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Windham - RIF (Reduction in Force) has become the buzzword of the community and throughout the school district as the administration of Windham School looks to reduce staff as they wait on the impending governor’s proposed budget. The anticipated cuts are expected to be deep and in the small district, the cuts are also being felt at the heart level.  Superintendent Gregg Isler stated that he feels like the teachers, administrators, and community are pawns in the politician’s hands as they waited for Governor Kasich’s proposed budget to be announced. The budget was announced late last week which left school treasurers all over the state sending a flurry of emails and calls to the state office. Windham Schools were among the flurry as school treasurer Dawn Altman tried to decipher the figures and determine how it would affect the district.

The first hint the public had that there would be some deep cuts in the district came about three weeks ago after Superintendent Isler informed union president Wendy Bennett that there would be a RIF made at the end of the school year. Once Isler notified the union he began personally notifying each staff member that their position could possibly be eliminated at the end of the year. Like in any small town, it didn’t take long before the news had hit the streets and the town was all-a-buzz about the impending reductions. Rumors, all  unfounded, began to circulate and folks began to speculate on the future of the district, with some claiming the school might close. I reiterate, the school is not closing. Although the community was taken aback by the news, many knew that with a new state administration that change was a-coming, but no one anticipated that it would be this drastic.

The administration looked long and hard trying to find away to survive and the only way was to make a reduction in staff.  Isler said it was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make, however in order for the district to thrive, cuts have to be made. He cited declining enrollment, reduction in tax revenue and state funding being reduced as the primary reasons for the RIF.

The proposed reductions they anticipate having to make were announced March 23, 2011 at the regular board meeting after two executive sessions. The proposed position reductions as of March 23, 2011 are as follows: four educational aides, three general aides, one custodial/maintenance position, one bus driver, one secretary, 1?2 mechanic/maintenance position, two JR./Sr. High computer science/business department,  two Jr./Sr. High consumer science, homemaking consumer education, home economics, one music position (7-12) choir, one music position, (K-12) Band, one art position,(K-12), four elementary teaching positions, one industrial arts, three special education positions, and one school psychologist. Note these are positions being eliminated,  not necessarily the staff member that holds the position. Isler stated that depending on retirements and the flexibility of the state budget some of these positions maybe reinstated or partially reinstated. Two of the proposed position cuts were funded by the stimulus money the school received from the federal level two years ago. The stimulus money was only for two years and after this year that money is gone and will not be returning. Those two positions are figured in the list of RIFs.

When asked about whether they intended to cut athletic programs or go to “pay to play”    he stated they had discussed it but, since the sports programs are self-supporting,  they didn’t need to change them at this time. Isler also stated that if they went to “pay to play” or eliminated some athletic programs students would open enroll elsewhere so they could continue their sports career which would take more tax dollars away from the district. So for now they were not making any changes to athletics. He was also asked about whether they would be making any cuts in transportation he said they would be adjusting their transportation routes because they will reduce their drivers by one.

The specific staff members affected by the RIF are yet to be determined. Seniority, credentials, etc. will play a role in who will be kept and who will be laid off.  Isler stated, “Reducing the staff by 26 1?2 is a big hit for a small district and it is more than just numbers, we are like a family and this really hurts. It has been very difficult, the last few weeks, we are a tight community and many of the staff members not only reside in the district, but are graduates from Windham and have or had kids in the school system. No one wants to see anyone lose their job but sometimes there aren’t any other options.”

Isler said he is proud of the staff because even with all the uncertainty, the staff has continued to remain professional as they carry on with their daily responsibilities throughout the ordeal. Everything has continued as it had in the past and he expects that to be the case as the situation plays out.

 

Geauga County – Maple Max has had one exciting year! He was officially “born” last March after an extensive contest had local elementary school students submitting possible names for the new Geauga County Tourism ambassador. Madison Wilson, from Newbury Elementary School submitted the name Maple Max and it was the top scoring vote with Geauga County Tourism Members.

In his first year Maple Max has really traveled the county. He has visited over 80 area businesses, and attended many special events. He has been on the radio, rode in the Maple Festival Parade, met visitors from many states & countries, and has written a monthly column called “Maple Max on the Move”. Max is featured in a monthly contest, “Where in the County is Maple Max?” in the Tourism Newsletter and has been featured in the 2011 Geauga County Visitor Guide with a contest to see how many times he can be found  throughout the Guide.

March is his favorite month! So far this month he has enjoyed a variety of Maple Sugaring events, and taken part in a video shot in the county. He has enjoyed pancakes at the Geauga County Historical Society and participated in rehearsals for “Into the Woods” at the Geauga Lyric Theater. Should you run into Maple Max at an event, please feel free to snap a picture and post it to the Geauga County Tourism Facebook page!

Keep up with the adventures of Maple Max by “liking” Geauga County Tourism on Facebook or following MsGeauga on Twitter. You can also visit www.TourGeauga.com  to sign up for a monthly newsletter or for ongoing information on upcoming events. Call 440-632-1548 or 800-775-TOUR for your Visitor Guide.

 

“Consider the ladies”…as First Lady Abigail Adams wrote to her destined-to-be-second-U.S.-President John Adams when he was one of the patriots, politicos and visionaries laboring to write a constitution for the new nation, the United States of America.

Mrs. Adams didn’t have a whole lot of luck at influencing the direction that took but the James A. Garfield School District has been well-served by the ladies, as witnessed by this year’s Hall of Fame honorees, Jami Bray Mirka, ’83 and Sarah Thompson, ’98.  Consider them :

Nineteen eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two and eighty-three saw the Lady G-Men riding high in both volleyball and basketball, securing regional qualifier status twice in volleyball (‘80&’81), sectional championships in volleyball (’80 & ’81) and basketball (’82-’83), district championships in volleyball in’80 and ’81, district qualification in basketball in ‘82-’83, county championships in volleyball in ’80, ’81 and ’82.  Whew!

And one of the kingpins–er, queenpins?–of these teams (two other members have already been named to the HOF) was Jami Bray Mirka…who did not go unrecognized at the time.  She was chosen for the all-county VB first team in ’81 and ’82, received honorable mention on the all-county BB team in’81-’82 as well as first team selection for ’82-’83.  The Lady G-Men had 37 straight league victories in VB over a three-year period.  Some ladies, huh?  Jami earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball as a starter all four years.  While all of this was going on, she was also serving as scorekeeper/statistician for boys’ sports–basketball, track, football.

She then shifted gears, so to speak, and attended the Ohio State University to take a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Economics; basketball and volleyball became intramurals pursuits.  She has had work published (The title is looooong, as is anything in econ .or international relations.) and has served as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Campbell University.  A stint  at a Nature center in N.C might be considered another shift, a fun one.  A husband and two daughters who are also avid volleyball players and fans have been part of the trip…a grand ride for a grand athlete!

Sarah Thompson saw the same kind of scenery on her athletic journey, dotted with varsity letters in volleyball(3), basketball(3) and softball(4), coach’s awards(3) an umpire’s award, a leadership award, first team selection for Div. III volleyball (’97) three PCL league championships(’95,’96,’97), one district championship (’95)one regional runner-up, one district runner-up spot, two sectional championships.  Strong teamwork and outstanding talent across the board made the Lady G-Men a power to be reckoned with in the area; one of the sparkplugs and powerhouse players was Sarah.  It didn’t hurt that she also played on the Ohio Bandits of the National Fastpitch Association.  That team placed as national runners-up in  1995; Sarah took the Most Improved Player Award in 1997, the Player Appreciation Award in 1998.  In 1999 she was named to the Ohio Bandits Hall of Fame.  Then it was on to Lakeland Community College and more of the same.

Sarah was named NJCAA LCC Female Athlete of the Year in 1998-99, Most Valuable Player and NJCAA Region XII All-Tournament Team ,achieved a Region XII Division I Championship and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1999-00.  This resume’ probably had something to do with her serving as assistant varsity softball coach at Ravenna H.S. in 2003.

Having received  her associate’s degree from Lakeland in 2000, Sarah persevered in her academic track at Kent State University, securing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies.  She’s currently working as a neuro tech  with Neurology & Neuroscience Associates…and a shortstop at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company.  Still a great team player.

 

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Historical Society looked ahead  to:  possible future programs, attendance at the Portage County Historical Society local history societies forum on March 26, a committee to  make costume selections for the vintage pix opportunity to be offered at the SummerFest, a backdrop for said photos, checking out available Jaguar yearbooks at Garfield H.S., the purchase of a stereopticon slide on e-Bay, welcoming a new member, Debbie Smith, new donations…and   the PROJECT–Antique Roadshow, Garfield style/Appraisal Fair set for August 20.

Julie Frederickson outlined the status of the paperwork and promotion entailed in the activity, gave names of local experts who will be assisting (More on that later), asked for discussion on pricing for participation–one item, $5, three items, $10–indicated that the  Garfield Middle School facilities were available.  This is sure to be an interesting and entertaining day, as folks far and wide trot out Aunt Elsie’s bone china or Uncle Dorrel’s coin collection, or that funny old picture that was in Grandma’s parlor.  Everyone should start their spring cleaning with this event in mind.

One of their very own antiques, Helen Danku, had developed a crack when she fell and broke her arm.  She is being missed but will, undoubtedly, be up and about sooner rather than later.  Good material, good workmanship…priceless.

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Mantua – On Thursday, March 3, lifetime St. Joseph, Mantua, parishioner, Br. James Peter Trares visited the Parish School of Religion students and thanked them for the statue of St. Joseph and the cards which were recently sent to him. He also spoke about his novitiate year experience in Denver, CO, with the Dominican Central Province and answered questions from the classes. To learn more about the Dominican Central Province, go to www.domcentral.org.

 

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Burton – The senior nursing students in Community Health Nursing at Kent State University at Geauga planned and implemented a community health and wellness fair on Wednesday, March 16th at the Geauga Campus in Burton. Several community agencies participated, including:  the Department on Aging with a balance screening, Visiting Angels, River of Life, WIC, MRC, Briar Hill, Mental Health Association, Lake Geauga Recovery, Geauga Medical Center Orthopedics, Parkside Care Corps, and Middlefield Library. Four KSU departments had tables: the library, student services, Geauga Student Nurse Association, and the School of Public Health.

Six majors or disciplines were represented by student poster presentations: psychology, sociology, nutrition, microbiology, geology, and nursing. The students researched health-related topics and designed posters bringing theory to practice, sharing this information with the public visitors at the fair. The senior nursing students researched topics related to the health of the people in our Geauga Community, presented information on health promotion and disease prevention, and did health screenings such as blood pressures, pulse oximetry readings, height and weight measurements, and body mass index calculations. With these screenings they offered possible interventions to improve the participant’s health such as increasing activity, follow up with health care providers, and improving health through better food choices. During the month of April, the students will take their poster presentations to area senior centers to share their research.

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Windham - Windham Library is proud to announce the winner of our “Guess the Number of Tootsie Rolls” contest.  Jonathan Clark is our lucky winner and, along with the tootsie rolls, he gets a big Irish mug to fill with whatever he wants. Congratulations Jonathan Clark.

For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9005 Wilverne Drive, is open Monday and Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm-6:30 pm; and closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For additional information about library programs and services, please visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville – Zoe Swenson and Adam Norris won their respective divisions for the 4th grade PTO chess tournament.  Congratulations to them both!  The tournament was held over their lunch break for several weeks, and they recently competed in the finals.

