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James A. Garfield High School showcased its outstanding Concert Band (another incarnation of the famous “Marching Pride”) and its resurgent vocal music program (in the form of the Concert Choir, directed by Theo Cebulla, and the Varsity Gold Show Choir, directed by Joe Gaither) on Sunday, December 18 in the Iva Walker Auditorium to a packed house (SRO).

There were old favorites, new twists, spiffy performance duds, a horse in the brass section, “Thumper” in the percussion,  audience sing-alongs, a German carol, excellent soloists and enthusiastic appreciation of all of the music…and of the musicians.

After the formal concert in the auditorium, there was a cookie-and-cocoa reception in the Commons   with a spirited program of jazz numbers by the Black and Gold Swing Machine, led by director Theo Cebulla.  The Machine was in fine working order and drew applause with every number.

At one point, it was announced that the spring musical will be “Annie Get Your Gun”, so all could be forewarned to get tickets ASAP.  Previous productions have been sold out in short order.  This will be another one to look forward to, no doubt!

It was a high note all around for the Season.

Theresa Bellefant, Pam Kaiser and in the front row, owner, Debbie Kostrub

Garrettsville – Nestled on High Street, across from the police station are some of the most beautifully adorned windows in town. The owner of the “best dressed” windows is Debbie Kostrub of Art N flowers. She and employee Theresa Bellefant keep the window décor fresh and fun reflecting the season. The store’s windows have become one of Garrettsville’s best eye candy, which children and adults love to see.

Art N Flowers in Garrettsville has been located at 8122 High Street since 1989 and in existence for nearly forty years. They still manage to meet folk’s floral needs and more in this trying economy.  Debbie Kostrub says she and her staff are continually re-inventing themselves to stay competitive in today’s market. The designers are constantly going to classes and seminars to stay abreast of the new trends that come out each season. The shop takes pride in offering personal, professional service to each and every customer whether they are there in person or ordering over the phone or thru the internet. This is what sets them apart from others, something one will not find at an internet flower delivery company or an 800 flower service.

Art N Flowers is more than a flower store; they carry a full line of greeting cards, giftware balloons and chocolates. They can even  create a fruit or goody basket for those who want something a little different. One can find plants, center pieces and silk arrangements as well as home décor items. During the holidays they have many unusual tree ornaments, ribbons, and such to make your home more festive. Need a large bow for a special occasion or a gift? Stop by and see them they will make one up for you. What about an idea for a swag or a wreath for your home? They can make your idea a reality; they are not limited to what is in a book. Stop in and bring your ideas and their professional team will create the item just as you pictured it.

Weddings and funerals are what keep the local flower shop in business but during this economy Kostrub has seen a change in what people order. Gone are the days of big flashy designs, many are down sizing their arrangements and are not sending a lot of personal flowers. Today’s market has caused Kostrub to create several budget -friendly alternatives. Art N Flowers offers a $99 wedding package for those on a tight budget. They also offer cash and carry bouquets. One of their biggest budget-friendly sellers is  their short stem roses  –  one can get a ½ dozen short stemmed roses with greenery and baby’s breath for for $9.99 –now that’s a bargain.

Kostrub cautions about the use of internet services and 800 flower delivery services. She explained the difference between using a local flower shop and an internet or an 800 flower delivery service. When one uses an internet or an 800 flower delivery service they are actually paying a broker to find a local flower shop or distributor to do the work. The internet companies and 1-800 flower companies do not have flowers and probably don’t have office space either. Generally, they have just a phone or a computer and run a relay service to local flower shops and distributors.  When you use one of these services you are paying a fee for them to find someone to complete the order, so less of their money is going for the actual flower purchase. Flower brokers do not have flowers nor do they arrange flowers, they just relay your information to someone else. Don’t be confused by 800 numbers. Some are to legitimate flower shops and some are to broker services. Make sure you understand who you are calling before making a financial commitment.

Art N Flowers is a full-service shop that offers local delivery and Teleflora services. They are open Monday thru Friday 9 am – 5pm and Saturdays 9am -3 pm. They are generally closed on Sundays except for Mothers Day, and if Valentines Day falls on a Sunday they will be open. They can be reached by phone 330 -527-4624 and accept internet orders at www.artnflowers.net.

So, when you’re unsure what to say, say it with flowers. Flowers can say I’m sorry, I love you, get well. Thanks and a number of things that we sometimes find difficult to say. If you’re looking for a gift that speaks, say it with flowers and look no further than Art N Flowers, where you will find friendly professionals ready to help you.

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Newton Falls Kiwanis president Linda Hrenko is shown with City Manager Jack Haney, Karen Car from the Senior Van, Labor day race directors Vonda Vencel and Jenn Riehl.  In their hands is a giant check in the amount of $5,059  which  is the profit from the 2011 Labor Day race.

Congratulations to all the sponsors, runners, and volunteers that made the event such a huge success. The money will go directly towards the operation of the senior van operation.

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Newton Falls – Bob James, Commander of Newton Falls American Legion Post 236, recently presented a donation to Carol Baker, Assistant Director of the Newton Falls Public Library, for the purpose of purchasing books for the library in memory of deceased Post 236 members.

Newton Falls American Legion Post 236 recently donated $100,000 to the Newton Falls Fire Department to help renovate a building to house fire and rescue vehicles.

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Portage County – Garrettsville resident Charles D. Moore is a new member of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.

Now retired, Moore worked for the hair care and beauty product company L’Oreal in Solon for 23 years. He started there when it was formerly the Matrix Company and advanced to the job of maintenance supervisor.

Moore said he joined the Mental Health & Recovery Board because as a county resident, he has the desire to help the board further its mission to provide a stable system of quality mental health and substance abuse treatment services available to anyone in need. He believes his business and management experience will benefit financial and planning decisions.

“I like that by being local, the board is more in touch with the people who need assistance. The board can see specifically what is needed and work to make it happen if possible. I want to be part of the process and make a contribution,’” Moore said.

Starting his first four-year term, Moore replaces Streetsboro resident Daniel Todd, who was a board member for eight years.

Moore has lived in Portage County for the past 31 years; in Ravenna and in Streetsboro where his daughter Margie and son Matthew went to school. He and his wife Alice moved to Garrettsville in 2008. They participate with The Bair Foundation, an area non-profit agency that works with children and families,  by providing respite care for families with children who have disabilities, meaning they stay with children so parents can have temporary time away. The Moores attend the First Evangelical Church in Garrettsville.

Moore is a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War for which he was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal.  He attended college at The Ohio State University and Youngstown State University.  He grew up in Berea and was graduated from Berea High School. He is an avid boater and fisherman.

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 Mantua – Rose’s Rescue, a 501c3 pet rescue, was presented with a $285.00 donation by Crestwood Students Angela Spencer, Brandon Houpt, and Jarupat Kannula.  The students formed a group for their Senior Seminar class. They chose the name G.A.I.N. (Giving to Animals in Need). Angela heard about Rose’s Rescue at her veterinarian’s office, and the three agreed to make the rescue animals their class project.

Presenting donation to Rose’s Rescue are students Brandon Houpt and Angela Spencer. Angela is holding her rescue dog Teddy. Receiving the donation is Santa (John Flint) and Carla Weber, both rescue volunteers.

Hiram – This week brought unprecedented cooperation for the Hiram community.  For the first time ever, the village and township officials were sworn in at the same ceremony.  The township proudly welcomed its new Fiscal Officer, Stan Carlisle II and Township Trustee, Jack Groselle.  Hiram Village’s Mayor Lou Bertrand and Council member Paul Spencer were sworn in to new terms.  Frank Hemphill was sworn in for the first time.

The ceremony was held at the historic Garfield Meeting House on the Hiram College campus.  Tom Chema, President of Hiram College offered opening remarks about the true meaning of Christmas and reminded the crowd that  President James A. Garfield preached in the building where the crowd gathered.

This cooperation is in stark contrast to the fierce legal bought fought by the township against the college and the village.  Mr. Chema emphasized working cooperatively at the local level, reminding the crowd that partisan politics has no place in local government.

Differences of political perspectives were nowhere to be seen at this celebration.  The newly-elected officials and their families smiled and exchanged holiday greetings with the small crowd.  The crowd was comprised of friends, family, neighbors, U.S. veterans, other elected officials.  Light refreshments were served following the ceremony.  During this mingling, the new officials shared their enthusiasm for progress in local government in the new year to come.

What would you do if you won a million dollars?
Maybe buy a fancy house, a sports car, an exotic cruise, the latest tech gadget or entertainment package?
When a local teacher posed that question to students recently, she didn’t get all typical responses. More than one said they’d buy groceries for their families, because they had no food in the house.
Every holiday season, canned food drives are as traditional as Christmas carols and tinsel on the tree… but this year, they’re even more meaningful because the need in our community is at an all-time high. Local charities report, on average, double the need of recent years.
Last week, it looked like students at James A. Garfield High School might fail to meet their goal of collecting 10,000 cans for this year’s annual food drive. They missed their goal last year — gathering 9,300 cans of food — and it appeared this might be a sad new trend, said food drive coordinator and art teacher Libby Frato-Sweeney.
But thanks to a final-day push, JAG High School students actually surpassed their goal and collected 10,629 food items for hungry neighbors this holiday season. Teachers lifted the customary no-texting ban during classtime, so students barraged their parents and grandparents with appeals to bring non-perishable food to the school before the end of the school day… and they delivered 800-900 food items in a few hours’ time.
[pulledquote]students collected 10,629 food items for hungry neighbors this holiday season[/pulledquote]One parent came in with grocery bags full of baking ingredients because she used to be in need, and couldn’t afford to stretch her budget enough to do traditional cookie-baking with her children. She remembered how much she missed being able to do that, so she made sure she provided baking supplies for others who would appreciate it.
Along with the non-perishable food, students also collected books, toys, hats and mittens for those in need. They even raised $1,500 from the annual in-school Turkey Trot race and Spanish class concert. (Teachers Mr. Bennett and Ms. Maresh each raised more than $400 in Turkey Trot pledges.) Mayor Craig Moser boosted students’ morale by bringing donuts in during the collection drive.
“With everybody doing their part, we’re able to provide a merrier Christmas for area families,” said Frato-Sweeney. And the students were rewarded with a whole-school concert the last day of school before winter break, known as Howling with Howell (thanks to the musical talents of language arts teacher Mr. Howell and his hand-picked student accompanists).
The impact of their giving is widespread. The food has been distributed to several area charities, including the hot lunch program at the Garrettsville United Methodist Church, the new Nelson Food Pantry (formerly operated by the PeopleTree, located at Rafael’s Bakery at Nelson Circle starting in February), the 4Cs in Mantua (at Hilltop Disciples of Christ Church), Windham Toys for Tots, and for families identified by school nurse Ms. Poole. The food also augmented 175 turkey dinners given to needy families, which included a frozen turkey, a bag of potatoes, and a grocery sack of canned food for each recipient.
While middle school students collected gift items for The People Tree charity, the elementary school also got into the act, with gym teacher Mr. Rado offering to take a cake in the face if the students managed to collect 700 cake mixes to distribute to those in need. The kids easily surpassed that goal, bringing in a total of 840 cake mixes for the cause.
Frato-Sweeney says that contributions of food during the holidays go beyond taming hungry stomachs. Food and family traditions go hand-in-hand. When there’s plenty of good food to go around, families nourish one another with merry memories that can last a lifetime.

