Home Spotlight on Garrettsville

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 – Live theatre is always such a wonderful challenge. As with any artist, you start with a blank canvas and create a masterpiece. At times, the canvas (stage) becomes more like a puzzle, with pieces scattered all over the work area, but in the end, the pieces all come together to form one individualized piece of art. This production of “Cheaper By the Dozen” is just that, a work of art, which was once an empty, dark canvas. The actors become our paint and mesh together to form a colorful display of talent.

Our canvas is complete; and when the curtains open and the lights come up, our work of art will be on display for you to view, enjoy, and critique. 

“Cheaper by the Dozen”, is a true story of a family of 12. “Cheaper by the Dozen”  is based on a story written by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth. It tells the story of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and their twelve children. The book focuses on the many years the family resided in Montclair, New Jersey. The title comes from one of Frank Sr.’s favorite jokes: it often happened that when he and his family were out driving and stopped at a red light, a pedestrian would ask, “Hey, Mister! How come you got so many kids?” Gilbreth would pretend to ponder the question carefully, and then, just as the light turned green, would say, “Well, they come cheaper by the dozen, you know,” and drive off.

We think you will enjoy our presentation which will be held in the Iva Walker Auditorium located in the James A Garfield High School. 

Show dates are January 16, 17, 23 and 24th at 7pm and our Sunday matinee will be January 18, 2015 at 2pm. 

Tickets are available at the door —  Adults $10.00, seniors over 65 and children under 12 $7.00, and groups of 15 or more $5.00 each.

Come, sit back and for a few hours come onto our canvas and enjoy Live Theatre.

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.

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield School District announces the launch of G-Men Mobile today, a free mobile district application that brings vital district and school information directly to smartphones and mobile devices. GMen Mobile keeps the James A. Garfield community connected wherever they are. The app offers mobile access to district news, calendars, schedules, staff directory and more. It even provides one-touch access to district/school attendance lines, as well as third-party applications such as social media feeds.

Parents and students can download the application for free through Apple iTunes and Google Play app stores. Developed by Blackboard Inc., the app is also expected to be popular with alumni, incoming students, and other members of the James A. Garfield community. 

 GMen Mobile is available free on Android™, and Apple® iOS, devices. 

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. 

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.

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 – Saturday, March 22, 2014, for the Garrettsville community, has become like 9/11 for our nation.  I was preparing to leave for a long drive to Salt Lake City, Utah when that day for me turned upside down.  It was a cold spring day with overcast skies and light breezy conditions.  I was at my home, just a couple of houses from the Dairy Queen in Garrettsville.

My fire pager alarmed a little after 1:15 PM. I ran outside with my camera bag. As I drove down State Street, I could see this was not a routine call.  Within a couple of minutes, I was describing on my fire radio a size-up of the fire scene conditions to our responding fire units. I was well aware that a historic event was unfolding. 

Being the fire department’s photographer, I had exceptional access to the fire ground. For the next 10 hours, I shot over 5 hours of video and over 300 still images. All has been condensed into an almost 2-hour documentary.  Beginning with some of the 911-recorded calls, the drama, anguish, and professionalism are revealed.  I was given permission to include video and images by many other observers.  A police dash-cam video of the fire’s early stages gives a valuable insight into our first responders’ early actions.  In addition, I have incorporated videos and stills of the building collapse from three different directions. As the catastrophe unfolds in the video, I have included explanations clarifying the actions of the professionals involved. 

The video is dedicated to our retired fire chief, Bob Russell.  It was during his tenure and with his initiative; the Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District was formed.  With the tax funds generated from the associated levy, our fire department was able to purchase modern fire trucks, all of which saw service at this fire. 

The complete video can be purchased from the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce, Ben Coll, President.
email: president@garrettsvillearea.com.
Here is a link to the direct purchase page: http://garrettsvillearea.com/firedvd

Orders can be mailed anywhere in the US via USPS for $7 (flat rate padded media envelope).   The DVD price is $10. All profits from the video go to the Garrettsville Strong Fund. 

A short trailer of the video can also be viewed via youtube at: URL: http://youtu.be/3t1Xlb_EUI8

Submitted by Rich Teresi

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.”

Garrettsville – Want to make something special as a gift this holiday season? The Garrettsville Library, a branch of the Portage County District Library, may be able to help. With the generous support of the Hiram Community Trust and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie #2706, the Garrettsville Library has purchased tools and equipment for a Makerspace. At the Makerspace, community members can come to the library and have access to the tools they need to create or explore a variety of disciplines. Currently available are tools for quilt making (a cutter with 22 different dies and project instructions for each die), jewelry making, and bookbinding. If you show up with the materials, we’ll supply the tools.

Soon to be added will be tools for photo editing, scrapbooking, electronics, and video game development.

Through the end of the year, the Makerspace will be open for community members to drop in: November 22 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, December 1 from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, December 6 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm, December 8 from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, December 15 from 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm, and December 20 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. For more information about library programs and services, visit the Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org. ?

Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce People Tree program is making plans for this Christmas season. We need your support so we can provide help for our friends and neighbors that are in need. As a community we provided a Christmas food basket and personal care products for 104 families and the adopt a family volunteers provided gifts for 167 children last year.

The Adopt a Family program has been brought back again this year, if you would like to adopt a family call Hallie 330-527-4097 or Liz 330-527-2408. If you cannot shop for a child, we have shoppers that will take your donation and buy gifts.  Distribution will be December 17th at the Faith Evangelical Free Church on Windham-Parkman Road.

