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Newton Falls – Enhancing the bridge by the waterfalls are the new stone planters donated to the Flower committee from the benefit held last year at the Riverview Inn.  The event, the D.J. Jagers Poker run, was organized by Debbie Sutherland and Sarah Corley.  Proceeds were donated to the Newton Falls Flower Committee to expand the beautification of the town.  The Newton Falls street department secured the planters with steel rods and bolted them to the supports.  The new planters as well as the other parts of the city were decorated for the Holidays on December 1st.

Lori Rankin who owns the Flower Shoppe arranged the centerpieces for each planter.  The live greens placed throughout town were donated by Jill Weekly and Terry Hardbarger who filled all of the large planters.  Much appreciation also goes to Scott Nussle of Nussle Florist for his continued assistance, City Manager Jack Haney, City Clerk Kathy King, City Councilwoman Nancy Hoffman, Ashley King Grunder, and Doris Lingo who joined the flower committee members Judy Babyak and Alma Griffith on a very cold morning to complete the Christmas decoration.  Thanks to everyone for a job well done.

Pictured are Debbie Sutherland who organized the benefit at the Riverview Inn that purchased the new bridge planters and Lori Rankin, owner of The Flower Shoppe, who arranged the décor for the planters.

Newton Falls – At the first council meeting of December, the snow-blanketed roads did not keep concerned citizens away.

All officials were present and, after opening the proceedings, Mayor Waddell started the meeting by announcing that, on the heels of the recent budget meeting, it was mutually agreed there will be no laying-off any officers in the police department.

Members of the public addressed the constant “infamous” 3-2 vote, pointing out that the new mayor will have little chance to make a difference if current council remains intact as is. Others chastised council for reportedly setting a bad example of a productive society and giving a negative reputation in representing the town to other communities, going even so far as to comment “This town is the laughingstock of the area right now.”

When it was time for individual reports, Mayor Waddell thanked everyone who came out to vote in the recent recall election. Acknowledging it was a close race, he also thanked those in particular who supported him. “We all need to move forward now,” he said. He mentioned his commitment to the oath of office that he took during his inauguration ceremony. “I take the oath of office very seriously,” he said, specifying a line in the oath which references NOT being influenced by any individual or group. He reassured that his loyalty lies with the betterment of the city and not with any particular individual or entity.

Then Mayor Waddell announced that he will be donating 25% of his salary to a town charity, starting with the next council meeting. For consideration, send a letter to the mayor’s office (19 N. Canal Street, Attn: Mayor) with information about your charitable organization. Each respective meeting’s beneficiary will be drawn at random from the submitted letters and will receive a $50 check from the mayor.

By way of individual reports from council members, Councilman Monteville thanked the officers who recently saved a local gentleman’s life, and intends to include a proclamation of appreciation on a future agenda. The City Manager mentioned the new holiday decorations in town, brightening the community for the Christmas season. Home 44444 the Holidays is Saturday and organizers, in conjunction with the NFPD, will be attempting to fill-a-school-bus with non-perishables from 10am-4pm at the high school. Also be sure and check out the Identi-kits available at the event, courtesy of the police department. Councilman Luonuansuu then made a motion to adjourn immediately into executive session. The motion passed by 3-2.

Closing public comments reiterated the same points made earlier, with most opinions expressed concerning the town’s financial situation and/or the unfavorable impressions residents of other towns have of Newton Falls by the regular bad press in recent history. Encouraging comments included support for the hardworking members of the police department, gratitude for the positive relationship between the PD and the fire department, and hope for constructive changes in the coming months.

Mayor Waddell closed the meeting by saying “This is an absolutely great community and I still believe that.”

Garrettsville – Garrettsville-Hiram Rotarians, having received a taste of   the Power of the Pen at their meeting on November 17, affirmed their support for the program, directed at the Garfield Middle   School by Mrs. Jackie Lovelace.  This support took the form of a $600 contribution toward the facilitation of  the district tournament to be held at Garfield in the spring.  The club also briefly considered the possibilities in reaching out to middle school-age students with information about the goals and activities of Rotary at all levels.

Other items on the agenda included: (1) possible follow-up on the Renaissance 490 presentation by Rev. Fred Youngen, acknowledging the helpful community activities involved and the resources required to carry them out, (2) including the center as a future program, (3) recruiting new members, (4) planning for the Santa Delivery Project–truck needed, sign-ups at Business Works and McCumbers-Brady Realty, tradition since the ‘60’s,  (5) beginning plans for Family Week coming up in February–sponsorships and donations will be solicited after the first of the year, contact any Rotarian, (6) ideas for new programs, (7) assembly at the Jackson Estates on December 13 at 6:30… CHRISTMAS  PARTEEE !

