Home Community News

Garrettsville - James A. Garfield senior Lauren Greathouse has worked for approximately six months on the new banners that are hanging proudly on the front of  Garfield High School. With the help of Jeff Lang, Lauren completed the banners in time to be hung for graduation. Lauren tossed around some ideas at the beginning of the school year, and after many discussions and the help of friends and the school staff, they decided that “Reaching Above And Beyond” was appropriate for the new banners. If you haven’t driven by the school to see them, be sure to do so, you will not be disappointed.


Garrettsville – Village Council voted unanimously to sell the Irwin Hardware building to Garrettsville Ventures, LLC.  The 1800s-era property, located on Main Street in downtown Garrettsville, has been a source of contention in the village for several years as the former owner let the building’s condition deteriorate.  Council had the arduous chore of figuring out if the building could be preserved, or if the landmark should be demolished.  Council voted back in 2010 to preserve the building and invested more than $40,000 in stabilizing the failing structure.  The village officially acquired the property this year after paying the remaining $4,576.13 of delinquent taxes two county entities refused to waive.

The village is selling the property for $4,577, 87-cents more than the paid off tax lien.  During the public hearing before the regular council meeting, Michael Maschek of Garrettsville Ventures, LLC shared with council his plans to renovate the property.

In other business, council approved allowing distilleries, breweries and wineries in the C-3 (commercial) zoning district.  The approval stems from the purchase of the Portage Motors building by Pete Kepich plans to turn part of the building into a distillery.  Some concern was raised about the potential stench of having this type of operation in the village.  Mayor Moser stated he didn’t believe it would be a problem.  He further stated all EPA regulations will be followed.

Council voted to amend existing Ordinance to allow the inspection of apartments located over commercial establishments to change from a one-year permit to three years.

Resident Gary Cox voiced concern when the subject of curbside recycling was brought up.  He believes “forcing mandatory changes onto every homeowner” is inappropriate.  He stated the current system now allows option and is fair for the village residents.  The village currently is taking a survey on the subject, available online at www.garrettsville.org.

Council passed an ordinance limiting the length of grass on properties in the village.  The new ordinance limits the height to six inches, the Mayor stated it would be at the discretion of the Police Chief to issue citations.

The Mayor asked for and council approved authorization to advertise for bids for waterline replacement that is needed on State Street.  The Mayor said the current lines between Dairy Queen and Wheeler road are over 100 years old.

A brief discussion was held about the planned demolition of Paul’s Grist Mill and the formal submission for a community development block grant by the private owner to the county for that project.  “The village can’t bail out everyone” came from the audience over concern that too many properties falling into disrepair from private owners were becoming burdensome to the village.

If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community, please attend a meeting.  Village Council will next meet June 13, 7:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

(l-r) Ohio Rep Kathleen Clyde, Lt. Col Ed Meade Garrison Commander of camp Ravenna, Windham Mayor Rob Donham second place finisher Ken Batcher and first place finisher Nick Chambers

Camp Ravenna – This past Saturday, Windham experienced a rare event, the opening of the north gates of Camp Ravenna AKA Ravenna Arsenal. The gates were opened for a few hours for the first 5K race through the facility to help fund the Windham Park Restoration Committee Project. Fifty- six folks came out to support the cause, with many of the participants coming from Ravenna, Mantua, Hudson and even as far away as Mogadore and Plymouth. 


Cystic Fibrosis has been a term that I have heard my entire life. It was not until last July that I met this disease face to face.  Huddled around her incubator, I met Claire for the first time. Her parents, two of my best friends on earth, were facing a horrifying reality. Their precious newborn was being tested for Cystic Fibrosis. We were so excited to welcome their first-born into the world, but at the same time so frightened and sad that she was not born as healthy as we had hoped.  She had been born with a blocked bowel, and was having some difficulty gaining weight.  Seeing as how this usually points to the disease they decided to start testing. Weeks later the results were back and they were positive for CF. 

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary, at the meeting on May 5, interviewed candidates  to attend this year’s RYLA gathering at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, June 10-14.  They are proud to announce the selection of  Brittany Sisson and Andrea Sheller of Garfield High School and  Jake Sweet of Windham High School as their representatives to the program. Also present at the meeting was Darren Karlove who attended in 2010 and gave a thumbnail sketch of the activities involved and the positive outcomes they had in his life.  He was appreciative of the great mix of  talents, styles, backgrounds and leadership qualities that were present in the program and the participants.  He felt that it was a life-changing experience.  


The WVFD Joint Fire Board met for their regular monthly meeting recently with four of the five members present along with the fiscal officer. The board approved the minutes from last month’s regular meeting and two special meetings. They also approved the bank reconciliation, expenditures, and paid the bills.


South Russell – The Geauga Fresh Farmers’ Market will open its eleventh season on Saturday, May 19 with vegetable and flowering plants, spring produce and salad greens, hanging baskets, cut flowers, honey, maple syrup, cheese, meat, baked goods, soaps and lotions, and other seasonal produce and crafts. Hours are new this season – 9:00-Noon every Saturday, rain or shine, until early October.

Master Gardeners from the Ohio State University Extension Service will again be on hand in May to answer questions about growing seedlings and vegetables, and to answer your other plant questions. The Market is located in the South Russell Village parking lot at Rt. 306/Chillicothe Rd. and Bell St.

Special events this year will include cooking and grilling demonstrations, musical entertainment, kids’ day, corn celebration, strawberry events, the annual salsa tasting contest, and the annual tomato tasting contest. Keep up to date on special market events at www.geaugafarmersmarket.com

Music Lovers, listen up!  James A. Garfield instrumentalists will be on display Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. for their season finale.  The marching band will still be featured at Memorial Day and graduation but elementary, intermediate and middle school performers exhibit their tunes and talents this day along with the high school artists that they hope to emulate.  

Windham – In days gone by, folks who were able to send their youngsters to a pre-school program were usually of the elite sector and pre-school was considered an option only for those who were financially blessed. Pre-schools, back in the day, were few and far between and had long waiting lists. Now all that has changed and pre-schools are everywhere and more parents are seeing the need for  and value of early childhood education [and finding the means to do so]. Not only are they finding the means, they are also discovering that there is a pre-school in their area and it is more affordable than ever.

Hiram College held a Relay for Life event on Saturday, May 5th  thanks to the work of committee members (pictured  at left)  Jamie Zychowski, Zach Fincham and Rose Zychowski. Along with the help of participating teams, they raised more than $16,000 leading up to and during the event. They will continue to raise money through August 1st.

