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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.

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

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

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

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Garrettsville – Portage County District Library announces that it has received a grant from the Hiram Community Trust to coordinate a makerspace within the Garrettsville Library. Funds have been used to purchase materials and supplies for the makerspace. A makerspace is a creative space where community members can gather to create and share ideas. The library’s makerspace will feature creative spaces in the following areas: jewelry making, bookbinding, scrapbooking, quilting, electronics, photo editing, and video game development software. Additional funds have been provided by Garrettsville’s Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The future makerspace will be located in the Garrettsville Library, located at 10482 South Street in Garrettsville, and will be available during specified hours. Library hours are Monday and Tuesday, 11:00 am until 7:00 pm; Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 am until 6:00 pm; Saturday, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm; and closed on Thursday and Sunday. For more information about other library programs and services, visit the Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?

Nah.  Come to the  James A. Garfield Alumni Banquet and remember all that good old stuff with good old friends AND good food .  Yup.  It was a good one.

The organizing committee members—Helen Louise Paul Bouts, Elaine Lange Duffield, Ruth Becks Herrington, Bonnie Ball Oliver, Kit Younker Semplak, Judy Davison Toth, Carolyn Lange Unaitis, Sherri Seals Collins, Tom Collins, Christine Lumbert Pitsinger and Ted Lysiak—put together a fine meal catered by Guido’s, floral décor by Art N Flowers, reminiscences by all sorts of folks and an introduction to the new addition to the Garfield Elementary building which had just had its official ribbon cut at ten o’clock that very morning.  The James A. Garfield Marching Pride made a cameo appearance to greet the early arrivers before heading off to a band show at Stow-Monroe Falls High School, where they wowed the crowd in the name of the district.

Classes of special recognition—1944(Yay, Dick Davis and Helen Lewis Manlove), 1954, 1964 and 1994)were presented with some memory-joggers about the prices of things like gas and houses during their salad days.  Board of Education president Guy Pietra was the Peerless Speaker and board vice president David Vincent offered the blessing.  The look at the new addition, built through the $5million Straight A Grant (The only application to receive unanimous approval) to produce a Campus of Excellence, was an eye-opener and a source of pride…mingled, no doubt, with amazement.  Any food not consumed on the spot was donated to the Center of Hope as a community outreach.

It was a fine old time with friends and family (note the number of Collinses and Andrewses, among others, in attendance) and the date has already been set for the next one.  Mark your calendars for September 19, 2015, same time , same place.  Everybody learn the Alma Mater!

There’s a story about that.

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

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

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

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

The refreshments and the tour were icing on the cake.

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

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Ladies….  Ladies….  Ladies….

There’s still time…still time to sign up for the 1st Annual Women’s Retreat being held at the Garrettsville United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00p.m.  The event will feature varied sessions ranging from Bible stories presented by God’s Circle, a Christian Women’s Storyteller group, to cooking, knitting or Yoga instruction, through estate planning, bow-making, book discussion, card-making, spiritual conversations with Rev. Chris Martin and simple fellowship opportunities.  The basic fee is $20, with materials charges for craft sessions.   Information is available through the church office or by calling Stephanie Byrne at 330-527-4772.  Lunch—catered by Anne Haynam, owner and chef of On the Spot Gourmet and presenter of the cooking instruction–is included (not to mention desserts by Tracy Garrett of Top Tier Pastry,   LLC).

Check it out.

Do something relaxing, fun and uplifting for yourself.  It may be a retreat but it will move you forward.

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

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

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

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

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

2014 Marching Pride

2014 Marching Pride

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

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

Garrettsville – Fourteen members and guests of the James A. Garfield Historical Society met on September 25 at the historic Mott Building, Main Street, Garrettsville for their regularly-scheduled monthly meeting.  The main topic of discussion was the upcoming Christmas Walk.

