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Burton – EcoWater/Servisoft of Middlefield is celebrating their seventh annual Customer Appreciation Day and Open House on Saturday, June 4th from 9 am until 2 pm.  They are located at 14299 Kinsman Road in Burton, just one mile east of Burton Square.  This year will mark their 46th year in business.This annual event provides a way for everyone at EcoWater/Servisoft to thank their customers for their business but also allows for new relationships to be formed.  Water softening salt, water treatment chemicals and filters are offered at the lowest prices of the year as a way of saying thank you.  Each customer will also have the chance to win a great prize donated by EcoWater/Servisoft or another generous local businesses.  Do not forget to stop by the food table for hot dogs, pizza and beverages.This year there will be a Home and Garden show featuring several local businesses.  You will be able to talk with representatives from AC Drain Rite, Geauga Credit Union, Geauga PC, Koon Landscaping, Radioactive and Stollard Farms to name a few.  Geauga County Sheriff Junior Deputy Rick O’Shay will be there for part of the day; he is an adorable 34” tall mini horse.  The Customer Appreciation Day and Open House is a time for the community to come out and experience great prices, good food and old-fashioned fun.  Chuck and Ella Hall started Servisoft of Middlefield in 1965 to help local residents have better water.   In 1987, EcoWater was added to the name.  Still a family business, EcoWater/Servisoft of Middlefield provides products for purchase or rent, salt and bottled water delivery and exceptional service on almost every brand and type of equipment.  Integrity and reliability are the names of the game at EcoWater/Servisoft of Middlefield, along with the business philosophy to always exceed the customer’s expectations. They offer their services to residents in six counties.  They are also the largest commercial dealer for EcoWater in the country.  Awards and accolades line the walls, but it is the dedication to doing the right thing that has allowed this company to stand the test of time.  The first Saturday of the month (unless it is a holiday) is always a salt sale, where water conditioning supplies can be purchased on discount, but the Customer Appreciation Day sale allows for a deeper discount and a lot more fun.  So whether you are an existing customer or thinking about becoming one, you are welcome to stop by on June 4, meet everyone and find out just how much EcoWater/Servisoft has to offer for your water treatment needs.

Garrettsville – The winner is… well not yet, but they are getting closer as the field narrowed  Sunday for those who vying to become the next Garrettsville Idol. This past Sunday, forty -three contestants competed on stage at James A. Garfield School with the hope of becoming the next Garrettsville Idol. The finals for the event will be held June 26, 2011 at SummerFest with Big Chuck and Little John as emcees. This is a show you will not want to miss. The Semi-finalists competed in two fantastic shows before an audience of friends and family. The first show featured the youth and teens while the second show featured the adults. Each contestant had the opportunity to sing one song with accompaniment for the audience while the judges determined those who would move on. After two hours of performances in each session the group was narrowed down to 24 contestants who will be featured in the Garrettsville Idol held at SummerFest the last weekend in June. SummerFest is the annual festival held in Garrettsville the last weekend in June. About  10,000 people attend over the course of the weekend. The event is a family-friendly festival with games, contests, parades, food, rides, fireworks and continuous live entertainment  throughout  the day on  three stages. This year’s theme “Biggest Game in Town” will be the biggest event of the summer and you will not want to miss it. Mark your calendars so you too can join in the fun at this year’s SummerFest.Each year the festival’s primary funding comes from the car raffle and t-shirt sales. This year’s car is nicely-equipped Chevy Cruze made right here in Lordstown, Ohio. It will be raffled off after the Garrettsville Idol competition on Sunday night of the festival. Tickets are now available at SkyLanes Bowling, Middlefield Bank and various businesses through out the community. The tickets are $20 each or six for $100 if purchased prior to the festival. Once the festival starts all tickets will all be $20 each. Commemorative t-shirts are on sale as well; they can be purchased at Middlefield Bank, Huntington Bank, Miller’s Restaurant, SkyLanes Bowling and the Weekly Villager for $10 each. In previous years the shirts were almost sold out before the festival. By purchasing shirts early you can be certain you can get the color and size of your choice. 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

