Home Community News Freedom Township

Freedom Twp. – The 96th annual banquet for Freedom Township Alumni Association and James A Garfield School District, was held April 26th at Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna Township. The 74 members attending represented the alumni of the classes of 1931 thru 1975. The students from 1952 thru 1975 became part of the consolidation of the Garfield School system but they had attended the old school building in Freedom during their grade school years.

They honored the classes of 1924, 1934, 1944, 1954, 1964 and 1974. Eisele Catering of Mantua provided the dinner. Barbara Bailey, 1973, President welcomed the members and their guests. J.J. Leet of 1965 gave the invocation.

Many letters, notes, and photos from graduates and former teachers were shared with the gathering. Speedometers and Jaguar yearbooks were reviewed, along with school year photos. They viewed the 21 names of the class members obituaries of the past year, since we last met. They shared special memories of Orson Ott, Superintendent; Dr. Agnes Monroe Smith, teacher who left many imprints on their school years.

1964 grads, Charles Helming and Alice Vasko Brandt were honored. Special memories of 1954 grad Don Moore were shared.

President Barbara thanked her officers, Vice President Althea Bailey Tittle, Secretary and Treasurer, Jeannette Marvin-Hall for their reports. Also volunteers Nancy McGinnis Santos ’70 and Elaine Lange Duffield ’56 for their help. The nominating Committee presented the officers for 2015 school year as President, Barbara Bailey ’73 and Vice President Althea Bailey Tittle ’75, Secretary Elaine Lange Duffield ’56 and Treasurer Jeannette Wilson Marvin-Hall ’47 for the coming year of 2015. The alumni voted unanimously to accept the slate of officers for 2015. Also accepted was the request by Karen Knipper Martin ’68 for help for a committee to construct and place at the Freedom Township a Military Memorial for the years of Vietnam, Iraq, Afghan war. Those who are interested in helping were to contact Karen and report to the township trustees.

 

As the new year is progressing, Freedom Township has had an uneventful winter. Our township was well prepared for the weather; we have experienced NO shortage of road material.  There have not been any major issues come up in the township.  Our rental halls have been used on a regular basis and they have been a beneficial asset to the township.  We are in hopes that the baseball fields will be used and the Community Park and Townhall Park will be utilized often this summer.

The 9th Annual James A. Garfield Alumni Banquet will be held at the James A. Garfield Elementary School on Sept 20th. Anyone who attended JAG High School is welcome to attend. The event will include dinner, entertainment by the award winning high school band and tours of the campus including the new Intermediate School addition (grades 5 & 6) made possible through a five million dollar “Straight A” grant from the Ohio Department of Education. The committee is seeking addresses from those who attended J.A. Garfield High School with the following classes: 1954, 1964, 1974, 1984 and 1994. For further information or for anyone who has a new address or email, etc. since June 1st, 2013, please contact Helen Louise (Paul) Bouts at 330-309-2734 or email hbouts@yahoo.com.

 

Winter weather is officially upon us.  With this weather comes the ‘polarizing’ topic of Snow Days. 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 toilet.  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.

Our students are amazing. Academically they perform at levels that exceed expectations. For example, our third grade math scores were third highest in Northeast Ohio (96.6%). Our high school students showed improvements in all five areas of the Ohio Graduation Test, and this is after they were already scoring above 90% in all areas! This excellence does not stop when students walk out of their classrooms. Recently, the James A. Garfield Marching Pride received a standing ovation at a band show in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Athletic excellence is now on display as our boys soccer team won the Portage Trail Conference, the football team upset the Southeast Pirates on their home field and the cross country team finished second in the league.

Freedom Twp – D-Store & Deli, located next to Detour Drive-Thru at 6869 SR 303, is giving one lucky individual the chance to win a free sub. Simply present the coupon located on page 4 when purchasing one of their delicious sandwiches, to be entered into the drawing.

Not content to be “just another convenience store”, the D-Store “is like a convenience store on steroids”. Carrying tons of grocery products, slushies, local maple syrup, delicious subs, and premium deli meats; the D-Store is easily one of the best kept secrets in Freedom. Stop in today and see what the buzz is about!

Photo courtesy of Rich Teresi

Photo courtesy of Rich Teresi

The Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Joint Fire District recently played host to area police canine units, holding a joint continuing education class. Firefighters and EMS providers were instructed on working at multi-disciplinary scenes involving canine units, how to operate around them, and how to help them in an emergency. Many thanks go to the canine officers, their partners, and Dr Kartley, DVM for their time in presenting this class.

Pictured from left to right (partially obscured is Ptl Jamie Price (Recon’s partner) from Windham Police, Lt. Timothy Christopher (with his partner Taz), Ptl Keith Whan, and Dr Jennifer Kartley, DVM. Also present but not pictured were Lt. Kenneth Justus of the Mantua Police Department and his partner Vader.

Freedom Twp. – After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Regular Meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Martin at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 18, 2012.  Present were trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, and John C. Zizka; Karen Martin, Fiscal Officer; Road Superintendent, Charles VanSteenberg. Zoning Inspector Rich Gano.   Also present residents Mr. Charles Duffield and Mr. Dan Grafton, Mr. Harold Cain.  

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Freedom Twp. – The Singing Weavers will be ministering at the First Congregational Church of Freedom on September 16 at 10:30am; a covered-dish dinner will follow.
The Singing Weavers is a three-generation family group. They have been traveling and spreading God’s love through music and sharing the gospel for 40 years.
Their ministry started in 1971 with Linda and Verlin Weaver traveling and singing with their children Dennis, Terri and Vickie. In 1985, Dennis married Chris. She has been singing with the family ever since.
Pastor Jim and Janie Melick invite the public to come and join us in an uplifting and joyful service with The Weavers and plan to stay for a delicious covered-dish dinner afterwards.
The church is located at St. Rt. 88 and St. Rt. 303 in Freedom Township

Freedom  Twp. – The  regular meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was held on  Thursday, May 3, 2012 with all board members present.

After review and approval of the April 19, 2012 minutes Mr. Jeffrey Derthick gave the zoning report.  Derthick reported that there were several lot splits, additions and new home inquiries.  No written reports of zoning information available for the trustees.