On the same night Ravenna Stadium held a Relay for Life event, with 40 participating teams, 600 participants and about 300 cancer survivors in  attendence. Relay for Life events are very touching and emotional for all who participate.

Berlin Center – On April 28th, 2012, David Corll of Berlin Center, Ohio completed his Eagle Scout Project in historic fashion.  Mr. Corll’s Eagle Scout Project involved the complete renovation of Lake Milton’s oldest cemetery.  Accompanied by his parents (Joann and Paul Corll), family and friends, and local dignitaries, the rededication ceremony was also honored to have the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of the Northwest Brigade of the American Revolution present for the Presentation of Arms.

As David explained, “This cemetery was established in 1820 and was the burial site for many of the early settlers of this area.  Jacob Cole who fought in the Revolutionary War is one of the more prominent people laid to rest here.  When I was approached with possibility of renovating this hallowed ground for my Eagle Scout project, I did not hesitate at taking on the challenge.  I want to thank all of those individuals and companies that supported this great cause.”

The Olde Dutch Mill Cemetery (also known as the Riverbank Cemetery) is located on the banks of the Mahoning River in a grove of walnut trees behind number 1 green at Olde Dutch Mill Golf Course.  Course owner Ron Birchak commented, “When David approached me about this project, I knew this young man was about to embark on a very special moment in his life.   I introduced Dave to the Lake Milton Browns Backers and they agreed to help finance the project.  Along with their help and a ton of other people and businesses, Dave has helped resurrect an important piece of Lake Milton history.”

Mr. Corll is a senior at Western Reserve High School and will continue his education at ATI Wooster where he will be studying Beef and Swine Production.  According to his scout master Mike Smith of Salem, Ohio, “only 2% of Boy Scouts achieve Eagle Scout status.”  We are sure that with this kind of dedication, David will go on to be quite successful in his chosen profession.

If anyone is interested in visiting the cemetery, stop by Olde Dutch Mill Golf Course in Lake Milton, Ohio. (www.oldedutchmill.com or 330-654-4100)


Ravenna – On April 19, Robinson Memorial Hospital, in conjunction with the Northeast Central Ohio Regional Disaster Planning Consortium (NECO) and a number of emergency management agencies, held a mock disaster exercise to test the hospital’s abilities to respond to a devastating tornado which swept through the region resulting in numerous simulated casualties and fatalities.


The world is full of stories about magical and fantastic events and beings. There are centuries- old stories, songs and works of art that have brought mythic creatures to life and have given shape to mankind’s greatest hopes, fears and dreams.  Today these creatures continue to thrill, terrify, entertain and inspire.  Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, currently on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the world’s most enduring mythological creatures.

This amazing display, organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, reveals the relationship between nature and legend.  Exhibition highlights include “life-size” models of mythical creatures such as a 17-foot-long dragon with a wingspan of over 19 feet; a 9-foot long, 8 ½ -foot-tall armored Pegasus; 10-foot-long unicorn; a 6 ½-foot-tall griffin; an 11-foot-long Roc with large, sharp talons swooping above the heads of visitors with a wingspan of nearly 20 feet; and a kraken, whose 12-foot-high tentacles appear to rise out of the floor of the exhibition as if surfacing from the sea.

Local artisan, Joe Leonard, of Custom Woodcarving in Garrettsville, OH states “it is a huge honor” to have two of his carvings as part of this touring exhibition.  In 2007, representatives of the American Museum of Natural History contacted him after seeing a photo of a griffin he had made for a Californian collector.  Joe suggested that they might also be interested in an armored pegasus he had made for the same collector.  After seeing photos of it on his website, they agreed.

The exhibit ‘wows’ and allows a hands-on approach in intertwining legend and history.  You’ll be able to touch a cast of a narwhal tusk and the lower jaw of Gigantopithecus, rearrange scale models of mammoth bones to look like a giant human skeleton or build your own dragon in an engaging touch-screen interactive and watch it come alive before your eyes in a virtual environment.  Also of interest are videos and interviews with experts in various fields discussing the significance of mythical creatures including artists from motion-picture visual effects company Industrial Light and Magic (founded by George Lucas) demonstrating the process of creating dragons for popular movies such as “Eragon”.

The Mythic Creatures Exhibit began its tour in 2007 in New York City, drawing in over 500,000 visitors.   Since then the exhibit has also been on display in Chicago, Boston, Ottawa, Toronto, Atlanta, and Sydney, Australia.  It is expected to continue touring though 2014.  Its current run in Cleveland has been extended through August 12, 2012.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is open seven days a week.  More information on tickets and hours of operation can be found on their website: www.cmnh.org or call the museum at 216-231-4600.

LAF SOMe has a new partner!  That’s right, Life After 50, Seniors On the Move is partnering with the new Nelson Garrettsville Senior Social Club (NGSSC).  The NGSSC will offer weekly meetings for area seniors and LAF SOMe will continue to offer day trips and special event gatherings.  The two groups combined efforts will offer area seniors numerous opportunities to socialize and have fun.


Aurora – On May 16th the Aurora Study Club will celebrate its 100th birthday!!! The Study Club is the oldest existing club in Aurora.

In 1912 The older women in town were concerned that the younger women were too frivolous, spending too much time playing cards & that they needed to expand their knowledge of the world. This led to the founding of the Aurora Study Club, by Orsa Harmon. They chose one topic for the year & met twice a month. Women had to be invited to join this prestigious club and failure to attend a meeting or to complete project assignments led to fines for the offending members. The Study Club was especially proud to be federated by the Club Women Of America in 1915.

Past president, Joan Tomko, will present a further look at the club’s history.

We also look forward to be entertained by Paula Messner who is a well known actress & singer. Her program is titled “A Little Song! A Little Humor!” She will be accompanied, on the piano, by Anne Ramsay.

Meeting time will be at 1:00 at the Church In Aurora’s fellowship hall. Guest are welcome.

 In 1967, according to the legend, the steeplechase race began because of a disagreement between two friends over the price of a cup of coffee.

The disagreement was between Archie Martin and the late “Doc” Foster. The disagreement turned into a challenge that was to pit four men with two canoes and paddles against the “Great and Mighty” Silver Creek in a competitive race. The four competitors, Bob Schnell, George Joseph, Archie Martin, and “Doc” Foster were each given a nickname. Schnell was “Beer Baron,” and his partner Joseph was “The Arab.” The opposing team comprised of Martin “River Rodent” and Foster “Quack.”

The race started on the Silver Creek at the bottom of Carlisle Hill on the Carlisle Family Farm between Hiram and Garrettsville. The course took them past Little Mountain and into the village, said to be an 8 miles long race.

