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Garrettsville – The January 14th Garrettsville village council meeting began with council re-electing councilman Tom Hardesty as Village Council President.   Mayor Patrick then addressed council with a State of the Village report (see below).  Mayor Patrick also asked for and was granted council’s approval for his 2015 mayoral appointments.

It was noted during the review of the income tax reports that delinquent tax collection was up over last year’s numbers.  

Next, councilman Hadzinsky presented to council a report covering the last four years carryover balance in the village’s finances.  Hadzinsky presented facts showing since 2009 a steady decline in carryover balances – with an exception in 2012 when the village received a significant windfall from an estate.  Without that windfall, 2012 would have been a deficit year as well.  Hadzinsky asked council to agree that they have indeed been in a spending deficit and asked for the establishment of a minimum carryover balance (MCB) amount.  

Currently annual village income covers obligatory spending (salaries, utilities, insurances, etc.) and leaves approximately $144,000 annually for discretionary spending (roads, salt, vehicles, sidewalks, repairs, etc.).  Hadzinsky wants council to be more aware of their spending and plan accordingly.  After some discussion, council agreed that there is a need to establish a minimum carryover balance.  Council president Hardesty suggested that the MCB should be formally established when council finalizes the 2015 budget.  All of  present council members were in agreement.

Councilwoman Anderson brought up for discussion the need to put into place an employee review program.  She suggested that evaluations start with the department heads this year and include a process for them to share their vision for their departments as well as establishing budgetary needs.  Anderson feels that in order for the village’s employees to be accountable, they need to understand council’s expectations and goals.  After some discussion council decided to move forward with establishing an employee evaluation program having the mayor and council president administer it.     

Council adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel.  If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for February 11, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.  

 

State of the Village of Garrettsville 2015

  – Mayor Rick Patrick 

As we start 2015 I would like to reflect on the events of 2014.  In January, I was elected and sworn in to serve as Mayor for the unexpired term, through 2015. Becky Harrington, Chuck Klamer, Steve Hadzinsky and Tom Hardesty were sworn in for their new terms on council through 2017. Tom Hardesty was elected by council to serve as Council President. 

It was a long hard winter that we thought would never end. A big thank you goes to our street department for braving the elements of Mother Nature to keep our roads and sidewalks plowed and salted. 

Anyone that knows me knows that I have always stated that I am always up for a challenge but what happened next was something that I did not bargain for. 

On March 22nd, approximately 1:30pm, I received a phone call from my wife Linnette — very upset — stating that Main Street was on fire. I responded, “What are you talking about?” and she repeated that Main Street was on fire and that I needed to get back to Garrettsville. I was on the west side of Cleveland and I immediately started back. In the meantime, she texted me pictures and called me giving me updates. That drive back was probably the longest hour of my life, but it gave me time to think about how I would handle this situation. As I approached the east side of Hiram, I began to see the heavy black smoke and wondered how bad it actually would be. When I arrived on Main Street, the reality of how bad it really was hit me, and I knew that I had to remain strong as I fought back the tears. This was probably the worst tragedy in history for our Village. We had lost virtually a whole block that was home to thirteen businesses. We had lost years of history and a large part of our historic Main Street. Fortunately, with the exception of minor injuries to two firemen, there were no serious injuries or casualties. The responders to the fire included a total of 34 fire departments from Portage and surrounding counties along with aid from the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding area police departments. The most amazing thing, though, was the way that our Village came together to help in any way that they could ranging from residents to nonresidents, retired fireman, students, mayors from other communities, Governor Kasich and his office, local, county, state offices and many others. I have people every day ask me when are we going to rebuild from the fire. I explain to them these are all private properties and that it is not up to the Village to rebuild. I will say that we will do everything in our power to help with the development. We have already acquired a CBDG Grant for approximately $75,000 from Portage County to replace sidewalks, streetlights, landscaping and underground utilities.  I praise the property owners for their quick removal and cleanup of the area that was devastated by the fire. The Garrettsville Strong Fund was established by the Chamber of Commerce and criteria were set to provide funding to property owners in development of new buildings. Another fund was established to aid business owners. Many fundraisers were held and are still being held to aid the business owners and property owners. 

Shortly after the fire, the village was also disrupted by ODOT’s grinding and repaving project on State Route 82 from Mantua through Hiram and Garrettsville and ending at State Route 534. I was asked many times if we were still going to have our events, including Summerfest, and I said, “Of course we are going to have our events; Garrettsville is not closed.” 

Speaking of Summerfest, this was the 10th year for the Summerfest Festival and it grows every year. I was honored to serve as the Grand Marshal in 2014, and to have all my children and 6 of my 7 grandchildren attend. They are planning on coming back, as over the years, the Festival has become like a large family reunion that brings families and friends back together every year.  Thank you to Aaron King and his committee for all the volunteer hours that they put into organizing the festival, keeping up its traditions while coming up with new ideas, and creating an event that brings thousands of people to our Village and revenue to our many businesses.      

