Home Community News


Aurora – The Doll Gatherers Cloth Doll Club from Aurora, Ohio is now polishing up the final touches for another spectacular, theme-related doll makers’ conference. THE DOLL PARTY GALA 2012 will be held at Punderson Resort in Newbury, Ohio on May 18-20 and will feature very popular and well-known doll art designers: Lillian Alberti (Warwick NY), Susan Barmore (Louisville, KY), (Arley Berryhill (Albuquerque, NM), Deanna Hogan (Astonia,OR), and Cyndi Mahlstadt (Redfield, IA). All pre-paid and registered participants will enjoy a weekend of doll making workshops, doll exhibits and various other activities related to doll-making interest. This event is planned to include Beginner to Advanced doll makers. Visit www.clothdollconnection.com/dollgatherers for detailed information or contact Joan Stephens Coordinator) at DGdolling@AOL.com This conference IS NOT related to or for collectible dolls.


Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella is coming to the Geauga Theater, and there will be two special events during Maple Festival weekend where your child (boys as well as girls) can enjoy meeting Cinderella and Prince Charming. On April 28th she can dress in her best Princess attire, and have her hair done in a royal up-do with tiara at Marci’s Hair On the Square. After, have your little princess join Cinderella and her Prince for a meet and greet with cupcakes. On Sunday, make a noble craft with Cinderella and her Prince. Both events promise to be royally fun and will provide wonderful photo opportunities for those that bring cameras. Pre-registration is required. Saturday Princess Style appointments begin at 12:15pm until 1:15pm, followed by the meet and greet at 1:30pm to 2:30pm, cost $12.00. Sunday’s craft event is 1:00pm to 2:30pm and is $6.00. Call the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild business office at 440-285-7701 for details or to reserve. Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella will run April 20th – 22nd and May 4th –13th. Friday and Saturday evening performances are at 8 p.m.; Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.. Tickets are $18.00 for adults, $15.00 for seniors and students. The historic Geauga Theater is located on beautiful Chardon Square at 101 Water Street, Chardon, Ohio. For information or to purchase tickets, visit www.geaugatheater.org or call the box office at 440-286-2255.

Garrettsville – Zumba is a fun dance workout that is for beginners & pros, men & women. Everyone is welcome to join, you move at your own pace so there is no need to be rushed. You can burn anywhere from 600-1000 calories in just one workout! So you ask yourself, where can I take Zumba? Well, Zumba is on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 8-9pm at the Roller Hutt right here in good old G-ville. Plus, it’s only $6 per class! Want to get involved? Call Zumba instructor Mariah Kandel at 330-205-6520. Mariah has been attending classes for over a year and been a certified instructor for 5 months and she loves every second of it! Mariah wants to thank her inspiration, Leighann Forward for helping her lose 60 pounds since joining the Zumba program and for inspiring her to become an instructor to help others do the same. She also would like to thank Linda Dlugokecki for letting her use the Roller Hutt for the hottest workout around. Come and give it a try and shimmy-shake without the skates.


Portage County – If you have a family member living with mental illness, you can attend a free program that has helped many Ohioans. The Portage County Family-to-Family Education Program starts a new session March 27 in Kent. The national program provides families with up-to-date information about mental illnesses, treatments, medications, services and more. Participants soon find familiar stories and familiar problems among class members while also sharing information and hope. The class is taught by area residents who have a family member with mental illness. Classes will run for 12 weeks on Tuesday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the office of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, 155 E. Main St., Kent. To sign up, call Laura at 330-673-1756, ext. 201, or email her at laurab@mental-health-recovery.org. Deadline to register is March 26. The class is sponsored by the Mental Health & Recovery Board and NAMI Portage County. The MHRB is the county government agency that funds, plans and monitors community mental health and substance abuse treatment services for Portage residents. The board website is www.mental-health-recovery.org. NAMI is the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The group of family members, consumers and advocates meets  at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at the MHRB office in Kent. All are welcome to attend for support and information. To learn more about Family-to-Family and NAMI, go to www.nami.org.


Garrettsville – St. Ambrose Church will be offering to the community a grief gathering on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the church hall.  We will meet from April 18th through May 23rd.  The six weekly sessions offer continuous information and support for grieving individuals,.  Participants should try to attend all of the sessions to take advantage of this beautiful program.  Each gathering builds upon the previous gatherings.   It would be helpful in our planning if interested participants would call the St. Ambrose rectory at 330-527-4105. Linda R. (Malobenski) Simpson, of Hiram, will be facilitating the grief gathering.  Simpson, a graduate of James A. Garfield High School, attended Hiram College and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science in 1994 with a Bachelor of Mortuary Science Degree.  In 1995, she completed her apprenticeship in Port Clinton, Ohio, and became a licensed embalmer and funeral director in 1996.  She is also licensed by the Ohio Department of Insurance, enabling her to arrange preplanned funerals.  In 1999, she became a member of the American Academy of Bereavement and is now a bereavement facilitator after attending and passing the four day certification award program offered by the AAB in Nashua, New Hampshire.  In June of 2000, Simpson attended the five day “World Gathering on Bereavement” in Columbus, Ohio.  This wonderful event, which occurrs once every five years, allows professionals, caregivers, and grieving individuals from all over the world to gather together, to support each other, and to learn more about grief.  In August of 2005, she attended the last “World Gathering on Bereavement” in Vancouver, British Columbia. People grieve for many reasons.  We may grieve from the loss of a loved one through death, from the loss of a job, from the loss of a spouse and children through divorce, from the loss of a familiar home and town, or from the loss of a pet.  The list is endless. We welcome all grieving individuals to our gathering. We invite you to take whatever information you need and leave the rest behind. Support means “I will walk with you, I will not try to change you or how you feel.  I will simply be here beside you.”


Portage County – The Portage County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society will meet April 7, 2012 at the Portage County Historical Society at 10:00 a.m. The historical society is located at 6549 N. Chestnut St. Ravenna Ohio.
Fred Endres will present a program based on his research for his upcoming Civil War documentary. Endres is a professor of journalism and mass communication at Kent State University. He holds a doctorate in American Studies from the University of Maryland and has a long- standing interest in history and the Civil War. Endres has been working on a documentary for PBS entitled, The “Sojer Boys” of Portage County, focusing on the events and issues of the war through letters and diaries of seven Portage County soldiers. Plans are being made for a photography exhibit and advance showing of the documentary at KSU. A website is also being established to share this work (http://civilwarportage.org).
The program is free and open to anyone interested in genealogy or local history. For more information call 330-358-2227 or email pccogs@embarqmail.com


Burton – Geauga County Historical Society’s Century Village in Burton, Ohio is eagerly seeking dedicated, interested gardeners to join its volunteer gardening team for the coming year.  Gardeners will have the opportunity to “adopt” and tend their favorite garden from a choice of 25+ available plots.  Garden choices range in size from the very tiny (urns, kettles, containers), to medium and larger beds and borders around historic buildings.  Most gardens are established and simply need sprucing up, weeding and watering throughout the growing season.  Several new gardens will also be introduced, allowing gardeners the opportunity to participate from the ground up in designing and creating these. All volunteers will be cheerfully welcomed and accommodated, regardless of age or expertise.  Whether you are an individual or family, youth group, garden club, civic group, or landscaper, we can find a place for you.  In its second year, the educational goal of the “Garden Project” is to demonstrate styles of gardens that might have been planted in the 1800’s Western Reserve area.  That these gardens also provide present day spots of colorful beauty to visitors at the Village is a bonus!  This year’s garden planning session is scheduled for Saturday, March 31, at 10 a.m. in the basement of the Auburn Church, situated in the heart of the Century Village property in Burton, Ohio.  Please consider attending and joining our 2012 team.  You will find fun, friendship, sunlight, fresh air, and an opportunity to make YOUR Century Village a beautiful place to visit. Please direct all inquiries to Louise Jackson, “Garden Project” coordinator, 440-834-1492.

Winter 2012 is almost over and will soon be a memory. For all of us in the Lyons family, the memories from this winter’s events will be a hallmark to us forever. We can remember during the day of Christmas Eve feeling rushed and overwhelmed, completing the final details for Christmas Day. Around 7:30 that evening Porter, Jessica, Harper, Courtney and her husband Micah were playing Balderdash at the kitchen table. It was a true highlight of the day to see them laughing and enjoying each other. As we left the room to go wrap the last of the presents for Christmas morning, very little did we know what was about to take place in a few hours and the many, many gifts that you were about to bestow upon our family.