Freedom Twp. – Freedom Township Board of Trustees met in regular session at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, 2012. It was the last meeting for Fiscal Officer Rosemary Nicholas, who is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years of service. Karen Martin of Mantua will fill Nicholas’ post. She may be reached at KSMFreedomTwp@aol.com. Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg noted a correction in the hours for spring clean-up scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9 (Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.; Friday from noon to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Roads: Roy Martin reported that the township has been awarded a grant by Ohio Public Works for Vaughn Road resurfacing in the amount of $42,200. In response to public concern about the need to repave Wygle Road, Trustee John Zizka shared the Portage County Engineer’s report and recommendations for Wygle Road, which indicate they are planning to lay 3.5 inches of asphalt and widen areas less than 18 feet before paving. The intersection of Limeridge and Wygle calls for the radius to be increased. The report also indicates that no improvements are planned for Limeridge Road; only monitoring and repair as needed. The County Engineer is waiting for Chesapeake to sign the RUMA agreement. Also, Morton Salt is requiring the township to purchase their full commitment of salt for the 2011-2012 season, even though less was required during the mild winter. Three price quotes were received on tires for the 3910 mower, from Ravenna Tire, Terry’s Tire Town and Columbiana Firestone. It was decided to purchase tires from Terry’s Tire Town, Alliance, in the amount of $1,028.62 to include tubes, mounting and service. Trustees will purchase from Marlboro Pipe 40 feet of 30-inch pipe for Hewins Road and 40 feet of 12-inch pipe for Vair Road. Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg ordered 18 tons of #617 gravel and 18 tons of #304 gravel from Rick Kuntz for Hewins and other roads. VanSteenberg has contacted Todd Lamb about milling holes on Goodell, Asbury and Gotham Roads. Park: Trustee James Hammar said ball field schedules will be posted soon at the park. Their first game is April 10. T-ball doesn’t schedule the town hall field, they just show up. The drag and the bases must be located, as well as ball mix to build up the pitching mound. Dan Grafton said in the past, teams had to appear before the board of trustees for approval before using the fields. They also could not do anything to the fields without trustee permission and the leagues furnished sand and bases. Zizka agreed that the teams wanting to use the fields should come to the board of trustees. Community Service: Zizka received a request from the Girl Scouts to clean the ball fields at the town hall as a community service project. The Congregational church will be holding a perennial exchange at the town hall pavilion as a community service project on April 21. Members of Bethel Springs Fellowship had a work session at the Community Center (painting, carpet cleaning, etc.) In turn, the township provided them with lunch. Zizka waived their fee for one rental because of an earlier cancellation when the Community Center was not usable. Park Funding: There has been no word yet from ODNR regarding the park grant. The park levy failed, and there are still some groups who want more amenities at the park (water, soccer, etc.). Hammar said there is money remaining in the park levy fund, and it was suggested that he leave it on deposit for now if no fees are involved, pending approval from the Park Committee. Hammar will send letters of appreciation to the business community and individuals who made donations and assistance in support of the park levy. Coupons will be made available for discounts at Pochedly’s Greenhouse and Pochedly’s will donate part of the proceeds back to the Park Committee. Duffield suggested getting more young parents involved in the park committee, to make it more viable. Zizka agreed and suggested another park levy campaign should be attempted. Fire: Trustee Rooy Martin reported that a dry hydrant is being put in on Bancroft Road in Nelson. A new tank should arrive the first week in April. There was discussion regarding a full-time building inspector for fire inspections. The Fireman’s Association refused any extra cost for the storage building. Harold Cain questioned the total expenditures for the front porch work, including architect fees, permits, and tear-off and disposal work done by township personnel. There’s an additional charge of $225 due to an increase in material cost. Zizka also confirmed that clean-up is in addition to what township will pay Classical Construction for the porch work. Zoning: Zoning Inspector Jeff Derthick will present an application for a conditional use permit for a local business, during the March 20 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting. The Zoning Commission will meet on March 21. Derthick is posting the BZA appeals in the ZonePro program. EMS: Two more employees have been hired. The EMS Board will meet twice a month for the immediate future. Regional Planning: Fiscal Officer Rosemary Nicholas reported that $5,306.03 in estate tax had been received. Trustees agreed to transfer $5,306.03 from the General Fund (Estate Tax) to the Freedom Township Park Development Fund. Nicholas received a letter from NOPEC regarding its natural gas program and opt-out option. After discussion, the board agreed to continue the township’s participation in the NOPEC/Dominion Energy. Zizka read the letter he had drafted expressing the Board’s position on oil/gas well drilling in the township. It will be published in both the Record-Courier and The Villager newspapers. Martin said work continues on the grant for a truck through the EPA program. Zizka delivered the township’s application to the County Engineer’s office last month. He will check with the County Engineer for an update. A special meeting will be Thursday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. to continue discussion regarding the truck grant and any other business that may come before the Board. Trustee Hammar said he had a discussion with a representative of Suddenlink. They continue to work on expanding fiber optics in the township for high speed internet service.

Freedom Twp. – The Freedom Township Board of Trustees met in regular session on Monday, March 1, 2012. The following issues were discussed:

ZONING: Zoning Inspector Jeff Derthick reported on a Board of Zoning Appeals hearing held February 21 to address numerous calls on properties for sale and residents inquiring how they are zoned.
Derthick continues to work with American Tower Company on increasing the height of two towers (at Goodell Road and at S.R. 700).

Trustee James Hammar proposed that zoning fees be increased, noting that most have not been increased since 2002. Harold Cain questioned the need for increases in this economy. Derthick said he has been told that local fees are lower than those in surrounding communities. The trustees reviewed the fee schedule and agreed on price increases. Increased zoning fees will be effective April 1. They can be viewed in detail the township’s website, www.freedomtownship-portage.com .

ROADS: Road Supervisor Charles VanSteenberg said that crews have started ditching. Septic tanks at the town hall complex have been pumped. The township has taken delivery of 85 tons of salt this winter for maintaining safe roads. Hammar suggested writing a letter to Morton Salt to see if the township could buy less than its original commitment, considering the mild winter.

PARK: Hammar is awaiting the results of the park levy as well a grant application. Trustees also distributed a flyer to township residents, asking for support of the park levy.  A sign for the town hall pavilion (“Donated by Little League and the Boosters Club”) is to be completed soon.

SPRING CLEAN-UP throughout Freedom Township is scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9 (Thursday noon to 8 pm; Friday noon to 8 pm; and Saturday 9 am to 3 pm). Accepted items: Tires (limit six per family), batteries, motor oil, refrigerators and freezers. Unacceptable:Truck or tractor tires, paint, garbage, yard waste, barbed wire, building materials, shingles or fencing materials.
NEW BUSINESS: Hammar proposed a resolution in support of oil and gas well drilling, with copies to newspapers and legislators. Trustee Zizka opposed this resolution, stating it is a matter of personal choice. Duffield said it is not that people are against drilling, they just want it researched and done right. Trustee Roy Martin proposed sending a letter stating that the trustees are not against drilling or fracking but are mindful of the concerns of township residents with regard to safety. Zizka will compose a letter for trustees to sign.

The Building Department has approved plans for repair work to be done to the town hall front porch ($103 fee to renew the building permit) by Classical Construction with a tentative time frame.

