The 1941-42 Windham Bombers team of coach David Thomas won the Portage County Championship that season, recording the best record since the Garrettsville team of 1932 which made it to the state tournament. They are just one of the legendary teams which sports historian George Belden will discuss on November 15 at the Windham Historical Society.

Windham - The history of the legendary Windham High School basketball program will be relived on Monday, November 15, as sports historian George Belden speaks to the Windham Historical Society, at a meeting co-sponsored by the Windham Bicentennial Committee.

This talk is being presented to the public at Katherine Thomas Elementary School, 9032 Maple Grove Road in Windham, with the doors opening at 6:30 for meet and greet and the talk commencing at 7:00 PM.

The title of the presentation is “Basketball Before Marty Hill.” Hill is the current Bomber coach who has taken Windham to statewide fame with his squads which seem to dominate the local small-school hardwood scene.

This will be the first in a series of talks about the great basketball legends of Windham High School.

Belden has spent much of the last year interviewing the greats of Windham’s basketball past, and has spent months in the newspaper archives at Kent State University reading every article ever written about the teams he will present.

His research reveals the origin of Windham basketball in unassuming fashion in the late 1920’s, then jumps to the early 1940’s Bombers of David Thomas, which ruled northeast Ohio in both basketball and six-man football. His 1940 squad featured three boys who were first team All-Americans in football and were just as talented on the basketball floor.

The second coach he will honor is Clayton West, whose early 1950’s teams blitzed through the PCL. His 1951-52 Bombers were undefeated through their first 25 games, the longest winning streak in Ohio that season.

The final coach in this first installment of basketball speeches will be Dick Schlup, whose late 1950’s teams were forced to play an independent schedule against much bigger schools. Schlup’s squads lost only six regular season games in three years.

Many of the boys who played for those three coaches will be returning for the talk, and anyone who remembers their heroics or wants to relive great times in Bomber sports history will not want to miss Belden’s talk.

The Windham Historical Society meets the third Monday of every month to review and discuss new acquisitions and research on this small town on the cusp of its Bicentennial, which will fill Windham with activity in July of 2011. The Society is heavily involved in all the Bicentennial preparations, and is selling a multitude of 200th Anniversary items at the talk.

The Historical Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include films, pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.

The society has extensive facilities for copying paper items.

The Society is continuing to sell Ralph Pfingsten’s lavish new book, “The History of the Ravenna Arsenal,” newly published and containing over 900 pictures. The Society and Bicentennial Committee receive a stipend for every copy sold. These books make wonderful Christmas gifts, especially for that  person who has everything. They are available for purchase at the upcoming meeting, by contacting President Lynnea St John at 330-326-6061, or emailing her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.