We will need volunteers at the church on December 15th at 6:30 with unloading trucks of food and misc., December 16th at 9:30 to pack Christmas food baskets and December 17th from 9-3 to carry packages for our clients.

People tree is still collecting for Back to School, as well as Gas and Prescriptions for the elderly when needed and other emergency help. We also have hospital beds, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters available.

In addition we need volunteers to ring bells for the People Tree, call Kim 330-527-4873.

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!

December 7, 2014…A Benefit for Garrettsville Strong…4:00 p.m.…Iva Walker Auditorium…James A. Garfield High School, 10231 St. Rte 88, Garrettsville, OH.

With the key support of sponsors Dave Auble of Ohio Health Benefits, LLC, Gionino’s Pizzeria, Hiram, Total Lifetime Care Medical Affiliates, Dan LeScoezec, ChFC, Hickory Asset Management and Kepich Ford, Garrettsville, Damaris Peters Pike will be presenting a benefit performance of one of the best-loved characters in  her series, “Women of Note”

“Irving Berlin—A Daughter Remembers” is told through the person of Mary Ellin Barrett, Berlin’s oldest daughter, who recounts the amazing story of  his one hundred one years of amazing, music-filled life, including Broadway shows, movies and more than 1000 songs published—both words and music.  Several of the most beloved—among them, “White Christmas”–will, of course, be included in a salute to the season and the program will conclude with the audience joining Damaris in singing Berlin’s “God Bless America”.  It’s an affirmation of  the nation and that Garrettsville IS strong.

Following this musical treat, Christmas Cookies and Donuts from Bill and Staci Poole of Maggies’s Donuts/Hiram and punch from AVI, Hiram College Food Service, have been donated for the audience’s pleasure.  This should nicely top off a most enjoyable afternoon.  Make plans now to attend.

Tickets are $10 each and may be obtained from any sponsor, at the door, or by calling 330-569 3211.  Tickets and programs designed and printed by Hiram College.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Garrettsville - Students at James A. Garfield Middle School attended an assembly to hear about the life and legacy of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine Tragedy.  Rachel’s Challenge exists to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying, and negativity with acts of respect, kindness, and compassion. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott who was the first victim of the Columbine school shootings in 1999. Through her example, Rachel’s Challenge is making a positive impact in the lives of millions of people every year. Superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and students bring Rachel’s Challenge into their schools because of escalating problems such as: bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, school violence, and increased disciplinary actions. Through powerful presentations, trainings, community events, and professional development, Rachel’s Challenge provides the sustainable solution. Rachel’s inspiring story provides a simple, yet powerful example of how small acts of kindness and acceptance motivate us to consider our relationships with the people we come in contact with every day. Rachel’s Challenge renews our hope that our life has meaning and purpose. Rachel’s story gives us permission to start our own chain reaction of kindness and compassion, which positively affects the climate in our schools and community.  Following the assembly, students gathered at lunch to sign a banner to Accept the 5 Challenges:

• Look for the Best in Others

• Dream Big

• Choose Positive Influences

• Speak with Kindness

• Start your own Chain Reaction

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.

Rocky River  – Prayers from Maria Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation announced today that it will award its $250,000 Melana Matson Memorial Grant—its third major research grant since 2010—to Case Western Reserve University, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers James Basilion, PhD, Efstathis Karathanasis, PhD, and John Letterio, MD, who are studying the use of nanotechnology to more effectively treat pediatric glioma brain tumors.

“We are tremendously happy to award this grant to the research team at Case,” said Ed McNamara, foundation president and co-founder. “When Maria was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma back in 2006, we quickly learned how little was being done for these children and how treatments for these types of tumors had not advanced in almost 40 years. This research brings us one step closer to the development of more targeted and less toxic treatment strategies.” Megan McNamara, co-founder, added “We are especially excited to have partnered with Friends of Melana, started by Norm and Joyce Fashing in honor of their granddaughter Melana Matson, to raise these critical funds. I can’t think of a better way to honor the memories of Maria and Melana than to help bring more effective and promising treatments to children battling gliomas.”

“Pediatric therapies often follow the oversimplified assumption that children are just smaller people,” said Efstathios Karathanasis, Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Radiology at CWRU. “We now know that scaling down the dose of existing drugs will not achieve eradication of this lethal disease, so this award from Prayers from Maria provides us with the opportunity to develop a therapeutic agent specifically for children battling gliomas.

Working with a collaborative team of researchers with complementary expertise – in this case – cancer nanotechnology, pediatric oncology and molecular pharmacology – holds great promise,” stated Karathanasis.

“We are excited to be associated with the Prayers from Maria Foundation,” said James Basilion, Professor, Radiology, Biomedical Engineering at CWRU. “There are almost no funding opportunities for childhood brain tumors, yet the impact on these children and families is huge. I am excited that Ed and Megan have taken up this cause and I think that the group will drive forward research for this disease. We have worked as a team at Case for quite some time, and what has emerged is an ability to treat tumors more effectively with fewer side effects, which fulfills the unmet clinical need for childhood brain tumors. We are grateful to have the opportunity to apply this technology to childhood brain tumors,” said Basilion.

