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Mantua – On Saturday, February 4, “a great group of band students represented GHS with class and quality performances,” said James A . Garfield High School band director Joe Gaither.  The annual Solo & Ensemble contest took place at Crestwood High School, with more than 280 entries and 29 schools participating. Under the direction of Gaither, Theo Cebulla and student teacher Mr. William Talaba, JAG students performed very well, earning nine Superior  (I) and five Excellent (II) ratings.

Earning Superior Ratings
Woodwind Quintet – Andy Lininger, Brittany Sisson, Emma Bates, Logan Dean, and Andrea Sheller
Piano Solo – Nick Crawford
Snare Drum Solo – Eric Eiermann
Clarinet Quartet – Megan Wilburn, Jenna Yeager, Zoey Smith, and Rebecca Kern
Horn Quartet – Eileen Mangan, Andy Lininger, Lizzie Gerez, and Dakota Frank
Tuba Solo – Michael Ebie
Flute Trio – Andrea Sheller, Laura Wilburn, and Morgan Aebischer
Percussion Ensemble – Nick Crawford, Chad Curry, Ryan Everett, Brandon Nutter, Simeon Brown, and  Riley Chafin
Brass Quintet – Josh Moore, Jeff Lange, Eileen Mangan, Stefan Wickli, and Michael Ebie

Earning Excellent Ratings
Piano Solo – Molly Everett
Brass Choir – Rachel Huehner, Rebecca Smith, Stefan Wickli, Dakota Frank, Lizzie Gerez, Andy Lininger, Summer Wilde, Jeff Lange, and Josh Moore
Piano Solo –  Andy Lininger
Woodwind Trio – Molly Everett, Andrea Sheller, and Cassidy King
Trumpet Trio – Garrett McArdle, Jeff Lange, and Summer Wilde

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Have you been recently engaged or engaged for a while and have been thinking about planning your wedding? Perhaps you have been married a long time and would like to renew your vows. Whichever it is, why not consider being Garrettsville’s First Couple and get married or renew your vows right on Main Street Saturday afternoon, June 23, 2012 during Summerfest.

This year’s theme is “A Tribute to the Armed Forces,” however you do not have to be in the Armed Forces or have been in the Armed Forces to be considered. To be considered one will need to be available to participate in the weekend activities including Sunday’s Grand Parade, and willing to communicate regularly with the committee.  Interested parties should send a letter to the committee and tell them why you think you should be this year’s “First Couple.”  Letters will be received until March 31, 2012 and can be sent to the SummerFest Wedding c/o Weekly Villager at 8454 Windham Street Garrettsville. Ohio 44231. The committee will notify the winners by the end of April.

The first couple will need to provide their own attire and rings. The Summerfest committee will provide a basic wedding package including a limited number of invitations, flowers, a cake, photography, cake and punch reception, overnight accommodations, champagne toast and more.  The couple will also have the opportunity to upgrade any item in the package at their own expense.  Let us help make your special day fabulous. Questions can be directed to Michelle at the Weekly Villager 330 527-5761

Geauga County – A Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012.  Those residents of Geauga County who would like to vote an absentee ballot should make arrangements now.

In order to request an absentee ballot for the Election, registered voters must fill out an absentee application. Each request must have the applicant’s original signature. Requests may be mailed to:

Geauga County Board

of Elections

470 Center St., Bldg. 6-A

Chardon, Ohio  44024

440-279-2030

The Board of Elections will accept mail-in requests for absentee ballots for the March 6, 2012,

Primary Election thru noon on Saturday, March 3, 2012.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board of Elections office January 31, 2012, through the close of business on Friday March 2, 2012. The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on:

Monday, Feb 6        8 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb 11     8 a.m.-Noon

Saturday, Feb 18     8 a.m.-Noon

Saturday, Feb 25     8 a.m.- Noon

Friday, March 2         8 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Voters can download an Absentee Application on line at: http://www.co.geauga.oh.us/Departments/BOE/Absentee.aspx For more information please call the Board of Elections directly at 1-440-279-2030.

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Garrettsville– Charles Chevrolet, one of 28 Chevrolet dealers from the Cleveland area that partnered with local youth soccer leagues for the 2011 season, raised nearly $87800 in total donations from the dealership and private parties. In addition to monetary support, Charles Chevrolet provided G-W (Garrettsville-Windham) Soccer Club with equipment donations, an opportunity to raise and keep up to $10,000 through a unique fundraiser, and participation in an instructional soccer clinic.

Garrettsville – Since oil/gas drilling can be associated with changes in well water quality, Garrettsville’s Board of Public Affairs has decided to be proactive in setting up a Water Monitoring Program for the Village’s water well fields. A proposal was accepted from Dr. Jeffrey C. Dick of YSU’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences to conduct a physical and chemical evaluation of Garrettsville’s water well field and the adjacent aquifer system.

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Hiram – According to Hiram village custom, Mayor Lou Bertrand presented the 2012 State of the HiramVillage Address during the first regular council meeting in January. During the 106th annual meeting of Hiram Village Council on January 17, Bertrand reported that Hiram village government “is in stable financial condition, operating in an efficient manner and providing good service to the public, our citizens, businesses, students, staff, administration and faculty of Hiram College.”

The bulk of Bertrand’s report focused on the number of community grant requests that either have benefitted or soon will benefit village infrastructure and facility upkeep. These include the completion of a $50,000 NOPEC (Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council) energy efficiency grant for permanent improvements in the administration building, the service building and old Village Hall building; dedication of the Hinsdale Road extension in December (however, change orders have been made for the retaining wall, hand rails and light poles); approval by the of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the north-south extension of Winrock  Road; and approval of a $273,000 grant from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) to build Hiram’s sidewalks along the state routes 303, 700 and 82.  The village purchased the 5.1-acre old Hiram School property last October. As a result, the village was awarded $70,000 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LCWF) and $15,912 under the Ohio Nature Works Grant Program administered through the ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources)  for a total grant of $85,912. “We still are awaiting further instructions from ODNR as the how to proceed,” Bertrand said.

AMATS is providing a grant of more than $800,000 for developing the Hiram Hike and Bike Trail, which will connect the village and Hiram College campus to the college’s Biological Field Station in Garrettsville, and eventually to the county park system’s Headwaters Trail.

In other news, “There can be no doubt that one area of great common concern has been the ever-changing regulations and costs to all of Hiram’s water and sewer systems,” Bertrand said. Consequently, the village is seeking a $280,000 grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for a 12-inch water line from the water treatment plant to the top of east hill along State Route 305.  Bertrand also reported that both the old firehouse and Light Plant buildings are currently being utilized to park village equipment and vehicles. Hiram College President Tom Chema expressed interest in trading college properties with the village. In that light, an appraisal of the two buildings and property are being completed by a state-licensed real property appraiser.

All village employees are receiving three percent raises in 2012.