By roughly 10:30 pm, Porter suddenly had a very hard time breathing and his heart was racing at about 140 beats per minute. It was not just a simple flutter, the heavy beating would not stop.

To back up a few months, Porter’s routine was to attend his classes, nap for an hour or so when he arrived home, and complete his homework after supper. We always assumed this was just a growing teenager as most we have known always tend to sleep a lot! He caught a cold in the month of December, but so did 2 other members of our family. For them it was a cold. For Porter, it was his heart in its count down to its final beats.

Returning to Christmas Eve, about 11:00pm, because of the cold he had, we thought perhaps he had pneumonia and this was his respiratory system’s way of responding to it. None of us knew at the time but his heart was so enlarged, it resembled a football, as his doctors would later tell us. The doctors would go on to say, “Porter was in such great shape and so strong that his own body did all it could to compensate for his heart’s dysfunction for years, and no one would have ever known.” As we have learned, this is why it’s the strong, young people who die suddenly during such things like an athletic event; the heart just simply, finally gives out.

Community Ambulance assessed him saying….”it could be pneumonia as his lungs did not sound clear, his EKG was not typical for an 18 year old.” As Porter lay on the gurney in the ambulance, the 2 EMS staff closed the doors we felt tears begin to come as we knew what this might be. We had been through this before. How could it be? A random virus had settled in Doug’s heart 25 years earlier, and after 1 year, resulted in a heart transplant. This was not supposed to be hereditary. Reversing our thoughts, we reminded ourselves that it was most likely pneumonia and could be easily turned around.

Porter did not have pneumonia and his condition could not so easily be fixed. A simple echocardiogram showed his heart’s condition was fatal; the same as his Dad’s. Anyway, you all know the rest of the story, and thanks to ALL of you, the story is a beautiful one!

From the moment the word was out about Porter on Facebook, never once did any of us feel alone. We felt the power of EVERYONE present with us at the hospital, giving words of encouragement and hope, offering their time to do whatever was necessary back here at home while Porter lay waiting for a heart. You all were holding Porter and the rest of us up in prayer to the only ONE who could make a difference in Porter’s outcome. You prayed, hard, with us to see Porter through this experience. To every single one of you who did pray and asked others to pray for our son, we are so thankful and appreciate your utmost support during this very critical time. As a result of all this, God showered us with His Grace and Mercy. Porter received the most precious gift of restored life and health within one week of going into congestive heart failure.

You rejoiced with us in this gift, by showing your love to our family in decorating the whole town of Garrettsville in big red paper hearts. They were displayed so prominently in store and restaurant windows. Many, many thanks to Porter’s friend, Jacob Vaughan, Senior and National Honor Society President at Windham High School for this beautiful gesture. Jacob, we want you and everyone you surrounded yourself with who had a hand in this project to know that you made our son Porter and our family feel so very special and cared for!!

Our entire family will never forget the heart-felt emotions we experienced when all of the hearts were carefully placed on a banner that spanned the entire width of the street we live on, and then carried proudly from the Giant Eagle parking lot to our front yard! It looked like a marching band coming down our street with the banner in front. It was so grand!! A great t-shirt exhibited the theme for this walk called “Heart of the Lyons”. We know it took many students and adults to carry this out just to show Porter how much he is loved and supported by his peers and the community in which he lives.

Now, if that isn’t enough, an outstanding Spaghetti dinner was planned and served to those who wanted to partake before the last basketball game of the season. The dinner was in honor of Porter, and we want to send special thanks to Mrs. Bell of Garfield High School who donated ingredients and so much of her time to make this happen. We also appreciate the participation of our JAG National Honor Society at this event and to the many others who donated money, food, and time for this event. The dinner accommodations were complete with hand-made heart shaped decorations in the high school commons AND posters of artwork all over the walls that included notes from our intermediate school students. They were words of encouragement and well wishes for Porter which meant so much to our family.

This was all followed by yet another event, where another cool t-shirt was designed
for those who wanted to wear one at the black-out during our last basketball game of the season! This event being called, “Rivals For A Cause”, was carried out in honor of Porter. During half time, Porter was able to say a few words of thanks and a rush of students poured out of the bleachers and encircled him with the largest group hug we had ever seen!

We have shaken our heads in amazement so many times at all of the support we have been given as a family through all of this by ALL of the MANY STUDENTS and MANY ADULTS in our community!! You have truly “been there” for us, making us feel very special, loved and supported. Your efforts have shown all of us (including the Akron and Cleveland media) how Garrettsville and its surrounding communities takes care of “one of their own”.

There were many other MAGNIFICENT ways in which people showed their support! We are so grateful to have neighbors like Laura and Paul Simon, and Stuart and Xinlu Tannehill, and Steve and Debbie Hadzinsky who watched over our other children, Jessica and Harper, and provided them with strong support while we were with Porter. To Becky Russell for working tirelessly, making certain there was a plan in place to assist us financially during this time. And she didn’t stop there. Becky also organized 90 days of meals with our Cub Scout Pack 62 and Boy Scout Troop 62 in Garrettsville. This all allowed us the freedom to keep Porter on his rigorous schedule back and forth to Cleveland Clinic nearly daily. Every one of you are such beautiful people and we are eternally grateful. Money and gift cards were sent to help with expenses incurred by meals at the hospital and the many overnight stays and trips back and forth at all hours. MANY THANKS to all of you individually and collectively who donated your time and generous support. We are baffled by it all and are so appreciative. We want to extend our gratefulness to Joe Malmisur , Jen Mulhern, Keri Dornack, and Jennifer Alvim as well as all of our children’s teachers and staff who have patiently and creatively worked with us during this time. Our school system consists of a marvelous group of people and we are BIG FANS!

When Porter went into congestive heart failure, our entire focus was on our son. Many generous people from all over knew that this would be a very expensive surgery and recovery; the bills would be astronomical. Having been through two other transplant surgeries for Doug (Heart 1987 and Kidney 1997), we know this to be very true. It takes a very long time to recover financially from this. Nonetheless, all of you gave of your hard earned money to our family to help with these finances. As you know this money was collected and distributed to us by The People Tree through the hands of Jerry Kehoe. Yes, we all know Jerry sells cars in town, but you need to know Jerry and his entire family have given their time, talent and love to us. Jerry, you have an amazing family. WE are Blessed to call you friend. Because of everyone’s generosity we have maintained our monthly bills and will be able to pay for a large chunk of the medical bills yet to come.

Many thanks go to the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary for naming us “Family of the Year”!! Please know that we could never meet the standards set by the Rotary for this honor without the love and support of the community we live in. We feel that you all are our family.

In closing, back in early Elementary school, we learned about our continent, and state, and our community. The first two have more concrete shapes and we can pick them out on a map. We were also taught that a community, which does not have a distinctive shape is a place where people live, work and play; it can be anywhere. However, we feel that our community stands out in that it takes care of each other too; especially in times of need. And, unlike other communities, ours DOES have a distinctive shape, and that is in the shape…of a heart!

With Love, Peace and Appreciation,

Doug & Karen Lyons

80 year old Parma resident Jean Shea (aka the "Irish Queen" to her family) pauses to pose with Leppy ( Chuck Klamer) the leprechaun and his son ( Rick Patrick). Jean also enjoyed her first carriage ride as she celebrated her Irish heritage with her family in Garrettsville.

It was the luck of the Irish that delivered the beautiful weather for the Annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Garrettsville last Saturday. The 70 plus degree weather brought folks out in droves to celebrate the day in Garrettsville, a small town that really knows how to put the “Green” on. The streets were crowded early and a parking place became the so-called pot o’ gold as one hunted down that prized spot. The scent of corned beef wafted in the air as one crossed the Windham Street Bridge and headed toward Main Street. Restaurants and bars opened their patios for the first time this year; they were full of patrons enjoying a Rueben or corned beef n cabbage washed down by a green beer or two… or three, or whatever it took. The theme of the day became “Erin go Bragh,” as everyone claimed to be Irish even if it was just for the day.


Ashleigh Quiggle finally reached one of her goals last week, rolling her very first 200 game.   Ashleigh’s 209 was the high game of the day.  Ashleigh’s average is 106, so she was an amazing 103 pins over.  She finished up with a very nice 433 series.   Another bowler hit her high career score; Lauren Sanchez tossed a 182 her last game.  Lauren also rolled a 155 on her way to a 445 series, high series for the day.
Ashleigh and Lauren not only had the two high games and high series, but they were the most over average for the day as well.  

