GarrettsvilleDr. Drew will see you now. Andrew Holpuch, DDS, that is. 

Dr. Drew Holpuch has taken over the general dentistry practice previously held by his uncle, Dr. James G. Holpuch, DDS at Garrettsville Dental Group, 8143 Windham Street. The senior Holpuch retired and moved out West after over 30 years in family dentistry at this office and a second office in Newton Falls.

‘Dr. Drew,’ as his office staff affectionately calls him, says that following in his uncle’s footsteps was more accidental than planned, but the timing was right for him to bring the dental practice forward in a new generation. “At first, it was an opportunity to work here with my uncle, starting last July. But then, what with his health issues, by September Uncle Jim decided to hang up his drill and simply retire.” 

The younger Holpuch received dual degrees (DDS and PhD) in 2014 from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in Pharmaceutics and Oral Biology, with a focus on oral biology and oral cancer research. 

He grew up in Valley View. Following high school graduation from Cleveland Benedictine High School, he pursued undergraduate studies in cellular and molecular biology from Syracuse University.

While he continues to pursue academic opportunities to conduct further research/instruction involving oral cancer prevention, he values working with patients in local practice, helping them to maintain oral health. Dr. Drew wants people to realize that oral health is key to systemic (whole body) health. 

For instance, periodontal (gum) disease is related directly to cardiovascular (heart) disease, diabetes and pre-term births. So maintaining healthy gums through regular dental check-ups and cleanings is recognized as an important component of overall preventive health habits.

In his family practice, Dr. Holpuch typically provides fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, root canals, gum therapy, extractions and implant restorations. He says he approaches dentistry from an academic point of view rather than a business mindset, so he’s conservative with diagnosis and treatment. Saying, “I don’t chase stain,” he sets himself apart from other dentists who tend to over-diagnose and aggressively treat patients unnecessarily.

Dr. Holpuch’s Garrettsville office is open from 2pm-7pm Mondays, 9am-5pm Tuesdays, and 9am-5pm Thursdays; then 8am-12 noon in Newton Falls. To make an appointment, call (330) 527-4313.

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

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

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

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

by -
321

Wanted Frog Watchers!

The Portage Park District needs your help as we join forces with Hiram College in Project FrogWatch. Project FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that provides individuals, groups, and families with an opportunity to learn about wetlands in their communities and report data on the calls of local frogs and toads. Volunteers collect data during evenings from February through August and have been submitting data for over 15 years. 

The dates for this years  FrogWatch training will be January 29th and February 5th (Thursdays) from 7:00-9:00 pm.  If volunteers would like to become certified, they will also need to take the certification exam on February 12th at 7:00 pm.  We will hold our sessions at the James H. Barrow Field Station (Hiram College).  There is a fee of  $5.00 fee for the training, course materials, etc.  

For more information contact Joe Malmisur at Draco1027@gmail.com or 330-770-3643

Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/Gal

Come join Portage Park District volunteer naturalist Joe Malmisur and Dr. Sarah Mabey on Monday Feb. 9th for the fourth in the Park District’s birding series. It doesn’t matter if you did not attend prior sessions. There is always a brief review of things that were covered. The fourth session will focus on bird migration, habitat, and Dan Best, naturalist from the Geauga Park District is scheduled to provide insight on birding by season. Nights activities are from 7:00-9:00 at 705 Oakwood St. Ravenna Ohio in the Senior Center. 

Upcoming Hikes

The Portage Park District is here to help you LOVE winter. Ever want to try snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing? Join volunteer instructors and rent equipment from Geiger Ski Haus at the parks, (available for these programs*) and give it a shot! Skis $10/2 hours; shoes $6/2 hours. For more information, please contact Volunteer Naturalist Joe Malmisur at Draco1027@gmail.com or call 330-770-3643.

Feb. 7 – Stars and Moon Snowshoe Hike – 7:00pm – 9:00pm     Morgan Preserve (meet at parking lot on Rt 44)

Feb. 8 – x country skiing – Rt 700 Trail head    2:00pm – 4:00pm  

Feb. 15 – x country skiing  – 2:00pm – 4:00 pm  Towner’s Woods

Feb. 21 – x country skiing – 10:00am – 12:00pm  Franklin Connector Trail

Feb. 22 – Snowshoe hike – 2:00-4:00 Camp Spelman

X-Country skiing is dependent on snow. Hikes will occur whether there is snow or not.

by -
355

Hiram – Hiram College has much to celebrate this new year. Officials are very appreciative of friends and alumni who contributed more than $1.5 million to establish the ‘Edward J. Smerek Chair in Mathematics, the Sciences and Technology’ and $500,000 to establish the ‘Stanley and Lois S. Proctor Director of Field Station Academic Programs Endowment Fund’ for the James H. Barrow Field Station, a research and educational facility that enhances the College’s science and environmental studies program.

A large portion of that support originated from two single sources: a generous, $867,000 estate gift from Cleveland businessman Stan Proctor and a gift of $500,000 from an anonymous donor.

“We are exceedingly grateful to Stan Proctor. Mr. Proctor was a beloved member of the Board of Trustees who believed in the teaching mission of Hiram College. Through his work on the board, he knew first-hand the transformative power of a Hiram education,” said Hiram College President, Lori Varlotta. “Thanks to these most recent gifts, that power will continue to transform the lives of students – and those who teach them – for many years to come.”

by -
351

Send a Valentine to a Hero Overseas

The message is a simple one, “Thank you so much for what you do, we always need you.” This is just one of the many sweet messages from the heart of a child to a soldier overseas in a project called OPERATION VALENTINE. 

Carlson Funeral Homes & Cremation Services is one of nearly 1000 Veterans & Family Memorial Care providers nationwide who sponsor the annual VFMC Operation Valentine initiative. The project is simple and meaningful, according to Dr. Michael E. Carlson. “Students and individuals throughout the community write messages to the troops on Valentine Cards, Cut-Out Hearts, or whatever they like and we make sure that they are delivered to our brave men and women serving overseas.”

Cards cannot include glitter, food or candy, but there are still many ways to personalize a handmade card. Write a message on them and say “Thank You,” tell them about yourself and wish them a Happy Valentine Day! Our troops are away from their loved ones and friends so they really want to know that people back home appreciate them. “Care packages are one thing, but this is a real morale boost”, said Dr. Mike.

Valentine cards may be dropped off from now thru Febuary 1st between 10am and 4pm at

Mallory-DeHaven-Carlson Funeral Home & Cremation Services

8382 Center St.

Garrettsville, OH 44231

Mantua – The Award Winning Mantua’s Art on the Hill & Wine Tasting is seeking artisans. The festival will be held on Saturday, July 11, 2015 from 10am-6pm. Each year, “Art on the Hill & Wine Tasting” attracts over 70 artisans from the northeast Ohio area as well as from the nearby states of Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan. This is an excellent opportunity to sell and display your handmade works of art! The festival also features 4 local wineries offering wine tasting, live musical and dance entertainment, demonstrations, and an awesome art and local merchandise auction. NEW this year will be…. Awards for the “Best Booth Presentation”, “Best Demonstration”, and “People’s Choice Most Creative Artwork” will be presented. Artists chosen will receive a cash prize and ribbon. Booths generally fill up quickly, and are accepted on a first come basis. Please email or call event organizer Christine Pitsinger at communityjournal@yahoo.com or 330-414-6486 for an application or additional information.

“Art on the Hill & Wine Tasting” was named “Portage County’s Best Arts & Cultural Event of 2014″.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by -
322

Burton – The Geauga Fresh Farmers’ Market, in its fourteenth year, will hold its 2015 annual organizational meeting from 10am to noon Saturday, February 7, 2015 at the Patterson Center, Claridon Troy Road, at the north end of the Geauga County Fairgrounds in Burton.  Farmers, producers and artisans who are interested in the market for the coming season are welcome to attend. For more information call 440- 991-7432 or email geaugamarket@yahoo.com.

Volunteers who help at the market are also needed and welcome to attend. The volunteers are important to the overall success of the market, helping with parking and special events.

The Market is held from 9:00am to Noon Saturdays at the South Russell Village Hall parking lot, at Bell and Chillicothe (Route 306) roads in the village beginning May 9, 2015 and running until early October.

