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Garrettsville – Do you have some time on your hands and want to help out your community? Have you considered helping out with SummerFest, the annual festival held the last weekend in June in Garrettsville? SummerFest Is looking for individuals,scouting groups, civic groups etc. to help out with various events at this year’s festival. What they need is folks who would like to donate some of their time and be a part of the biggest event of the summer.Two areas where help is needed are the canoe livery and the Grand Parade. The canoe livery needs folks who can help register participants, help with life jackets, etc. while the Grand Parade on Sunday needs people who can help direct participants to the right area as they line up for the parade. There are even more than these two areas where help is needed — all fun!One doesn’t need to give up an entire day; just a few hours would be a great help. If you would like to help out in any  of these activities or for other events please contact Aaron King 330 524-2646This year’s SummerFest is sponsored by Charles Chevrolet-Buick, Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce, Carlson Funeral Homes and Cremation Services and the Weekly Villager. The festival is traditionally held the last weekend in June at the corners of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville. More information can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com


Middlefield – To honor  women, Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen is planning a special event just for women. Ladies in all walks and areas of life are invited to join us for the Ladies’ Tea & Treasure event on Friday, June 3rd, at 4:00 pm.  You will enjoy a buffet luncheon which includes assorted finger sandwiches, a fruit cup, tossed salad, beverage, and assorted desserts.  We will celebrate with a door prize and special discount coupons, and more.We are excited to have Laura Straniero here to talk about the freedom from slavery being extended to women in Bolivia through the work there, and to show the Suti Sana handbags that help to make that freedom possible.Tickets are $15.00, and can be purchased at Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen, or online at maryyodersamishkitchen.com.


Ravenna - The Buckeye Trail is a hiking trail that circles the whole state of Ohio and is 1,444 miles long. It is built and maintained by the Buckeye Trail Association (BTA) and numerous volunteers.As a non-profit organization, they strive to provide outdoor recreation through hiking and backpacking to all four corners of Ohio. Now the BTA wants to expand the backpacking opportunities in the northeastern part of the state. Through co-operation with the Army Corps of Engineers and West Branch State Park they have started construction on a backpacking trail that will extend the Buckeye Trail around the Michael J.Kirwan reservoir and will be 25 plus miles long when completed. There will also  be two overnight shelters for camping along the trail.Matthew Funk,the Mogadore section supervisor, says that right now there is  nowhere in this corner of the state to actually backpack and he’s out to change this. “Right now if a person wants an overnight experience while hiking, they either have to go across the state line into Pennsylvania or down into southern Ohio to find backpacking opportunities. We are hoping to give hikers in this area something right in their back yards.”What is needed is to get as much community support for this project as possible. It will take multiple years to complete this project and we need all the help we can get. Volunteer opportunities abound, from actually building the trail to having people adopt small segments of it, to maintaining it  once it’s in place.We have work parties planned for different weekends through the spring,summer and fall seasons.So if anyone wants to come out and help us build trail,it would be greatly appreciated.All tools will be provided,so all someone needs is a lunch, drinks,gloves,and a good attitude.People with carpentry skills are also a plus for there  will be numerous bridges that need to be built. Boaters can also help by ferrying people and tools to the spot where we’re working to save long walks by the volunteers.If you are a hiker living in the surrounding area, come out and help us make this dream a reality. To volunteer please contact Matthew Funk at trailblazermatt@yahoo.com or call (330)310 9022 to get on the list.When the next trail building event comes up you will be notified.

Garrettsville – Wow!  That Was The Week That Was.  A Hot Time In The Old Town from stem to stern, so to speak.  Started off with Mother’s Day, went on to the Marching Pride Band dinner (Congratulations to the outstanding students recognized : John Hecky–John Philip Sousa Award. Curtis Cosner–Semper Fidelis Award, Carrie Holcomb–four-year letter award. Sam Russell–Patrick S. Gilmour Award and LeeAnn Brosius Memorial Scholarship. Molly Everett–Junior Arion Award) and on to the big parade on Saturday, May 14 in recognition of Emergency Services Week.This was the sixth annual observance of this important community asset.  The Community Emergency Medical Service has been in existence as a joint district including the townships of Freedom and Nelson and the Village of Garrettsville since 1980.  At the present time there are 8 paramedics, 2 EMTs–intermediate, 9 EMTs–basic, one clerk and one mechanic and chief Chris Sanchez  safeguarding community health and safety in a variety of situations.One of the more enjoyable situations was the open house at the district headquarters following the parade.  About five hundred hot dogs and their fixin’s disappeared…along with chips of all sorts, beverages, sweets, the usual… numerous fingers were printed, raffle items won, demonstrations observed, balloons blown up…a great time following a great parade.The procession had begun with Garrettsville Police Chief, Tony Milicia, followed closely by the Grand Marshal, Garfield superintendent, Chuck Klamer and his lovely wife, Linda.  The James A. Garfield Marching Pride Band stepped along smartly.  Trustees from the community entities involved–John Zizka, Freedom, Bill Wilson, Nelson, Jeff Kaiser, Garrettsville–were accompanied by their wives.  The newly-formed fire auxiliary group was there.   Portage County Sheriff, David Doak put in an appearance, as did mobile units from nearby communities, Troy and Windham.  There were ambulances aplenty and fire trucks from large–very large–to small–brush fires, anyone?  The message?  We’ve got you covered.There was a good turn-out to catch the festivities and excellent participation at the open house.  It was an illustration and an affirmation of two key words : COMMUNITY & SERVICE.  Great show!


Windham - The regularly scheduled meeting of the village council was rescheduled for April 27, 2011. The council was missing one member. The pledge of allegiance was recited and the meeting began. The last council meeting the fire chief explained that the village had received a warning about their fuel systems not being in compliance with the new standards. After doing some research, the village decided to eliminate the fueling system and enter into a contract with Circle K. Legal council presented the contract to purchase their gas and diesel fuel at Circle K. Circle K is opened 24/7 so there would be no problem obtaining fuel when they need it. Council approved the contract with Circle K.Council president Linda Rininger reported that she and Chief Fixler attended Government Day at Head Start. The two read books to the kids and joined them for a tomato soup and grilled cheese luncheon. The police chief was a hit with the kids.A discussion was held on the payment for Portage County Hazard Materials Response Team for 2008, 2009, & 2010. Council decided they would pay the 2008 & 2009 bill. They determined they would turn the 2010 bill over to the fire district as they would be the ones handling Haz-Mat matters. Council approved the re-hiring of Loretta Workman as a part-time dispatcher. Workman recently resigned her full-time position as a dispatcher for Windham to take a job elsewhere. Council filled her position with a full time position so when she wanted to return to the department all they could offer her was a part-time position.Windham’s recent purchase of used cruisers has left them with two old cruisers they do not need. Council authorized the chief to sell the cruisers at www.govdeals.com to see what he could get for them.Council authorized the fiscal officer to apply for credit with the Tax Exempt Lease Corporation for the purchase of new water meters. The current water meters are out dated, inaccurate and require one to physically go to each meter to read it costing the city valuable labor time. The new meters will be read by an infrared scanner that can be done from a vehicle rather than walking house to house. After approving acquiring credit for the meter project council also approved to replace meters throughout the entire village. Council meets regularly on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the village hall.

Kent – James A. Garfield graduate and Kent State University senior, Shannon Gallagher was recently inducted as a charter member of the Kent State chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society, the first academic honor society dedicated to entrepreneurship. The mission of Sigma Nu Tau is to promote, recognize, honor, and reward academic excellence in entrepreneurship and to encourage and recognize the practice of principled entrepreneurship.  Six other students, three community entrepreneurs, and five faculty members were also inducted into this charter group.  Shannon (pictued above with Jeff Hoffman) is majoring in both fashion and entrepreneurship and was inducted in a ceremony and program that featured guest motivational speaker, Jeff Hoffman, founder of Priceline.com.

Garrettsville – The Summerfest Committee is now accepting pet photo entries at the Middlefield Banking Company located at 8058 State Street Garrettsville, for the annual Pet Idol Photo Contest. The contest is one of many that are held during Summerfest the last weekend in June.If you are an amateur shutterbug and have a cute Rocky, Fluffy, Fido or other animal species, well start snapping away and get those pet pictures entered in the Pet Idol Photo Contest before time runs out. It may only be spring right now, but before long Summerfest will be here and you will not want to miss this opportunity to showcase your pet’s picture in the contest.The photo contest is open to any amateur photographers and will have three categories: cat, dog and other. Owners can submit either a black and white or color photo, however the photos will be judged in the same category. Photos need to be unframed, unmounted with name, address and phone number on each entry. A $5 entry fee is required with each photo entered and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Portage County APL. All photos must be received by Thursday, June 23, 2011 to be eligible. The photos will be on display during the festival.Therefore, if you think your lizard or fish are just the cutest thing, then snap a picture, down load an entry form off the website www.garrettsvilleSummerfest.com and drop them off at Middlefield Bank in Garrettsville. Entry forms, complete rules and more information can be viewed on the website or specific questions can be directed to Aaron King at 330 524-2646.This year’s Summerfest is sponsored by Charles Chevrolet-Buick, Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce, Carlson Funeral Homes and Cremation Services and the Weekly Villager. The festival is traditionally held the last weekend in June at the corners of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville.

Garrettsville – It’s fairly common for someone to ride their bicycle across the country. It’s quite another when that someone is a survivor of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and colon cancer… with an ilieostomy.An ostomy is a surgically created opening from an internal organ such as the intestines or ureters to an external point on the body, usually in the abdomen, so that diseased or damaged portions of the patients’ organ can be removed or treated for disease. The piece that is created to pass through from inside the body to outside is called a stoma. Bodily excretions such as stool, mucus and urine pass through the stoma into a special bag on the outside of the body, which the wearer empties on a regular basis.Bob Baker is taking a break as a self-employed builder to bicycle across the country for a cause – to raise awareness and funds for the treatment and eventual cure of colon-related diseases; and to combat the stigma associated with ostomies. He and his traveling companions — retired engineer Andre Simonpietri and retired urologist Herb Schettler — cycled through Garrettsville last week, just 11 days into their 4,000-mile tour, which started in Stamford, CT on April 16. They’re riding about 60 miles per day over the next three months, noting Bob’s 50th birthday in June, before reaching the West Coast in Seattle, WA. Bob was 40 when he was diagnosed with colon cancer… and that was after 27 years with inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, which plagued him with bloody diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms since being struck with it at age 15. He was forced to finish high school by phone – one year late – and dropped out of college because he couldn’t sit through class.“It was like having the flu for 2,000 days straight,” Baker recalls. “I could not control my bowels and my immune system was shot. I lived moment-to-moment in survival mode, always worrying about where’s the nearest bathroom. Up until that time, I had been athletic, popular and active. But that all changed the first day I filled the toilet with blood.”But Baker dealt with it for nearly three decades before being diagnosed with colon cancer and being faced with a choice: battle with Stage II colon cancer AND inflammatory bowel disease OR get the diseased tissue (thus the disease) surgically removed. This would entail getting an ilieostomy and wearing a bag daily to remove bodily waste.Ostomies are used in the treatment of diseases of the intestines and/or bladder, and are most commonly used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns/Colitis as well as certain cancers. The three most common types of ostomy are:Colostomy – a portion of the large intestine is removed or re-routed temporarily or permanently.Ileostomy – a portion of the small intestine is removed or re-routed temporarily or permanently.Urostomy – urine is diverted from the kidneys, often to bypass a diseased or removed bladder.Baker is unabashed when it comes to straight talk about bathroom issues. In fact, he and the 1.5 million people with inflammatory bowel have developed a sense of humor about their very serious health issues.The United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) produces an annual “Colondar,” a calendar featuring young colon cancer survivors as models. Baker — the 2006 Great Comeback Award-Winner and UOAA Vice President  — appears in the 2007 Colondar as “Mr. December” and on the cover (www.colonclub.com/colondar.html).The photos of beautiful, happy, vivacious — but scarred — patients serve to increase awareness of the good life and the absence of limitations for many who live with an ostomy. They also stave off the stigma often associated with ostomy, and raises funds for UOAA’s educational and awareness programs. And although its cause is unknown, there is a hereditary component to the disease… Now Baker’s 19-year-old son has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease.Baker had avoided an ostomy at all costs until a slight shift in his thinking allowed him to realize the dreaded procedure was actually his ticket to freedom to enjoy the rest of his life in ways he had been unable to before. His ileostomy offered him convenience and control, opening back up the ability to leave the house, go out, ski, bicycle, travel, and live an otherwise full and active lifestyle. “It opened up a whole new world for me,” including the opportunity to lobby Congress and speak to former President George W. Bush, Baker says. His Phoenix Cycle Tour is a celebration of his new life, thanks to the ileostomy he got eight years ago. (The colorful Phoenix is a mythical immortal bird which rises up — reborn — from the ashes of death and destruction.) This tour follows a 2010 UOAA/Colon Club-sponsored ride called “Get Your Guts in Gear,” from Manhattan to Saratoga Springs, NY, in which Baker raised $11,000. His goal by the end of his Phoenix Cycle Tour is to raise $100,000 for the cause. Along the way, he will meet with members of 320 support groups scattered across the country, and hopefully gain both local and national awareness.“I had forgotten what it feels like to feel good,” Baker says of his former life. “Getting an ilieostomy was miraculous for me. I am the poster boy for this cause. This ride is a big celebration.”