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Garrettsville – Prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting, members met at 6:45 p.m. on May 10th for a review of the Village’s finances.  Mayor Craig Moser reviewed the village’s financial accounts and recapped major expenditures from the 2009 & 2010 while highlighting those planned for the 2011 fiscal year. Councilwoman Clyde  asked if a list could be prepared for items that may need to be purchased in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.  This would allow time to review, plan and budget for them. Payroll for the village is the largest annual expense and will be approximately $811,000 not including benefits. Income tax revenue for the village is coming in at a consistent rate.  The village is working hard  to collect all outstanding balances that are due.  In addition, an effort is being made to collect from those residents who have failed to file their Village income tax. At last count, there are approximately 1/3 of the village’s residents who have not filed their income taxes with the village. Representatives from the J.A. Garfield wrestling and men’s bowling teams were recognized by village council for their accomplishments during the winter sports season. Council also recognized Chuck Klamer for his 20 years of service as superintendent of the Garfield school system. Attorney Tommie Jo Marsilio addressed village council as a member of the business community and resident. Marsilio and the Weekly Villager shared their frustration with council regarding  all of the “hoops” that required jumping through to simply move their offices from one end of town to the other. Zivoder, Villager co-owner explained that the paperwork is not user-friendly and one must guess as to what areas the business owner is required to complete.Marsilio expressed concern over the processes  and has offered her service to help fix them.  The mayor accepted her offer and will be in touch. Both Marsilio and Zivoder, active business and chamber members,  feel that the paperwork, hours of availability and approval processes need to become more user friendly if the Village wishes to attract more business. In other council news, ordinances 2011-12, 2011-14 and 2011-15 which clarified the regulations pertaining to livestock, defined poultry and the housing of chickens within village limits were all defeated.  Chicken and roosters are not allowed in the village.Ordinance 2011-24 authorizing the village to enter into a contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the purchase of rock salt was approved. Resolution 2011-25 was passed proclaiming the week of May 15th as Emergency Medical Services week. All were invited to attend the EMS parade on Saturday May 14th. Fran Teresi, representative from the Board of Public Affairs addressed council regarding concerns on hydraulic fracturing. The village recognizes the importance of its water sources and after much discussion, passed Resolution 2011-26 calling on the Governor and Ohio State Legislature to place a moratorium (or enact a ban) on hydraulic fracturing until an adequate environmental study is completed showing that it can be done safely without impacting local water supplies. Council plans to share this resolution with the surrounding township trustees in hopes that the message will carry forward. Councilman Bob Matson gave an overview from the recent Economic Development Board meeting.  Matson also spoke to council regarding the prospect of forming a Joint Economic Development (JED) partnership with Freedom Township.Matson  stated that he had spoken with members from the Freedom Township trustees and that they would be interested in exploring the options.  Garrettsville currently has an industrial park area equipped with  sewer and water, while Freedom Township has the land that would make accessibility to the industrial area ideal for future businesses. A motion was passed to move forward into exploring the possibility of a JED with Freedom Township. Bob Matson will take the lead on this project. Rick Patrick, council president, addressed the council regarding Summerfest.  Patrick stated that he was “appalled by the complaints he has heard in the village that SummerFest is getting too big”.  Patrick went on to say that Garrettsville should be proud of this festival and that it brings visitors to our community who patronize our establishments during the time that they are in town.  Patrick also thanked Aaron King and the SummerFest committee members who volunteer their time year ‘round to make the festival happen.  Village council approved the SummerFest contributions of additional street and police department expense as well as the cost share for additional patrolmen with the SummerFest committee.Sidewalk construction for Liberty Street from Center Street to Water Street will occur this year.  Three bids were received and All American Concrete was awarded the contract. The village approved the  chip and seal for  parking lots located at the library, boardwalk and the street department.The Memorial Day parade is scheduled for  Monday, May 30th.  The opening ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. at the Baptist Cemetery Veterans’ Memorial  and the parade will step-off at  9:30 heading towards Park Cemetery. Village council will meet again on June 15th at 7:30 p.m. All are invited to attend.