The creek was very much like a jungle then and one had to portage through, around and over the debris found along the way. Many of the areas of the creek were dry and the canoes were dragged through the low areas and hoisted over several natural-made bridges from fallen trees and beaver dams, some were as high as 15 feet tall. When the racers reached South Street Bridge, the firemen hosed them down from the bridge as they continued on the last leg of the race. The last leg of the race was over the dam, which had the racers pushing their canoes over the dam, then sliding down the dam on their backsides. In the end the racers decided they didn’t want to be challenged again so they agreed to cross the finish line together, creating a tie.

The race drew nearly 2,500 folks along the banks to watch the event, which was the beginning of the festival in the small village. The festival at that time was called the “Silver Creek Canoe Race and Steeplechase and Old Time Git Together”

The Silver Creek Canoe Club was formed and became in charge of the annual races. Canoe clubs came from as far as Vermillion and Painesville to participate in the races. By 1973, interest in the race declined but in 1978, the interest was renewed when it became a part of the annual festival called Silver Creek Festival later re-named Silver Creek Turkey Daze*.

SummerFest has continued the tradition for seven years and this year will be no different. The Steeplechase will run Saturday June 23, 2012 at 9:00am. Racers are to meet behind the Deluxe Cleaners on Elm Street along the creek bank at 8:30 am.

This is a race for experienced paddlers who are over 21 years old. The race will begin at the bottom Carlisle Hill and will run back to the cleaners. One will need to wear deck shoes or tennis shoes for the race. The steeplechase is not for the faint-of-heart or the weak; the race is really more of a paddle-and-drag-type race, so strength will be required. Contestants will be hoisting a canoe over natural barricades, maneuvering around shrubs, bushes, briars, logs, beaver dams etc., besides paddling. This is a two man/woman race that requires endurance and is only for the toughest competitors. Watch the You Tube video, 2010 Steeplechase Canoe for an idea of what the race entails.

Registration forms for the race can be found online at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com. The registration fee is $25 per team and there are a limited number of entries being taken, so sign up early. Canoes, paddles and life preservers are provided by Camp Hi Canoe Livery.

*Early History Source The Visitor

The canoe races are sponsored by Therm-O-Link

This year’s SummerFest is sponsored by Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Geauga Vision, Ellerhorst-Russell Insurance Agency, Kepich Ford and the Weekly Villager. The festival is traditionally held the fourth full weekend in June at the corners of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville. More information can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com


Hiram – Hiram firefighters recently participated in emergency vehicle operations training with the assistance of a state-of-the-art emergency vehicle driving simulator.  The simulator was rented from Cuyahoga Community College for the purpose of expanding upon each Firefighter’s previous experiences and trainings. All Hiram firefighter are required to complete hours of driver’s training in each vehicle and an Emergency Vehicle Operations course before operating a vehicle with lights and sirens. The simulator is an impressive computer that consists of three large screens that simulate front and side views of driving.  The operator’s console is fully functioning, right down to the power seat.  If you bump a curb, car or other object you not only hear it you feel it in the steering wheel and seat. The whole simulator moves as you accelerate, slow down and make turns. It is as close as you can get to driving a fire engine, without really driving. Another great feature is that  the instructors have the ability to simulate vehicle failures. The instructors can causes tire blow outs, brake failures, and other problems to assist the Firefighters in handling a problem in a safe, controlled environment, not on the street. This is a great tool for us to not only gain experience behind the wheel in a controlled environment, it allows for training in critical thinking and decision making as well.

Marty Hill Court was filled beyond capacity last Friday night as folks from around the region came out to see the Harlem Ambassadors take on the Hometown Heroes of Windham. The Hometown Heroes are a co-ed team comprised of former Windham High School (WHS) basketball stars. The oldest player was Jim Moore who graduated in the class of 1966. They were coached by Greg McDivitt and Donny Ridenbaugh and the game was refereed by Marty Hill and Danny Nutter.

The Ambassadors were coached by Lade Majic who assisted with announcing, and some on court antics including wrestling Ted St. John to the ground and getting a “pin” which resulted in a foul.. Ted was headed to the line but the fun didn’t end there. After some good jokes at St. Johns expense and some wardrobe adjustments he was finally allowed to shoot his free throws.

The half- time show included those in the stands as folks headed to the court to kick up their heels and dance a line dance with the Harlem Ambassadors. The second half of the game got under way with the Hometown Heroes in serious need of points.  They started off with a few shots but still failed to close the gap and at one point Sean Cline was wrestled to the ground by Lade Majic and the referees called  “FOUL!” which resulted in more antics at Cline’s expense. Between the family friendly jokes, slam dunks and extreme ball handling skills the crowd was wowed by the Ambassador’s talent.

The evening was a family-friendly event that brought out laughs, cheers and fun as the packed house enjoyed the game along with the antics from the Harlem Ambassadors.   In the end the Hometown Heroes were on the losing end but all in all it was a fun evening.
The event was a fundraiser for the Renaissance Family Center in Windham, with proceeds going directly to support the programs at the center.