Currently, pediatric brain tumors are nearly inaccessible with today’s drugs regiments. This stems from the fact that drugs are not specifically designed to consider the uniqueness of pediatric brain tumors. To effectively seek and treat pediatric gliomas, Dr. Karathanasis and his colleagues have designed a new nanoparticle to “smuggle” the drug into these tumors. The nanoparticle, called nanochain, is made of different nanospheres connected one to another in a linear fashion, like the links of a chain. Specifically, the research team links three nanospheres made of iron oxide and one lipid nanosphere filled with drugs. The surface of the nanochain is ‘decorated’ with multiple sites that act like glue to bind explicitly to the blood vessel lining where brain tumors are located. Due to their shape and flexibility, the nanochains possess a unique ability to drift out of the blood stream and home in on cancer markers along the blood vessel walls and adhere to the site. This places the nanochain directly next to the tumor, separated only by the blood vessel wall. Once the nanochains slip from the blood stream and dock onto the blood vessels of gliomas, a mild radio frequency (RF) field is applied outside the body (similar to a FM radio). The field causes the tails of the nanochain to vibrate, breaking open the lipid drug spheres, and creating a rapid release of a free drug capable of spreading throughout the entire tumor site. Preclinical studies have shown that a remarkable 5% of the injected dose accumulates in gliomas compared to current treatment methods that only achieve less than 1% penetration of the dose. As noted by Dr. Karathanasis, “We hope to see promising results like this for the pediatric brain cancers, and funding support from the Prayers from Maria Foundation will make this important research possible.”

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 –  Paper in the windows, a new blue roof and trucks with shelving and boxes left many wondering just what was going on in Garfield Plaza.  Last Thursday the speculation was over as the Petersons announced the new location of their family owned and operated GeeVille Auto Parts. A staple in the community for 40 years, their new 5,000 square foot NAPA store has allowed them to more than double their inventory and offer additional services including the ability to make hydraulic hoses.  Stop in today, check out their new store located at 8015 State Street and see why GeeVille Auto has been the “go-to” parts store since 1974.

On Monday, September 29th, Pizza Hutt opened its doors to the Garrettsville community with a full parking lot, lobby and lines at the pick-up window confirming their market study that Garrettsville loves pizza. The new Pizza Hutt WingStreet, located at 8001 State Street offers carryout and delivery and can be reached at 330-527-0909.

Watch the Villager for information about grand opening celebrations for both GeeVille Auto and Pizza Hutt.

Garrettsville – James A Garfield principal Michael Dobran announced today that Jason Richmond has  been named  a  Commended Student in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to this  scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2015 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2015 competition by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

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.

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.

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield High School’s Marching Pride Band took this past weekend by storm as they performed four times in 24 hours.

Garrettsville-James-A-Garfield-Marching-Pride-BandFriday afternoon, the band loaded the buses and headed to Waterloo for the football game. They performed what they refer to as their show one tunes, which were “Moves Like Jagger,” “Treasure,” “Pompeii,” and “Can’t Hold Us,” The band, as usual, really rocked it out. Besides the half-time show, the band played numerous snippets of tunes in the stands to keep the crowd in the game. The band returned to the school at 10:30 pm knowing they would be back in the morning for what many dubbed “the longest day.”

On Saturday, they went right back to it.  They loaded the buses and headed for Hiram College. The Marching Pride was scheduled to play the pregame and half-time shows for the college’s homecoming. The “Pride” took the college by storm as they played like never before. They played “Moves like Jagger,” Treasure,” “Pompeii,” “Hang on Sloopy,” and then the National Anthem.  Folks in the stands heard compliments from many of the fans sitting around them. Some even asked how does a band that size sound like they have 500 instruments rather than 100, and are you sure that is a high school band?  Etc. The Pride once again did Garfield Schools proud.

The band kicked it in high gear as they performed the half-time show at the college. They once again impressed the alumni and the fans with their performance selecting tunes they have played at the football games this season. The band was treated to lunch of hot dogs, chips and Gatorade before boarding the buses to return to the school.

The students then had an hour to rest before performing before the alumni at the annual alumni dinner. The band treated the alumni to the school’s Alma Mater, the Fight Song and “Hang on Sloopy.” The kids, chaperones and band directors had been at it all day and they were starting wear down, but were hanging tough.

2014 Marching Pride

2014 Marching Pride

Following the alumni performance, the band boarded buses to head to the Stow Band Show for their final performance of the night.  There were eight bands scheduled to perform in the program which appeared to be done according to band size. This put the Marching Pride third on the program. The Marching Pride wowed the crowd with their music and moves on the field, and once again the fans in the stands reported they had heard numerous compliments on the band’s performance.

The evening did not end with the bands scheduled slot time. The Pride and their fans were treated to grand finale of nearly 1000 instruments playing one song together.  The eight bands honored those who are serving and have served our country by performing Lee Greenwood’s hit, “God Bless the USA.”  The grand finale` sent chills down one’s spine and gave everyone an idea of what a 1,000 instrument band would sound like.  It was awesome, and a great way to finish off the longest day  — STRONG!

Garrettsville – The Cupboard is all about Community and its offering a new service for families   still working hard to regain their feet; it’s called the Weekend Snackpack Program.  It’s being made available to eligible students in the James A. Garfield Local School District on a monthly basis and provides a bag of healthy and easy-to-prepare snack foods sent home on the third Friday of each month; this would be approximately 15 healthy  between-meal snacks for after school and on weekends to supplement regular meals.  Food allergies will be taken into account in selection of snacks.

There is no cost to families and distribution will be handled with the utmost discretion.  Participation is strictly confidential and arranged by school counselors.  Names and information will not be shared with anyone else.  Applications for participation in this program are available from school counselors.