Camp Ravenna – Early Saturday morning almost 200 people sacrificed sleep when they arrived at 7:30 a.m. at the Renaissance Family Center for a tour of Camp Ravenna.  The excited folks enjoyed coffee and donuts while they waited on the buses to take them to see first hand what really lays behind the gate at Camp Ravenna Military Training Facility aka the Ravenna Arsenal. The four hour tour was set up by the Windham Historical Society as a fundraiser for the Bicentennial to be held later this summer. The group traveled by school buses that were paid for by the historical society to see what goes on and to get a little history lesson on the camp. Everyone was greeted by the Garrison Commander Lieutenant Colonial Ed Meade. Meade addressed everyone and told a little bit about what we would see and he introduced each bus to their tour guide.  The tour took us to the old stone arch bridge that spans Sand Creek which fascinated everyone. Our guide Major Richard Saphore explained that the bridge was constructed in the late 1800 and the military recently spent $250,000 on restoration of the bridge. A large percentage of the restoration money was spent on scientific research to determine the type of mortar they would need to use to replicate the original mortar of the bridge. At the bridge one could see the dam the Boy Scouts built years ago and see a small water fall. Everyone was thrilled with the sight, took advantage of the photo opportunity and asked many questions about the camp. The second stop took a detour around a broken culvert to see a bunker. The bunkers are virtually invisible from an aerial view and even had trees growing on top of them. They built the bunkers in staggered rows 1500 feet apart to prevent a chain reaction of explosions if one was filled with ordinances was hit. Currently they do not store any ordinances in the bunkers but occasionally they store weapons from drug raids there until the case goes to trial, then the weapons are destroyed. The cost of removing the bunkers is staggering so for now they are used for storage for a variety of items. The camp has 693 bunkers.  The next stop on the tour took one to what used to be the officers housing and a tour of one of the houses. The officers’ housing is set up in a circle simulating an old pioneer village. The colonial houses built in the early 1940’s had beautiful hardwood floors, three- four bedrooms, two baths and a fireplace; although the houses are not in livable condition and are now used for training purposes, one could see that they were once a place of splendor. The former officer’s houses will be torn down in the future, but for now they use them to train drug dogs and train military personnel.  The Readiness Center and the newly built barracks were the next stop. There one saw new recruits learning how to properly wear fatigues, get ready for basic training, and glimpses of the small mess hall. The barracks that were recently finished gave one a snapshot of a soldiers’ life at the camp. There are three barracks that can house up 2500 soldiers and the last one was recently finished and is waiting on furniture.  The last stop of the tour took the group to the simulated training area. The humvee rollover simulator was interesting to see. The simulator is computer programmed to simulate any type of situation the soldiers may find themselves in when using the humvee. The humvee simulator is an actual humvee set on a mechanical arm that is computer controlled. The mechanical arm rotates the humvee to various degrees including the ability to do a 360. The simulator rotates the vehicle at various degrees imitating a rollover, which the soldiers learn how to escape from different angles and scenarios. The driving simulators are programmed to simulate any vehicle the military has to offer and have the feel of actual driving. If you are driving on a rough road the seat will bounce you around as if you’re actually traveling on a road. Each simulator computer stores data and allows one to see how they did and what one needs to do to improve their skills. The artillery simulator was real interesting too. Tourists had the opportunity to see how a computer can control the scene that the shooter sees and how the laser weapons are used to improve marksmanship. The computerized laser guns tell you if you’re jerking when shooting, hesitating or improperly holding the gun and even give one the feel of a real gun when they feel the recourse of every shot fired.  It also records how many shots were fired, how many hits, and how many kills. The simulator shooting scene can be changed from a clear day, to fog, rain, night time, cloudy etc. giving a soldier a chance to prepare for all types of adverse conditions. The tour lasted four hours and just showed snippets of what all happens behind the intriguing gates of Camp Ravenna. To see the entire facility in action one would need to be a soldier, however the portions we did see, really gives one an idea of what happens behind the gates and the role Camp Ravenna plays in our nation’s security and the freedoms we all experience everyday.

Logo for the proposed yogurt shop

Logo for the proposed frozen yogurt shop

Hiram – Want a place where you can take a minute to sit down, relax. and enjoy the cool sweet taste of Frozen Yogurt?If you would be willing to take a moment of your time to fill out a short questionnaire, a local frozen yogurt cafe could be on the horizon…and just around the corner from your home…in the Kennedy Center Basement Food Court at Hiram College.Several dedicated students, Bonnie Brentar ‘13 and Monica Lucas ‘14, inspired by Professor Fillner’s entrepreneurial class at Hiram College, are seeking approval of the Steve Jones, Vice President of Finances at Hiram College.  Professor Senary and his Managerial Accounting class, with special assistance from Forrest Reed, Josh Buzbee, Bradley Stachowski, and David Miller, are working to conduct research and help formulate a business plan for the cafe. The frozen yogurt cafe will, of course, be available to the public. We need your IMMEDIATE input to assure that this will be a winning venture. Fill out a short questionnaire today at  http://www.weeklyvillager.com/001 or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L75HCCJ

Windham – The children of Windham’s KT Elementary preschool were treated to a visit from Yo-Yo the Clown.  Steve Blasko from Youngstown has performed for over 40 years.  He demonstrated for the children how he transforms himself into a clown. Teacher’s Aide Ms. McLean and a student, Briah Daniel, joined in the fun by applying clown makeup.  The preschoolers smiled and watched in amazement as Yo-Yo made each of the them an animal-shaped balloon. Registration is now open for next school year.  If interested, please come to KT Elementary.  Any questions, call the school at 330.326.9800.

Ravenna – Ravenna Stadium was the site of this year’s Relay for Life event to benefit the American Cancer Society…which is to say, benefits us all.Groups from all over Portage County were in evidence : the BOMB (Bunch O’ Mighty Believers) of the Garrettsville UMC, Suffield UCC, Ravenna GE Lamp Plant, Destiny’s Fighters, Cousins for a Cure, Fortis College Honor Society, Streetsboro BSA, many more, all determined to do as the Society urges–Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.This year’s theme connected with Disney productions which allowed for lots of imagination in group displays.  Aladdin appeared, as did Pirates of  the Caribbean, the Beast…you get the idea.  Among the most poignant sights…symbolizing very personal interest… were Team Lori, the numerous purple shirts with “I am living proof” emblazoned on the back, and a lone young man running in a white T-shirt which said, “Runnin’ 4 Dad”.  Survivors?  One must hope so.One might also be admonished by the various Society signs all around the track urging smokers to quit, couch potatoes to get moving, reminders of the new drugs available, note to everyone to get health check-ups, personal  responsibility for combatting the cancer enemy on all fronts.  The purpose was serious but there was fun to be had in getting bailed out of the Cancer County Jail or taking the Survivors Lap or wearing pink-and-white camo shirts or cerise fishnet hose or figuring out the “Nose picker” which was a green papier-mache plaque that looked like…,well, what do you think it looked like? Activities went on all day and all night, as each team kept at least one walker on the track at all times…through the music…as Orbit (Akron Aeros mascot) visited…during the lumenaria ceremony…the dancing…good times to propel us all through the hard times …to the cure.Mark it on your calendar for next year.  More participation, more promise, more hope.

Aurora – Aurora Memorial Library would  like to  remind teens that there is still time to sign up to see authors Lisa and Laura Roecker (pictured above) discuss their debut novel, The Liar Society, a murder mystery set against the backdrop of an elite private school.  The authors will appear on Saturday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m. in the downstairs gallery.  Refreshments will be served, and teens can enter to win a copy of The Liar Society. There will be a book signing afterwards and copies of the book will be available for purchase.The Aurora Memorial Library is located at 115 East Pioneer Trail in Aurora. To register, teens may call the library at 330-562-6502 or visit www.portagelibrary.org. To learn more about the Roeckers and their journey into writing a young adult book, check out their blog at http://lisa-laura.blogspot.com/.

Windham – The state budget is in and said what everyone hoped it wouldn’t say — big revenue losses for the Windham School District. The board of education (BOE) was hoping it would not come down to loss of jobs but after running on bare bones the last few years a Reduction in Force (RIF) was their only alternative if the district is to survive. At the March BOE meeting the district announced that it would eliminate 26 positions and they would determine the specific staff members after analyzing everyone’s credentials. The other shoe so to speak fell as the BOE felt it had no alternative but to RIF 23 employees and adjust their curriculum.  Mr. Gregg Isler superintendent said it was a difficult but necessary process that needed to be done so the district can survive. The list of staff cuts included art, music and band instructors; however they will be offering those electives in some capacity next year. So those who are wondering about the new band uniforms, yes they will be worn and used in the 2011 -2012 school year.  Some of the staff cuts involve elective courses that only had a few students interested in taking them. The courses they eliminated will be replaced by more interesting classes that will benefit the students and still fulfill college requirements. Prior to the RIFs the district had students fill out a survey on what electives they would like to see offered and the number one desire was to have a Science of Sports. This class would help students mathematically figure out the entire hows and whys of the sports facilities, equipment, and etc. using mathematical computations. The district anticipates having the full elective course list in place in the next week or so. Questions were asked about the future of the district. Isler said he anticipates that they will have to continue to adjust their staff and budget over the years but doesn’t anticipate that it will be as severe as this year. The district plans to announce they will have a public forum in the near future to answer any questions the public may have on these issues.  I took to the streets last week to see what the public had to say about the cuts in the district. The over all feeling was Ohio needs to change the way it funds districts and they need to do it soon. Many thought it was a sad day for public education in the community, and felt badly about the losses the district faced, while hoping there would be some changes in the funding that would allow the district to bring some of the staff back for the next school year. While there were those who felt bad, others were more indifferent about the scenario and pretty much were resolved to the attitude of it is what it is. Many of the folks who weighed in on the issue were quick to put the blame on student losses to open enrollment and on the housing units demolished in the projects. So I checked with the district and found they have 101 students opened enrolled in other district while taking in only 46 from other districts. So there are some losses here that effect the over all budget. I also checked on the housing situation and yes they have torn down some of the project housing but most of the ones they took down were unoccupied and in poor condition. The tenants who occupied some of the units that were demolished were relocated to other unoccupied units in other buildings. So this has had little if no effect on the situation.In other BOE news, the board approved to house their own multi-handicap unit in the elementary school rather than bus them to other schools. Isler stated, “That they feel confident that they can best serve those students needing this service, in their own district.” They also approved to have an ED behavioral unit at the Jr. / Sr. high school. Lastly the Board announced that they would make up their calamity days at the end of the school year. Seniors will be required to return to class for two days after commencements due to state requirements. The state allows seniors to be dismissed from three days of classes, however by adding the calamity days at the end of the year forces the district to either change graduation day or have the seniors return after commencements. The board chose to have the seniors return. The BOE meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.