Ravenna  – There’s something fresh and new on Main Street this summer. The Downtown Ravenna Farmers Market opens under the green and white tent starting Thursday, May 17 in the City Parking Lot at the corner of Cedar and Meridian streets. The farmers market will be open every Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. through summer and fall until November 1.
All of the produce made available at the Downtown Ravenna Farmers Market will be grown by local farmers, traveling less than 100 miles to get from farm to table. In addition to just-harvested greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini, radishes, peas, carrots, corn and other vegetables, there will be fresh berries, apples, peaches and other fruits as they ripen in season. In addition, you will find maple syrup and maple candy, just-baked bread and from-the-oven pastries, as well as other home-made treats.
There is space for 15 fresh food vendors altogether. So far, Bittnerbees, D&A Maple Syrup, Deluxe Pastry, Breakneck Farms, Brugmans, Shari’s Berries, Bonnie’s Breads, Baked in the Village Cafe, Emily’s Soaps, Mike May’s Farm, Nitty Gritty Farms and Chaykowski Farms are already committed, said Market Manager Sally Kelly, a consultant who is developing the program for Ravenna.
Vendors interested in the few remaining spaces should contact Kelly at (330) 687-9501. Booth fees are $150 for the entire season (25 weeks) or $10 per week. There is also a half-season rate available. Vendors must agree to certain rules and regulations, including GAP and Cottage food sanitation guidelines.
Throughout the course of the summer, watch for a schedule of educational sessions, community service information and entertainment to be offered along with fresh food selections. Every other Thursday, the OSU extension service will provide educational sessions to help individuals understand how to prepare the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available that week. On alternate weeks, health clinics or live entertainment will be available.
The city received a two-year grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish the market. Kerry Macomber, Ravenna’s’ Economic Development Director, wrote the grant and now serves in a supervisory role for the program. The grant became available as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s health initiative to improve American diets, especially among young people and low income families. The Downtown Ravenna Farmers Market is located in a neighborhood identified by the U.S. Census where there is a 20% poverty-level income.
The neighborhood is also considered a Food Desert, a term that describes geographic areas where mainstream grocery stores are either absent or inaccessible to low-income shoppers. Though the grocery stores may be located in the vicinity, they remain unavailable to low-income residents because of high prices on healthy, fresh foods. Food deserts create significant negative health impacts from a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, meat and fish… most notably, obesity, which is linked to serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. While healthy food may be hard to afford in food deserts, fast food restaurants and convenience stores specializing in junk food are within easy reach.
“Unfortunately, people have become so reliant on the dollar menu, they don’t cook from scratch much any more,” said Macomber. “It’s convenient to eat fast food, but the nutritional content isn’t there.”
The Downtown Ravenna Farmers Market will now be within easy reach too. Hopefully, its convenience will appeal to people unaccustomed to the availability of fresh food. The farm market will be equipped with an EBT machine, so Direction cards from the Food Stamp Program will be accepted.
“This opens the market up to many more folks,”Kelly said.
The new farmers market will help to reverse the Food Desert trend, bringing nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables to the entire community. In the process, it is designed to help small farmers and vendors gain greater visibility, increase their markets and boost their incomes. As an added bonus, the market is expected to draw more traffic to downtown Ravenna, helping to revitalize the business district.
To learn more about The Downtown Ravenna Farmers Market and to keep current with its special events, log onto www.downtownravennafarmersmarket.com or follow on Facebook.


Hiram – The Hiram Police Department recently received a $500 “Step Outside” grant from the Ohio Department of Wildlife. The grant award will be directed toward a community program called, “Cops and Kids” Fishing Day. The event will be free of charge to anybody who attends. The intent of “Cops and Kids” Fishing Day is to bring community children closer to law enforcement officers and build lifelong bonds. “Kids will spend time fishing with police officers and having a fun day. We will have many items to give away at the event, contests, prizes, as well as lunch”, Chief Ed Samec said. “This is a program designed to bring police officers and kids closer together, build bonds and friendships;  it also is directed toward building family unity. Parents are encouraged to participate in the event and join in with the fun”, Chief Ed Samec added. “In our busy and hectic lifestyles nowadays, it is easy to let family unity slip by a bit. This program is also geared toward reminding families that “quality” time is important and does not have to cost a lot of money. Go fishing!” A date, location, and times have not yet been determined, but they are soon to come.

Garrettsville – As most Garrettsville residents are aware, the Village maintains a recycling drop-off center at the Service Garage parking lot on Water Street.  Village Council is currently exploring the possibility of switching from the drop-off center to curbside recycling as several of our neighboring townships and villages have, such as Hiram and Mantua.

Some information about Curbside Recycling

The Portage County Solid Waste District currently employs what is called a “dual stream” collection method, in which residents are supplied with 18-gallon bins for collection of their recyclables.  Paper and cardboard are collected in one or more bins, while glass, cans and #1 and #2 plastics are collected in separate bins.  Curbside collection can occur once a week or every two weeks.  Residents are billed by the Solid Waste District once a year for curbside service; weekly pickup currently costs $39.00 per year, while the bi-weekly service is $27.00 per year.  It’s important to note that if the resident does not pay the bill when due, it will be assessed to their property taxes.

However, the Solid Waste District is planning to switch from the current dual stream system to a single stream system, in which the bins provided will be larger (48 to 95 gallons, depending on need), wheeled, and each household will collect all recyclable materials in a single bin.  When the single stream system is implemented, the Solid Waste District will also begin accepting plastics #3 through #7, greatly increasing the amount of plastic that will be recycled and reducing the burden on our landfills.  Bill Steiner, Director of the Portage Solid Waste District, advises that he hopes to have the single stream system implemented in the last quarter of 2012 or the first quarter of 2013.

Village Contribution to Resident Cost
Currently, the Village pays $3,000.00 per year to maintain the receptacles at the drop-off center.  Council could choose to re-allocate that $3,000.00 to curbside recycling.  Doing so would reduce the amount billed to each residence by approximately $2.60, bringing the cost for weekly pickup down to $36.40 per year and bi-weekly pickup to $24.40 per year.  In addition, curbside recycling may also reduce your current trash pickup resulting in a potential savings to a resident.

Your Input is Important
Before Village Council makes any decisions, we want to know your opinion.  For this reason we’ve developed a short survey which can be accessed at the Village’s web site, “Garrettsville.org” or by calling the Village at 330-527-4424.  Please take a few minutes to visit the site or call and complete the survey – your opinion matters!

The Garfield MVP’s Keep our Kids Safe Committee will be very busy over the next few months.  The committee is working hard towards their goal of having  security cameras installed for the 2012/2013 school year in the parking lots of the high school / elementary school complex.  The group has raised  $2,700 but still need $6,000 to make this happen.
On May 5th during the Garrettsville Community Yard Sale the group will be holding a bake sale at 8067 Crestwood Drive in  Garrettsville.


Classroom teachers and other members of school communities who are interested in becoming certified National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructors are invited to attend a free training workshop on Thursday, May 17th, 2012.
The Basic Archery Instructor Training will take place at Bloomfield-Mespo Elementary School in Mesopotamia from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration is required and those interested should call Ken Fry, Division of Wildlife, at (330) 245-3030 or email Kenneth.Fry@dnr.state.oh.us. Please put “NASP workshop” in the subject line.