For the boys, Chad Angermeier came in second while Nathanael Dech came in third.  For the girls, Trinity Syvertson came in second and Erica Musgrove took third.

The tournament was sponsored by the Garfield PTO and the elementary school.  Students were invited to come during their lunch once a week and play chess, checkers, cards, or even just read a book.  Over sixty-five different students participated in the program.  Special thanks to the PTO and principal Keri Dornack for providing the prizes to the winners.

 

Hiram - Hiram College’s Theatre Department opened the doors of its new Renner Black Box Theatre on campus last weekend with sold-out performances of the 1967 hippie-rock musical, HAIR.

The new theatre, built in a space formerly occupied by three art studios in Frohring Art Building, was just recently completed. The cast of 22 diverse student performers with varying levels of stage experience had nine weeks to rehearse before performing to sold-out crowds on March 24-26.

Directed by Theatre Department Chair Betsy Bauman, the anti-Vietnam War production was staged as part of the college’s investigation into the theme of war. (Bauman also served as costume designer for the show. The Musical Director was Dawn Sonntag.)

The new theatre offers more flexibility than a traditional set, featuring a rounded, movable stage with large terraced steps encircling it. The smaller, more intimate space seats 50-100 people on risers, allowing Hiram theatre students to interact more with the audience. This proved to be effective and sometimes unnerving to HAIR audiences, who were subject to close encounters with actors and actresses disrobing to various degrees, gyrating and shouting obscenities, according to the script. It also brought the audience uncomfortably close to the bitterness, tortured idealism and confusion expressed by the young characters as they faced the prospect of being drafted into a war they were opposed to.

Audience members were carried along in the wave of rebellion that hippies waged – not only against the war – but against The Establishment and the strict conformities imposed by governmental, educational and religious institutions, as well as parents. As they faced the very real threat of trading in a carefree youth for the horrors of war, the ‘tribe’ of hippies in HAIR sang and danced their way into a communal last hurrah punctuated by a certain sweetness, free love, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, long hair, wild clothes, transcendental meditation, political protests, hero worship, flower power, and whatever methods of escapism they could devise.

When the defiant HAIR first burst onto the stage 44 years ago in New York, it was unrelentingly offensive to The Establishment, which condemned it for its blatant use of profanity, partial nudity, promiscuity, rebellion, irreverence, illegal drug use, anti-patriotism, draft-dodging, sarcasm, etc. But to hippies and non-violent sympathizers since, the daring production captured the tarnished hopes and lost innocence of a conflicted generation. It catapulted onto Broadway and ran for 1,750 performances before being staged throughout the world in later years, and becoming a feature film in 1979.

HAIR also birthed a rich soundtrack of enduring rock classics like “The Age of Aquarius”, “Hair”, “Easy to be Hard”, “Good Morning Starshine”, “Let the Sunshine In” and more. The cast sang a total of 32 numbers and kept up a dizzying pace of choreography and costume changes as they spread out onstage, up on catwalks and down the aisles of Hiram College’s black-walled theatre.

The band, barely visible in the pit behind the stage, brought the soundtrack to life under the guidance of Associate Musical Director Kurt Sauer with   keyboard, guitars, drums and percussion. The use of gunshots, strobe lights, and the sound of choppers overhead completed the Vietnam-era trippy effect of the show.

While larger productions are still put on at Hayden Auditorium, Hiram College’s new black box theatre has introduced additional opportunities for study in theatrical performance, technical theatre and design, and theatre history and dramatic literature. The art department, which previously used the space for student work and displays, has relocated to Gelbke Hall.

The $2 million project is being carried out over two phases. The just-completed construction phase cost $850,000 and includes the black box theatre, asbestos removal, plus heating and air conditioning. The second phase will involve a complete renovation of the Frohring building.

Windham – Windham Village met for their regulary scheduled meeting recently with all council members present. Fiscal Officer Lloyd Billman presented the expenditures for the month of February. They were $155,492.52 with a bank reconciliation of $524,008.46 with all funds reconciled.
Council President Linda Rininger reminded council member that every meeting was a public forum and even their comments are public record.
Other items on the agenda were the approval of a contract with the Portage County District Library for a branch of the library to be located in the village of Windham. Council approved the purchase of two Crown Victoria Police cruisers, ratifying the action of the police chief taken to purchase cruisers. In zoning, chairman Phil Snyder stated that they were still working on obtaining the rights to remove the two hazardous mobile homes in the village that have been abandoned and allegedly been foreclosed on. Snyder hopes they can get them removed soon.
In the mayor’s report, Rob Donham reported that they would be breaking ground at Camp Ravenna for the new water and sewer project. The ground breaking was scheduled for March 23, 2011. He also reported that they will be opening the North Gate (gate in Windham) for a few hours each evening in April so the soldiers can have access to Windham’s restaurant, laundromat, barber etc. Also in the mayor’s report was that they plan on taking down another six buildings in the projects this summer and possible even more. Lastly, he praised the chief of police on the increase of citations and warnings issued. In previous months the police department had only issued a few citations; this month they had issued over 40 tickets and 30 warnings.
A resident asked about changing the village’s policy on 6” house numbers. The resident wanted to know if 3” house numbers would suffice. The resident brought a sample of how large 3” numbers are. The village solicitor looked up the ordinance that addresses the issue and said they would have to research the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) on house numbers. He said if the ORC says it has to be 6” they can not override the ORC, however if it is an ordinance than that could be changed if council wanted to do it.
Another question was raised about on-street parking in the new homes area and if they were planning on posting more signs within the development. The mayor stated, along with several council members, that there is no parking on any street in the area because of the narrow streets. He also stated “That folks who have a driver’s license should know the laws and know that it is illegal for one to block a traffic lane.” He went onto say that more signage would be a waste of money since people do not obey the signs anyways. The mayor did say that parking permits for special occaions are offered; one would need to contact the police department to obtain one. There being no other business the meeting was adjourned.
Windham Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm in council chambers.

Hiram – Hiram College will be holding its first annual Relay For Life, student-run event located at Charles A. Henry Field on April 1, 2011, starting at 6 p.m. until April 2, 2011, at 12 p.m. Hiram College’s official Relay For Life website has been running since late October and within just five months, teams have formed and have raised over $11,000 for The American Cancer Society.
Hiram College’s Relay For Life will be 18 hours in length, filled not only with people walking on the track, but fun and excitement to be had by all. There will be games and entertainment, featuring hot air balloon rides, five bands and the traditional luminaria ceremony. As the day turns to night, Henry Field will be lit by the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. The press and media are invited to attend these two days of celebration and remembrance.
Hiram prides itself in being a close-knit, diverse community where people support each other. Since the majority of the campus has been touched by cancer in some way, Relay For Life is when the Hiram campus can come together to share stories, honor loved ones and fight back against this horrible disease.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. At Relay For Life of Hiram College, teams will camp out at Henry Field and will take turns walking or running around the outdoor track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events.
For more information, you can visit Hiram’s Relay For Life’s website http://www.relayforlife.org/hiramcollege. Once on the website, you can learn about this great cause, make a donation or register as a participant for April 1-2. As a participant, it is recommended that each person raise at least $100.
Every dollar raised helps The American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with more birthdays. Its goal is to help people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back at community events, such as Relay For Life of Hiram College.

Windham - The weather was pure northeast Ohio in springtime–damp, cold, windy, gray–but the mood was upbeat as a dozen-plus Ohio Army National Guard personnel and a near-equal number of interested civilians gathered at Camp Ravenna (known to most of the locals as “The Arsenal”) for a ceremonial ground-breaking and dedication of the first phase of the Tactical Training Base sanitary sewer, water and gas infrastructure project.
The Village of Windham, whose hometown infrastructure is key to the operation of the project, was represented by Mayor Robert Donham and council president Linda Rininger, as well as councilpersons Rachel Barrett and Mike Iwanyckyj. Lynnea St. John, of the Windham Historical Society, was present to record the latest stitch in the colorful tapestry of the community’s story. Maureen T. Frederick, president of the Portage County Board of Commissioners and Timothy Ryan of Ohio’s 17th Congressional District headed the slate of civilian dignitaries present. Military brass in attendance included LTC Gregory W. Rogers of the ONG Military Construction Branch, COL. John C. Harris, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General for the Army ONG and COL Wm. H. Graham , District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. Representatives of WKBN 27 and WFMJ 21 of Youngstown captured it all for the 6:00 news.
The project, funded by the Ohio Army National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Portage County, will put $3,152,511 into the area economy. It will start at the intersection of S. Main St. and Center St.(St. Rte 303) in the Village of Windham, extending through the North Gate of Camp Ravenna south along the former Paris-Windham Rd. It will include the design and construction of water mains, sanitary sewers and gas mains to serve training facilities at Camp Ravenna. There are big plans afoot for the camp, including a “shoot house”, a bath house (presumably not too close to each other), a dining hall and other possibilities falling under the rubric of “neighborhood development”
Representative Ryan pointed out the benefits of using current assets to further economic developments and Commissioner Frederick alluded to the continuing prominence of “the Arsenal” for Portage County residents. The importance of Portage County water resources also figured in the remarks. Camp Ravenna covers over 21,000 A….pretty big. Bigger things are coming.

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Twentieth Century Club has had two meetings in March with the programs switched from one to the other.
Confused?, we were not!.
On March 3rd we were at Mary Furillo’s home (as nice as always) with Margaret Clapp co-hosting.
Does everyone remembers Margaret’s carrot cake from the club cook book? Well she showed us again, how it is done!.
Our roll call for the night was your favorite car & by the sound of it girls like their cars just as much as the boys!.
Jeanette Hall presented the program originally set for later in month, appreciated just the same.
We learned about the Florida Everglades as one of the most unique eco-systems in the world.
For the March 17th meeting we went to Jan Boehm’s home, which is always a treat & makes the girls feel like their old fantasy tea parties, except it is for real!. Her co-hostess was Alma Jones (very gracious).
Roll call, “name a Native American tribe” was one of most interesting for the year.
Program for the night was presented by Betty Clapp on the cliff Dwellers & Betty had some of her own pictures from her trip years ago along with facts & figures.
Our last meeting for the year will be our Spring party at the Mill in Garrettsville on April 7th to come home after a wonderful journey around our country this year. Be there around 6:00 to 6:15p to be seated.
This night we will install the new officers & get ready for another year of adventure with the 20th Century Club.