Plans for the refreshments to be offered at the Mott Building during the reservation-only Candlelight Tour are in the capable hands of Cindy Matson, Becky Moser and Lynn Fry.  They outlined the plans for the items to be served and invited additional contributions in the same general menu framework.  Inquiries were made as to the specifics of the champagne punch recipe.

Valorie  McCullough, chairing the participation of the Nelson United Methodist Church in celebration of its bicentennial, reported that decorating had begun, with some overlap of fall and winter décor.  The keynote for the over-all theme of “Heavenly Host” is an angel by local artist-in -wood, Mike Kortan, and is currently having wings refurbished.  The menu for meals to be served in the church dining area will be posted in the program but will include a turkey dinner with homemade gravy, and pulled pork sandwiches, among other things.

Deadline for submissions for the programs/tickets, either information or advertising, is September 26.   These are currently in the works and proceeding as scheduled

Other items of business included notice of the Ohio Local History meeting approaching on Oct 3,  note that an inspection of an outflow valve in the basement, as required by the BPA, was imminent, the Mott Building will be open as usual on the first Saturday of the month, October 4, the annual tour by the third grade students of Garfield Elementary School will be on October 10, preliminary information from the Chamber of Commerce holiday promotion encouraging local shopping at Christmas…and anytime.

Donations from Tim Perkins including a number of antique garments from his mother’s family, the Kelkers, were received, looked at, commented upon and referred to Delma Mishler for expert laundry care for their preservation.

The JAGHS meets every third Monday of the month at 7:30 in the Mott Building.  Meetings are open to the public and new members are welcome at any time.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary met on September 22 at Cal’s II and closed the meeting  by voting to make this their regular meeting place—at noon—until further notice.

Guest speaker for the day was Mark Tripodi of Cornerstone of Hope, a counseling center for grieving children, teens and adults, located in Independence, Ohio, with a new facility opening in Columbus.  The center offers many programs : grief counseling, art therapy, support groups, school programs, bereavement camps, memorial ceremonies, education and training of grief counselors, a lending library, volunteer opportunities–all available on a sliding financial scale.  All ages and need situations are welcome to interact with their licensed clinical professionals and/or peers, whatever brings the most support and healing.  Summer youth support camps, crisis intervention team training, weekly and monthly sessions, a variety of therapies are all available.  The group and their Tree House have appeared on Animal Planet.

After suffering a devastating family loss, Mark and his wife and family were unable to find help and support that met their needs with a schedule and a financial situation that fit their capabilities, they set out to establish a group, a community and a facility that would do for others what they wished had been available for them.  Cornerstone of Hope has been the result, a light in the darkness of despair which overwhelms so many.  Mark was accompanied by Francine Artiste a new-on-the-job facilitator for the group.

In other business, Tom Collins reported on Zad, the resident exchange student, who got to attend the recent climate change rally in New York, see Times Square, be amazed at the 300,000 people in attendance at the rally (“There is NO planet B”, “It’s getting hot in here.  Take your coals off.” “Save the Humans”—message from a Panda)…AND score the winning goal in the Rootstown soccer game.

Tom also gave an update on the continuing consultations with the Mantua-Shalersville Rotary Club, the Garrettsville Garden Club, the Mayor of Garrettsville and the Portage County Park District for expanding and promoting the Headwaters Trail for the good of the entire community.

Rich Brown attended as a guest.  He is a business contact of McCumbers-Brady Realty doing vital title work.

The Rotary-sponsored Roadside Clean-up will be on October 25.

G-H Rotary meets every Monday at noon at Cal’s II,  Check them out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We did it!  The James A. Garfield Local Schools used funds from a $5 Million State Grant to create a “Campus of Excellence” that will enhance education for children in our district for decades to come. The district will celebrate this wonderful accomplishment on Saturday, September 20 at 10am with a ribbon cutting ceremony that will be open to the public.

Facility Construction

A 17,000 square foot addition to the elementary school was constructed for our fifth and sixth grade students. This addition brought all 1,500 students to one campus and will save taxpayers over $300,000 annually in operational savings. A professional development center is now open and can be used as a multi-purpose space for staff training and as well as public use.