Vendors at the market sell fresh seasonal produce, flowers, baked goods, eggs, cheese, and meat, honey and maple syrup, herbs, oil and spices, soaps and lotions, crafts and other locally produced products.

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

Introduction of guest, Helen Louise Bouts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, of course, dues are due.

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

Portage County – The Portage Park District needs your help as we join forces with Hiram College in Project FrogWatch. Project FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that provides individuals, groups, and families with an opportunity to learn about wetlands in their communities and report data on the calls of local frogs and toads. Volunteers collect data during evenings from February through August and have been submitting data for over 15 years. 

The dates for this years  FrogWatch training will be January 29th and February 5th (Thursdays) from 7:00-9:00 pm.  If volunteers would like to become certified, they will also need to take the certification exam on February 12th at 7:00 pm.  We will hold our sessions at the James H. Barrow Field Station (Hiram College).  There is a fee of  $5.00 fee for the training, course materials, etc.  

For more information contact Joe Malmisur at Draco1027@gmail.com or 330-770-3643

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garrettsville – 2014 was an interesting year for the Village of Garrettsville and our member businesses. On March 22nd our historic Main Street business district experienced a devastating fire that reduced over 150 years of history to rubble in what felt like mere moments. In the wake of the disaster, our community and supporters from across the globe united to help raise funds to aide in rebuilding Main Street through the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s #GarrettsvilleStrong fund; and get business owners back on their feet through the People Tree & Garrettsville United Methodist Church’s joint efforts. 

I am extremely pleased to announce that as of December 22nd, the GarrettsvilleStrong fund has accumulated over $84,000 to help defray reconstruction efforts once building begins at the site of the March 22nd fire. Fundraising will continue into 2015 with sales of Rich Teresi’s fire documentary DVD, and Pamela Montgomery’s Garrettsville Strong book which will feature memories about the buildings lost in the fire. 

On behalf of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and our membership, thank you to everyone who has made a donation, held a fundraiser, or helped spread the word about our community’s efforts. By coming together for a common purpose, you have helped make our community GarrettsvilleStrong.

If you would like to hold a fundraiser to raise money for the #GarrettsvilleStrong fund we ask that you contact Chamber of Commerce Secretary Michelle Zivoder. This required step helps protect our area business owners and residents. Michelle can be reached at  330.472.7304 or via email at news@weeklyvillager.com.

Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas On Main Winners Announced

Garrettsville Area Chamber announced the winners of the Christmas on Main, the area’s annual local shopping event. The drawing took place at the Chamber Christmas Social held at the Sugar Bush Golf Club on December 17, 2014.

The first place winner is Gail Williams; she has won $500 in “Chamber Bucks”‚ to be used at participating area businesses. The poinsettia lottery tree went to Lisa Schwan and a holiday themed gift assortment from Enchanted Books & Antiques was awarded to Doretta Frohring. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

This year the shopping event, Christmas on Main, generated over $213,000 in local spending based on the completed cards turned in  during the holiday season. This event began November 7th  and ran thru December 14th.

The Chamber wishes to thank all those who helped make 2014 a fantastic year and we look forward to working together to make 2015 even better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garrettsville – Sounds of the season resonated through the Iva Walker Auditorium this past Sunday as the High School Concert Band, High School Choir and Middle School Combined Concert Band played for a standing room only crowd.  Under the direction of Theo Cebulla the high school choir sang a number of festive tunes a cappella and wowed the crowd with a perfect-sounding version of Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” The high school band followed with three holiday medleys.  The first was a series of songs from the popular movie “Frozen”.  Mr. Cebulla also arranged a medley of songs from the movie “Christmas Vacation”.  The high school students ended the show with some classics like “Fireside”, by Sammy Nestico.  

The Middle School Concert seventh and eighth grade bands usually each perform four numbers.  This year Mr. Cebulla challenged the students by asking them to combine their efforts and play eight songs together.  The students played “Sleigh Ride”, “Candy Cane Clarinets”, “Believe” (from Polar Express), “Mele Kalikimaka”, “God Rest Ye Merry Mallets”, “The 12 Days of Instrumental Christmas”, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” and “Scherzo for Santa”.  

After each concert the Garfield Swing Machine and the Jammin’ G-Men Jazz Bands played in the commons while a reception was held for students, families and guests. The Jazz Bands entertained the crowd with swinging seasonal favorites.

Garfield’s musically-talented students had an opportunity to get some practice in for the show as they sang and played for the Nelson Senior Group last Thursday.  It was a great opportunity for the students to invite some guests from the community into the schools to enjoy the many talents our students have to share.  

On behalf of the entire Garfield School Community I would like to thank all of our students, their director Mr. Cebulla, assistant director Mr. Logan, the Garfield Band Boosters, the parents, community and local businesses for all of the support that makes our band and choir so amazing!    

Mantua – Given reductions in state spending on education, the State of Ohio has implemented state-guaranteed transitional aid to districts with declining enrollment. This “guarantee” means that the State of Ohio offers a promise to pay each district the amount of state funds the district had received in the previous year. “On the flip side,” remarked Jill Rowe, Crestwood District Treasurer/CFO, “it also means that the state feels that the district should not be getting 36% of the revenue it received in the previous year, but that the state will pay or “guarantee” the district these funds in good faith.” 

According to Ms. Rowe, currently 190 school districts out of 615 statewide are on the guarantee. The top two districts receiving the largest amount of the state’s $169 million this year are the City of Cleveland, which received $34 million and East Cleveland, which received $9 million. The Crestwood School District ranks third in the state, receiving $3.6 million, or roughly 36% of the district’s funding. Other area districts are also benefiting from the guarantee, with West Geauga (in Geauga County) ranking  14th, Hudson (in Summit County) ranking  21st, and Southeast (in Portage County) coming in at 23rd.

“You definitely have to look at it both ways — we may be third in guarantee funding but if you look at the percentage of guarantee funding versus our total state funding, there are other districts a lot worse than we are.  For example our total state funding is around $10 million, of this amount, $3.6 million is guaranteed.  If you look at other districts that are on the guarantee, their state funding might only 8 million and they may be on a 3 million guarantee which is a 37.5% guarantee.”

There have been indications by the Governor’s office that the guarantee will eventually go away for Districts, but there is no indication when this will happen or by how much. Governor Kasich’s new budget, which will include school funding, is due out in February of 2015. “By June of 2015,” explained Ms. Rowe, the district will have a good indication of what the state funding, and more importantly what the guarantee funding, will look like.” 

In May of 2015, the Crestwood District’s 4.7 Mill Emergency Levy, which was originally passed in 2012, will be up for renewal. This four-year levy will not increase taxes. Further, in November 2016, the District’s 3.5 Mill Permanent Improvement Levy will be up for renewal. This five-year levy will not increase taxes, either.

To keep apprised of the latest developments in the Crestwood District, plan to attend the next School Board meeting on Tuesday, January 6th at 6:30 pm in the High School Library. If you’re unable to attend, you can view meeting video at crestwoodschools.org. 

On Fri., Dec. 12, Hattie Larlham received the keys to a wheelchair-accessible 2015 Ford Transit Van. Thanks to the generous donations from MobilityWorks, the MobilityWorks Foundation, Put-in-Bay Entertainers and Kepich Ford, Hattie Larlham will use the vehicle to transport its residents with developmental disabilities to doctor’s appointments and community recreational programs.

“People with developmental disabilities need to have access to the community,” said Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen. “They like to go to a variety of places and this vehicle makes that happen.”

“This vehicle is an opportunity for them [Hattie Larlham residents] to experience things, get out and be active,” said MobilityWorks President and CEO Bill Koeblitz. “I just can’t say enough about Hattie Larlham and the wonderful work they do. MobilityWorks is so proud to be a part of this project.”

The project started in March 2014 when Put-in-Bay Entertainers and The MobilityWorks Foundation hosted a fundraiser for Hattie Larlham. The event raised more than $15,000, which purchased the van’s special flooring, seating, wheelchair securement systems and a wheelchair lift. Pete Kepich and Kepich Ford, a family-owned dealership in Garrettsville, Ohio, subsidized the van’s cost with a generous donation.

“It’s amazing the people that you can pull together to help other people,” said Owner Pete Kepich. “To give back is very important, especially in today’s world, and these folks need our help.”