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Now that the High School bowling season is completed, the Teen Texas Shoot-Out League has begun.  A number of good scores have been posted already – Howie (Taz) Moore started the first week with a 611 series and followed it up this week with 245-195-225 for a 665 series, giving him a 212 average for the first two weeks.   Clarke Kolmorgan’s 636 series was high for the first week.  Clarke rolled a 224 game in each of the first two weeks.  Kyle Bolton shot 602 this week, with a 221 his first game.  Kyle also rolled a 233 game last week.  Ashly Bernatowicz is high for the girls with a 213 game and 566 series.  Kim Wampler had the second high series with 494 and Anna Brigham had a 192 game.  Brent Jones had a 225 game last week, and Cody Berg rolled 203-586.
Last week’s high bowler in the 9:00 Trio League was Ashleigh Quiggle.  Ashleigh had the high game with 145 and high series with 374.  Courtney Lytle was not far behind, with a 131 game and 364 series.   Other nice games:  Joey Ewell, 129 (40 pins over), Kassie Fedor, 140 (37 pins over), Ericq Williams, 107 (29 pins over), Floria Gerardino, 105 (27 pins over), and Nathan Pallotto, 110 (27 pins over).
This week’s high game and series belonged to Kassie Fedor.  Kassie rolled a 187 her last game for a 389 series.  Adam Norris rolled 155 his first game, a career high game for him.  Adam ended up with a 371 series, 89 pins over average for the day.  Drew Tushar also rolled a nice 374 set, with games of 136 and 137.  Joey Ewell was over average all three games.  Joey’s average is 89 and he shot games of 119, 107, and 120, to give him a 346 series, 79 pins over for the day.  Some other good games were rolled by Nathan Slaughter, 125 (44 pins over average), Danielle Tuttle, 119 (40 pins over), Cassie Painley, 112 (31 pins over), Jack Norris, 92 (31 pins over), Eric Lawless, 122 (30 pins over), Ashleigh Quiggle, 135 (30 pins over), Floria Gerardino, 108 (29 pins over), and Makayla Gough, 108 (27 pins over).
In the 11:00 Trio League last week Zach Hoffmann had high game with 214 and high series with 555.  Kim Wampler bowled 168-166-169 for a 503 series.   Other good games:  Jessica Potteiger, 201, Kaylee Brigham, 158 (48 pins over average), Ethan Dubasik, 157 (46 pins over), Noah Shannon, 180 (46 pins over), Austin Sledz, 108 (40 pins over), and Emma Kerr, 105 (34 pins over).
This week the high game and high series belonged to Jaret Doraski.  Jaret rolled games of 157, 175, and 190 for a nice 522 series.  Kayla Hunt was 114 pins over her average for the day.  Kayla, who averages 69, had games of 114, 110 and 97 for a very nice 321 series.  Other top scores:  Ethan Hoffmann, 177 (53 pins over), Ali Franklin, 158 (44 pins over), Jessica Potteiger, 193 (40 pins over), and Emma Kerr, 104 (32 pins over).
Several of the 9:00 PeeWees bowled very good games last week:  Travis Horner with 119, Isaac Trickett with 111, and Zach Seebacher with 107.  Isaac continued his over-100 score streak this week with a 101.   Other nice scores rolled in the bumper league:  Eric Schaefer, 98, and Madison Durosko, 98 (her season high game).
In the 11:00 bumper league, Darrion Sidwell rolled a 122 game.  Other nice scores:  Kenny Mangan, 90 and 95, Ian Huebner, 91, Jordan Kwiecinsky, 100.

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Emotions run high regarding Ohio Senate Bill 5, by which Ohio Governor John Kasich and fellow Republicans propose to cut costs by restricting public employees’ right to collective bargaining. The proposed limits would affect about 350,000 public workers in Ohio, including teachers, police and firefighters.
Senate Bill 5 would ban strikes and severely limit the collective bargaining rights of union workers, allowing them to negotiate for wages, hours and certain work conditions, but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. The measure would do away with automatic pay raises and base future wage increases on merit.
The legislation would also set up a new process to settle worker disputes, giving elected officials the final say in contract disagreements. Binding arbitration, which police officers and firefighters use to resolve contract disputes as an alternative to strikes, would be eliminated.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Shannon Jones, said the bill, which would change a 27-year-old Ohio law, is long overdue and would help state and local governments control costs. The bill was narrowly approved (17-16) by the Ohio Senate on March 2, but awaits the approval of the GOP-controlled House and Kasich. Six Republicans sided with Democrats against the measure. It is currently being debated in the Ohio House.
The Portage County TEA Party has invited Ohio State Senator Tim Grendell as the featured speaker at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 24  at 7 p.m. at the Maplewood Career Center, 7075 Ohio Rt. 88, just north of Ravenna. The question-and-answer meeting is open to all members of the Portage County TEA Party as well as all citizens of Portage County. Grendell — considered a conservative — was one of the six Republicans to vote against Senate Bill 5.
Democrats and union workers rally against the bill as a power grab by the rich, attacking the middle class by attempting to balance the budget on the backs of union workers. TEA Party members typically side with Republicans, saying it’s time for public sector benefits to match private sector employee benefits, especially at a time when the state is suffering from an $8 billion deficit.
Anti-SB5 demonstrations have sprung up throughout Ohio, notably at the State Capitol and throughout Portage County. On March 14, thousands of workers in hard hats and gear marched to the Capitol grounds behind a delegation of bagpipes and drums, chanting, “Kill the bill!” and carrying signs like, “Hitler broke the unions in 1933, Kasich wants to do it in 2011.”
At the local level, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles; State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent; and State Sen. Tom Sawyer, D-Akron, joined about 500 opponents of the bill in the Rally for Ohio’s Middle Class on March 7 at the Ravenna Elks Lodge. Outside, a crowd of about 250 listened to remarks broadcast from the meeting. The rally drew representatives of Youngstown and Lordstown labor unions, as well as teachers, police and firefighters.
Meanwhile, about 150 members of the Portage County Tea Party, which supports Senate Bill 5, countered the Rally for Ohio’s Middle Class with its own pro-Bill rally across from the anti-Bill event.
The Kent State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors held a rally against Senate Bill 5 on March 15 at The Kent Stage. The Rally for Worker’s Rights was part of a statewide day of rallies organized by the coalition of public workers known as Stand up for Ohio.
The bill does not eliminate unions at the university level but reduces negotiable topics to pay and benefits. It also would forbid union members from taking part in management decisions. Union leaders have protested the change, saying it essentially would ban professors from joining a union as many are required to help develop curriculum and participate in other management decisions. The proposed changes would give officials at public universities across the state the additional flexibility to fire, furlough and transfer employees, helping balance what likely are to be difficult budget cuts.
Opponents to the bill claim that SB 5 would only make a small dent in the state’s budget. Some assert that the solution is to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Others say it’s time for cuts to public employees, stating that the private sector can no longer support the public sector in the manner they’ve become accustomed to. The original collective bargaining law was passed nearly 30 years ago.
Since clearing the Ohio Senate by one vote in early March, the bill has moved to a committee in the House of Representatives. After six hearings, Senate Bill 5 will not be put to a vote this week in order to allow House Republicans and Democrats time to draft amendments that may be added to the bill.
Even if passed by Ohio lawmakers, this may not be the end of the story. This thorny issue may be placed before voters in coming months.

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Garrettsville – The Portage County Engineer’s office is responsible for safety and maintenance for the two bridges on Liberty Street.
The County Engineers have closed the Liberty Street Bridge between Center St and Park Ave. and the sidewalk/bridge near Water St and Liberty St. after their annual bridge inspection on Friday last week.
Drivers on Liberty Street should use caution when approaching the bridge at Water and Liberty for pedestrian safety. The curve and the narrow road make it important for drivers to slow down below the 25 MPH speed limit to assurer pedestrian safety.
I will update the bridge repair schedule when I have had a chance to talk to the County Engineer.
The Village Council and Mayor and Clerk will hold a Finance Review work session   at 6:45 May 11, 2011 before the Council meeting which starts at 7:30PM.
The financial review will look to the past two years and our current budget information to make sure we have a good perspective on what we know and what we do not know about the village’s financial position  going forward
Related to Village finances in 20012 and 2013Recently the Governor’s office has proposed a reduction in local funds by 25% in 2012 and 50% in 2013 which translates into an approximate reduction to Garrettsville of $35,000 in 2012.
In other news, Council has authorized the Mayor to gather information and explore the possible donation of the Paul’s Lumber Yard property from Sun Life Financial who is the  current owner.

The St. Patrick’s Day Celebration was a rousing success.

After a difficult winter, plans for much-needed road repairs include cold patch for potholes, hot patch when asphalt plants are open, crack sealing and chip-and- seal on some roads and the Village parking lots.  Also slated as the village budget allows, plans for grinding out and repaving small parts of State Route 88 and State Route 82.

Council has authorized a new canine vehicle for” Taz” our police dog and Lt.  Christopher, his handler, at a cost of $48,000 fully- equipped and a dump truck/snow plow for the Street Department at a cost of about $50,000.
The annual eight community Garage Sale is slated for May 21 and 22nd with Village cleanup to follow May 26th.

 

The James A. Garfield High School Hall of Fame returns.  Honorees in this year’s class total six, with one a holdover from a previous flight who will finally face the music (Fight Song, anyone?)after being deferred  from a previous ceremony.
Who are these worthy individuals?  Read on.
First up : Daniel James Gallagher, Class of 1970.  Dan made his mark in three sports, baseball, wrestling and football.  Baseball had the shortest run (ha), with appearances on the Crestwood Hot Stove All-Star teams in ’63 & ’64 and Garfield varsity ball in his freshman year.  Work in the family business intervened and Dan’s time was then limited to wrestling and football.
Some limits!  Dan wrestled–and lettered–in his freshman, sophomore and senior years in four different weight classes (junior year went to work), placing 4th in the county in 1967 & 1970.  Football was his real passion and it showed.  His junior high team (nobody had middle schools then) was undefeated.  He played on the freshman team (Yes, there was a separate freshman team ), then earned three varsity letters.  The 1969 season saw ten G-Men placed on the county squad, with Dan Gallagher as 1st team defensive middle guard (alongside Jack Lambert, of Steeler fame).  The Record-Courier recognized Dan on its all-star team and he picked up a trophy for “Most Improved “.Dan then spent seven years in the Army National Guard, serving stateside as the Viet Nam era ended.
The Soap Box Derby in Portage County owes much to Dan’s involvement.  He led the push to stage the event in Mantua and smiled to see his children–Shannon, 4th place in international competition, Tyler, World Title in 2005–and neighbor RickiLea Murphy bring home honors.
What does he do for fun?  Well, guess how the National Honor Society got the rock placed in front of the high school building.  Guess who competed–at age 43–and took first place in his age class in the Badger Open Wrestling Tournament at 167 lbs.  And he still runs the family business ( twenty years in the student employment program).  Worthy of recognition in many areas.
Chronologically, next comes Gary Brunn, Class of 1973.  Gary was nominated by friend and team-mate Mike Paul, who played with him on the Hot Stove baseball team, mostly Freedom boys, which rode Gary’s pitching abilities to become state qualifiers.  Gary set a school rushing record–since surpassed– in football, earned a total of 12 letters (football, baseball, basketball, wrestling) , was named to the all-county team in football, played on county championship teams in football and basketball.  Moving on to college, Gary played defensive middle guard for the feared Bearcats of Cincinnati and achieved recognition by the Cincinnati Enquirer and Post  as a player who was “coming of age”, “one to watch”
Instead of taking that route, Gary went into business, eventually operating his own construction company in the Cincinnati area.  Too soon, the hazards of the construction industry brought an end to his career.  He died in an industrial accident on March 26, 1999.  He was forty-four years old.  Gone but not forgotten, he will be honored at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremonies.

40

Hiram – The Planning and Zoning Commission met on March 1st  at 7 p.m. A motion to support Village Council’s Amendment of Ordinance # 2011-01 was offered and passed by the Commission. Village Zoning Inspector Dominic Gualtieri was asked to inspect and notify in writing all owners of dumpsters that are in violation of Hiram Zoning ordinances. For any additional information on this, please contact Council member Paul Spencer.
As reported in late December the Village received approval for a $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant. The grant is being utilized to make energy saving permanent improvements in village structures.