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Windham – The WVFD Fire Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting for May at the fire station with all board members and fiscal officer present. In the fire chief’s report, Chief Iwanyckyj asked the board if they could partition part of the meeting room off to make a lounge for the medics who are on call. The cost of the partition would be paid out from the firemen’s fund. After some discussion the board gave their approval for the men to make a lounge area. The chief showed the board the molding they received from Johnsonite for the meeting room. The molding was donated to the firemen. The chief stated he has access to a reduced rate pulse oxygen sensor that the firemen will purchase from the firemen’s fund if the board would agree to purchase the finger sensor for the unit. The unit is needed for the second ambulance. The board approved the finger sensor for the new oxygen sensor.   The fire chief said they were covering most of the EMS calls, with a few being covered by North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Community Ambulance. Windham has also done a few mutual aid calls for Community Ambulance. This brought up the discussion on whether they should change their first back-up responder from NEAS to Community Ambulance to improve response times. After a discussion it was determined that the response times were within the national average for rural areas so they determined to leave well enough alone and review the system again in six months. In maintenance report Mr. Polichena reported that the trucks were in good shape, he has installed the new light bar on truck 2817 and took the light bar from that truck and had it installed on the fire jeep. Truck 2815 is in need of new tires due to dry rot. Polichena will get prices by the next meeting.A discussion was held on the fuel tank situation and it was determined that they would need to develop a plan for purchasing fuel rather than trying to bring current tanks up to the ever-changing EPA codes. The chief will look into fleet fuel purchasing with Circle K. Circle K is open 24/7 so obtaining fuel would not be a problem. The chief will explore the options and report back to the board next month.The board adjourned to en executive session, to discuss personnel matters. After the executive  session the board reconvened and addressed the multi-gas detector issue.  The fire chief said the charger for the unit had disappeared and the unit they have is useless without a charger. The cost to replace it would be $103.90. They use the detectors to detect harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, propane, natural gas etc leaks. The board approved the request. With there being no other business, the meeting was adjourned. The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at the fire station at 7pm. Meetings are open to the public.

Hiram – On Tuesday, May 17, 2011, representatives from the James A. Garfield, Crestwood and Woodridge Local Schools along with Roxanne Sorrick, Head of Teacher Education and Project Director for Hiram College  traveled to Columbus to accept a Teacher Planning Grant and begin advanced planning for the 2011-2012 school year. During the 2011-12 school year, Hiram College teacher candidates will be placed at the partner schools for clinical experiences where they will work collaboratively with their cooperating teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum. The school partners are Woodridge Primary, Crestwood Primary, and James A. Garfield High School and Middle School. The Teacher Planning Grant provided each partner with $12,500 for hardware and software and a shared fund of $50,000 for professional development. Each school partner identified a focus for technology purchases based on district goals and technology implementation priorities. Purchases include iPad2, iTouch, laptops, digital microscopes, wireless capability, and audience response systems. Grant funds will provide for a Community Technology night at each school partner site, distance learning opportunities for students and teachers/teacher candidates, as well as a collaborative conference for all participants in May 2012. Grant goals were based on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for both students (NETS-S) and teachers (NETS-T).“We are excited to be selected as one of the 11 recipients of the grant,” stated Sorrick. “The funds will provide new avenues of teaching and learning at these three school districts and prepare Hiram College teacher candidates to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum for 21st century learners.”This Teacher Planning Grant represents the collaborative work of four bodies of education, all equally committed to academic excellence, innovation in teaching and learning, and building relationships in schools and communities in Northeast Ohio and beyond. Relationships are perhaps the backbone of any educational endeavor. It is through collaboration that educators find new ideas, challenge existing assumptions, and reach new avenues that provide stronger, richer learning opportunities for all students.

Garrettsville – Registration is underway for the 1st annual Garrettsville Summerfest 2011 5k run and 1 mile fun run/walk. This all road race to benefit glioma childhood cancer research will take place on Sunday, June 26th at 9 a.m. Event organizer, Jacob Vaughn and his assistant Diana Morris invite everyone to participate.  All proceeds will benefit Friends of Melana, an organization set up to find the causes, treatments and cure for glioma childhood cancer.Friends of Melana was named after Melana Matson who was a young girl from Garrettsville who in 2009, was diagnosed with glioma cancer. Melana was only 9 years old.  She lost her battle just 10 months after her diagnosis with glioma cancer. In Melana’s memory and for those affected by this disease, Friends of Melana is a foundation dedicated to helping fund the fight for childhood glioma cancer. Glioma cancer is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in young people; 85-95% of children who are diagnosed with a malignant glioma tumor die within five years. It is badly underfunded by major cancer societies. The Children’s Glioma Cancer Foundation is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for the dealiest childhood brain tumors known as gliomas. This race is in memory of Melana, participation in this race means 100% of the proceeds go to Friends of Melana.Free beverages will be provided during and after the race. A post-race party is being planned for all race participants. Prizes include medals for top place finishers  of  the 5K Run (1st, 2nd and 3rd) in each age group (8-14, 15-19, 19-24, 25-34, 35-45, 46-57, and 58+)If you would like to contribute, but are not able to participate in the walk/run, consider sponsoring a lady bug mile marker. These markers will be  placed along the race route. Contact Jacob at 330 632-0072 for more information.   Registration has begun and you must register on-line at www.summerfest5k.eventbrite.com or follow the link from garrettsvillesummerfest.com.You must be one of the first 200 racers pre-registered by June 10th  to guarantee your t-shirt.  Cost is $20. Race day registration is available for $25, t-shirts not guaranteed.   Anybody can come for 1 mile, competitive or notIf you have any questions about this race, please contact Jacob Vaughan at jacob_vaughan@yahoo.com  or (330) 632-0072.  For more information or inspiration please visit www.stopkidscancer.org.