Garrettsville – The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Family Week ended as it began, with fun for all in attendance.  The kids of all ages got to engage in games and contests and craft projects–with or without face-painting.  Awards for participation in all of the various competitions –art & essays, etc.–were handed out.  The craft table was popular, with kids making cards for moms & dads and just about anybody else they thought fondly of.  The importance of family was shining through the whole day.
Couples married fifty years and more, eight of them, were recognized.  Donald & June  Crawford took the longevity sweepstakes, having been married a fun-filled fifty-eight years…and counting.  The Family of the Year–the Douglas and Karen Lyons family, with Porter, the Transplant Guy, in attendance– received their award as well.

The inflatable slide/rock climb was a big hit with the intrepid of all sizes and descriptions.  Plenty of dads and grandpas are still feeling the effects of assisting on “the slopes”.  What can we say?  The day was a success!

Still more activities are on the horizon for G-H Rotary : The Four-Way Speech Contest is rapidly approaching; any teens wishing to participate should start honing their skills and plan to contact a Rotarian to get on the roster.   There is a prize and a chance to compete on a district level–good experience.

Windham Twp. – The Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all three trustees present.

Chairman Dann Timmons called the meeting to order and started off with zoning. Zoning inspector Joe Pinti reported that he didn’t issue any permits for February but he did field several calls on sheds sizes and fences. Pinti also received complaints about property on Stanley Road.  Timmons reported that the zoning hearing held prior to the meeting resulted in the owners of 8550 Gotham and 8542 Gotham committing to removal of the mobiles on each property. The trustees passed two resolutions to reflect that the owners have agreed to have the mobile homes removed within 90 days. If the property owners fail to remove them within the time frame, the trustees will have the right to do it and add the expense onto the property taxes.
Timmons recognized two guests, Kristina Port and Mark Porter, who both are running on the Republican ticket for the Ohio State Representative for District 76. Both introduced themselves and presented their positions on the issues.

Road supervisor Brian Miller reported that the roads were in good shape and that he had received a call from the county engineer wanting to know if the township had any chip – n- seal projects for this year. Miller said he would check. A resident suggested that they do at least one road a year to keep from having them all needing work at the same time. The trustees will take the suggestion under advisement.

Timmons reminded the other trustees that the township was responsible for the Memorial Day Services this year and they need to get a speaker for the event.

Timmons also needed the other two trustees to represent the township at a mediating session on the Proto case coming up soon.  With there being no further business the meeting was adjourned. The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm. at the town hall.

5th grade teams: Rad to Add: Racquel Kolazar, Zoe Swenson, Caitlyn Minor and Chad Angermeie; Angery Math Birds: Nikki Ober, Alexis Evan, Sam Biltz and Erika Musgrove who filled in for Dylan Wilson; Key Lime PI’s: Lyndsey Johns, Samantha Desimio, Rachel Rader and Lauren Walz; Math Champs: Hunter Sopher, Jordyn Dean, Max Kane, and Kaitilian Workman’ Alternates: MeiMei Tannehill and Natalie Hall

Garrettsville – G.I.S. students participated in the Portage County Math 24 Tournament on February 24th, 2012. Sixth grade participants included Andrew Morrissey, Kevin Splinter and Derek Miller. Andrew took 1st place for the second year in a row, Kevin took 3rd, and Derek took 4th. Fifth grade participants included Rachel Rader, Mei Mei Tannehill and Lyndsey Johns. Rachel took 4th and Mei Mei took 5th.

On Saturday February 25th, G.I.S. students competed in the Northern Ohio 2012 Math Tournament.  These teams (listed below) worked hard for 5 weeks in practice and went head to head with several other schools in the area. They were coached by Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Singelyn and Mr. Kuhlman. On competition day, they worked in teams doing problem-solving and team construction. They were also graded on their mental math abilities.

Each grade had a team at the top earning trophies, two teams earned blue ribbons, and one team received red ribbons. Thank you to our students for representing G.I.S. so well.

6th grade teams: Angry Angle Birds: Makenna Lawrence, Mallie Smith, Jayana Davenport and Madeline Caldro; The Cherry Pi’s: Jenna Montez, Theresa Paroff, Mikayla Thornton and Samantha Guyette; Divided Smurfs: Dominic Ionno, Kenny Mangan, Mason Mayoros and Billy Criblez; The Kalculas Kiwi’s: Andrew Morrissey, Kevin Splinter, Ethan Marek & Derek Miller; Alternates: Catherine Brann and Sarah Kent

Volunteer Sandy Callaway and township trustee Joe Leonard are pictured at the newly opened food cupboard.

Nelson Twp. – The Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard NGCC opened its doors on February 27, 2012 and are preparing for their Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, March 10th at the Cupboard from 2:00-4:00pm. All  are invited to join them for some light refreshments and a tour of the facility. The board will be on hand to answer any questions folks may have about using the cupboard or becoming a volunteer for the cupboard.

Many may wonder how the food bank came to be. It was developed after Trustee Joe Leonard and township resident Mike Elias saw many families struggling to put food on the table. The two set out to see how they could meet the need. After doing research and getting a sponsor they began to lay the groundwork for the facility. They secured the back section of the Isaac Mills building for the food cupboard and the Nelson United Methodist Church agreed to be the sponsor.   The next thing they needed to do was renovate the back room to house the food cupboard. The Boy Scouts, Amish community, retirees and others came out to help get the facility ready. It  began to take shape and was soon ready to receive food.

The food cupboard is a joint venture with the Akron-Canton Food Bank and will be open on Mondays from 4pm -7pm and on Wednesdays from 9am – noon. The cupboard will be closed any day school is not in session, either for inclement weather or holiday. They will be open during the summer and holiday breaks that are not the actual holiday.

When coming to the food bank folks will need to bring a photo ID and proof of residence in the school district. A current utility bill that has one’s name and address on it will suffice for the proof of address. They will also need the names and birthdates of each person living in the household. Families and individuals are eligible to receive food once every 30 days.

NGCC is open to residents of James A. Garfield School District who meet income guidelines. Residents can register through the county’s “211 First Call” or come in and they will help you register with”211 First Call.”  One can expect the registration to take about 5 minutes and be out the door in about 10 minutes. A family member comes in; fills out the registration form and a shopping list from the items available. Then the volunteers will fill the order in a few minutes and get you out the door rather quickly. They will even help you get it to your car if needed.

The food cupboard not only gives out they food, it  also accepts donations of cash and or food. However, they are not permitted to accept home-canned items or bakery. Fresh produce is always welcome.  In fact, the cupboard is promoting “Plant a row for the hungry campaign”. If you’re a gardener consider planting a row in your garden and donate it to the cupboard. The cupboard will have starter kits for “Plant a row for the hungry” available at the open House. Anyone wanting to make a cash donation can do so by  dropping it off at the cupboard or the church, or mailing it to NGCC Food Cupboard, PO Box 210 Garrettsville, Oh. 44231.  The food cupboard is operating as a 501© 3 charity, therefore all donations are tax deductible and one will be given a receipt for their donation. Any questions about the food cupboard can be emailed to ngcc305@gmail.com.

The cupboard relies on donations from the community in order to be successful.  Some of the items they are looking for are peanut butter and jelly, pasta sauce, toiletries, baking supplies, boxed side dishes, macaroni and cheese etc. So take a look in your pantry and see if you can contribute to shutting the door on hunger in your community.

The cupboard would like to thank  all the volunteers, the Amish Community, local Boy Scouts, United Methodist Church, Carter Lumber and area retirees who worked hard or donated goods to the project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Award winners from left to right were: Dawnell Gernentz, Michele Elias representing the Nelson United Methodist Church, Iva Walker, Stephanie and Jay Byrne.

The Garrettsville United Methodist Church Chili Cook-off was held on February 26th to benefit the newly opened Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard located in Nelson at the circle.

Prestigious judges were Charles Klamer, James A. Garfield Superintendent; Craig Moser, Garrettsville Mayor; Patricia Wetzel, Home Economics teacher James A. Garfield Schools.

The Ohio State University played host to the OHSAA state wrestling tournament which marked its 75th anniversary this past weekend.  The OHSAA sponsors one of the finest wrestling tournaments in the country and this year was no exception.
A few new frills added to the excitement this year and perennial powers Lakewood St. Edward and St. Paris Graham continued their winning traditions as each team captured another state title.