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Burton -  Countryside Home Baker is pleased to announce their 5th Anniversary celebration on December 17 & 18, from 8am-5pm, with drawings, free coffee and more! A family owned business that opened in 2005 as a way to generate a little extra income has grown into a self sustaining business through the hard work and traditional recipes used by the store’s bakers. By baking everything from scratch and using real butter Countryside Home Bakery provides the community a product that is readily available, yet does not lose the homemade, down-to-earth taste. Another distinctive feature of the bakery is its traditional wood burning oven, the results are products unique in their own way. Stop in and taste the difference!

At Countryside Home Bakery you will enjoy traditional, home-made breads, pies, cookies, and more all made from scratch. With Christmas just around the corner, the bakery offers Christmas cookies, gift baskets, delicious breads and specialty items like chocolate covered candies! Also available is a selection of locally-produced jams and maple syrup.

Regular business hours are Wed.-Sat. 8am to 5pm. The bakery will be closed from Christmas through February 2. Christmas orders need to be placed by December 23rd to be picked up by December 24th.

Countryside is located at 17075 Mumford Rd., Burton,   approximately 2.25 miles north of Rt. 422 and 1.5 miles south of Rt. 168. Phone 440-834-0776.

Hiram – In the information age, sharing critical heath care information with emergency medical providers – even when you can’t talk – just got a whole lot easier for all Hiram College students and faculty. My LifePlan, a Ravenna, OH-based health care information technology and services company started by Ruth Skocic ’06, has partnered with the College to provide My LifePlan’s MyChoice service to all current students and faculty, as well as to all incoming freshmen. Parents of Hiram College students can rest assured their children’s vital medical information can be immediately available to medical and rescue workers in the event of an emergency.

My LifePlan integrates the latest biometric technology and Web-based access to provide first responders and hospital emergency staff with secure, immediate access – via a fingerprint scan or ID card – to patients’ critical information. This includes medical history, emergency contacts, allergies, medications and advanced directives, speaking for a person who may not be able to speak for him or herself.

Skocic, a former nursing home social services director, founded My LifePlan in 2006 to provide health information services and technology. She wanted individuals to be able to control their medical information and personal directives – and provide that information to authorized emergency and health care providers in a timely, secure fashion when every moment counts.

“Hiram College is recognized nationwide as a premier facility for higher learning, and we are honored to work with their team in providing students and faculty with the safest possible campus experience, as well as giving parents valuable peace of mind that their children are protected,” said Skocic. “MyChoice empowers life-saving personnel to thoroughly assess a situation and deliver the best possible care and treatment – when every second counts.”

And while the company’s growth has gone global – it provides services to China and Israel, for instance – Skocic’s experience as a Weekend College student at Hiram keeps her attention right here at home, too. She wanted to give back to her alma mater while growing her company. Earlier this year, My LifePlan announced the successful deployment of MyChoice with the fire department of Stow, OH, and executed a definitive master collaboration agreement with Akron General to begin rollout of the MyChoice service at multiple emergency departments in surrounding communities.

For more information about My LifePlan, go to www.MyLifePlaninc.com.

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Garrettsville – Miller’s Family Restaurant located on Main Street in Garrettsville is celebrating 15 years! Owner Monica Miller decided to try her hand in the restaurant business and her customers are very glad she did! She opened first in Windham for a year until the building in Garrettsville became available. Monica moved her business and has been serving up a delicious menu ever since.

The customers at Miller’s know exactly what they are getting when they walk through the doors – great food and great service in a comfortable atmosphere. There are many good dishes to try, including daily specials. If you’re a breakfast lover, stop in and order breakfast anytime of the day.

Miller’s Family Restaurant is truly a restaurant for families, the prices are right and there is something for everyone on the menu. Not only is the restaurant for families, it is staffed by Monica’s family. Her daughters, Sarah and Jennifer, are waitresses; her sister, Marian, helps Monica in the kitchen; and her husband, Gary, keeps the place in tip top order as the general fix-it man (although I’ve been told he can peel mean potato and make a mouth-watering gravy).

Monica and her family invite you to come in and get a free beverage with the purchase of a meal during their Customer Appreciation Week, December 13th through 17th. Bring the entire family for a delicious meal and great service.

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Newton Falls – Santa’s Elves were working overtime this past Black Friday and it wasn’t just to stock the shelves for the early morning deals at the retail stores.