Working with Kepich Ford and AMF Bruns of America, MobilityWorks in Akron launched the plan to up-fit the van for Hattie Larlham. MobilityWorks is the largest wheelchair-accessible van dealer in the US that provides mobility solutions.

MobilityWorks installed a SmartFloor system into the bed of the van. This allows users to reconfigure the seating arrangement. MobilityWorks also built a FutureSafe backrest that connects into the van’s floor to secure wheelchairs.

“Our mission is to help people with physical challenges,” said MobilityWorks CFO Gerhard Schmidt. “We realized this van is a very effective way we can impact many lives. Hattie Larlham is one of the first recipients of this brand new vehicle.”

Dignitaries in attendance included Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen, MobilityWorks President and CEO and MobilityWorks Foundation Chairman Bill Koeblitz, Owner of Kepich Ford Pete Kepich, Assistant to the Mayor of Akron for Community Relations Bill Soule, and Mike Sweeney and Mike “Mad Dog” Adams from Put-in-Bay Entertainers.

Thanks to the generosity of all of these organizations, Hattie Larlham can further its mission of delivering comfort, joy and achievement to people with developmental disabilities.

Hiram – Three Hiram College students recently had the chance to share research from their summer internships at an international neuroscience conference in Washington, D.C.

Emily Mortimer ’16, biology and biomedical humanities double major, Cristian Loyola ’16, biochemistry major, and Ashley Myer ’17, biology and biomedical humanities double major, presented their summer internship with Cara Constance, associate professor of biology, at the Society for Neuroscience 2014 international conference. Held Nov. 15-19, 2014, the conference saw more than 31,000 attendees.

The three students presented at the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience symposium. Their poster, “Determining the developmental stage of onset behavioral circadian rhythms in Hyla versicolor (Gray treefrog) and Xenopus laevis,” focused on their work at the James H. Barrow Field Station from May through August 2014, monitoring the activity of Gray treefrog tadpoles.

It was Mortimer’s first time presenting at a large scale conference, and she said she had a great experience.

“We presented with undergraduates from many different schools and had the opportunity to go and explore the posters and presentations from the Ph.D. and M.D. level,” she said. “It was interesting to see where we could potentially be in the future. Being able to attend a conference like this one is one of the many perks of attending Hiram College.”

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

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

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

by -
409

Ravenna – Each year the Parade Committee selects the Grand Marshal from a pool of candidates that has been submitted by the citizens of Ravenna.  The candidate must be a community-minded Ravenna resident who has had a positive impact in the community. The committee asks that when nominating, the reason and some background information be included.

The Grand Marshal will preside over the grand parade and all other festivities of the Balloon A-Fair Festival.  The Balloon A-Fair Festival will be held September 17, 18, 19 & 20 2015.

Written nominations for Grand Marshal should be submitted no later than February 6, 2015.  Mail to: Ravenna Balloon A-Fair, Attention Parade Committee, and P.O. BOX 454, RAVENNA, OHIO 44266.  For more information, call 330-296-FAIR. 

Windham – The WVFD Joint Fire District met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with all board members in attendance. The board approved the November minutes, expenditures, bank reconciliation and the temporary appropriations totaling $713,000. 

The at-large representative term expires at the end of this year and Mike Dye has been filling this position since the death of a previous member. Dye accepted the appointment and will serve on the board for another two years.

The board adjourned to an executive session to discuss personnel issues. They later reconvened and the chief reported that engine 2817 needs service and they are obtaining estimates for the issue. The chief also reported that there has been an electrical problem at the fire station and he has called Scotchman Electric to address the issue. Jack Breese and the chief finished the paperwork for the FEMA grant and it has been submitted. After some research, Jack Breese and Mike Iwanyckyj decided the best chance to get the grant was to use it for thermal imaging cameras and Scot Air Paks. A $10,000 zero match Wild End Grant was applied for, along with two other matching grants. All the grants have stipulation on what they can be used for. Chief Mike Iwanyckyj presented candidate John Minich to the board to be considered for as an EMT and firefighter. After some discussion, the board added Minich to the roster.  On an Iwanyckyj recommendation, the board decided to promote Nick Bushek to Lieutenant of Fire Inspection. Bushek has been doing all the inspections for the district for some time now. 

The board tentatively approved a contract for the use of the training grant, with modifications for 15 students. The schooling starts Monday and runs until June. The grant was for $36,000, for training use only.

The WVFD entered into a second executive session to discuss a possible litigation. After they returned, they discussed exploring all options on their finances including, but not limited to, putting a new additional fire levy on the May ballot. Chairman Dann Timmons said they would have the auditor figure out the millage they would need to generate $25,000 annually. The district will need to purchase a new engine soon and there doesn’t seem to be any grant monies for fire engines. 

Another discussion was held about the alleged dispatching dispute with the village. Timmons said they are waiting on a response from the village about the issue.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned. The next fire board meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2015 at 7 pm. The meeting will be delayed a week due to the New Year’s holiday and to accommodate the rescheduled Windham trustee meeting.

Photo courtesy of sethbarnes.com

Hiram Twp. – At the last meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees, Assistant Chief Mark Kosak thanked village and township residents for their votes in support of the Fire Department’s latest ballot issue. Kosak announced that as of January 1st, the department will begin 24 hour staffing, with two firefighter/EMTs on staff around the clock. Due to the increase in staffing, response times should see a reduction. In addition, Kosak shared that the Hiram Fire Department will once again be transporting Santa through the township and village on the evening of  December 21st. To schedule a visit, contact the Fire Department at (330) 569-9826 by December 19th with your address and a package for delivery. Kosak noted that a certain centenarian is pleased to get his delivery of Christmas cheer each year, and encourages others in the community to participate as well.

Next, township trustees approved the continuation of a contract with the Hiram Police Department through first quarter of 2015. The contract provides township residents with ten hours of policing by the village’s police department each week. Trustees noted that after their 2015 budgets have been determined, they hope to increase the number of patrol hours in the township for the remainder of the year.

Next, Tim Kasper and Dan Brokos provided a brief recap of the hike they hosted at the Township’s new property on State Route 82. According to Kasper, hikers were, “impressed and surprised,” by the trails and natural spaces they discovered that afternoon. A discussion ensued about not allowing hunting on the township-owned land, as well as suggestions about parking, a picnic pavilion and a lean-to shelter near the pond. A full report on the feedback gathered during the event will be provided shortly after the holidays. 

Similarly, Trustees approved the cost to move 15 trees, at $50 per tree, to be planted along the property line.

Road Supervisor Tom Matota reported that the plans for the new salt shed have been completed and an appointment has been made to get building permits from the county. Once plans are approved, bids will be requested.

In other news, trustees agreed that Paul Shaughnessy of Excel K-9 Services should not be called before the BZA. They determined that Mr. Shaughnessy is not doing anything not permitted according to township requirements, and that if neighboring property owners have any issues with Shaughnessy, they are entitled to hire their own legal representatives to pursue the matter.

Lastly, Gary Bott was appointed as an alternate to the Zoning Board. Trustees are still seeking an alternate for the BZA. Kellie Durr, the new Secretary for the Board of Zoning Appeals, was in attendance. This was the Garrettsville resident’s first meeting since accepting the position.

The next meeting of the Hiram township trustees will be held on Tuesday, January 6th at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Garrettsville – Cavalier Technologies serves to take the mystery and frustration of technology away from people simply trying to get things done efficiently and securely at home and at work. Slow connections, crashes, viruses, network disconnects and ‘bad’ printers can all be things of the past.

Cavalier says his home-grown business moved to 8808 Main Street (inside The Villager building) in Garrettsville six months ago. This “local tech desk” provides full-service computer repair and technology consulting solutions and sales to residents and businesses in underserved areas including Hiram, Garrettsville, Middlefield, and surrounding areas. He maintains a service desk on the main floor, where common tech supplies are sold; and his repair shop is located on the second floor.

Cavalier combines his love for computers and technology with his passion for knowledge to ensure customer satisfaction.“We have the drive, devotion, and passion for technology.  Our motto is Sit back, relax, we got this. It may seem laid back, but in actuality we want our customers to have a sense of security and ease knowing that they are in good hands.”