As reported in February demolition of the old Hiram School is almost complete, for a contract price of $66,900 to Ace-Zuver, LLC. However there is a little more than $40,000 remaining in the CBG Block grant. It has been suggested the Village can utilize these funds for permanent improvements, such as fencing and parking.

Recently the old school property owner, Ferdinand Fojas, M.D. responded to the offer sheet sent to him in January. Dr. Fojas has offered to sell the property to the Village for $160,000 plus a Federal Tax Credit of $30,000. The Village will purchase the property,  financed through a loan/mortgage/bonds [at no cost to village taxpayers] and lease the property to Hiram College for the purposes of a baseball field and observatory, all open to the community.

As reported in May 2010 Council set in motion the purchase from KME Fire Apparatus Co. in PA in the amount of $431,000 for a 2010 diesel Fire Pumper-Tanker. This new apparatus was delivered in February and titled with Portage County Auto titles last week.
Hiram College and the Village are currently in negotiations to secure a new two (2) year fire and police service contract with the college.

Tuesday March 8th was the final day of evidentiary hearing before the Portage County Commissioners on the annexation of 139 acres to Hiram Village. Legal counsel for the Township Trustees, Village and Petitioners will submit legal briefs in early April and two Commissioners [Maureen Frederick and Tommy Jo Marsillio] will issue a decision thirty days later. [Commissioner Chris Smeiles recused himself because of a possible conflict in interest.] It has been reported by the press this annexation hearing is the longest in Portage County history. The cost of the transcript of proceedings exceeds $6,000. It is also estimated that the legal fees and expenses will easily exceed $100,000.

The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on March29  in the Rosser Municipal building and will be followed by the Safety Committee meeting.  Planning and Zoning Committee will meet on April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Fire Department.  The next Village Council meeting will be on April 12 at 7 p.m.

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Newton Falls – On the first day of spring, council members gathered briefly at the community center for the second regular meeting of March. All officials were present with the exception of Councilwoman Johnson and Councilman Luonuonsuu who were excused for the evening.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Waddell announced the donation for this meeting would be given to the Newton Falls Cops and Kids program. He also discussed the success of the Trumbull County Civic Day during which high school students from around the county had the opportunity to shadow city officials and other leaders to learn about the duties and responsibilities involved in various career choices.
With no reports from council members, the agenda moved on to the City Manager’s report. Mr. Haney stated that a local Boy Scout troop was given a tour of the city offices. Any other interested groups are encouraged to have their leaders contact the city officials to arrange an educational tour. Also reported was that a statewide tornado siren will be going off sometime this week as a test so citizens should not be alarmed. The Fourth of July committee is looking for volunteers – anyone available to help can contact the City Manager’s office to be pointed in the right direction.
In other news, Councilman Monteville mentioned he received a phone call of gratitude from a city resident for the good job that city workers have done around town.
Due to a “substantial change” to ordinance 2011-04, Councilman Zamecnik pointed out it should go back to a first reading and made a motion to do so. However, with lack of a second to the motion, it failed to move forward. Other ordinances discussed on the agenda included: 2011-02 – authorizing payment of attorney fees; 2011-03 – wind turbine regulations; 2011-04 – authorizing the use of a collections agency to recover delinquent utility bill payments; 2011-05 – establishing a raise in sewer rates; and 2011-06 – reimbursement of personal election expenses related to the unsuccessful recall of Councilman Luonuonsuu, which passed for a 2nd reading. The full details of each ordinance or resolution can be read online at http://ci.newtonfalls.oh.us.
During closing comments, Councilman Monteville said that he would like it put in writing that since a motion last meeting was passed 5-0 to table some of the above issues until April when all five council members would be present, and no motion was put forth to untable those issues, that he wonders if any of the votes made this evening by the three members present were in fact legal. He requested advice from the law director concerning such inquiry. Councilwoman Hoffman and Councilman Zamecnik both mentioned that they’d received numerous phone calls from the public wondering why a meeting shouldn’t go forth as planned since there was a quorum – or a majority – of council members present. Also, Mayor Waddell believes there needs to be a business plan and goals for the council and committee meetings. During a recent discussion with Youngstown’s mayor, Jay Williams, Mayor Waddell learned of how the larger city operates and now has some extra ideas to apply to the benefit of the smaller village.
The next regular council meeting will be April 4th.

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Hiram - AVI Fresh and Hiram College are excited to announce the inaugural Platinum Chef Ohio, Battle for the Buckeye State.  Five colleges and universities; Hiram College, Kenyon College, Malone University, Tiffin University and the University of Mount Union; will battle it out in the kitchen for the title of   Platinum Chef Ohio and the cash prize of $2500!  College students show us what they have got as the tables are turned and they become the chefs for the night!  The competition will be held at Hiram College starting at 6pm on March 28th.

Each team will be represented by five students and the AVI Fresh Executive Chef from that institution. Representing Hiram will be Jamie Zychowski (Lakewood, Ohio); Rose Zychowski (Lakewood, Ohio); Zeerak Ahmed (Karachi, Pakistan); Zach Fincham (Windham, Ohio), and Matt Geraldi (Euclid, Ohio). Teams are required to create three dishes and have an option to create an extra dish for bonus points. All dishes must showcase the mystery ingredient. Teams will be judged on their ability to demonstrate team work, presentation, taste, creativity and sanitation skills.

Among our judges will be world-wide recognized sushi chef, author, media performer and chef-instructor Hiroko Shimbo.  Hiroko has worked as a culinary consultant to the PF Chang’s China Bistro group providing menu development, recipes and training. She has been featured on Food Network, Roker On The Road, PBS television and radio, as well as several other stations across the country.  Hiroko will not only be judging the competition but will be starting the festivities out with a cooking demonstration and at the end she will reveal the mystery ingredient.

Let the Battle Begin!

Freedom Township - Items of interest and importance discussed and acted upon at the March 3, 2011 meeting:
Mr. VanSteenberg spoke of flooding that occurred in the township. A culvert on Hewins Road collapsed. They put in a new plastic culvert and the road is now  open . He is keeping track of materials, equipment and labor on this project in the event FEMA makes funds available for reimbursement.

VanSteenberg reported 80 feet of berm washed out on Stamm. A Hewins Road resident complained of flooding, asking if the township can do anything about it. It cannot be done  because he is off the right-of-way. The ditch was cleaned out and now his concern is heavy rain washing out his driveway. Mr. VanSteenberg requested  a letter be sent to a Vair Road property owner regarding beavers on his property causing water to back up on the road causing a flooding problem. This action was approved by all.

Minor water problems at the church werer addressed. Mr. Zizka said a rut along the drive needed filling in and the snow build-up prevented water from sheeting across the drive. Mr. VanSteenberg said he noticed one of the downspouts is disconnected. Mr Hammar will check into this.

Mr. Hammar had specifications and pricing on a plate tamper. There was also discussion about the need at this time. Trustees agreed to purchase up to a price of $1,354.28.
It was agreed to send a notification letter to American Risk Pooling Consultants reserving the right to accept other insurance quotations. All agreed.
An e-mail and Internet Code of Conduct Policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 24, 2088. Mr. Hammar suggested the following revision to include the term “personal use”. Motion was made to revise the E-Mail and Internet Code of Conduct as follows:

Unacceptable uses of the Internet: The internet should not be used for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement. Solicitation of non-township business or any use of the internet for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement is strictly prohibitied. All agreed.

There is another water problem on King Road. A letter has been sent to the property owner asking for permission to go on the property. There has been no response to date.
Mr. Zizka updated the porch work being done on the Town Hall. They are working on the roof. The contractor is also working on a quote for the masonry work. The doors have been installed at the town hall and church building. He said there may also be an additional charge for reconstructing the rotted out sill by the back door of the town hall.

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A Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. 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
The Board of Elections will accept mail-in requests for absentee ballots for the May 3, 2011, Primary Election thru noon on Saturday, April 30, 2011.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board  of Elections office March 29, 2011, through the close of business on Monday, May 2, 2011.
The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on: Saturday, April 30th, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
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.

Nelson Township – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting recently with all trustees and  the fiscal officer present. The fiscal officer presented bills and wages; he also gave a funds status report along with real estate tax money from the estate of Robert W Norris.  The trustees approved the expenditures and the minutes from the last meeting.
Trustee Jim Turos reported that the gas well was cleaned and up-and-running with heat in the maintenance building; however they are still unsure of the cost of the repair since they have yet to receive a final bill. Turos asked the trustees to consider a blanket certificate for employee Chuck Vanek so  he  could purchase needed supplies in case he was unable to contact two of the three trustees as required. He stated that recently they had a situation where the employees had to wait 45 minutes to get needed supplies to finish a job. Both Trustees Wilson and Leonard were hesitant of doing a blanket certificate because of their very tight finances.  After further discussion the trustees approved two emergency blanket certificates one for supplies and one for materials for up to a $1000 each expiring on December 31, 2011.  These are emergency measures only to be used when Vanek is unable to reach two of the trustees to approve a purchase.

In other news, discussions were held on whether they should consider purchasing or renting a rubber tire roller for the summer chip and seal projects, and color for the new doors on the community house. Turos stated that he knew where they could possibly purchase one or rent a rubber tire roller for the summer. They agreed not to make a decision at this time due to tight finances. Trustee Leonard stated that the new doors should be installed within the next few weeks and suggested a neutral color on the doors. The rest of the trustees agreed with the neutral color. The doors are being replaced with the NOPEC grant. Leonard also stated that Mike Elias is working with Halle Higgins and the Akron Food Bank to get a food pantry started in Nelson.

Mr. Turos requested an executive session to discuss personnel issues. The board returned from executive session and approved the promotion of Chuck Vanek to the position of Road Supervisor/Sexton and Steve Galayde from part-time status to full-time status including full benefits. The promotions are effective on April 1, 2011.
In other Nelson news, the Pixley Park Committee is collecting donations for their annual garage sale held over Memorial Day Weekend. Donations can be dropped of at L&P Machine on State Route 305 or the Salvage Pantry on Nicholson Road.
Nelson Township Trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will be held at the community house until May 31, 2011.

Garrettsville – Do  you  think you can sing?  Do you like to be on stage performing before others? Are you available April 17th, May 15th and June 26th 2011?  If your answer is yes to all of the above, then I have a gig for you. Garrettsville Summerfest announces the audition dates for Garrettsville Idol, the grand finale event that closes out their SummerFest Festival held every year on the last weekend in June. Adults will compete for a $1,000 cash prize, while youth and teens will compete for $500 savings bonds. The prizes will be awarded to the winner at the finals held during Summerfest. The open-call auditions are scheduled for April 17, 2011 at James A Garfield Schools’ Iva Walker Auditorium starting at 1p.m. Contestants are asked to come prepared to sing without musical accompaniment. The closed audition, with no audience has been broken down to the following three age brackets youth 8– 12 years, teen 13-17 years and adults 18 years and up. The youth auditions will start at 1pm, the teens at 2pm and the adults will start at 3pm. Check-in begins an hour before each group’s slated time.