Freedom Twp. – The regular meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 21, 2011. All  trustees  were present.
Mr. Hammar led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to approve the minutes of the July 7, 2011 regular  meeting with one correction: the charge for brine application is $60 per load.
Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to approve the minutes of the July 13, 2011 Public Hearing as presented. Motion carried.
Zoning: Mr. Derthick reported that he met with the Assistant Prosecutor regarding current cases, to go over paper work and make sure everything is in order. He has also taken pictures of all violations, which is something Mr. Meduri wanted him to do. The BZA did not meet this month. The Zoning Commission (ZC) met and worked on a definition for portable storage units. They also discussed gambling parlors, and internet cafes. The ZC will not meet in August. Mr. Zizka asked Mrs. Nicholas to provide the Zoning Inspector, Assistant Zoning Inspector and Zoning Secretary with copies of the township’s personnel manual. Regarding the use of paper in the zoning office, Mr. Zizka said the trustees came to the conclusion that the zoning commission is part of township government; therefore, we will not be keeping a ledger of copies made. He told Mr. Derthick that if there was a problem in the future with office supplies disappearing at a rapid pace, it should be brought to the attention of the trustees. In response to a question from Mr. Zizka regarding the building on the north side of S.R. 303 by what used to be the “Emporium,” Mr. Derthick responded that it is a temporary building, it is on skids, and it can be moved.
Roads: Mr. VanSteenberg reported (1) paving of Stamm Road has been completed; (2) the door knobs in the church building and town hall have been replaced with handles; (3) he has the new agreement for brine application; (4) the new refrigerator for the church was delivered and installed this week. Mr. Zizka noted that Mr. VanSteenberg kept the trustees advised on the overage of materials on Stamm Road.
Fire: Mr. Martin reported on activities of the July 12 GFN district meeting. He and Jeff Kaiser attended the FEMA webinar on June 16. Plans are proceeding for the new storage building (being done by the Association). While doing an auto extrication, a blade broke on the cutters; it will cost $900 plus labor for replacement blades. They have a quote from Scotchman Electric for replacement lights.
EMS: Mr. Zizka reported that they approved the bid to have the shakes on the building cleaned, and the damaged and missing shakes replaced. They also approved some vinyl fencing and the purchase of a power washer from S&K Sales & Service. The district has  an opening for a paramedic. The board met in executive session to deal with a complaint against a public official.
Regional Planning Commission: Mr. Hammar reported that they went over the financial report for the coming year and also discussed extensions on subdivisions.
The trustees signed a cemetery deed for Mary Judith Stevens, Lot 580 B/C/D, Drakesburg Cemetery.
Mr. Hammar will call Ellerhorst Agency regarding the health insurance renewal. Mrs. Nicholas asked that the applications for Butler be completed and returned as soon as possible.
New Business: Mr. Zizka reported on the special meeting (as published in the Record Courier) with Ronyak Paving regarding work on Stamm Road. The County Engineer’s office estimated 66 cu yd of material for the berm; Ronyak used 144 cu yd. The revised invoice in the amount of $146,100.26 reflects the extra material charge over the original bid amount of $142,776.48. Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to approve the revised invoice from Ronyak Paving in the amount of $146,100.26 for Stamm Road Improvements, OPWC Project #CT90N.  Motion carried.
The trustees reviewed recent correspondence regarding the proposed Crown Castle lease extension. They agreed that they wanted to go back to their original proposal; i.e., to extend the lease for an additional 20 years with a $5,000 signing bonus plus 25% of any revenue for each subsequent tenant after the first one. Mrs. Nicholas will convey this to Crown Castle.
Unfinished Business: Mr. Zizka has a verbal quote from Mr. Miller of $9,500 to do the town hall porch and roof, with the township removing the existing roof, slab and footer. Mr. Zizka will check as to whether or not this includes the $500 fee for the architect.
Mr. Hammar said he would like to proceed with making some improvements to the town hall pavilion.
Mr. Duffield said he would be available to assist the first week of August. The trustees discussed putting in electricity and water. Mr. Hammar will get updated quotes on the electrical work.
Mr. Hammar said he had nothing to report on King Road but asked about the beaver dams by the garage.
Mr. Zizka said the water is still high but he talked to the turnpike division superintendent about a week ago and they are not concerned at this point. The trapper has removed his traps and if the weather holds, we can start removing the dams.
Mr. Hammar said he has a number of groups willing to pick up stones in the newly-plowed field at the Community Park.
Mr. Zizka reported that Bethel Springs Fellowship made a donation to the Park Improvement fund. The  trustees will send them a thank you letter.
The trustees looked at wallpaper samples for the church basement meeting room and bathroom, and an estimate for materials and labor to do the work. Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to approve the purchase of materials to wallpaper the church basement meeting room and bath (approximate cost $200) plus labor at the rate of $10 per hour.  Motion carried.
During the meeting, warrants #5649 – #5663 in the amount of $49,213.09 were presented to the trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:41 pm.

The James A Garfield Class of “1961” celebrated their 50th class reunion at Roby Lee’s Restaurant in Newton Falls on Saturday June 18th. There were 63 in attendance, 38 of those being classmates.

Each classmate received a certificate of congratulation from the Superintendent, Charles Klamer and the Board of Education, an engraved “class of 1961 50th ” key ring, a pink rose (the class flower) and a children’s book authored by classmate Mary Jo (Minnick) Stiffler.

The evening began with the invocation and welcome given by classmate Regina (Lejsek) Kochar of Kowloon, Hong Kong. A delicious buffet dinner and the sharing of many photos and memories followed.

Classmates attended from Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Hong Kong,
All those in attendance had a very enjoyable evening. The celebration continued Sunday, June 19 with a picnic at the Freedom Town Hall and pavilion.