We are fortunate to have such a strong Chamber of Commerce, which consists of over 130 members. We are thankful for their involvement in the Community as they have for many years provided the village with an extensive calendar of events such as Community Garage Sale, St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, five Car Cruise Nights, Peach Social, Business Showcase, Masquerade Ball, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and many others. The Chamber over the years has purchased the street banners, concrete park benches, hanging flower baskets, Christmas decorations and much more. The Chamber provides three scholarships for our J.A.Garfield Students and its members are very involved in the Garrettsville Summerfest Festival. 

2014 was also the year for the bi-annual Christmas Walk, sponsored by the J.A. Garfield Historical Society.  This year’s Christmas Walk was a great success, and we thank the members for all their hard work establishing this start to the holiday season.      

Another obstacle that we had to deal with in 2014 was the Liberty Street Bridge replacement. It was a little struggle getting around during the bridge’s closure, but once finished it was a great improvement to our village, and leaves us with only now having to replace the other Liberty Street Bridge close to Center Street. I have been in contact with the Portage County Engineer about the replacement and have been informed that it will be approximately five years before that bridge is replaced. 

It was a busy year for roadwork in the village as curbing, new drainage and some sidewalks were replaced along Windham Street before the paving project by ODOT. Curbing, drainage and some sidewalks on South Street were also replaced, along with the entrance and sidewalks at the South Street Park. Chip and seal was completed on Silica Street and Brosius Road in a joint effort with Nelson Township, and the village performed grinding and patching on a number of other streets. 

New businesses that came into the Village include the new building in Garfield Plaza housing Pizza Hut along with two additional spaces for other new businesses, NAPA Auto parts and ACE Hardware in Garfield Plaza, and the reopening of the beautifully refurbished Garrettsville Cinema.  We also welcomed the Fresh Start Restaurant on Main Street, University Hospital with Dr. Neely into the Kepich Building on South Street, and the YMCA into the old Intermediate School. The Fraternal Order of Eagles completed their outdoor area and courtyard, making the corner look very nice. Rite Aid completed an extensive interior and exterior remodel, and a dilapidated vacant home on Water Street was removed and grass planted through the Moving Ohio Forward grant program, administered by the Portage County Land Reutilization Corporation. 

Probably one of the most significant improvements in the village in 2014 was the new school addition for the J.A. Garfield School District. It was stated that it would never be finished by the beginning of school in August, but through a joint effort with the village and many community involvement meetings, it was completed in time for the new school year. This brings the elementary, intermediate, middle and high schools all together in one area, creating the new J.A. Garfield Campus. 

After many years of sitting empty, and debates as to whether to save it or tear it down, the Paul’s Grist Mill was acquired by developer Mike Maschek and the back half was finally torn down and cleared away. Mike began total rehabilitation of the historic front portion, gutting down to the stud walls and conducting a complete restoration. With minor things yet to be completed, it should be ready to be occupied by early spring of 2015.  In addition, six new homes were constructed in the village. 

The village services continue as they have in the past, consisting of Fall Leaf pickup and vacuuming, tree limb pick up the 1st Monday of the month, tree removal program on tree lawns, sidewalk snow plowing, Christmas tree pick up, Spring and Fall clean up and recycle bin collection at the maintenance building.

As we progress through 2015 we will continue to offer these services, and as the budget allows, we will continue to replace sidewalks and repair roads with grinding, patching and chip & seal, as well as other improvements throughout the village as they are needed. 

I would like to say thank you to our Police department, Fire Department, Community EMS, our Street Department, Water Department and the Village offices. These are the people that are the core of the operations of the village and they deserve many thanks for keeping us safe and in good running order. 

As I close, I would like to reiterate, as has been said many times since the fire, that Garrettsville is strong. This past year’s events have proven that with all of our combined efforts we are strong and we will remain strong, and we will continue to do what it takes to make our Historic Garrettsville a great place to have a business, to get a great education, to  build or buy a home, to visit and most of all, to be a Village resident.  

As always, if you have any ideas, questions or comments, feel free to call me at 330-687-9637 or email mayor@garrettsville.org

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 – A new state rule that eliminates calamity days and sets minimum classroom hours means little to the James A. Garfield Schools. The new hour-based schedule requires 1,001 hours each year for grades 7-12 and 910 hours for K-6. The provision was signed into law last year in Gov. John Kasich’s two-year budget plan and equates to around 100 hours less than our students currently attend. Most Ohio schools average 1,126 hours, based on 6 1/2 hour days at 180 days per year. To meet the minimum hours, schools would need to be in session only about 5 1/2 hours each day. Currently our elementary students have  over 1,030 hours of instruction and our high school students have over 1,130 hours of instruction. 

Meeting minimum hours is not OK. Whether it’s days or hours, we need time to educate our students and meet the mandates placed upon our students. It begs the question, “If education is valued, why would our state legislators want to minimize our school year?”  This is a question we are still trying to understand.  

In all aspects of our organization we exceed minimum expectations.  Our test scores reflect teachers and students going above and beyond.  The condition of our grounds and buildings reflects doing much more than just the minimum. With new testing for students, higher standards and the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, this is no time to lower our expectations to a minimum.