Referring to himself as a business solutions expert providing service to streamline and increase productivity, Cavalier’s services include virus removal, data backup, networking, preventative maintenance and optimization, hardware replacement and upgrades, screen repairs, Facebook pages, custom builds, consultations and Managed Services solutions for Macs, PCs and handheld devices. Cavalier Technologies has desktops, notebooks, servers, storage servers and small form factor PCs for sale online. He is an authorized dealer for Dell, HP, Xerox and Digium products. Endorsements include being CompTIA A+ certified, Net+ certified,  GFI max approved distributor, NetGear ProSafe, and Nobilis  authorized reseller.

One vital business solution is virus removal. “We understand how much this can hurt your business in productivity as well as security levels. We will remove and restore your systems to the optimal health and provide you with tools to prevent and keep your company safe and secure.”

IT Management can help with workplace optimization and reliability, using modern technology that puts businesses at the forefront. Managed Services MSP is a low-cost solution to keep systems up to date with antivirus, patches, hardware, software, and daily health and security checks to keep your business afloat. “We are able to do remote monitoring and management of all your workstations and servers. Keeping your business up and running is our department.”

Data backup solutions range anywhere from in-house backup solutions to cloud and or hybrid solutions for small business packages or enterprise solutions. Consultation services come in handy when you’re unsure what your business needs are when it comes to technology. Is that tablet really going to help you? How can you grow safely? Are your systems secure?

Whether for home or business, Cavalier Technologies is positioned as the local one-stop  tech shop. The simple pricing structure for residential and business labor rates vary only according to whether it’s on-site (housecalls) or in-shop. Contact Chris Cavalier for more information at chris@garrettsvillecomputersrepair.com or 330-569-4196, or browse his website at garrettsvillecomputersrepair.com.

Mantua – At the last meeting of the Crestwood School Board, a brief discussion occurred at the start regarding the proposed 2015-2016 school year calendar. The proposal put forth recommends that the first day of instruction for students begin on August 19th, with the last day of instruction held on May 20th. Superintendent David Toth remarked that a change of this nature would be beneficial to students in that the first semester would end prior to Winter Break, giving students the opportunity to return to a new semester after their time away. In addition, he added that the new schedule would allow students more preparation time for spring tests, which are generally held during April and May. 

Toth noted that the new state minimum number of hours or instruction at the middle and high school levels is 1,001 hours. According to Toth, the current CHS schedule has1,094 hours, while CMS has 1,135 hours. At the elementary level, the state minimum number is 910 of hours of instruction. Currently, CPS and CIS have 1,062 hours. Any calamity days, if needed, would be deducted from the total hours of instruction. Toth also noted that this school year, students will spend an average of 10.5 hours of testing. He stated, however, that the State is currently discussing the possibility of scaling that number in half in coming years. The decision on how to proceed on this matter will be discussed at future meetings.

Moving forward, much of the remaining portion of the meeting focused on how the district plans to make improvements in the areas of college and career readiness. High School Principal David McMahon and Middle School Principal Julie Schmidt shared their plans to implement Naviance – an online tool that will be implemented at both schools to allow guidance councilors, teachers, students and staff to collaborate on students plans after graduation from the Crestwood District. While the focus at the Middle School level will be on defining interests and abilities, the program will also incorporate good habits and practices for academic success in high school and beyond. To use the program, students and their parents will use the Family Connection portal, which will be available via smartphone or home computer. Teachers and staff will have access, as well, to monitor progress and help guide students through the process. At the High School level, students will be able to explore careers, and research what level of education is required to reach those careers. Further, the program will list the available courses, highlighting those that students need to take in order to follow the desired career or college path. In addition, students will have the ability to research training programs and colleges, planning visits, and submitting college applications electronically. Lastly, the portal will serve as a way to communicate scholarship opportunities, as well. The program will be implemented during the 2015-2016 school year.

Next, Primary Principal Cindy Ducca, Intermediate Principal Michelle Gerbrick, and School Psychologist Tyler Best shared information with the board on AIMSweb, the achievement improvement monitoring system that is used at the elementary level to measure students foundational skills in math, reading and writing. The system, which is administered via computer and via pencil and paper, ranges from brief, one-minute quizzes to 3-8 minute evaluations given individually or in small groups. The information gleaned from these evaluations helps staff identify those students performing above, on, or below target in key foundational skills. After those benchmarks are completed, interventions can be implemented for students identified as below target. One of the benefits of implementing the AIMSweb system is the ability to streamline student assessments, since the program will meet the reporting requirements for three current assessments.

Lastly, Mrs. Kristina Bronder, Intervention Specialist from CPS, and Ms. Teri Beck, the School District’s Emis Coordinator, were both named employees of the month for December. Congratulations, ladies, for all your hard work! 

The 2015 organizational meeting of the School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 6th at 6:30 pm, and will be immediately followed by the regularly scheduled January board meeting. As always, the community is encouraged to attend.

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. 

by -
427

Hiram – One hundred years ago—1914, the opening year of WWI—in the war zone near Ypres, Belgium, there came a phenomenon known later as the “Christmas Eve Truce”.   Troops all along the line of combat, on both the German and the Allied(British & French) sides, soldiers of both armies, lay down their weapons, lit candles, sang familiar carols, even exchanged small gifts, acknowledging the birth of the Prince of Peace in the midst of a terrible war.  “No Man’s Land”, despite the disapproval of the higher levels of command , became, for fleeting moments, a place of brotherhood as voices were raised—English & German—recalling that Silent Night.

On Friday, December 12, the Hiram Men’s Chorus, directed by Jose Gotera, the Hiram Women’s Chorus, directed by Damaris Peters Pike, and the Hiram Community Chorus will present a musical program of seasonal and Christmas favorites—“Silent Night” in both English and German—at 7:30 p.m. in the Hiram Christian Church (corner of St. Rte 82 , St. Rte. 305 and St. Rte 700), free and open to the public.

“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, ”Lo,How a Rose E’er Blooming”, ”Salvation Is Created”, and “The First Noel/Pachelbel’s Canon” will be the numbers featuring the men’s voices.  “Oh, Lord, What a Morning”, “Stars Are for Those Who Lift Their Eyes”,  “There Is Faint Music” and “Winter Wonderland” will be showcased by the women’s chorus.  Together, their grand sound will be raised for “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel”, “Goin’Home”, “Mary Had A Baby”, “Sussex Carol”, “La Nanita Nana”, and “Make Our Garden Grow”.  “A Merry Christmas” will be the grande finale, sending all out into the night with the warmth and good cheer making spirits bright.

Music for a Stille Nacht…Heilige Nacht.

Newton Falls – For years, inhabitants of Newton Falls would be intrigued as a newly-cut and freshly-decorated evergreen tree sprouted up seemingly overnight in the traditional spot of Four Corners Park. And each year, when the holiday season completed, that otherwise healthy, sparkle-covered bunch of boughs would disappear just as seemingly overnight, just another Christmas memory, until its successor took its empty place the following winter. Eventually it was decided that a permanent tree planted in that plot could beautify the area all year round and provide the setting for the glitzy greenery on a continual basis for each annual lighting ceremony to come. The first large blue spruce selected for such a task unfortunately did not last until even the next year, so it was replaced with a similar tree waiting to fulfill its festive duties. All seemed well until that tree then began to lean a bit under the weight of the giant ornaments during the post-Thanksgiving trunk-trimming merriment! Would it too follow the apparently new tradition of standing in the square for not even a full year? It appeared it would take a Christmas miracle, but…

Despite concerns that yet another anonymous donor would have to step forward to rescue the holiday habit, the tree that proudly stands representing the seasonal spirit of the community is indeed still the one that was planted over a year ago! Though the tree itself is something older, the decorations themselves are something new, replacing the bulky though beautiful adornments with something a bit shinier and a bit sleeker which were shown off during this past weekend’s lighting ceremony.

On Saturday, residents and visitors to the small town gathered together to welcome a familiar face who returned from his post at the North Pole. Delivered to the scene by a local fire engine, Santa took a few moments to greet old friends and meet new ones who escorted him into the park singing strains of “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Though the brisk winds contained quite a bit of chill, they also carried with them the carols sung by community members who braved the cold to spread a bit of cheer. While Santa made his rounds, giving hugs and extending warm wishes for the winter, a uniformed helper made sure every child there received a stuffed toy, many tots hugging plush kittens, puppies and teddy bears while watching in anticipation for the tree to join in the joy.