However, the performance of local participants reached levels never before seen in their school history. J.A. Garfield High School has never had an individual state wrestling champion, in fact, they have never had anyone compete in the state wrestling finals.  That is until this year when they had not one, but two wrestlers make the championship round. 160 pound Aaron Yonker and 182 pound Kevin Stock were both vying for individual championships on Saturday night.  Unfortunately, neither wrestler was able to bring home that coveted state championship as each lost a heartbreaking 3-2 decision in the finals.

Yonker was defeated by senior Zebulun Beam of Applecreek Waynedale, while Stock lost to a familiar foe in junior B.J. Toal of Troy Christian.  The good news for the G-Men is that both Yonker and Stock are underclassmen and will have an opportunity to pursue that elusive title next year.

The G-Men had two other participants competing in the tournament, 170 pound junior Tanner Bontrager and 285 pound senior Devin Dressler.  Bontrager went 1-2 and did not place in this year’s tournament, while Devin went 3-2 finishing in 7th place.  Garfield also made a team statement with a top ten finish – 7th place.

Other local teams from Portage County competing in the state tournament were:
Crestwood which had 3 participants, Jake Zemaitis (7th place 106 lbs), Josh Hillier (126 lbs), and Dylan Kager (6th place 132 lbs.)
Rootstown with 3 participants, Travis Linton (3rd place 170 lbs), Garrett Linton (the schools first state champion at 195 lbs) and Jake Moore (4th place 220 lbs)
Southeast had 2 participants, Brandon James (8th place 152 lbs) and Tylor Brokaw (160 lbs)
Waterloo had 3 participants, Nick Hermann (8th place 126 lbs), J.J. Diven (7th place 138 lbs) and Brandon Brenes (220 lbs)
Complete results can be found at: http://www.baumspage.com/ohsaa/wr/2012/d3res.htm


Portage County – Infinity Resources, Inc., headquartered in Erie, PA, announces the opening its 11th  office at 126 W. College Street in downtown Kent on Monday, March 5, 2012. Since 1960, Infinity Resources, Inc. has been matching employers and employees.

After investigating dozens of small cities in Ohio, only Kent, OH and Portage County demonstrated a mega investment in growth and improvement of their cityscape. “We are proud to support that downtown resurgence and renovation! We want to be a part of thegrowth, new and expanding businesses that are locating here,” says Martin FarreH, Infinity’s president.
Employers looking for human resource solutions, temporary/contract workers, Professional Employer Services [leasing back employees], payrolling, employee screening, or temporary -to-hire candidates can count on Infinity Resources, Inc. “Traditionally, Infinity Resources has been called upon for production, assembly, logistics and general labor. In the last few years, our employer customers have demanded that we help recruit professionals in sales, accounting, management, technical skills, welders, clerical and the trades,” reports Charles Farrell, CEO and founder of the company.

All of you gumshoes out there, have you found any new clues regarding the sort-of-mysterious milk bottle (How mysterious can a milk bottle be?) from the Beardsley Dairy, featuring the Barkrest Herd, in Garrettsville, Ohio (O.K., it was on Asbury Rd in Freedom Twp. but let’s not get picky, especially not ninety years later)?

Well, Scott Lawless, finder and owner of the bottle, will be at the March 19 meeting of the James A. Garfield Historical Society to give an update on his findings so far.

The man is a heckuva sleuth and has been all over the internet, into historical society files, dropping in on cemeteries, county recorders and bankruptcy court information.  He’s tracked some individuals to Chicago–where they made metal billiard tables–some on European trips, some to the obituary pages.  He’s talked to some “old-timers’ and current land-owners, checked out maps.  Interesting doesn’t begin to describe it.

So come on down to the Mott Building on Main St., Garrettsville at 7:00 on March 19 to get the latest on the case.  Bring any other tid-bits that you have and would like to add to the pile.  The game’s afoot, Watson!

Windham – The Windham Historical Society continues its busy 2012 schedule on Monday, March 19, at 7 PM in the Brick Chapel on North Main Street in Windham.

The program for this meeting will be presentations by two Windham High School seniors, Caitlyn Isler and Julia Brookover, as the final step in their pursuit of Windham Historical Society scholarships.

These scholarships are underwritten by the Stuart Higley Foundation, administered by descendants of one of Windham’s founding families. The Higley Foundation has been a long time benefactor of the Historical Society.

Julia will be talking about the effects of the coming of the Ravenna Arsenal on her extended family, which was uprooted in 1939 when the federal government took the family farm. She has done extensive research and interviews to prepare a personal look at the sociological effects of that important time in Windham history.

Caitlyn will freeze a moment in time when she talks about “When Richard Nixon Came To Windham.” Very few people who settled here after 1972 know about the excitement of that day, one week before his re-election, and Caitlyn has compiled an entertaining look back in time – right down to how it threw the Taft cows off their milking schedule.

Both of the students are leaders at Windham High School. Caitlyn is an All-Conference athlete, playing volleyball, softball and basketball, and serving on Student Council and National Honor Society. She is heading to Ohio State University to major in exercise science.

Julia, who is  class valedictorian, has engaged in the Drama Club, choir, National Honor Society, and volunteers in numerous activities. She has been accepted into the Honors College of Toledo University, pursuing a degree in psychology.
The public is invited to this free presentation by two of Windham finest scholars.

The Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.
For more information on the Society, please call President Lynnea St. John at 330-326-6061, or email her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.

Newton Twp. –  The Newton Township Cemetery Association will hold its monthly meeting Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 6 p.m.  at  the Newton Township Administration Building on Arlington Road in Newton Falls.  The meeting is open to the public.  The association does reading and documentation of the gravestones in the seven township cemeteries and also does the repair work and cleaning of the stones.  All work is done  by members of the association and volunteers.

The seven cemeteries include the Lutheran Cemetery and St. Michael’s Cemetery, both on Newton Tomlinson Road, Wilderson Cemetery on Bush Selkirk Road, the East Cemetery on North Canal Street, the West Cemetery on Ridge Road, Duck Creek Cemetery on Duck Creek Road and the Pricetown  Cemetery next to the Pricetown Methodist Church. Work on the Lutheran Cemetery and Wilderson Cemetery have been completed. Extensive work was done on the East Cemetery the summer of 2011.
Work on these projects will resume with spring weather. This work relies on volunteers, time  and donations.
The yearly fundraiser was the selling of 2012 calendars with sketches of historic buildings located in Newton Falls that were donated by former art teacher, Mr. Edward Sinchak. There are a limited  amount of calendars left for sale and may be purchased by calling 330-872-0236 or 330-872-3116.
You may also phone these numbers for more information regarding the association or to make donations.

Garrettsville – “Stomp” is a musical performance that incorporates singing, recorders and rhythms that are played on an unusual assortment of objects.

In this rhythm driven program the students use 5 gallon detergent buckets as drums, floor brooms that are knocked on the floor as percussive instruments, and pvc pipes that are thumped in rhythmic patterns. It is truly amazing how you can make music out of basically anything.

The program was presented on Tuesday, February 28th in the James A. Garfield Elementary School Gym. Under the direction of Kenneth E. Fox, 115 4th grade students sang Jazz and Rock selections entitled “Jazz” and “Big Heart”. The group also played a variety of Jazz and March songs performed on recorders that included “Blue Smoothie” and Rhythm Parade”. On the songs “Boom” and LaBoomba” the students took turns singing and playing their recorders on these high-energy selections.
The highlight of the program was the “Closing Stomp” performed by a 10-student drum line (or bucket-line if you will)!  The fast-paced sixteenth note patterns that the students played on buckets was definitely a crowd-pleaser.
This program was an incredible accomplishment of time and talent for this outstanding group of 4th graders, and Mr. Fox is very proud of them.