Now, on to the bigger picture, in light of the continued financial strain local municipalities face due to the lagging economy… Last January, mayors, administrators, and service directors from both Portage and Summit Counties met in Streetsboro to discuss the option of sharing services such as utilities and streets departments with nearby municipalities. Ravenna Service Director Kelly Engelhart is creating an inventory of assets for all participating municipalities, ODOT and the county. The next meeting is scheduled at the Stow City Hall on April 24 at 11:30 a.m. to discuss this option further.

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Hiram – Hiram College has added 152 acres of protected woodlands and wetlands property as part of its James T. Barrow Field Station east of the college’s main campus.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation organization working in 14 northern Ohio counties, partnered with the college to acquire the property, which was formerly owned by Isaac Yomtovian and is adjacent to the Field Station.  The land was acquired as part of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Resource Restoration Sponsorship Program. The transfer expands the Field Station property to nearly 550 acres.

The College and the Land Conservancy have been working for almost two years to secure the property, which will allow for the protection of  approximately 1,625 linear feet of Silver Creek, one of four designated cold water streams of the Mahoning River Watershed; 3,444 linear feet  of Eagle Creek into which Silver Creek flows; and other  wetland habitats. As part of the OEPA program, the Land Conservancy and the College will provide for the restoration of nearly 1,630 linear feet  of Eagle Creek, which should create hydrological benefits for the Village of Garrettsville, which sits downstream from the protected property.

“We are pleased to accept this land, and to assume the responsibility of stewardship,” said Thomas V. Chema, president of Hiram College. “Not only will it ensure that these two water resources and the forests and wetlands through which they flow be protected, but it will expand the opportunities for our students to research, study and take an active role in preserving the natural resources of the area.”

Work on the restoration of Eagle Creek will be managed by the Davey Resource Co., and the Land Conservancy will continue to monitor progress and usage of the land as part of its annual stewardship responsibilities. Hiram students and faculty will be able to access the property as part of their environmental studies, biology and other courses. The Field Station already mounts numerous water quality, wetlands and wildlife study projects.

Chris Szell, Associate Director of Conservation Projects and Stewardship for the Land Conservancy, said the WRRSP program “is an extremely valuable funding sources” to protect natural resource-rich properties like this one.

“The property provides important habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including four different rare insect species, one of which has never before been identified in Portage County, highlighting the uniqueness of this property,” Szell said.  “Natural resource surveys by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and faculty of Hiram College provided valuable natural resource information which made this project very competitive.”

Szell said The Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) of Greater Cincinnati, which sponsored the Hiram College project, “has been a wonderful partner in this process, and we thank them for their sponsorship.”

Municipalities, such as MSD of Greater Cincinnati pursue low-interest rate-loans from the WPCLF for planning, design or construction of wastewater, sewer and storm-water infrastructure projects. These municipalities have the opportunity to further improve water quality by sponsoring a WRRSP project that addresses nonpoint source pollution through the protection or restoration of streams and wetlands.

The Land Conservancy, which was formed in 2006 by the merger of eight local land trusts, has preserved more than 420 properties and more than 29,000 acres in northern Ohio.

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On the second new moon after the winter solstice, the Chinese celebrate their new year. During this holiday gifts are exchanged, families hold reunions, and fireworks explode into the sky. In chinese, the name for their new year celebration is ‘Spring Festival’, since it heralds the beginning of spring and the new year.

The origin of the Chinese New Year begins with a story. Once upon a time, it was said that there was a mythical beast called Nian. On the first day of the new year, Nian would come and eat crops, children, and livestock. The scared villagers would place food at the foot of their doors every year to keep Nian away. It was said that the well prepared food prevented him from destroying the towns. One day, the people discovered that the wicked beast became frightened by a child wearing red. After this, the villagers decorated the entire town with red on the first day of every new year. After this, Nian stopped terrorizing the town, and the people continued to celebrate the new year by displaying the color red. To this day, one of the chinese new year traditions is to give children red packets filled with money. It is believed to give the child good luck.

This year in particular is a special year. It is the year of the dragon. The dragon, in Chinese mythology, is not an evil beast. He is a bringer of good luck. People born under the sign of the dragon are thought to be great organizers and leaders, capable of tackling any project, although they do not often seek help when they need to, and are quick-tempered.

In addition to the other eleven animal years of; rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig; there are also elements associated with each new year. The chinese elements consist of earth, wood, fire, water, and metal. This year in particular is not just the year of the dragon, it is the year of the water dragon. The last year of the water dragon was in 1952, and happens every sixty years.

A cool craft you might like to try with your kids, is making a paper dragon. They are easy to make, and fun to play with. Go to: http://www.craftjr.com/dragon-paper-craft/, to get a printable template for the paper dragon. It could also be fun for kids, who love animals, to see which animal year they were born in. The website, http://www.china-family-adventure.com/chinese-zodiac.html, is a website for kids to explore what animal year they were born into.

By now, just about everyone in the community knows that early Christmas morning Garfield senior Porter Lyons was thrust into a fight for his life as he learned that his heart was failing and he would need a heart transplant. On New Year’s Eve Porter received a new heart and is now on the road to recovery.

Once again the community was there during the crisis. They offered up prayers, sent gift cards, letters of encouragement and even money to help ease the burden on the family, but they wanted to do more, after all they are our neighbors and friends. Both Windham and Garrettsville have joined forces to embrace the challenge to reach out and help one of their own by holding several fundraising events.   Right now there are several events going on that just about everyone can participate in to help out the family during their crisis. So let’s rally together and help ease this family’s burden by showing them that we too have the “Heart of the Lyons”.

Windham –  The weather didn’t stop the Second Annual Jeff Stanley Memorial Scholarship spaghetti dinner fund-raiser from being held on Friday the 13th before the basketball game with the Garfield G-Men. The dinner was a hit with both teams’ fans as they were spotted enjoying the never ending spaghetti before the big game. The all-you-can-eat spaghetti was served with a salad, bread sticks, dessert and beverage. By the evening’s conclusion, the scholarship committee and volunteers served over 200 dinners prior to the game. The dinner will be an annual event held prior to the home Windham – Garfield basketball game.

The proceeds from the dinner go toward the Jeff Stanley Memorial Scholarship awarded to a senior at the graduation ceremony who meets the criteria, with one of them being the best Bomber fan one can be.

Jeff Stanley a Windham graduate contributed greatly to Bomber athletics by coaching, managing, mentoring,  volunteering and even refereeing youth games. He was the Bombers biggest fan and embodied the true spirit of being a Bomber. In his memory the family has established a memorial scholarship that is funded through the dinner and is given to a senior who depicts the heart of a Bomber by either playing sports or being a great fan. Jeff lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2007.

The Stanley Family would like to thank all the volunteers who helped make the dinner a success, those who baked desserts for the event and especially thank Ben Ziska of Guys Pizza in Kent along with Maruf Awad from Sparkle Market and Carolyn Miller Cakes their continued support is what makes the event so successful.

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Only nine more months left until Christmas Walk 2012!