Ravenna – There’s a new administrator at Portage County’s nursing home, The Woodlands at Robinson in Ravenna. When Christa Mayes took the position on April 1, The Woodlands was home to 65 residents. As of April 29th, there were 80. The Woodlands is on the grow, so anyone considering short- or long-term nursing home care should visit before the 99-bed facility is at capacity, Mayes says.The Woodlands is in the process of taking admissions because one of Mayes’ primary objectives as new administrator is to increase the census. The other main objective is to get systems in place which will increase the nursing home’s efficiency and effectiveness. This includes increasing revenue, educating the staff, and increasing public awareness.Mayes — a Hiram Township resident — serves on the Ethics Committee at Robinson Memorial Hospital   and comes to the Woodlands after 15 years in administration at Aurora Manor. While there, Portage County Commissioner Maureen Frederick had visited the Manor and noted how pleasant and clean the facility was. So when it came time for The Woodlands to hire a new administrator, Mayes was approached to help meet that need. The  county  nursing home has been located at 6831 North Chestnut St. in Ravenna for about 10 years. Portage County Commissioners oversee its operation, helping to set policies and guidelines. The facility features activity rooms, resident lounges, physical and occupational therapy suites, speech therapy, a central courtyard and an exterior activities terrace. Additional amenities include a full-service kitchen, beauty salon, dental office, two stories of resident rooms and a full basement for medical service and support for its occupants. Residents benefit also from a close relationship with Robinson Memorial Hospital and its medical services.“It’s a beautiful facility,” says Mayes. “It’s open, spacious, has lots of light, and the staff takes pride in being nurturing and caring, cheerful and friendly. Our focus is on care. We also have 100 volunteers that work here, which shows how supportive the community is.”According to The Woodlands website, “It is our primary goal to restore and  maintain the health of our residents in a spirit of compassion and concern.  The health care team strives to meet the holistic needs of our residents, including the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of their care. We promote resident and family education to allow each individual the opportunity to prevent illness and achieve optimal health.”The Portage County nursing home offers short- and long- term medical care.  This also includes skilled care for patients who need an individualized plan of progressive treatments and therapies while recuperating from a hospital stay. Typical circumstances for short-term rehabilitation services include recovering from knee or hip replacement, stroke, or broken bones; or needing intravenous antibiotics. The only requirement for consideration is that the patient requires around-the-clock skilled nursing care. The facility accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurances and private party payments.According to www.ucomparehealthcare.com, The Woodlands has an above-average rate of registered nurses per resident per day of 49 minutes compared to the Ohio state nursing home average of 36 minutes. The facility had 22 deficiencies in previous two state inspections (in 2006-2009) compared to the Ohio average of 11 and six complaints compared to the state average of three. The Woodlands had five fire safety deficiencies in the previous two state inspections, which is better than the Ohio state nursing home average of 11. Mayes says  that  The Woodlands just had “a great state survey” that demonstrates improvements over the previous two inspections. “Stop in for a tour and see the changes,” she encourages. The Woodlands will be reaching out to the community during National Nursing Home Week, May 8-14, with the theme, “Fulfilling the Promise.” Watch for event details in coming weeks.To schedule a tour or to learn more about what specific services are offered at The Woodlands, call (330) 297-4564 or (330) 298-4530 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary Club was recently privileged to hear from two very able competitors in the Four-Way Test Speech Contest.  Both entrants were from James A. Garfield High School and each gave a presentation worth of recognition.

Travis Gorby, freshman, was first up and got an immediate audience response by intoning, “O-H”…which got “I-O” right back at him.  He went on to reveal a T-shirt with the logo of his favorite soccer team, which hailed from Barcelona.  “The Hook”, as they say, was set.

He went on to disclose his athletic bona fides–as player, referee, teacher, fan–relating to the sport.  His point was that all too often soccer “don’t get no respect” …certainly not as relevant to its growing popularity in the United States, its world-wide participation profile and its increased acceptance in interscholastic competition.

Shelby Handshue, senior, with plans to attend KSU majoring in biology, was up next with a focus on creativity, its many facets, its development, its practical manifestations and its importance to future advances in many areas –economics, education, medicine…even other fields which have not  emerged for consideration yet.

These were certainly among the top competitors for this contest in recent times.  Both were well-prepared and knowledgeable on their topics, staking out their positions an delivering their messages in an animated, confident manner.  It was tough to choose the rankings.

Both received Rotary checks for their efforts.  Travis will go the the district Four-Way Speech Contest to represent the local club.  Shelby will be the alternate.

Spring roadside clean-up is coming.  Sign up, if you’d like to help.



I have written nearly 60 columns for the Weekly Villager since June, 2008.  The focus of my articles has always been patient centered. Equipping my readers with topical subjects makes them better patient/consumers and, by extension, happy, well-cared for patients. This time I am going to step out of my role as writer/educator and into company hiring manager in need of advice in finding “a few good employees”.

First of all let me say that I am extremely fortunate to work with a couple of very talented, hard working and dedicated colleagues. Dr. Tom Pesarchick, my business partner is an excellent and dedicated clinician and businessman. Kaytee Tudor, our dental assistant is one of the most conscientious, reliable and competent young ladies I have had the pleasure of working with in a very long time. So what’s the problem? As “they” say, what’s with the “long face”?  The issue is our dental practice is expanding and growing and as a result we need to add to our staff.

You would think that in today’s economy and tough job market that hiring another dental assistant to work for us would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, I am getting a pretty rude awakening.

Oh my gosh, you can’t imagine what we have gone through in the last 6 months to find another employee. There are a number of dental assisting programs and schools that place externs in dental offices so that the students can acquire real world dental assisting experience. So, Dr. Tom and I thought this would be a terrific avenue to identify potential up and coming talent. Not the case.

One extern basically stood around and did nothing. Another extern who we had for 1 month called off sick no fewer than 5 times and then did not show up to work on St. Patrick’s Day. Another extern just stopped showing up and never called. The last extern went to lunch and never came back – no call, no courtesy.

One applicant came in for her interview in blue jeans and a tee shirt. Whatever happened to professionalism? Another applicant thought she was the official greeter for the practice and proceeded to carry on protracted conversations with patients during her working interview without bothering to assist. I asked one interviewee for a professional reference and she asked if she could use her father. Some made appointments for interviews and did not bother to show up.  Really? I could go on and on but you get the point.

A number of local businesses have been kind enough in the past to allow me to put up “help wanted signs” in their stores. I put up a sign on the front door of our practice. Several classified ads have been placed in the Weekly Villager (By the way, there is one in this week’s edition).  An ad is currently running in Monster.com. This is actually the second time I’ve done this. The first time I guess our ad was so desirable that a lady in the Philippines wrote and said she would relocate to Garrettsville for us. This time we had an applicant tell us she would move from Glendale California.

So, what is the take home message? Simply, we need help… an experienced, part-time dental assistant. See the ad in this week’s edition of the Weekly Villager and if you or someone you know fits the description of who we are looking for please contact us.


Dr. Richard Behrman and Dr. Thomas Pesarchick are co-founders of University Dental of Garrettsville, Inc. Please contact Dr. Behrman at 330-527-3368 with any suggestions for future column topics.


Garrettsville – If  you enjoy Saturday Night Live humor, you’ll enjoy James A. Garfield’s final drama production of the year titled “The Test” by Cliff McClelland. This play chronicles a series of scenes all devoted to the idea that we must face so many tests in our lives here in America.

While many of the scenes poke fun at these tests, some scenes are a bit more dramatic in nature, but all of them work together to create a unique night of entertainment for the whole family. What would you do if you had to take your driving test with a wacko instructor? Or in order to receive your Masters Degree you had to face a karate instructor and defeat him before you could move on to the next level?

Come and find out why Monty Python had so much fun doing their Spanish Inquisition skits, and what Adam and Eve might have thought about testing.

Show dates are May 20, 21 at 7:30PM both nights. Adults- $6.00  Students/Senior citizens $3.00. Pre-sale tickets will be sold a week before the show during lunches. These will enable you to get a better first- come first- served seat either night. Come and have a night of laughs on us! See you there!



Garrettsville –  First responders make a living out of helping others in their time of need. Now, a support group has been formed to show gratitude to local firefighters in appreciation for all they do.

Stacy Collins is a founding member of the newly formed Garfield Women’s Auxiliary associated with the Garrettsville-Freedom-Nelson Volunteer Fire Department at 8035 Elm Street. The support group was formed in March to provide support for the firemen in any capacity needed, such as rehab at fires, financial support, breakfasts, and family activities.

“The wives and family members of the firemen wanted to be more active in the community and the fire department,” Collins says. “We plan to provide breakfast for the firemen who attend the water shuttle when it is hosted by the fire department, to plan a summer picnic for the firemen and their families, and to host community fundraisers.”

The auxiliary will participate in the Community Yard Sale, and sell hot dogs, pop and bake sale items to raise funds.

The firemen — understandably — have responded very well to the auxiliary and voted unanimously to approve its formation.  There have been volunteer support efforts in the past on their behalf, but this is the fire department’s first formal auxiliary.

Garfield Women’s Auxiliary founding members are Kate Sponaugle, Stacy Collins and Lori Friess.



Mantua – On Thursday, April 21, a luncheon was held at Mantua Hilltop Church to honor all those who volunteer at the Food cupboard. The Council Members provided a delicious luncheon of salads, desserts and croissants. 40 volunteers attended plus a few honored guests who had been active in the past.

Terri Wilde, president of council, presented a program about the history of 4 C’s. The program is 30 years old in October and has been serving the Crestwood Community all that time. Terri told of the beginnings of the program and related how some things have changed over the years, especially the numbers served and the location. She asked for memories from other members and several people shared stories of the past. Pat Sargent told of one person who donated a cow that he bought at the fair. Joan Siman has kept a scrapbook of pictures and newspaper articles and a picture of the cow was there for all to see.

Terri praised all the volunteers and thanked them for the work they have done over the years. She also thanked the community for the wonderful support the cupboard receives. Without the community support and the dedicated volunteers the food cupboard could not continue.  At the end of the program Terri Wilde announced that this would be her last year as president. All of the volunteers are sad to see her go. She has done such a great job during her presidency. A big THANKS  goes out to Terri for all her hard work.


Summerfest committee announces the “First Couple” for their First Annual SummerFest Wedding held at this year’s event in late June. Wedding Bells will  chime when Jennifer Brown walks down Main Street to meet her prince, Harry L. Cales Jr., at the main stage. The nuptials will take place on the Main Stage at  SummerFest on June 25, 2011 at 3pm before an audience of family, friends and  event visitors. The service will be officiated by the Reverend Dreama Adkins and  Garrettsville Mayor Craig Moser. After the ceremony the couple will be whisked away for a private reception held at a local venue.