Have you been recently engaged or engaged for a while and have been thinking about planning your wedding? Perhaps you have been married a long time and would like to renew your vows. Whichever it is, why not consider being Garrettsville’s First Couple and get married or renew your vows right on Main Street Saturday afternoon, June 23, 2012 during Summerfest.
This year’s theme is “A Tribute to the Armed Forces,” however you do not have to be in the Armed Forces or have been in the Armed Forces to be considered. To be considered one will need to be available to participate in the weekend activities including Sunday’s Grand Parade, and willing to communicate regularly with the committee.  Interested parties should send a letter to the committee and tell them why you think you should be this year’s “First Couple.”  Letters will be received until March 31, 2012 and can be sent to the SummerFest Wedding c/o Weekly Villager at 8454 Windham Street Garrettsville. Ohio 44231. The committee will notify the winners by the end of April.
The first couple will need to provide their own attire and rings. The Summerfest committee will provide a basic wedding package including a limited number of invitations, flowers, a cake, photography, cake and punch reception, overnight accommodations, champagne toast and more.  The couple will also have the opportunity to upgrade any item in the package at their own expense.  Let us help make your special day fabulous. Questions can be directed to Michelle at the Weekly Villager 330 527-5761

Ravenna – Portage County government has seen a significant savings in its Workers Compensation premiums with the semi-annual premium changes released recently by the state. The Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation issued premium updates that resulted in a decrease in premiums for Portage County of $291,012, with the new premium being $753,006, Commissioners announced.


The Trumbull County 4-H program has a youth club focused on teaching kids how to build robots and they are looking for new youth to join the club.
The 4-H robotics project is designed to engage youth in using science, technology, engineering, and math skills to build Lego robots.  Youth will work in small groups to build and program their own robot.  Kids will learn what a robot is, how to build one, and how to program it to interact with its environment.  The 4-H Robotics group earned three new Lego robot kids through a grant from the Ohio 4-H Foundation.

Windham – Windham Board of Education met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all board members, including Treasurer Dawn Altman and Superintendent Gregg Isler in attendance.
Board president Danny Burns called the meeting to order. After they presented the students of the month and Bomber Stars, Burns opened up the floor to guests who wanted to address the board.
Art Bowen inquired what was being done about placement of the McDivitt Banner. Board member Melissa Roubic answered him by stating that the administrative officers of the athletic council are working on establishing the criteria for what items get hung on the gym wall. She assured him they were addressing the issue. Roubic said that she, Jeff States, Mike Chaffee, Danny Burns, and Gregg Isler were the committee working on setting the criteria. Bowen said he thought they would have community members on the board too especially ones prior to 1975. The board said they would seek input from the community.  Gregg Isler stated that they will get the issue resolved soon. Bowen was the man behind the banner being designed for Greg McDivitt, Art paid to have the banner designed, made and was on hand to present it to McDivitt several weeks ago. When the banner was being planned he was led to believe it would be hung in the gym and assumed so until the day of the event when he was told it will not be in the gym. Right now as they work out the details of where the banner will be placed it remains rolled up in the principal’s office.
Windham Village Mayor Rob Donham was requesting to use part of the districts land near the elementary school to house the historical society’s annual circus and the firemen’s annual carnival rather than use the soccer fields. The mayor said it was a temporary measure and was hoping to develop a more permanent home for them in the future. Right now the mayor really wants to see the soccer fields where they are and move the carnival and circus somewhere else so they don’t tear up the fields. After some discussion the boards will consider the request.
In legislative news, Darryl McGuire reported that the House Bill 116 will give a clearer definition on what is considered bullying, House bill 191 will set the school year to be from Labor Day to Memorial Day, and state bill 284 Eliminates special elections in February and August. These bills are being considered at the state level they are not yet laws.
In the superintendent’s report, Greg Isler reported that they are in the final stages of getting the floor issues at Katherine Thomas Elementary resolved. Moisture tests are scheduled for April with replacement  likely to begin in June. Isler also met with Township Trustee Dann Timmons who said he will do whatever he can to help with the safety issue at the intersection of Wadsworth Road and State Route 303. They are both planning to meet with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to try to get some help with the issue.
Treasurer Dawn Altman said they have received a cost  estimate on radios for the buses. The estimate is about $6,500. Altman also is in charge of the food service department and said there are changes coming that will include more fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and less sodium and fat. The exact mandates have yet to be established but they will come with little funding and may create more waste.
In maintenance, Supervisor Craig Alderman reported that work on the floor at KT will be done over the summer, the skylights will be replaced, and the voids in the blocks will be filled. Alderman is also looking at alternate ideas to the sump pumps in the basement.
The BOE meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 pm.


Portage County Memory Project

Are you interested in learning more about Garrettsville’s Opera House? Are you a Civil War enthusiast? Portage County District Library is pleased to announce that it has added additional items to its Portage County Memory Project. Documents, letters, and photographs from two area organizations, including the James A. Garfield Historical Society and the Aurora Historical Society, were scanned and added to the collection. Included in the collections are photographs of the Opera House and Civil War documents and letters. The items can be accessed by visiting www.portagelibrary.org and selecting About PCDL and then Portage County Memory Project. Using the digital preservation software CONTENTdm, items were scanned and then entered into the database. If you are a community-based organization interested in participating in this project, please call 330-527-5082 ext. 239 for more information. Portage County District Library is here to help you preserve your organization’s history and make it available online.

 Spring Storytime Registration Begins March 5

Portage County District Library’s spring storytime registration begins Monday, March 5 (check with your branch library for specific details).  Contact your branch library or register online at www.portagelibrary.org. It’s important to remember, as this date approaches, the positive impact that attending library story time has on the lives of young children.  Library story time attendance as a child often fosters a desire for lifelong learning, which, in turn, carries forward into school work.
For additional information on Portage County District Library’s March 5 spring story time registration or about program details, please contact your local branch library.  Branch libraries include:  Aurora Memorial (330-562-6502), Garrettsville (330-527-4378), Pierce Streetsboro (330-626-4458), Randolph (330-325-7003), Windham (330-326-3145), and Outreach Services which includes Library Express and Home Delivery (1-800-500-5179 ext. 220).

Windham Library Invites Children to Celebrate Spring

Windham Library invites children birth through preschool to storytime Mondays at 10:30 a.m. Storytime is an opportunity for both the parent and child to spend some one-on-one time enriching the child’s environment with stories, music, finger plays and movement.
Join us in celebrating the beginning of spring and the return of our feathered friends.  Design and make a colorful collection of spring birds at our spring craft, available March 12-16, during open hours.
Don’t forget while you’re visiting to take a chance at our annual “Guess the Number of Jelly Beans” contest.
For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9005 Wilverne Drive, is open Monday and Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm-6:30 pm; and closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For additional information about library programs and services, please visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville –  Two backyard rivals take their competition to a new level. Windham and Garfield schools last year decided to make change in the rivalry rather than contend against one another, they  decided come together for a joint cause. A year ago last fall, when Mike Chaffee took over as the principal of Windham Schools, he wanted to revive the rivalry  wiht Garrettsville that had somewhat died down over the years.  Chaffee wanted to turn what usually becomes a week of pranks and sometimes vandalism into a week of positive, healthy competition for a good cause. So “rivals for a cause” was born. Last year the schools held a food drive and sold T-shirts to raise monies for St. Jude’s Hospital. This year they are raising money by selling T-Shirts and the proceeds are being donated to Porter Lyons, a Garfield senior who underwent a heart transplant on New Years Eve. Between the two schools over 400 shirts were sold.
Rivalries are as old as dirt and many of them fade out. Although it appears that the rivalry between these two schools is still strong, it has become less intense and less vicious than in years past.  They still have pep rallies and  spirit week; the victories are sweet, but what once was is no longer the norm.
The more mature sector of the population from both districts tell of stories where each school had fears going to the  others territory. It was not uncommon in the early 70’s for the bus to travel through rocks, bottles etc. being tossed at them by kids who would lie in the ditches waiting for the visiting school to approach the town. Other pranks were common-place as well.
Residents tell of how Garfield’s victory bell that is now anchored on the football field was a target and stolen quite often during spirit week. Could that be why it is cemented down now?  Some said they will never forget the large W burned on Garfield football field a few years back, while Windham talks about the time Garfield kids marked their field with a big G. The pranks seemed to have gone by the wayside — as they should — and the rivalry has dwindled some but one thing remains the same,  a victory is sooo sweet and bragging rights reign for a long time. However, losing is still very bitter.
I asked many older residents that are still involved with school sports why they thought a rivalry which was strong, had lost some of its intensity. Some said laws have changed and schools now have zero tolerance policies which cause some to reconsider their actions. Many schools  now have cameras and more lighting outside which also plays a role in the reduction of the misdeeds. Some even said the two towns have intermarried which has changed the dynamics of the rivalry; social media have played a role in the change as well.
One thing that can be said is, although it may not be as vicious, the rivalry is still there and going strong and last Friday’s game at Garfield is proof of that. Long before the J.V. game reached the half-way mark, seating became difficult to find and by the time the varsity game started, the house was at capacity.
Everyone was ready for a good game; both sides were clad in the “Rivals for a Cause” black and teal T-shirts that both districts had sold as a fundraising project for the Lyons family. The student body from each school  cheered on their team and occasionally taunted each other by  “We can’t hear you” or “You can’t do that” followed by cheers of “Go Bombers” and “Go G-Men”. The game remained close for the most part, with  teams exchanging the lead several times.
Half-time brought out the best in both team’s fans as the entire gym gave a standing ovation as the Garfield’s Student Council and Windham Senior Jacob Vaughan presented a  $10,000 check to Porter Lyons. The monies presented were from various fundraising efforts and donations from the community. The funds from the T-shirt sale and spaghetti dinner that took place Friday night were not included in the total.  Porter addressed the fans and thanked them for their support. After the presentation and Porter’s address, the fans swarmed Porter chanting “Porter Porter” and “We love you Porter.”
The game resumed and remained tight.  About a third of the way through the third quarter the gym once again gave a standing ovation as Garfield Senior Cody Berg hit a milestone of his career by scoring his 1,000th point. After a brief recognition, the game resumed with a back and forth exchange of leads. It the end, the G-Men came up short (64-61) giving the Bombers a victory and the bragging rights for another year.