The official sites have not yet been set in stone but preparations will be beginning soon at most locations…and all over town…including the sponsoring organization, the James A. Garfield Historical Society.  But first ….

The JAGHS has had some pictures from their collection scanned for the Portage County District Library website, with links, mostly shots of the now-defunct Opera House.  Open House will be observed on February 4 and March 3 at the Mott Building from 10:00 to 3:00 with members available to answer questions and provide information.

An estimate for repair work on the roof of the Clock Tower was presented and discussed;  antiquated structural work needs to be replaced.  Input from the Village will be sought.

A modification of the constitutional by-laws is under consideration to restructure the board of trustees and clarify reporting of expenditures.  New members of the board of trustees were proposed once the changes are set.  Next meeting will be when these are finalized.  The group meets on the third Monday of the month at 7:30 in the Mott Building on Main Street, Garrettsville

Decoration of the front window will continue to feature the locomotive currently in place but with “tapping season” rapidly approaching, a more maple-themed display is likely to appear…definitely part of the Garrettsville heritage; once upon a time , 50,000 to 75,000 gallons of the “liquid gold” was shipped out of the village every year.

And speaking of Christmas Walk….  Contacts are being made for consideration of listing the event with bus tour companies encouraging visitors from even farther afield, with the   possibility of introducing more people to Garrettsville’s rustic charms.  More people in town, more business for downtown merchants?  Think about it.  Until then….

Jingle Bells…Jingle Bells….

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers invites you to the 2012 Winter Water Safety Event at Berlin Lake.  There’s no reason to stay inside, just because it is cold outside!

Like ice fishing?   How about ice skating, sled riding, or enjoying a day of paddling on a crisp winter day? While all of these are a great way to enjoy the outdoors in winter, they all can be dangerous if something goes wrong. Do you have what it takes to stay safe this winter?

This free and family friendly event is intended to promote ice and cold water safety. Activities include: Safety Equipment Demos from local emergency rescue agencies, ice fishing equipment displays, activities and prizes for children.

Please join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners from 12 pm to 2 pm Saturday January 28, 2012.

The event will be located at the Mill Creek Recreation day use area located at 7400 Bedell Road, Berlin Center Ohio, 44401. For more information contact Rangers Kat Fatula or Matt Pook at 330-547-3781.

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LAF/SOMe, the Garrettsville Area Seniors Group is pleased to announce the following upcoming trips.  Reservations are required and should be made by calling The Villager at 330-527-5761. Trips are open to anyone over the age of 21 who wants to enjoy life!

 

Friday, February 10, 2012,  The Great Big Home and Garden Expo and the Cleveland IX Center.  Includes  event entrance ticket, transportation and gratuity.  Bus Leaves at 10 a.m. and will return to Garrettsville at approximately 6 p.m.  Cost $23 per person.  SEATING IS LIMITED.  Reservation required no later than February 3rd.

 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012.  Gaming at Presque Isle Casino and Dinner at the Ferrante Winery.

Enjoy the day with games of chance at the Presque Isle Casino in Erie PA., then on to an early dinner at the Ferrante Winery and Restorante in Geneva, OH.  Enjoy exquisite Italian cuisine while overlooking 65 acres of manicured vineyards in the Grand River Valley.  And of course, while we are there, if you choose, you may also enjoy a wine tasting of Ferrante’s award winning vino.  Bus will leave Garrettsville at 8 a.m. and return approximately 7 p.m.  Cost for this trip is $59 per person and includes transportation, bus gratuity, dinner and wine tasting at Ferrante and a casino bonus.  Reservation required, payment due no later than February 15th.

 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, Lunch and a Show!

J.B. Productions presents “A Tribute Show” Direct from Las Vegas

and Branson, MO.  This very special tribute show will bring back to mind many of your favorite performers. With Frank Pisani as master of ceremonies, these exceptional look-a-like and sound-a-like entertainers will bring to the stage such greats as: Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Durante, George Burns, Cher plus others (subject to change). You’ll be absolutely amazed. Relive the special moments these stars represent.

Cost for this trip is $49 per person and includes transportation, lunch and the show.  Bus will leave Garrettsville at 10 a.m. and return approximately 5 p.m.  Reservation required, SEATING IS VERY LIMITED.  Payment required no later than March 2, 2012.

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The Geauga County Retired Teachers Association will meet on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 for a luncheon and meeting at the Geauga County Library Administration Center, 12701 Ravenwood Drive, Chardon, OH.  Gathering time at 11:15 AM, followed by the business meeting at 11:30, and  lunch at 12:00.  The menu will consist of a chili bar with hot chili, onions, sour cream, crackers, corn bread, salad, dessert, and beverage.

The program will be “Scams in Geauga County” presented by Dan McClelland, Geauga County Sheriff.

Cost is $10.00 (which includes a $1.00 donation to the Grant-in-Aid Fund).  Make your reservations with Terry Rossiter, 9076 Wyandot Rd., Chesterland, OH 44026 (440) 729-9251.  Please make your check out to GCRTA and send your reservation by January 30, 2012.

Bring a newly retired teacher, school personnel, or someone who may need a ride.

Our association welcomes any person who was employed by a school district anywhere in the United States.  For further information about membership, please contact Jean Paine at 440-286-4992.

Remember to bring paper products or canned goods for the Geauga County Hunger Task Force.  Canned fruit and canned meats are currently in great need.

If you need a ride from Geauga Transit, call 440-285-2222 or 440-564-7131 ext. 5160 a week ahead of time to make your reservation.

Windham - When one thinks of Windham Basketball they immediately think of Marty Hill and the years of success the district has had in the sport. No one ever considers the girls’ team and now is the time one might want consider them too. The girls’ team has struggled as of late but the tide seems to be turning for the team this year and one of the reasons just might be the talents of two sisters, Caitlyn and Jessica Isler. The duo is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the county division of the Portage Trail Conference as they continue to show improvement each week and give opposing teams a run for their money. In addition to the pair heating up the court, the team’s coach is drawing some attention as well. Coach Gregg Isler is not only the coach, he is the duo’s dad and is also the superintendent of the school district. 

Pictured above at the Annual Garrettville Village Council Christmas Dinner at Main Street Grille & Brewing company, Garrettsville Solicitor/ Attorney Michelle Stuck swore in Mayor Craig Moser, Council President Rick Patrick & Councilman Jeff Kaiser on January 4, 2012.

Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 for their first regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the new year.  Minutes from the December council meeting were approved.  A motion was then made to nominate councilman Rick Patrick as the 2012 Village Council President.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.  The Mayor then read his 2012 State of the Village Report. The mayor asked for a motion to approve his 2012 slate of appointments to Village Boards and Committees.  The motion was made, seconded, and approved. They are as follows:

The W.V.F.D. Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with all board members present. Chairman Dann Timmons announced that the township trustees re-appointed him to  the fire board to represent the township as their elected official. Timmons also announced he had heard from the mayor of the village that fire board member Scott Garrett had resigned. Scott was the village’s elected official representative. The village council has appointed Phil Snyder to the fill the vacated position on the board. Board member Linda Rininger requested the resignation letter which no on had seen. Rininger asked Mr. Snyder to abstain from voting until the fire board received official word from Mr. Garrett. Snyder agreed to abstain from voting.