Hiram –  Sitko Counseling has been established for nearly three years and is a growing practice in Hiram Village. The counseling facility is located in the Hiram Professional Building, 11681 Hayden Street in Hiram Village. They offer counseling for a variety of issues including, but not limited to, substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) relationship issues, sex abuse, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and so much more.
The facility is owned and operated by Jamie Sitko who is a  Professional Counselor- Clinical Resident (PC-CR) licensed by the State of Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board.  Sitko usually sees clients on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays, but will adapt her schedule to meet ones needs. She doesn’t have set hours and is available  evenings as well. She can be reached  at 330 687-5483 or on the web at Jamie@sitkocounseling.com. One may also visit her web site for more information about the counseling facility. www.sitkocounseling.com .
Sitko opened the counseling center nearly three years ago after she discovered she had a passion to help folks. The counseling sessions are confidential and she offers several options for treatments. Persons  who are unsure if counseling would be beneficial to their well-being are encourage to book a 30 minute, free consultation to determine if the services will meet their needs.
The beginning encounter  will be more in-depth than a regular session and can last up to two hours. The session will cost $125 for the initial visit. The following therapy sessions usually last about 90 minutes and are $90 per therapy session. For those who have budget challenges she does offer a sliding scale for those who ask. Besides individual therapy, she  offers group therapy sessions as well.
Currently, she doesn’t take insurance and isn’t affiliated with any specific insurance company but many of the services she offers are reimbursable by health insurance plans that offer mental health services.
Sitko offers and is trained in the relatively new therapy known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Desensitizing of Triggers and Urge Reprocessing (DeTUR) as well as the traditional talk therapy.
Although considered new, EMDR has been around for 20 years and is a non-invasive method that has proven to be more effective and quicker than other forms of counseling.
EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation, which repeatedly activates the opposite sides of the brain, releasing emotional experiences that are “frozen” in the nervous system. This helps the neurophysiologic system, the core of the mind/body connection, to finally free itself from blockages and reconnect itself. This ultimately brings one to the road to recovery much more quickly  than traditional talk therapy.
Many could use counseling services, whether it is just to unload or long term therapy. Either one can be addressed at Sitko Counseling. If one is unsure whether counseling will help them or if Sitko is the right therapist, they should consider giving Sitko Counseling a try by using the 30-minute free consultation. The free session will give one an idea if her services would benefit them. Sitko Counseling is located in the Hiram Professional Building a cross the street from Hiram Post Office.


Geauga County –  It’s the  perfect way to get out and explore the county, enjoy new venues and have a chance to win some great prizes!  On May 5th twenty-five  locations are participating & offering free samples, tours, demonstrations, sales and give-a-aways. Pick 10 stops, visit and get your map stamped, then join us for fun at the Finale and great prizes!
Participating locations are offering everything from free chocolate to free herbs, a chance to try ballroom dancing, and a chance to tour a dairy farm, definitely something for everyone. The event will run from 10am to 4pm with a finale celebration at Middlefield Market Pavilion (indoors.) The building will open at 3:00pm with vendors, entertainment, snacks, a silent/chinese auction, and prize drawings begin at 4:00pm. To eligible for the prize drawings you must visit at least ten stops, have your map stamped at each location, and turn it in at the finale by 4:00pm.
Prizes and auction items will be baskets and gift certificates from area businesses. Tour stops are Amish Home Craft & Bakery, *Auburn Pointe Greenhouse, Buckeye Chocolates, Country Arts & Jewelry, *Country Collections Antique Mall, Countryside Home Bakery, *Cross Creek Rug Hooking Studio, Crossroads Country Café, *Deep Springs Mineral Water, End of the Commons, *Four Green Fields, *Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Geauga County Airport, Geauga County Habitat for Humanity ReStore, *Hastings Dairy & Tours, *Kalle Naturals, Lalelure Vineyards, *Locally Blown Glass, Ma & Pa’s Gift Shack, *Mullet’s Footwear & Country Cedar, *Off Center, Richards Maple Products, *Sunrise Farm, UH Geauga Medical Center , and White House Chocolates. (*Designates first time stops) Participants can get a list of all of the stops, their activities and a map, by calling the Geauga County Tourism Office 440-632-1538 or 800-775-TOUR, online at www.TourGeauga.com or at any of the participating member locations.
Check out our interactive tour map or click on the icon for more information and join us for this Celebration of National Tourism Week.

Garrettsville – Pack up your favorite unique or antique mail and your forks, the James A. Garfield Historical Society’s May meeting will focus on postcards and pie, a show-and-tell with a twist.  If you’ve got a postcard with a pie on it–cherry stains don’t count–bring it on down to the Mott Building on Main St. on Monday, May 21 at 7:30 for the event.  If your postcard has something to do with local history, you’re in the running too.  If it’s just old, old and interesting, there’s a spot for you as well.  The more, the merrier!

Aurora – The Church in Aurora is one of the most prominent landmarks in the City of Aurora.  With its towering white steeple and beautiful architecture there is no question why so many couples, my husband and myself included, choose to share their wedding vows there every year. This is the perfect setting for every fairy tale wedding. It is center stage in Aurora, across the street from the town’s gazebo, a perfect place to snap those once- in-a-lifetime wedding photos. As a little girl I used to drive by the church and see the beautiful brides in front of the church and hope that some day I would be the bride walking out the front doors of the white church, surrounded by many bridesmaids and bubbles, listening to the majestic church bells ringing as I walked down that path to wedded bliss. This fantasy came true for me in April of 2008. Since that day the Church in Aurora has been such a special place for me, I wanted to honor it by sharing a little of its history and encourage everyone in the community to check it out.
Although many young couples begin their futures in the Church in Aurora, the church, both building and congregation, has a very rich history. The church can be traced back to the early 1800’s when a young Reverend was sent from the Missionary Society of Connecticut to minister to the settlers of the Western Reserve. As there were only a couple of families to preach to, the congregation first met in homes of the settlers and then later in the Aurora town hall and school. The church was officially established in 1809 with a growing congregation but still no building to call home. Soon the congregation decided to take on the task of raising a church building.  Finances being very depressed at the time, the church members donated their time and materials for the building project instead of money.  After much hard work, prayer and fundraising the church building was erected in 1822 and finally dedicated in 1824. At the time of its dedication, the building had a brick exterior and much smaller footprint than the structure that stands today. The brick church served the community well but by the 1870’s it had to be torn down. Soon after, a new wood structure would take its place.  That wood structure is the center of the white church that is still standing.
Over the last decades the building has had several face lifts and expansions, bringing it to be the beauty that it is today. The sanctuary, the only original piece of the 1870 building remaining,  is the home of a beautiful and quite massive, organ that was added during World War I.  It was built in honor of those church members that served in the war.
Serving God and the community in Aurora for more than two centuries, the Church in Aurora is more than a historical landmark and site for weddings. It is still a place for the local community members to come together and worship.  Services are held each Sunday at the Church in Aurora at 9:30 AM and 11:00AM.  The church offers many activities for its members and also for other  members of the community.  Rev. Dr. William Schnell, the current Senior Pastor, and Rev. Kevin Horak, the Associate Pastor, are also involved in the community. You can often see Rev. Horak stepping out from behind the pulpit and onto the stage at Aurora’s local community theater.
The church also invites the residents of the local area  in each year for its annual The Nutcracker Sweets Fine Arts and Crafts Show.  It is held each fall at the church and will be held again this year in October.  This is a great opportunity see all of the local crafts and crafters but also get a peek at this great historical landmark that we have in our own community.
Whether it is for a Sunday morning service, a wedding or a craft show, everyone should share in the beauty of this treasure that we have in our own back yard.