This program is being made possible through the co-operation of the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard and the James A. Garfield Local School District and a $10,000 nationwide grant originating with Massachusetts Mutual Financial Group, whose local representative is Christopher Perme of the Perme Financial Group, Garrettsville.  Over one hundred students are enrolled so far and there is room for more.  The community cares.

Ravenna – The Portage County Health Department would like to remind all parents of incoming kindergarteners and 7th graders that their children will be required by Ohio law to have certain immunizations in order to attend school. Kindergarteners are required to have 5 doses DTaP, 4 doses Polio, 3 doses Hep B, 2 doses MMR, and 2 doses Chickenpox. 7th graders are required to have a combination booster shot of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccine, otherwise known as Tdap. Additional vaccines are recommended for this age group including the meningitis vaccine and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. All of these vaccines are available at the Portage County Health Department.

Regular Childhood Immunization Clinics are held every Wednesday from 8:00am-12:00 noon at the Portage County Health Department. Additional locations for childhood immunizations provided by the Portage County Health Department are Kent City Health Department-every 3rd Wednesday from 3:00pm-5:00pm and Windham Renaissance Family Center-every 4th Tuesday from 11:00am-3:00pm.

Cost is $10 per shot, FREE to those who cannot pay. Medicaid, Buckeye, Care Source, and United Health accepted. Please bring immunization records.

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!

New-Hoses

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Joint Fire District is pleased to announce we have been awarded a Federal AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) by FEMA for 2014. The grant was submitted last year, with an extensive selection process taking place before acceptance or declination by FEMA. The grant was proposed and awarded with the purpose of replacing a significant percentage of our fire hose inventory that was manufactured as early as 1984 (and non-compliant with NFPA fire code). The grant was awarded at $24,901 with a 5% contribution by the fire district. This means the fire district only paid $1,245 for $24,901 worth of equipment. Actual amount of FEMA money awarded to the fire district was $23,656. The grant replaced 500 feet of 1 ¾’’ (diameter) hose, 1,600 feet of 2 ½” hose, 1,500 feet of 3” hose, 2,000 feet of 4” hose, six nozzles, and three siamese adapters. No grant writing costs were incurred due to all grants being collaboratively managed by fire district employees. All received equipment has been placed into service with our thanks to FEMA.

Melana-Good-Picture-2-1Garrettsville – The Friends of Melana Foundation was formed 3 ½ year ago in Garrettsville to help foster awareness and provide funding for children’s glioma brain cancer research. The local foundation was named in memory of nine-year-old Melana Matson whose life was claimed by the disease in 2009. Founded by Garrettsville residents Norm and Joyce Fashing, Melana’s grandparents, the group has raised nearly $60,000 in funding for children’s glioma cancer research, the second leading cause of cancer deaths in young people.

Glioma brain cancer research has been grossly under funded for decades and children diagnosed with the disease had been basically given a death sentence. Children stricken with the disease are unlikely to live beyond five years, and with some as little as nine to twelve months from date of diagnosis.

In 2011, the Friends of Melana joined forces with their parent foundation, the Cleveland based Prayers From Maria Children‘s Glioma Cancer Foundation. The two non-profit groups pool their resources and have, to date, awarded two $100,000 research grants as seed money to researchers. The start up funding is necessary to establish promising preliminary research data before being considered for a government continuation grant. The first grant went to Cleveland MetroHealth Medical Center and the second to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Both grants have produced some very positive results. The MetroHeath group has been awarded a $3.3 million continuation grant from the National Cancer Institute, and the Boston group has finally been able to take biopsies from gliomas in children without causing fatal harm, and has also developed treatments for two of the five mutations that have been identified and commonly found in children’s gliomas.

On September 8th it was announced that the Melana Matson Memorial research grant of $250,000 was awarded to Dr. James P. Basilion, associate professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at Case Westerm Reserve University.

Although the Friends of Melana Foundation is a small, grass-roots non-profit group working in a basically rural geographical area in northern Portage County, the group is highly regarded by the parent foundation because of its efforts and contributions to the cause. In recognition and appreciation for Friends of Melana’s contributions, the Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation will name the next grant ‘The Melana Matson Memorial Grant’, the first grant awarded in honor of a stricken child.

According to Friends of Melana President Norm Fashing, “We are very excited, truly blessed, and honored by this recognition. It gives us a shot in the arm to keep us going in the fight against childhood cancer. No other child should have to go through what Melana had to endure with this deadly disease.”

Friends of Melana is a partner with the Prayers From Maria Foundation, a 501 C3 non-profit foundation, www.stopkidscancer.org. Donations towards further research can be mailed to: Friends of Melana, P.O. Box 204, Garrettsville, Ohio, 44231.

riteaid

Garrettsville – All that’s old is new again at your neighborhood Rite Aid.

The store, located at 10764 North Street for nearly two decades, earned a Wellness Renovation that brings shoppers a more inviting, personalized experience to their store and pharmacy experiences, aimed to improve their overall health. Of 25 stores in the northeast Ohio district, this is the fourth to receive the Wellness Renovation.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10am on Thursday, September 11, including cake and refreshments for customers throughout the day. This will kick off a three-week Grand Opening featuring special promotions and sales.

The five-week renovation process has resulted in a new color scheme with wood grain accents; a more open floor plan with warmer lighting and wider aisles for improved product visibility; pharmacy discounts; and new product categories, including gluten-free foods, an organic section and a $1 aisle. Immunizations are also available at the pharmacy for the flu, shingles, whooping cough, pneumonia, and measles/mumps/rubella.