What  better way to spend The Day After Thanksgiving than in downtown Newton Falls getting into the early holiday spirit and missing all those crazy crowds. Whether it really was the quick little workers sent by the “Big Guy in Red” himself or simply some good-hearted local volunteers, a festive tree has sprouted, seemingly overnight, in the middle of the main business district, decorated with colorful orbs, glittery stars and plastic candy canes.

Situated by Positive Images, the tree was donated by Bailey’s Christmas Tree Farm and was lit for the season following Saturday’s parade, officially kicking off the yuletide celebrations.

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Middlefield - All council members were present for this meeting.  After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Poole asked for approval of the November 4 minutes and they were approved.  He also asked for payment of bills (two separate requests) and both requests were passed.

The Fiscal Report was submitted to Council.  It was mentioned that the Council needs to meet as close to the end of the year as possible to finish the fiscal bills for 2010 and to approve the budget for 2011.  Due to holiday schedules, it was determined that the meeting would have to take place after the New Year on January 3.

The Streets & Utilities Report stated that the leaf pick up was complete and that there were fewer loads this year than the previous year.  Christmas decorations were up. Normal maintenance was done as were some sidewalk repairs at various locations throughout the Village.

The Police Report was submitted to the Council.  Police Chief Samec reported that there were 791 incident reports, 166 walk-ins, 1,063 phone calls, 937 business checks, 31 traffic citations and 20 criminal charges last month.  The Fill-A-Police-Car food drive was done on November 11 and garnered over 4,000 pounds of food products and several cash donations.  The Police Department will be doing it again on December 10.  Also the Shop-with-a-Cop program is progressing. Right now they are able to help 15 families but may be able to add five more.  Volunteers are needed for this program.  Details are available on the Village website.

The Zoning Inspector did not have a written report to submit but discussed two on-going projects.  Council asked if there was any news about the Habitat for Humanity homes and it was discussed that they are in the process of transferring land.  No formal plans have been submitted at this time.

The Recreation Report was submitted to Council.  Now that the weather is turning cold, activities have switched to indoors which means more supervision is necessary.  They now have 40 basketball teams in the league, which is up from 32 last year.  Wrestling registration is also up; double last year.  They are busy working on spring schedules.

The Ambulance Report and other Fiscal Reports were submitted to Council.

Mr. Nick Frank spoke on behalf of the Middlefield Chamber of Commerce during the Public Participation portion of the meeting.  Mr. Frank wanted to let Council know that the Chamber was planning three mini-festivals next summer on the third Friday in June, July and August.  Frank wanted Council to be aware in case ordinances would need to be  passed.  These events are being geared to promote Middlefield businesses and to increase foot traffic in town.  The Council was supportive and will be working with the Chamber as needed.  The Mayor will work on a resolution for the January meeting.

First Reading: Resolution 10-15 Authorizing the Village Administrator to purchase various materials and supplies from certain sellers during 2011 and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.

Resolution 10-16 Indicating the services the Village of Middlefield will provide, and an approximate date by which it will provide them, to the territory proposed to be annexed to the Village by the Diocese of Cleveland.  (Standard services will be provided.)

Ordinance 10-138 Employing David M. Ondrey as Village Solicitor and Legal Counsel for the Village of Middlefield for the years 2011 and 2012 and declaring an emergency.  Motion passed.

Second Reading: Resolution 10-14 Adopting a “Drinking Water Source Protection Plan” for the Village of Middlefield.  Motion passed.

Third Reading: Ordinance 10-133 Extending the employment of Marie Shipek as a Village employee for three (3) years, through December 6, 2013, pursuant to specified terms and conditions.  Motion passed.

Old Business:  St. Lucy Annexation Agreement:  It was suggested that the Church sign the agreement in order to keep the process moving forward.  The Church did not sign the agreement as they were waiting for funding, but now that is not an issue.  There is a question about the number of units, it was decided that 40 would be the number with a possibility of it being fewer than that number.  Catholic Charities requires that the Church put down some sidewalks and that will be completed by the Church.  The approximate date for ground breaking of this project is spring 2011.

The New Business included a discussion as to pay Burton Scot the full amount ($41,274.54) due at this time for the basketball court project as some of the work is not complete.  The Village has requested several times that the fencing be put up so that there is no damage done to the new concrete.  Since this is only the first payment, a motion was passed to make the payment contingent on the fencing being completed.  That motion passed.  Other work is due but cannot be done until the weather warms up again.