Windham - Mia Berardinelli, is a 5th grade student at Windham Katherine Thomas Elementary School. With the help of her little sister Madison, (1st grader at KT), she recently collected gently used blue jeans for a program called Teens for Jeans

Windham - The Renaissance Family Center RFC held their one-day Annual Indoor Garage Sale last Saturday. Long before the scheduled 9am opening time, folks started lining up at the door ready to converge on the facility to find that special item at bargain prices. The doors opened at 9am and folks quickly started snagging the bargains. The facility became crowded quickly as treasure hunters rummaged through the aisles of goods.

The center had just about anything one could imagine, including furniture, appliances, lamps, linens, dishes, televisions, glassware, book cases and more. They even had breakfast and lunch items for sale in the cafeteria as well, all at bargain-basement prices.

After folks concluded their treasure hunting, they headed to the check-out lines to pay. They had two cashiers, one at each end of the building to help  get one through the lines faster. For those who purchased larger items, they had help from the wonderful volunteers who carried the items to vehicles and even helped load them if needed.

The sale lasted until 3 pm and the proceeds from the sale will go toward the center’s operating expenses and various programs.

Pictured above are (front row) Olivia Valot, Angela Agati, Natalie Albert , Melody Jacques, Genevieve Bailey and Rebecca DeSanto. Back row Katrelyn Jacques, Christina Gargas, Emalea Moore, Alyssa Hartley, Alyson Sites, Jersee Hogue and Deanie Simpson

Newton Falls – Our local Girl Scout Troop 239 is helping the American Red Cross by donating seven quilts, after reading an article requesting needed items.

The troop began their “service project” in September. They set up a quilting frame in their meeting room at First Church of God and sewed at each meeting; cutting material, knotting and stitching and finishing the last quilt in November.

Pat Leach, leader of the Troop, said there are six Scouts doing the project for their Bronze Award which is the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. The blankets were presented to representatives Christina Gargas, and Deanie Simpson from American Red Cross at a recent meeting. At the meeting, Gargas discussed the services provided and explained the blood drives that are held locally. This information was helpful to the girls receiving  their First Aid Badge. Working as a team, the Scouts shared a new experience while gaining knowledge and confidence while making a difference in their community.

It’s Girl Scout cookie time – call 330-872-7937 to place your order.  The profit from sales help fund new experiences like this. Thank you!


Members of the Twentieth Century Club of Garrettsville and their guests met on February 16 in the Fellowship Hall of St. Ambrose Church in Garrettsville to become acquainted with the artistic and spiritual journeys of sculptor and woodcarver Rich Cermak.  

Ravenna – Kelly Engelhart, Service Director, traveled to Columbus last week to request financing through the energy bonds administered through the OAQDA, making the City of Ravenna the third Ohio city to take advantage of energy conservation financing through the OAQDA for the overhaul of equipment and systems at six municipal buildings and the majority of the city’s traffic signals. OAQDA authorized financing up to $6 million for the project at its February meeting. 

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with trustees Joe Leonard, Tom Matota, and Jim Turos and Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. Mr. Finney presented the minutes from the January 4th, 11th, and 18th meetings and they were approved as presented. The minutes from the meeting on February 1, 2012 were read and also approved.

Mr. Turos presented his expenses from the winter conference and the board approved the expenses. He also presented the signature cards from The Middlefield Banking Company that needed to be signed.

The fiscal officer presented the expenditures, and the bank reconciliation along with the purchase orders and blanket certificate. The board examined the paperwork and approved each of the measures.

Road Supervisor Chuck Vanek reported that he researched the options for repairing the cracked windshield in the plow truck and got the best rate through Safe Lite Auto Glass and will have the glass repaired. He also reported that he was working with Parkman Township to coordinate ditch work on Reynolds Road. Discussions were raised again about installing culverts for free for township residents that live on township roads. Leonard said it really was unfair to use township monies to benefit a few residents since those that live on county or state routes would have to pay the county or state to install culverts for driveways. No decision was made on the issue as they research the issue further.

Vanek reported that the well at the township garage failed the well test that Portage County Health Department (PCHD) administered and the department suggested they consider replacing the bladder in the pressure tank. They seem to think it is harboring bacteria. Once the bladder is replaced they will have to chlorinate the well and have PCHD return to retest the well.  The board approved this action.

The rough draft for the ramp plans for the community house will need to be converted into scale drawings by an architect before they can apply for the building permit for the structure. After some discussion, the board will contact Frank Pavella to do the drawings.

Mr. Matota questioned the caretaker of the Community House on who is responsible for updating the bulletin boards at the Community House and township garage. Michelle Cmunt replied she really didn’t know but if she had the keys to the locked boards and the letters, she would not have a problem updating them. A question was also raised about township keys; Mr. Leonard said he would collect them from the former trustee.

Boy Scout Cody Petrie presented his drawings for a sign he plans to make for the township. The sign will be his Eagle Scout project. Petrie asked for some assistance on funding and the trustee asked him to do some fundraising first and before they would help out financially with the project. Part of the Eagle Scout project requirement is for the scout to raise the funds for the project.

Leonard asked that the zoning seminar scheduled for March 31, 2012 be open to the public. This raised questions from Matota on whether these seminars were helpful and why they would want it opened to the public. Leonard said a few residents have asked to attend to learn more about zoning. A member of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) stated that the last seminar was quite helpful and they have used the material they learned from the last one on several zoning issues. After some discussion the board was leaning toward keeping the seminar as a workshop for trustees and those involved with the zoning commission and the BZA.

The Pierce Road Project is slowly moving forward. The trustees signed the papers and will send them to Public Works Commission and hopefully they can bid out the project soon.

Matota was able to help the zoning inspector with the process of obtaining current maps from the county’s web site to help with variance issues. Matota also talked with Mr. Steiner of the Portage County Solid Waste District and they will supply one dumpster for tires for the cleanup day set for May 5& 6th. The township will be responsible for any overages. The closed section of Shanks-Down Road issue presented at the last meeting resulted in advice sought from the prosecutor and neighboring townships that the road borders on who advised the trustees to do nothing and the road will be considered abandoned in a few years.

Discussions were raised regarding  folks who have items in the road right-of-way the township will consider enforcing this issue.

Guest Kristina Port who is running for Stare Representative in the newly-formed 76th district introduced herself and presented her political views.

Chairman Turos opened the meeting up to the public for input and many questions were raised on various topics such as zoning, food cupboard, the U.S Liquids issue, Pierce Road Project. After an hour of questions and answers, the board adjourned to executive session to discuss litigations on a court case, along with personnel issues. With there being no further business the board adjourned after they completed the executive session.

Nelson trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 7:30 pm at the Community House. The public is encouraged to attend. More Nelson news and information can be found at www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians are The Rotarian Train, highballing it to the Family Fun Week coming up, starting with the Music Festival on Sunday, February 26 in the Iva Walker Auditorium at James A. Garfield High School, proceeding through the Community Night Out activities (3/2/12) and Grandparents Night (2/28/12) at the Portage County District Library and ending with the Fun Festival (FREE!) on March 3 at the Garfield Elementary building.  Make your reservations on the calendar right now and listen for the humming on the tracks.