Aurora – Award-winning local author Thrity Umrigar will be speaking and signing copies of her new novel, The World We Found, on Saturday, April 28, at 1:30 p.m. at the Aurora Memorial Library. In her fourth novel, Umrigar, who is a native of Bombay, India, explores class and religious distinctions in modern day India as college friends who have grown apart are reunited when one is stricken with cancer.  Her previous books include The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Time, as well as the memoir, First Darling of the Morning.


Aurora – On April 22 through 29, an empty warehouse in Aurora will become the stage for the village’s annual spring treasure trove sale, which organizers say has raised more than $80,000 for local sports teams, clubs and more.
The event, held at 999 Chillicothe Road just south of Aurora Farms, will kick off April 22 at 10 a.m. with early bird hours until noon.

Come out and meet the author  Richard A. Markwardt on April 28th at 1 p.m. at the Village Bookstore, 8140 Main Street in Garrettsville.
Markwardt, a resident of Garrettsville,  will be available to sign copies of his book, Sometimes Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair.
One of life’s more important lessons is learning that fairness is not determined simply by what happens to us. Jake learns this lesson one day when he travels to school and back on an adventure that teaches him that fairness is something to be demonstrated, not earned.


Chagrin Falls – Bestselling author Eric Metaxas will be speaking at Parkside Church in Chagrin Falls on Friday evening, May 4. Metaxas will discuss the men of faith who are the subjects of his New York Times bestsellers, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery.  The event is sponsored by Agape Christian Academy and will be held in the Commons at Parkside. Tickets are $40 each and include dinner.

Garrettsville – Village Council met for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on April 11.  Minutes from the prior meeting, revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were all reviewed.  Motions to pay the bills and accept the minutes were both unanimously approved, all Council members were present.


Portage County District Library celebrated National Library Week by recognizing the hard work and dedication of its many Friends of the Library and community volunteers. During the week, the community was reminded of what valuable assets they are to Portage County District Library. In addition to the recognition, tables were set up to display Friends of the Library membership applications.

Pictured above (L-R): Stephanie Chimenti, Leah Kuno, Desiree Gabriel, Shane Andrews, Jess Berry, Rachelle King, Elise Lambert, and Sarah Roborecki.

Garrettsville  – Step into Facet Salon & Spa at the Total Lifetime Care complex at 1 Memory Lane, and you almost feel like Dorothy entering the Emerald City. Only it’s not garish. You just feel like you’re not in Kansas — or Garrettsville — any more. Instead, the Tuscan-inspired earth tones, stone- and wood- accented interiors and leather furnishings create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for this upscale oasis.

That’s by design, say co-owners and Garrettsville natives Shane Andrews and John Paul Mitchell Systems stylist and national educator Rachelle King. Facet Salon & Spa was a name both partners agreed upon when discussing the many dimensions of wellness that TLC provides to the community: Andrews Eye Care provided by Shane’s father, optometrist Tim Andrews; the family physicians’ practice headed by Shane’s mother, Annette Andrews, MD; and the TLC fitness center.

“Facet is the final piece of the puzzle, as we envisioned it when we first established TLC nine years ago,” says Andrews. “We’ve got the medical side, the feel-good fitness side, and now the final polishing, so you can leave here healthy, fit and pretty, too.”
The full-service salon and day spa offer options for the entire family, including fresh color and cuts for women, cuts and shampoos for guys and kids, styling for special occasions, manicures, pedicures, facials, spray tanning, tanning beds, massage rooms, and even two infrared saunas for detoxification and weight loss. In addition to Paul Mitchell hair products, Facet’s facial line is Bio Elements, and nail services feature OPI and Shellac.

King says the salon’s highly-trained group of stylists, make-up artists and nail technicians comprise a “a multi-faceted team who will make your visit to Facet an amazing experience. We cater to many dimensions of beauty, relaxation and refreshment, where each guest is a gem.”

King has been a stylist since 1992, when she graduated from Maplewood Career Center. An entrepreneur by nature, it wasn’t long before she was manager of Golden Mirror salon at the Sky Plaza. In 2007, King branched out and established a hip, new Paul Mitchell focus salon in the historic Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland. With 14 stylists at that location, the Studio has earned media coverage in every major national salon industry magazine, King says. In 2010, Crain’s Cleveland Business named King one of its Top 40 Under 40. She recently departed Golden Mirror and now is focusing on Facet, the Studio, and her national training circuit with Paul Mitchell.

Call (330) 527-4347 to schedule appointments at Facet Salon & Spa beginning Tuesday, April 24. Regular business hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Watch for a grand opening celebration in about a month.

Kassie Fedor’s 387 was the high series last week for the 9:00 Trio League.   Kassie just edged out Eric Lawless who shot 377.  Star of the week was Wilson Jackson.  Wilson was 111 pins over his average of 72, with games of 119, 114, and 94.  Eric Schaefer was also over average all three games.  Eric’s average is 58 but he rolled games of 87, 82 and 87, 82 pins over average for the day.  Other good games:  Clark Jackson, 136 (47 over), Travis Horner, 123 (34 over), Nathan Phillips, 139 (34 over), Austin Wise, 117 (30 over), and Matt Hale, 112 (27 over).

Ravenna –   On April 19, 2012, Robinson Memorial Hospital will participate in a disaster exercise conducted by the Northeast Central Ohio Regional Disaster Planning Consortium (NECO). Disaster exercises or mock drills are held annually to test the plans and response times of participating hospitals and emergency management agencies. This year’s exercise will stage a tornado sweeping through 13 surrounding counties with 53 agencies participating.


Mark your calendars. The Garrettsville Area Chamber’s 19th Annual Community Yard sale is slated for May 5 & 6, 2012, beginning at 9am until 4pm. So start cleaning out the closets and get ready to make some cash on those unused and unwanted items one has lying around. Remember, what might be considered trash by you could be someone’s treasure.

Registration for the yard sale  is going on now and one may contact Jerry or Lynnette Kehoe for registering information 330 527-2722. Registration forms are available in the Weekly Villager newspaper, Jerry Kehoe’s Used Cars and on line at www.garrettsvillearea.com. The forms will need to be dropped off at Jerry Kehoe’s Used Cars at 10755 South Street (corner of state route 82 and 88) in Garrettsville. The fee for the event is $10 and Garrettsville village permits are waived if you register for this chamber event. The $10 fee will mean: free advertising for their event, signs and maps of their location. One will also be able to highlight a few specific items in their sale that will be listed on the back of the map along with their address. The deadline for registering is April 28, 2012.