Sounds of the season transitioned from songs to momentarily hushed silence to an excited countdown before finally erupting into cheers as the switch flipped and the shadowy scene disappeared, making way for the main event of the evening. The big man in red was dwarfed (or elfed?) only by the tree itself, in all its glistening glory as he directed the chorus of carolers back to singing Christmas favorites. Accented by the tiny but mighty crowd, the tree radiated in its new decorations, draped elegant strings of lights and a glowing star shined in the night.

Dancer photo: Courtesy of the Dancing Wheels Company.

Mantua – Last week, the entire Crestwood Primary School — all 400+ students and staff — had the chance to witness a special holiday performance. Thanks to generous grants, CPS staff and students boarded nine buses and ventured to the Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Ohio City. But the wheels on their buses weren’t the only ones spinning round and round on this half-day field trip. The Dancing Wheels Integrated Dance Company provided some wheels of their own.

In terms of dance, the “Babes in Toyland” show entails everything from traditional ballet to modern dance, with some acrobatics added in for good measure. In addition, it features an ensemble of what the group refers to as “stand up dancers and those who sit down.” For those used to a typical ballet, this may seem confusing. But to Monica Grebb’s class of second graders, they just rolled with it. Prior to the trip, CPS teacher (and part of the team responsible for bringing the opportunity to her school), Grebb, reminded her class, “ Some of the dancers are in wheelchairs, and some are not in wheelchairs.” But as the performance ended, the children didn’t seem to notice the difference, calling it, “fantastic” and “awesome.” 

Educator Eileen Kelly, another part of the team responsible for the school trip, added, “We’ve seen a student ballet here at school and at a theater before, but the children have never seen a professional production. The bonus with this particular performance is that it showed them that people of every ability can participate and add value.” Chase, a kindergartener shared, “I liked when the nutcracker got the bad guy,” while second grader  Reagan added, “I liked when little Bo Peep found her sheep.” Hannah, also in grade two, added, “It was a fun bus ride. We got to see all the sights and a different world than we see at home.”

CPS Principal Cindy Ducca concurred, adding, “It’s important for our children to experience life outside of school, within their global community. It’s a nice opportunity for them to get dressed up and enjoy something wonderful with their peers.” In fact, one kindergarten teacher shared that a parent told her that her son was so excited for the trip, he spent 30 minutes picking out his shirt and tie the night before. 

Principal Ducca continued, “The kids were so excited to go, and so respectful at the performance. They asked great questions at the end, too. But the main reason we wanted them to experience this particular performance was to show them that no matter what they may have against them, the sky is the limit to what they can accomplish.”

And it appears that CPS students heard that message loud and clear. The children were so amazed by the physical feats of the professional dancer troupe, one student marveled, “At the end, while we were clapping, I expected the dancers to get up out of their wheelchairs to take a bow.” 

The school’s field trip to see the performance was made possible by grants from the Hiram Community Trust, the CPS PTO, The CPS Principals Account, and an anonymous donation on behalf of Dancing Wheels.

Director and performer Mary Verdi-Fletcher founded the Dancing Wheels Company group over thirty years ago. Today, the group is recognized as America’s first physically integrated dance company. This local treasure has performed throughout Northeast Ohio and across the nation, and has been featured on CNN and ‘Good Morning America’ as well. For more information, visit dancingwheels.org.

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.

by -
329

Mantua – Let’s start the holiday season with festive exercise, jolly visits with Santa, and joyous holiday-themed activities! Jingle Bell Jog offers a 5k race that is timed for the competitive, but can be walked for those who prefer to take in the spirit of this holiday event at a more relaxed pace. Participants are encouraged to dress in festive attire or costumes.

Also included in this event is The Merry Mile, a one-mile race for ages 12 and under. Santa and his elves will be there to cheer the kids on. Families can visit holiday craft and activity tables for some holiday fun, and warm up with some hot cocoa and goodies at the bake sale.

All proceeds from this event benefit the Crestwood Band Boosters, a non-profit group that supports the band programs in the Crestwood Schools. “We are grateful for the support we have received from the community over recent years. We wanted to offer an event that would draw the community together and provide a fun, creative outlet everyone could participate in,” says Tina Evans of the Crestwood Band Boosters. “Our hope is that this becomes an annual event that is part of many family traditions for years to come.”

This event takes place at Crestwood High School on Saturday, December 6, 2014. The 5k race starts at 9am and The Merry Mile at 10am. Pre-registrations are being accepted at www.hmapromotions.net (click on Calendar, then scroll down to Jingle Bell Jog). Registration opens at 8:15am on race day, and activities continue until 11am.

Mantua – Now that the Christmas season has begun, you may be on the hunt for an unusual gift for a special someone. Look no further than Mantua’s Secret Attic. Located on East Prospect, next door to Miller’s of Mantua Restaurant, the Secret Attic has a wonderful mix of vintage and collectible Christmas décor as well as handmade items, wooden furniture and reclaimed mantle pieces. In addition, the shop also features jewelry, candles, soaps and body scrubs. 

This weekend, they’ll be celebrating the first year in business with a Holiday Open House. To make the season bright, on Friday, December 5th, the shop will be open late — until 8 pm — so that the young and the young-at-heart can stop in before or after their visit with Santa at Mantua’s mini-park.  Open both Friday and Saturday, they’ll be offering holiday refreshments as visitors browse through Kringle-approved vintage and new offerings. Stop by to share the Christmas spirit, and to take advantage of door prize and gift basket drawings.

With new items added regularly, you never know what treasures await at Mantua’s Secret Attic on East Prospect Street in Mantua. The shop is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 am – 6 and Saturdays from 9 am – 3 pm. For more information, visit the shop’s Facebook page.

Ravenna – The inaugural Robinson Memorial Hospital Hospice Hope 5K Run/Walk was held on October 4, 2014. Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice staff coordinated the day’s events to raise funds to continue providing care to  uninsured and underinsured Portage County residents. Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice serves over 300 patients a year.  In 2013, over $127,000 in charity care was provided to ensure a patient’s comfort at the end of life regardless of their ability to pay.  

Despite the poor weather, 173 runners/walkers came to the Ravenna High School stadium to begin the course. The run/walk went through neighborhoods, utilized the bike and hike trail, ending in front of the stadium.  

The overall winners were Joel Dagenhardt with a time of 17:22 and Grace Homany who finished at 23:40.  

Other winners, by age bracket, were:  

1-14 Troy Dyers Calli Hahn

15-19 John Kilbourne Morgan Englehart

20-29 Dennis Kirimi Ashley Kassimer

30-39 Andrew Adam Meredith Black

40-49 Robert Black Jessica Bittence

50-59 Joe Tarantino Kathy Beers

60-69 Darrell Gammon Linda Black

70 + Bob Chittenden Phyllis Spangler

With the help of our Gold Sponsors: Altercare Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center, Inc., The Woodlands at Robinson Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Giving Well Family Foundation; our Silver Sponsors: Dave and Kathy Pangallo, Bill and Eddye White – Twin Star Lanes, North East Ambulance Service, and Giant Eagle of Ravenna; and numerous Bronze Sponsors and friends of Hospice, the event was able to raise over $10,000.  The day would not have been as successful without the assistance of the Ravenna Police and Service Department, the Ham Radio Club, the residents of Lincoln Street, our many volunteers and the Ravenna High School.  

For more information on Robinson Visiting Nurse and Hospice or how you can help people at the end of life, contact 330-297-8899.

Mantua – The Mantua Village Garden Club will hold its final meeting for 2014 on Monday, Dec.8, at Christ Lutheran Church, on Main St., in the village.  The festivities will start at noon with a catered luncheon, then short business meeting to wrap up the year, and induction of the 2015 officers.  The rest of the gathering will be spent making merry and holding a White Elephant auction to benefit the 4-Cs!  If you’re interested in finding out more about our club, and enjoying some holiday fun, please come and join us for a fun-filled afternoon.

The MVGC will take its annual winter break, and resume its meetings in March 2015. The 2015 officers will be busy planning the events and programs for the upcoming year during January and February.  If there’s an idea or program that you would like to share, or learn about, yourself, please contact Lea Lazar @ 330-274-0614, Diane Lottig @ 330-274-2868, Pasti Gast @ 330-274-2124, or Lois Eisele @ 330-842-1177.