A new Wellness Ambassador role has also been added to the staff, so a customer assistant is on the floor at all times, available to help customers find products, look up their Wellness Points, or assist at the pharmacy.

Store Manager Tammy Fitz says that she and Pharmacy Manager Julia Polz are also hosting quarterly health & wellness events. The first event is a free health screening, 12noon-4pm on Saturday, September 27. Nurses will be on hand to provide free assessments for blood pressure, kidney function, glucose and cholesterol levels.

Renovations have been ongoing since July 21. The final touches should be made late this week, with a recoated parking lot and new lights.

“This ushers in a new customer experience,” says Fitz. “It’s cleaner, brighter and updated. Once you get re-oriented to the new layout, you’ll appreciate being able to see everything better and find items more easily.”

The new and improved Garrettsville Rite Aid also has extended pharmacy (and drive-through) hours: 8am-9pm Mondays through Fridays; 9am-6pm Saturdays;and 10am-6pm Sundays. The front end store is open 8am-10pm daily. Call (330)527-2828 for more information.

“It’s friendly, it’s bright, it’s more convenient than ever,” Fitz says. Welcome to the new Rite Aid.

fresh-start

The Rybak family enjoys lunch & breakfast at the same time, as breakfast is served all day long at the Fresh Start Diner.

Garrettsville - “We start every meal fresh so you can start the day fresh.” That’s a fitting motto for Fresh Start Diner, which quietly moved into 8126 Main Street in downtown Garrettsville one month ago.

Owner Andy Olson brought the independent franchise to town after working eight years as head cook and assistant kitchen manager for the Chagrin Falls Fresh Start Diner. Co-owners Ken Frankenberry and Bob Wyman started the Fresh Start franchise in Twinsburg, then added the Oberlin and Chagrin Falls locations. Olson worked at the Twinsburg location before Frankenberry and Wyman purchased it.

Olson realized it was time to start his own business when his old friend and fellow cook, Jeremy Quiggle, mentioned he was looking to sell The Pasta House building and equipment at this location.

Olson was raised in Windham Township and now resides in Shalersville, so Garrettsville is familiar territory for him. He went with a soft opening for Fresh Start Diner rather than a big publicity splash, so he and his staff could ease onto the community, work out kinks without much ado, and gain a solid clientele through word of mouth.

The approach seems to be working. The dining room on late Monday morning was bustling, drawing college kids, senior citizens, couples and families for home-made breakfast and lunch entrees made from fresh ingredients, served promptly by pleasant wait staff.

The plentiful breakfast and lunch menu includes gluten-free, vegetarian and multigrain options to accommodate various dietary restrictions and preferences. And while it features traditional diner fare, it offers creative options for discerning palates, like mocha multigrain pancakes with real maple syrup, home-made home fries, and quality breads.

Olson did note that certain food choices are more popular in one location versus the other. Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Garrettsville group orders more meat and potatoes while the Chagrin Falls clientele prefers fresh fruit and cottage cheese.

The Fresh Start concept is simple, as stated on their website: To provide our customers with a high quality dining experience. We offer plentiful portions of delicious, freshly prepared food at reasonable prices, in a clean setting, with friendly and attentive service.

Fresh Start Diner in downtown Garrettsville is open Mondays through Saturdays, 6:30am-2pm; and Sundays, 8am-2pm. Breakfast is served all day long while lunch is served 10:30 to closing time. The diner can be reached at (330) 527-2700 or at  freshstartdiner.com.

Andy Olson invites you to come on in. Because it’s always the right time for a Fresh Start.

Hiram - Starting out just ten years ago in 2004 with two full-time agents and two part-time assistants, Ohio Health Benefits, LLC  (OHB) in Hiram has more than doubled in size, filling their office space on Hayden Street. From health insurance issues and Medicare criteria  to navigating through the Affordable Care Act, OHB works to provide over 6,000 families, self-employed individuals, students, and retirees with affordable health insurance.

Fueled by his background in mechanical engineering, Auble and his team help translate the latest, often perplexing health care information into something his clients can easily understand. This is what really drives his business. “Since we are authorized to offer insurance from many carriers like AARP, Anthem, Medical Mutual, Summa, and more, my colleagues and I undergo constant training to stay apprised of the latest updates and developments in the healthcare arena.” Auble stated, “I really enjoy helping people by taking what most see as a complex, boring topic and explaining it to them in a friendly, understandable way. As a company, we strive to continue to grow and be the best in the industry as a regional authority on individual, family, health care reform and Medicare health insurance.”

In addition to running Ohio Health Benefits, Auble uses that same friendly and straightforward approach to help build businesses in his hometown. In addition to leasing out office space in the Hiram Professional Building, where OHB is located, he recently purchased the former Village Fire Hall. He’s currently in the process of transforming the space to become a cabinet showroom for Goodnight Kitchen & Bath, a company that was slated to open in Garrettsville prior to February’s fire. Hiram’s Mayor, Village Administration, and Police Chief have been very helpful in the process of bringing more businesses to Hiram, Auble shared.

For more information about OHB, visit ohiohealthbenefits.net.

 

Photo courtesy The Harlem Ambassadors

Photo courtesy The Harlem Ambassadors

Garrettsville - The fun begins at 7:00 PM on October 25th (doors open 40 minutes before tip-off), when the internationally acclaimed Harlem Ambassadors take on the Garrettsville Inspectors (Garfield High School Alumni) in a 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.