Geauga County – Start the New Year off right by making your house a Safe and Healthy Home!
You don’t have to wait until spring to start your spring cleaning!  Hopefully most of us would never describe our homes as “hazardous”, but many of the products we use every day are actually toxic.  Are you curious about the contents of your cabinets?  Let’s see… bleach, lighter fluid, batteries, compact florescent bulbs, drain cleaner, bug spray, paint, bathroom cleaners, wood polish, motor oil…  YIKES!  A quick walk-through of your home can prove to be enlightening yet frightening!  Believe it or not the average U.S. household accumulates as much as 100 pounds of hazardous waste over time.  So without even realizing it, our ordinary home can be extraordinarily toxic.
The Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) encourages you to start off the New Year with a commitment to reduce the hazardous waste in your home, making it safer, healthier, and ultimately happier.  The District is teaming up with the Geauga County Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste Management District, and the Geauga County Storm Water Task Force to provide a Household Habits for Healthy Waters program.  This program will provide a deeper understanding of hazardous products and their proper use, storage, and disposal.  We’ll also discuss ways to reduce and prevent toxic hazards at home and how to be prepared if you do have an emergency.
Join us on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at The Donald W. Meyer Center at Big Creek Park (9160 Robinson Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024) for a unique opportunity to learn to “clean up and green up” your home, garage and yard. 
All are welcome to this free and informative program.  Light refreshments will be provided and participants will create a nontoxic household cleaner to take home.  “Green giveaways” and free resources will also be distributed.  Don’t miss this chance to de-tox your digs and protect your posse!  For more information and to register for the program, please call 440-834-1122 ext. 2 or email gprunty@geaugaswcd.com.  Registration deadline is Monday, January 9th. 

Windham – This year’s economy tried to be the Grinch that stole Christmas for some Windham boys and girls until the employees at Harbison Walker put a damper on the Grinch’s plans. When the employees at the local factory heard there were kids at Windham Katherine Thomas Elementary School who were unable to participate in the school’s Annual PTO-sponsored Santa Shop, they sprang into action. The Harbison-Walker employees knew it was time to “Play Santa” and quickly took up a collection of money and donated it to the school. The employees and management willingly dug deep into their pockets, raising $546 for the kids to use to purchase gifts for their family members.
Harbison-Walker’s Plant Manager Dave Apthorpe stated that this is what a small community does for its members. He also said that the plant employs numerous folks from the small community who just wanted to help out the kids, so they did. For many of the employees this has not been a good year. The company has periodically had layoffs due to the economy, affecting many local residents’ finances. But this didn’t matter. The employees anted up to help make things a little brighter for the kids.
On the receiving end of the gift, the school was overwhelmed with gratitude, as were the children as they were able to purchase gifts for their families. Principal Robert Kujala expressed his gratitude as well; stating that they were totally surprised and delighted by the generousity of the Harbison-Walker employees and the management staff at during a tough economic climate. He offered his appreciation for their commitment to the kids in the community.
The school kids expressed their gratitude by making thank you cards and cookies which they sent across town to the local facility.
Harbison-Walker is located within the village limits, employs about 95 hourly employees and 25 salaried employees at the Windham facility.

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Columbus—State Representative Kathleen Clyde announced that the state will help resolve flooding issues on Pierce Road in Nelson Township. The Ohio Public Works Commission has awarded an emergency $76,326 grant to the township.
“These funds will purchase a road culvert for a crucial roadway in Nelson Township,” Rep. Clyde said. “The new culvert will alleviate the flooding problems due to extremely heavy rains this year. It will restore the road’s safety for emergency transportation and for local residents that travel the road every day.”
Pierce Road in Nelson Township was recently subject to a critical structural failure when severe floods washed away a significant portion of the road. As a result, a segment of the road was deemed impassible and was closed. Many residents were forced to reroute around the closed area. And the damage caused significant safety implications, as emergency vehicles had to do time-consuming preplanning prior to any dispatch, lengthening critical response times.
The Ohio Public Works Commission awards emergency funding for municipalities facing issues that cause an immediate threat to the health and safety of local residents. Over $2.5 million is allotted each year for natural disaster-related, unforeseen projects. Rep. Clyde received a call from Bill Wilson, former trustee in Nelson Township, and was able to assist the township in applying for and receiving these important funds.

NOTE: Athough the township has been awarded a grant for the work, they need to be compliant with the laws which require them to obtain various permits, including one from the Army Corps of Engineers. The trustees have begun the process to obtain the permits and when the permits are granted, the actual bids for the job will go out so the work can begin. An estimated work timeframe for the job is currently unavailable.

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Garrettsville – Village Council met on December 14, 2011 for their regularly scheduled monthly meeting. Minutes from the November Council Meeting and a motion to pay the current bills were both approved. Revenue, expenditure, cash balance, and income tax reports were reviewed. There was a brief discussion on the financial state of the Village, which is sound. The Mayor remarked that income tax revenue at the end on November is over one million dollars. He stated that the Village had spent slightly more than they had taken in for 2011. Some of that was due to carry-over expenses from 2010, but there were also some major improvements made including: the Board Walk lighting project, the new canine vehicle for the Police Department, a zero-turn mower, the Liberty Street Bridge repair cost shared with the County, and the new dump truck.
The Mayor recommended Tom Hardesty to fill a vacant seat on the Planning Commission Board. With little discussion, a motion was made for Council to accept the recommendation, then seconded. Council approved the appointment 6-0.
Next on the agenda were several ordinances. Ordinances 2011-69 and 2011-70 pertain to current expenses and expenditures and Ordinance 2011-71 deals with the transfer of funds between accounts to reconcile expenditures for the year. Also up for approval was Ordinance 2011-72, which addresses parking violations. This Ordinance would give the Village authority to impound and immobilize any vehicle with two or more outstanding parking violations within the Village. All ordinances were passed 6-0.
Council then authorized the expenditure to join in the 2012 Portage County Drug Task Force. Members of the task force share in revenues from property seized through the county’s drug enforcement efforts. A citizen in the gallery asked the Mayor how the determination is made for how these funds are spent. The Mayor stated that the Ohio Revised Code dictates how the Drug Task Force funds can be used and it is earmarked only for police “stuff”. All of the accessories for the new canine police cruiser that was purchased this year came from this fund.
The issue of the leaf pick-up service for the Village came up again. It was mentioned that there is a leaf vacuum up for auction from a community down in Southern Ohio, but the auction only lasts six days. Talk focused on whether the Village should attempt to provide the service from within the Village or hire an outside service. Council President Rick Patrick said he would check into the condition of the equipment. After much discussion, Council voted to authorize Council President Rick Patrick to enter into the auction on behalf of the Village and to bid on the equipment up to a maximum not to exceed $12,000.00. Council also determined that if their bidding is not successful, they would discuss at the next Council Meeting proceeding with an outside service.
During a brief round table discussion Councilman Matson reported that the fire department had responded to 289 calls so far this year. Councilman Kaiser stated that the zoning inspector reported that an apartment building on Forest Street is not being kept as it should and suggested contacting the owner. The Village Clerk reported that there has been a permit issued for well drilling on Liberty Street and Councilman Hadzinsky brought up a complaint that was made to him about parking restrictions on Main Street on Saturdays. He questioned the two-hour limit in light of the promotion by the Chamber of Commerce to encourage people to come and shop in town. Council President Patrick also stated that some business owners have requested Council look into not having parking restrictions on the weekends. Councilman Patrick also stated he is looking into better signage directing people to the municipal parking lots and the Boardwalk.
The Mayor is asking for input on the Boardwalk lights. Comments can be emailed to the Mayor directly at mayor@garrettsville.org . He also wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
The next regular Council meeting will be held on January11th. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

Pictured above are friends representing area towing companies who came out to enjoy a lunch at The Brick in Don’s honor. In attendence were: Gene Hatch of Hatch’s Towing from Middlefield; Willy Harshman - Harshman’s Towing from Southington; Dean Stebbins & Bob Fall from F&S Towing in Mantua; Larry Eye from Eye’s Towing of Windham; Rick Patrick, Bill Wilson, Warren & Homer Ellison of Village Motors.

Garrettsville – Most folks when they hit their 70’s they are either retired or are planning on it soon but not Don McCullough. Don is still going strong after 60 years of working in the towing business and has no formal plans to retire, although he does admit he is slowing down a bit.

Sixty years ago Don McCullough was working at as a service manager at the local Ford garage in Garrettsville when he convinced the owners to purchase a tow truck and start a towing business. Don even agreed to do the towing if they would get a truck.  McCullough was successful in persuading the owners to purchase a tow truck and began towing for the Ford garage in 1952. Little did he know then that 60 years later he would still be doing the same thing and enjoying it as well.

McCullough ran the towing for the garage until it closed1968.  Finding himself without work motivated him to start what we now know as Village Motors today. He opened his business on Windham Street where G-ville Auto now sits and had his salvage yard a crossed the street where the catholic church’s back parking lot is now located. When he opened his doors for business he offered towing service, used car sales along with a service garage. The business eventually out grew the space so McCullough then purchased the lot where Kepich Ford now sits and operated his business there until 1980 before relocating to the current location on Brosius Road.

Don and his wife Virginia worked together at growing the business. Don ran the business while Virginia handled all the dispatching for the towing service.  The dispatching had its challenges as the communication systems back then were sub par. They originally used citizen band (CB) radios to communicate with the driver. Don said was not always easy to understand each other on them but it was what they had at the time and that was just how it was done. Later, they graduated to commercial radios which were better than the CB’s but still had  problems and now they use cell phones as their mode of communication.

Besides communication, the industry has made significant changes throughout the years as well. There is less towing business due to cars being made more reliable and the fact that there are more tow trucks available now. Years ago towing was done with winches, now they use flatbeds and rollovers to do the work. He said cars are made differently now too, which at times leaves them few options on places to hook for a tow.  Like everything else, the cost of towing has increased over the years too. When he first started towing it was around $15 dollars a tow in town, now it starts at $65 and goes up depending on where the vehicle is being taken.

In 1990 Don was ready for some freedom so he sold the service garage to Rick Patrick and continued to operate the towing business for a few years and eventually sold the rest of the business to Rick Patrick. The sale of the business had him looking forward to retirement and seeing the country.