First item of business was to appoint a chairman for the new year. The board chose Ron Kilgore as chairman with Dann Timmons as the vice chairman.  The clerk presented the expenditures, and bank reconciliation and the board moved to approve both. The temporary appropriation were established at $518,716 which the board approved.

In the chiefs report Fire chief Iwanyckyj reported that truck 2815 had a smoking cylinder, speed issues and other mechanical problems. The truck was taken to Sedensky’s Truck and Tractor Repair in Nelson Township. Mr. Sedensky was at the meeting to explain the issues it had and the cost to repair them. After some discussion, the board approved the repairs at an estimated cost of $4,800. Sedensky believes it can be repaired and back in service within two days from the start of the repair.

The chief announced that reserve firefighter John Hostetler had passed his test and he would like to promote John to regular fire fighter.  The board approved the measure.  Iwanyckyj also announced that a new medic has passed the test and they will soon have 4 paramedics on the roster. He also stated that in the last 7 months there was only one month where they had one EMS call with no responder and it was referred to neighboring EMS services. In other chief news, the suction units on the squads went down prior to the meeting, resulting in an emergency repair of $975. They were still in the running for a truck grant and they had the electric to the fuel tanks that they no longer use disconnected.

Mark Ellerhorst went over the new insurance policy with the board and explained their coverage. He also stated that although the premium was a little higher it was not a rate hike it was because of the purchase of the new ambulance last year. The board accepted the insurance policy.

The board adjourned to an executive session to discuss pay increase for EMS and officers in the department. After the board returned, they offered to increase the pay of on-call medic personnel and they will look at the budget and determine what they can do for the officers. The fireboard meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at the fire station. The meetings are open to the public.

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Kudos to the cast and crew of “The Odd Couple” produced by Garrettsville’s Curtains Up Theatre this last week end in the Iva Walker Theatre at James A. Garfield H.S.  Ditto  for all of the local support  afforded the production and the organization by the many community members in the audience, in the program listings and involved with the group’s activities throughout the year.

Hiram – For thirty years, Hiram College has been donating money for the hungry in their revolutionary Bread and Soup program. Every Thursday in the spring semester, students gather in the Dix Dinning room of the Kennedy Center, to get a bowl of soup and a delicious slice of mouthwatering bread.

“What does it take to run the Bread and Soup program?” I asked the head caterer, as he greeted students coming in through the doorway.

“What does it take? What do you mean as far as that?”

[pulledquote]Today the college donates the money they raise to local organizations such as the Hiram Farm Living and Learning Community, the Salvation Army’s Northeast Portage Food Shelf and the Crestwood Coalition for Community Care[/pulledquote]“I mean, how long does it take to prepare the food? How long does it take to set everything up?”

“It takes a few hours,” he said matter-of-factly. “We prep the soup the day before, then we haul everything over here and heat it up.”

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Marty Wynne, Market Manager Cheryl, Founding Member Joyce Studen, and South Russell Village Mayor Matt Brett (source: geaugafarmersmarket.com)

The Geauga Fresh Farmers’ Market will hold its 2012 Annual Organizational Meeting on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at the OSU Extension office – Patterson Center on the Geauga County Fairgrounds at 14269 Claridon-Troy Rd. in Burton. The meeting will start at 9:00AM and refreshments will be served. Those interested in participating in the market this year are invited to attend. There will be a presentation by the Board, information on marketing and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).  Applications for 2012 will be available.

Hiram – Hiram Community Trust and the Hiram College Music Department are sponsoring an outstanding opportunity for music lovers to enjoy the performances of two internationally-known musicians presenting Masterworks of J.S. Bach in Transcription on Sunday, January 22, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. in Frohring Music Recital Hall.

The musicians are Michael Sponseller, harpsichord, and Douglas Kelley, viola da gamba, both well-known for mastery of their Renaissance/Baroque instruments on stages around the world.  Both are graduates of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music here in northeast Ohio.

Mr. Kelley has performed and taught at venues from Amsterdam to Zagreb, including the Osaka( Japan) International Chamber Music Competition.  His instrument ( a bowed descendant of the fifteenth century vihuela, plucked, similar to a guitar)is an original viola da gamba made by Johann Hasert in 1723, available courtesy of the Caldwell Collection of Viols, Oberlin, OH.

Mr. Sponseller is recognized as one of the outstanding American harpsichordist of his generation (The harpsichord is a forerunner of the piano, which  became the dominant keyboard instrument of the 18th century.  Its sound is produced by plucking the strings rather than striking them).  Since his work at Oberlin and the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, he has participated in festivals and concerts around the world as recitalist, soloist and partner to other fine musicians, including baroque orchestras and chamber groups such as the Bach Collegium San Diego.  He is heard on numerous recordings from Naxos, Vanguard Classics, Delos, Centaur and Electra as well as contributing from the orchestra pit in productions of operas by Handel and Rameau.  In the Handel & Haydn Society and in Boston’s Emmanuel Music his presence is felt in their performances of J.S. Bach’s sacred cantatas.  Outside his performance schedule, he can be found teaching at the Longy School of Music and serving as artistic director of Ensemble Florilage.

The performances of these two exceptional artists are free and open to the public.  All are invited.

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Chesterland – The Annual Spring Book Sale sponsored by the West Geauga Friends of the Library begins Wednesday, March 7 and ends on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The Friends are now accepting donations for the sale until March 1. Donations of gently used or new children’s and adult books, collectibles, comics, CDs, DVDs, books on tape or CD, puzzles, board games, sheet music and prints (no textbooks or encyclopedias, please) can be dropped off at the Geauga West Library during regular library hours.  A receipt for your donation is available at the circulation desk.

Funds raised from the book sale support the Geauga West Library, including adult and children’s’ programs. The Geauga West Library is located at 13455 Chillicothe Road in Chesterland, next to West Geauga High School.  The phone number is 440-729-4250.

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[pulledquote]Nearly one million inkjet cartridges end up in landfills daily.[/pulledquote]Burton – The Burton Public Library is now collecting empty inkjet cartridges for recycling.  Cartridges can be deposited in a collection box located in the front lobby of the library.  Simply place your old cartridge in a plastic sandwich bag and deposit it in the collection box. Both businesses and individuals are invited to recycle inkjet cartridges at the library.  Unfortunately, large laser cartridges are not accepted for this recycling program.  Nearly one million inkjet cartridges end up in landfills daily.  In addition to raising money for the Burton Public Library, this inkjet cartridge recycling program has a positive impact on the environment.

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Hiram - The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) is proud to announce the winners of the 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest. This is the second year for the statewide contest with a total of 128 applicants.

Six different yield categories were available and the quality portion of the contest was based on achieving the highest percentages of oil and protein.