Jennifer grew up In Garrettsville and Harry grew up in Windham and the couple  first met at the Old Mill in Garrettsville when they were just thirteen years  old. The relationship took a few years to blossom, but by the time they were freshman in high school they had become a couple and have been so ever since.

Their family became a threesome when Makenzie was born six years ago. The couple said winning this contest is making their wedding dream a reality. They both  claim finances have prevented them from tying the knot, so with the help of the  area’s businesses they will now be able to have a wedding they have been dreaming  about for some time.

The couple will receive flowers for the bride and groom, invitations, wedding cake, photography, small cake and punch reception, a night’s stay at the Hiram Inn, wine from the local wineries and they will ride in Sunday’s Grand Parade as part of the wedding package. They may also choose to upgrade any item in the package for a nominal cost.

The wedding isn’t the only nuptial ceremony taking place at SummerFest. Prior to the wedding Bill and Noreen Siegner will renew their wedding vows at SummerFest as well. This couple thought SummerFest would be the perfect venue to renew their vows before family, friends and other guests of the event, since it is only a few days prior to their 30th wedding anniversary.

Noreen was raised in the Garrettsville area and Bill grew up in Twinsburg. The two met at a church service in Hudson and it was love at first sight. Sixteen months later they said “I do.”  The couple makes their home in Windham and are the proud parents of  Noah and Josiah. They also have one grandson, Isaac, who is almost a year old, who also lives in Windham. When the couple is not spending time with their family they can be found at Covenant Bible Church, where Bill serves as Minister of Music and Noreen runs the sound system. The Siegners credit their longevity as a couple to their commitment to Christ. They said without Him at the center of their lives they would have not made it this far.

The renewal couple will receive a gift basket from local merchants, including a dinner for two at Main Street Grille and Brewing Company in Garrettsville. They also will ride in Sunday’s Grand Parade. Congratulations to both couples!

The following businesses contributing to the wedding package are: Art n Flowers, Bay Window, Sky Drive Thru, Cellar Winery, Hiram Inn, Candlelight Winery, Miller’s Family Restaurant, Carolyn’s Cakes, Main Street Grille & Brewing Company, Villager Printing, and Ronda Brady Photography.

This year’s SummerFest is sponsored by Charles Chevrolet-Buick, Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce, Carlson Funeral Homes and Cremation Services and the Weekly Villager. The festival is traditionally held the last weekend in June at the  corners of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville. More information can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com


Nelson Twp – Spring has returned. We made it through another winter. As you drive around Nelson Township, you can once again see the green grass and flowers blooming everywhere. To keep Nelson looking great, remember to start collecting all the things in your yard that you no longer want. The Community Clean-Up is April 30the and May 1st this year. Let’s keep Nelson beautiful.

To keep your yard beautiful, The Nelson Grassroots Garden Club will be holding their annual Plant Sale May 13th and 14th at the Community House. As always, there will be a wide variety of perennials for sale.

Now for the house. As you begin your spring-cleaning, please keep in mind that the Pixley Park Development Committee is looking for donations of any items you no longer use or need. You can drop off any items at L&P Machine, 8488 Route 305 or at the Salvage Pantry, 11462 Nicholson Rd. Their annual Yard Sale will be held Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30th at the home of Linda and Terry Allen, 8488 Route 305. All proceeds benefit the park. The ball diamond is now complete, with bleachers coming soon. The committee is hoping this years’s yard sale will help fund the building of a pavilion at the park. Please be generous and help out if you can.

Ok, your  yard is now a showplace, your flowers are blooming and your house is in order. After all that work, you deserve a break. Mark October 1st on your calendar for the Harvest Moon Pot Luck and Pig Roast. This popular event will be held, as always, at the Community House. The food is out of this world and the fun never stops when the Chinese Auction gets started. While you are there, check out the new windows at the Community House, they look fantastic. The new doors will be coming soon.

Nelson Township offers a plethora of activities for its citizens. Come out for any and all of these events and support the greatest community around.


Pictured from left to right are Rosalie Novotny, clarinet; Maia Pancost, flute; Bryanna Herbold, french horn; Chelsea Evans, oboe; and Alex Bigler, bassoon. These 8th grade band students played together as a Wind Quintet, receiving a Superior (I) rating for their performance at Solo and Ensemble Contest.

Mantua – Eighty CMS Band students participated in the annual Solo and Ensemble Contest April 9, 2011 held at Crestwood Middle School. Students in grades seven and eight performed 47 solos and in 22 ensembles. CMS Middle School band students received 57 Superior and 13 Excellent ratings.

Each performance was evaluated by an adjudicator on rhythm and pitch accuracy, intonation, tone quality, and interpretation. They were then awarded a rating ranging from I to V. Adjudicators for the day’s performances were Jim Murphy, retired, Kent City Schools; Diane McMaster-Perry, retired, Field Local Schools; Jennifer Culver, teacher, Cuyahoga Falls; and Cheryl Graham, teacher, New Philadelphia Schools. The adjudicators were all very complimentary of the students for their behavior as well as their preparation for this event.

Mrs. Debbie Wiandt, Mrs. Judith Guegold, and Ms. Courtney Lambert prepared CMS band students for this event. Mrs. Kate Ferguson and Mr. Craig Rice, KSU student teacher, also assisted students in their preparations. Mrs. Virginia Goodell and Mrs. Becky Oliphant volunteered to accompany the soloists. Ms. Krystal Friend and Dr. William Guegold helped students warm-up and tune before each performance.

Several sixth grade band members served as judges’ assistants and door guards. They were Haley Brady, Olivia Brady, Karli Bigler, Megan Cymanski, Catherine Hoover, Rachel Hutchison, and Madeline Turner.

Two sixth graders who have been studying privately also performed solos. Michael Snodgrass earned a Superior Rating for his mallet solo and Olivia Brady earned a Superior for her flute solo.



Hiram – Brush pick-up for 2011 will be the last full week of April, May, June, July, August and September.  The amount of brush should be no more than two men can load in 15 minutes. Tree branches and brush should be no longer than 8 foot. Leaves and small twigs must be bagged in bio-degradable bags and sealed with bio-degradable tape, or twine. Please place brush and leaf bags far enough back from the street to avoid interfering with pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

On Saturday, May 21  Hiram will be holding their Spring Clean-up day which will also include a tire and computer drop-off. Please drop off these items at the south Village Hall parking lot from 8 am to noon.

The Planning and Zoning Commission met on Tuesday, April 5th.  A motion to approve T-Mobile’s zoning application to co-locate their equipment on the existing Cell Tower next to the college’s service center was approved, provided T-Mobile seeks and obtains approval of Fire, Police and VA and posts the appropriate bond approved by the Village Solicitor.

As reported last 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. [This grant is made in four (4) quarterly payments of $12,500 each.]

As reported earlier, demolition of the old Hiram School is almost completed for contract price of $66,900 to Ace – Zuver,  LLC. However there is a little more that $40,000 remaining in the CBG block grant. It has been suggested that the Village can utilize those funds for permanent improvements, parking, etc. Ferdinand Fogas, M.D. has recently responded to the informal offer e-mailed to him January past, he has offered to sell the 5.1 acres for $160k with a credit of $30k.

There are two grant applications pending before the Ohio Development of Natural Resources totaling just more that $90k. ODNR regulations prohibit a Purchase/Sales Agreement signing before the grant application is approved. ODNR should decide the grant application sometime this June.

The OHIO PUBLIC WORKS COMMISSION grant was recently approved by Gov. Kasich. The amount of the grant is $177,500 this is a 50% grant for Hinsdale Rd. Extension with Hiram College bearing balance of the costs. (The total project cost is estimated at: $355k)

Fire and EMS have not yet agreed with the college for Council’s action to ink a new two (2) year (2011 -2012) fire and police service contract with Hiram College with a 5% increase in the first year to $69,930 and a 3% increase in the second year to $72,028. Council President Tom Wadkins and the two chiefs will work out any particular troublesome wording in the contract with the College.

Thanks goes out to Village Council for having a designated Council member attending at least one monthly Township Trustee meeting. Both governments believe this procedure and contact is important to our communities. Thank you, members of Council.

On Friday April 8th Memorandums for the Petitioners, Village and Township were filed with the Portage County Board of Commissioners regarding the proposed annexation. That decision must be made no later than 30 days, on or before May 8, 2011.

Hiram’s Memorial Day Services will be held on Monday, May 30th. The parade steps off when the Crestwood HS Scarlet Guard arrives in town at approximately 11a.m.  This year’s keynote speaker is Lieutenant Colonel Donal Hazelwood of the US Army.




Garrettsville – News flash! It is still raining  )–; So take advantage of the Boardwalk and you can see Mother Nature do her over-the-Falls thing… It is spectacular (—;

Meanwhile, we have a private investor, buyer, for Paul’s Lumber property all 14.8 acres of the complex.  I firmly believe this is a cause for celebration for the Village and the J.A Garfield Schools.

The private investor has plans for the property and the financial wherewithal to renovate and repair the building(s). When this is done and the business is up and running the village will welcome a new business we can all patronize and we will have some added revenue for our income tax.

The J. A. Garfield Schools will benefit because the privately- held property will continue to pay local property taxes, largely to the JAG schools, which is a better thing than the Village becoming the owner and so making the property tax exempt.

More updates on Liberty Street Bridges from the Portage County Engineer:

The Liberty Street Bridge between Center Street and Park Avenue is closed for vehicle and the sidewalk bridge is closed to pedestrians, but they can walk on the road/vehicle part of the bridge. Repairs are for the bridge to have its stringers (horizontal main supports) repaired and/or replaced.

The PC Engineer is planning on doing this work themselves and to create/ pre-construct new stringers to rehabilitate the bridge. To do this work they need to access the underside of the bridge, so, they need low water flows and this means the repair is likely to be in August.

The Liberty Street Bridge near Water Street has a closed sidewalk bridge that is totally unsafe for pedestrians… So don’t even think about it. The repair can be to either put a new pedestrian /sidewalk bridge on the old vehicle bridge for major money or build a stand alone pedestrian/sidewalk bridge for big money… The PC engineer is studying both options and is aware of the pedestrian walking in the street is a safety concern.

Last note– village meetings of Planning Commission on May 5th at 7 p.m. Council meets on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.   and chickens are on the table with other exciting votes to come… so come be a witness or participant… we can be entertaining.


Nelson Twp. –  Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting at the community house with trustees Joe Leonard, Bill Wilson and Jim Turos and fiscal officer J. David Finney present. Fire Chief Dave Friess was in attendance to request permission to use the parking lot at Pixley Park for a vehicle extrication and burning practice. After some discussion the trustees said they would have to co-ordinate time and dates with the ball fields schedule, but as long as that is done then they saw no problem with the fire department using the parking lot. The chief said he would coordinate the dates and times once they receive the permit to burn.

Questions were raised about scheduling the use of the ball field at Pixley Park. After some discussion the trustees agreed to have Michelle Cmunt, who already does the scheduling for the Community House, do the ball fields as well and be compensated $25 extra a month from May thru October. Mrs. Cmunt will be responsible for keeping an updated schedule posted at the park as well.

Trustee Wilson presented estimates for the cemetery road paving. After further discussion they have decided to put the paving on hold for now due to budget constraints.