Well, that was the plan any how. He’d retire, travel and see the country, just kick back and enjoy life.  But that isn’t what happened. Oh, he traveled and sort of retired only to come back and work part-time for Patrick.

Don has seen many changes over his lifetime and not just in the towing business.

He said years ago everyone in town would get together and skate on Silver Creek in the winter and in the summer they would have concerts on Main Street every weekend. Back then folks would come out just to socialize. Now folks just don’t seem to get together as neighbors and a community like they used to; times have just changed.

Don commented that SummerFest brings back memories of those times when folks would come downtown to see their neighbors. Times were just simpler back then and  people had time for one another — not so much now.

McCullough recently celebrated his 80th birthday and is still going strong and claims he would do it all over again if given a second chance. He said the business supported his wife and four kids and he still loves the work and the community that supported him all these years.

McCullough still hasn’t officially retired and he said he probably wouldn’t retire because he is afraid he’d be bored. So for now this life-time Garrettsville resident can still be seen pulling cars out of the ditch on occasion.


Newton Falls – Newton Falls VFW Post 3332 recently held its 2011 charitable contributions giveaway.  Over $26,000 was given to 25 local, county, regional and state organizations. VFW members pictured in the front row (left to right)are:  Louis D’Amico, Joe Ball, Ron Widowfield, Pete Price, Bill Smith, Commander Ray Hanzes, Charitable Committee Chairman Bob James, Roy Domyanich, Steve Garcar, Bill Douglas, and “Fudge” Rapczak.

Representatives receiving donations are pictured in the back row (left to right) are:  John Myers, with Trumbull Co. Mental Health and Recovery Board; Jeff White, with Family Promise of Mahoning Valley; Doug Herlinger, with Church Mouse of Newton Falls; Ron Spore, with Family Promise of Mahoning Valley; Alllison Snyder, with VFW Post 3332 Auxiliary; Chris Wortman, with Gold Star Mothers; Sandee Mathews, with Trumbull Co. Mobile Meals; Karen Carr, with Newton Falls Senior Citizen Van Fund; Jan Seidler, with Hospice of the Valley, Youngstown; Theresa Lyden, with Someplace Safe; Elsie Whitzel, with Newton Falls Cemetery Assoc; Rick Bauman, with Newton Falls Fire and EMT Departments; Fr. Ed Brisbine, with St. Nicholas Orthodox Outreach Program.

Ravenna – Vale Edge Hallmark and Florist have to be one of Ravenna’s best- kept secrets, well, at least until now. The store,  located at 247 S. Chestnut Street just southeast of the court house, offers Hallmark items and flowers plus a whole lot more.

Owners, Betty and Charlie Lim meticulously keep the storefront appealing to the shopper by showcasing seasonal items. Right now the store has several Christmas trees with different themes welcoming shoppers as they enter the store.

Vale Edge carries Hallmark greeting cards, and ornaments but they  have a wide variety of other gift items as well. For the fashionista, look no further. They have all the accessories one would need. Miche hand bags, boots, and all kinds of jewelry, including Trollbeads, Annaleece and Covenant jewelry. These companies create bracelets, necklaces, and rings, using Swarokovski crystal pieces. A must-have for the fashionista on your list.

For those of you planning a wedding, this is a one-stop shop for that as well. Order your flowers, pick up some wine, select the bridesmaids’ gifts,  wedding photo albums, invitations, guest registry book, party favors and even order tuxedos right there in the store.  That’s right, I said order your wedding tuxedos right there. They carry two different popular lines of tuxedos, so one has more of a selection to choose from for the big day.

Do you like collectibles?  This store carries every collectible imaginable as well. Charlie stated that although collectibles generally have their peaks and plateaus, the Hallmark ornaments appear to be the exception. Hallmark ornament sales still remain strong and appeal to all ages.  He said because the ornaments are dated on the bottom and they commemorate an activity, a place visited or some event in the life of someone that year, this is why most folks like them so much.

Family traditions keep many folks coming back searching for the right ornament that reflects on their experiences that year. Junior got his driver’s license this year; one might choose a car ornament. Just moved to a farm? Then the tractor ornament is what one might want on the tree. The list of ornaments goes on, as they have an ornament that depicts just about any activity or experience one might have done or had during the year.  Right now, because of the holidays, this is one of the most popular items in the store and draws shoppers from all over seeking out the perfect ornament that commemorates the year they had. Definitely a memory maker.

Another service they offer is gift baskets. They will make a gift basket with just about anything you desire. They carry wine and chocolates for their baskets along with the other items in the store. One of the more popular baskets is the junk food baskets. These baskets are loaded with all types of junk food and are typically sent to kids at college.

This is just a short list of what the store offers. They carry the traditional candles, books, figurines, greeting cards, Webkinz, Willow Tree, gourmet chocolates, Heartwood Creek, Precious Moments, Tracksters, and many more gifts and collectibles. They also are a Trollbeads Gold Level retailer, along with a full service floral department that will meet all a customers’ needs, including Telefloral and FTD services.

Vale Edge Hallmark and Florist is open Monday- Friday 9am – 7pm. Sat 9-5 and Sunday 11-4pm. They are  on the web at www.vale-edge.com and have a facebook page as well. Checkout this unique one-stop shop. You will be impressed at what they have to offer.

It’s amazing; even with the commercial establishments starting to sneak in a Christmas carol or two on Labor Day and an electronic error causing  “the Little Drummer Boy” to totally take over the sound system at K-Mart for over five hours at a volume level perilously close to torture chamber conditions, Christmas music can still be moving.

Case in point…no, CASES in point :  The Hiram “Messiah” sing for the community and the Christmas Concert at St. Ambrose.

The Hiram affair was a rousing success.  The Hiram Community Trust was the sponsor of the event and it was hosted by the Hiram College Music Department and the Hiram Christian Church, who, as good hosts will, made sure that the participants and those who were listeners only were able to enjoy the experience to the fullest…and it was so…COMMUNITY.  There were people from all over; there were people who lived virtually next door.  Youngsters were in the “listeners only” cohort, as were veterans who had warbled their last recitative.  There were “newbies” who’d never attempted this before and old hands with their own, well-thumbed , personally-marked copies of the score.  The performance space in that old church was made for music and  the jewel-tone stained glass windows warmed every note.

There were a lot of notes.  The soloists–Hiram contributions and imports–illustrated the texts ( Part I, Old Testament, prophecies) deftly and powerfully and drew the assembled choir into the drama unfolding in the music (The basso made pages positively vibrate on some really low spots).  All of the sections–soprano, alto, tenor, bass were well-populated (though tenors, being “pearls of great price,” recruited pretty heavily to buff up their numbers) and enthusiastic throughout–pretty good on entrances too.  The members of the string quartet sawed away energetically at their instruments as the two bassoons provided “bottom” to the accompaniment and the pastoral symphony( As a devout people-watcher, I was taken with the fact that the first violinist looked like a time-sequence picture of a former student, Adam Etling.  The violist had an instrument made of carbon fiber).  The two players at the resounding Holtcamp organ stitched the whole together in orchestral fashion.  Oh, it was smashing!

And every time the conductor, Dr. Dawn Sonntag, a heckuva soprano soloist herself, brought the chorus to its feet, the pews creaked, the seat cushions breathed a sigh of relief, there was an inhalation of the spirit and an outpouring of The Spirit of Christmas  and the final “Hallelujah”  said it all.




Then there was the St. Ambrose Christmas Concert.  Same Spirit, new faces

The place was packed–having children in the program will do that for you–upstairs and down.  There was an instrumental component here too; a clarinte rocked, a timpanist sat in one corner, a percussionist in another. Many individuals doubled as vocalists and bellringers.  The O.K.(Only Kids) Chorale demonstrated both a high CQ (Cuteness Quotient) and fine musical competence.  A brass choir added triumphant notes.  Oh, it was a resounding success, all ‘round.  Parents, grandparents, families of all shapes and descriptions got into the whole thing.  It’s that word again–COMMUNITY–that makes all of the old favorites seem new again every time in such a setting.  Bravo!

Still more to come :  Garrettsville United Methodist Church presents “Tapestry of Light : A Celtic Christmas Celebration”  on Sunday, December 11.

“Sing we  now  of  Christmas…”

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Mantua –  Crestwood Primary School first-grade teacher Natalie Harr will depart December 26 for a five-to-six week research trip to Antarctica. Harr will join Dr. Richard Lee, Jr., an extreme entomologist from Miami University, to research a unique Antarctic fly.

Lee has traveled to Palmer Station in Antarctica for several years to conduct his research, and each year invites a public school educator to join him as part of his research team. Harr is the first elementary school teacher to make the trip with Lee. She is considered a pioneer in her field because most K-3 educators are not studying this type of bio-science.

The entire project is funded through the National Science Foundation so the district will not incur any costs to send Harr to Antarctica.

“I am thrilled to be going to Antarctica with Dr. Lee and his team,” Harr said. “My primary role is to maximize learning for Crestwood students through lessons and projects that will connect them to the research happening in Antarctica. My goal is to bring together as many people with the project as possible; not just in Crestwood but across the country and the world.”

While in Antarctica, Harr will communicate what she is  learning with students, parents and community members through a blog that can be found at www.crestwoodexplorestheworld.org. Harr’s blog, lessons and activities will help students, parents and other districts understand what it means to be a scientist in the 21st century. Students will conduct nature investigations in schools and communities in order to compare and contrast local ecosystems with those of Antarctica.

To celebrate Harr and Lee’s departure, Crestwood Primary School will host an Antarctica Community Talk where students, parents and the community can meet Lee and learn about his ongoing research. The Community Talk will be held Monday, December 5 at 7 p.m. That day Lee will also visit the other schools and students at Crestwood. Dr. Lee will also visit students and hold assemblies about his Antarctic research at Twinsburg City Schools, Kent City Schools and Hiram College on December 6.

While in Antarctica, Harr will also have the opportunity to meet former Vice President Al Gore on his visit to Palmer Station.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Natalie,” said Superintendent Joe Iacano. “She is a talented and dedicated educator who I know will make the most of her time in Antarctica. We can’t wait to begin following her on her blog and learning right along with her.”

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Bainbridge Township – Dance to the live performance of Blue Lunch at the Bainbridge Swing Dance in Kenston Intermediate School Gymnasium (17419 Snyder Road in Bainbridge Township) on Friday the 6th of January 2012.

Blue Lunch features a three piece horn section, upright bass, drums, keyboards, guitar, and harmonica, along with multiple singers and harmonies.  The late 1940’s and early 1950’s were a magical time in American musical history, when blues, rhythm and blues, swing, and rock and roll were all one thing.  Blue Lunch explores that music and makes it their own.  For over 27 years, their combination of outstanding musicianship, showmanship, and humor, has kept dance floors filled and audiences entertained.  For more information about Blue Lunch, visit www.BlueLunch.com.