“The 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest was a great success this year,” said Bret Davis, OSA president from Delaware County. “We had a good number of applicants and some really impressive yields. OSA congratulates the winners and looks forward to the 2012 contest.”

This year’s Overall State Yield Champion was Jack and Jason Groselle from Hiram, Ohio. Groselle recorded a yield of 85.773 bushels/acre with the Pioneer 93Y13 variety.

OSA thanks the sponsors of the 2011 Ohio Soybean Yield and Quality Contest: Asgrow, Monsanto, Ohio AgNet, Ohio’s Country Journal, Ohio Soybean Council, Seed Consultants and Shur Grow.

Burton – Even though winter has been reluctant to arrive, plans are underway to begin making pure Geauga County maple syrup in Burton Village.  The Burton Chamber Of Commerce will hold the 4th Tree Tapping Ceremony Saturday February 11, from 10 to 4.  It’s a great time for the entire family to see how pure maple syrup is made.

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Geauga County – CASA for KIDS of Geauga County (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is recruiting volunteers to advocate for the “best Interest” of abused and neglected children involved in the juvenile court. No particular background is required, but you must be at least 25 years of age and have no criminal record. Couples may work together. Diversity of age, gender, ethnicity etc. is welcomed. Professional CASA staff provides 32 hours of pre-service training.  Supervision and continuing education is also provided after appointment by the Juvenile Court to serve as the Guardian ad Litem.  More volunteers are needed to ensure every child has a voice in court. The next training sessions will be in March 2012. If you are interested, call Chris Steigerwald, 440-279-1696 to get more information and begin the application process.

An application and interview must be completed PRIOR to training

To learn more about CASA for KIDS, visit our website at www.geaugacasa.org.

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Aurora – The Aurora Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual All About Aurora showcase of area businesses and organizations on Saturday, March 3, 2012 at Aurora High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Last year’s Showcase attracted 50 exhibitors and nearly 500 visitors.  The chamber is currently accepting applications from exhibitors for this event.

Registration forms are available at www.allaboutaurora.com and also by calling the chamber office at 330-562-3355.

This year the plans are shaping up for an even bigger event with choirs, beloved animal characters, Soap Box Derby cars and a clown who creates balloon art. Showcase sponsors include: Anna Maria of Aurora, Aurora Farms Premium Outlets, Aurora City Schools, Wild Water Kingdom and the Record Publishing Company.

For more information please contact, Mary Sullivan at 330-562-3355.

Garrettsville - Most of the time, doing excellent work on the job is merely meeting an expectation. But for James A. Garfield School District Treasurer Tracy Knauer, excellence at work has earned her a rare award from the Auditor of the State of Ohio, Dave Yost.

According to a letter from the State Auditor’s office,  a recent financial audit of the school district has returned a clean audit report… one of only five school districts in Ohio… and the only Portage County school district to achieve this distinction. The letter went on to state, “James A. Garfield Local School District’s excellent record keeping has earned it the Auditor of State Award.”

According to JAG School Board President Guy Pietra, “Tracy does an outstanding job keeping the JAG school district financially sound and is meticulous in following all of the State’s accounting practices and guideline principles.  On at least three or four occasions, I have had auditors tell me personally that Tracy is very thorough and accurate.  We are very lucky and proud to have her as part of our school district. She is too modest regarding her achievements.”[pulledquote]James A. Garfield Local School District’s excellent record keeping has earned it the Auditor of State Award.[/pulledquote]

Knauer has been employed with JAG since January 2005. Among her responsibilities, Knauer is responsible for the effective financial operations of the district; she supervises one employee in the treasurer’s office and 10 food service employees; she directs financial operations including accounting, fiscal period closing, benefits management, grants management, forecasting, budgeting, compliance, and asset management; she works in cooperation with the superintendent, building administrators, transportation, maintenance and technology. Knauer is a member of the school board negotiation team, assisting in the labor contract negotiations for certified and classified staff. She also oversees financial planning, working in cooperation with administration and the board of education.

“Historically, Garfield has performed well on the annual financial audit,” Knauer says.  “However, the audit is typically released with little or no fanfare. By issuing an award to public entities based on audit performance, the State Auditor is acknowledging the positive accomplishments of the public sector. I would like to congratulate every member of the district; they are all part of the operation of the district and a successful audit.”

The Auditor of State Award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a “clean” financial audit report. Entities that receive the award meet these following criteria:

• They must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) without a CAFR (Certified Annual Financial Report);

• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or questioned costs;

• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000, lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a timely Single Audit,findings for recovery less than $100, or public meetings or public records.

Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office is responsible for auditing all public entities in Ohio.  His mission is to protect Ohioans’ tax dollars while aggressively fighting fraud, waste and misuse of public money. The Auditor of State’s office is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. The office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies, and promotes transparency in government.

Garrettsville – Starting his third term as mayor of Garrettsville, Craig Moser delivered his annual State of the Village Report at the Garrettsville Village Council meeting on January 11, sharing his retrospective on 2011 as well as his forecast for 2012. The professor of economics focused most of his attention on the fiscal status of the village and its prospects for future economic development.

Looking Back

“The village remained on a firm financial footing throughout 2011,” he reported. “While the year-end numbers will likely show a slight decrease in our cash balances, we continued to be fiscally conservative and very careful about how we spent your tax dollars. Our village income tax revenues continued to grow modestly in 2011, in contrast to the economic slowdown in the larger economy.”

Moser went on to say that the majority of village expenditures went to wages and salaries (approx. $788,000) and employee benefits ($220,000) for a round total of about $1,000,000 for village employee compensation in 2011.

Other major expenditures in 2011 included:

• a new dump truck,

• a new Chevy Tahoe SUV (police canine unit),

• some spending in joint partnership with the Portage County Engineer for repairing and re-opening the north Liberty Street Bridge to traffic,

• new fuel tanks for the Street Department,

• crack-sealing-roads, seal coating parking lots and chip-and-sealing village roads,

• partnering with property owners on Liberty Street for new sidewalks from Center Street to Water Street,

• revising and improving the village website at www.Garrettsville.org with further improvements for 2012 yet to come.

A major accomplishment was ODOT’s completion of a major bridge replacement on Freedom Street in May 2011. The historic-looking spandrel arch bridge features baluster railings and glass-globed lamp-posts. To complement the new bridge, electrical systems on the boardwalk were replaced, then railing lights were added to highlight the walkway and the pedestrian bridge.

Mayor Moser recognized a new citizens’ group, the Garrettsville Economic Development Committee (GEDC), which discusses the village’s economic development efforts with the mayor and serves as  forum where ideas and constructive suggestions “all can lead to G’ville’s improvement on several fronts,” in Moser’s words.

The Board of Public Affairs and the Water Superintendent continue to advance  the 5 million dollar Waste Water Treatment Facility expansion project toward completion. The expansion project should provide the village with a WWTF capacity ready for the next twenty-some years, accommodating new residential and industrial customers yet to come.