There will be contests galore, face-painting and games, fun for everyone.  The Boy Scouts will be manning the food operations on Saturday.  Inflatables will be available for sliding, bouncing climbing, you-name-it.  Family Founders–couples married fifty years or more–are invited to attend Saturday’s festivities to receive recognition and a token  reward(Nothing compared to their families themselves, of course).

Any community members who’d like to participate and volunteer their time and expertise are welcome to contact Rotarians.  Check in with Delores at McCumbers-Brady Realty or with Amy at the Business Works, both on Main Street, Garrettsville and you can be a conductor too!

Besides all of that, clubs of District 6630 are looking for nominations for “Rotary Heroes”, individuals who exemplify the goals and principles of Rotary, worldwide (not necessarily Rotarians).  On April 11, the local group will be hosting Rotary Group Study Exchange students at a regular meeting and invite interested parties to attend.  District Rotary Youth Exchange students (Ours will be Jessica Lyons this year) will be meeting on April 14.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club meets on Monday evenings in the Kennedy Center at Hiram College; dinner at 5:30, meeting at 6:00.  You’re invited.


Aurora – Fairway Fitness in Aurora is hosting its first Health and Wellness Fair at the Aurora Golf Club on March 4th from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.  “Healthy Life.  Happy Life.” is the theme and if you have been putting off your New Year’s Resolution to live a healthier lifestyle, coming to the health fair is a step in the right direction.   Admission is FREE and you can meet experts from various professions in the health care industry, participate in FREE fitness classes, activities for kids, sample healthy foods, along with chances to win prizes and FREE giveaways! 

Nelson Twp. – The first day of operation will be Monday, February 27th for the newly-formed Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard.

The cupboard is located at  on the northeast corner of Nelson Circle (9415 St. Rt. 305)behind Isaac Mills Bakery. The hours of operation will be Monday 4:00pm to 7:00pm and Wednesday 9:00am to 12:00pm. The cupboard will be closed on federal holidays and when J.A. Garfield  schools are closed due to incliment weather.

Residents who live in the J.A. Garfield Local School district and meet income guidelines for federal and state food programs are eligible to receive assistance from the food cupboard. Registration is done by household; please have a photo ID, proof of residency (current utility bill or other piece of mail with your name and address on it), and the names and birth dates of all household members.

A Grand Opening Celebration has been planned  for Saturday, March 10th at the Cupboard from 2:00-4:00pm.  Everyone is invited  to come and tour the facility and join us for refreshments.  The board will be on hand to  answer any questions folks may have about using the cupboard or becoming a volunteer.

In addition, they are  planning a “Plant A Row for the Hungry” campaign where gardening enthusiasts are asked to plant an extra row and donate the produce to the Cupboard.  Starter kits will be available at the Grand Opening.


Mantua – St. Joseph’s 2012 Lenten Series begins on the first Tuesday of Lent, February 28, and runs for five consecutive Tuesdays. Soup Suppers begin at 6:00 p.m. in Hughes Hall and are a long standing tradition at St. Joe’s. Parishioners are invited to bring a pot of soup or a loaf of bread to share.  Don’t have time this week to make soup? That’s OK—come anyway! There’s always plenty!


Mantua – Mayor Linda Clark recently presented her first State of the Village address of the  new year to village council, appealing to residents and business owners to take active part in the change they voted for when they elected her to office last November.
“Attend our meetings,  contact myself or any council member with ideas, suggestions or complaints that will help the village grow in the right direction and continue to be the friendly and welcoming village that we once were and hope to be again. Remember the days when friends and neighbors were always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need?  Let’s bring that caring back to the village.”
And on that note, the council member-turned-mayor announced that committee members are still needed for the Cemetery, Shade Tree and Parks committees. A lifelong Mantua resident, Clark is a Crestwood High graduate. In her mayoral campaign, Clark focused her goals of seeking ways to cut costs to keep the village from going any further in debt, and being removed from ‘fiscal watch’ status sometime in 2012.
In veiled references to related troubles in former Mayor Donna Hawkins’ term, Mayor Clark stated that progress is being made within Mantua village leadership, including:
“Teamwork within the official family to help us regain the trust and respect of the citizens;
Ensure transparency in our government;
Continue to reduce spending without eroding services:
Work with the citizens and business owners and civic groups as a team to create an environment that will fill empty storefronts with viable, sustainable businesses.”
Regarding Mantua’s wastewater treatment plant, Clark said, “Our trial test period of septage receiving is proving to be going in the right direction. The revenues thus far are enabling us to begin much needed maintenance at the WWTP.” A new chopper pump will increase plant efficiency and reduce man-hours that are currently used to maintain and repair current equipment. Additional updated equipment including a blower and alum pump will be purchased   as funds become available.
Regional cooperation with the new Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska, Shalersville trustees, Mantua trustees, and with the City of Ravenna is under discussion, to be brought to Mantua Council as ideas take shape, such as applying for an Innovation Grant for communities that agree to shared services. The cities of Kent and Ravenna are considering purchasing equipment that will process road grindings into hot patch (valued at $150 per ton). Using this equipment, the processed grindings would be available for less than half price. “I feel it warrants investigating to get an exact cost, and how they will split the cost with smaller villages if we are interested,” Clark said.
Clark concluded her presentation with a quote from Mark Twain, “which has become my motto and hopefully that of Village Council, Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it’s the lightning that does the work. I choose to be the lightning and I hope the rest of Council will be the lightning with me.”

Garrettsville – Friends of Melana (FOM) are seeking sponsors for their Second Annual 5K Run and One Mile Fun Run for kids’ cancer held during Garrettsville’s SummerFest this year. The race will be held on Sunday June 24, 2012 at 9am in beautiful downtown Garrettsville. FOM held their inaugural race last year during SummerFest and had nearly 200 participants between the two events and raised nearly $2500. Race Directors Jacob Vaughan and Diana Morris would like to see this event become one of the biggest races in Portage County and to do so they need your help. This year they are elevating the event by offering opportunities for individuals, small businesses and corporations to participate in sponsorship. The sponsorships start at $250 for the Bronze Level and go on up to $4500 for the Presenting Level. The Presenting Level will receive the following benefits: 1. Top billing on all advertising 2. Recognition on all media promotions 3. Sponsor name or logo on race T-shirt 4. Logo on race bib 5. Sponsor name or logo on promotional flyers 6. Sponsor’s material in race participant’s “Goodie Bag” 7. Sponsor logo on advertising posters 8. Sponsor logo on direct mail piece 9. Ten complimentary race entries (includes race T-shirt) 10. Individual promotional table at race 11. Sponsor name or logo for START/FINISH LINE BANNER 12. First Rights of Refusal for next year Platinum level is $2500 and sponsor will receive the first nine benefits listed above. The Gold level is $1000 and will receive the first seven benefits. The Silver level is $500 and will receive the first 5 benefits. The Bronze level is $250 and will receive the first three benefits. By sponsoring the race you will have the opportunity to help the group raise funds for the research of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) DIPG is a rare form of brain cancer that strikes children generally between the ages of five and ten years old, with only 2% surviving a year after diagnosis and the majority succumbing to the disease within 9-12 months. The diagnosis leaves families with little or no hope. What is also frustrating to them is there has been little or no research done for DIPG and what little has been done has made no advance in 30 years. The disease is rare so it is underfunded and gets very few research dollars. FOM hopes to change that by providing information about the disease and raising funds for research. FOM was initially established to support Melana’s family through prayers and finances as they navigated the road of cancer. When Melana earned her wings on October 27, 2009, the group shifted its focus from support to raising funds for research, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. Melana was a nine-year old vivacious girl who loved life, animals, nature, and soccer, had a huge menagerie of Webkinz and lived her life to the fullest. The young girl, who knew no stranger, lived by the motto “Just Keep Swimming,” brought the entire community together as they prayed for a miracle and helped raise funds to defray her medical costs, but it wasn’t enough. Her friends and family watched helplessly as DIPG robbed Melana of her childhood. Despite being a prisoner in her own body Melana’s spirit never wavered, even when the disease progressed, leaving her with little motor skill function and confined to a wheel chair the last few months of her life. Melana earned her wings and departed this earth in 2009, leaving behind a devastated family and community. It was her zest for life that made an impact on the group and the fact that no one wants to see anther child endure what Melana did. This group is dedicated to raising funds for research with the ultimate goal of finding a cure for this horrible disease. Questions and sponsorship forms can be obtained by contacting Director Jacob Vaughan at (330)632-0072 or email vaughanjs@my.hiram.edu or Assistant Director Diana Morris at (330)628-0759 or email be4him.oh@sbcglobal.net. or contact Norm Fashing at 330 527-8093. FOM is a 501c3 organization and all sponsorships are tax deductible. Sign-ups for the race can be done through summerfest5k.eventbrite.com