Freedom Township – The regular meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 16, 2011, immediately following the public hearing. In attendance were Trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector and Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present were  Harold Cain, Charles Duffield, Dan Grafton, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hawkins, and Stan Lawrence.The minutes of the June 2, 2011 regular meeting were approved as presented.During the public comment section Mr. Hawkins asked the trustees for an extension on a project he is working on. Mr. Derthick noted that Mr. Hawkins is in violation of our zoning resolution, dating back to mid-November of 2010. This has been referred to the Prosecutor’s office. Mr. Hawkins was granted one extension which has expired. The violation involves a number of vehicles on the property, and Mr. Hawkins said he is trying to get rid of them; they are for sale. Three have no plates and do not run; two have plates and do run. Mr. Derthick said the process is slow and as far as the zoning office is concerned, they want the Prosecutor’s office to follow their standard procedure. Mr. Hammar pointed out that this will give Mr. Hawkins additional time. Mr. Zizka said we should let it run its course; Mr. Martin and Mr. Hammar agreed. Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins then left the meeting.Mr. Lawrence presented a proposed amendment to the Zoning Resolution which had been approved by the Zoning Commission at their public hearing held on June 15, 2011: Amendment #1 Add §416.0 Outdoor Hydronic Furnace Regulation.Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to accept the recommendation of the Zoning Commission to amend the Zoning Resolution. Motion carried. Mr. Martin made the motion to set a public hearing for Thursday, July 21, 2011. It was pointed out that this will be past the 30 day deadline. Mr. Martin moved to amend his motion as follows: to set a public hearing for Thursday, July 7, 2011, at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall to review the proposed amendment to the Zoning Resolution, with the Regular Trustees meeting to immediately follow the public hearing. Mr. Zizka seconded the motion.  Motion carried. Zoning Report: Mr. Derthick said they had issued one certificate for a deck. He mentioned the “all boards” meeting held recently in Nelson Township with Mr. Meduri in attendance, and asked if the board of trustees would like to entertain an “all boards” meeting for Freedom Township. Mr. Hammar suggested we ask Mark Finamore to attend. Mr. Martin agreed with the concept but said that when we had opportunities in the past, few people chose to attend. Mr. Zizka said it would be nice if the trustees and zoning, as a group, were all on the same page. He added that he doesn’t necessarily see that such a meeting would require Mr. Meduri’s presence but he was open to any suggestions. Mr. Derthick said that Mr. Meduri is part of the process. Mr. Duffield said he didn’t think the trustees should go out of the county and pay somebody $100 an hour to interpret our zoning resolution. Mr. Martin and Mr. Hammar will check with the Zoning Commission and Board of Appeals to see if they are interested in an “all boards” meeting and  will go forward from there.     In response to a question from Mr. Zizka, Mr. Lawrence said the Zoning Commission is looking at regulations for internet cafes.Roads Report: Mr. VanSteenberg said they started mowing, and also did patching on Vaughn, Hewins, Vair, King and Slagle. They cleaned out Mrs. McCoy’s culvert, cleaned out the ditches on both sides of the culvert, and hauled all of the dirt. No dirt was piled on the bank. The trash drop-off resulted in 4 dumpsters of trash, 1 of tires and 1-1/2 of scrap metal, for which we received $842.40. Work is delayed on Goodell Road because Luli’s grader is out of service.Cemetery Report: The rope broke on the flag pole at the Freedom West Cemetery; it was repaired with new rope, snaps and cable at a cost of $150. Mr. Hammar said he looked at some of the leaning headstones and they do need some attention. Mr. VanSteenberg said they can take care of this in-house, as they have in the past. Mr. VanSteenberg said Burrows would look at the pump at Drakesburg Cemetery, which is not working. Mr. Hammar said a resident complained about plant hangers being stolen from a grave in Drakesburg Cemetery. Everyone agreed with Mr. Zizka’s comment on how nice the cemeteries looked for Memorial Day.Park Report: Mr. Hammar said the park committee met and discussed an Election Day raffle. He said everyone’s help is needed, to give the park committee direction and to encourage others to get involved.Fire Report: Mr. Martin provided a handout detailing the June 14 District Meeting with regard to personnel and maintenance matters. He reported that to date we are the only department in Ohio to use both of the Ohio Fire Academy’s training trailers (Mobile Search & Rescue Lab and the Flash-Over Lab).EMS Report: Mr. Zizka said the open house held in May ended up $200 under budget. They are getting ready for SummerFest. The Association is working to apply for a 501C3 non-profit status. They would like to get a power washer and install air conditioning in the building. In response to a request from a nonresident to forgive or in some way modify the bill she received for $700 for transport, it was decided we cannot reduce bills for non-residents.In new business, Mr. Martin had asked that the topic of Town Hall Pavilion Rental Fees be put back on the agenda. After considering the fact that the trustees discussed this at length at the beginning of the year, and decided in February what the policy was going to be for the year, he was having second thoughts about the decision to not charge a fee. With no disrespect to the donors, he thinks we should stay with the decision made earlier in the year. The pavilion has been rented several times and no one has complained about the rental fee. Mr. Zizka contacted other townships and quite a few of them have no pavilions. Those that do, charge a rental fee. Mr. Martin said that the majority of the time the pavilion would be open to the public free of charge but if someone wants to reserve it for their exclusive use, they should pay a fee. Mr. Martin made the motion to rescind the motion passed at the June 2 meeting (6-2-11.7) and to reinstate the policy set in February of this year; i.e., to set the rental fee for the town hall pavilion at $25 for residents and $50 for non-residents, with  corresponding security deposit. Mr. Zizka seconded the motion.  Motion carried.  Mr. Martin further suggested that all fees should be discussed and set at the organizational meeting in January of each year.  Mr. Grafton said the trustees should feel honored that a pavilion was donated to the township and should abide by the donors’ request that there be no charge for township residents, only a refundable deposit.Mr. Zizka attended the NOPEC grant workshop on June 8 and our township was awarded a plaque for participating in the “Powering our Communities” energy grant program. The plaque will be displayed at the town hall.Mr. Zizka said that the members of Bethel Springs had renovated the flower beds at the church building and they would like some mulch to put around the plants. Mr. Hammar added that Bethel Springs also volunteered to paint the trim on the front of the church and around the sign. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to allow the members of Bethel Springs to paint the trim on the front of the church building and around the sign. Mr. Zizka suggested that the township supply the paint. Motion carried unanimously. Mr. Zizka will get the mulch and paint.Unfinished Business: Mr. Zizka said we are still waiting for information from Mr. Miller regarding the town hall porch work.Mr. Derthick will check on the Vaughn Road property (trailer). Mr. Derthick also stated that the POD unit on S.R. 88 will be removed.Mr. Hammar reminded everyone that the Community Picnic will be held August 21. He would like to have crafts and music. Both churches will be invited to participate, we will ask the VFW to conduct the flag ceremony, and the township will furnish chicken, the same as last year. At Mr. Hammar’s request, Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, authorizing Mr. Hammar to place an ad in The Villager asking for participants for the Community Picnic.Mr. Zizka said he had tickets printed for the picnic table raffle, drawing to be held at the picnic on August 21. Detour Drive-Thru and S&K Sales & Service will post a flyer and also be selling tickets for the event.During the meeting, warrants #5595 – #5608 in the amount of $5,065.96 were presented to the Trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature. There being no further business, Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 pm.