Live performance of Blue Lunch begins at 9:00 p.m., preceded by one hour swing dance lesson at 8:00 p.m. The swing dance is open to experienced and non-experienced swing dancers.  All ages are welcome.  No partner is required for the lesson or the dance.  Admission is $10 per adult, $8 per student or $25 per family. Admission includes the 8:00 p.m. lesson and 9:00 p.m. live performance and dance.  A different live band performs the first Friday of every month.  For additional information, please contact Will Craig by calling (216) 316-0068 or E-mailing willrcraig@gmail.com.

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For your convenience, People Tree has placed collection barrels at the following local business locations:

  • Garrettsville Branch of the Portage County Library
  • Middlefield Banking Company – Garrettsville Branch
  • Huntington National Bank – Garrettsville Branch
  • The Bay Window
  • Miller’s Family Restaurant
  • Cal’s Restaurant
  • Monica’s Restaurant – Windham
  • Rite Aid – Garrettsville
  • Silver Crik Saloon

Items needed include non-perishable food, adult and childrens coats, toiletries, toys and items for young adults. Monetary donations can be sent to People Tree c/o Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1, Garrettsville, OH 44231. Money raised is used to purchase food and personal care items. At Christmas the People Tree provides food, personal care items and toys for families in need in the Garrettsville, Nelson Township, Freedom Township, Hiram and Windham areas. People Tree would also like to thank Mrs. Gilmer and the Middle School Art students for decorating the barrels. They look so festive. Great job! Thank you in advance for your support of this worthwhile program of friends taking care of friends.

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Newton Falls – Newton Township Cemetery Association members will be at this year’s Home44444the Holidays again on December 10th to sell their 2012 calendars which are their fund-raiser for the year.

The funds help in the repair and upkeep of the seven township cemeteries. This year’s calendar is a compilation of etches of historic buildings in Newton Falls that were drawn by former Newton Falls art teacher, Mr. Edward Sinchak. He will be attending the event to sign calendars. They are sold for $10.00 each.

Anyone interested in learning more about the association and what it does will be able to get the information at this time. If you are unable to attend you may phone 330-872-3116 or 330-872-0236 to purchase calendars or for more information about the association.

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Tired but triumphant after their successful Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction, the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club moved on to business-as-usual at their 11/14/11 meeting.

The Village of Garrettsville will kick off the holiday season this coming Saturday at 5 pm when the Christmas on Main promotion begins.

Christmas on Main is a celebration of the area local businesses and it is a shopping program that promotes buying local. Sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, over thirty area merchants will be participating in this promotion.

Beginning on Saturday, November 25th at 5 p.m., customers will have the opportunity  to collect holiday stamps when they patronize any of the  participating merchants and spend at least $5.  The shopping program works like this:

1) Pick up an entry card at any of the participating merchants on November 25th

2) Spend a minimum of $5 per visit at any merchant and receive a sticker on your card.

3)Once your card is filled — $100 worth of stamps — drop your card off at any participating merchant location to be entered into a drawing.

The promotion ends on Saturday, December 17th.  All filled cards must be entered for the drawing by 5 pm Monday, December 19th.

The drawing will take place on December 21st during the Chamber of Commerce meeting and the winners will be notified.

Customers are encouraged to shop locally and try their luck at winning the $500 grand prize, a poinsetta lottery tree or various other prizes.  Posters will be in the windows of the participating businesses (listed below).

Santa Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. with a small gift for the children at the clock tower.  Enjoy free refreshments provided by the Garrettsville McDonalds, singing of Christmas carols and the lighting of the Christmas tree and clock tower.   Many of the businesses will be open late, some until 9 p.m., offering specials to holiday shoppers.

Businesses participating in Christmas On The Main are : Art N Flowers, Cals, Candlelight Winery,  Cellar Winery, Chic N Shabby, Cornerstone Emporium, Dairy Queen, Denette’s Designs, Dominoes, Garrettsville Animal Hospital, Garrettsville Cinema,  Garrettsville Hardware, Garrettsville McDonalds, Geauga Vision, G-Plex, IGA, Italian Garden, Main Street Grille and Brewing Company, Miller’s Family Restaurant, Roller Hutt, S& K Sales, Sean’s Pub,  Shaker Tree, Sky Lanes, Slim n Jumbos, State Street Salon, The Bay Window, The Brick,  The Hiram Inn, The Weekly Villager,  Village Bookstore  and Villager Printing.


So, come out and see what Garrettsville has to offer!  You may just be surprised!


Ravenna -  House of Holiday Ornaments (HO HO) is a long-standing business in Ravenna and has been for more than 14 years, riding out the economic rollercoaster. Owner Barbara Burns said when she originally planned for the shop she was looking for ornaments, hand -carved Santas and Pipka Santas. She chose the name House of Holiday Ornaments because she could make the acronym HO HO and use it as a logo.  Although HO HO is still sometimes used, do not mistake it for just a Christmas store. This store has a lot more to offer than just Christmas items.

Over the years the shop has developed into so much more and now carries a variety of gift items including Willow Tree, Possible Dreams, Figurines, Jim Shore items and Crabtree & Evelyn Beauty products as well. They also carry a few religious items, candles, home décor and more. They are located at 224 West Main Street in downtown Ravenna and their hours of operation are Tuesday thru Friday 10 am – 5 pm and Saturday 10 am-2 pm.

When you walk in the door you will see their famous upside down tree decorated for season. When I was there they had a fall Halloween motif on the tree with jack-o-lantern ornaments. Mrs. Burns said she changes it to a Thanksgiving motif after Halloween by removing the Jack-O-lantern ornaments. The Friday after Thanksgiving is Ravenna’s Midnight Madness where the area businesses stay open late and kick off the Christmas season. That is when the tree will take on a Christmas motif.

Right now the shop is showcasing their fall collections along with their regular items.  The orange, browns, black and yellows are prominantly displayed as one enters the door, and will soon be exchanged for reds and greens as they change over to their Christmas displays for the Midnight Madness scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving.

New items this season are the wickless scented candles shaped like bowls that have various items molded into the wax giving them texture and visual appeal. These candles are scented and just need a little scuffing to revive their scent.

The store has many home décor items for a variety of seasons and holidays and is not just a Christmas store. Stop in and check them out you will be surprised at the items they carry.

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In the 11:00 Trio League last week, Ethan Dubasik was on fire.  Ethan tossed a 200 game his first game and then followed it up with 131 and 182 for a 513 series, high for the day.  Ethan was also 120 pins over average for the day.  Danielle Tuttle also had a good day.  Danielle rolled games of 113, 137, and 127 for a 377 series, 80 pins over average.  Jacob Britton was 54 pins over his 88 average with a 142 his second game.  Other nice games:  Zackary Britton, 138 (36 over), Adam Tanner, 171 (35 over), Taylor Mick, 142 (35 over), Destiny Durst, 143 (33 over), Belladonna Titschinger, 124 (32 over), Lucas Titschinger, 128 (31 over), and Ian Huebner, 57 (23 over).

Kassie Fedor had high series in the 9:00 Trio League with 443.  Kassie was over average all three games with 138, 157 and 148.  Savannah Britt was over average all three games too, with 118, 110, and 93.  Savannah’s 321 series put her at 93 pins over average for the day.  Other nice games were bowled by Stephen Miller, 129 (43 over), Makayla Gough, 113 (30 over), Nathan Phillips, 135 (27 over), Lauren Sanchez, 132 (26 over), Ryleigh Gough, 104 (24 over), Wilson Jackson, 82 (24 over), Matt Hale, 99 (23 over), and Isaac Tricket, 65 (23 over).

High game in the bumper leagues last week belonged to Savannah Wolff with a very nice 117 game.   Alex Gage hit the 100 mark twice, with games of 100 and 111.  Tessa Burnworth rolled a 108 game.    Other nice games:  Joey Moses, 97, David Ittel, 93, and Emily Linamen, 92.

November 5 and 12 were the first two qualifying weeks for the Ohio Pepsi tournament.  Qualifiers advance to the regional tournament which begins the last weekend in February.  Bowlers who qualified during the first round:

Boys age 11 and under:  Stephen Miller, Wilson Jackson, Eric Lawless, Nathan Phillips, Clark Jackson, Cameron King, Andrew Morrissey, Noah Hoffmann, Joey Ewell, and Jacob Britton.

Boys age 12 and over:  Barrett Jackson, Ethan Dubasik, Zackary Britton, Jake Yeatts, Ryan Ambler, Dustin Tushar, and Kyle Brigham.

Girls age 11 and under:  Savannah Britt, Kassie Fedor, and Belladonna Titschinger.

Girls age 12 over:  Danielle Tuttle, Taylor Mick, Jessica Potteiger, and Chase Zupancic.


Another Pepsi tournament qualifying round will be held during January.  Bowlers who qualify have a chance to win scholarship money and to advance to the state Pepsi tournament in Columbus in May.

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The Twentieth Century Club met at the home of Mary Furillo  on November 17th.  Members answered roll call by answering “Do you believe in angels?”

The program for the evening was presented by Maxine Nimtz on The Bishop’s Wife, a novel by Robert Nathan that was made into a movie in 1947.  She focused on the character of Julia Brougham in the novel.

During the meeting a motion was passed to donate to the People Tree and members decided on a gift exchange for the Christmas party.

Following the meeting, members socialized while being served pumpkin roll and beverages provided by the hostess and her co-hostess Shirley Miller.

The next meeting will be the Christmas party held at the home of Jan Boehm on December 15th.  Leah Schultz will serve as co-hostess.

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We’re off to see the Wizard…er,  the Christmas trees…um, Christmas lights…uh, all of that stuff….Load ‘em up!  Move ‘em out!  We’re off to the John S. Knight Center for the big Christmas roundup (Too many re-runs of “Rawhide” on the TV)

A small but convivial group climbed into the LAF/SOMe bus for the excursion to downtown Akron for a little holiday happening before the real craziness begins.  As usual, the troublemakers sat in the back of the bus–some things never change.  Some of the members of the assemblage were regulars, some were “newbies”, probably a couple(myself included) forgot exactly what the trip was about but it was a day out of town , so what difference did it  make?  So…off we went.

Now, I don’t like to cast aspersions but the bus driver, while entirely pleasant and helpful, did seem a bit GPS-challenged.  Ordinarily, heading for downtown Akron, one would head down Rte 88, hit the by-pass, get on I-76, get off at the Main St. exit, head for the tall buildings and presto-change-o! There you are.  We didn’t do that.  We went through the middle of Ravenna on St. Rte 59 to St Rte 261, on to Tallmadge, around the circle there and around the roundabout at Howe Rd., some distance on S. Arlington and other assorted Akron streets, finishing up on Main St. in front of a curiously quiet John S. Knight Center.