Registration can   be  done   on-line  at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com or by obtaining an entry form from Skylanes Bowling Alley. One can return entries in person to Skylanes Bowling Alley or Middlefield Bank in Garrettsville. One can also mail entries to Garrettsville Summerfest at 8311 Windham Street Garrettsville, OH 44231.  Please make sure entries are legible and minors have their parent’s signature. Advanced registration is requested but not required. More information, including the rules, can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com  or by calling Aaron (330) 524-2646.

This year’s Summerfest theme, “The Biggest Game in Town” has a Vegas flair and, promises to be bigger than ever so don’t forget to pick up a souvenir t-shirt or hoodie to commemorate the event. Both “Biggest Game in Town” and Garrettsville Idol T’s and hoodies will be available at the auditions.
Summerfest 2011 is sponsored by Charles Chevrolet, Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce and The Weekly Villager.
The festival is traditionally held the last weekend in June at the corner of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville. More information can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com

25

Portage County –  On Monday, April 4, Portage County residents are invited to attend a public meeting at Maplewood Career Center to discuss whether the county should build the new County Court House in the city of Kent or explore the ability to place this court house in another location.

The meeting, which is being hosted by the Portage County Commissioners, will begin at 6 p.m.
This seemingly controversial topic stems around the need for an updated court house to replace the outdated building currently housing the municipal court in Kent.

Ohio law currently requires that the court house be located in the city of Kent, however the  Ohio legislature can change the law.
The “leading site” in Kent is in the downtown area.  The original asking price for the 2 acre lot was $1.6 million  and has recently been appraised at $980,000.

Portage County already owns land in Kent, including the current court house,  but has been advised that the current site and an  additional vacant lot are “not feasible” for new construction or remodeling.

The county also owns property on Infirmary Road in Shalersville Township (near the County Jail), and the site where the Ravenna Court House is located. Other sites have not yet been identified.

Estimated cost for the construction of the proposed  new court house is  $8 million. This court  house would be approximately double the size of the current one located in Kent.
The purpose of this public meeting is to allow Portage County citizens the opportunity to voice their opinion and ask questions of the Commissioners.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Mass Media Class under the direction of Mrs. Tina Downing in conjunction with The Weekly Villager, is pleased to announce their first edition of the “Hi-Crier”. Look for this quarterly publication produced by talented Garfield students who will share school district news, events and items of interest. The paper will be available throughout the J.A. Garfield district wherever you pick up your Weekly Villager. Congratulations up-and-coming journalists — we are proud of you!

Portage County – In celebration of Ohio 4-H Week, the thirteenth annual window decorating contest was held. The 2011 contest theme was “4-H, A Pathway To The Future.”

Fourteen different clubs entered the contest. Six clubs throughout the county competed against each other and eight clubs in the city of Ravenna entered. Pictured above (left) The Outlaws window which placed first was located on Main Street in Mantua, and (right) Creatures-n-Features second place window which was located at the Aurora Library.

Garrettsville put on its best green last week as folks were determined to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with style during the Second Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce. The event brought everyone out of winter’s hibernation to celebrate the holiday that has everyone claiming be Irish, even if it is only for a day.  Pictured above with Leo and Michael are the winners of this year’s Leprechaun Contest.
Many started the day early with Kegs and Eggs, green eggs and spam or corned beef hash at local eateries. Several leprechauns were spotted early in the day including  Garrettsville’s own Leppy and his “sons” Leo and Michael, who unleashed their antics on the village throughout the day.  They were even joined by two other “guys in green” claiming to be long-lost relatives as they traveled from establishment to establishment making merriment along the way.
The town was really bustling by late afternoon — green beer was flowing, reuben’s, corned beef and cabbage, and potato soup were a-plenty.  Local eateries were packed as Garrettsville celebrated the night away with entertainment galore — bagpipers, an Irish folk band, cloggers, face painters, a magician / balloon artist and  even Mickey Mouse!!
While the town partied late into the night the leprechaun’s vanished, which left folks wondering if they really saw the little green guys or did they just overindulge in too much green beer.
No pot-o-gold was found.

Portage County – You may not realize it, but you are surrounded by real heroes every day… ordinary people who react quickly, courageously and selflessly during emergencies. The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties takes time each year to honor the Real Heroes of Portage County, shining the spotlight on heroic individuals who would never be recognized otherwise.
As a community leader in emergency preparedness and response, the Red Cross presented the 12th annual Real Hero Awards to 18 Portage County individuals on March 12 at the Bertram Hotel and Conference Center in Aurora. Presented by Robinson Memorial Hospital, the ceremony was filled with inspiring stories about how each of these everyday heroes reached out to others in life-and-death situations, averting great tragedy and saving lives in the process.
Portage County Corrections Officer Derek McCoy was presented with the event’s highest honor, the Certificate of Merit Award. This award is reserved for an individual who saves or sustains life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course. His actions exemplify the highest degree of concern for someone in distress.

While making his rounds at the Portage County Jail, Officer McCoy received a radio call that an inmate needed assistance. When Officer McCoy – a Red Cross trained CPR/First Aid instructor – arrived on the scene, he found a young male inmate lying unconscious on the floor of his cell.

Recalling his Red Cross training to “Check-Call-Care,” Officer McCoy detected that the man did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Instructing another officer to call for additional help, McCoy began CPR compressions. Within seconds, the facility’s nurse arrived with an AED. Officer McCoy applied the pads but the machine determined “No Shock Advised,” so he continued compressions and rescue breathing.

When the local EMS arrived, they found that the inmate had a faint pulse and was now breathing, thanks to the immediate emergency measures Officer McCoy had taken… saving the inmate’s life.

  • Other Real Heroes receiving honors were:
  • Kenny Weaver and Ken ‘Scotty’ Scott, brothers-in-law who were fishing from their boat on Lake Erie in October when they discovered four men in the water with their boat sinking fast. First, they threw life jackets to the men who had already been in the cold water a half-hour. Then they pulled each one from the frigid water, into their boat, and to shore, where they notified the Coast Guard and got the survivors to safety.
  • Samantha Kollman and Sgt. Pat Domos. Samantha was exercising at a fitness center with her mother, Rhonda, when Rhonda suddenly fell to the floor, unconscious with no pulse and no breathing. After yelling for someone to call 911, Samantha began CPR on her mom. Aurora Police Sgt. Pat Domos responded to the call and took over CPR. He also administered two shocks to Rhonda with an AED before she regained consciousness and could breathe on her own. Paramedics then flew her to Metro Hospital. Rhonda made a full recovery.
  • Larry Nething was s a newly-hired PARTA bus driver when he picked up Geraldine Herron from the Ravenna Senior Center. But she was stung by several wasps as he escorted her to the bus. Soon, she slumped down in her seat with her head rolled back. Larry immediately called the dispatcher. The ambulance soon came and Geraldine was rushed to Robinson Memorial, where she was treated for anaphylactic shock.
  • Ohio State Patrol Sgt. Les Brode and Mark Kinzer, Assistant Foreman for the Ohio Turnpike Commission, both responded to an emergency call at milepost 191, where a vehicle had crashed into trees. The driver and passenger were still inside when the car burst into flames. Each responder had fire extinguishers in their vehicles and raced to the car. As Brode fought the fire, Kinzer carried the passenger from the car. Together, the men pulled the driver from the car. Brode administered CPR to the driver, who has suffered a heart attack prior to the crash. He unfortunately died at the scene. But the passenger was life-flighted to a nearby hospital and made a full recovery.
  • Jane and Bill Wallbrown spearheaded the creation of Act 2 at West Branch High School and the community at large, in partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital. This is a set of procedures for teachers and coaches to follow when a child suffers a head injury and is in danger of concussion, to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Their efforts follow the debilitating experiences suffered by both of their teens, who received concussions during an indoor softball practice and in an ATV accident.
  • Richard Polivka, Streetsboro Police Officer, responded to a man suffering a heart attack at his residence. The man was lying unconscious on the floor with no pulse and not breathing. Polivka administered CPR until paramedics arrived. They used an AED device to shock the man’s heart, which helped him resume breathing before being rushed to the hospital.
  • Aaron Cotes, Streetsboro Police Officer, responded to a 911 call from an auto repair garage, where he found Steve Loar lying in a pool of blood as a result of a deep gash in his neck… the result of an exploded fan shroud from the truck he was fixing. Cotes applied direct pressure to the gash with shop towels, slowing the blood flow. Loar was slipping into shock when paramedics arrived and began advanced life support. An emergency helicopter flew Loar to the hospital. He made a full recovery.
  • Streetsboro Police Dispatcher Josee Acklin and Police Officers Richard Polivka and Jason Hall responded to a fire at Portage Pointe Apartments last winter, only to discover that a tractor-trailer rig had jack-knifed into a snow bank, blocking the route as fire engines arrived at the scene. Acklin and Hall worked to redirect engines along alternate routes as Polivka evacuated tenants from the building. Hearing cries for help, he saw firefighter John Braska in a second-story room engulfed in fire. He provided him with a ladder with just moments to spare before a wall of flames burst from the broken-out window.
  • Kathy Hampton, Keith Richmond, Yvonne Watters and Scott Danna are members of  First Response Team, an emergency management group atGE Healthcare facility in Aurora, providing medical emergency response within the facility. Hampton was first to respond to co-worker Mike Donofrio, who had collapsed during a meeting. He was not breathing and had no pulse. She was on her third round of CPR compressions and breaths when Richmond and Watters arrived with the AED and applied the pads. Danna, who had called 911, coordinated the team’s response. Following extensive heart surgery, Mike made a full recovery and returned to work.

All of these heroes  – as event chairperson Lisa Perez said, “turned tragedy into triumph — and heartbreak into hope.”

The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties works on the local level, responding to disasters; teaching first aid, CPR and aquatics; keeping military families in touch; and providing blood products for sick and injured patients. The Ravenna office of the Red Cross can be reached locally at (330) 296-9991 or at www.summitcounty.redcross.org.

Huntsburg – Right on the outskirts of Middlefield, right off of Burton-Windsor Road and Clay Street is a most unique shopping experience.  Yoder’s Coleman is located at 15890 Durkee Road in Huntsburg.  Their phone number is 440-636-6224.  Their normal business hours are Monday through Saturday from 8 am until 5 pm.

You will find much more than just Coleman items at Yoder’s Coleman.  They offer a full line of battery lamps that are beautiful, decorative and functional plus a full range of batteries.   The houseware items will thrill any cook.  You will find stock pots, canning supplies, pressure cookers, linens, kitchen gadgets, cookware, bakeware, Thermos®, air pots, cook books and so much more.  They offer stationery items, cards, sewing supplies, purses and tote bags at great prices.

There are many home décor items to choose from, including Thomas Kinkade decorative pieces, figurines, wind chimes and American Expedition items.  The American Expedition line celebrates America’s love for the great outdoors and wildlife with mugs, coasters, clocks and tumblers.
Children will love Yoder’s Coleman too.  They have a great assortment of puzzles, children’s books, stickers galore, toys and games.  You will find toys that stir the imagination and inspire creativity.

The baby section is sure to please the mom-to-be and baby with comfy blankets, baby toys, bibs, clothing and other necessities.
Lest we forget the store’s namesake…Yoder’s Coleman offers a variety of Coleman camping products.  They can also repair the Coleman lamps, lanterns and camp stoves you already own.  The weather recently may not remind you of camping, but camping season is fast approaching and you may want to check your equipment to see if any of it is in need of repairing.  If so, you can contact David Yoder to discuss the repair process.