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Freedom Township – The Freedom Township Board of Trustees met on May 5 in regular session. The meeting was attended by trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector; and Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present were Charles Duffield and Harold Cain.Much discussion focused on springtime roadwork and the upcoming Spring Clean-Up, which is scheduled for June 9, 10 and 11 (Thursday, noon to 6 pm; Friday, noon to 6 pm; and Saturday, 9 am to 3 pm). Acceptable items will be decided during the June trustees meeting.Two holes on Hewins Road have been filled with gravel and asphalt. Brush pick-up has also begun. High winds caused a downed tree on Stamm Road, plus brush on other roads, which were cleared. 170 geraniums from Pochedly’s were ordered for the cemeteries, at $1.00 each (same as last year).Both Hammar and Martin received calls from Richard Bonner, complaining about the condition of Goodell Road. Trustees approved a contract with Henry Luli Construction in the amount of $910 for work on Goodell Road, and to purchase 110 tons of #310 slag from Rick Kuntz for $16 per ton for use in repairing the road. Hammar said he is working with Scott Miller of the County Engineer’s office on the Issue 1 application for Vaughn Road. Nicholas said she intended to contact Miller for an explanation regarding the $20,000 increase in the engineer’s estimate for Stamm Road. This public works project was accepted with an assumed local share of $46,800; but now it looks like a local share of closer to $67,000 will be required, depending on how the bids come in. VanSteenberg had an estimate from H. Luli Construction in the amount of $5,250 to chip and seal the drive at Drakesburg Cemetery. The township would be responsible for patching the low areas and pot holes. Luli said if the township provided the #8 stone, he would deduct $500 from this amount. Zizka asked about getting another quote but VanSteenberg said Luli is the only one who does this type of work. Zizka said he is not saying the work isn’t necessary but neither the cemetery drive nor the Goodell Road work was on the agenda. He said the trustees need the opportunity to consider these things, not come to a meeting and get blindsided by these proposed expenditures. No action was taken; it was tabled until the next meeting.VanSteenberg purchased a diamond saw blade for $111.80 at Fastenal for cutting asphalt. He will keep track of the footage to see how much use this blade offers, compared to the other blades in use. Zizka will check to see if the brush has been picked up on Hewins. Cemetery: Cain noted that several stones are leaning at the West Cemetery. VanSteenberg said they have been that way for years. Mr. Hammar will look into it.Nicholas had a request for deed transfer from Sallie Hubeny. Trustees approved the transfer of Lot 414, Graves C & D, Drakesburg Cemetery from Sallie Hubeny to her niece and nephew, Lisa May Stewart and Richard Stewart; and to waive the $15.00 transfer fee. The trustees signed a letter thanking Ms. Hubeny for her many years of volunteer service to the township.Park: Hammar said the trees donated by Soil & Water have been planted. The trustees signed a thank you letter to Mr. Bierlair for donating the trees. There is some debris at the park, from the old school, which Zizka said should be moved. VanSteenberg said it should be covered over, then smoothed out. Hammar said, if it’s covered with grindings, it can be used for additional parking. No action was taken.New Business:Trustees agreed to purchase 300 tons of sodium chloride (rock salt) through the Ohio Department of Transportation Cooperative Purchasing Program for the 2011-2012 year. The week of May 15, 2011, was established as Emergency Medical Services week, with the theme, EMS: Everyday Heroes, with an open house held Saturday, May 14. Nicholas had forwarded to the trustees an e-mail from Crown Castle regarding the cell tower. Verizon (the only tenant) will come off the tower on April 30, 2012.
The roof on the east side of the town hall requires upkeep. Martin said we should accept Mr. Miller’s offer of a credit and apply it toward the porch work. Zizka said he and Duffield looked at the roof in detail, and the main concern is appearance; not durability or integrity. Cain said that he was opposed to leaving the roof the way it is; the contractor said it was a bad job and offered to redo it. He also questioned what happens with the warranty if we leave it as it is. Martin said there is nothing wrong with the roof as far as function; it is purely cosmetic. Because of finances, Hammar prefers taking whatever credit Miller offers, and apply it to the porch. Zizka said township employees may be able to remove the old porch, which would also save some money. He will contact Miller and also get a written quote from Milano for the concrete work.No offers have been received for the 1994 one-ton truck. Zizka said he would give the township $200 for it. Mr. VanSteenberg will call C&B to see what they will give for it.Hammar has an appointment with an attorney in Alliance who is an oil well specialist. He invited Mr. Zizka and Mr. Martin to accompany him.During the meeting, warrants #5522 – #5556 in the amount of $26,596.27 were presented to the trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature. The Freedom Township Trustees meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall, located at the triangle of State Routes 303, 88 and 700. These meetings are open to the public, and residents are encouraged to attend.

Kent – James A. Garfield graduate and Kent State University senior, Shannon Gallagher was recently inducted as a charter member of the Kent State chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society, the first academic honor society dedicated to entrepreneurship. The mission of Sigma Nu Tau is to promote, recognize, honor, and reward academic excellence in entrepreneurship and to encourage and recognize the practice of principled entrepreneurship.  Six other students, three community entrepreneurs, and five faculty members were also inducted into this charter group.  Shannon (pictued above with Jeff Hoffman) is majoring in both fashion and entrepreneurship and was inducted in a ceremony and program that featured guest motivational speaker, Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline.com.

“Mid pleasures and palaces,
Wherever we roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.”

Does this apply when it’s the home itself that is roaming?

What a way to spend a day!  The Schultz family homestead–now owned by Don Wolff–was scheduled to hit the road at about 9:15 on the morning of April 21 but the rubber actually hit the road about an hour later than that–speculate all you want on the particulars of why things got backed up, just about any thing you could come up with , short of alien invasion, would probably be at least partly right.  Wires were raised, mud pitfalls covered, trees trimmed, official measurements were taken, traffic was directed; the wind blew steadily; the sun shone intermittently (no rain!); it was, at least early in the day, cold as a banker’s heart(Sorry, Gretchen).

Finally, about 11:00, both parts of the structure–house and addition–made it to the tarmac and the procession began.  Past the Just For Kids Child Care and Learning Center(Where the tykes got  ringside seats)…past the James A. Garfield High School(Do you think that there were many eyeballs trained–with or without permission–out those windows?)…CTS Telecommunications, two crews from Ohio Edison, SuddenLink.com, Eckman Tree Service were all in evidence…there were plenty of flashers and fluorescent vests and hats….  The star turn, of course, was by the Wolfe Moving Company (For all your structural moving needs) which furnished the expertise …and the big wheels…to make it all happen.  Seventy thousand pounds–give or take–begins the migration.

Around 12:55 there was a glitch around Anderson Rd., apparently a wire problem, which brought traffic–there was quite a bit of it– to a standstill on Rte. 88.  Truckers dismounted from their cabs to try and figure out what the hold up was (The hills there interrupt the line-of-sight).  They seemed skeptical when told that it was a house in the road that was the hold up.  The language during this interlude was not suitable for a family publication and lots of vehicles turned around in lots of driveways to attempt a getaway.  At about 1:15 the problem was resolved ; the whole troop moved across the private right-of-way (Northeast Ohio Oil Field Services) to Nichols Rd. and hung a right to turn north for the final two legs of the journey.

The tight left turn from Nichols onto Hankee Rd. came up at about 2:30–it was amazing how fast things went, really–and required more trimming , as well as having the individually-controlled power wheels underneath the heavy-duty house carriage turn on their own to swing the tail end of the whole apparatus into the roadway, not the ditch. This could make parallel parking a snap!

The ministrations of Zuver Construction were making the end-location site presentable when the whole entourage arrived at about 3:00…after changing the traffic pattern in Freedom/Hiram Townships for much of the afternoon.  Local gawkers–present company included–were out in force.  Every dog on Hankee Rd was on alert; a truck full of pineapple went by…your usual afternoon in the country.  Everything pulled into the driveway, off the road, and the maneuvering to get the house over the hole dug there for the foundation began.  It went on for quite a while.   Watching guys go under the structure to turn cranks and on the porch roof to raise wires is kind of scary…reminiscentof the scene in “The Wizard of Oz where the house lands on the Wicked Witch of the West.

The house is perched on steel beams waiting for its foundation to be built under it; the addition waits to be re-added.  Everything waits for the rain to stop so that building the foundation will not involve flippers and wetsuits.  It’s in a nice spot, lots of landscaping rocks available, wildflowers abound, plenty of shade.  Upwards of $80,000 rests in place, ready to become a home

It’s not too often we see an old house get a new home. But that’s exactly what happened on April 21 with a rental house in Garrettsville on South Street (SR 88). The 1920s-era house — next to Just for Kids preschool — was scheduled to be torn down in order to make way for the new Garrettsville Family Medicine office to be built on that site. Instead, it got a new lease on life from Don Wolff, in a new location… a wooded lot along Hankee Road in Freedom Township, across from Wolff’s Blueberry Patch. As these photos demonstrate, it’s complicated to maneuver an old house (in sections) onto a new foundation on a cool, muddy day… but it certainly is memorable! – Photo series by Estelle R. Brown

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Freedom Township - Items of interest and importance discussed and acted upon at the March 3, 2011 meeting:
Mr. VanSteenberg spoke of flooding that occurred in the township. A culvert on Hewins Road collapsed. They put in a new plastic culvert and the road is now  open . He is keeping track of materials, equipment and labor on this project in the event FEMA makes funds available for reimbursement.