Ravenna – Come join Portage Park District volunteer Naturalist Joe Malmisur and Dr. Sarah Maybe on Monday Dec 8th for the second in the Park District’s birding in Portage County series. It doesn’t matter if you did not attend the first session, we will be reviewing what we covered on Nov 10th.  The second session will focus on bird anatomy and the Christmas Bird Count that will take place on Dec 14th. Special guest instructor, Jamey L. Emmert, Wildlife Communication Specialist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife will be talking about bird anatomy and will review the idea of size and shape in identifying birds. We will have several actual bird mounts, from the small Hummingbird to the very large Sand Hill Crane, to get a good perspective on size and shape. It should be a HOOOOT!

This event will be held at the Portage Park District office located at 705 Oakwood St G4, Ravenna, OH.

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. 

Newton Falls – The Newton Falls Municipal Court has earned final certification as a Treatment Court from the Ohio Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets.

In order to receive the certification, the local court had to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went in to effect in January 2014.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Newton Falls Municipal Court and Judge PhilipVigorito for receiving final certification.

“Specialized dockets have proven effective at addressing persistent criminal behaviors,” said Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. “Specialized dockets result in significantly lower recidivism rates which means offenders become productive members of society, for which we all benefit.”

Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing the underlying causes of their behavior. There are more than 150 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that deal with issues such as: 

• Drugs and Alcohol

• Mental Health 

• Domestic Violence 

• Sex Offenses

The new standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources. 

Recommended practices outlined in the certification process include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is headed by the specialized docket judge.

The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel. The commission makes all decisions regarding final certification.

Mantua – In her report, Mayor Linda Clark announced the unofficial report that issue 42 passed by 12 votes. She remains cautiously optimistic until the absentee and provisional votes are counted, but stated, “I want to thank the voters for their support of issue 42 and a very big thank you to the DMRC. I feel without their help in promoting issue 42, it would not have passed.” 

In addition, she shared word that ODOT plans to open the bridge on State Route 44 at the south end of the village on Tuesday Nov 25. The village will hold a brief opening ceremony for the bridge and sidewalk project at 2 pm. 

In his report, Police Chief Harry Buchert informed Council that the Police Department was in the process of purchasing a K9, to be used in Crestwood Schools by Student Resource Officer Joe Urso. The K9 is trained in narcotics, and was offered to the Department by Excel K9 Services in Hiram. The Department has raised $3,400 in donations toward the cost of the dog and training needed. There are three fundraisers currently in progress at the schools. Buchert assured Council that the pending purchase would have no impact on the General Fund.

Village Administrator Kate Rogers updated Council on the Service Department projects currently underway. She noted that the repairs to the wastewater treatment plant were in process as was general winter readiness. She reported that due to the low salt supply, the Service Department would be directing the limited salt supply on safety areas (hills, intersections and curves), just as neighboring communities plan to do. In addition, she thanked the DMRC for their donation of holiday banners valued at $400. Moving on, Rogers asked Council’s permission to approve a purchase order to replace the park lodge roof. After some discussion, Council approved this expenditure at a value not to exceed $6,300. Council also approved a purchase order for a trailer to haul Service Department equipment.

Village Engineer Rich Iafelice reported that the village has received an OPWC grant for improvements and upgrades to the Water Treatment and Wastewater Treatment plants. The funds will be available in July 2015, but Iafelice would like to complete the construction documents in late winter or early spring to start the project as soon as the funds are received.

Next up, Edie Benner, President of the DMRC, discussed plans to utilize a grant her group had procured to add decorative light poles and landscaping at the south end of the village. According to Benner, the DMRC had identified Union Metals in Canton as a potential supplier of the necessary light poles. She provided images for Council’s selection — Council unanimously chose the “Euclid” style as the historic light post to be used in the village.

In other news, Council approved a motion approving the village’s participation in the Historic Landmark Commission. The group will work together with like-minded groups, including the DMRC and Mantua Restoration Society to help foster an appreciation of the area’s historic structures. 

Lastly, it was announced that Advanced Rehab will hold its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day at 8 am. Then, to help spread a little holiday cheer, on December 5th at 6 pm, The Mantua-Shalersville Chamber of Commerce will host Santa’s visit the village’s mini park. The following day, Saturday, the 6th, the Jingle Bell Jog, hosted by the Crestwood High School Band Boosters will be held at 9 am at the High School. 

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Mantua Village Council will be held on Tuesday, December 16th at 7 pm. Residents are encouraged to attend.

Mantua – For the second year in a row, Patty Timbrook, Visual Art Teacher at Crestwood Intermediate School, lead her students on a field trip to experience the art studios at Kent State University and Hiram College, exposing them to both college and potential careers in the arts.  This year, 14 students attended, with four parents and one grandparent acting as chaperones.  The trip was held on a weekday — NEOEA Day  — when school was not in session. Timbrook explained the value of such an excursion, sharing, “Field trips like this inspire young people to envision their future as a college student, pursuing an interest in the arts or any other field of interest.”

At Kent State, the group explored the art building, visiting the textile studio to check out the looms, and the ceramic studio, where students learned about the various kinds of kilns. In addition, the group watched as a student-artist created a pot thrown on the potters’ wheel, silk-screening in printmaking studio, and they watched an exciting demonstration of a bowl being blown in the glass studio. As an added bonus, one student for the group won the glass bowl to take home. After the touring the art studios, the group enjoyed lunch at the Student Center. While at KSU, the group also learned that next year, all art disciplines will be housed in a new art building that is currently under construction. That news was bittersweet for Timbrook, since she spent many years in the existing building as both an undergraduate and graduate student, where she met her husband.  In addition, her oldest daughter will soon graduate from KSU with a degree in Visual Communication and Design. 

That afternoon at Hiram College, the group visited the art building to see the painting areas, ceramic areas, drawing, printmaking, photography, and art history spaces. Timbrook continued, “This trip also broadens the definition of art that a young person may have.  They see many interesting approaches to personal expression.”  In addition, students had the opportunity to visit Hiram’s on-campus art gallery as it was being prepped to hang a show.  Timbrook gushed, “The student ambassadors at both campuses that worked with us were exceptional, professional, and had a wonderful rapport with our CIS students.”

Planning for next year, Timbrook shared, “I would love to have time to tour the graphic design studios, new poetry house and surrounding outdoor performance area, and eventually, the new Architecture building, since those areas of study would be of great interest to students.” Timbrook marveled, “And the parents seem to enjoy themselves as much as the students, sharing how educational these tours and demonstrations were for them. From the bus ride to the studios, we all had an enlightening day that inspired many student towards a college career and possibly a career in the arts.” 

The field trip was funded through a grant from the Hiram Community Trust. For more information, contact Patty Timbrook at ptimbrook@crestwoodschools.org.

Mantua – In light of the recent school shooting in Seattle, Washington, Crestwood District Superintendent David Toth shared the information about safety procedures at the start of this month’s School Board meeting. Toth shared, “I got into this field to educate kids, not necessarily to talk about guns in schools, but unfortunately, it’s a reality of the time. That being said, we do multiple drills here at the Crestwood District, to try to be prepared for as many situations that we can to protect our students and staff.” 

Toth went on to explain how the District uses a drill technique called ‘A.L.I.C.E.,’ (which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate). They also provide training videos with professional staff to provide them with guidance and support to help them anticipate what to expect and how to react in the event of an active shooter incident at school. At a recent professional development day for teachers and staff, the schools underwent an active shooter drill where law enforcement officers shot blanks in the school buildings in order to make teachers and staff aware of the sound such a disturbance creates. They trained staff in how to respond, and what to expect, should first responders enter the schools. Further, the district utilizes hard and soft lockdown drills with students and staff on random school days, to give students and staff time the opportunity to utilize best practices, should the need ever arise. 

In addition, district officials meet twice yearly with local police, rescue and sheriff’s office personnel in order to keep apprised of the latest safety information and procedures. Speaking on behalf of himself and his staff, Toth remarked, “The way we see it, they’re all our kids. We’re trying to do the best we can to make the outcome, if it should happen, the best we can for our students and our staff.” In summation, Toth directed individuals to contact his office, or his building principals, should they have any questions or concerns about school safety. 