Aurora – Over ten years in development, the Amish Heritage Center, in collaboration with the Florian K. Lawton Foundation, will provide a rich visual and historical program that will encourage a better understanding of the Amish and English visitors that migrated from 18th century Europe, spanning all the way to present day North East Ohio. The Amish Heritage Center is projected to open in mid – June 2012, in Settler’s Village on  Old State Road adjacent to the Swiss Cheese facility.
The Amish Heritage Center will focus on presenting the story of the Geauga and Northeastern Ohio Amish Settlement to a diverse audience, including local residents and international visitors, through education and exhibits. The story of this Amish Settlement will be presented from its roots in Europe through their migration and settlement throughout the United States, finally ending on the reasons and motivations for settling in Geauga County. The Amish Heritage Center will increase awareness through the collection, preservation, and presentation of the Geauga Amish Settlement story.
“It’s time Ohioans, and people around the country, realize more clearly the contribution these modern day pioneers have made to our state and give them the respect their culture deserves,” said Kenneth Lawton, Director of the Florian K. Lawton Foundation.
With a clear vision toward education, the Amish Heritage Center will provide educators, scholars and the interested public an opportunity to see changing seasonal programs that provide an understanding of how the North Eastern Ohio’s Amish community has contributed to this state and country. One of these great accomplishments is turning Ohio into the third-largest maple sugar producer in the United States.
About the Florian K. Lawton Foundation
The Florian K. Lawton Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the art of Florian K. Lawton, who spent his time portraying the world of Amish America through his artwork. The organization offers museums and institutions around the world the opportunity to share the beauty of Lawton’s oeuvre, created over a fifty year span of his career. The foundation will provide a medium for scholars and the public interested in the Amish culture to continue the legacy of the Amish people and Lawton’s vision of beauty as seen in nature and the simplicity of the Amish culture. For more information, visit www.fklfoundation.org.

Cindy Hershberger manager of the Bay Window

Garrettsville – Valentines Day is almost here, have you ordered your flowers yet? If you have procrastinated like so many do, it’s not too late to get that done and the friendly folks at the Bay Window would be happy to help you with all your valentine needs as well as other floral needs.


Braceville Twp. – Over the last several weeks, people have contacted me asking what they could do to reduce the risk of theft from their residences. Here are a few things that could be done to help prevent this, and to help aid the police in recovering items taken:

Nelson Twp – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with trustees Jim Turos, Tom Matota, and Joe Leonard present. Fiscal officer Dave Finney was unavailable; however Brianne Finney took the minutes for the meeting.  Brianne presented the wages and the trustees approved the payment of them, but not before Leonard stated that the prosecutor recommended that they include in the motion that they will pay the bills when the fiscal officer is available. By adding the bills to the motion they will not have to hold a special meeting to pay the bills.


Portage County – The Portage County Board of Commissioners has had a busy start to the new year.  This will highlight some of what has happened so far.
After permanently abolishing many administrative jobs in late Fall, we recently approved a plan to streamline workflow and reassign jobs to existing staff.  The new system will likely begin in late February.  The new plan ensures that all duties are formally assigned and reduces paperwork and duplication in many instances.  This will all be accomplished while maintaining prior cost savings and working within the existing budget.  Teamwork really can produce great results!
For anyone interested in watching the meetings of the Board, public sessions may be watched live on the portage county website.  If you cannot watch it live, the tape may be viewed at any time.  The obvious goal of this is to make government more open and to allow our citizens to see what is happening with their government.  Watch a meeting sometime and let us know what you think.  I love hearing input from the community.
The Board continues to follow the tedious path of selling the county owned nursing home.  The successful bidder has been very cooperative.  Three sets of lawyers are involved and the paperwork is substantial.  But it seems we are on track to close this deal in late Spring.
As many readers know, the year ended with another tight budget.  However, the Board still intends to replace cars in the aging fleet of the Sheriff’s department and begin some repairs on county buildings.  The Board is also looking at energy savings options while considering capital improvements.  We have narrowed the search for the engineers that will work with the county to guarantee energy cost savings.
On a final, bright note, a growing trend is for our citizens to make contributions to the Portage County Dog Warden’s office.  If you have not been to the pound lately, stop by for a visit sometime.  It is not the pound of “yesterday.”  The place looks fabulous with freshly painted murals and new pens.  Available dogs are listed on the internet and Facebook.  Our county dog warden, Dave McIntyre, has secured donations from individuals and dog food companies.  The county has not had to pay for dog food in over a year!  This office represents the best of efficient government and concerned citizens cooperating.  This joint effort produces a clean, safe, happy place for the dogs to live until they are placed in a permanent home.


Geauga County – Geauga Lyric Theater Guild, located in Chardon, Ohio, will offer many opportunities for youth ages 4 through 18 during the 2012 summer workshops. Mission Imagination, for early learners, will encourage children to sing, dance and perform, and will have three sessions. The Elementary Drama (Peter Pan) and Elementary Youth Musical (Once Upon a Time) workshops give children aged 7 to 12 a chance to expand their creative skills. There will be two workshops for teens ages 13 to 18, the Teen Musical (Godspell) and a Teen Drama Workshop (One Acts), along with a Tech Workshop for ages 11 to 18. Workshops for teens help them gain knowledge about the arts, and build confidence which benefits them in school, as well as later in life. Registration opens Saturday, March 31st 9:00 a.m. at the Geauga Lyric Theater Guild office located at 106 Water Street in Chardon. For more information about the workshops call 440-285-7701 or go to www.geaugatheater.org.


Ravenna – The 14th Annual Portage Environmental Conservation Awards Dinner will take place Saturday April 21 and will feature a reception with music by Mitch Reed, hors d’oeuvres featuring local foods, a buffet dinner and more.
The dinner steering committee is seeking nominations for potential awardees to be honored at the event. Nominations for this year’s awards will be considered based on their contributions to Portage County’s environment through education, green business, green development, stewardship and environmental activism.
Nominations should include the nominee’s name and contact information along with a paragraph describing their contribution to Portage County’s environmental conservation. Visit the Park District’s website to download a nomination form at www.portageparkdistrict.org. Send nominations by March 1st to Portage Park District, 705 Oakwood St, Suite G-04, Ravenna, OH 44266 or email ccraycroft@portageparkdistrict.com.
Fundraising proceeds will benefit the Portage Park District Foundation, whose mission is to support the Park District’s critical work of conserving Portage County’s natural and cultural heritage.
The dinner will be held April 21st at the Kent American Legion, 1945 Mogadore Road from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call the Park District at (330) 297-7728 for more information.

Garrettsville – The 2012 Summerfest planning is well on its way and the committee is in need of the public’s help for their latest project.  The committee is planning on having a multi-media extravaganza at the conclusion of each day, but to do so we need help. We are looking for family pictures, vacation pictures and military pictures in digital format for this multi-media extravaganza. The pictures can be of your family enjoying Summerfest activities or just pictures of your family having fun along with pictures of your soldier, airman sailor or marine.  Military pictures do not have to be in dress uniforms. In fact the committee would love to see pictures of those while serving in other countries. The pictures will need to depict the theme of the multi-media display, Freedom: A Celebration of the American Spirit.
The pictures will be intermixed with historical scenes, monuments, etc that will be put in a multi-media presentation to be shown at the conclusion of each day of the festival if the weather permits.
Photos will need to be in digital format and can be emailed by May 1, 2012 to garrettsvillesummerfest@gmail.com.   Hard copy photos will not be accepted. Submitted pictures will need to be family friendly, can be either black and white or color, can be recent or older as long as they depict the Spirit of America.  By submitting a photo or photos you are allowing the Summerfest Committee the right to use your photos for promotional purposes this year and in the future.

Summerfest is traditionally held the fourth 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