Garfield’s teacher contract does not expire until this summer so the hour-based legislation does not apply to this school year.  This contract defines a number of days that far exceeds the minimum number of hours set forth by the state. So, regardless of what bar the state sets, our teachers will continue to set the bar for Garfield higher. While the state-issued calamity days have ceased, we have included makeup days in our calendar (at the end of the school year) if we miss more than five days due to weather.

Garrettsville – Once again the Garrettsville Eagles Club Aerie No 27 made a donation of $7,212 to the Portage County District Libraries. 

The Club members felt that there is a great need of funds to continue the many services the library provides.

Presenting the check to the Library Director Cecilia Swanson and Branch Manager Greg Trask were the Eagles’ President Tim Kelly and Cindy Alexander, President of the Women’s Auxiliary. 

The Library will be using the monies to buy new books to be housed  mainly at the Garrettsville and Windham Libraries. The rest of the libraries that make up the Portage County District are Aurora, Randolph, and Pierce-Streetsboro. The library data base includes Kent and Reed Memorial Libraries to facilitate free exchange of material.

The Eagles members are proud to support their community and hope to continue in future years. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary met and discussed a New Year’s buffet of possibilities at their recent meeting at Cal’s II.  Tasty items included :

Introduction of guest, Helen Louise Bouts.

Family Week meetings with James A. Garfield Elementary School principals have been forestalled by snow events but prospects are good for a rejuvenation and re-invigoration of the program, involving more kids and parents.

The Rotary International convention will be held this year in Brazil, June 6-9.  Any travelers?  The convention in 2017 will be in Atlanta.  Perhaps more plausible?  Think about it.

Rotary is affiliated with various interest groups under the organizational umbrella—travel, hiking, biking, etc—members can   find these on the Rotary website.

Local Rotary groups are consulting together about co-ordinating efforts to promote the Headwaters Trail.  This will fit in to on-going community activities such as the Art on the Hill  in Mantua, possibly initiate Art on the Boardwalk (Vendors will be invited) or a bike-and-hike event in the fall in concert with the Portage Park District.  There may be grants involved.  It’s a win-win situation.

Kyle Collins has submitted an application for the Rotary Student Exchange Program, hoping to be posted to Japan.

There was some discussion of sponsoring a drop-off event for Habitat for Humanity following the annual Community Yard Sale.  This would allow donors to bring gently-used or surplus goods to a central location in Garrettsville, eliminating a trip to the ReStore in Kent and making contribution easier.

Members are urged to track hours spent on various local community projects, partly for evaluation purposes , partly for goal-fulfillment aims.

And, of course, dues are due.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary meets every Monday at noon in Cal’s II in the Sky Plaza.  All are welcome to come and check it out.

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 – At the December 10th Garrettsville Village Council meeting, Mayor Patrick called Garrettsville police officer Timothy Christopher forward as he read Resolution 2014-38, which recognizes the seven years of service of police dog Taz and authorized retirement of the canine.  It further authorized officer Christopher’s assumption of ownership in exchange for $1.  Taz was retired earlier this year for health reasons.  He now resides with his handler, Officer Christopher and his family.  Christopher thanked the mayor and council for their dedication and continued support of the canine program and, though he will not be the canine handler any more, he will still be involved in a supervisory capacity.  Officer Keith Whan will be Garrettsville Police’s new canine handler.

Next the Mayor called police officer David Firtik forward as he read Resolution 2014-39, which recognizes Firtik for receiving the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) award for excellence in the enforcement of the laws against drunk driving and apprehension of impaired drivers.

In other business Councilwoman Becky Harrington requested council’s approval for drawings to be done for the sidewalks and streetscape improvements for the blighted Buckeye Block area.  The drawings will get the long funding process started for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that the Portage County Commissioners awarded the village last May.  

 Funds from the grant will be distributed in 2015 and are earmarked for streetscape improvements on Main Street in the area affected by the fire.  According to Harrington, even though there are no current plans for reconstruction, the sidewalks in that area are damaged and this is a first step in making the area safe and a bit more aesthetically pleasing for the residents.

The CDBG grant requires no matching funds from the village.  The village applied for the grant as part of an effort to rebuild Main Street after the devastating fire on March 22 that destroyed one quarter of downtown Main Street buildings.  The application that was approved stated the project budget at $78,250,  $76,675 would come from CDBG money for new 14-foot wide sidewalks and new lighting and the village would commit $1,575 for trees.

Council President Tom Hardesty updated council on the Liberty Street project that would correct drainage issues and slow deterioration from truck traffic on Liberty Street between Windham and Water Streets.  His hope is for the village to qualify for issue 1 monies to fund the project, currently estimated between  $125,000 and $150,000.

Council went into executive session for reasons of personnel compensation and discussion of property acquisition.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for January 14, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.  

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!    

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.

Business it was to begin the month of December for the Rotary Club of Garrettsville-Hiram.  This included :

Christmas Party at the Collins home on December 15; soup, sandwiches, appetizers, desserts, white elephant gifts to exchange, 6:30 p.m. to  start, merriment for all.

Planning meetings for Family Week on Wednesdays for breakfast at Fresh Start.  

The plan for benches to be placed along the Headwaters Trail, involving Eagle Scout projects and grant money being made available through Rotary District 6630 and donations focused on reviving and rebuilding in the village is still taking shape but it’s in good shape.