Moving on, Middle School mathematics teachers Eddie Judd and David Wesley shared information on a new College Preparatory Mathematics program (CPM), being rolled out for Crestwood’s eighth graders. The goal of the program is to make college-preparatory mathematics accessible to all students by providing the latest professional development and curriculum materials in line with the Common Core standards. CPM courses are used in 35 states, and over the past 20 years, more than 5,000,000 students have taken CPM courses. Mr. Judd and Mr. Wesley shared that the program will start with students in the eighth grade, but the program will eventually incorporate students at both the Middle and High Schools in courses from Algebra up to Calculus.

Lastly, the Board recognized four employees for being named ‘Employee of the Month’ within the District. Intermediate School Teacher Kristin Patton and Food Service employee Jane Petro were recognized in the month of September, and Middle School Teacher Eddie Judd and Custodian Butch Mills were recognized in the month of October. 

The next meeting of the Crestwood School Board will be held at the High School Library on Monday, December 1st at 7 pm. The Crestwood community is encouraged to attend. 

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

by -
376

“Hey, do you want to go on a bus trip with us to Cambridge to see the Dickens Victorian Village? It’s a guided tour.  You will meet lots of new people!”  So said Michelle, my editor. “And besides, you will probably get a story out of it for the 65 and Single Again column.”  What the hey, I thought.  I’ve not done anything like this since………I can’t remember when.  Probably in college I took a Greyhound bus back to Athens from Cleveland. That was the last time I was on a modern over-the-road type bus, and that was close to 50 years ago.

Charles Dickens, who was he, you ask.  Oh, so you’ve been spending too much time out in the barn milking cows eh? Or maybe playing too much with the X-Box computer games.   Does Bob Cratchett or Tiny Tim ring a bell…….oh yeah,  THAT Dickens who wrote “A Christmas Carol” back in 18 and 50 something.  Dickens created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters and is generally regarded as the greatest Victorian Writer.  We had to read his works back in high school. Probably you did too.  Now you remember.  Sure I’ll go. Besides, there are bound to be some interesting people to meet on the bus.

The trip schedule was as follows:

Depart Garrettsville 8 AM

1st stop – McDonald’s in Cambridge to pick up the guide 

for the day—also coffee break

2nd stop – Dickens museum approx. 10 AM

3rd stop – shop on Main Street 

4th – eat lunch at restaurant 12:30 PM

5th – visit bulk food store and shop

6th – visit Episcopal Church

7th – shop a bit/nap in bus

8th – light show on the courthouse

Drive home, estimated return, 9 PM

So we set off on the bus at 8 AM from Sky Lanes in Garrettsville and headed for Cambridge which is about 2 hours away, including a rest stop.  There were about 34 of us on the tour.  I only knew about 3 people—the staff from the newspaper.  The rest were new to me.  As happens in unfamiliar situations you study the dynamics of the group on the bus, the people around you, and the persistent person behind you who feels the need to fill you in on every nuance and detail of the various people on the bus.  You note, perhaps, some interesting individuals and make a mental note to try and strike up a conversation with these certain folks. The back of the bus was the more vocal area; People seemed to be having a good time, laughing and such.  Also in the back of the bus is a bathroom.  It consists of a wooden bench with a hole in it and you could see the road going by through the hole……………..NO, NO, NO! I’m confusing it with a train ride from the 1920s.  Actually it was a very nice setup much like an airliner bathroom. I didn’t realize busses these days had such amenities and that certainly goes a long way toward alleviating certain fears about being trapped in a confined space……well, for some of us anyway.

We picked up our guide at the McDonald’s just at the edge of town. She was dressed in 1850s period clothing and served as the director for the affairs of the day. She explained how the whole Dickensonian concept came about for Cambridge and what they have done to enlarge it.  Cambridge is a quaint 1850s town with distinctly English architecture. It is about the size of Ravenna. Most of the buildings are well- preserved, including a marvelous 1850s courthouse.  I have noted many other similar courthouses in central and southern Ohio, all built in that era. Very fortunately they have survived modernization or being torn down like so many up north.  They are real jewels. 

Our tour guide explained that at the turn of the new century (2000) a group of townspeople and businessmen, recognizing the English heritage of Cambridge, got together, planned and implemented a Dickens Christmas theme that encompassed the whole downtown.  This, they surmised, would bring in business.  They decked out the downtown in Edwardian style with over 180 Dickensonian life-size manikins in various scenes lining the sidewalks and in shop windows.  These scenes depict real life situations of the time, such as a photographer taking a picture, groups caroling, people standing on a corner, and sitting on a bench. These are all lifelike manikins with fairly realistic faces.   But there are also various real people dressed in the period clothing walking about.  More than once I had the BeJesus scared out of me by a manikin that began talking to me and moved like a human. I wondered if Father Christmas was responsible for any heart attacks or strokes. 

As you can see by the schedule, there was plenty of time built in for shopping—this I’m sure to encourage the anticipated consequence of people visiting this Dickensian Town.  The pinnacle of the whole adventure was a simply wonderful, almost indescribable light show on the Courthouse, all choreographed to classical Christmas music.  The whole effect is perhaps best described as like watching a rapid fire Fourth of July Fireworks display. It was worth the trip to see this.

So, in between the various Dickens activities we shopped and ate.  There are a number of pubs along the shopping routes up and down the city block.  I don’t know why I mention that but I think that at least a few took advantage of it. Certainly the effects seemed more notable on the way back to Garrettsville, and not necessarily in a bad way. More on that in a bit.

We visited an Episcopal Church that was styled like, and likely built in, the 1850s.  We sat in the pews and listened to a short, staunch, pokerfaced elderly woman with a distinct English accent stand in the pulpit and dryly relate the history of the church. I wondered if she too was an actor trying to look Dickensonian or if it indeed was just her everyday manner of dress. I think the latter.  She then asked if anyone in the group might come up and play the massive pipe organ.  No one could or would. The thought crossed my mind to volunteer to go up and play chopsticks but I thought better of it.  Then she urged the group to sing a few Christmas Carols.  This was all well and good, mind you, but some of the group seemed to not feel particularly Christmassy, or more likely, not confident in their a Capella singing abilities.  Others were feeling…….something else, possibly courtesy of the pubs! We attempted “Silent Night”.  I say attempted because it would not be fair to say that we accomplished “Silent Night” in anything resembling harmony! Possibly it was not even recognizable. Then she said, “Let’s try Joy to the World.”  Whereupon I broke out laughing – thinking immediately of the Three Dog Night rendition– “Joy to the World, –all the boys and girls, joy to the fishes…” and how completely out of time and place that would be. Apparently that thought instantly escaped my mind and came out my mouth because I looked up and everyone was looking back at me.  A little more verbosity than I had anticipated I guess.  Though the moment didn’t translate well I doubt if the old English lady had any idea who Three Dog Night was.  All in all, the church people were nice; they fed us cookies and scones.  Per chance do you know what scones are?  Well, I know a little about English scones.  My wife’s grandparents were very English, having been born in England back in the late 1800s.  They had lots of English traditions, and they cooked typical English food.  Some of it was very good, some was…….not.   Grandma Nellie regularly used to make scones and bring them over often.  How to describe them?  The words that come to mind are white hockey pucks with jelly on them.  The ones that they served at the church though looked a lot better than those in my memory. They were soft and folded and you could make little jelly sandwiches with them. With Nellie’s you scored goals. I choked them down though to be nice and keep the peace. But I digress.

After the fabulous light show we began the two hour trip back home. Now if I remember back to high school days and trips back home from, say, a football game, things were, shall we say, more relaxed.  People talked a little more, sang a little more, and were generally more uninhibited. For example, it always took me that long to work up the courage to talk to a particular girl. Isn’t it funny that 50-60 years separates the experiences but the same thing happens with us 50 plus people? Even though we couldn’t seem to muster up the wherewithal to sing some Christmas Carols in the church, the group in the back of the bus at some point started belting out some Christmas songs. Gradually, song choices degenerated a bit as they launched into “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Everybody seemed to know the words perfectly though.  Then they belted out “Joy to the World –All the boys and girls, joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea…”  Of course the finale was that greatest of all German Christmas Carols, “I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner , –That is what I really want to be, Cause if I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner, Everyone would take a bite of me”.  