Mr. Turos brought up the water problem on the ball field at Pixley Park and demonstrated what is wrong with it and what should be done to fix it. Turos claim that the drain tile is too deep and they used the wrong type of tile. He stated that it would cost some where near $8,000 to repair. Mr. Terry Allen, a member of the Pixley Park Committee, disagrees with Mr. Turos’ findings, Allen said they followed the specs given to them by the Department of Water and Soil and claims the drainage problem is the sand. Allen claims the sand sold to them had too much clay in it, preventing the water from draining properly. Allen said he was told that if they added more sand to the mix the field would be fine. Turos and Allen disagreed on how to solve the problem and since neither party has the funds to redo the drainage system the park committee said they would try the sand additive first.

In other business Turos wants to make it clear that the trustees have to approve any improvements done at Pixley Park including design, specs etc. The park committee agreed with him and stated that they had turned in plans for the ball field which the trustees had approved prior to the installation of the field.

Joe Leonard stated that they started examining the items that have been stored upstairs of the Community House and believe much of it could be donated to the Pixley Park Annual Garage Sale held Memorial Day weekend. He said before they start giving the items to the committee they need to go through them to make sure they are not giving away part of Nelson’s history.

A discussion was held on the legality of having an all-boards meeting with the trustees. The all-boards meeting would be the zoning commission and the board of zoning appeals and the trustees.  Leonard will check with the prosecutor to see if it is permissible.

Leonard contacted Captain Ricky Neal from the sheriff’s office about using the prisoners to help clean-up the sides of the roads in the township. The township would be expected to provide drinks and lunch for the crew. The trustees agreed to the stipulation of providing lunch and beverages for the prisoners who do the work.

The food bank plan is moving forward. The township needs to find a sponsor who holds a 501C3 non-profit status before they can develop a business plan for the food bank. When the business plan is developed they will present it to the trustees.

Chairman Leonard said Cook Heating and Cooling had presented the revised drawings for the heating and cooling system for the Community House. The changes in the updated drawings are going from a two-unit heating and cooling system to one furnace and air conditioner rather than the (2) two unit systems. The local contractor says this would be sufficient for the townships needs. The new system is being paid for out of the NOPEC Grant the township received.

In other business, questions were brought to the board on how the clerk was to determine pay times for employees now that they have a time clock, does the township need an email address and who would be responsible for answering questions on the web site. After some discussion the board agreed to determine pay by the quarter hour rather than the tenth of an hour. The trustees will have Mr. Elias look into an email address for the township and responses to questions will be handled by Mr. Finney. Mr. Finney will confer with trustees before answering questions folks present when the email system is up and running.

The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesdays at 7:30 pm with meetings currently being held at the Community House until June.

More Nelson news, including minutes of their meetings, and government information can be found on their website www.nelsontownshipohio.org



Hiram – On May 1st, at 3:00 in the afternoon, there will be a memorial service honoring the life and works of William “Bill” Hollinger, at Hiram College’s Price Gymnasium, on the eponymous Hollinger Court, where he spent not inconsiderable time and achieved more than sports victories.

Memorials are about the honored ones who have left us but they are for those who have been–and often continue to be–touched by that life of service to the living.

There was virtually no aspect of sport, at Hiram College and further abroad, that was not touched by Coach Hollinger.  His mark is on the basketball court, the Hiram College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Coaches’ Corner at Hiram College’s Coleman Athletic Center.  More importantly, it is on the many students, colleagues, institutions and organizations that were integral parts of his life, in sports and beyond.  The recognition which he received–from the Bronze Star awarded for leading a ravaged company through heavy fire to take an enemy position, to NCAA Division III selection  committee, to a Distinguished Service Award from the Ohio House of Representatives, to salutes from conference colleges–attest to the larger effects of a life well-lived.

Volunteering at Robinson Memorial Hospital, donating blood, working at Sea World, taking breakfast at Miller’s with friends of many years, loving lunches at Cal’s (His Christmas gift from that crew was a free meal, taken, no doubt, with great gusto) were illustrative parts of his wider world.  His family, friends, neighbors, care-givers, his dog, Holly, past teams and students and colleagues all feel his absence while acknowledging his continuing influence in their lives.  They issue an invitation to this celebration of his life:  May 1st, 3:00 p.m. in Price Gymnasium, on the Hollinger Court.

As the Coach himself might say (This was as vociferous as he ever got, in a profession peppered with much worse.), “Geezie Peezie!”  It’s a memorial; come remember.



Newton Falls – The Newton Falls High School Drama Department will complete the 2011 season by presenting the comedy “Soda Shop Angel” authored by Shirley McNichol.  The production will be presented on Friday and Saturday, May 6th & 7th at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.  The cost is $5.00 at the door.

The play takes place in Pa’s soda shop, owned by Pa Harding.  Pa’s daughter, Judy Harding’s life as a 16-year-old isn’t too sweet however. Her dad can’t find the money to fix up the family’s soda shop; her older brother is flunking out of school; and her younger brother has retreated into a fantasy world of comic book superheroes since their mom died. To add to the dilemma, Judy has a major crush on a new student who’s a mysterious loner.

Enter Angela, a bumbling angel-in-training who must earn her halo by helping the Hardings. But when the shop is hit first by a fire and then a flood, is it divine providence or disaster? Salvation or catastrophe? A TV quiz show and hula hooping are all part of the miracle that helps save Judy and her family. Come enjoy all the fun and nostalgia of the ‘50s in this charming play and find out if Angela manages to earn her halo or simply adds to the disaster of Pa’s Soda Shop.

The cast includes:  Donald Slater, Katie Davis, Devon Beckinger, Brad Dubos, Brooke Rogers, Blaire Thompson, Danny Moore, Taylor Phelps, Rachael Rendessy, Chelsea Beaty, Samantha Mitchell, A.J. Naulta, Chelsey Cochran, Andrew Ferguson, Stephanie Baringer, Michelle Miller, Jordan Riffle and Breanna McCrystal.  Stage manager for the production will be Jen Pugh.

Come and join us for an evening of fun and entertainment.


Spring has come to Portage County, and gardeners across the county are getting together plans and plants for another year.  The Portage County Master Gardeners are also making preparations for their annual event, Celebrate Spring.  The event, which includes a plant sale, silent auction, and expert gardening advice, will provide valuable information to area gardeners as well as help fund community service events throughout the county.

“We hope that people can come out and join us for a day of plants, great gardening advice, and fun,” said Dee Burdette one of the event coordinators. “This event has become an annual tradition for many area gardeners, and this year promises to be a special treat, with a more casual question and answer format and an expanded plant sale. “

This year’s format will feature three tables staffed by Portage County Master Gardeners with each station addressing specific gardening challenges.  Barbara Murphy and John Gwinn, both certified Ohio Master Gardener Weed Specialists,    will host a “weed” table.  And who would be interested in learning about weeds? National gardening polls consistently rank weeding as the gardening practice that consumes the majority of gardeners’ time.  So we fully expect that gardeners attending this event will find information gained from conversations with our weed specialists immediately useful.  Keith Barton, local insect specialist will also host a table. Weeds are not the only challenge Portage County gardeners face. Insects that feed on plants and insects that transmit disease causing plant pathogens can seriously thwart a gardener’s best efforts. But many garden insects are more helpful than harmful and a little time spent talking with Keith just may help participants better understand the need to distinguish between our gardening friends and foes.  We encourage attendees to bring samples, photos, etc., of weeds or insects they may need help identifying or suppressing. We also think our patrons will appreciate the expert advice they receive from Barb Oare and Lynda Costilla at our edible plant table.  Many Portage County gardeners have attended Barb’s herb workshops and presentations and should be delighted to find that she is able to address tomatoes, apples, etc. with the same level of expertise.  Lynda has also shared her gardening experience during Master Gardener public education workshops in recent years. Lynda is our resident expert on small space gardening techniques.  Even if space isn’t an issue in your garden, many limited space gardening practices are also energy efficient, both in terms of gardener and product (fertilizers, growing media, etc.) input. Our goal in adding the edible plant table is to assist area gardeners in their efforts to increase food production.  And what would an edible plant information table be without recipes and cookbooks?  We encourage you to take a minute to peruse our free recipe selection. Additionally, Master Gardeners at each table as well as those working the plant sale will be eager to assist you by providing advice about selecting the “best plants for their own gardens.”

Our plant sale has been expanded to include a larger variety of herbs and vegetables along with many sun and shade perennials.  Celebrate Spring will also feature some very desirable silent auction items, from essential gardening gear, reference books, some unique finds and unusual plants.  Proceeds from our fundraiser will help support Master Gardener projects throughout the county for the coming year.

These events include planting projects with the Coleman Adult Day Services, Bryn Mawr Glen, our Garden Pot Recycling program, as well as local school gardens and youth environmental education programs.  The Portage County Master Gardeners annually host a number of community education workshops at no cost to participants.   Historically, Master Gardeners have been available from April to October, to assist area residents with questions about their lawns and gardens at the OSU Extension Office in Ravenna. According to Lynn Vogel, former Master Gardener Coordinator for Portage County, “Volunteers have been available to answer literally thousands of questions via our “horticultural hotline” as well as through direct contact with area residents.  Our Master Gardener Volunteers contributed over 2000 hours of community volunteer service last year.”  Recent state and county budget cuts will make it very challenging for Portage County Master Gardeners to continue these services.  Your support of our plant sale silent auction would be greatly appreciated during this difficult time of transition.

Celebrate Spring will be held Saturday, May 14th  at Maplewood Career Center.  The Plant Sale will run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Silent auction bidding will begin at 10:00 AM and close at 11:00 am. Our staffed information tables will be available from 10:00 AM to noon.  Our 2011 Celebrate Spring fundraiser is a “no charge” event.


“Mid pleasures and palaces,
Wherever we roam,
Be it ever so humble,
There’s no place like home.”

Does this apply when it’s the home itself that is roaming?

What a way to spend a day!  The Schultz family homestead–now owned by Don Wolff–was scheduled to hit the road at about 9:15 on the morning of April 21 but the rubber actually hit the road about an hour later than that–speculate all you want on the particulars of why things got backed up, just about any thing you could come up with , short of alien invasion, would probably be at least partly right.  Wires were raised, mud pitfalls covered, trees trimmed, official measurements were taken, traffic was directed; the wind blew steadily; the sun shone intermittently (no rain!); it was, at least early in the day, cold as a banker’s heart(Sorry, Gretchen).

Finally, about 11:00, both parts of the structure–house and addition–made it to the tarmac and the procession began.  Past the Just For Kids Child Care and Learning Center(Where the tykes got  ringside seats)…past the James A. Garfield High School(Do you think that there were many eyeballs trained–with or without permission–out those windows?)…CTS Telecommunications, two crews from Ohio Edison, SuddenLink.com, Eckman Tree Service were all in evidence…there were plenty of flashers and fluorescent vests and hats….  The star turn, of course, was by the Wolfe Moving Company (For all your structural moving needs) which furnished the expertise …and the big wheels…to make it all happen.  Seventy thousand pounds–give or take–begins the migration.

Around 12:55 there was a glitch around Anderson Rd., apparently a wire problem, which brought traffic–there was quite a bit of it– to a standstill on Rte. 88.  Truckers dismounted from their cabs to try and figure out what the hold up was (The hills there interrupt the line-of-sight).  They seemed skeptical when told that it was a house in the road that was the hold up.  The language during this interlude was not suitable for a family publication and lots of vehicles turned around in lots of driveways to attempt a getaway.  At about 1:15 the problem was resolved ; the whole troop moved across the private right-of-way (Northeast Ohio Oil Field Services) to Nichols Rd. and hung a right to turn north for the final two legs of the journey.

The tight left turn from Nichols onto Hankee Rd. came up at about 2:30–it was amazing how fast things went, really–and required more trimming , as well as having the individually-controlled power wheels underneath the heavy-duty house carriage turn on their own to swing the tail end of the whole apparatus into the roadway, not the ditch. This could make parallel parking a snap!