We disembarked (or should that  be “disembussed”?) to find the front doors still closed and the place very quiet, considering that there was supposed to be a “Holiday Tree Festival” going on.  Wandering around the spiral stair on the brightly-colored carpet we found a office, where we learned that someone there had “mis-spoken” (That’s what the politicians call it. Technically, it’s known on the street as CYA) and the whole divertissement didn’t start until SATURDAY…unless we wanted to wait around until the gala party in the evening which opened the festivities,  for a small fee, of course (And we weren’t really dressed for that; my tiara was at the cleaners).   And another thing…there wasn’t a bathroom available…adding insult to…insult, I guess.

So…what to do?

Number one : call the bus driver; we’ve gotta get outta this place!

Number two : What else is around within a reasonable distance that we might enjoy?  Akron has an Art Museum downtown (walking, hard floors, chilly, what’s the special exhibit?), it has a very nice zoo (mostly outdoors, exhibits look–and act– too much like relatives), Stan Hywett is pretty close(outdoors a lot, not decorated yet).

Hey!  How about Hartville? (Big restaurant; big shopping)  We’re off!

Nice bus driver took us on another circuitous adventure ride –no roller coaster, just I-77–to Hartville, where we first beheld the under-construction hardware store that is apparently to be the next big attraction in this faux rustic marketplace. ( Eat your heart out, Dick & Larry & Casey, and all of the Do-It and Ace stores all around the country. Lowe’s and Home Depot can deal)Then the restaurant looms on the horizon; the Hartville Kitchen could probably feed the entire population of Guinea-Bissau at one setting…assuming those African folks would care for Mennonite-style food; they likely  would not be real picky at the prospect of plates piled the way the Hartville Kitchen piles plates.  The turkey dinner special was popular, ditto for the creamed chicken on biscuits and just about anything else that arrived at the table.   We passed on dessert, though the black raspberry pie was tempting.

Gift shop, bakery, candy kitchen–no opportunity to spend money was slighted, though I must say, the chocolate chip cookies were a great disappointment…one cheap chip per cookie does not a taste treat make.  The “bushel cookie”, now that was another story–oatmeal, raisins & pecans–chewy, tasty.

Then on to the Hartville Marketplace.  They had Christmas decorations.  They had fluorescent lights, ersatz brick walls, open beams and a guy with pins in his leg and stitches in his toes being steered around in a wheelchair while holding a shopping bag.  They also had antiques & collectibles, vintage and varieties in clothing, décor items(not for anyplace I’ll ever live), leather goods, metal signs, naughty sayings on just about any flat or fabric surface, candles, Crocs, a photography-restoration shop, tattoos, an emporium where one could have one’s eyebrows “threaded” (Sort of works on the old cartoon premise of tying your loose tooth to the door knob then slamming the door. Anyway it weeds out the undergrowth).  And food!  Cheese, bakery goods, multitudes of meats, pies, produce, fudge…if you didn’t find it there, you probably shouldn’t eat it anyway.

The trip home was anticlimactic.  We missed the school bus traffic and made good time.

Gotta get more thickets to these things.

Ravenna – Ravenna Balloon A-Fair’s Annual Lighted Christmas Parade will take place 7:00 p.m. Saturday, December 3, 2011.

Downtown Ravenna closes its streets and opens its doors for everyone to see our hometown all lit up, from the twinkling decorations to the hundreds of lights decorating the nighttime parade.

Leading off the parade will be the Ravenna High School Band, which also will perform on the courthouse lawn following the parade. Children of all ages, parents, and Ravenna residents will line the street in anticipation of the arrival Santa Claus & Mrs. Claus as they enter into in a horse-drawn sleigh.

Santa will be available to hear the kids’ wish lists and hand out candy canes to all the children in attendance at the Buckeye Mini Mall, located at 250 E. Main St.

Parade line up begins at 6:00 p.m. at the old Ravenna High School located on Clinton Street. The Christmas Parade steps-off at 7:00 p.m.

For information call the Mark Short at 330-297-1586 or Ravenna Balloon A-Fair Hot-line at 330-296-3247.

Mantua – Crestwood area boys and girls ages 10 to 14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for the 2012 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship.  This is a fun, free activity for area youth to compete in a Free Throw (foul shot) competition for best of fifteen consecutive shots.  The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship is sponsored annually where winners have the chance to progress through Local, District, Regional, State and possibly International competition levels.  Our 2011 event was a huge success with more than 344,000 sharpshooters participating in over 4,700 local competitions.

The competition will be held at Crestwood Middle School at 6:30 pm on January 18, 2012.  All boys and girls 10 to 14 years old (as of January 1, 2012) are eligible to participate and will compete in their respective age divisions.  Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent.

Christopher Perme of Perme Financial Group, Garrettsville, recently came to the Personal Financial Literacy class of teacher Jake Derr at James A. Garfield H.S. hoping to help the  group of mostly seniors avoid making many of the most common financial mistakes of those  newly-launched on the stormy seas of money management.

He pointed out that long-term employment with a single employer is becoming a thing of the past, that company-sponsored pensions are disappearing, that health care costs are rising and that relying on an employer or the government for financial security is not the way to go.  Personal responsibility is the only viable approach to planning for “the good life”, whether present or future.

Perme tapped into the wisdom of the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)          who said ”We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”   The PFG guru urged the students to begin saving early and to be consistent about it, the amount not being as important as the habit.  Thinking long-term is the key to debt, credit, equity, unemployment, retirement…a whole host of money matters that all too often are ignored until the wolf is, quite literally, at the door and licking his chops.

Liquid assets, credit reports, building credit, insurance to protect income, credit cards vs debit cards, student loans, planning for contingencies–just about the only topic not covered was marrying for money.  And on that topic, one might well recall the not-so-ancient wisdom of the saying : “Marry for money and you’ll earn every cent.”

Let’s hope that everyone listened carefully.  Empty those nests!

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The Warren Republican Women’s Club 75th anniversary year is in full swing.  Our December 1, 2011 meeting will be a special affair.  We will be holding an auction with all proceeds to benefit the Toys For Tots campaigne.  Auction items will include crafts, gift baskets and baked goods.  Money raised from the auction will be used to purchase toys for the children.  Honored guests for this event include representatives from the United States Marine Corp.  Auctioneer Mike Fuchilla who is graciously donating his time.  Hostess Dorie Harris.  We are accepting donations for the auction as well as toy donations. (New items only please.)  This year’s event will be held at Dilucia’s Banquet Hall on Elm Rd, December 1st.  Advance reservations are required.  If interested in attending or donating items to this worthwhile cause please contact CaryAnn at (330)856-5228 as soon as possible.  Thank you for your continued support and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Garrettsville – James A Garfield Schools is hosting the Smile Programs mobile dentist in January.  Children can use their insurance, Medicaid, or apply with grant forms for dental care at no cost.  There are also subsidized fees for those who choose to pay for preventive care.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic and infectious disease among children.  In addition, children with oral disease can suffer with pain, have difficulty eating, and miss more days of school than children with good dental health.

The dental team will set up a mini-dental office at the school and provide services for all children who return completed forms.

The Smile Programs has been servicing schools, and creating healthy smiles, for over 14 years.  All dentists are state licensed and will conduct a complete dental exam including cleaning and fluoride treatments.

Signing up your children to see the mobile dental team is an easy way for them to get necessary dental care.  Parents who want their child to see the dentist at the school just need to complete the permission slip being sent home with students and return it to school by 12/16/11.

You can learn more about Smile Programs by going to mobiledentists.com, contacting your child’s school, or contacting the school nurse, Susan Poole.

Students Destinee Smith and Jared Holt perform at the NFHS Veterans Day ceremonies.

Newton Falls – The students at the Newton Falls High School gathered Friday 11-11-11 to remember and honor members of our Armed Forces past, present, and future.

Starting off the ceremony, several dozen local veterans filed into the auditorium one at a time while each of their names and branch of service was announced with every military branch represented. Masters of Ceremonies Myles Shade and Joseph Spletzer led the event, welcoming guests of the community, family and friends, and the veterans themselves, before the Civil Air Patrol Color Guard presented the colors.

The audience was led in the Pledge of Allegiance by young patriots from the elementary school before the program proceeded into an array of musical numbers, readings of poems, and video montages on the giant screen above the stage.

State Representative Sean O’Brien briefly addressed those in attendance, complimenting our Armed Forces and stating that “it is because of our military” that we have this great country that we have today. His remarks also included the well-known poem which reminds us: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, that gives us freedom of the press”.

There are 890,300 veterans in Ohio and one in particular was honored at the special ceremony. Anthony Luketic, who was a freshman at the Newton Falls High School in 1941, would have graduated with the class of 1944 but chose to serve his country instead. On Friday, the family of Anthony Luketic was called to the stage and presented with his diploma, some 67 years after his would-be graduation.

The event solemnly ended with the traditional playing of “Taps” and a folded up flag laid in an empty chair, front and center of the auditorium, silently guarded by a young member of our present Forces. May we remember all who serve, past, present, and future.

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Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with trustees Joe Leonard and Jim Turos, and J. David Finney  the fiscal officer. Trustee Bill Wilson was not in attendance.

The minutes were approved as presented. Finney presented the bills and wages along with a financial status report. He requested permission to spend $1200 for office equipment, locks, cabinets etc as they set up an office at township garage. After a brief discussion the trustees approved the measures.

Mr. Finney told the trustees that they would not need to shift meeting dates  next month  due to the year ending nor does he need another meeting scheduled later to wrap up the 2011 finances. So December’s meetings are set as scheduled.

Mr., Turos congratulated Tom Matota on his successful run for trustee in the elections.  Turos also read a letter he received from Ruth Sheehan who has donated $300 for the purchase of Memorial Trees in memory of her husband Ray. The trees will be planted at  Pixley Park. Turos asked to have a separate fund set up for the memorial trees because he did not want the money for the trees to get lost in the general fund. Finney stated he will investigate it but he thinks they can just have a line fund for the item in the general fund. The trustees plan on having a memorial tree fund where residents can donate funds to the account and have a tree purchased in memory of a loved one. They currently have memorial trees on the circle and a few at Pixley Park.

Leonard reported that the possible assistance requested from the state to repair Pierce Road looks favorable.  The trustees have enlisted the help of  Kathleen Clyde to assist with obtaining Issue 2 monies for the repair.

Zoning Inspector, Anna Mae Vanderhoeven reported that she was able to inspect raceways and tank at the U.S. Liquids facility; however she was not permitted to be inside the building. The raceways were full of liquids and the tank was closed but was 2/3 full. The inspector is returning on Friday to re-inspect the facility. Residents questioned the scrap metal and junk outside of the facility and were frustrated with the answers they had received, and want to know what’s being stored in the tanks. Leonard responded and said they were doing what they could but they had to follow the laws. Leonard also said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be back out to inspect the plant as well action must wait for this report. Right now the trustee’s hands are tied and all they can do is report violations and cite the facility.