A $100 donation was gratefully received from Ohio for History (Tom Aiken)

Revisiting and updating the club by-laws should be accomplished by January.

Another Santa is needed for the Special Delivery Santa Project slated for December 23.  Any family wishing to participate should bring wrapped gifts to either the Business Works or McCumbers-Brady Realty   for distribution on the 23rd.  There is no charge but donations to the People Tree will be cheerfully accepted.

The mystery deepens…who was president of the club in ’80-‘81, ’86-’87, ’92-‘93?

The dictionaries are ready, will an elf deliver them?

The Four-Way Speech Contest comes up in spring; start preparing now.

Zad, the exchange student–in-residence brought a banner from his home club in Hungary.  He will soon be moving to new digs with the Schwan family (whose daughter, Rachel, is in Thailand right now) for more adventures.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary meets on Mondays at Cal’s II in Sky Plaza at noon.  Prospective members always welcome.  Get involved in the community.

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 – The Garrettsville Village Piecemakers quilt guild raffled a colorful queen sized quilt on November 16. The winning ticket was drawn by Bonnie Kissell of Garrettsville. The winner of the beautiful quilt is Carol Srajer of Mantua.

The quilt, named “Village Square”, was machine pieced and quilted by the quilt guild members. It was displayed in “A Thyme To Blossom”, the home owned by Earl and Bonnie Kissell, which was featured in the 2014 Garrettsville Christmas Walk.

The Garrettsville Christmas Walk is sponsored by the J.A. Garfield Historical Society. This organization graciously allowed the Village Piecemakers the privilege of displaying and selling tickets for their quilt in one of the homes on the Christmas Walk.

Shown with the quilt are raffle quilt committee members, Judy Toth and Liz Ritchey and the raffle quilt winner (center), Carol Srajer.  Anyone that would like more information on The Village Piecemakers Quilt Club can contact Shelley Gordon at 330-527-8129.

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 – The November 17 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society at the Mott Building was held amid falling temperatures and discussion of the recently completed Christmas Walk…with cookies to mark the occasion.  The attendance at the Walk was down slightly but the total income was up slightly;  the results were about on a par with recent history of the event, weather and the economy being taken into account.   Some 1,498 persons—give or take a kid or two—attended. A qualified success  qualifies as success  The Garrettsville that remained after the Buckeye Block Fire was in fine fettle and put its best foot forward for the visitors.  Many thanks to all who had a part in organizing and carrying out all of the activities AND to the homeowners who participated by opening their residences to the throngs of sightseers.

Nearly as important, the  Christmas party was scheduled for Monday, December 8 in Cal’s II at 6:30. Those wishing to attend should contact President Kit Semplak or another JAGHS member ASAP.

Nominations and elections of new officers and board members will take place in January, with installation in February.  New members are always welcome. Regular meetings are held on the third Monday evening of the month at 7:30 in the Mott Building on Main St., Garrettsville.

John Zizka enlightened the group on the state of Ohio townships and the latest in  environmental  (septic system) regulations and developments.  Always educational, these meetings.

Garrettsville – The Rotary Club of Garrettsville-Hiram discussed and applauded a number of topics at their recent meeting on November 24, 2014.  Items presented :

Tom Collins reported briefly on the progress of the Headwaters Trail update and promotion.  At least two Eagle Scout projects may be part of the picture. Views of possible trailside benches were circulating; Rotary grant money may be used for materials.  Still waiting for the village to sign off before launching any specifics.

Lisa Muldowney reported that the dictionaries for third graders at Garfield Elementary are ready to go.  Distribution date will be announced after consultation with the superintendent and principal.

President Delores McCumbers brought up the subject of donation to the Rotary International Foundation as well as the possibility of having a speaker from the Foundation to outline what the funds are used for.  The annual Christmas party will be held at the Collins home on South Park Blvd. on December 15.  The results of the invitations to participate in a “Cash Mob” were disappointing.  It’s been a bleak November for many of the remaining businesses on Main St…a difficult year.  There were thanks for a donation from Richard Brockett.

Caitlin Lawless entertained suggestions for the operation and improvement of Family Week, the next big club project.  Final confirmation of the dates awaits consultation with the school calendar.  A committee will be meeting Wednesday mornings at Fresh Start to begin revamping the entire operation, from Family of the Year to new activities yet to be determined.

Amy Crawford gave a final—pretty final, anyway—accounting of the results of the recent successful Reverse Raffle.  The total profit was up, meaning Rotary contributions to the community will be maintained and possibly expanded.  Appreciation was voiced for Chris Cavalier’s sound set-up.  Suggestions for more P.R. before the event and more thank you’s during the evening were aired.  Proposals for new games, a new timeline for activities, the diversification of responsibilities to  avoid individual overload and addition of more high tech methods of display were brought up.  Other issues are on the table for discussion.  On to 2015!