VanSteenberg reported 80 feet of berm washed out on Stamm. A Hewins Road resident complained of flooding, asking if the township can do anything about it. It cannot be done  because he is off the right-of-way. The ditch was cleaned out and now his concern is heavy rain washing out his driveway. Mr. VanSteenberg requested  a letter be sent to a Vair Road property owner regarding beavers on his property causing water to back up on the road causing a flooding problem. This action was approved by all.

Minor water problems at the church werer addressed. Mr. Zizka said a rut along the drive needed filling in and the snow build-up prevented water from sheeting across the drive. Mr. VanSteenberg said he noticed one of the downspouts is disconnected. Mr Hammar will check into this.

Mr. Hammar had specifications and pricing on a plate tamper. There was also discussion about the need at this time. Trustees agreed to purchase up to a price of $1,354.28.
It was agreed to send a notification letter to American Risk Pooling Consultants reserving the right to accept other insurance quotations. All agreed.
An e-mail and Internet Code of Conduct Policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 24, 2088. Mr. Hammar suggested the following revision to include the term “personal use”. Motion was made to revise the E-Mail and Internet Code of Conduct as follows:

Unacceptable uses of the Internet: The internet should not be used for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement. Solicitation of non-township business or any use of the internet for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement is strictly prohibitied. All agreed.

There is another water problem on King Road. A letter has been sent to the property owner asking for permission to go on the property. There has been no response to date.
Mr. Zizka updated the porch work being done on the Town Hall. They are working on the roof. The contractor is also working on a quote for the masonry work. The doors have been installed at the town hall and church building. He said there may also be an additional charge for reconstructing the rotted out sill by the back door of the town hall.

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Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the February 17 meeting of the Freedom Township Trustees were:
A representative of the Ohio Plan (insurance agency) presented information on a plan similar to the OTARMA plan which has been used for some time. This will be considered at the March 3 meeting.
Zoning Inspector Derthick said a letter was sent to the business at the corner of 700 and 88 regarding trailers parked in the road right-of-way. A violation regarding unlicensed trailers has been sent to the prosecutor. Mr. Hammar said the Zoning Commission is working on hydronic furnace regulations.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported water in the ditch on Stamm Road backing up on the road and freezing. One of the owners will replace 80 ft. of pipe in the ditch plus his driveway culvert. At Mr. VanSteenberg’s suggestion, trustees waived the $5.00 per foot permit fee since it was a pre-existing condition.
A special meeting will be held February 22 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss roadwork and other spring projects.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported needed repairs for the ’95 Kodiak truck. Trustees Hammar and Martin voted to spend $1,860 on repairs plus $500 for axle repair. Mr. Zizka abstained. Motion carried.
Mr. Hammar is looking into software programs for cemetery records.
Mr. Martin reported on the Feb. 8 Fire meeting. The bid for the new tanker is $293,000. The grant has not been released yet. The chief and two others will attend the Monroevill Fire & Expo this weekend. They will be participating in the Portage County Incident Management Team Command and General Staff Functions for Local Incidents scheduled March 21 through March 26.
Mr. Zizka provided copies of the January 13 and 27 EMS meetings. They continue to work on revising Standard Operating guidelines. They will bill the Windham Joint Fire District $1,550 for the month of January.
The  ad for the Zoning Inspector position was discussed. Mr. Zizka suggested that  zoning hours be changed to eliminate Thursday morning. This  can always be added back in when business picks up. A unanimous vote was cast for the limit of Tuesday and Saturday morning.
Mr. Hammar continues to investigate high speed internet possibilities, including a proposal received from DISH for a price ranging between $19 and $35 per month.
Mr. Zizka said work at the parsonage is completed by County-Wide and the doors have been installed at the church

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Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the February 3, 2011 Trustee meeting were:

Mr. Tom Mesaros was appointed to the Zoning Commission for a one-year term.

Zoning Inspector Derthick reported one permit issued for a new single family home.  A resident on St. Rt. 700 has not responded about removing an unlicensed vehicle from his property. Trustees approved turning the problem over to the Prosecutor’s Office.
A request was made by a resident to transfer a grave lot to her. It was determined this could not be done as it is part of the deceased’s estate, so no action can be taken without proper legal authority on behalf of the estate.

Rental fee for the town hall pavilion was discussed. It was agreed to charge $25 rental plus $25 security deposit, both to be paid at the time of rental. A resident questioned why the fee should be the same for residents and non-residents. After discussion trustees changed to $25 for residents and $50 for non-residents, with corresponding security deposit.
It was noted Freedom Township will be hosting the County Association dinner/meeting on August 20, and the Community Picnic will be held on August 21.
Mr. Zizka said the bad weather has set back town hall roof construction work and it may be mid-February before work is started.
Mrs. Nicholas reported being contacted by the J.A. Garfield Class of ’61 asking if the pavilion and town hall were available for their class reunion June 19, and what the fee would be. Both buildings are available that date. It was agreed to waive the fee for this non-profit group, as many of the graduates are township residents.
Earlier in the meeting Mr. VanSteenberg reported they have been plowing and salting to keep the roads clear and they have not yet ordered any of our current allotment of salt, but will as soon as we have the space available.

Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the January 20 meeting of the Freedom Township Trustees include the following:

Zoning Inspector Derthick said he will be meeting with the Prosecutor regarding a storage trailer problem. He also said at another location the owner has been given until the end of July to remove an accessory building; in the meantime, no one is allowed to live in it, according to the prosecutor. The Board of Appeals re-elected Gil Krohn as chair and Jeff Rinearson as vice chair.

Mr. Hammar said the Zoning Commission re-elected Stan Lawrence as chair and Kathy Knerem as vice chair. Two other people have expressed interest in serving on the zoning board and Mr. Hammar will follow through.

Mr. VanSteenberg said road-clearing is on-going, new fuel tanks are in place,  old tanks have been emptied, electricity  has been hooked up. The transmission line for the Kodiak truck had a hole and was replaced. Another person will be performing community service (24 hours) at the town hall and church building. There was a problem with the well at the town hall and Mr. Burrows replaced the torque boot, wiring, switch and tank.

Mr. Zizka reported on EMS. Mr. Kaiser is chair and Mr. Wilson is vice chair. They are still working to resolve Workers’ Compensation issues. For the first six months, new hires will be getting fifty cents less per hour.

Trustees approved application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for funds for park development. Mr. Hammar will work with Mrs. Nicholas on this project.
Mrs. Nicholas spoke of her conversation with Frontier phone/internet services to upgrade the zoning office. This change will not be made since voice mail is not available at this time for our location.