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Ravenna – Habitat for Humanity of Portage County’s work to provide affordable housing has helped Habitat for Humanity International rank as the sixth largest homebuilder on Builder magazine’s top 100 list.  With 6,032 closings in 2010, this is the second time Habitat for Humanity has placed in the top ten.  “Our placement on the Builder 100 list is a testament to what can be accomplished when people work together,” said Larry Gluth, senior vice president of U.S. and Canada for Habitat for Humanity International. “So many families in the United States and around the world face an incredible need for affordable housing, and this need only increases during challenging economic times. Habitat works every day to help these families, and we are grateful for the generosity of our donors, volunteers and advocates who have joined our efforts to help families obtain safe, decent and affordable homes and to strengthen communities.”  In 2010, Habitat of Portage helped more than 3 families obtain affordable housing and plans to continue working with volunteers, local businesses and churches to provide affordable housing in Atwater and Ravenna by the end of this year. Since 1988, the affiliate has built or renovated more than 56 homes. “We are thrilled that our work to provide affordable housing has contributed to Habitat’s ranking as the sixth largest builder in the United States,” said Brian Reitz, Executive Director at Habitat of Portage County.  “We are proud to help families obtain affordable housing, and we thank our supporters for their commitment to helping families in need.”  The Builder 100 list is an annual compilation of the largest homebuilders in the country. In 2009, Habitat for Humanity ranked eighth on the list with 5,294 closings, marking the first time the organization made it to the top 10.    Habitat for Humanity of Portage County is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry serving Portage County by working with qualified persons with housing needs to help them create a better community in which to live and work. Habitat welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing.  For more information, or to donate or volunteer, call 330.296.2880. www.habitatofportage.org

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During the May meeting of the Newton Falls Chamber of Commerce, the focus of the discussion centered on the Association’s members. Though the Covered Bridge sign on Route 5 and First Street is full, there is still one spot available if anyone is interested in advertising there. Currently a space holder is simply filling in for the time being.Linda Nord, a local resident, was officially welcomed as a community member and her application for an individual membership was approved.In old business, membership renewals are due as the membership year runs from May 1st to April 30th. Plans to revamp the website are in the works, with the intention to increase benefits for current members by way of spotlighting businesses or setting apart those involved in other ways.  If anybody wants to contribute ideas for this project, please contact Shawn.In new business, the Association is continuing to discuss ideas on how to draw new members. Anybody in the community can join whether they own a business or not, and since the organization is officially the Newton Falls AREA Commerce Association, that means members do not have to live in the vicinity of the town itself to be an affiliate. Membership dues vary based on voting privileges and distance from Newton Falls. More information can be found at http://www.nfaca.net.In other news, plans for the citywide garage sale are under way. The dates for the sale will be August 5, 6, and 7. Registration forms and information on how to participate by having a sale that weekend will be available soon.  A motion passed to support the Fourth of July Committee by purchasing $100 worth of raffle tickets. In past years, the Association has bought tickets with the intention of splitting any monetary prizes, if won, by giving 50% back to the Fourth of July Committee.Highlights from the City Manager’s memo include that the legislation concerning contractor registration has been tabled by Council for at least ninety days as they are looking for alternate ideas before a decision is finalized. Also mentioned is a plan to officially name the park between Shop ‘n’ Save and the waterfall. If Council decides at the next meeting to dedicate it as “Veterans Park,” the ceremony would take place following the Memorial Day service. This year’s Arts in the Park festival is being planned for late summer. Anyone interested in helping out should contact Christine Newman.The Association’s next meeting will be Tuesday June 14th.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

VROOM!  VROOM!

See you there.

 

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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!

 

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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.