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Garrettsville - You’re invited to the Garrettsville Library, a branch of the Portage County District Library, for children’s holiday programs. On Wednesday, December 3 from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm, join us for a “Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas”. Enjoy frosting cookies, crafts, ornaments, and have a chance at decorating the Christmas tree. Be sure to remember to dress up in your “fancy” best. On Saturday, December 13 from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm, join us as we’ll make Christmas cards and gift tags with stamps. On Wednesday, December 17 from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm, visit and enjoy a trip from Santa. All programs are free and are for preschool and school-aged children. Registration is required to attend all events. Call 330-527-4378 to register or for more information.

Also, the Garrettsville Library will host December storytimes for children. Join us on December 1, 8, and 15 beginning at 11:00 am and on December 2, 9, and 16 beginning at 11:30 am. Enjoy festive stories and crafts during the holiday season. Storytimes are free and are geared towards preschool and school-aged children. Call 330-527-4378 to register or for more information.

The Garrettsville Library, located at 10482 South Street (in the Village Park), is open Mondays and Tuesdays, 11:00 am until 7:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00 am until 6:00 pm; Saturdays, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm; and closed on Thursdays and Sundays. For more information about other programs and services, visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville – Amy Crawford, of Business Works on Main Street in Garrettsville, was the featured member at the November 17th meeting of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club at Cal’s II.  She outlined her journey from Ravenna native and KSU graduate in marketing and international business through experience in sales—which gave her a first-hand understanding of promotional products and their importance in marketing—to becoming the owner of The Business Works and branching out into accounting and tax services, as well  as promotional products.  Twenty years!  And more to come!

Over the course of the twenty years (been at present location longer than any other enterprise on Main Street) many aspects of the industry have changed.  The computer and the internet have brought about many shifts in the capabilities of individual businesses in this area.  Digital printing and screen printing have had an impact on price, speed and quality; these, in turn, affect access to local creativity and allow more in-house production of promotional items, from activity shirts to zipper pulls.  The Business Works strives to work with reliable suppliers, develop customer relationships and foster school and community pride and involvement.  She was preaching to the choir; several members pronounced themselves very satisfied with their dealings with The Business Works.

Then, it was on to business.

Start planning now if you would like to have Santa and Mrs. Claus deliver a package/gift to your home on December 23.  There is no charge for this but a donation will be accepted for the People Tree (which could use some help in meeting community needs).  Cell phones and GPS have made Santa’s job a little easier but early reservation are still a must.

In common parlance the review of the successful Reverse Raffle on November 13, might be called a “post mortem” but the term certainly doesn’t fit the description of the lively party which took place.  A preliminary estimate of funds raised awaits final settlement.  Issues to be dealt with at the next happening were discussed—need for a designated catering honcho, need for more coat hangers, need for  earlier and broader publicity and invitations—and suggestions aired.  Watch this space.

Finally, the club will be making a contribution to support the  Garfield Intermediate School 6th grade  trip to Washington, D.C.  This is what having the Reverse Raffle was all about.  Rotary is lighting up projects across the community.

Garrettsville – A Public Hearing was held November 12, 2014 prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting for Proposed Ordinance 2014-31 that would eliminate a discrepancy in current legislation regulating the height of flagpoles in the village.  The discrepancy was found several months ago when a local business applied for a variance to install a new flagpole.  The proposed ordinance has nothing to do with that application, if passed it only rectifies conflicting legislation.  There was no offered discussion and no opposition.  The public hearing closed and the regular council meeting began during which the third reading of proposed Ordinance 2014-31 was recorded, voted on, and approved.

After a review of revenue, expenditure, cash balance and income tax reports, Councilman Hadzinsky commented that revenue for the past month had surpassed the previous year’s record, which helped decrease a deficit created by this years’ additional expenses.

A lengthy discussion ensued led by Council President Tom Hardesty, Councilman Klamer and Councilman Hadzinsky, about the state of Garrettsville’s finances and how the term deficit has been misunderstood by some residents to think the village is in debt – which it is not.  In fact the village will have approximately a $100,000 increase in carryover funds for 2015 compared to last year’s numbers.  The carryover is designed to fund the village during the next year’s first quarter before that year’s income tax revenues are collected.

What concerns Hadzinsky, who keeps track of the village’s income and expenses on a rolling twelve-month graph, is that the village has spent approximately $52,000 more than it has taken in the past year and if that trend were to continue, in time, it could deplete any carry-over balance.

Council President Hardesty assured council that the village’s revenue more than covers the obligatory spending every month (salaries, benefits, utilities, insurances, etc. totaling about $125,000/month).  Village clerk Nancy Baldwin added that 2014 income tax collections were ahead of last year’s.  She also reminded council that the added 2014 expenditures were for capital improvements and repairs, not spent frivolously.

Councilman Klamer was in agreement, reminding council members “Our job is to provide service to the residents.  Our job is not to see how much we can bankroll.”  He said as the village council they are responsible to the taxpayers and spending the extra money this year is “officials doing their job”.  Some of the extra expenses this year included work on sidewalk expansion and repair, dealing with drainage issues and curbing on Windham and South Streets.

Baldwin told council that in the 20 years she has worked for the village she has seen the expenses rise above income numerous times, but there have been many years of low spending too and it all balances out in the long run.