Regarding gutter repair on the church, Mr. Zizka will follow up so it is completed before springs rains begin.
Zoning Planning Study information will be made available on the township’s website.
Small increases were made to the pay rates of the road crew. No increases are scheduled for calendar year 2011 in the pay rates for the zoning inspector, assistant zoning inspector and zoning secretary.

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Freedom Township – At the December 30, 2010 Trustee Meeting, the following matters were discussed and handled:

Zoning Inspector Derthick recapped zoning activity for the year. He will respond to a resident’s request regarding how complaints are handled.

Mr. VanSteenberg reported three replacement springs at a cost of $525 were purchased for the ’95 truck as well as a fuel tank repair at a cost of $450.

Rothermel Electric will disconnect the old and reconnect the new fuel tanks at the garage and install a new emergency disconnect button on the garage exterior at a cost of $780.

Mr. Martin said the Fire Department turned down sharing expenses with the Village for a computerized dispatching system. Mr. Zizka said the EMS also turned it down since we already get good dispatch service from the Village. He also provided recent minutes and call summary for November and said we continue to respond to Windham as needed and they are current in paying their bills.

Approximately 50% of the approved 2011 budget was appropriated.

Cemetery Regulations as revised at the December 16 meeting were adopted.

Mr. Mike Krzys was reappointed to the Board of Appeals for a term of 2011-2015. Mr. Frank Richnavsky was appointed to the Zoning Commission for a term of 2011-2015 with Mike Mikulski as alternate for a one-year term.

Attorney Dann Timmons donated his services to our gas lease project which was accepted. A gift certificate will be sent to show our appreciation.

Mr. Zizka spoke of the Right-of-Way Policy. He said that according to the Ohio Township Association, this should allow us to restrict cable companies from placing their boxes in the road right-of-way; the prosecutor is not sure that will be the case. Zizka said we need to prohibit people from putting masonry mailboxes in the right-of-way.

Commissioner Marsilio being sworn in by her mother, Sandy Pelphrey.

Garrettsville – On Tuesday, December 28, 2010, amid  Portage County political figures, law officers, friends and family, Tommie Jo Marsilio was sworn into office as Portage County Commissioner. The ceremony took place in the Iva L. Walker Auditorium, a fitting location for this James A Garfield alum  who credits former Social Studies teacher, Iva Walker, for her desire to get involved in government.

Assistant County Prosecutor David Brode led the proceedings.  Members of Garrettsville Girl Scout Troop 632 opened the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance and Pastor Gray of the First Baptist Church in Garrettsville offered the Blessing.

Commissioner Marsilio was sworn in by her mother, Sandy Pelphrey.

Tommie Jo Marsilio offered her thanks to those who supported her during her campaign and for their continued support. She vowed to do her very best in holding government officials accountable for their actions and to bring government back to where it truly represents the people.

Everyone who attended was offered refreshments of cake and punch in the Commons area following the ceremony.

January 3rd was Tommie Jo’s first official day in office.

Highlights of the December 16, 2010 Trustee Meeting:
The Zoning Inspector is still having computer problems. Trustees gave permission to get information on a new computer.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported the fuel tank on the ’95 Kodiak truck had a hole in it. Trustees agreed to authorize repair for a cost not to exceed $500. They also authorized purchase of 4 recapped tires for the truck at $225 each, plus $24 each for mounting. They also agreed to have repairs made to the springs on the door at the Route 700 garage for the sum of $235.
Trustee Hammar said our best opportunity for grant money for park projects is Nature Works (ODNR). The county share is going to be about $48,000 this year. The most we could hope to get is 70%. It was agreed he should proceed with the grant request.
Trustees agreed to approve the Delta Dental premium of $69.17 per month for the year 2011. Mrs. Nicholas noted this was a $2.04 per month increase. There was no increase in 2010.
Trustees accepted a $50 donation from Dorothy Morrison and family in memory of Thomas Kristoff.
It was agreed that the Annual Township Inventory would be held Monday, January 10 at 9am beginning at the Town Hall.
Trustee Zizka said mats were needed for the back door and upstairs at the church. Mr. VanSteenberg will check pricing with Rentwear. Mr. Zizka also advised the gutter on the south side of the church came down because of heavy snow and ice.
Mr. Zizka continues to follow up on details regarding the town hall porch project.
Mr. Hammar said there may be NOPEC grant money left over after the initial first round. Mr. Martin suggested if so, we apply for insulated doors and openers for the township garage, also an insulated entrance door.
The draft Cemetery Regulations brochure was reviewed and several revisions suggested. Mrs. Nicholas will present a revised brochure, which includes all the recommended changes, to be considered for adoption by the Trustees at the December 30 meeting.

Portage County – Snow days are every school kid’s fantasy come true… until it’s time to make up for lost instructional time. Most area school districts have already exhausted their allowable cancellation days due to two major snow storms in early December. Now districts are on borrowed time as actual winter weather kicks into typical gear, with drifting snow, ice, below-zero wind chills and slick roadways posing hazards for the next three or four months.
Due to a change in state law intended to increase instructional time for students, the number of calamity days for public schools has been reduced in 2010-2011 from five to three. Many administrators and students are hopeful that Ohio Governor-Elect John Kasich will repeal this new law set in motion by outgoing Governor Ted Strickland.
But until then, schools’ first line of defense against inclement weather will likely be two-hour delays rather than cancellations. Late-start days still count as instructional days to the Ohio Board of Education, so the hope is that they will buy districts the time needed to brighten and clear roadways, mitigating the risk of potential accidents.
“Typically, we see three to five weather cancellation days per year,” says James A. Garfield Schools Superintendent Charles Klamer. Considering that three school days were already cancelled by mid-December, it’s likely that the district will double that number before the spring thaw arrives.
Safety for students and bus drivers is a superintendent’s top priority, even with pressure mounting to keep school doors open as scheduled rather than extend the school year with added make-up days. “We drive district roads in the early morning hours, consult with our transportation and maintenance supervisor, other neighboring school districts, road crews and weather forecasts before making any decisions,” says Klamer. “It’s not easy making a decision in the dark. The worst thing to happen is to have a school bus accident on our hands.”
With that in mind, both Garfield and Crestwood school districts will implement two-hour delays when possible, if weather forecasts and local road departments indicate that roads can be adequately cleared in time, and weather conditions are likely to improve throughout the remainder of the day.
Currently, the JAG school year has set June 8, 2011 as the last student day (graduation is June 5). With every school day cancelled hereafter, the school year is another day longer. If 10 cancellation days accumulate, Klamer’s understanding is that the state requires other measures for making up lost instructional time, such as extended school days or Saturday school.
The JAG School Board will finalize its calamity day procedures for the remainder of the school year by December 27, and will post it for parents on the district website: www.garfield.sparcc.org. As always, notification of delays and cancellations will be made available on major radio stations, Fox 8 News and Channel 5 TV weather alerts.
When Crestwood called a snow cancellation on December 14, it became the district’s fourth calamity day this school year, exceeding the state allowance of three. Consequently, Crestwood will be extending the school year an extra day through June 8, 2011… until further notice.
According to Crestwood Superintendent Joe Iacano, Crestwood tries to alert parents of delays or closures by 5:45 -6:15 a.m. that morning. Periodically, forecasts are definitive enough that school can be called off in time for the nightly news the prior evening. The announcement of a closing or two-hour delay will be broadcast on Cleveland television and radio stations and via Crestwood’s Alert Now telephone system. Those who have not signed up for the Alert Now system should contact their child’s principal for details. Parents should avoid calling schools or stations since incoming calls tie up phones and delay notification.
If a Crestwood parent believes it is safer to keep their child home all day due to localized conditions, even after schools re-open, they should send a written excuse the next day and students will be excused and allowed to make up any missed work for credit. (See www.crestwood.sparcc.org for full details.)
Crestwood is the only Portage County district to have surpassed the three-day limit so far. In addition to JAG, five other Portage districts — Rootstown, Ravenna, Aurora, Streetsboro, and Windham — have depleted their three-day allowance. Remaining Portage school districts — Waterloo, Field, Kent, Mogadore and Southeast — have used two snow days and have one bonus day remaining.
…And winter has only just begun.