Looking Forward

In 2012, plans call for the BPA to continue to replace the village’s 100+ year-old water lines along State Street.

In addition, the mayor foresees “a suitable resolution for the Irwin Hardware property on Main Street.” The vacant historic building was foreclosed upon and now is under the jurisdiction of the Portage County Treasurer and Auditor. Village officials have been working on this project since March 2010. “Perseverance is needed and we will see it through because it is too important not to do so,” Moser said.

The village will meet with Hiram and Freedom Township trustees to discuss the option of forming a new Joint Economic Development District among the three jurisdictions. Property in their townships sit adjacent to Garrettsville’s industrial park. Moser said, “I believe the JEDD is a good thing and would create a potential for added industrially zoned land in the three entities and would benefit all three of us.”

Otherwise, in terms of economic development, the GEDC is conducting a community business survey later in 2012 to help advise how the village can partner with current and prospective businesses to develop further. Monthly GEDC meetings are open to the public and meet at noon on the first Friday of the month in the village hall.

Joe Mayernick, economic development consultant for Garrettsville, is to be instrumental in locating suitable new tenants for the Amweld Building, the former Giant Eagle Grocery store, and the former Paul’s Lumber Yard, among other development projects. His expertise should uncover economic development incentives available to the village, such as real estate tax abatement incentives and other programs available under Ohio law.

Mayor Moser invited residents, businesses and property owners to contact him with concerns and suggestions for the village at mayor@garrettsville.org. Residents are also encouraged to attend any regular monthly meetings of Village Council (second Wednesday of the month), Planning Commission (first Thursday of the month), and BPA meetings (on the Monday before Council).  Meetings are all open and public input is welcome.

Hiram – After an extensive review of twelve candidates, twenty year police veteran Mr. Edward Samec, Jr. has been appointed by Mayor Lou Bertrand as the new Hiram Police Chief. Mr. Samec is a graduate of both Crestwood H.S. (1988) and the University of Akron. Ed served 14 years with the Hiram Police Department, then with Aurora and since 2005 with the Middlefield Police Department, the last two years as its Chief.

The bids to consolidate Hiram’s waste removal were opened by County Commissioners in September, 2011. Hiram Township has opted to accept the bid of J&J Refuse of Twinsburg, OH. In November, 2011, Village Council voted for R&R Sanitation, Inc. on first reading, however, J&J Refuse submitted the lowest bid for residential service. Legislation is now pending on council’s third and final reading for the Mayor’s signature into law on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

As reported, the Community Challenge Planning Grant of $175,000 was submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In December this grant application was not accepted.

The grant to build Hiram’s sidewalks along the state routes was approved on January 3rd by AMATS. This Grant for approximately $273,000 was awarded only for newly-constructed sidewalks and not for replacement and repair of existing or old sidewalks.

The Village has also received word from AMATS that the grant for the Hiram Hike and Bike Trail has been approved for more than $800,000. This project will connect the Village and Hiram College Campus to the Biological Field Station and then to the Headwaters Trail.

As for the $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant, the construction is now completed. The Rosser Building’s new insulated doors, windows, heating & A.C. and 80 gallon water heater are now installed.

As previously reported, the Village is awaiting further instructions from ODNR on how to proceed with teh 5.1 acres known as the old Hiram School property. The purchase was enabled by an award of $70,000 from teh Land and Water Conservation Fund and $15,912 under the Ohio Nature  Works Grant Program administered by the ODNR. Total funds for the project: $85,912.

As for the Ohio Public Works Commission grant for Hinsdale Rd. Extension, that project has now been completed and the new road was dedicated in a public ceremony last month.

On December 6, 2011 the Planning and Zoning Commission approved with certain variances the acceptance of the dedication of Winrock Rd. north from new Hinsdale Extension to the cul de sac on Winrock Rd.

The next regular council meeting is January 17, 2012 at  7 p.m. http://www.hiramvillage.org

Nelson Twp. – Eviction orders were served on U.S. Liquids, Inc. on December 30, 2011, closing a long and troubled chapter for Nelson Township residents since the liquids recycling center opened for business in April 2008.

Nelson Township Trustee Joe Leonard said, “The big question now is what to do with all the junk piled up on the property and the remaining waste products in the liquids left behind. The liquid left in four big holding tanks and raceways is still a mystery. We’re concerned about that.”

Leonard was with fellow trustees and a representative from the receivership company (which protects the property and reports to the bank) to inspect the aftermath a week later on January 6. What they found “was a humungous mess — worse than anything I had imagined,” Leonard said. “It’s a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling indoor dump, and every room has a different stench. We’re easily looking at a million-dollar cleanup.”

Leonard has called upon the Portage County Health Department to test neighboring well water, and the Ohio EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to test the water in lagoons, holding tanks, pond and raceways on the industrial property for levels of contaminants, including metals, chemicals and bacteria.

When entrepreneur Mark Fuerst founded U.S. Liquids at the former Bil-Mar Turkey Farm along State Route 88, he promised to bring jobs, ‘green’ technology and positive economic growth to the area by processing beverage liquids including soda, syrup, juice, beer, wine and similar sugar-based products. Instead, surrounding residents complained of stench in the air, fouled waterways and unscrupulous business practices.

Township trustees, the zoning inspector, the health department, prosecutor, Ohio EPA and other watchdog entities were called upon to intervene, with only temporary results. Reports of increased rat and mosquito infestations were among the complaints. Several miles of Camp Creek turned green in March 2009 due to the fact that wastewater had overflowed from U.S. Liquids’ treatment system; fishkill was confirmed by the EPA. In April 2009, the EPA spill hotline received an alert that the creekwater had turned brown. This time, EPA determined the cause was that U.S. Liquids had pumped raw wastewater from a private pond into Camp Creek.

Public complaints continued. Some measures were taken by U.S. Liquids to comply and relieve public alarm, including a plan to sell liquid waste as livestock feed and as a source for ethanol producers, according to EPA records. Later, Fuerst reported to the EPA’s Twinsburg office  that he was planning to expand operations to include raising as many as 2,400 pigs at the facility and to gain licensing as a Class III Compost Facility.

Finally by the end of 2011, U.S. Liquids went bankrupt, the industrial property was foreclosed upon, and the company was evicted by Old National Bank. Approximately 10 people lost their jobs  as a result, Leonard estimated.

“Hopefully, our nightmare is over,” said Leonard. “Next time someone shows interest in this property, we need to do our research, do our homework, and conduct background checks. If we had done that in the first place, prior lawsuits and other problems on public record would have set red flags waving when he first came here.”

Windham Dirt Daubers, a 40 year old garden club, has decided to hang up their garden tools at the first of the year, citing declining membership as the primary reason. The club started May 10, 1971 after Susan Kauppila-Happel had envisioned forming a group of ladies to learn more about plants and flowers along with other related issues.   The members listed on the roster when they dissolved were Marilyn John, Diana Martin, Rita Light, Rita Greene, Debbie Davis, Angie Smithburger, Dawn Kahoun, Dona McGuire, and Lynnea St, John. Inactive members were Karen Hoskins, Pat Clayton and original member Pat Burns.