Bring the whole family to this event and experience laugh-out-loud comedy basketball for a good cause. There will be an opportunity to win an autographed basketball, purchase Harlem Ambassadors souvenirs, meet the Harlem Ambassadors during a free post-game autograph session, and snacks and beverages will be available for purchase.

A limited number of tickets are available for this event, which benefits the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s  #GarrettsvilleStrong fund, and Phase II of the James A. Garfield Stadium Improvement Project.

Advance tickets go on sale Monday, August 18th and may be purchased online at garrettsvillearea.com/tix or at one of many area businesses including: The Villager (8088 Main St); Charles Auto Family (10851 North St); Miller’s Family Restaurant (8045 State St); Garrettsville DQ Grill & Chill (8013 State St); and the James A Garfield School offices when school returns.

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.

Stay up to date by visiting www.garrettsvillearea.com/basketball or by joining the event on Facebook.

Learn more about the Harlem Ambassadors at www.harlemambassadors.com

This event has been brought to you by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Garfield All Sports Boosters.

Sponsorship Opportunities for this event are available. Call 330-527-5761 to learn more!

 

Garrettsville – Garrettsville Police Department Fill a Cruiser with School Supplies will be held on August 16th.

The Garrettsville Police Department will be collecting school supplies for People Tree on August 16th from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Family Dollar (Sky Plaza), 8287 Windham St., Garrettsville. The supplies will be distributed to families within the area needing school supplies for the upcoming school year. There will also be a cash box on hand and all money collected will go to People Tree.

Items requested are:  #2 Pencils, erasers, crayons, markers, colored pencils, dry erase markers, highlighters, pens, rulers (standard & metric), scissors, glue sticks, white glue, small supply boxes, zipper supply pouches, over the hear headphones, book bags, spiral notebooks, 3 ring binders, composition books, loose leaf paper, 3×5 index cards, page protectors, pocket folders, sandwich bags, antibacterial wipes, boxes of tissues, brown lunch bags and anything else school related.

Garrettsville – The $5M Straight A Grant from the state provided the James A. Garfield Schools with some exceptional opportunities.  With these exceptional opportunities came exceptional challenges. To date, I am happy to report that these challenges have been met. The project is on time and under budget.

Regardless of the obstacles, the addition is on schedule to open for students on August 26.  Here are the latest developments on each component of the grant.

Construction

Our Design/Builder, Hammond Construction, and all of the subcontractors have worked tirelessly to ensure that we receive our building on time.  More importantly,  they are delivering this community a building of excellent quality.

We are also proud to have local contractors working on the project.  Most notably are our electricians, Scotchman Electric, and our painters, Doug Seaman Decorating.

The addition will include 8 classrooms, 2 state-of- the-art science labs, 2 special education classrooms and a professional development center.  The professional development space will comfortably seat 120 adults and contain digital projection equipment for presentations or trainings. While this space will offer a flexible instructional space for students, the district will make this space available to the public for meetings. The project also includes a renovation to the office area, creating a more functional space as well as a secure entrance for visitors and a dual serving line in the cafeteria.

Last February, a “Campus of Excellence Oversight Committee” was established to oversee all aspects of the project.  Over 40 individuals from the community have been actively involved making decisions about the addition.  This group consisted of parents, business owners, community members and school employees.  They have met throughout the project and provided the input necessary to construct a building we can all be proud of for the next 50 years.

While our students will be in the building on August 26, we will be planning an official ribbon cutting ceremony for late September or early October.

Finally, through careful selection of contractors and good planning, the project is coming in under budget. Savings will be used to invest in three areas.  Efficiency items such as HVAC controls and energy efficient windows have been purchased and will save taxpayer money over time.  Security items such as exterior cameras and keypad entry doors will provide for student safety. Instructional upgrades include an enhanced wireless network and 210 laptops on carts for student to use in grades K-6.

Technology

Laptops for staff have been distributed and training is scheduled for next week. Between August 12 and the start of school over 650 laptops will be distributed to students in grades 7-12 (see page 8 for details).  The wireless infrastructure has been upgraded on the entire campus and is ready to support a new era of 21st Century learning.

Partnerships

The Portage County Educational Service Center (ESC) and the Greater Cleveland YMCA are moving forward with their plans to bring their services to the community. The YMCA has brought youth soccer and flag football to our community and already has over sixty students signed up to participate.  The ESC will open two preschool classrooms in the retiring Intermediate School this fall.

With the construction project, technology initiatives and new partnerships developing as planned and on schedule, we have a great deal to celebrate.  The pride of our community continues to drive us towards excellence. Go G-Men!

 

peachesGarrettsville –  The peach crop throughout Ohio is the pits this summer, but that won’t put a dent in the annual Peach Social and Classic Car Cruise sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce. Cruise Night at the Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Fire Station (8035 Elm St.)  which  will proceed as planned, 5-8pm on Saturday, August 9 (Rain Date: August 10).

Mayor Rick Patrick envisioned the first peach social/car cruise about 15 years ago, and it has proven to draw the biggest crowds of the cruising season, year after year. He reports that “last year’s peach social proved to be incredibly popular, with over 50 homemade pies, 15 gallons of ice cream and a ton of delicious peaches served over the course of the evening. This year we are anticipating an even larger turnout and expect to go through at least 60 peach pies.”