The ministrations of Zuver Construction were making the end-location site presentable when the whole entourage arrived at about 3:00…after changing the traffic pattern in Freedom/Hiram Townships for much of the afternoon.  Local gawkers–present company included–were out in force.  Every dog on Hankee Rd was on alert; a truck full of pineapple went by…your usual afternoon in the country.  Everything pulled into the driveway, off the road, and the maneuvering to get the house over the hole dug there for the foundation began.  It went on for quite a while.   Watching guys go under the structure to turn cranks and on the porch roof to raise wires is kind of scary…reminiscentof the scene in “The Wizard of Oz where the house lands on the Wicked Witch of the West.

The house is perched on steel beams waiting for its foundation to be built under it; the addition waits to be re-added.  Everything waits for the rain to stop so that building the foundation will not involve flippers and wetsuits.  It’s in a nice spot, lots of landscaping rocks available, wildflowers abound, plenty of shade.  Upwards of $80,000 rests in place, ready to become a home

It’s not too often we see an old house get a new home. But that’s exactly what happened on April 21 with a rental house in Garrettsville on South Street (SR 88). The 1920s-era house — next to Just for Kids preschool — was scheduled to be torn down in order to make way for the new Garrettsville Family Medicine office to be built on that site. Instead, it got a new lease on life from Don Wolff, in a new location… a wooded lot along Hankee Road in Freedom Township, across from Wolff’s Blueberry Patch. As these photos demonstrate, it’s complicated to maneuver an old house (in sections) onto a new foundation on a cool, muddy day… but it certainly is memorable! – Photo series by Estelle R. Brown


Mantua - The Portage County Soap Box Derby is hosting a Derby Clinic on April 17th from noon to 2 pm. The clinic will be located at the Shalersville Town Hall on the corners of SR 303 and SR 44.

The clinic is for people interested in finding out more about derby racing and those persons currently racing who would like to learn ways to tune a derby car to make it run faster.

There will be at least two derby technicians present at the clinic. One of the technicians will discuss and show the construction of a derby car kit.

The second technician will demonstrate details to improve car speed.

Those new people attending will also be given a ticket that will allow them to ride down the hill at Derby Downs on May 14th and 15th in Akron to see if they enjoy derby racing.

The goal of the Portage County Derby this year is to have at least one driver from each township in Portage County. Some townships have never had a racer in the last 10 years of Portage County racing.

The Portage County Derby has a limited number of corporate cars available for racers to use at our local race. These cars are on a first-come basis. They are free to use. They may be used at rally races around the northeast U.S. area. These races are held year round, indoor and outdoor.

Derby racing is a truly family affair, and gravity does not discrimiate because of sex, size, or  physical limitations of a child.

In order to race, a child must  be 8 years old and not over the age of 17.

For more information, contact Dean Olson at 330-351-3035 or Kelly Heritage at 330-541-1075.



Hiram - In March, the Hiram Fire Department took delivery of a new Scott Thermal Imager Camera as part of a NOPEC grant, written by Hiram Township Trustee Chairman Steve Pancost.  The camera’s cost was $9,600 and was given to the Fire Department by the Township to carry on-board our newest engine.  This life-saving device can be used to assist firefighters in fire attack, locating victims, and hidden fires. We have already used the camera on two fires and it has worked out great.

The camera’s color screen can also locate heat loss and potentially save residents money by identifying where they would benefit from additional insulation.  The Fire Department is available to come out with the camera and assist Hiram residents with locating heat loss and point out any dangerous fire conditions.  To arrange this free service please email or call the station between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


Garrettsville – Anyone fortunate enough to snag a golden ticket to James A. Garfield High School’s musical theatre production of  “Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” had a simply nutterrific time. The four-day run of the show was virtually sold out before opening night on April 7, and only a few lucky latecomers managed to get a ticket the day of the show.

Playbills, concessions and fresh-cut flowers also ran low as audience members couldn’t get enough of anything Wonka-related. The cast and crew were enormous, and worked together effectively to construct a fast-paced, nearly flawless and entertaining show.

Although the starring leads were obviously Willie Wonka (played by senior David Soukenik) and Charlie Bucket (played by sophomore Shiloh Van Oss), the production also showcased strong and funny supporting roles of Bucket family members, TV reporters, naughty children and their parents played by 18 fellow student actors…and an ensemble of two dozen additional cast members (mostly from the Intermediate School) to play the parts of Oompa-Loompas, village children, cooks, squirrels, a computer technician, a psychiatrist and a patient.

This gave seven graduating seniors the opportunity to enjoy one last shining moment in the JAG spotlight before graduating. In addition to David Soukenik, they included Petra Brown (Veruca Salt), Nick Butto (Mr. Bucket), Brooke Heavner (Mrs. Beauregarde), Sam Roubic (Mr. Salt), Laura Sanicky (Mrs. Bucket,) and Lizzie Van Oss (Violet Beauregarde).

The production also showcased the talents of the JAG crew, which devised and built several creative sets that cleverly allowed for effective special effects  on a tight budget. Children in the audience gasped when the curtain opened on the initial scene of the chocolate factory, where candy could be plucked from the colorful set and eaten by the lucky actors.

Then, when Augustus Gloop falls headlong into the lake of chocolate and gets sucked up through a drain pipe and overtaken by liquid chocolate, it makes for one of the funniest scenes… or was it when Violet turns into a blueberry for chewing the off-limits Everlasting Gobstopper gum?… or maybe it was when Veruca throws a tantrum atop the Good Nut/Bad Nut platform and falls through to the incinerator below?… No, it must have been when Mike Teavee got disembodied into millions of tiny little pieces, only to be reconstituted inside a TV to the size of a Ken Doll and stuffed into his mother’s purse before being stretched back to size in the Taffy Pulling Room. The jury’s still out on that, but all agree the sets and special effects were top notch.

Senior crew members included Curtis Cosner, Matt Curry, Jeremy DeWitt, Adam Gilmer, Jon Hecky, Sam Russell, and David Spencer. Working alongside the crew were artistic director Mrs. Kristine Gilmer and her student artists; head carpenters, Mr. Scott and Mrs. Becky Russell and their student carpenters; hair and make-up artists; costume designers; props coordinator and manager; lighting and sound operators; the pit orchestra directed by Mr. Theo Cebulla; and, of course, director/choreographer Mr. Nathan Peters and producer/technical director Mr. Joe Gaither.

According to Gaither’s closing words after the final show on April 10, the show cost $8,000 to produce. But thanks to combined fundraising efforts headed up by Mrs. Carol Slaughter, show ticket sales, candy bar sales, flower and concession sales, and ticket sales to Breakfast with the Cast at the elementary school all worked together to actually allow the production to make more money than it spent.

After 12 weeks of planning, preparing, rehearsing and producing, the curtain has closed on the 2011 Spring Musical at James A. Garfield High School and its 14 graduating seniors. But a new curtain will rise next year on yet another stage of pure imagination that’s sure to please audiences in 2012.


The NFJFD Firefighters’ Auxiliary presents a check in the amount of $4,343.43 to Station 43. The department’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Chili Cook-Off, is held annually in the Fall.

Newton Falls – Last Saturday evening the parking lot at Roby Lee’s Restaurant and Banquet Center was filled with dozens of vehicles driven by firefighters and policemen. Don’t worry, there was no emergency. Rather, firefighters, EMTs, friends and family members from the Newton Falls Joint Fire District gathered at the hometown eatery to commemorate another year serving Newton Falls, Newton Township, and neighboring villages.

After a moment of silence for fallen firefighters, Jamie Zigler, President of the Firefighters’ Association, offered a prayer of gratitude for the meal and for the company present. Traditions at this annual event continued strong with a 50/50 raffle, door prize and centerpiece drawings, and a brief awards ceremony honoring squad members reaching various service milestones, from fairly new recruits achieving five years of service all the way to the recently retired stalwarts  who marked over twenty, thirty, and even nearly fifty years with the fire department force. The ladies of the Firefighters’ Auxiliary presented the proceeds from last fall’s twenty-first annual Chili Cook-Off, proudly handing over a check in the appropriate amount of $4,343.43 to the men of Station 43. The money from the station’s largest fundraiser of the year will be put toward necessary fire department upgrades such as protective gear and equipment to help them continue their lifesaving work. Last year’s check purchased an inflatable rescue lifeboat which was on display at October’s Cook-Off and will be vital in river emergencies.

Guest speaker NFPD Chief John Kuivila kept his remarks “short and sweet” and referenced the train crash that shook the center of the small town only two weeks ago. He applauded the efforts of the local emergency forces – including the fire and police departments, the auxiliaries, the hazmat crews and the CSX workers – mentioning that “clean-up went as smoothly as it could go” because of how the community and neighbors across the county pulled together. “It’s great to see the relationship that’s been built and how it all works together.”

Almost proving his point of small-town togetherness, Newton Falls wasn’t the only community represented at the restaurant that night: in the banquet area across the hall, Lordstown’s police officers were enjoying a similar event for their department, and members from Station 16 in Braceville had dinner to-go so that they could cover the NFJFD station in case of emergency.

A sweet end to the evening which everyone could literally take away with them came in the form of customized candy bars, courtesy of the Auxiliary, which suggested that if one were to look up the word “heroism” in a dictionary, one would find next to it a rather familiar photograph: one featuring the men of Station 43.

“Heroism: n. fortitude, valor, bravery, courage, strength. See also: Newton Falls Firefighters.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.



Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for this April meeting with all trustees and the fiscal officer present. The first item on the agenda was guest recognition. Fire Chief Mike Iwanyckyj asked to address the trustees. The chief stated that the fire department had received a notice that their fuel tanks were in violation of the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The chief stated that they currently have single walled tanks that are too close to the building and are not fenced in with the proper fencing. The chief said he was forewarning the township that they may be hearing from the EPA because they have been out investigating several local municipalities and schools in the area after receiving complaints from someone. After some discussion the trustees will look at possible options to the dilemma. One option was to seek out purchasing fuel locally and foregoing the township tanks. No decision was made and the trustees thanked the chief for the information.

Another guest addressed the board and wanted to know why the minutes were not available on the web site, nor could she get a copy of the minutes emailed to her. She stated that she has asked for them repeatedly and has yet to see any of them. She also wanted to know why they were not printed and available for everyone at each meeting. After some discussion, it was learned that the web site now has the minutes that have been approved by the trustees posted. Anyone wanting them may print them or read them off the web site. The first NOPEC Grant Project was started and hit a snag; apparently the electric bill for The Green is in involved in a joint venture utility discount with the village with the bill in the village’s name. Ohio Edison will not allow the township to do anything because in the utility company’s eyes they are not the owner. The township wants to update the lighting on The Township Green before the Bicentennial. Timmons said they will  get it all sorted out and hopefully will be able to proceed with the project so it will be done by the Bicentennial Celebration slated for the end of July. Speaking of the Bicentennial Celebration, the trustee approved the payment of $2500 to the Bicentennial Committee to be used for the birthday bash.

Trustee Dann Timmons, the township’s representative to the fire board reported that they met with Lieutenant Colonel Ed Meade of Camp Ravenna and updated the Fire and EMS Contract. The original contract was signed before the fire board was established. LT. Col. Meade also requested that Windham handle their calls on the Braceville side of the camp as well. The fire board will discuss this issue at their regular meeting next week. Mr. Timmons said they did not want to infringe on the township of Braceville and cause an issue between the two entities.