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Freedom Township – At the December 2 meeting many of those present were hoping for a very short meeting in anticipation of the Cavaliers’ game that evening.
The main topics of interest were:
A request from township resident Ginny Adams to use the township sign to advertise job skills workshops for people looking for work. They will use the Congregational Church and she will have a number of people to be presenters. She will be advertising the first session, which is to be held January 15 from 12pm to 4pm. Trustees agreed to her request.
On Zoning Mr. Derthick reported one permit issued for a single family home on Nichols Road. The zoning computer has been repaired; two viruses were found. He also said OTA (Ohio Twp. Assn.) is forming a zoning inspectors group, which he is planning to attend.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported they had salted the roads that morning and there was a burial yesterday. They purchased oil and filters for the trucks.
Mr. Hammar is proceeding to search for grants for the Community Park.
Regional Planning dues for 2011 in the amount of $2,156.28 were approved for payment.
Trustees reviewed appointments to the Zoning Commission and Board of Appeals. Terms to expire in 2010: Mike Mikulski, Zoning Commission; Mike Kryz, Mike Baker (Alternate) and Randy Pochedly (Alternate) Board of Appeals. It was decided to advertise for letters of interest for residents interested in serving on both of these boards.
Mr. Hammar said he had an offer from Dominion East Ohio to lock in  a rate of 6.29. According to the recent bill, our current rate is 6.89. There is a $100 termination fee (per location) if you want to change after you lock in. Locking in at 6.29 was approved.
Mr. Zizka had the final plans for the front porch remodeling and will be taking them to the Building Department. The contractor wants to do all the work at the same time. It was agreed to accept the plans as presented. Mr. Zizka was authorized to apply for a Building Permit.
Regarding the desire for high speed internet for the township, Mr. Hammar said he got a call from Frontier. They will be expanding their service area to the 527 area code and announcing it sometime in December.
Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.

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Freedom Twp. – The November 18 meeting began with a presentation by Mr. Ratliff, Lease Acquisitions, Kenyon Energy, who presented a revised lease agreement based on discussions with Mr. Zizka and Attorney Dann Timmons. Added were a water testing clause before and after drilling and a water damage clause. The water testing would be done at the oil company’s expense, as regulated through the State. Two proposals were offered: a 5yr/5yr renewal option non-drilling lease for $500/per acre ($25,400 payable in 60 days) or a straight 10-year non-drilling lease at $1,000 per acre ($50,800 payable in 60 days). the difference with the 5/5 year lease is that it may or may not be renewed, depending on the market. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to sign a 10-year Non-Drilling Oil & Gas Lease with Chesapeake Exploration, LLC for a total of 50.8 acres at $1,000 per acre or $50,800 payable in 60 days. All trustees voted yes. A recorded copy of the lease will be received.

Mr. Hammar said since much of this leased acreage involved park property, he would like the money to be designated to the Park Development fund. Mr. Martin said he would like to see it split, half going to town hall renovations. Mr. Zizka agreed. Mr. Hammar amended his motion to deposit 50% to the Park Fund and the balance to the general fund for town hall renovations. All agreed.

Mr. Richmond and Mr. Kishel of Weathertite showed a sample of their windows and submitted a revised proposal which included doors for the town hall and church, including all hardware for the doors. They were thanked, but no further action was taken at this time.

Zoning Inspector Derthick said the Zoning Commission agreed to remove the word “damaged” in section 301.5A of the code and change it to “structures destroyed by natural disaster”. He also spoke of some other changes to be considered. A permit was issued for a house on Nichols Road, two mylars and one agriculture permit. It was agreed to have the better of the two zoning office computers taken for evaluation and recommendation on upgrades needed to make it compatible with the upgrades.

Mr. VanSteenberg was given the OK to purchase cutting edges and bolts for the plow at a cost of $204. He reported the door is installed at the old garage and the furnaces installed at the church. The gas company is scheduled for tomorrow, the fuel oil has been removed and is at the garage.

Mr. Hammar said he is still working on grant applications for the park. He also said he had an inquiry about displaying banners at the ball games. The matter was tabled until the next meeting.

Mr. Martin said the Fire Department’s grant request for a tanker was turned down.

Mr. Zizka provided reports on responses, transports, department staffing levels and EMC minutes of 10/14 and 10/28 special meeting to review and revise standard operating procedures guidelines.

Mr. Martin attended the recent RAB board meeting and gave an update regarding clean-up of Rocket Ridge. Freedom will host the next RAB meeting February 16 at the Town Hall.

Mr. Hammar, Chairman of the Board, was authorized to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement Program, Local Transportation Improvements Program, and/or Small Government Program, and to execute contracts as required for the Vair Road Crossover Project CGU17. All agreed.

The new pricing structure for the new Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium, the first increases in a number of years. All agreed to continue the 2-year agreement between Robinson Health Affiliates dba Working Partners and the members of the Portage County Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium which expires Dec. 31, 2010.

Trustees signed a letter to be sent Bill Steiner, Director, Solid Waste Management District, in support of his quest for a Tire Amnesty Grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A resolution in support of this grant request was passed unanimously by all 18 townships represented at the County Association meeting Nov. 13.

After much discussion about the purchase of our diesel fuel, Mr. Martin made a motion to contract with Western Reserve Farm Cooperative to rent two double wall tanks for $23 per month which includes all maintenance. Martin and Hammar voted yes, Zizka voted no. Motion was approved and passed.

Mr. Zizka said he would like to give Countrywide an opportunity to meet with the board, as Weathertite did tonight. Motion was approved and passed.

Mr. Hammar made a motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to schedule the last meeting of December for Thursday, December 30 at 7:30pm at the town hall. All agreed.

Mrs. Nicholas suggested a meeting in mid-December to sign checks and focus on cemetery regulations. All approved a meeting for Thursday, December 16 at 7pm.

Mr. Zizka had architect’s drawings for town hall front porch renovations. He will meet with the architect for a few minor changes then it will go to the building department.

Mr. Leet continues to gather information to be presented to Suddenlink regarding high speed internet service. Mr. Hammar will contact Frontier after the first of the year.

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

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