The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the  Community House. The public is encouraged to attend. More township information can be obtained from their web site www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce members spent part of the day Saturday “Decking the Halls” for Garrettsville’s Annual Tree Lighting and "Christmas on Main" holiday kick-off slated for Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 6pm. Pictured are Rick Patrick (on ladder), Barb Bejger (holding ladder), Eva Szasz and Linnette Patrick (left to right).

Freedom Township – The Regular Meeting of the Freedom Township Board of Trustees was called to order by Chairman Hammar at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Present: Trustees James Hammar, Roy Martin, John Zizka; Rosemary Nicholas, Fiscal Officer; Jeff Derthick, Zoning Inspector, Charles VanSteenberg, Road Supervisor. Also present: Harold Cain, Charles Duffield and Dan Grafton.

Mr. Hammar led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin to approve the minutes of the October 6, 2011 regular meeting as presented. Motion carried.

During the Public Comment section Mr. Cain asked about the beaver dam. Mr. VanSteenberg said the water was flowing but not fast enough to prevent flooding.

Mr. Hammar said the trustees would take it under advisement and see what they could do. Mr. Zizka said he would again call ODOT.

Mr. Derthick said the zoning office received several calls about the explosions heard throughout the township the last couple of days. It was reported in the Record Courier (after the fact) that this was activity at Camp Ravenna.

Mr. Derthick said the Board of Appeals met to journalize minutes. The Zoning Commission is working on the wording for portable temporary storage units as well as hydronic furnaces, gambling parlors and internet cafes. The new computer is up and running. He is waiting for paper work from the Prosecutor’s office on the Conley pre-trial as well as a violation on S.R. 700. Mr. Zizka requested that the zoning office provide the board with a listing of zoning office activity (notices, etc.) so that if a resident calls one of the trustees, they are aware of it. In response to a question from Mr. Hammar, Mr. Derthick said the recent BZA activity involved a conditional use permit, and not a variance with conditions. Mr. Hammar said we need to schedule the Zoning Seminar to be held sometime this winter.

Roads: Mr. VanSteenberg said the road crew has been patching Gotham, Vair and Slagle and ditching on Hewins. They put a stack on the Kodiak truck. The oil pan is leaking. A new one is $397, or Tim Patrick can repair it (as he did the gas tanks) for $250. He does this type of work for the county and they gave him a good reference. M&L would provide labor for between $260 and $300. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to have the oil pan on the Kodiak truck repaired by Tim Patrick (Linings, Inc.) for $250 plus up to $300 to M&L for labor, plus $38 for a gasket. Motion carried.

Mr. VanSteenberg said they had the 2009 Ford truck aligned at Kepich; they recommended pumping out the transmission fluid and replacing it at 24,000 miles. He will get more information on this. They also recommended two new tires on the front because of uneven wear. Mr. Martin suggested we buy four new mud/snow tires for the rear. Mr. VanSteenberg will get prices. The fuel tanks at the garage passed the recent testing. The inspector told Mr. Hammar that they ask for a pressure test when they do the inspection because the tanks can sometimes get damaged in transit. There was no charge to the township for this testing.

Park: Mr. VanSteenberg said that someone planted five seedlings at the park without township approval. They are in bad condition and will be removed. Mr. Hammar reported on the recent Park Committee meeting. Two gentlemen from soccer leagues attended to discuss fields. We are looking at the field to the east of the Joeright property and the field at the town hall.

Before anything is done, we need to determine level of interest. Mr. Hammar said he welcomes any suggestions.

Cemetery: The paving has not been done because of weather.

Fire: Mr. Martin reported on personnel, equipment maintenance, purchase of gas monitors and fire hose, and changing the phone service to Frontier, which will save money. The trustees gave approval to post signs on township property in support of the fire levy. Mr. Hammar asked if we could get a dry hydrant at the ski lake. Mr. Zizka will talk to the property owner before Mr. Martin brings it back to the Fire Department.

Mr. Hammar made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, that the Freedom Township Board of Trustees goes on record as endorsing the Joint Fire District renewal levy on the November 8 ballot.  Motion carried.

EMS: Mr. Zizka reported that the central air has been installed, all lighting has been updated (with grant money), and the parking lot has been sealed. The Fire Association will reimburse the cost of striping for handicap parking. They will be selling a generator that is no longer needed. The new full time paramedic is working out well.

Regional Planning: Mr. Hammar said there was nothing significant to report.

Mr. Zizka reported on the storm water task force meeting he attended. Two questions were asked at that meeting: what can be done to prevent piles of rock salt along the roads; what is the repercussion from cleaning ditches and does that add to erosion.

There was also a discussion about proper salt storage.

Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to schedule the year-end meeting for Thursday, December 29, at 7:30 pm.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, authorizing James Hammar, Chairman, Freedom Township Board of Trustees, to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement Program, and to execute contracts as required for the Vaughn Road Resurfacing Project. Motion carried.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar, to adopt the Hold Harmless Agreement for Court-Ordered Community Service. Motion carried.

This has been reviewed and approved by Mr. Meduri. Copies will be provided to Mr. VanSteenberg.

The board acknowledged receipt of the public hearing on the road vacation in the Timberstone Subdivision. There were no objections, and no board action was required.

Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to reimburse for registration, hotel, taxi, parking, meals, mileage and incidentals for the Fiscal Officer or any Trustee who attends the Ohio Township Association Winter Conference in 2012. Motion carried. Mr. Zizka commented that the township should not be picking up any spouse expenses.

Unfinished Business:

Mr. Zizka said that JC Electric has offered to supply material and labor to wire the town hall pavilion, at no cost to the township. Plans are to do it the first week in November. In consideration, the township will allow his sign to be posted. JC Electric is also donating two work boxes to the township that can be used at the ball field for storage.

Mr. Zizka provided a draft of items to be considered on the agreement for shared township road responsibilities, including designated section/portion of road; roadway surface to be maintained; and signage. He suggested that the townships involved be sent a letter explaining what we want to do and the purpose, and then plan to meet on location with the road supervisor and at least one trustee from each township. Mr. Zizka will follow through on this. He welcomes any suggestions.

We are still waiting to hear from Mr. Miller regarding the town hall porch work.

Mr. Hammar suggested that the employee evaluations be completed by the December 15 meeting. All agreed.

Mr. Derthick noted that our tax maps date back to 2006-2007 and he would like to get updated copies. He will get a price.

During the meeting, warrants #5789 – #5798 in the amount of $2,795.45 were presented to the Trustees for approval and ordered paid by signature.

There being no further business, Mr. Zizka made the motion, seconded by Mr. Hammar to adjourn the meeting at 9:22 pm.

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Members of 20th Century Club of Garrettsville met October 20 at the home of Joan Kropp.  Jan Chalker was her co-hostess.  Women answered roll call by naming a piece of world art that they admired.  The program featured Garrettsville’s own world-famous Joe Leonard and his wood carvings.  Joe brought with him his portfolio of carvings and a small griffin sculpture. He explained how he taught himself to carve by reading books on the subject,and how he created seventeen carrousel horses for the Disney project in France and two more afterwards for admiring customers.  His flying pegasus and a griffin are presently touring the world with fellow mythical characters from around the world.  The tour began in the US in New York City and will be on display in the Spring back in the US at the Natural History Museum in Cleveland. Another flying pegasus will be on display at an upcoming art show at the IX Center.

Besides his profession, Leonard is also known in the community for his role as Nelson Trustee and as the owner and driver of a vintage fire engine that can be seen at  local community and  charity events.  He also teaches carving workshops.

Following the program, pumpkin pie was served.  The next meeting will be held on November 17th at the home of Mary Furillo with Shirly Miller serving as co-hostess and Maxine Nimtz presenting the program.

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Hiram – Parents hungry for information to help their teenaged children make their college choices can get the answers to their questions when Hiram College hosts “College Camp: A Training Program for Parents,” from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, November 19, in the Kennedy Center located on the Hiram campus.

Hiram is partnering with Cuyahoga Community College, Saint Joseph Academy, Streetsboro High School, Theodore Roosevelt High School and the University of Akron, to offer the camp, which is aimed at demystifying some of the ins and outs of college searches, admissions, and costs. Admission is free.

The free seminar will feature presentations and question and answer sessions with high school guidance counselors, college and university admission representatives, and financial aid experts. Since its inception in 2002, College Camp has served more than 400 parents of high school students.

Each participant will receive a packet of useful information to assist them with their college search process. The program begins at 9 a.m.

The schedule is as follows:

8:30 a.m. Check-in

9:00 a.m. – “How to Conduct the Perfect College Search:”  Sue Jensen, director of guidance, Saint Joseph Academy; Kelly Simmons, school counselor, Streetsboro High School; Nancy Bubenzer, guidance counselor, Theodore Roosevelt High School

10 a.m. – “Demystifying the Admission Process:” Tara Shuster, Recruitment Specialist, Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus; Sherman Dean, director of admission, Hiram College; Karen Dickerson, director, Transfer Student Services Center, The University of Akron

11 a.m. –“ Financial Aid: What You Really Need to Know:” Andrea Caputo, director of financial aid, Hiram College

Advance registration is preferred and can be made by visiting http://www.hiram.edu/collegecamp.  For more information, call College Camp Coordinators Lisa Schneider, at 330-569-5986 OR Yvonne Sherwood, at 330-569-5286.

Well, I think that this makes it official.  “Family Circus” is certainly one of the most innocuous cartoon strips featured in the funny papers and today–Halloween–the oldest of the children–Jeffy, I think his name is–says to his mother, “Daddy said that if I want to be something REALLY scary, I should dress up as a politician.”  Ain’t it the truth!

The local signs have sprouted pretty heavily  lately (I hesitate to say that they’re like a fungus, which has been quite prolific this fall; the fungi have probably been more colorful…but just barely), mostly at intersections where drivers have to stop and might  get a half-second burst of political persuasion whether they want it or not. And, truthfully, the local races and issues are ones that more people ought to pay more attention to.  Your chances of meeting up with a presidential hopeful are pretty slim, even given the fact that Ohio is considered a “swing state”, but you certainly could come face-to-face with the person who makes zoning decisions or decides whether or not your road needs work (Whose doesn’t?) or picks the next school superintendent… in the grocery store aisle right next to the toilet paper.  Candidate nights are where you can actually see who it is that wants to work for you–township, village, city, school board–for the next four years.