 It was a grand trip.  I will do it again but I’m sitting in the back next time and going shopping with that group.

“Many of the events of the annual cycle recur year after year in a regular order. A year-to-year record of this order is a record of the rates at which solar energy flows to and through living things. They are the arteries of the land. By tracing their response to the sun, phenology may eventually shed some light on that ultimate enigma, the land’s inner workings.” – Aldo Leopold, A

 

Phenology for December in Portage Parks

• Full moon (Cold Moon or Big Bear Moon) – Dec 6th   

• New Moon – Dec. 22nd 

• Christmas bird Count Dec 14th – Jan 5th.

• Winter Solstice – 1st day of winter Dec 21st and the shortest day of the year. 

• Snow – look for tracks in the snow: rabbits, squirrels, deer, fox, mink, and weasels.

• Look for snow fleas, commonly called spring tails, on the snow near dead vegetation.

• Hunting season (gun/bow) – wear bright colors when walking in the woods. 

• Look for Snow buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and Horned Larks in open fields of northern Portage County. 

• Looking for snowy owls, don’t look in trees. Look for snowy owls sitting on “hummocks” (mounds of dirt or debris) in open fields. 

• Woods are quiet. Look for butterflies (Mourning Cloaks and Angel Wings) overwintering under the peeling bark of trees. Look but don’t touch, please. 

• Look for the dried remains of wildflowers such as; Indian Pipes, Teasel, Milkweed, Goldenrod, Asters, Queen Ann’s Lace and various grasses. (and, yes, Oriental Bittersweet) 

Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/Gal

Come join Portage Park District volunteer Naturalist Joe Malmisur and Dr. Sarah Mabey on Monday Dec 8th for the second in the Park District’s birding series. It doesn’t matter if you did not attend the first session, we will be reviewing what we covered on Nov 10th.  The second session will focus on bird anatomy and the Christmas Bird Count that will take place on Dec 14th. Special guest instructor, Jamey L. Emmert, Wildlife Communication Specialist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife will be talking about bird anatomy and will review the idea of size and shape in identifying birds. We will have several actual bird mounts, from the small Hummingbird to the very large Sand Hill Crane, to get a good perspective on size and shape. It should be a HOOOOT!

Upcoming Hikes and Programs 

December

12/8 – Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/Gal – 7:00 pm Portage Park Building

12/14 – Christmas Bird Count

January

1/4 – Full Moon Hike – 7:00 pm Towner’s Woods

1/10 – Snow Shoe Hike – 10:00 am Chagrin Headwaters Park

1/11 – X Country Ski – 1:00 pm Headwaters Trail Head – Garrettsville to Mantua and Back

1/12 – Birding for the Ordinary Average Guy/gal 7:00 pm Portage Park Building

1/17 – Cross Country Ski – 10:00 am Towner’s Woods

1/25 – Snow Shoe Hike – 2:00 pm Towner’s Woods

1/31 – Snow Shoe Hike – Shaw Woods

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from the Portage Park District. 

Make sure to check out http://portageparkdistrict.org for additional upcoming programs and hikes!

by -
217

Even as the snow flies and temperatures plummet, Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is looking toward the warm days of summer and the popular summer theater workshops for area youth. GLTG has been sponsoring educational programs each summer since 1998.

Applications for lead instructors/directors for 2015 Summer Workshops are currently being accepted through December 20, with positions to be filled by late January.  GLTG offers programs for youth of all ages; juniors ages 4-7; Elementary Drama, ages 6-12; Elementary Musical, ages 6-12; Tween Drama ages 11-14, and Teen Musical Workshop, ages 13-18.

Workshops will begin in June on a staggered basis and run through mid-August, four days a week, three hours a day, ending in three public performances.

GLTG is seeking instructors with experience working with youth to develop age appropriate theatrical skills with an emphasis on education and personal growth as students work cooperatively to produce a quality show for family, friends and the community.

Applications and details about the position expectations can be found on the Geauga Theater website  (www.geaugatheater.org) or by calling the GLTG Business office during business hours, Tuesday-Thursday 10 am- 5 pm at 440-285-7701 or emailing education@geaugatheater.org.

by -
212

Ho Ho Hold on a minute!  Try as you might, there is no going back.  

The Thanksgiving turkey, heck, even the Halloween ghouls and goblins, will forevermore be in competition with Santa and his entourage of elves.  Like a full-blown blizzard that comes suddenly and unexpectedly, burying autumn (and us!) in the frigid reality of “here’s how it’s going to be,” the commercialism of Christmas ruthlessly arrives!  Step into any store but don’t be caught off guard.  Remember fall fell fast and was overcome by the holiday hustle and bustle, the Jingles and Kringles.  Gone are the good ol’ days of enjoying each season while in the season, like apple cider in September, pumpkin ale in October, and cranberry salad in November.  Now the polar express is in the express lane (alongside next year’s bikinis!).  Like a pill that’s hard to swallow, throw on a log, grab some eggnog, and open wide… the fruitcake has arrived! 

 SWCD Elves Can Help!         

Indeed the Christmas cheer is here, but rather than resisting consider another alternative to your Black Friday blues.  Here is where Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) comes in.  Believe it or not, we can help you not only with information and guidance on natural resource management, but also with your holiday shopping!  Geauga SWCD offers unique and meaningful gifts that keep on giving long past the holiday season.  Items we offer make positive impacts to our natural world and enhance our natural resources.  In addition, these gifts help save money and energy, while putting your hard-earned dollars back into our local community.  Below are just a few gift ideas to kiss Christmas commercialism goodbye and turn your Black Friday GREEN!

Gather Your “Liquid” Assets

Let this be the year to roll out the barrel.  A rain barrel, that is!  Rain barrels make creative, affordable, and sensible gifts, with lots of reasons to feel good about giving.  These recycled plastic containers attach to a downspout to collect and store rainwater from rooftops.  Instead of being diverted to a storm drain or ditch, the water captured can be used to water flowers, trees, and plants.  Rain barrels conserve water, reduce storm water runoff, alleviate flooding, and recharge groundwater.  Since access to fresh water is an urgent concern, both nationally and worldwide, rain barrels offer a backyard benefit with global significance.  Though most Ohioans have not yet felt the pressure of this resource scarcity, our country’s surface and groundwater accounts are now seriously overdrawn.  Nationwide, a typical household uses approximately 260 gallons of water every day, with lawn/garden watering making up nearly 40% of total summer use.  Installing a rain barrel allows us to significantly reduce our fresh water demand.  The District sells rain barrels year round for $80 and offers painted rain barrels during their Annual Yard Art Campaign.  Research the logistics of installing a barrel and consider taking the plunge!

A Lump of Coal?  No, Black Gold!

What does Santa do with all of that reindeer manure?  Compost it, of course!  No matter the size of your lot or farm, composting makes good sense (and cents!).  Composting is a simple, economical way to recycle kitchen scraps and yard waste into “black gold” – highly valued fertilizer and soil amendment.  Adding finished compost to our soil improves its structure and health, as well as increases its pore space and water-holding capacity.  In addition, composting keeps useful organic materials in our yards and gardens and out of our already burdened landfills.  Geauga SWCD is pleased to offer the versatile Back Porch ComposTumbler at a greatly reduced price of $180.  Don’t be afraid to “stir it up” by giving a friend or loved one the unique gift of a compost bin.  They’ll love the fact that you’ve spoiled them “rotten”!

O Christmas Tree

If you are still feeling overwhelmed and want to take the guesswork out of gift-giving, a tree sale gift certificate is a great choice for a truly priceless present.  Since our inception, Geauga SWCD has provided this service to residents, offering an incredible variety of trees, shrubs, and native plants each spring.  Whatever the need, we are sure to have the trees and plants to accomplish any landscaping goal at a bargain price.  And longer than any Christmas list is the list of benefits of planting trees!  There’s no better way to turn your Black Friday GREEN.

Unlike senseless spending on more and more meaningless stuff, creative gifts from Geauga SWCD are very worthwhile investments!  Contact us at 440-834-1122 or visit www.geaugaswcd.com for more information.   This year may you look beyond the Noel nonsense, rise above the yuletide lunacy, politely decline the fruitcake, and embrace the true relevance of the holiday season by making a contribution to conservation.  We’ll “leaf” it up to you!

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!