While Chamber members typically supply all the homemade pies for the social, reinforcements from the community are being sought this time around. Please call Mayor Patrick if you plan to contribute a pie. Peach pies can be dropped off at the GFN Fire Department at 4:30pm on Friday, August 9.

While Monroe’s Orchard on Pioneer Trail in Hiram traditionally supplies the event with their own peaches, they — like fruit growers throughout Ohio — have no peach crop this summer, due to sub-zero temperatures following an unseasonable thaw in January which killed off tree buds. However, Monroe’s is coming through with peaches from another orchard in eastern Pennsylvania which escaped the brutal cold of last winter.

Local grocer Sky Plaza IGA supplies the ice cream for the slices of pie and bowls of peaches served at the social. Anyone who would like to assist in the peeling and cutting of fresh peaches on Friday are welcome to Mayor Patrick’s home at 8174 South Park Street, starting at 6pm August 8.

Center Stage Band will lend to the atmosphere with their range of live feel-good tunes from rock-n-roll and Top 40 hits, to Motown, R&B, oldies, and beach music. Enjoy the tunes as you savor the peaches, visit your neighbors, meet new friends and check out 200 or so classic and collectible cars on display.

Winter may have killed off the local peach crop, but here’s a little slice of summer we can sink our teeth into before the kids head back to school and autumn falls upon us.

 

photo by Benjamin Coll Photography

photo by Benjamin Coll Photography

Garrettsville – FACET Salon and Day Spa is pleased to announce the newest addition to its staff of visionary artists. Shannon Aldrich, a graduate of Crestwood Schools and The Paul Mitchell School of Cleveland, joins a team of seven talented stylists at Rachelle King’s Garrettsville location. Shannon assists in providing the salon and spa services FACET clients have come to enjoy including: cuts, color, manicures and pedicures, massages, and waxing services. Spray tans and a tanning bed and dry sauna are also part of FACET’s offerings. Through August 31st, save 25% on your Cut & Color Service when you book your appointment with Shannon. For more details on this promotion or any of FACET’s services, please call 330-527-4347. FACET Salon & Day Spa is located within the TLC Complex at 1 Memory Lane, Garrettsville, Ohio. Rachelle King is a National Educator for Paul Mitchell Systems, and the owner/operator of three popular salons in Ohio including: The Studio in Ohio City; and Studio 3 of Dublin.

Pictured above are (back row from the left): Jason Dlugokecki and Joe Smith;  (front row from the left): Denny Biddle, Misty Sommers and Rachel Adkins

Pictured above are (back row from the left): Jason Dlugokecki and Joe Smith; (front row from the left): Denny Biddle, Misty Sommers and Rachel Adkins

Garrettsville – The Roller Hutt speed team from Garrettsville, OH and Fast Forward speed team out of Hermitage, PA have just returned from the USARS Roller Speed Skating National Competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. Skaters raced on both inline skates (rollerblades) and quad skates (roller skates.) Racing takes place on a 100 meter indoor flat track, and the competition attracts skaters from all across the country.

Rachel Adkins raced in the Classic Ladies novice inline division races completing races of 500, 700, and 1000 meter races. She achieved 2nd place nationwide. Rachel was born and raised in Kent and currently resides in Mantua, OH.

Rachel also competed on quad skates and achieved 1st place nationwide, winning first in every distance within the Classic Ladies division. She also placed 1st in her 2-lady relay with Denise Larson and 1st in her 2-mix relay with Joe Smith.

Misty Sommers competed on quad skates in the Master Ladies division completing races of 300m, 500m. Competition was tough in this division, but Misty made it through her heats to all finals and came away with 3rd place nationwide. Misty is a Kent native and resident.

Misty also organizes the Park ‘N Roll skating festival held at the Munroe Falls Metro Park on South River Road coming up August 30th. See facebook.com/ParkNRollFestival for more information.

Jason Dlugokecki raced for the first time at Nationals this year, competing in the Master Men division with distances of 300, 500 and 1000 meters. Jason finished in the top three skaters within each of his heats and qualified for all of his final events. Jason is a Garrettsville native and has grown up in the Roller Hutt skating rink owned by his parents Linda and Craig.

Jason also skated a 2-mix relay with Misty Sommers and a 2-man relay with Denny Biddle of central Ohio. Jason and Denny received the bronze medal for their relay.

Denny Biddle also raced in the Esquire Men division, making it into all of his final races.

Joe Smith of Hermitage, PA won first place in the Master Men division, winning 1st in every distance as well as 1st in his 2-man and 2-mix relays.

To learn more about speed skating or to join the team, contact coach Jason Dlugokecki at info@jmd-entertainment.com. Team practices are held at Roller Hutt on Mondays from 6-8pm and cost $5 for adults and are free for under 18. Practices are on hold for the summer but will resume in November. Every age is welcome.

gmen-garfield-localGarrettsville – One more meeting of the Campus of Excellence Oversight Committee on August 21 (D-Day plus one), the day AFTER the Garfield Elementary School Addition and Campus Enhancement project is scheduled for completion.

The roof is on.  The windows are nearly all in.  The door frames are ready for installation.  Despite the vicissitudes encountered in any construction project with this kind of timeline and this kind of retrofitting involved, the light is on at the end of the tunnel. It’s coming down to the wire and all systems are GO!