In fact, according to the last independent audit filed with the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office, the village is in compliance with all state budgetary laws.  The Ohio Village Officers Handbook provided by the Auditor’s office directs villages in their operations to assure compliance with all Ohio laws.  It also defines what constitutes fiscal watches or emergencies and Garrettsville’s finances are far from those definitions.

During roundtable discussion, councilman Klamer reiterated his thoughts about council’s  duty in providing good service to the residents of the village.  Klamer challenged his fellow council members by asking: “Do you want to be good or do you want to be great?”  He offered evidence of areas to improve services and encouraged all of council to engage in improving existing leadership and management within the village.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting.  The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

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!

Garrettsville – That’s what the top winners at the annual Rotary Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction decided to do.  The five lucky ticket-holders got together and decided to split the very substantial purse of $2000, giving every one of them an additional reason to be thankful during the upcoming holiday season.

It was a sell-out crowd for the festivity and the good times were rollin’ from early-on in the evening, beginning with Mike Carlson’s poignant and all-encompassing blessing through the inspection, appreciation  of and bidding on the many items available in the auction, the excellent meal catered by AVI from Hiram College, the new lottery tree feature and the “game of chance” action that took over as Lady Luck wandered through the room, stopping at tables to “blow on some other guy’s dice” occasionally.  There were out-of-towners, local “movers and shakers” (no hints on what got moved or what got shaken), Amish friends, Rotarians and well-wishers from all over; it was a good night and the good will be returned to the community in the many projects and activities sponsored by the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club in connection with Rotary International.  “Light Up Rotary” is a motto for all seasons.

Special thanks was extended to the generous Candle Level Sponsors—Bay Window, Carol and Al Donley, Michael Maschek, Middlefield Banking Company, Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson Funeral Homes and Crematory Services—who were the foundation support that enabled the  organization of this year’s gala fun time and fundraiser.

Contributors to the silent auction included Missy Steele Pottery, Energizer Batteries, Candlelight Winery, The Business Works, G-Men Boosters, Monroe’s Orchard and Farm Market, Art-N-Flowers, Charles Motors, Barton’s Boards, Darlene Jackson, Hermann’s Pickles, Monica Potter Home, Ace Hardware,Chris Cavalier PC Repair, Ellerhorst-Russell Insurance, Hiram Inn, MacKenzie Creamery, Facet Salon and Day Spa, Fresh Start, Maggie’s , Save-A-Lot, Domino’s, Ted and Maria Lysiak,    Pizza Hut, Subway, Sky Lanes, Mark Johnson, Party Lite, Garrettsville Animal Hospital, Diane Irwin-Lia Sophia Jewelry, TruValue, McCumbers-Brady Realty, Advance Auto, The Villager, Top Tier Pastry, Waterfall Antiques IGA.

Thanks to all, attendees, sponsors, donors, organizers.  Mark your calendars for next year—Bigger and Better!

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-Hiram Rotary Club   received the “sincerest form of flattery” when President Delores McCumbers  revealed that the Portage Cluster of Rotary clubs had emulated the local group by issuing a release on “Why I Support Rotary”, listing many of the community-based activities and international interests of Rotarians.

The Community Christmas Tree project was part of the meeting’s discussion. The tree is to be located downtown at the former Chic and Shabby/Root Store corner, donated by Dane Horvath of Horvath Landscaping.  Tom Collins will be providing lights and community members will be invited to bring (non-breakable) ornaments to decorate the tree.  On Saturday, November 8th and Saturday, November 15th, Santa’s sleigh will be on-site, as will Santa, from 12:00 to 4:00.  At that time, donations to the People Tree or the Community Cupboard will be received—food items, a toy or cash donations.  Possibility of  photo opportunity as well.  On the 8th and the 22nd , District 6630 Rotarians are invited to a Cash Mob/Flash Mob in the village, Sam Bixler and his horses and wagon will be delighting   passengers about town and the Spirit will be in the air.

The Silver Creek Garden Club of Garrettsville has made a generous donation to assist in planting bulbs around the fountain by the Boardwalk and at the entrance signs to the village.  Volunteers for the planting operations would be appreciated; see any Rotarian.

Tom Collins  reported that our resident exchange student, Zad, has been attending district-wide activities for exchange students, including overnighters and tours of Cleveland’s west side…east side next?  He continues to be taken aback by the sheer abundance he sees. Ted Lysiak revealed that the James A. Garfield Elementary has been tagged as  a “School of Honor”—one of only 48 in the state—as a result of its achievements and progress over recent years.

The Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction is on track and ROLLIN’ for next week.  Tickets still available but get them soon.  See any Rotarian.

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-Hiram Rotarians were gratified to meet some of the eighth grade Power of the Pen team members from James A. Garfield Middle School and their coach/advisor, Jackie Lovelace.  Ms. Lovelace, who has been the coach/advisor/motivator of the Garfield program for 13 years, introduced the group and offered a brief overview of the program, the procedures of competition and the excellent results which the students have achieved.  She also read examples of the students’ writings and it was clear why they had been so successful—excellent use of vocabulary and composition skills.  The G-H Rotary has, for the last five years, sponsored the district competition held at Garfield and was proud to see the hardware(trophy) that the writers had garnered.  Everyone will be pulling for these talented individuals—and their seventh grade counterparts—to go to the state competition this year.  It is a learning experience all around.