Looking for classic, older Coleman lanterns? He has those too.

Yoder’s Coleman may be a bit tricky to find but it is well worth the trip.  You will want to be on Burton-Windsor Road, the section between St. Rts. 608 and 528.  You will want to turn north onto Clay Street, then almost immediately you will want to turn left onto Durkee.  You will then head down Durkee less than a mile and you will see the sign for Yoder’s Coleman on your right.
It is a fun store to visit with great prices.  Mr. Yoder is a wonderful host and will make you feel welcome.  The next time you are out and about in Middlefield, you may want to stop and see the delightful finds you will discover at Yoder’s Coleman.

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Middlefield - On February 26 the Middlefield Police Department and CWE Championship Wrestling Experience teamed up for fun filled night of “High Flying”, “Hard Knocks” and “Total Excitement”. The wrestling event was a fund raiser for the Middlefield Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” program. CWE promoter  Kyle Terreri and Chief Ed Samec discussed the event as a fund raiser several months ago. Kyle contacted several CWE and PWO (Pro Wrestling Ohio) wrestlers and talked to them about “Shop with a Cop”. The wrestlers were excited and honored to do what they could to promote and raise funds for the program. Some of the wrestlers came from as far away as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The evening’s event was exciting and even included Chief Ed Samec stepping in the ring for some pro wrestling action. “Chief Ed will do anything that is necessary for the community, I think that is pretty obvious given that fact that he stepped in the ring with Jason Gory”, Mayor Poole said.  On behalf of the Middlefield Police Department, we would like to thank all of those who attended the event and supported our “Shop with a Cop” program.

Garrettsville - The Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Joint Fire District is proud to place in service a new 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1-ton truck, which will be used as a brush truck (replacing a 1963 model). This truck was purchased due to the department being awarded a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant in 2010 in the amount of $42,188. Pictured here are (Left to Right) FF Scott Dillon, FF Jeff Kaiser, Fire Board Member Jim Turos, FF Bill Harris, Chief David Friess, Bruce Abraham from Charles’ Chevrolet, and Captain Jason Judge

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Garrettsville – Village Council met on Wednesday March 10 for their monthly meeting.  The minutes of February’s meeting were approved without correction.  The Mayor reported that the equipment for the new canine police vehicle has arrived, but the vehicle will not be here until the end of April to early May.  He also mentioned that spending had exceeded revenue so far this year, but that would even out with income tax filings.  Councilwoman Clyde suggested a finance meeting was needed soon, council then voted to have that meeting at 6:45 P.M. before the next council meeting in April.

Next on the agenda Council voted to pass (with one abstention) ordinances 2011-07 and 2011-08 pertaining to collection of charges for delinquent sewer and water bills in the Village.  All bills unpaid after 18 days will be assessed a penalty of 10% and water service may be cut off if the bills remain unpaid.

A public hearing will be held at the next council meeting to address several proposed ordinances.  Ordinance 2011-11 amends existing rules in order to permit internet sweepstakes cafes and Ordinance 2011-12 clarifies regulations pertaining to livestock and poultry housed inside the Village.  Planning Commission has recommended some changes to existing regulations including minimum acreage, containment, and exclusions.

Council formally accepted a donation from Ted and Jeannette Poole toward the sidewalk project on Liberty Street.  The Mayor brought up an issue concerning private organizations using The Village’s fields for sporting and other events.  After some discussion, Council recommended they needed to develop a fee schedule and some type of contract that would also address property damage for leagues using  the fields in the future.

During roundtable discussion Council President Rick Patrick stated that ODOT has started working on the sidewalks for the newly reopened SR 82 Bridge.  He also said the streetlights on the bridge are now operational and confirmed that a letter was sent to ODOT requesting a clear sealer and not the opaque sealer that was used on the SR 88 bridge after its rebuild a few years ago.  He also reminded everyone of the up coming St. Patrick’s Day events.  The celebration will extend from Sky Plaza down to Garfield Plaza and involves many of the village’s business and restaurants.

Mayor Moser commended the road department for the great job they’ve done over this winter keeping the roads passable.  He also mentioned this has been one of the worst freeze/thaw winters for the roads in a while.  They will be looking at the costs involved for repairs to the area roadways.

Councilman Kaiser reported on an accident involving one of our rescue squads that was en-route to Geauga Hospital.  He said the front-end damage to the squad was approximately $13,000.  He also said that the insurance company approved a rental squad while the repairs were made to the damaged one.

Village Council briefly adjourned to executive session.  After session it was stated that police officer Dunn was formally off probation and approved as a full-time sergeant.  Council also authorized the mayor to enter into formal written negotiations with Sun Bank which is offering the old Paul’s Do-It Center property to the Village.
The next regular Village Council meeting will be held on April 13th at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.

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Windham – The Windham Volunteer Fire Department (W.V.F.D) Joint Fire District board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting with four of the five board members. The board’s first action was to approve the fiscal report and expenditures. After a month of research and review, the board has approved the purchase of a new ambulance. The board goal is to try to purchase a new ambulance every five years so that they have an ambulance that is no older than 10 years in service. The oldest ambulance will be marketed and if it isn’t sold before the new one arrives they will trade it in on the new one. The new ambulance will not arrive for about 120 or so days after it is ordered.

Fire  Chief   Iwanyckyj reported that he had a fire fighter who needed to take  the 36- hour fire class and he had two who wanted to take the 84-hour transition class at Maplewood the cost for the classes are, 36 hour class is $335 and the  84 hour class is $635 per person.  Both classes qualify for the state reimbursement program. The board agreed to pay for the classes. The chief also requested that the board consider paying extra staff to be on call for the weekends. He stated that the department is loosing money because they have to have Community Ambulance cover for them when they are out on another call. He stated that since there are two ambulances available, having enough people on call to staff the second squad would allow the department to recoup the cost of the runs now going to outside organizations. After some discussion the board agreed to  additional manpower to be on call over the weekends and review the new policy in six month to determine if it is cost effective. Iwanyckyj appointed Justin Martin, Nate Bushek, and himself to a grant committee. The committee will look for grants and apply for them as they become available.

Len Polichena gave the maintenance updates and reported that most of the trucks were in good shape except engine 2811. This truck is at Kepich Ford for ball joints, brakes and other issues. He also reported that engine 2815 is waiting on parts but is able to make runs while waiting.  Other maintenance issues, seat belts for the jeep have been ordered and will be installed as soon as they arrive, trucks are being put on an oil change schedule, and the van will eventually need tires but for now it is ok.
In other news, the board accepted the resignation of Don West and hired Kevin Kulesa as a medic. Mr. Kulesa was recommended by the chief. The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at the fire station at 7 pm. All meetings are opened to the public.

Windham – The Windham Historical Society continues their busy 2011 schedule on Monday, March 21, at 7 PM in the Brick Chapel on North Main Street in Windham.

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

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

Jeremy will be speaking about the history of the Taft farm on Route 82, one of the oldest farms in Windham Township.
Jarrod, who has been an intern with the Historical Society for several years, will talk about the history of the only major industry in Windham, the Harbison-Walker Refractories.

The Brick Chapel opens at 6:30 to all interested visitors for a meet-and-greet and a chance to look at exhibits before the meeting, including the wonderful new Huber King art archives.

The Windham Historical Society is ramping up all of its activities, which will culminate in the Windham Bicentennial Celebration beginning July 28th, a homecoming for thousands of Windhamites around the globe.
The Society is always interested in obtaining, whether permanently or on loan, any object with relevance to Windham. Items of special interest include pictures, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspapers, advertising, tokens, school items, sports items, or family genealogy.
For more information on the Society or the Bicentennial plans, please call President Lynnea St. John at 330-326-6061, or email her at lynnya45@yahoo.com.

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Newton Falls – Newton Falls 4th of July Festivities Committee is in the final planning stage.  We are so excited this year because it is our 25th Annual Car Show. That’s right. Can you believe 25 years?  We are going to start this year’s car show with a Street Dance on Friday, June 24, at 7:00 to 11:00 in Downtown Newton Falls.  On Saturday, June 25, the Car Show will begin, with parking starting at 11:00, registration 11:00 to 3:00 and trophies will begin an hour early, at 6:00.  We are planning a Chinese Auction and 50/50 Raffle.  Entertainment will be provided by a DJ and area dance studios.

Our 4th of July Raffle drawing will take place this year on July 4th at 8:00 p.m. at the City Park (winners need not be present).  Grand Prize will be $5,000.00; 1st – 46’”LCD HDTV; 2nd- Apple iPad; 3rd- 15” Laptop Computer; 4th- Xbox 360 with Kinect; 5th- Kindle eReader.  The tickets will be available at local businesses very soon.

The Bike Show will be on Sunday, June 26. The Poker Run begins at 12:00 noon and vendors will be set up from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The Field Events will start at 6:00 pm and DJ Fast Freddie will entertain us.
4th of July Parade will be on Monday, 4th of July starting at 10:00 am sharp.  Line-up will begin at 8:00 am in front of the Church of God.  A military flyover is planned.
Entertainment will be provided nightly, June 30 thru July 4, at the City Park by the beer tent.  Please look for more information to come.
Our Spectacular Fireworks display will be on Monday evening, July 4th, at 10:00 pm at the City Park.
All of this information is available at our website nfjuly44444.com or contact us by email at nfjuly44444@aol.com.

Columbus – On Saturday, March 5th the Garfield and Crestwood boy’s bowling teams competed in the State Championships at Wayne Webb’sColumbus Bowl.  It was the first trip to State for both teams.

The G-Men got off to a great start in game one, led by Kyle Bolton’s 258 and Cody Berg’s 251.  They got some clutch bowling the rest of the way from teammates Mack Hawkins, Clark Kolmorgen, and Howard Moore to finish in 4th place and qualify them for bracket play.
In the head-to-head best-of-five baker series the G-Men defeated Carrolton High School 3 games to 1 advancing them to the semi-finals where they faced the #1 seed Wapakoneta team.

After falling behind 2-1, the G-Men rallied and won game four by the score of 210-206 to force game 5.  Garfield had a small lead going into the 7th frame when back- to- back splits let Wapakoneta take control and eventually win the game 208-176.
It was a valiant effort for their first state appearance. Coach Howie Moore was very pleased with their bowling and vowed that they will be back next year with almost everyone coming back.
Individually, Kyle Bolton earned 1st Team All-State honors along with Cody Berg receiving Honorable Mention All-State.
The Crestwood boys were in contention after the first three actual games, but couldn’t put together a big baker game and ended up finishing 12th.

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Portage County - On March 12, the Portage County Chapter of the American Red Cross honored some real heroes for life saving acts of courage.  More than 200 people gathered at the Bertram Inn in Aurora for this event.  Both civilian and professional emergency responders from throughout the county were recognized for turning heartbreak into hope during 2010.  Lisa Perez, Chair of the committee, reminded that tragedy does not discriminate, emphasizing the importance of first aid, CPR, and trying to help a person in need.  Ms. Perez credits her real life heroes, honored last year, for being alive today after her own medical emergency.  The day’s biggest salute was to Portage County Correction Officer Derek McCoy for his assistance of an inmate in the county jail.  Officer McCoy’s actions, based upon his Red Cross training, helped save a life.  He received the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit.  This is the highest honor given by the organization and is signed by the President of the United States.