Savings were realized in the bidding process and have been re-invested in upgrades throughout the James A. Garfield campus, for all buildings.  This includes more efficient windows, security upgrades (also utilizing funds raised initially by Dee Synnestvedt for parking lot security cameras), digital signage for the high school and elementary school campus—5’x8’, wireless, , kitchen  improvements, carpeting in the new elementary band room, furniture upgrades…the whole shootin’ match…looking good.

So when would you like to hold the official ribbon-cutting ceremony?  In September some time?  Before a home football game?  On my birthday?  Whatever your suggestion, get it to a committee member or to the district office ASAP and, in any case, plan to mark your calendar and be there because heaven only knows how many dignitaries will arrive to see this amazing accomplishment marked by the community and all of the folks who made it possible.

And don’t forget that your YMCA is also reaching out to the community for input concerning the types of programs you would like to see offered out of the Park Avenue building.  They will soon begin having one-day-a-week open hours for registration leading to participation in fall programs.  Ditto for the PCESC which will be operating a pre-school program out of that building.  The YMCA contact person is Chris Scheuer; his number is 914-443-0043 and he’d like to hear about your interest in programs for all ages, K through Old-Enough-to-Know-Better.  Let him know what you’re interested in.

We’re ALL interested in this.

One to go!

Garrettsville – Council met July 9, 2014 for their regularly scheduled village council meeting.  A public hearing was held prior to the start of regular business for proposed Ordinance 2014-25, the Village of Garrettsville proposed tax budget for 2015.  No residents were present and no comments were made.

Minutes from last month’s meeting were approved and council reviewed revenue, expenditure, cash balance and income tax reports.  Comments were made about expenditures exceeding revenue on the monthly report and Councilman Hadzinsky commented that historically June is a low revenue month.  Village clerk Nancy Baldwin reminded council that the biggest reason expenditure has been high the past few months is because of the curbing and sidewalk projects that have been completed.  (Baldwin went on to say after the council meeting that most projects for the village are completed in the summer months, which consequently mean higher expenditures.  However that doesn’t mean the village is operating in the red, quite the contrary.  According to Baldwin, the village finances are solid.)

Council went on to approve Ordinance 2014-25 setting the 2015 village tax budget, Ordinance 2014-27 that renews a 20 year lease with East Ohio Gas Company for a box near the police station, and Ordinance 2014-28 which has to do with employee compensation changes and to make them coincide with existing pay periods.

During round table discussion, Council President, Tom Hardesty, updated everyone on the status of the puddling issues with the completion of the Windham street paving project.  The state will make sure the problems are corrected.  Hardesty also stated that the village’s next improvement project is to construct curbing on the east side of South Street from the top of the hill to the library entrance.  He is waiting on estimates, but the cost should not exceed the budgeted amount.  Council passed a motion to proceed with the project.

Councilwoman Anderson proposed  that council consider an annual ‘contest’ for property owners in the village for ‘most/best improved property’ as well as ‘best landscaping’.  Her suggestion included possibly asking the garden club to assist with choosing criteria and winners.  Council unanimously thought it a good idea and asked Anderson to pursue the idea.

Next the mayor informed council he had a schedule conflict for the scheduled August council meeting as asked them to consider changing the date and time.  After some discussion, it was determined that it would be difficult to get all council members to attend for the alternate meeting dates proposed and no decision was made on rescheduling.

Councilwoman Harrington brought up the survey that the Village Services Visionary Group has put together.  The plan is to have the surveys available at the post office, library and village clerk’s office sometime toward the end of July.

At the close of roundtable discussion, the mayor asked for input or comments from the audience.  Village tax clerk Valerie McCullough brought up the subject of delinquent taxpayers in the village and her frustration in getting them to pay their taxes.  She asked for suggestions in how to better deal with some of the problems she encounters.  McCullough stated that there are currently 101 people on delinquent tax repayment plans accounting for approximately $156,000 in uncollected revenue over the past five tax years.  Once the repayment plan has been agreed to, all penalties and interest are stopped and repayment is based on the principal owed.  Penalties and interest are currently not reinstated for those that have defaulted on a repayment plan.  McCullough says she plans to investigate the legality of reinstating the monetary penalties for those that default on repayment as well as the functionality of the income tax software the village uses in addressing these issues.

McCullough’s biggest frustration is with those who agree to a repayment plan (with or without court action) and then quit paying only a few payments in.   Solicitor Michelle Stuck stated she would be glad to write letters reminding the offenders of their obligation and that she would pursue legal action through the criminal court system.  Stuck also said that for those defaulting on repayment plans who have already been to court, she would take them back to court and seek a conviction.    McCullough also said that there are another 55 residents who have not filed for 2013 owing approximately $56,000.

At the end of the discussion, Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel issues.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is currently scheduled for August 13, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

 

Ravenna – On August 16, 2014, Portage APL and the Paws for Golf Committee hope you will join them for a fun filled day of golf.  All proceeds benefit the APL and the nearly a thousand animals rescued and adopted each year. The outing will be held at Sugar Bush Golf Club in Garrettsville from 12pm – 7pm.  This 18-hole scramble includes a cart, lunch, free beverages, gifts, BBQ dinner as well as skill and door prizes!

To register call the APL at 330.296.4022. Cost is $100 per golfer or $35 for dinner only.

The Portage APL is a private, nonprofit organization and relies on the generosity and kindness of individuals and businesses to make our community a safer place for thousands of animals, who have no voice.  We continue to rescue animals every day and the need is constant.

To register or for more information, please call the Portage APL at 330.296.4022 or visit our website at www.portageapl.org