This annual event is not limited to village residents, Windham, Hiram, Nelson, Freedom residents are encouraged to participate as well.  If one lives out of the region and they want to participate, they can register for a space at the bowling alley in town or at Freedom Park, and an additional charge may apply for these spaces.

The last few years the event has had over 200 participants selling their wares which draw thousands of visitors to town to shop for bargains and eat at local restaurants. This not only boosts the local economy on these two days, it also showcases the area and many return on another day to shop or eat.

One should start planning now. Whether you are looking to get rid of unused or unwanted items or hunting for a bargain, get ready the Community Yard Sale is right around the corner and you will not want to miss this opportunity to make some cash or find a bargain.

The 19th Annual Community Yard Sale is sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber.  More Chamber news and events can be found at  www.garrettsvillearea.com

The Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Garrettsville Economic Development Group are excited to announce the 1st Annual Business Awards.   These awards will be presented during an Awards Event in August.

To be nominated for an award, the business must be located in the Garrettsville, Freedom Township, Nelson Township, Hiram or Hiram Township limits.

Anyone can nominate a business. Nomination forms are available online at  garrettsvillearea.com and weeklyvillager.com. All nominations must be received by June 29, 2012.  The winners for each category will be voted on by majority of the committee.

The categories are as follows:

Small Business of The Year:  This award is presented to a community business with ten or fewer employees. The Small Business of the year has demonstrated best business practices and has made substantial contributions to improving the business, social or educational atmosphere of the community.

Industrial Business of The Year:  This award is presented to a manufacturing or other industrial business with ten or more employees. The Industrial Business of the Year has demonstrated best business practices and has made substantial contributions to improving the business, social or educational atmosphere of the community.

Retail Business of The Year:  This award is presented to a  business that sells goods directly to customers and has a physical storefront in the community. The Retail Business of the Year models customer service and provides a destination that brings customers from local and beyond into the community. This business has also used the storefront to advance social or educational opportunities in the community.

Best Place to Work:  This award is presented to a business which demonstrates a model workplace.

New Business of The Year:  This award is presented to a  business that has been in the community for 18 months or less and has demonstrated best business practices and has made substantial contributions to improving the business, social or educational atmosphere of the community.

All nominations must be received by June 29, 2012 to be considered. Please submit your nomination(s) to 2012 Business of The Year, c/o The Weekly Villager, 8454 Windham Street, Garrettsville, OH 44231.

Make your nominations online at: http://garrettsvillearea.com/awards.html

You know how, in literature there’s this thing called foreshadowing, where something that happens in the story is, like, a clue to what’s going to happen further on, a rehearsal for later action, say if Jack and Jill stumbled on the way up the hill prior to falling down–when Jack “broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after”–that kind of thing?  Well, anyone who did not suspect that our fifth honoree for the James A. Garfield Hall of Fame this year was going to “go somewhere, do something, be somebody” was simply not paying attention.
Jeffrey Wayne Richmond graduated from James A. Garfield High School in the class of ’79 and headed off to Kent State University, leaving a “show biz” trail behind him all the way.
His resume’ included agitating for–and succeeding at–bringing musicals–“Oliver” to start to the Middle School stage (Fagin was made for him) then moving on to the high school (in between, there was a stint at the Tidewater Dinner in Virginia where he played The Artful Dodger opposite Vincent Price in “Oliver” and acquired an Equity card) and establishing a tradition in drama–and music– which continues to this day.  He sang in the French class Christmas carol presentations, wrote the ”Hormone Blues” for extra credit in biology class, designed the original logo for the Garfield marching band, played the tuba (and allegedly once disappeared from the field in the middle of the halftime show when the lights went out for the twirling of fire batons, leaving only his instrument, his uniform and a pair of red boxer shorts), played against type as the neatnik Felix in “the Odd Couple”, directed “Please Don’t Drink the Water”, performed in “Pippin” and “Once Upon A Mattress,” did  cartoons for the school newspaper, wrote mini-musicals of his own–“Cowgirl on Broadway”, “Greasers on Parade”–that he inveigled friends into performing in and all sorts of groups into watching.  Not bad for a high school career, eh?
At Kent State University the beat went on.  He co-authored a number of musicals (including a musical version of “A Christmas Carol” where people served as furniture and prop pieces) and participated in many productions of the Musical Theatre Department, being considerable influenced  by Profs Erdmann and Zuccaro.  One independent project involved organizing a summer production of “Music Man” in Garrettsville, starring the mayor of the village as Professor Harold Hill, drawing in performers from all over and being the organizing force of what became  the Garrettsville Community Players (Which went on  for another fifteen years).
Then it was on to the Big Leagues.  In Chicago, Jeff worked at The Second City and Child’s Play Touring Theatre before beginning to compose music for the TV series Saturday Night Live in New York.  In 2006 he left SNL to produce and compose music for the situation comedy, 30 Rock.  He has appeared as an extra in the show on several occasions and since 2010 has directed four episodes (“Argus”, “Plan B”, “The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell”, “Today You Are A Man”).  The “30 Rock Original Television Soundtrack Collector’s Edition” features book and music by Jeff Richmond.  He is the musical director for the show and the executive producer.
In 2008, Jeff composed the score for the film “Baby Mama” which starred his wife, Tina Fey, opposite good friend, Amy Poehler.  He has also appeared in a recurring role on Late Night with Conan O’Brien as the short character of “Russian Hat Guy.”
Sure sounds like Hall of Fame material, right?
The Hall of Fame dinner and ceremony will be held at James A. Garfield High School on April 28.  The public is invited. Tickets will be available by calling 330 671-0228 or jokesh@frontier.com.

Mantua – Crestwood Drama Club has worked hard to produce their version of ‘Once Upon a Mattress’, a comical twist on the Princess and the Pea. In this student-directed production, club officers planned the blocking, choreography, and directed the construction of the set.  Students reported to one another and held one another accountable.  They, with the support of administration, organized adults and each other to create a successful show.  Two former Crestwood Drama presidents helped students plan sets and lighting. It is the kind of dedication and learning that educators and parents hope to see.


Aurora – Each year, the American Red Cross presents the Real Heroes awards to those residents of Portage County who have acted courageously and selflessly in a time of emergency, often at great risk and sacrifice to their own personal safety and well-being. These ordinary individuals have acted courageously by reaching out to help others in times of greatest need. Disasters were averted and lives were saved.  This year’s event will be held on Saturday, April 14 at 10 am at the Bertram Hotel and Conference Center in Aurora.  Cost for the event is $25.00 per person.  Reservations may be made online at www.summitcounty.redcross.org, or by contacting Shelley Sprang at 330-535-2224 or shelley.sprang@redcross.org.