Please join the Villager in saluting Officer McCoy and the other heroes honored this year:  Sergeant Les Brode, Mark Kinzer, Officer Aaron Coates, Dispatcher Josee Acklin, Officer Richard Polivka, Officer Jason Hall, Samantha Kollman, Sergeant Pat Domos,Kathy Hampton, Keith Richmond, Yvonne Watters, Scott Danna, Kenny Weaver, Ken “Scotty” Scott, Jane and Bill Wallbrown, Larry Nething, Ron Wood, and Tim Ray.

Garrettsville – Where can you start in the morning and celebrate all day? Garrettsville of course! Head on down to Garrettsville for a mile and a half of food, fun, entertainment and more this St. Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 17th. It’s no blarney, grab your friends and neighbors, head on downtown for great food and savings at area restaurants and businesses.

The wee little town of Garrettsville knows how to celebrate, and they are starting first thing in the morn’. Begin you daylong celebration with a hearty breakfast, and a beer if you are so inclined. Sean’s Pub, Miller’s Family Restaurant and the Main Street Grille are serving up morning meals that will help you fuel up for a long day full of fun.

If you can’t get yourself up and at’em in the morning hours and you need to start your day a lunch or dinner, Garrettsville restaurants will still be cooking up tasty specials all day long. The best melt-in-your mouth corned beef can be found in our area restaurants. Choose from The Brick, Cal’s, SkyLane Lounge, Miller’s Family Restaurant, The Eagles Club, Sean’s Pub and the Main Street Grille, or eat at a few if you can’t decide!

Picky eaters or just wanting to celebrate in your home, don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Dairy Queen, Domino’s, Zeppe’s, and McDonald’s are a sure way to please your picky eaters as they top the list of kid’s most wanted dinner spots. Don’t forget to get your mint oreo blizzard and shamrock shake for dessert! Or for the parent’s, stop by That’s The Spirit and pick up some Irish Ale or your favorite drink to toast the day.

The James A. Garfield Historical Society will be open for visitors to stop in and enjoy a look back at the past. Local shops will also be open extended hours. Visit the Cornerstone Emporium  and The Shaker Tree for some of your own treasure hunting.

Have you got a little Leprechaun in you? Unleash your Leprechaun and dress up to enter the 1st annual Leprechaun contest that will be held outside the Historical Society on High Street at 7pm. Use your imagination and be creative for a chance to win $75/first place, $50/second place or $25/third place. Take a chance and earn a little extra green for your evening!

No celebration is complete without entertainment and this year there will be more to see and hear. Dancers will be clogging, bag pipers piping, Kindred Spirit will be entertaining you with sweet Irish melodies, face painting for the children and even Mike the Magician. There is entertainment for all ages this St. Patrick’s Day!
Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for Garrettsville’s own Leppy the Leprechaun! He had so much fun last year that he has invited his friends Leo and Michael to join him. These tricky little leprechauns are always up to something and they are sure to add excitement to the celebration.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Historical Society trudges past boring stuff like maintenance and repair concerns and into the future with plans for a festivity on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, possibly tying in with the local green-tinged activities by offering Irish genealogy searches for any suspected Hibernians in town for corned beef and cabbage or green beer or Irish dancing. Check out the society’s headquarters on the day.

Also moving forward are plans for offering Vintage Photo Fun during this year’s SummerFest Las Vegas-themed activities.  Patrons will be offered the opportunity  to have vintage-style sepia photographs ( no flash powder!) taken while wearing some of the JAGHS antique garments and posed before appropriately historic backdrops.  See how much you look like your grand mother!
Also in the works : Julie Fredrickson is organizing a minor league version of Antiques Roadshow, a sort of Appraisal Project for those dusty items in the attic or basement that you’ve always wanted to know more about.  These have been popular  in the area and this one will feature local dealers, auctioneers, appraisers, etc.  Start cleaning now; Aunt Hazel’s chamber pot must be worth something.

The Portage County Historical Society will be holding a historical forum on March 26 at the headquarters in Ravenna…open to all….make reservations

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Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last week with all trustees and the fiscal officer present. Trustee Dann Timmons announced that the NOPEC Grant has been approved and the first payment should be received soon. New lighting on “the Green” will be the first project slated to begin soon so it can be  ready for the Bicentennial celebration this summer. Other projects will be started as the weather breaks.
The chairman Dann Timmons recognized guest Bill Isler Sr. from Islerscaping. Islerscaping has handled all the mowing, fertilizing and flower bed maintenance for the township. Mr. Isler presented the new contract for mowing as $164 per each mowing not to exceed 25 mowings for 2011, for a maximum cost of $4,100 per year. The annual cost may be lower because price is determined by how many times they need to mow, with mowing to be done after grass exceeds 3 3?4”. Other expected landscape costs are $125 for edging, $400 for pruning small trees, $534 for mulch ( this cost has risen sharply due to skyrocketing cost of mulch and Islerscaping has had to increase the cost this year to cover their costs), $50 for fertilizer and $25 for each plaque that they install on the memorial trees. The memorial trees are planted free as a public service with the $25 cost covering the purchase of the plaques and hardware. After some discussion, the board approved the contract with Islerscaping.
Brian Miller stated that he invited Todd Teets, a representative from Regional Planning to the meeting to help resolve zoning questions about the new proposed zoning changes.
Many residents felt some of the new proposed changes would infringe on their rights as property owners and felt the folks on the committee were not in touch with what they want for Windham. The representative stated that it was the residents’ community and they should eliminate items that don’t reflect the desires of the community. Zoning sets the minimum standard for the township and by not having a standard anyone could do anything to their property with little or no regard to their neighbor’s property or property values.  Timmons stated that they have sent the proposed zoning changes the public has problems with back to the zoning commission and they will revisit the areas in question and re-present it to the trustees. The trustees will then schedule another public meeting on the issue. In other zoning issues Zoning Inspector Rich Gano stated that Horners are starting to gather more junk on their property. He said he counted 90 tires and caught a roofing company dumping shingles there earlier in the week. Last year the township removed 8000 tires and assisted the Horners in cleaning-up the property after years of legal battles with them over multiple zoning violations. Trustee Timmons stated that he will look at the court documents and contact the prosecutor about the violation.
Road Supervisor Rich Gano said he had to repair two culvert wash outs, one on Gotham Road and one on Frazier Road from the heavy rains. He stated that he also purchased three ton of limestone from Lakeside Gravel for the repairs.
The township trustees meet at the township hall on the first Thursday of each month at 7pm.

Ravenna - Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson has agreed to give a presentation in Portage County on March 18th, 2011 at 7:00 pm at Ravenna High School,6589 North Chestnut St, Ravenna, Ohio.

Lt. Col. Patterson is an Air Force pilot, decorated for his service in Bosnia, Somalia, Grenada and the Persian Gulf.. Toward the end of his career with the Air Force, he served as senior military aide in the White House under President Clinton and one of five carrying the nuclear football, traveling everywhere with the President which gave him a unique perspective that he will cover in his presentation.

Lt. Col. Patterson retired from the Air Force in 2001 and wrote his first book, “Dereliction of Duty” which became a New York Times best seller. He followed that with “Reckless Disregard, another well-received book and began an internet radio show.
He has also appeared on Fox News, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly programs CSPAN, MSNBC and has been sought out for comments on some current affairs. As a journalist, he was imbedded with the troops in the hardest time of the Iraq war.

In an interview, Lt. Col. Patterson stated he is often asked why he wrote the books and continues to speak for our troops. He advised he was influenced by Oliver North, who often embedded with the military. Also, his military friends asked him to embed with the troops and tell the truth. Active duty personnel are not allowed to voice opinions. The media’s portrayals are not necessarily accurate. As a journalist, he went on patrol with the fine men and women serving our country. He found the war was going much better than was being portrayed in the media. Lt. Col. Patterson plans to continue to be a voice for our men and women in the military.

Hopefully many will plan to attend this event. It will be a great opportunity to hear this best-selling author, ask questions, and purchase his books which he will personalize and autograph. Please join in afterward for sharing reasonably-priced refreshments and other information that will be available.
Cost of tickets are $15.00 for adults, $10.00 for students with ID and can be purchased through the Portage County TEA Party office at 330 474-3878.

Portage County – Maplewood Career Center is teaming up with The Renaissance Family Center, Kent Free Library, Reed Memorial Library, and the Portage County Libraries to offer free job opportunity workshops throughout March in Portage County.

The workshops will be approximately 90 minutes and will focus on how to be prepared for job opportunities, how to find new job opportunities, and how to develop an effective career strategy. In addition, there will be a brief discussion on current Portage County job trends and educational services offered by the libraries and Maplewood’s Adult Education Department.

These workshops are open to all who are of working age, preferably 16 and older. There is no registration, however, seating is limited and will be served on a first come first serve basis on the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, March 22, 6pm – Renaissance Family Center, 9005 Wilverne Dr., Windham, OH  44288.

Wednesday, March 23, 12pm – Garrettsville Library, 10482 South St., Garrettsville, OH 44231.

Thursday, March 24, 6pm – Kent Free Library, 312 West Main St., Kent, OH 44240.

Friday, March 25, 12pm – Aurora Memorial Library, 115 East Pioneer Trail, Aurora, OH 44202.

Saturday, March 26, 12:30pm – Pierce Streetsboro Library, 8990 Kirby Lane, Streetsboro, OH 44241.

Thursday, March 31, 6pm – Reed Memorial Library (Jenkins Room), 167 E. Main St., Ravenna, OH  44266.

Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the February 17 meeting of the Freedom Township Trustees were:
A representative of the Ohio Plan (insurance agency) presented information on a plan similar to the OTARMA plan which has been used for some time. This will be considered at the March 3 meeting.
Zoning Inspector Derthick said a letter was sent to the business at the corner of 700 and 88 regarding trailers parked in the road right-of-way. A violation regarding unlicensed trailers has been sent to the prosecutor. Mr. Hammar said the Zoning Commission is working on hydronic furnace regulations.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported water in the ditch on Stamm Road backing up on the road and freezing. One of the owners will replace 80 ft. of pipe in the ditch plus his driveway culvert. At Mr. VanSteenberg’s suggestion, trustees waived the $5.00 per foot permit fee since it was a pre-existing condition.
A special meeting will be held February 22 at 10:00 a.m. to discuss roadwork and other spring projects.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported needed repairs for the ’95 Kodiak truck. Trustees Hammar and Martin voted to spend $1,860 on repairs plus $500 for axle repair. Mr. Zizka abstained. Motion carried.
Mr. Hammar is looking into software programs for cemetery records.
Mr. Martin reported on the Feb. 8 Fire meeting. The bid for the new tanker is $293,000. The grant has not been released yet. The chief and two others will attend the Monroevill Fire & Expo this weekend. They will be participating in the Portage County Incident Management Team Command and General Staff Functions for Local Incidents scheduled March 21 through March 26.
Mr. Zizka provided copies of the January 13 and 27 EMS meetings. They continue to work on revising Standard Operating guidelines. They will bill the Windham Joint Fire District $1,550 for the month of January.
The  ad for the Zoning Inspector position was discussed. Mr. Zizka suggested that  zoning hours be changed to eliminate Thursday morning. This  can always be added back in when business picks up. A unanimous vote was cast for the limit of Tuesday and Saturday morning.
Mr. Hammar continues to investigate high speed internet possibilities, including a proposal received from DISH for a price ranging between $19 and $35 per month.
Mr. Zizka said work at the parsonage is completed by County-Wide and the doors have been installed at the church

Mantua - Every year, Crestwood students are recognized for outstanding contributions in the classroom and in the athletic field. Students who help in the community are no exception.
Crestwood senior Kyle Vertoch, a member of the National Honor Society, is organizing a rummage sale as his NHS service project to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Vertoch’s aunt and grandmother are both afflicted with the disease.