The trash pick-up on October 25 was successful…and fun.  The weather was good, the crew (Rotarians and Interact Club members) was convivial and enthusiastic, lunch at McDonald’s was fun, the pictures caught it all.  The Portage County Park District Foundation will be chipping in on the Headwaters Trail project now in the planning stages.  Some local members attended the Rotary/Bob Evans fundraiser       for Polio Plus, a Rotary community health initiative. Local exchange student, Zad, got to go to a district-wide Rotary exchange student get-together and get a feel for the upcoming Halloween activities.  Rachel Schwan, in Thailand, got to attend a RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award) activity in Thailand; this is a program that got its start with Dr. Bob Jackson , long-time member of the local club, district mover-and-shaker and all-around good guy.  Tempting to say, “What goes around, comes around” on the upside too.

Then it was “off to the races”…or, rather, “off to the raffle”.  The year’s big event, the Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction is coming up on November 13—almost here—and preparation is the word of the day.  Tickets are available.  Everyone is invited.  Donations and sponsorships are welcome.  Officials from all over have been invited.  It’s the 30th anniversary of this popular fundraiser and it looks to be the best yet.

November 13

SugarBush Golf Course

Don’t miss it.  Get your tickets NOW.

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-Hiram Rotarians were treated to a  local small business success story at their noon meeting on Monday, October 20 as Jessica Brokaw described the commercial progress of her husband, Doug Seaman, of Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC ,recently one of the local contractors involved in the work on the addition to the James A. Garfield Elementary school.  The painters always get the last walk-through and their commitment to quality is evident all over the building.  Doug began painting with his dad ( and now with his father and son) and other contractors then decided to take the leap into being an independent business upon landing a contract with Applebee’s, Inc.  An LLC (limited liability company) is a flexible form of enterprise that combines features of partnership and corporate structure; Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC was formed in 2013 with help from Tanay Hill, of Huntington Bank’s Garrettsville office and has a learn-as-you-go attitude toward business, a philosophy of hiring quality workers and a commitment to giving back to the community, developing  and deserving trust.  Doug Seaman Decorating, LLC is a prime example of how a skilled tradesman can fit into the larger economy and support family and community prosperity.

Also making a presentation was Colleen Steele, head teller at the Middlefield Bank and a member in good standing of the Garrettsville Silver Creek Garden Club.  Wearing the latter hat, she invited the Rotarians to be a part of the community  photo calendar being offered by the Garden Club to finance the flower baskets hanging from streetlights throughout the village.  The opportunity to give the community advance notice of regularly-scheduled events such as the Reverse Raffle (November 19th  this year, coming soon; get your tickets) and Family Week (2015, February), even regular meeting days at Cal’s II was too good to pass up.

Personal invitations to the upcoming Reverse Raffle have gone out to state and local officials of every stripe to be a part of the evening coming soon.  Members need to turn in tickets and payments as they go

Tom Collins reported on the progress –and success—of a local re-imagine and rebuild Garrettsville project focusing on the Headwaters Trail as a development focus for health and well-being as well as the local economy.  The District(6630) and local clubs have chimed in for matching funds; plans are in the works!

Further discussion bubbled up  concerning the possibility of having a Community Giving Christmas  Tree on the open space downtown, possibly in conjunction with the People Tree.  More to come.

Roadside Clean-up of State Route 82 between Garrettsville and Hiram will be on Saturday, October 25 (a busy day all around); any volunteers should meet at 9:00 at the Carlisle barn at the bottom of the hill.  Lunch will be at McDonald’s.  Y’ all come, now.

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 – Our students continue to perform at amazing levels.  Academically they exceed expectations.  On the latest report card they ranked among the best schools in the region. Our sixth graders set a JAG record as 92% passed the state reading test.  Eighth grade students also set a JAG record with 95.8% passing the state reading test. Our seventh graders also set JAG records in math (90.7%) AND reading (96.3%) on the state tests.  Finally, our fourth graders performed at the highest levels as they achieved 100% passage on their state reading test!

While testing is how the state ranks our schools, our students excel in so many more areas.  For example, JAG High School students earned 102 college credits through dual enrollment and AP courses. Our band continues to impress at band shows across the area, and even performed at the Hiram College Homecoming game!

Our teachers are awesome. Students perform at high levels, but behind every high test score, academic accolade or athletic achievement there is a team of hard working teachers.

Members of our community have come to expect to see and experience excellence from their schools. You have supported our school system, and this support has been crucial to our excellence. This is what we all expect from our students and one another. Great communities are made even stronger with great schools.  We are committed to excellence and will continue to look at ways we can improve.

As I reflect on my first year as the Superintendent of your schools, I am assured our community is the best place to live, work and learn. My expectations match those of our students, staff and community……..excellence in all aspects of what we do!

As always, I invite you to contact me directly in the office (330.527.4336), on my cell (216.534.7413) or by email (tlysiak@jagschools.org) if you ever have any questions or ideas to share.

Go G-Men!

Twentieth Century Club met Thursday October 2 at the Garrettsville Library with Lucy Galadye as hostess.