Windham – Spring has officially arrived and if you have been lying around all winter then it is time to get outside and get moving. Here is an event you will not want to miss and it will not only help you get moving it will help a local group generate funds to restore their park.


Ravenna – FOX 8’s own Dick Goddard will be the guest speaker at the Seniors Spring Into Knowledge event at the  Reed Memorial Library. The event, co-sponsored by the Library and Crossroads Hospice, will be Friday, April 20 from 9:30 am – 1 p.m.
From 9:30 to 11 meet with representatives from several local agencies with information aimed at keeping you active and in your home.   At 11 watch a Silver Sneakers demonstration. This exercise program is specifically for senior citizens to improve your health.


Hiram – A summer Fine Arts Workshop has been added to the slate of learning opportunities and activities this summer at Hiram College

For three Saturdays (July 7, 14 and 21, 2012) from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM on Hiram College’s campus, students will learn printmaking (silkscreen), painting and drawing.  Young artists will work with Hiram faculty to expand their artistic abilities, aesthetic judgment and advanced visual skills. The workshop will conclude with an art show for family and friends.  The fee to participate is $55 and covers all meals, art supplies and materials.


Newton Falls – Join Healthy Treasures as they celebrate their spring health day on Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 11am to 3pm at 32 West Broad Street (their temporary location), Newton Falls, OH.  There will be four free educational lectures, food samples and giveaways. Speakers include Dr. Ted Suzelis, N.D. who will speak on the Blood Type Diet; Synthia Suzelis and Ashley Suzelis will speak on Understanding Your Skin; Blake Suzelis will speak on Depression; and Patty Sparks will speak on Craniosacral Therapy.  Free.  To RSVP please call 330-872-1119 or email blake@suzelis.com.

Windham – The spooky world of the paranormal is coming to the Windham Historical Society. At their monthly meeting on Monday, April 16, at 7 PM at the Brick Chapel, 9001 North Main Street, all interested listeners will hear how Windham once stood at the center of the world of psychic research.


CLEVELAND—The roar of dralions (a clever blending of eastern dragons and western lions) could be heard throughout lower Cleveland over the holiday weekend, drawing thousands to their temporary home within Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion masterfully achieved just that.

Running April 4th through 8th, spectators were transported to a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals, flowing textiles and awe-inspiring acrobatics. Audience goers were treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, at a level of perfection that could only be delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audiences were treated to spectacles ranging from juggling to a high-stakes game of “Diablos”, Cirque’s unique spin on a classic children’s toy–the Chinese yo-yo. For fans of high-flying excitement, their thirst for aerial thrills was quenched by acts such as “Pas de Deux”, an aerial dance requiring both strength and flexibility from the couple intertwined in a band of blue cloth.

The level of talent on display each night was undeniable, but what goes into bringing a performance of this caliber to an arena like the Wolstein Center? On April 4th, the Weekly Villager was offered a chance to find out.

Tracing its origins back to 1999, Dralion was originally conceived and produced as one of Cirque Du Soleil’s Grand Chapiteau (big top) tours. Production Manager Alain Gauthier explained that in an effort to increase the accessibility (in terms of location), the show was “brought into a new reality” in 2010 when the Cirque creative team “redid [the technical aspects of Dralion] from scratch”. Stressing that while “[the show] remains artistically the same”, the arena tour has enabled the production team to rework the lighting and costumes to “achieve the quality of vision that both the designers and audiences expect”. Working together to produce a “stereo image”, an attempt at creating a unifying experience for audience goers, the creative team believes that “every seat should be a good seat”.

For Cirque Du Soleil, the spectacle comes not from the performers alone, but the blending of aural and visual performances. Not even the stage–described as a “twelve-agon”–escaped the creative team’s eye.
Seeking to reduce load-in/load-out times on the tour, Cirque Du Soleil’s stage supplier developed a unique “no-tool” stage that eliminates the need for screws and nails. Relying on magnets and a host of locking pins, the individual segments that compose the stage can be quickly assembled or disassembled with the “swing of an orange rubber hammer” and an allen key.

When the Dralion trucks arrive at a venue, laden with over 400,000 pounds of equipment, costumes and supplies, it is all hands on deck. Traveling with a permanent crew of 24 technicians, the production crew typically hires upwards of 60 local workers to help with load-in and over 75 for load out. Arriving one day ahead of opening night, load-in typically lasts 8-10 hours while the set and all equipment can be loaded out within 3 hours. Gauthier states that the current load-out record for this year’s tour is about 2 hours and 28 minutes.

Whether you missed your chance to see Dralion or want to experience the magic again, Cirque Du Soleil will be returning to the region in July with a new production which promises to deliver the same level of spectacle and excitement. Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour blends the King of Pop’s music with “[a] riveting fusion of visuals, dance and fantasy” that will draw audiences into “Michael’s creative world and literally turn his signature moves upside down”.

For more information about Cirque Du Soleil or The Wolstein Center, visit their websites at: http://www.cirquedusoleil.com  and http://www.wolsteincenter.com

Photographs from Dralion


CLEVELAND—Billed as a performance that “transcends the boundaries of imagination”, the performers and crew of Cirque Du Soleil’s Dralion achieve just that. Running April 4th through 8th at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, spectators are drawn into a dazzling world of rich colors, moving instrumentals and flowing textiles. Showcasing the talents of over fifty performers, audience goers are treated to a bevy of phenomenal acts at a level of perfection that can be only delivered by Cirque Du Soleil.

Reflecting over 3,000 years of Chinese acrobatic arts, the various acts in Dralion successfully blend eastern traditions with western culture. Over the course of the performance, audience goers are treated to many astounding spectacles including these favorites:

Single Handbalancing
Requiring impressing strength, flexibility and control, this act features an artist executing a series of impressing figures while maintaining her balance atop canes of various heights.

The artists of Dralion take traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances to new heights in this stunning act. Featuring dynamic and energetic tumbling sequences, acrobatics on large wooden balls and the Dralions themselves; this act is a crowd pleaser.

Putting a new spin on a classic children’s game, Diablos features four performers each with a Chinese yo-yo attempting increasingly difficult maneuvers, attempting to outdo each other in dexterity and ingenuity.

Tickets for Dralion are still available through the Wolstein Center and may be purchased online by clicking here.

Want to learn more about what goes into bringing Dralion to an arena near you? Find out in next week’s Villager.