The sale will be held April 1, and he is asking the community for donations.
“A rummage sale is a good way to get both the community and the high school involved,” said Vertoch. “Everyone has stuff lying around the house that they don’t need anymore. I’m currently running announcements at the high school and hopefully I can find a way to reach out to the community.”

According to the NHS website, NHS is a national organization established to recognize outstanding high school students in grades 10-12. More than just an honor roll, NHS honors students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service. There are currently 52 students in NHS at Crestwood, none of whom are sophomores.

“We decided early on that we wanted to place our focus on the element of character and service,” said Crestwood Teacher and NHS Advisor Nancy Groselle. “We can get a pretty good feel of what the students are about by the time they finish their sophomore year. In fact, up until this year we only had seniors in NHS, but by changing the induction ceremony from spring to fall, we were able to extend participation to both juniors and seniors. The community service project allows students to exhibit the tenets of not just service, but also leadership and character. Kyle is a great student and displays these characteristics every day.”

The NHS rummage sale will take place April 1 from 10 am until 7 pm in the Crestwood High School cafeteria. Anyone with articles to contribute can drop them off any day in the high school library from 2:40 to 3:30 pm beginning March 21. Cash donations will also be accepted.

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Hiram Twp. – The March 1st meeting of the Hiram Township Trustees was opened by Mr. Brewer with the reading of the minutes from the February 15th meeting.
Highlights from the gathering include the announcement that the new fire truck has been picked up and “is ready to go.” Firemen are being trained on driving the truck both during the day and at night, so residents will be seeing it on the road more for that purpose.
Questions from the audience touched on the possibility of firemen being trained in traffic direction procedures during emergencies, specifically citing a recent house fire which required obstruction of the roadway for a bit of time. The response was that the sheriff’s department was in charge of traffic direction, but that the firemen will jump in if there is a shortage of help. As a helpful note in making it safer for our first-responders to do their jobs, drivers should always pay attention to their surroundings at all times, but need to be extra vigilant and aware when emergency vehicles are around. Other issues brought up included dropped 911 calls from cell phones and difficulties in transferring to the proper departments. Ms. Schulda will have the issue addressed on the agenda at an upcoming commissioners’ meeting.
In old business were updates on recycling and trash; questions about the potential 2% tax to be paid by the township to the village; the consideration of instituting bonds on those who wish to participate in fracking, to replace roads affected in Portage County when such as action is performed; and exploring the idea of getting a portable scale to start enforcing weight limits already in place for trucks on local roads.
In new business, the road crew is planning to chip-and-seal some roads; they will be looking into gathering bids for the project.
A motion was passed to adjourn into executive session for the purpose of discussing litigation and personnel legal matters with an attorney. Updates will follow as available. The next meeting will be March 15th at 7pm, Township Hall.

Newton Falls – Kiwanian Barry Silliphant appeared at the Newton Falls library to give away ID Stickers to the young parents who transport their kids in safety seats.  Wednesday’s reading program director Chrissy Braun was excited to have Barry explain how important the sticker project is to anyone who uses child safety seats.
The need for stickers came about after a car accident took place near Dayton, Ohio.  The driver was a babysitter and not related to the infant who was strapped into a safety seat.  The driver was killed and the baby was unhurt.  It was hours before the parents were notified because nobody could identify the child and make the necessary call.
The safety sticker lists names, addresses, phone numbers, allergies, and additional emergency information to guarantee that the child will receive prompt attention.

One of the many moms to take stickers home is Christine Harley. She is pictured holding little David in one hand and the safety sticker in the other.

Put a sticker on every safety seat that the child uses.  Grandparents that have extra seats for their cars should use the stickers too.
To get stickers for your child’s safety seats stop by the office of Kiwanian Tom Palmer, attorney at law,  41 W. Broad street. Newton Falls.

To get involved in this project or many others join Kiwanis.  Meetings are Tuesdays at  6:30 p.m. at the  Covered Bridge Inn Resturant.

Columbus - Area wrestlers did a fantastic job in representing northeast Ohio and their respective high schools in Columbus last week.
Leading the way were the Crestwood Red Devils who qualified a school record seven wrestlers.  After finishing second in the Akron Firestone district the week before, head coach Dave Wrobel was confident that his team could make a run at a top 5 finish in Columbus.  Five of his seven qualifiers had previous state tournament experience and that experience paid off in the first round as the Red Devils won 5 out of 7 matches Thursday afternoon.  On Friday the Red Devils found themselves competing against many of the pre-tournament favorites in their respective weight classes and success was harder to come by.  When wrestling concluded for the day the only Red Devil to be unscathed was senior Cody Ryba who kept alive his hope of being Crestwood’s first state wrestling champion since 1994 (Brian Singleton).  Coach Wrobel, like most wrestling coaches had mixed feelings as he assessed the results from Friday’s action.  He felt his team “competed well” … was “ecstatic for Cody Ryba’s results” …  and “dealt with the pain of not seeing all his wrestlers make it to the placement round”.  On Saturday evening, Cody Ryba put the finishing touches on a brilliant season for Crestwood when he won the 171 lb. championship with a 5-4 decision over Jake Cramer of Oak Harbor.  The victory moved Crestwood up to 6th place in the final team standings.
The Garfield G-Men qualified three wrestlers for the state wrestling tournament which was also a school record for them.  Coach Alan Harbert was “pleased with how well we competed” … “thrilled that all 3 kids were wrestling in the placement round” … and “very excited that two of his wrestlers were underclassmen and would be returning to his practice room next season”.  Kevin Stock was the highest finisher (4th) for the G-Men but lost his chance to wrestle for an individual championship when he was defeated in his semi-final match, 8-7.  The final score was  ultimately decided by a penalty point earlier in the match.
Cardinal’s Casey Johns lost his opening match and then rallied to win his next four matches to make the consolation bout. Johns found himself in familiar territory matched against his freshman nemesis from Beachwood, Sammy Gross, whom he defeated in the districts by a pin in the second period. Sammy, however, got his revenge by besting Casey 4-1 in Columbus.

Cardinal’s other state placer, Ziegler, won his first round match before falling to the eventual second place finisher. In the consolation bracket Chad won two more matches before falling to a third place finisher and winning his fifth place match 7-3.
The Southeast Pirates were looking to get back on track after a one-year absence from the state wrestling tournament.  The Pirates had two wrestlers qualify this year, with one of them trying to finish a Cinderella season.  Junior Tylor Brokaw placed 5th in the sectional wrestling tournament two weeks ago and thought his season was over, only to gain entrance into the district tournament last week as an alternate.  Tylor took full advantage of his second opportunity by placing 4th at districts and punching his ticket to the state tournament.  His story book season ended in Columbus when he lost his first two matches.  Teammate Ravonne Lawrence did however take 6th place at 171 lbs to give second year Coach Bob Noall his first state placer.  Coach Noall was extremely happy for Ravonne,  “he did all the right things to put himself in position this year and hopefully it will lead to bigger things for our program”.

Complete results can be found at the OHSAA website:  http://www.ohsaa.org

Newton Falls – Recently, a café that usually tantalizes customers with its breakfast and lunchtime offerings opened its doors after hours to treat local ladies to a special evening of food, fun, and fashion.

In celebration of women in business, the Brew Basket in Newton Falls hosted a Ladies’ Night complete with opportunities for socialization, relaxation, and some retail therapy in a comfortable atmosphere without the need for venturing out into the crowds at a mall or big box stores.

Tickets sold in advance entitled those in attendance to goodie bags, café samples, and special discounts from vendors presenting designer purses, glittering jewelry, and the freshest make-up techniques. Representatives from Miche handbags, Lia Sophia jewelry, and Mary Kay cosmetics were on hand to show the lovely ladies how to pair the latest trends in purses, jewelry, and make-up with their own personal fashion tastes and varying lifestyles.

Models chosen at random from the audience were invited to participate in a casual catwalk, showcasing the designs from the three independent consultants. Licensed massage practitioners provided some extra pampering by way of chair massages in between fashion show segments.

Door prizes were also awarded from each company’s line of products with up-to-date merchandise on display for a bit of window shopping.

Although this was the first time for such an occasion at the coffee shop, the owners hope to have another similar experience in the near future. In the meantime, keep your eye out for other upcoming events for various tastes ~ there’s always something brewing at the Brew Basket!

Garrettsville – On March 11, 2011, Charles Klamer will celebrate a benchmark which makes him the longest-serving school district superintendent in Portage County. On that date in 1991, Klamer became superintendent of the James A. Garfield School District.

Over the next 20 years, he was to pull the flailing school district from the brink of bankruptcy, oversee a successful tax levy that allowed for the construction of a new middle school and a renovated high school, and guide the student body’s scholastic improvement so the district would reach the state’s highest rating for performance in standardized tests, attendance and graduation rates: Excellent with Distinction… all this despite the fact that JAG schools spends less per pupil annually than all but two other school districts in the county. (In 2005, Klamer retired, then was immediately rehired by the board at a lower salary, saving the district about $90,000 over two years.)

With all of this in mind, and Klamer’s current contract set to expire July 31, the JAG Board of Education has extended the superintendent’s contract for another four years. Klamer’s salary under his new contract will remain at $60,000 annually.

Why didn’t the superintendent simply let his current contract run out, so he could retire, satisfied, with the district at the top of its game? “The people keep me here,” Klamer says with a broad smile. “This is my home; this is my community.”

That was not always the case. Before coming to the Garrettsville area, Klamer was superintendent of the Bloomfield-Mespo School District in Trumbull County for nearly 10 years, following two years there as a middle school and high school principal. “But I had my eye on the James A. Garfield School District all the while,” Klamer sys. “I felt that this district had a lot more potential than it showed from the road, whenever I drove by on State Route 88.”

When Klamer became JAG superintendent in 1991, he arrived on a chaotic scene where a “lack of trust, a lack of transparency, and a lack of acceptance of one another had been the rule. The district was basically bankrupt, having accumulated a lot of debt,” Klamer recalls. The levy had failed eight times already, and was about to go on the ballot for a ninth time.”

“But I’m a rather positive person,” Klamer says. “And I came here with a vision. This was one of the only local school districts remaining with a centralized business community that catered to kids — a roller rink, a bowling alley, Dairy Queen and other family-friendly restaurants, parks, a safe atmosphere, strong churches and civic involvement, and caring parents. I believed in this district from the start.”

Klamer deflects any credit given to him on behalf of the district’s achievements. “”It’s not what I’ve accomplished but what the kids, the community, parents and staff have accomplished since I’ve been here. These people work hard and are committed to excellence.”

Looking toward the next four years, Klamer’s main challenge is to sustain Excellence with Distinction. “It’s one thing to get on top academically. It’s quite another to maintain it!”