D. Weir brought up for discussion about the columbarium.  The land has been bought and the title transferred.  Weir was able to get the price down to around $24,500 and wanted Council to approve the purchase of this item so that they could have the spot ready by spring.  There will be 32 units made of all US marble and it will be guaranteed for life.  It was mentioned that the price above does not include the pad.  Councilperson Seyer has volunteered to look at other columbariums in the area.  A motion was passed for purchase not to exceed $24,999.

Meeting was adjourned.

Burton – The Burton Grille and Pizzeria in the center of historic Burton Village will be transformed into an elegant dining location the evening of Friday, December 31, 2010.  Plans are to close the restaurant to regular dining at 3:00 p.m. on that date.  Later, when the doors re-open, the interior space will have become festive and glittering, and ready for serving an exceptional New Year’s Eve dinner.

But don’t expect to find pizza on the menu.  Instead, diners will be treated to hors d’oeuvres, a choice of fish or beef, several accompaniments, and a selection of fine desserts. A vegetarian meal will also be available.  Diners are permitted to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Joe Brown, the owner of Burton Grille said, “I wanted to offer a festive and fine dining option close to home for New Year’s Eve.”  Brown continued, “This menu is a lot of fun for me.  Our regular menu leans toward Italian food, and our usual desserts are centered around our homemade ice cream.  This once-a-year change gives me an opportunity to get creative with a very upscale menu and desserts that we otherwise don’t offer.  For instance, I can get beautiful maple wood from an Amish friend, so we will be serving maple-glazed salmon – each piece baked and served on a slab of maple wood.”

Dinner will be served at only two seatings:  6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.  When you call to reserve, you select your dining time.  All diners are expected to arrive at, or close to, their chosen time.

Because space is limited, it is necessary to reserve and pre-pay in advance for this New Year’s Eve elegant dinner.  The meal pricing is “prix fixe”, which means that the overall price is set in advance, and includes all of the courses of the meal.  The cost is $37.50 per person.  A separate children’s menu will be available at reduced cost.  To reserve your space, call or stop in to the Burton Grille before December 24th.

The Burton Grille and Pizzeria is located in the center of historic Burton Village, across from the Burton Log Cabin.  The address is 14614 East Park Street.  Burton Village is midway between Warren and Cleveland – about 40 minutes east of downtown Cleveland.

For more information, telephone Burton Grille and Pizzeria at 440-834-9050.

Windham – Pleasant surprises come from all places.  Mine started in the form a flyer in the Nelson town hall for the “First Snow” concert.  I figured that if they weren’t that good, it was still only $6 and for a good cause.  Then I found that low price sometimes is no indicator of quality.

“First Snow” is a Trans-Siberian Orchestra cover band, and the age “eight-to-eighty” audience at the Renaissance Family Center reflected their classical-to-rock range of style.  By the groups third song, they had included all three T-S O Christmas CDs. Keyboardist/singer Beth Salisbury gave an interesting interpretation of “Prince of Peace”.  She then added a traditional version of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.  Most of the night showcased their rock side, as guitarist/singer Kevin Bennett perfectly reproduced the T-S O vocals on “This Christmas Day”.  Their self-titled song “First Snow” included a “snow machine” that chased away the photographer that was blocking the middle aisle up front.  Drummer Scott Weiner even contributed a rousing drum solo.  The band branched out into a blues song, and then young Ethan Long soloed on acoustic guitar with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.  “Christmas Jam” was especially amazing, with Bennett, Salisbury, Long and multi-talented Brian Briggs each taking turns with impressive guitar solos.  Bennett then contributed a heartfelt song that he had written about his father after his passing.  The keyboardists also delighted the crowd with “Flight of the Bumblebee”.

Some of the band returned as Division Bell, an impressive Pink Floyd tribute band with only three instrumentalists.  Both bands battled sound system problems throughout the night;  I would have loved to hear Monique Orban’s vocal gymnastics on “Great Gig in the Sky”.  The members were also a tribute band to the group Heart, as the crowd got one last treat with the song “Barracuda”.

In one night these talented musicians had three established bands “looking over their shoulders”.  Windham was really fortunate to host such a team of incredible musical talent December 4th, and it won’t be too soon if they can be persuaded to return.

Mantua – In the polymer industry, constant changes and improvements are the essential ingredients to servicing customer needs effectively.  Mantaline Corporation of Mantua, Ohio has recently added key new processes and materials to its portfolio in its efforts to offer current customers an avenue to “best available” technology as well as position itself to fulfill the expectations of the new customers it is pursuing.