Their advertising is pretty straightforward too : Vote for So-and-So, Retain Whats-her-face, Re-elect Bobs-Your-Uncle.  Not too many aspersions being cast about anybody’s financial peccadillos  or offensive proclivities (marital, managerial or otherwise) in local race  advertising; maybe it’s because they all figure that everybody has already got that dirt at the last bowling night or trip to the laundromat.  Even party doesn’t intrude all that often at this level.  Mostly, it operates the same way as my mother who, though a staunch Republican (and poll worker for many years) always (I’m assuming “always” though nobody has to know how you vote once you go into that voting booth and she didn’t feel the necessity of divulging that information to all and sundry) voted for Rep. Don. Pease, a Democrat, because she went to high school with him and figured that if she ever needed anything from the government (highly unlikely, but still….) it wouldn’t hurt to know somebody who could hum the same alma mater.  You betcha!

Issues?…now there’s another kettle of fish altogether.  Local ones sometimes get “slimed” by no-good-niks leaving unsigned screeds in mailboxes (Illegal, by the way) or wildly unfactual or wrong-headed statements made to meetings or media.  Schools and zoning are often targets of individuals claiming that to save money first graders can, by Jiminy, walk two miles to school ( uphill both ways!) and use McGuffey’s Readers like their grandparents and the next thing you know there will be jack-booted storm troopers snooping about preventing honest citizen from butchering goats in their front yards or running a hazardous materials landfill on the back forty to put food on the table.  Appalling!

Statewide, it’s all about “spin”…and money, of course.  Occasionally, it reminds one of the old joke(?) about the man who killed his parents then pled for mercy before the court because he was an orphan.

Issue 1 is about allowing judges to serve on the bench past the current retirement age mandated at 75.  Some of them shouldn’t be there at all, let alone at 75.  We should all be paying more attention to what goes on in the courts and stop just automatically re-electing.  New blood is not necessarily good or bad.  Think.

Issue 2 –who hasn’t heard about that one?–is, basically, about collective bargaining for public employees…or not.  Read carefully.  Seems to me it’s rather insulting to local officials who are, apparently, adjudged to be incompetent to negotiate with local employees (Ask any one of them how much they enjoy having to take a beating for depriving the public of services or grinding   loyal workers under the heel of financial necessity.  Oh yeah, that’s fun!).

Issue 3 has been sailing along under the radar but has the potential to be a real bombshell.  My reading of it is that (Ironically, since this is the150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War) all the states get to do whatever they want whenever federal law isn’t something that they like.(Hey  you, Lincoln, get your cotton-pickin’ hands off my slaves!), especially, in this case, when it has to do with health care.  I think it would put the rest of us on the hook for all of those folks–and there will be some–who don’t wish to pay for insurance and will leave the bill at emergency rooms for the general public to pay (as we do already, only worse).  It’s got more hidden kinks than you can shake a stick at…most of them bad.

For a generally positive voter–that would be me–looks like I get a chance to vote no with a clear conscience.

Locally, different story: Library–YES! Fire district–YES!  No Brainers!

Steris representative Ben Gomex demonstrates the benefits of the high-tech surgical lights in one of the new operating rooms.

Ravenna – Robinson Memorial Hospital is positioning itself as a forward-thinking, 21st-century countywide health care provider. During the open house of its new state-of-the-art surgical services department on October 25, the hospital also showcased its plan to phase out its antiquated management structure.

Renovated Surgical Services

The $20 million renovation project nearly doubled the old surgical department from 19,000 to 38,000 square feet. The open house highlighted eight new operating room suites, larger and private preoperative and postoperative bays with skylights, an endoscopy procedure room, lockers for patients’ belongings, private consultation rooms, a larger (triple the size) waiting area for friends and family, and a private patient pick-up area at the rear of the hospital. New technological advances include real-time digital imaging, boom-arm technology to float equipment overhead rather than on the floor, high-definition overhead monitors, and air-handling units with ultraviolet emitters to reduce microorganisms.

The project also includes new office space for Surgical Services employees, locker rooms for staff and surgeons, physician and staff lounges, a dictation area for surgeons, a meeting room and three on-call rooms. Renovation began in 2009.

Robinson Memorial Hospital has 47 board-certified physicians and surgeons in the Surgery Department and conducts approximately 10,000 surgeries per year. Surgical specialties include podiatry, urology, gynecology, orthopaedics, ENT, gastroenterology, spine, oral maxillofacial, general, plastic, pain medicine, thoracic and vascular.

Opting Out of the County Plan

During a pre-open house meeting with media representatives, RMH President and CEO Stephen Colecchi, FACHE, shared a proposal he has made to Portage County Commissioners to transition the hospital from being county-run to being operated as a not-for-profit independent organization, governed by a local board of trustees by 2013. (Although it’s an entity of Portage County government, the hospital has not drawn from county tax revenues since the 1980s, and has been self-sufficient ever since, Colecchi said.)

Combatting a pervasive stigma from being a county-owned hospital, Colecchi called RMH “our most important community asset.” He reminded media that RMH is the county’s second-largest employer (after Kent State University), generating 16,000 local jobs and  $500 million annually, underscoring the hospital’s “significant economic impact.”

He went on to say that there are only nine county-run hospitals left in Ohio, and RMH is the second largest in the state (after Metro Hospital in Cleveland). Reportedly, 80 percent of hospitals in Ohio are now run as not-for-profit entities. RMH administrators would like to opt out of county requirements and restrictions that mandate government retirement benefits and prevent the hospital from attracting top physicians and surgeons.

RMH Achievements

Five years ago, RMH became affiliated with SUMMA Health System, which allows the hospital to retain local management while offering health care services from “one of the best regional health care providers” available, according to Colecchi. In August, RMH was reinstated as a Magnet Hospital, joining only 391 hospitals worldwide to achieve that gold standard in nursing excellence. RMH is the first adult hospital in the tri-county area to achieve this distinction, and the first to ever be reinstated as such, Colecchi added.

Also this year, RMH was named among the 65 Best Community Hospitals in the U.S., according to Becker’s Ranking, based on patient outcome measurements.

“We’re one of only a handful of community hospitals that can claim the Big Three: Best Overall Clinical Care; Best Nursing; and Best Place to Work in the region for the ninth year,” Colecchi said.

In the Beginning

RMH originated in 1917 as privately-owned White Hospital (at the current location of the Ravenna Post Office). Then, in 1932, the county passed a $50,000 bond issue to re-establish the hospital on South Meridian Street at the current location of the Portage County administration building, named for judge George F. Robinson and his wife, Mary. The county hospital expanded at that location until the mid-1970s, when it became landlocked.

A $4 mill property tax bond was passed in 1973, to purchase two farms covering 100 acres on North Chestnut Street. Construction of the new hospital began there in 1977. The completion of the hospital’s new surgical services wing last week marked the last area of needed renovation since the hospital was built according to 1970s-era styles and technologies.

The next step for Robinson’s techno-transformation is to transition to paperless electronic medical records with online portals so patients can access their own records from their personal computers. The $39 million project should be completed in four to five years.


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Garrettsville – In October the Garrettsville Eagles Club, F. O. E. 2705 sponsored the second annual golf outing to benefit the National Diabetic Research Center. The event was co-chaired by Matt Eisenman and Brian Mullins and generated $2,000 for the Center. In spite of the inclement weather, eleven teams participated in the scramble.

The Fraternal Order of the Eagles Grand Aerie, in partnership with the University of Iowa, established the Research Center at the University. The University is responsible for the facility while the Grand Aerie pledged the funds for the research.

When everyone  finished, a tie existed  between Team Mowren consisting of Wes Mowen, Mike Lawrence, Doug Berg and Eric Berg.  Team Walls members were Glenn Walls, Daryl Guyette and two players who came in late and their names are unavailable.

The individual winners were Doug Berg for Long Drive on Hole #7; Eric Berg on Hole #15, while Daryl Guyette and Brian Mullins scored closest to the pin on Holes #5 and #10 respectively.

After the event, the golfers returned to the Eagles Club for a steak dinner to receive their prizes for individual achievements and numerous door prizes.

Needless to say, the event’s success depended on the work of the large number of volunteers that worked the course and contacted local merchants for their donations.

The Club wishes to thank the local merchants and organizations for their generous support of this event. Gold Sponsors were Kelly and Ferraro Att-at-Law, Eaton Corp and The Garrettsville Eagles Club. Hole Sponsors were Morco Construction, Penney Auto Body, Carlton Harley Davidson, Wingate Alloy Inc., Ellerhorst Insurance, 3-D Electric, and Davey Tree.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 8, 2012 for next year’s event.

Columbus – The Village of Newton Falls was honored for its achievements during the past year at the 2011 AMP/OMEA Annual Conference.

Finance Director Tracy Reimbold  was honored for her outstanding service to the AMP Board of Trustees and the village was re-elected by AMP membership to a seat on the 20-member Board. Reimbold was reelected treasurer of the Board.

A System Improvement Award was presented to the Newton Falls Electric System recognizing the downtown distribution conversion and upgrade. The project involved upgrading distribution lines and has resulted in reduced system losses and better voltage support.

Newton Falls Electric System’s commitment to safety was recognized with an AMP Safety Award in recognition of having no time loss due to reportable accidents.

The annual conference was held in Columbus, October 24-27 and was attended by more than 430 municipal officials and industry representatives, with speakers from various national organizations.

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Windham -  Windham Board of Education (BOE) met for their regularly scheduled meeting with board members Darryl McGuire, Melissa Roubic, Danny Burns, Bill Hickman, with Treasurer Dawn Altman, and Superintendent Gregg Isler  also in attendance. Board member Terrie Altiere was excused to attend a family funeral.

Melissa Roubic gave the legislative report on what’s changing at the state level in education. Some of the new proposals at the state level are HB136 is designed to allow folks to have a choice in private schools or public schools with tax dollars going to private institutions if one chooses. She also mentioned a proposed idea from Senator Tom Sawyer who is trying to eliminate open enrollment in Ohio. This has yet to become a bill; right now it is just a proposal. Roubic also stated that it is unclear how the passage or failure of Issue Two will affect local schools budgets.

Superintendent Gregg Isler stated the they have temporarily suspended building use permits until they get a change to figure out a schedule. Due to the change in start and end times at Katherine Thomas (KT) Elementary the custodians are not always there in the evenings. The custodians are shifted to the other building when they are finished at KT.  He also reported that The district received letters of commendation from the Governor’s office for the high and junior high schools’ improvement to effective rating.

The special education report given by David Root, Root stated the district has 181 students receiving special services with 12 of the students attending Maplewood Career Center and 15 students in another district under the open enrollment program. The district has 25% of its students enrolled in special services while the state average is 14.6%.

The elementary school report: the new backboards are installed with break a-way hoops. The fall Entertainment Book fundraiser was a bust, but the school is considering a frozen food fundraiser for later this year.

The maintenance report was given by supervisor Craig Alderman.  The buses are holding up well and Alderman expects the Ohio Highway Patrol to do a spot inspection soon, which he doesn’t expect to have any problems. The buildings are having the usual problems which they are continuing to battle.