Over the years the group had been very busy in the community. They had planted flowering crab trees around the circle of the township Green, they landscaped the court yard at Katherine Thomas (K.T.) Elementary School, planted the garden in front of the community center, built, maintained and planted flowers at the welcome signs one sees as they enter the town. They also landscaped the school sign at the high school and held fundraisers for vinyl picnic tables for the high school and junior high.

More recently, the garden club has maintained and planted flowers at the gazebo, war monuments and post office along with the welcome signs.  The group not only planted the flowers, they watered them, weeded them and kept them looking great all season long. During the holiday season the group had always decorated the gazebo and served cookies for the community lighting ceremony, which they hope someone else will pick up where they left off.

Besides garden activities, the Dirt Daubers could be seen out supporting community causes as well. The group had worked with “Toys for Tots”, Salvation Army, the Athletic Boosters and had even purchased clothing for the children at K. T. Elementary Schools. They were committed to their community.

Along with working in their community, the group has had many guest speakers at their meetings speaking on a variety of topics that expanded their knowledge of gardening and other related topics. They even had a beekeeper come in to expand their knowledge of bees and how they relate to gardening. The club also had toured gardens over the years and most recently toured the Draime Estate Gardens in Howland which is owned by Kent State Horticulture. They were an active club that served their community diligently and will be sorely missed.

It was at the December township trustee meeting where Marilyn John, president of the club announced it was with great regret the garden club would disband on the first of January 2012. She cited declining membership and the age of current members was making it difficult to continue as the reasons behind the decision. John said she hoped the village and the township would continue to decorate for Christmas and has donated the decorations for the gazebo to the township.  The announcement at the meeting brought a statement from Chairman Dann Timmons, who said he was sorry to see them disband after being such an icon in the community for 40 years but he guessed it was a sign of the times, where as folks were just are not interested in garden clubs anymore.  Timmons,  along with the other two trustees, has vowed to see that the gazebo is decorated each year for the holidays.

The garden club will be sorely missed.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees opened the first meeting of the year with Jim Turos, Tom Matota and Joe Leonard in attendance along with Fiscal Officer J. David Finney. Prior to this meeting the trustees set an organizational meeting for 2012 and appointed Jim Turos chairman of the board and Tom Matota as the vice chairman of the board.

Chairman Jim Turos opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. The minutes from the special meeting were approved with corrections. The fiscal officer presented the bills and wages totaling $6399.74, grant application for Pierce Road and a letter from Portage County Solid Waste Management looking for support for their grant for tire recycling.

The board approved the bills and wages and agreed to support the grant for tire recycling.  Finney presented the application to the trustees for Pierce Road project grant. Prior to voting on it, trustee Matota made another suggestion. Matota said they could save money by just replacing the culvert instead of doing all the canal work with the waterway and it would also be finished much quicker than the county’s recommendation. Matota was concerned that the county’s plan would lower the depth of the culvert to a point that would make maintaining the culvert impossible for the township and would allow the silt to build up again and be a recurring problem. He was also concerned about the amount the project will cost. After a long period of discussion Leonard and Turos were not interested in deviating from the county’s plan for the project so they all agreed to file the application for the grant. Matota will help Finney with the specs and get the application filed.

Leonard reported that the fundraiser dinner for the food bank generated $1100 for the food bank. Leonard wanted to thank the Boy Scout Troop 4065 for helping with the dinner. They will probably hold 3-4 dinners a year for the food bank. Leonard also reported that U.S. Liquids is pulling out and the place should be vacated soon as the owner Mark Fuerst has been given an eviction notice. The trustees are still waiting on the results from the EPA on what is in the one tank at the plant that was supposed to be empty but wasn’t when the zoning inspector was at the facility late last year. The trustees and zoning inspector will re-inspect the property Friday, January 6, 2012 to see what U.S. Liquids has left behind.

Leonard updated everyone on the Pierce Road situation. The application for the grant needs to be filed; even though the grant has been approved, the township needs to formally apply for it. The township will need to obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers before bidding out the job. A rough estimate for work to commence is either late March or early April.

Leonard then asked the road supervisor about whether they kept log books for maintenance and fuel consumption of the trucks. Supervisor Chuck Vanek stated “Log books are kept for maintenance but not for fuel consumption,” Leonard suggested that they keep books for both. Vanek agreed to start a log book for the fuel consumption.

Matota suggested that the road crew attend both township meetings each month and give a proposed agenda of work they plan on completing between meetings. He also stated that he had received complaints from the Amish community about the road texture in the winter. The Amish claim the roads become brittle and the horses slide off the frozen roads;  they were not referring to the snow and ice, they were referring to the cold temperatures and the texture of the chip n-seal roads. Matota suggested that the township purchase sand to use so horses can get traction on the road. The board agreed to try the sand on the roads.

Vanek reported that he would like to repair the holes in the side of the truck bed but needed approval in order to purchase materials. After some discussion the trustees said he could but he needed to try several suppliers to get the best price on materials.

In zoning, Anna Mae Vanderhoven reported that they will have their day in court over the parking issue on State Route 282, she also asked when an accessory building is destroyed by fire if she could waive the fee for the building permit. Trustees agreed to waive the fee.

The board reneged on the appointment Joe Leonard to the EMS board and appointed Tom Matota to the board. Residents questioned the move and Matota said they should never have appointed anyone to any position in 2011 until the new trustee was in place in 2012. The appointment was done in 2011and Matota didn’t join the board until January 2012.

The trustees answered numerous questions about zoning issues, especially referring to the U.S. Liquids situation. Residents are angry over the situation and want the trustees to do something to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The trustees said they couldn’t; the only recourse they have is through their zoning code which is how they have been handling the situation. The residents were not happy with the answer.

 

The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the community house. More township information can be found at www.nelsontownshipohio.org

Windham Twp. – Windham township monthly meeting started off with its regular format and quickly turned ugly after the trustees voted to not renew 15 year veteran Road Supervisor Rich Gano’s contract. The board took care of the new year’s business of appointing chairman and vice chairmen, filling zoning board positions and appeals position along with approving temporary appropriations including choosing legal counsel. The board adjourned to executive session to discuss personnel matters and returned shortly there after.