Members were asked to bring a sample of something they collect. Samples included wooden boxes (one for embalming fluid) – no coffins. Angels were collected for the guidance and protection they represent. There were rocks, including old Alaskan quartz.

Christmas collections contained “The Night Before Christmas” books, musical boxes and mugs and  Old World Santas (Pipka). There were collections of ducks and birds, some by Lenox and Jim Shore. There were Hummels and Precious Moments figurines, and, of course, Jane Bell collects bells.

Someone collects paper weights and another, fabric quilt squares (no quilt, just square). Another member collects kitchen tools with red handles.

The program brought up memories of collections some had forgotten they had. As one member so aptly stated, “It was a charming and unique program.”

The next meeting will be at the home of Jane Bell on October 16th. Members are asked to bring a package of diapers to give to “Safer Futures.”

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

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

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

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

Columbus Day reduced the ranks of   Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians but the Rotary spirit carried on.  Discussions covered the following topics :

*Dictionaries are here to be distributed on Thursday to third graders at James A. Garfield Elementary

*The organization needs to update and improve its presence on digital media.  To that end, G-H Rotary will be trying out the services of “ClubRunner”, a commercial operation that has a base integrated with Rotary International and the capabilities to handle photos and directories, planning and calendars and much more.  The investment could help broaden local appeal as well as promoting outreach and connectivity.

*The possibility of a Cash Mob/Flash Mob inviting the fifty-three clubs of District 6630 to come to Garrettsville for the Christmas Walk sponsored by the James A. Garfield Historical Society on the first two weekends of November could be a real boost to the local economy and spirit.  The horses will be there for rides around town, on November 8 and November 15—Thank you, Sam, thank you, Pete.  Diners will want to scope out the possibilities. Entrepreneurs will want to scope out the opportunities of coming to a historic village making a comeback.

*The Reverse Raffle is rolling.  Anyone interested in being a sponsor or donor for the occasion should contact Trish Danku or any other Rotarian to get in on the good karma…and good advertising.  Tickets are available now; get your table companions NOW, look for a good time with a great bunch.

*Tom Collins gave an update on the application for a district matching grant focusing on the enhancement and promotion of the Headwaters Trail as a community asset for health and  economic activity.  Looking good…specifics are working their way through the planning stages.

*Ideas concerning a Community Christmas Tree downtown at the Chic & Shabby lot or the Buckeye Block space are being floated.  Things will begin to sort themselves out when there is more input.

Things are happening in Rotary.  Join them at noon on Monday at Cal’s II in Sky Plaza.

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.

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

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

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary continues “full speed ahead” toward the big fall event, the Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction coming up at Sugar Bush Golf Club in November.  Sponsors and donors are still welcome; attendees from across the community can begin lining up their tickets now. See any Rotary member.  It’s an enjoyable evening with friends, old and new, and  great food.  Don’t miss it.

Items of business included Lisa Muldowney’s announcement that the Dictionary Project books are in.  They will each be outfitted with a sticker outlining the Four-Way Test and giving the name of the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club as the dictionary sponsor.  They will be distributed, classroom by classroom, to third graders at Garfield Elementary School as soon as they get their stickers.

The last home soccer game of the season will be on Tuesday; it’s Senior Night and the local Rotary Student Exchange guy in residence, “Zad”, has been part of the team since his arrival, making some major contributions.

The program for the meeting came from member Tanay Hill, of Huntington Bank, who started off with a clever quiz, designed to encourage focused observation by bank personnel and others who might be at the scene of an untoward event at a bank…or anywhere.  Observation  works to protect customers as well as bank employees when situations are out of the ordinary and may need investigation.

Ms Hill has one daughter and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2003 with a degree in accounting; her scholarship from Sky Bank led to her employment there and  when Sky Bank became part of Huntington, there she was.  She started in Warren, has risen through the ranks and has spent 9 years in management.  She is a past president of Business Network International, is involved in Junior Achievement and heads up a team of eight—with many years of experience– at the Garrettsville branch of Huntington Bank.  Her special field of expertise is in business development, which fits well with Huntington’s recognition as a #1 Small Business Administration lender.  Her branch has been a proud supporter of the Friends of Melana organization and is becoming more involved with the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce.  She asks the right questions and gets good answers

The welcomed guest for lunch was Josh Prest, a regional representative for the state treasurer’s office.  His contribution to discussion was to mention that the Youngstown Business Incubator has recently been ranked #1 in the world.  Rising from the ashes is good for the region and good for the state treasurer’s office

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

Representing the Garfield Inspectors are:

Ted “Leapin’” Lysiak (Garfield Superintendent)

“Big Jim” Pfleger (Garfield Athletic Director)

“Techno” Tom Bartz (GHS/GMS Technology)

Josh”Calculating” Camuso (GHS Math)

Mike “Proton” Paes (GMS Science)

Steve Zivoder (Class of 2009)

Toby Gerez (Class of 2008)

Marcus Roach (Class of 2002)

Jon Daley (Class of 2007)

Cody Berg (Class of 2012)

CJ Carlise (Class of 2009)

Ben Goodknight (Class of 2009)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.