Treasurer Dawn Altman gave the five year financial forecast for the district; as long as things remain steady the district should remain solvent until 2014. Currently they have a three-year wage freeze, with employees contributions to insurance premiums to increase to 15% over the next few years..

In other BOE Business the board approved the following supplemental contracts: to Iris Heller as Junior High girl’s basketball coach, Roger Eakins as junior class advisor and prom advisor, Annette Black and Brenda Britt as Educational aides, and boy’s assistant basket ball coach William Pozsgal. Saturday school monitors were approved to receive a rate of $22.82/ hour. Those monitors are Stacey Best, Nancy Cline, Dougle Hankins, and Alysia Tinker.

Lastly, the board approved the two students under the open enrollment program.

The BOE meets regularly each month on the fourth Thursday at 7pm in room 121 at the high school. November’s meeting has been changed due to the Thanksgiving Holiday to Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 7pm.

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Middlefield - Mary Ellis, bestselling author of Amish fiction, will sign books at Sparrow Christian Bookshop on Friday, Nov. 18 from 2-4 p.m.

Mary grew up close to the northeastern Ohio, Amish community in Geauga County, where her parents often took her to farmer’s markets and woodworking fairs. She loved the peaceful, agrarian lifestyle, the respect for the land and the strong sense of Christian community among the Amish.

She, her husband, dog and cat now live close to the largest population of Amish in the country, a four-county area in central Ohio. They often take weekend trips to purchase produce, research for her best-selling books, and enjoy a simpler way of life.

All three of her Miller Family series, A Widow’s Hope, Never Far from Home, and The Way to a Man’s Heart have made the CBA and CBD bestseller lists. A Widow’s Hope was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards for 2010 in the long contemporary category, and a runner-up in the 2010 Holt Medallion Awards. A Marriage for Meghan is the second novel in the Wayne County series, following ECPA bestseller, Abigail’s New Hope. These books will be available for sale and signing at the Sparrow Christian event.

Sparrow Christian Bookshop carries a broad assortment of P Graham Dunn engravable items and artwork, as well as the latest in Christian bestselling fiction and non-fiction books and Bibles. Shop a large selection of gifts for the holidays.

Sparrow Christian Bookshop is located at 14962 S. State St., the intersections of Routes 87 and 608 in Middlefield. Call 440-632-0011 or visit www.sparrowchristian.com.

The last football game of the season has a tendency to be some what bittersweet for the seniors, especially those that are players, cheerleaders, and band members, but Friday’s game gave the senior band members an event to remember. The Garfield Band made history when they played their halftime show at Windham High School last Friday night at the last football game of the year.  The two bands, James A. Garfield (JAG) Band and the Windham High School (WHS) band put their love for music first and the rivalry second as the two bands performed a portion of the half-time show together.

The half-time show opened with JAG Band performing first, followed by WHS Band. Then, history was made when the JAG Band joined the WHS Band on the field and finished the half-time show with the two bands playing together.  It was a sight to behold, watching the back yard rivals put aside their differences and put their love of music first, not only performing together but having fun with each other while doing it.  The kids played and rocked out the show leaving the folks in the stands seeing history being made as the two bands entertained the crowd together last Friday night.

The show didn’t come together miraculously, but came with a lot of hard work. Both bands had diligently practiced the two pieces separately and came together one time to practice for about 45 minutes prior to Friday night’s game. Their efforts paid off as the two bands put on a fantastic show to close out the football season.

Folks on the sidelines were impressed as they watched each band cheer the other on as they performed separately, and when they played together. Both bands moved together and sounded like they had been playing together all season long. Some of the comments on the sidelines were “That was awesome,” — from the students to “A job well done,” — from the adults.  Everyone was amazed at the way they were able to come together and put on such a great half-time show. The performance left one wondering whether this was a new tradition in the making. Well, that remains to be seen, but let’s hope it continues. It was a joy to watch the bands come together and share their love for music with others.

Portage County Water Resources has received a $1,000 Ohio EPA environmental education mini grant to increase public awareness of the county’s water and wastewater treatment plants. The county was one of ten Ohio organizations to be awarded Ohio EPA environmental education mini grants totaling $42,813.

Portage County Water Resources will use the money to print and distribute educational pamphlets to customers. The pamphlets will show residents how they can help protect surface water and drinking water supplies, properly dispose of wastes and become good stewards of the environment. The outreach effort also will help the county meet source water protection plan and wastewater pretreatment plan requirements.

Newton Falls – A local young person will be headed to Nashville, Tennessee to compete in the 2011 National Bible Bee this November 16-19. Hannah-Abigail Toth excelled in Bible memorization and studied enough to secure one of 300 top scores from across the country during the Local Bible Bee Contest which was held on August 27 at Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Royalton.

Hannah-Abigail is the daughter of Ron and Tamara Toth and one of nine children. She worships at North Mar Christian and Missionary Alliance. Summer support and social activities were offered by Royal Redeemer under the leadership of Charlie and Kristi Upole of North Royalton. Toth memorized up to 250 Bible verses and studied the Bible book of 1 Peter in depth over the summer, and now has another 100 verses and 2 Peter to study for Nationals.

The 2011 National Bible Bee Competition and Family Discipleship Celebration will take place in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. At Nationals, the 300 National Qualifiers will demonstrate their diligence in Scripture knowledge and memorization through oral and written rounds. The top winners will be awarded more than $260,000 and every contestant will be encouraged and recognized for their Biblical excellence.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard (NGCC) will soon take over the food operations of The People Tree, effective in February. The cupboard is an outreach of the United Methodist Church working in conjunction with The People Tree. They are neighbors helping neighbors to shut the door on hunger in their community.

Earlier this year Mike Elias and trustee Joe Leonard thought the community needed a food bank and pursued the issue. The Nelson United Methodist Church jumped on board with Elias and Leonard and soon the food cupboard idea was starting to take shape.

The group worked at finding a place to house the cupboard and after researching the idea, Rafael Rodriguez offered them a room at Isaac Mills on the circle in Nelson.

The group enlisted the help of the local Boy Scout troop and their families as they began to clean out a room to house the food cupboard. The room was cleaned and still needs shelving before it will become the home of the cupboard, but it is well on its way.

NGCC is partnering with the Akron-Canton Food Bank and will work through the 211 First Call for Help. The First Call for Help will assist folks with getting assistance. Folks will need to call the 211 First Call prior to coming to the food cupboard. All residents who live in the James A. Garfield School system are eligible for services. Those in need will need to provide proof of residency.

The food cupboard will provide food on an emergency basis to eligible families in our community. The NGCC is a member of the Akron-Canton Food Bank which can help coordinate with other social agencies which are designed to meet more long term needs. NGCC is not a federally funded agency. They operate solely on contributions received from the community. The cupboard relies on the generosity and kindness of neighbors for donations of food or money. They are always looking for volunteers as well.

The community needs to be assured that although they have partnered with the People Tree, this holiday season’s distributions through the People Tree will go on as usual. The NGCC Food Cupboard will not take over the food operations  of the People Tree until February. The People Tree isn’t going anywhere, they are just shifting the food distribution to the NGCC Food Cupboard. The other services that The People Tree offers will continue as they have  in the past. Again, I reiterate that The People Tree will run as it has through this holiday season.

The items the food cupboard is looking for are: all canned goods especially tuna, stews, soups; they also need pasta, pasta sauces, peanut butter, jelly, cereal, juices, paper towels, facial tissue, toilet paper, laundry soap, dish detergent, body soap, garbage bags postage stamps and empty cardboard boxes and plastic grocery bags. If you can help them they would appreciate it. It will take the entire community working together to make this venture a success.

The food cupboard is planning an all-you-can-eat  spaghetti dinner on December 30, 2011 from 4pm – 7pm at the community house in Nelson. All proceeds will benefit the food cupboard.

Information about the food cupboard can be directed to Mike Elias 330 527-9930. Monetary donations can be sent to P.O. Box 210 Garrettsville, Oh 44231. Make checks payable to NGCC. All donations are tax deductible.

Mantua – The Crestwood “Scarlet Guard” Marching Band will travel Thursday November 10, 2011 to participate in the Bands of America Grand National Championships. This is recognized as the premier marching band event in the nation. Annual spectators and participants exceed 100,000 annually to attend this highly competitive event. Ninety bands from across America will participate, including some of the finest, most progressive band programs in the activity today. [pulledquote]…the highest level of accomplishment for a marching band to achieve… [/pulledquote]The field competition features 90 bands in preliminary competition on Thursday and Friday, with 30 bands advancing to semi-finals during the day on Saturday. Twelve bands advance to Finals on Saturday evening.
This is the highest level of accomplishment for a marching band to achieve and be afforded the opportunity to participate in. Crestwood is the only marching band ever selected from Portage County — and to be selected to participate for a second time in four years is a remarkable accomplishment. The band is one of only 20 bands to represent the state of Ohio.
The Crestwood Local Schools and community are very proud of their nationally-recognized band program.. The Scarlet Guard competition show is titled “Switch” and by the end of the program the entire band is immersed in bright neon green plumes with six giant switches on the field. These kids truly exemplify the hard work, pride, and dedication that it takes to perform at this level.
We are putting together a book to give to the kids when they leave next week with letter of congratulations and good luck. It would mean a great deal to the children and band program to have a letter from you wishing them well as they represent Portage County and the State of Ohio.
Please feel free to send the letter via email to jacobadkins@me.org. If email is a problem you can mail the letter to the following address:

Kate Ferguson, Director
Crestwood High School Bands
10919 Main Street
Mantua, Ohio 44255

In addition, the school is hosting a pep rally for the band on Wednesday November 9, 2011 at 2PM at Crestwood High School. All are highly encouraged to attend and show support for the Scarlet Guard for this most high accomplishment. The school district at Crestwood High School is very proud of its national award winning band program.

Carol Starre-Kmiecik portraying Amelia Earhart

Burton - Usher in your holiday season at the elegant Friends of WomenSafe Christmas Tea.  Enjoy nibbling on dainty sandwiches, freshly-baked scones with clotted cream and jam while hearing the life story of Amelia Earhart and shopping a Chinese auction offering a variety of enticing certificates, baskets and unique items.  Sunday, December 11, 2011 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Red Maple Inn, 14707 S. Cheshire Street in Burton.  Tickets are $45.00 per person.

Space is limited, so call 440-285-3741 today to make your reservations.  Thanks to the generosity of Lake Health and the Red Maple Inn, we are able to provide this wonderful afternoon at such a reasonable price.

Friends of WomenSafe is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation with the sole mission of generating unrestricted funds for WomenSafe.  In our first four years we’ve donated $140,000.00 to WomenSafe and built a strong team of over 60 members.  We’re actively seeking new friends to help plan and execute fundraisers.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to lend your talents to a growing organization that provides support for people in crisis.  Why not join us today?  Ask for a membership application when you call #440-285-3741.