Chairman Dann Timmons asked for a motion to renew Rich Gano’s contract as road supervisor and no motion came forth. He moved on and asked for a motion to renew Mike Dye’s contract, a motion was made and the vote was taken with a unanimous decision to renew his contract at the rate of $16/hour as a township employee. Again Timmons asked for a motion on Gano’s contract and again silence was the response. Timmons stated that they had to do something so finally Brian Miller made a motion to not renew Rich Gano’s contract and trustee Jesse Wirick seconded the motion. A voice vote was taken with the following results: Wirick, Yes; Miller, Yes; and Timmons, No. The motion carried with the trustees not renewing Gano’s contract. The residents in attendance were outraged and the meeting erupted with accusations of being unchristian, heartless and even having a vendetta against Gano, including accusing them of having some relative waiting in the wings to fill the slot.  Most of the accusations were directed at the two trustees who voted to not re-new the contract and at times even a few threats were hurled. Folks question who would be plowing the roads and if Dye was released to return to work yet (He had been on a medical leave)  and what would happen if we got hit with a big snow storm. Timmons responded by saying any of the trustees were capable of manning the plows and the roads would be done just as they had been done in the past. Residents wanted answers to why they chose not to renew his contract and trustees responded with, “We do not discuss personnel issues in an open meeting.”

It should be noted that Windham trustees traditionally offer 1 year contracts to employees and generally renew them at the beginning of each year.

In other employee issues the board voted to not renew Gano as the zoning inspector as well. A voice vote was taken with the following results Miller, Yes; Wirick, Yes;  Timmons, No.  Again the residents were outraged that the trustees would not re new his contract.

The trustees then voted to have Brian Miller serve as Road Supervisor, which again had the residents angry with their elected officials and accusing them of having an ulterior motive.

In other business, the trustees re-appointed Dann Timmons to represent them on the fire board. They are also working on finalizing road agreements with Braceville and Freedom. These two townships have roads that cross over into Windham Township and the trustees wanted some written agreement on which entity was maintaining and plowing which portion of the roads.  The trustee also appointed Lynnea St. John to the zoning board of appeals and Tom Perry to the zoning commission. They also agreed to use the prosecutor’s office as a first line of legal counsel and Mark Finemore for other legal issues.

The board then accepted the Master’s Builder bid of $3408 for replacing ceiling tiles in the upper meeting room and sheriff’s office housed at the town hall.  Lastly the board agreed to advertise for résumés for township worker and zoning inspector with résumés due by the next meeting which will be February 2, 2012 @ 7pm.

Lt Gov Mary Taylor

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, speaking with Portage County small business owners gathered at Lakeside Sand & Gravel in Mantua for a roundtable discussion about Ohio's Common Sense Initiative (CSI) on January 9. (Photo by Estelle R. Brown)

Mantua – Lakeside Sand & Gravel became the backdrop for a visit from Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor on January 9. It was a stop along Taylor’s journey throughout the state, gathering local business leaders’ concerns about government regulations and promoting the state’s Common Sense Initiative (CSI), designed to “push back against the feds and government regulations when they’re over-reaching.”

CSI Ohio was launched one year ago by Republican Gov. John R. Kasich to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies to help make Ohio a jobs and business-friendly state. CSI Ohio reviews Ohio’s regulatory system to eliminate excessive and duplicative rules and regulations that stand in the way of job creation.

A Summit County native, Taylor was sworn in as Ohio’s 65th Lieutenant Governor on January 10, 2011, the same day Gov. Kasich named her to lead the CSI project to reform Ohio’s regulatory policies, as well as to serve as the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.

Lakeside’s aggregate business was founded in 1954 by Harry and Henry Kotkowski. Today, it’s a third-generation family business. On Monday afternoon, the Kotkowski family hosted the roundtable in an outbuilding filled with antique mining equipment, with Taylor and Portage County business leaders and local government representatives.

Ben Kotkowski said the roundtable was brought to Lakeside due to their involvement with the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which provides feedback regarding state regulations. Taylor said that “things are starting to turn around” for Ohio’s economy. She was here to get local ideas about what it will take for Ohio to continue to grow in its business-friendly practices.

Invoking Gov. Kasich’s pro-business approach, Talyor said, “We’re trying to break down barriers of bureaucracy and go in a new direction so that new business is attracted to Ohio.” As part of that effort, as of January 1, 2012, anytime a government agency considers imposing a new rule affecting small business, it must first be reviewed according to the CSI process to weed out unintended consequences that could hurt business.

“We know that new rules can be costly to small business, so we want to figure out how small business can comply in a less expensive way. Regulations must be fair, simple, transparent and open,” she said.

…Unlike President Obama’s health care reform initiative, Taylor suggested. She estimated the health care bill could force 10-15% increases in health benefit rates small businesses will be expected to pay out. “Every dollar the government requires is one less dollar available for small business to invest in new technologies, expansion or creating jobs,” Taylor said.

Local business owners shared frustrations common to fellow Ohioans Taylor has already met on her roundtable tour. Common themes include costs associated with workers’ compensation, insurance and legal fees required to file small claims; EPA regulations that halt progress and expansion in the U.S. while China takes over industries that once defined the American way; increased government spending on unnecessary highway/traffic improvement projects; education funding and teachers’ salary reform; an unskilled and under-educated work force; union-related costs; dependence on foreign energy, etc.[pulledquote]“We’re trying to break down barriers of bureaucracy and go in a new direction so that new business is attracted to Ohio.” [/pulledquote]

This laundry list “screams the problems we’re facing in Ohio,” Taylor concluded.”It will take a little time. You push at the local level. I’ll push at the state level. All levels of government need to change the way they’re run. Government needs to function differently.”

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Jaret Doraski had high game for the 11:00 Trio League with 182, while Ethan Dubasik shot high series with 460.  Trevor Matheney just missed a triplicate; Trevor rolled 149 each of the first two games and 147 the last game for a very nice 445 series,79 over average for the day.  David Durst tossed a very nice 166 his second game, 56 pins over his 110 average.   Joey Ewell started the day with a 160 game, 50 pins over average.  Then Joey shot games of 118 and 143 for a nice 421 series, 91 over for the day.

I commented earlier in this season about how impressive it is when bowlers shoot over average all three games for the day.  But Belladonna Titschinger has done it three weeks in a row — nine straight games over average.  This week, Belladonna shot 117, 137, and 120, for a 374 series, 80 pins over for the set.

Other nice games:  Zach Britton, 150 (44 over), Cameron King, 166 (37 over), Ali Franklin, 144 (33 over), Jacob Britton, 121 (31 over), Taylor Mick, 139 (30 over), Emma Dockery, 170 (29 over), Nick Toke, 152 (27 over), and Adam Tanner, 165 (25 over).

Eric Lawless had the high game in the 9:00 Trio League with a very nice 163.  High series went to Kassie Fedor with 415.  Hannah Madden rolled three games over her average.  Hannah’s games of 73, 74, and 82 put her at 70 pins over average for the day.  Stephen Miller’s 137 game was 46 pins over average.  Other good games:  Wilson Jackson, 96, (33 over), Barrett Jackson, 115 (29 over), Makayla Gough, 113 (28 over), and Ryleigh Gough, 106 (27 over).

For the PeeWees, Alex Gage had high game with 124.  Other games over the 100 mark were rolled by David Ittel, 105, and Zach Seebacher, 103.  Other nice games were rolled by Grace Ittel with 96 and Brooklyn Horner with 92..

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.

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.

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.

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.