Technology Enhancements

Upgrades in the district’s technology infrastructure now support a new generation of learning tools for students. Computers have been given to every student in grades 7-12. Laptop carts were purchased for each grade level at the elementary school. We are capable of meeting the demands of 21st Century Learning!

Expanded Partnerships

The Greater Cleveland YMCA is now managing youth soccer, flag football and basketball. The YMCA will also be running a Silver Sneakers program in the Park Avenue School. The Portage County Educational Service Center is using classroom space at the building for a special needs preschool.  Both groups have plans to bring even more services to our community.

We could not have done this alone. Because you play an important role in making education better for our students, we are requesting your attendance at the official ribbon cutting ceremony. The event will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at James A. Garfield Elementary School.

We are proud of our accomplishments over the past six months and even more excited about our future. We hope you are able to take the time to celebrate excellence with us.

Garrettsville – Council met September 10, 2014 for their regularly scheduled village council meeting.  Councilman Klamer was not present.

Minutes from last month’s meeting were approved.  Revenue, expenditure, cash balance and income tax reports were reviewed.  Councilman Hadzinsky commented that revenue was up for August compared to the previous year’s records.

Before continuing with the agenda, Mayor Patrick asked if there were any comments or questions from the guests in the audience.  A resident thanked council for the curbing work that had been recently completed on South Street.  He is hopeful that it will diminish the flooding and erosion issues that had plagued the area.

Next, Becky Doherty addressed council and the audience about her bid in the upcoming election.

Back to the agenda, proposed Ordinance 2014-14, which has been tabled since May, was brought up for discussion.  Council President Hardesty reported on his findings regarding cooperation in the departments that the proposed legislation was designed for.  The drafting of the legislation was prompted in an effort to save money for the village by controlling costs of employees overtime.  Hardesty stated that over the last several months, the police department had been able to curb overtime issues and reporting problems for payroll had been resolved.   He stated at this time the proposed legislation was not needed because of the compliance with existing rules as well as council’s requests.  After a brief discussion, council un-tabled the proposed ordinance and voted it down.

The second reading of proposed Ordinance 2014-31 was recorded.  The proposed legislation is from a recommendation from the planning commission to eliminate discrepancies in the existing code about maximum heights for flagpoles in the village.  A public hearing is scheduled before the October council meeting.  Council also approved Resolution 2014-33, which authorizes the county to collect taxes and pay fees for the village and voted to accept two donations, one from the Orson Ott family to the cemetery fund, and one from the Bailey family for the parks.

During round table discussion, the mayor announced that FALL CLEAN-UP is scheduled for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, and TRICK-OR-TREAT is scheduled for THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30th from 6-8 P.M.

The mayor also announced that applications for village’s tree lawn program will be due by the end of September.  Residents with dead, dying or problem tree-lawn trees need to contact village hall to schedule removal.  The cost to residents is $200/tree the village covers the rest.  The mayor also asked council for and received approval to fill an upcoming vacant position in dispatch.

Mayor Patrick brought up the topic of the dramatic increase in cost for salt for the village’s roads this coming winter.  Costs this season are $108.01/ton as compared to last year at $27.50/ton.  Council is expecting to pay $20,000 more than last year, based on last year’s usage.

Councilman Kaiser complimented the street department’s work on the new driveway apron at the library park entrance and Councilwoman Harrington updated council on the status of the surveys the vision group put together.  She also asked if there was anything council could do to address the ongoing issues at the Garrettsville Post Office about limited inconvenient hours (being closed at the lunch hour) and poor customer service.  The mayor said that former Mayor Moser and himself as council president had sent letters a few years ago, which had no effect.  The local Postmaster is the one responsible for the hours and personnel and the village has no control.

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 October 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.  There will be a Public Hearing on proposed Ordinance 2014-31 prior to the meeting.