Zoning inspector Rich Gano stated that the tires that were starting to re- appear at the Horner’s property were removed but the shingles were still there. It has been almost two years since the township took legal action against the homeowner and assisted them with the clean-up and removal of over 8000 tires from the premises. The trustees will keep an eye on the situation and reopen the case if they have to do so.  Gano also reported that there were zoning violations at 8536 Gotham Road, he had issued a letter and stopped by the premises and they have not responded so he will be turning it over to the prosecutor.

The trustees meet on the first Thursday of each month at the town hall at 7pm.


Chardon – We are fascinated by medieval times.  The Middle Ages remain a time of mystery and revelation.  There are groups today that continue to investigate that period and share it with others.  One of those groups is the Society For Creative Anachronism.  It is an international non-profit organization that celebrates pre-17th century history.  It has members who study every aspect of medieval life and share it with others.

Festivals were an important part of medieval life so it is very proper to have members of SCA share medieval life with Geauga County Maple Festival visitors.  Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m. by the Entertainment Stage, members of the local Eastwatch Canton will be returning to medieval life with assorted demonstrations and activities.

Medieval times fascinate kids.  They were  a time of Knights, Lords and Ladies, castles and mythical beasts.  Jousts and tournaments showed off battle skills that could save lives in battles.  The women wore amazing and intricate clothing while enjoying music and chants that continue to have an influence on today’s music.  The imagination can kick into high gear and let young ones explore a very different way of life. Adults also can get into the proper medieval feel.

Medieval events across Ohio and beyond attract thousands each year, many coming in proper medieval clothing.  They participate in medieval dancing and other activities.

Eastwatch, a Canton of the Barony of Cleftlands, is within the Middle Kingdom, which covers Geauga, Lake and Ashtabula Counties.  Their goal is to learn what life was like during this period then share it with others through demonstrations and other activities.  They will share acts of warfare and dancing at the Maple Festival   Take time to talk to them and it is amazing the depth of knowledge they have on medieval times.

This is an event for everyone in the family.  Be sure to attend and get back into another era at the Geauga County Maple Festival.



Burton – On May 4, from 6 – 8  p.m. come in and learn successful high school-to-college transition strategies for young people with disabilities.  Find out the five key transition skills that you need to have, know the differences between high school and college, eligibility requirements and accommodation descriptions.  Plus, much more!

Graduating high school seniors and recent graduates with disabilities are encouraged to attend.  Parents, guardians and counselors are also welcome.  This event is open to the public and will be held in the Quiet Lounge, Kent State University at Geauga, 14111 Claridon-Troy Road, Burton, Ohio 44021.  The event is sponsored by KSU Geauga’s Student Accessibility Services.


The QuizMasters/Academic Challenge Team of James A. Garfield High School is again sponsoring this activity in conjunction with the Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce Community-Wide Garage/Yard Sale. Sunday, May 22 from 10:00 to 2:00 in the Garfield Elementary School parking lot there will be wheeled vehicles of all sorts–ambulances and emergency vehicles, fire trucks, jeeps and motorcycles, construction monsters, high-rise buckets, eighteen-wheelers–any or all of them could be there, along with local favorite, the dragster, TIME BANDIT.  Not to mention our National CSX Safe Driving Exhibit finisher, Deral White.

Kids of all ages are welcome.  Whistles, bells and sirens are included.  Admission is $3.00 for kids under 12, $5.00 for kids of more advanced ages.


See you there.



The Ohio House of Representatives approved legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) to change the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) to the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED).  This change will reflect the university’s updated curriculum and will come at no additional cost to the state.

“NEOUCOM has grown from a single college of medicine to a health sciences university with three colleges: medicine, pharmacy, and graduate studies,” said Rep. Clyde in a speech on the House floor in support of the bill.  “The name NEOUCOM no longer reflects the growth and transformation of the institution and its position as one of the 14 independent state universities in Ohio.”

An emergency clause was added to House Bill 139 in hopes that the inaugural class of pharmacy students will be able to graduate with degrees from the Northeast Ohio Medical University.  The legislation was approved 92-1 by the House, and now goes to the Ohio Senate for deliberation.

Rep. Clyde represents the 68th Ohio House District in Portage County, serving Northern and Southeastern Portage County, including Aurora, Garrettsville, Hiram, Kent, Mantua, Ravenna, Streetsboro, and Windham.


Garrettsville – It’s time to start cleaning out your closets, garages and attics! The Garrettsville Community-Wide Garage Sale will be held on May 21st and 22nd this year. This Chamber sponsored event always draws a crowd from surrounding communities – you know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Here’s your chance to rake in some spending money right before summer.

For only $10 you will receive a lawn sign number and be included on the map that is passed out to many communities before the sale. You can’t get better advertising than that! Forms may be picked up at Jerry Kehoe’s or fill out the ad on page 4.

No Yard? Don’t worry, you can set up at the Freedom Park for $10 or Sky Lanes for $15 (choices are on the registration form).

If you are planning on going to the garage sales there are a few simple rules that will help you avoid getting a ticket. Many cul-de-sac streets will be set up as one way streets. You may not park on either side of SR 82 or 88. And you also need to pay attention to the “No Parking” signs. Don’t forget simple common sense while you are out. There will be many people (and children) walking those days – please look twice before turning into driveways or onto streets. If you are passing parked cars, remember to slow it down and watch for a car door to swing open.

If you have items left over after the garage sales that you would rather not drag back into your house and cram into the closet, why not donate them to a great cause? The James A. Garfield PTO will accept your donations at the Event door at the Intermediate School on Sunday, May 22nd from 3-7pm, May 24th from 3-6pm, May 26th from 3-6pm and May 27th from 3-9pm. If you have any questions you may contact Heather at (440) 548-5930. You may also donate your items to the Pixley Park Committee in Nelson Township by contacting a committee member ~ they will be happy to pick up your items.

So what are you waiting for? Roll up those sleeves and get digging!



Ravenna – My LifePlan®, an emerging provider of emergency services,   announced  the release of its Intelligent Survival InitiativesTM (ISI).  A first in disaster response, ISI is designed to provide proactive intelligent information services for emergency and large-scale disasters.

My LifePlan’s® Intelligent Survival Initiatives provides solutions for:

• Gathering and updating life-critical information about the individual prior to disaster or when called to the aid of the disaster scene.

• Making that information instantly available to authorized personnel in an emergency event under all disaster conditions.

• Developing programs with emergency service organizations to comply with its doctrine and operational scenario.

• Providing disaster reduction and management information solutions in a variety of ways

• Deploying the critical information that can help re-unite dislocated persons

• Collecting vital statistics for public health and disaster management analytics and for key government learning

• Integrating the latest biometric identification technology, mobility, Web services, and adaptable communication solutions

Ruth Skocic, a former nursing home social services practitioner founded My LifePlan® to anticipate, meet, and manage the information needs of the disaster-stricken, emergency personnel, and their communities. My LifePlan® (MLP) provides person-centric emergency management services that can help save lives when every second counts. Whether responding to a mass-casualty school shooting, or a wide-scale natural disaster like the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, MLP’s Intelligent Survival Initiatives can help make the difference between life and death, as well as reduce suffering.

“The disaster in Japan once again reminds us of the devastation that can hit without notice,” said Ruith Skocic, CEO, My LifePlan®. “The dire circumstances that the world is now dealing with highlight the urgent need for companies, communities, and countries to be prepared to deal with the unimaginable.  At My LifePlan®, the services we provide can help close the emergency information gap here and now.”


Garrettsville – James A. Garfield senior baseball standout Brandon Baumgardner’s favorite song is “Lights Out” by P.O.D. It is no wonder the first game of the season Brandon was exactly that… LIGHTS OUT.

When the lefty took the mound last Thursday at Waterloo little did Brandon know he was on the cusp of greatness… Perfection to be exact. Brandon struck out 13 of the 18 batters he faced on his way to the first perfect game in Garfield history.

Baumgardner used just 70 pitches to eliminate the Vikings and also made a sliding play down the third base line to throw out another would be base runner.

Brandon also helped his own cause offensively with two doubles, two runs scored and two runs batted in. This year Brandon is 1-0 with one save. His 14 strikeouts in three games is just one shy of his freshman total (15), and he gave up just one hit Saturday versus Kent.

Baumgardner career stats: 11-5 overall, six saves and 111 strikeouts, First team PTC his junior season and second team the year before.


Pictured standing in front of one of Portage Counties Emergency Response vehicles are Shane & Gage Michael, Mattie Marsilio, Gaige McIntyre and Alex Banks

Ravenna – On April 12, the Portage County Commissioners hosted an Open House followed by an evening meeting.  The event was held to commemorate National County Government Month.  Several county offices and departments participated.  The Woodlands at Robinson (county nursing home) offered free blood pressure  checks.  The Dog Warden brought  dogs to be adpoted at a discounted fee.  Portage County Emergency Management brought state of the art equipment to show the public how the county responsds to various emergencies.  Other departments participated by providing information about their services, including Job and Family Services which assists families and children with various needs.  Information was also available from Auditor, Janet Esposito.  County Recorder, Bonnie Howe said, “ this is a great opportunity to meet the people that we serve.  It is important to bring the government to the people.”

This event is the first of its kind.  The goal was to highlight county  services and make elected officials available during the evening for those who may not be available during the day.  The Board of Commissioners typically meets twice per week from 9:30 am until 3:00.  The 6:30 pm meeting drew a much bigger crowd than usual.  Residents from throughout the county attended.


Garrettsville – OPENING NIGHT for J.A. Garfield’s performance of “Willy Wonka” is Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and senior citizens.  House doors will open 30 minutes prior to show start time.

Pictured above are the cast and crew of “Willy Wonka” who invite you to attend their performance. Performance dates are: Thursday through Saturday, April 7- 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 2:00 p.m.

Pre-sale tickets have been wonderful and we expect another year of SOLD OUT shows.  There will be concessions available during intermission and flowers for sale to present to actors following the performance.

There will also be a Wonka Basket raffle each performance night.  This is a great comic show for the whole family to enjoy!  Senior David Soukenik (Wonka) and Sophomore Shiloh Van Oss (Charlie) do an excellent job as the two main characters. It’s almost as if Gene Wilder was in our show!


The 2011 James A. Garfield Hall of Fame slate is completed by two young men a decade apart who displayed their talent and teamwork in several venues and at several levels.

Matt Paul, class of ‘85, earned letters in golf (3), basketball (3) and baseball (4);football only got one year of his time, golf took precedence for time avilable.

Baseball was where he really got a chance to shine. Garfield baseball teams took the PCL championship in his junior and senior years (‘84, ‘85)with Matt on the mound in his share of hotly-contested games.  He was named to the all-county first team in each of those years and player of the conference in ‘85.

Basketball followed the same sort of script, as Matt was named to the PCL all-county first team in both ’83-‘84 and ‘84-‘85

Moving on down the road at Hiram College, Matt spent one year on the varsity basketball squad then chose to focus on baseball.  Good choice!!  He received the conference Cy Young Award (for pitchers) in his junior and senior years and the Donald M. Campbell Award for best male athlete in his senior year.  He was elected to the Hiram College Hall of Fame in 2002; his picture’s on the wall.

Matt then chose to enter the field of education and is currently a principal in the Kirtland Schools.

He was chosen for the Garfield Hall of Fame earlier but had school duties required of him.  Now is his day of recognition.  A homer for sure!

The Garfield class of ‘95–and every crowd member there to watch–was frequently electrified by the performances of our sixth honoree, Barron Chambers. The numbers may have faded by now, but he at one time held the all-time Garfield rushing and TD scoring record as well as the most yards rushing in a season; at broken field running he was a whiz.  He was twice named to the All State Team in football and was three times a PCL All Star in that sport.  He was part of the PCL Championship teams of 1993 and1995, garnering letters in football, basketball and track during that time. Football didn’t take up all of his time; he made it to the honor roll too and served as a camp counselor for the annual trip to Camp Fitch.

Of course that wasn’t the end.  Barron moved on to Tri State University at Angola, IN where his talents in football led to his being named MVP of the Quarter-final and Semi-final conference championship games and election to the Tri State Hall of Fame.  He also acquired, through dint of considerable hard work, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.  Can’t keep a good G-Man down


CHAMPION, Ohio – The Champion High School Relays have become an annual event for the J. A. Garfield G-Men high school track & field team.  Last week, the Berkshire High School track & field team joined the fun on a blustery, yet sunny afternoon.

Garfield and Berkshire hold a lot of promise in this early show of the season.  The Badgers finished the evening with eight first-place finishes including the boys’ 1600-meter relay & 4 x 400-meter relay, and both the boys’ and girls’ distance medley & 4 x 800 meter relay races.

Garfield earned three first-place finishes with the boys’ 4 x 200-meter relay and 4 x 100 meter iron man relay and the girls’ 4 x 1600-meter relay.  Garfield also had seven impressive second-place finishes.

The Badgers’ boys’ team won the meet with a score of 91 points while the Garfield G-Men followed close behind into a second place finish with 85 points.  The Berkshire girls’ team also had an notable finish, earning second place while Garfield girls’ team finished in fifth place overall.

Season schedules for both schools can be found at www.highschoolsports.net.



In the 9:00 Trio League, Ashleigh Quiggle had high series for the day with 378.  Ashley rolled two games of 138.  High game for the week was rolled by Adam Norris, a 156, beating his career high game score that was set only two weeks ago.  Joey Ewell was second in both the high game and high series categories this week.  Joey rolled games of 102, 106, and 143, giving him a 351 series for the day, 81 pins over his average.  Ryleigh Gough just missed the 100 score mark with a 99 game, 34 pins over her average.   Dan Painley was 33 pins over average with his 131.

Noah Shannon rolled a 200 game for the high in the 11:00 Trio League.  High series belonged to Ryan Ambler with 504.  Shannon Kerr was most over average for the day.  Shannon rolled 129, 134, and 115 for a 378 series, 90 pins over her series average.  A number of good games were rolled this week, including:  David Durst, 146 (45 pins over), Destiny Durst, 140 (42 pins over), Austin Sledz, 106 (36 pins over), Shayne Carter, 115 (32 pins over), Zach Capron, 121 (30 pins over), and Jake Yeatts, 148 (30 pins over).

High game and high series in the Teen Texas Shoot-Out belonged to Brent Jones with 236-615.  Other games over 200 were rolled by Ashly Bernatowicz, 234, Howie Moore, 220, Clarke Kolmorgan, 214, and Kyle Brigham, 210.  Dean Flint had a good day.  Dean, who averages 158, rolled games of 170, 187, and 208 for a nice 565 series, putting him at 91 pins over average for the day.  Other nice games for the week:  Ryan Ambler, 197, Anna Brigham, 195, and Patrick Myers, 192.

In the 9:00 Pee Wee League, Madison Durosko was on a roll with games of 115 and 100 for a very nice 215 series, her best scores to date.  Travis Horner rolled 93.  In the 11:00 Pee Wee League, the high score was bowled by Thane Sidwell with 107.  Other nice games:  David Ittel with 97 and Darrion Sidwell with 90.



Windham – For its final meeting before the summer break, the Windham Historical Society presents a free talk from local historian George Belden, who will speak on “Windham in the Civil War” on Monday, April 18, at the Windham American Legion, Post 674.

Using the 1866 monument on the village green as his starting point, Belden compiled a list of every Windham boy who gave his life for the Union cause. He then began researching each of them, following him from the day he enlisted until he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Windham soldiers fought at Shiloh, had a heated battle with Morgan’s Raiders, collided with Indians in Kansas, helped Sherman burn Atlanta, marched with James A Garfield, and endured the horrors of Andersonville Prison.

Belden will also tell the story of Major Laurin Woodworth, the only Civil War commander to come from Windham, who later went on to serve several terms in the United States House of Representatives.

Rare pictures of actual artifacts associated with the Windham soldiers will make this talk a visual and oral treat.

Belden’s talk marks a starting point for the Windham Bicentennial, which will culminate with an epic four-day festival on the Township green in the village the last weekend of July.

This meeting is co-sponsored and hosted by the Windham American Legion, Post 674, located at the eastern village limits on Route 303.

Doors open at 6:30, with the talk commencing at 7 PM. The free talk is open to the public of all ages.

For further information, please contact Society president Lynnea St John at 330-326-6061, or lynnya45@yahoo.com .



Newton Township – Last week a train going through Newton Falls at about 7:00 in the early morning went off its track as it passed through the heart of the town. Approximately twelve hours later, half past 7:00pm, emergency responders had the wreckage under control and the town attempted to bring back what sense of normalcy it could to the day. The Newton Township Trustees held their monthly meeting in their usual building within a stone’s throw of where the back dozen or so train cars sat in unmoving silence, waiting for their fallen counterparts to be cleared from the center of the town.

All trustees were present for the meeting, with Kathy King filling in for Ella Johnson. No guests were on the agenda for the evening so business moved on to the usual reports: sheriff, zoning, financial, and cemetery. Highlights mentioned: the budget needs to be tightened as much as possible; a parcel of land may be  donated to the township; and they are looking into the potential for life and disability insurance.

From the trustee reports, Mr. Nemet announced that the April 16th Spring Clean-up will be combining with the NFJFD who is organizing a professional shredding company to come to the event. This will cost the sponsors about $250 for the service, but it will be free for the public to come and have their paperwork shredded. In order to have your documents shredded, it is requested that you bring a canned good or other non-perishable item that will be sorted into Easter baskets for needy families. The fire department is contributing Easter hams for the baskets and will be putting it all together on Monday the 18th, just in time to be distributed for the holiday.

In other news, a deed dating back to 1918 has been located and transferred for the property at 55 E. Broad Street.

Mr. Augusta noted that Friday, April 8th is the deadline for ordering seedling trees. Contact the township ASAP if you are interested in placing an order. Liberty Township is presenting “Gasland,” a Sundance Film Festival movie on March 31st. Since that event is now over at press time, if anyone is interested in learning about oil drilling and the effects of fracking, stay tuned for other local showings. He also mentioned that the short term and long-term insurance will be putting a cap on how many “sick days” an employee can accrue at a given time.

The trustees are planning a work session for April 9th during which they will discuss cemetery regulations, the long- and short- term insurance, and the employee handbook.

Mr. Page relayed the results in regards to the questions he posed to Atty. Finamore in response to public concerns discussed at last month’s meeting. The first question asked was “Do we have the opportunity to get out of the (comprehensive) plan if we decide it is not right for us?” The answer from Atty. Finamore was “Absolutely.” The second question was “Are we obligated in whole or in part to accept everything in the Plan?”  The answer was “No.” The third question was “Does the plan set any law?” Once again, the answer was “No.” Mr. Page compared it, in layman’s terms, to going to a library where many options are offered and picking and choosing which books you want to read. Just because the books are there doesn’t mean you are forced to read every one of them, they are merely presented as suggestions. In the end, it is up to the reader to choose the content they want to be involved in. He continued to explain that the purpose of the township’s consideration of being involved in the plan is to strive to bring business into the community. The conservation/ wetlands aspect of the Plan itself consists of merely suggestions for areas best suited to be conservation land. Reassuring property owners that the township will not confiscate their land based on the suggestions of the Plan, Mr. Page went on to say that involvement in the Plan does not mean the township will automatically turn the suggested properties into such designated areas. Further discussion about this issue will continue at a future regular meeting.

In other business, a motion was made for a resolution to vacate Erie Avenue, the strip of road between Newton Falls-Bailey Road and Arch Street, which currently divides two parcels of township-owned property. This resolution would dissolve the existing road designation and meld the two parcels into one lot. The motion passed unanimously.

New business included discussion about having homeowners pay for slag and gravel when filling in ditches with ditch-pipe and dirt. The past practice years ago was to give the homeowners the first load free, but then the homeowner would pay for any additional desired fill. This topic will also be discussed further in the future. A motion to buy a new power washer not to exceed $400 passed as well.

In closing remarks, Mr. Nemet requested of the Trustees to split the cost of the Easter hams with the fire department. Also, the township is considering ideas for “In Memory Of” landscaping ornamentation that residents can purchase for placement around town similar to the benches throughout the main village, but something that would instead be maintenance-free.

The next regular meeting will be April 25th.



Garrettsville – Anna Brigham is a freshman at James A. Garfield Schools who is not a typical teenager. She is active in her church, on the Garfield bowling team, bowls youth bowling, merit roll student, a contestant in Garrettsville Idol and collects pop and beer can tabs.  She loves kids and would do anything to help a child. Anna was about 13 years old when she first learned that just by saving pop tabs she could help kids. When Anna first started saving the tabs, she wasn’t exactly sure how they helped kids but started saving them anyways. She started taking tabs off every pop/ beer can she saw and  before long had enlisted the help of family members. Friends who hung around her started helping her as well and in two years, she was able to collect over 30,000 tabs.

Anna had learned about The Ronald McDonald House (RMH) at Akron and decided that was where she would donate her tabs. Last week Anna turned in approximately 30,000 tabs to RMH in Akron. The tabs were recycled, with the proceeds going to RMH.

Ironically, the two years she had been collecting she never figured that her collection would have such an impact on her family. This past February Anna’s parents, Kenny and Carrie Brigham, spent some time at the Ronald Mc Donald house when their baby was born and required surgery. The Brigham Family experienced firsthand how the Ronald McDonald house works and what it was.

RMH was established January 13, 1985 with the help of Akron Children’s Hospital. RMH has very few paid staff and is run mostly by a staff of volunteers. The 125 volunteers in 2010 have logged in 11,500 hours. The volunteers–with the help of their largest corporate sponsor, McDonalds’–are what make RMH work and helps keep costs low. The facility gives families with ill children a place to stay to be near their loved one while receiving treatment at Akron Children’s Hospital. RMH can house a family of four for $10 a night. The house offers meals for the family, showers and a place to sleep and rest during the time their child is seeking treatment, all for $10 a night. If a family is unable to pay, they can mail in the fee later or stay for free.

Many volunteers staff the house, from cleaning the facility to maintenance and laundry. They also have civic groups or families who sign-up take care of dinner each night for those who are using the facility. The Akron house has room for 20 families and the rooms can be reserved if you know your child is having a procedure.  The house is opened 365 days a years and all the food is included in your $10 a day per family. Families who are unable to pay can stay there for free.

How is this possible? There are several ways that this can happen. The pop tab collection is one way; many volunteers and their largest corporate sponsor, McDonalds, are other ways they can operate as they do.  The McDonalds Corporation has raised over 150 million dollars worldwide for RMHs around the world. Volunteers keep the house running smoothly.  Visit www.rmhakron.org for more information on how one can help.

RMH, Akron started the pop tab collection program in 2009 and since that time they have collected over 5200 lbs of tabs. Pop/ beer tabs are pure aluminum and generally they receive about $.45 – $.60 a lb. The tabs are recycled locally and the generated funds go toward house improvements. Recently RMH purchased a computer for the residents to use and a Bose Wave radio for the dining room, all from recycling the tabs.

Anna is committed to the cause and is placing containers around town for those who would like to start saving them. Right now there is one at Skylanes Bowling Alley and the Renaissance Family Center in Windham. Soon there will be one at the Eagles Club too. If one would like a container to start saving them or have some saved you’d like to donate to their cause, you can contact the Brigham Family for more information 330 235-4542.