Over the last several months, Mantaline has improved their manufacturing systems, expanded their customer base and added new processes to their portfolio.  The corporation now works in three new market segments: off-road construction vehicle window seals, medical industry freezer seals, and automotive sunroof seals. In addition to the three new markets, Mantaline has also broadened its capabilities to offer new in-line and finishing options for automotive and non-automotive customers alike.

How does Mantaline consistently develop new processes and products?  The answer comes down to having the right people on board.  According to Engineering VP Kyle Jackson, “it takes gifted, talented and dedicated folks to bring a consistent flow of innovation on-line.”

It is the mix of different engineers with varying skill-sets and ideas that has allowed Mantaline to break through some of its previous barriers.  By having people look at challenges from different angles, old restrictions break down and new methods of operating are created. Mantaline encourages its engineers to work directly with customer counterparts to address any constraints in process technology and then make those processes more robust and appropriately cost-effective.

The goal of Mantaline’s pursuit of process excellence is twofold:  minimize off-line finishing and maximize start-up efficiency.  Mantaline is working to integrate tooling design and effectiveness into manufacturing processes to achieve tighter tolerance on seals while reducing total cost.  The focus on increased level of tolerance capability and product complexity is directly related to customer needs: current and future.

Mantaline is also attacking waste and other ancillary cost centers.  Returnable packaging, handling and storage of process materials and qualifying alternative, lower cost materials are all areas that Mantaline’s pursuit of efficiency has touched.

These initiatives have an added customer benefit: Mantaline is much better able to handle customer “lower volume” production requirements; a level of flexibility not lost on customers striving to maintain their own commercial relationships.  “How we set up ‘built in flexibility’ across our manufacturing lines makes us more efficient across a spectrum of volumes,” said Jackson. “Shorter runs and running a wide variety of different products on the same equipment makes us more attractive to our customers, no doubt about it.”

It is its flexibility and efficiency that really permits Mantaline to service customers who themselves must deal with a wide variation is production requirements.  “Our ‘adaptability’ helps customers who need flexibility in their supply base and are struggling to find it,” said Jackson.

Mantaline, a material-driven and customer-driven company, is changing the polymer industry by increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness with new processes and new outlooks.

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Save a little money this holiday season by coordinating your MP3 players, iPods, and electronic readers (excluding the Kindle) with free downloads from Portage County District Library. Visit overdrive.portagelibrary.org 24/7 (anytime, anywhere) to download eBooks and audiobooks from the convenience of your own home or other PC.  Using a Portage County District Library card and with the installation of free software (a one-time download), you can begin checking out and downloading titles immediately. Why buy titles for presents when you can get them free from the library?

Library patrons can browse the downloadable collection and checkout up to ten titles for a seven or 14 day loan period.  At the end of the loan period, the audiobooks will expire and return to the collection (eBooks can be returned early).  No returns to the library, no late fees.  It’s free, and just that easy! Are you new to digital media? Select the “Quick Start Guide” feature on the website for help.

Another great “gift” of the downloadable media collection- including audiobooks-  is the ability for users to create wish lists for titles that have not yet been released or that they are interested in checking out at a later date. Select “Add to Wish List” to place your name at the top of the list. Newly-added seasonal eBook titles include The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum, Christmas 101: Celebrating the Holiday Season from Christmas to New Year’s by Rick Rodgers, and The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere.  Bestsellers are available as well. Get the newest James Patterson, Jonathan Kellerman, Ted Dekker, and Jonathan Franzen titles today.

For more information about other library services and programs, visit the Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

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What do you give to the person that has everything? Give the gift of a dedicated book or donation this year. Dedicate a book to the Portage County District Library collection. You may choose to dedicate a book, music, downloadable audiobook or eBook, book on CD, or DVD on a particular topic, or allow the library staff to select a subject. Your contribution helps enhance the collection, sharing with your community. A book plate commemorating your gift will be placed on the item purchased.

Monetary donations in the name of a loved one or someone special can be made as well. Checks should be made out to Portage County District Library and returned to 10482 South Street, Garrettsville, OH 44231 ATTN: Fiscal Officer. Donations will be used to purchase new materials for the library system. Receipts are available upon request.

As with all donations to the Portage County District Library system, your contribution is tax deductible. Visit any branch library and ask for a “Dedicate a Book” form. Branch libraries include Aurora Memorial, Brimfield, Garrettsville, Pierce Streetsboro, Randolph, Windham, and Outreach Services- Home Delivery & Library Express. Library Express locations include Aurora, Brimfield, Edinburg, Hiram, Mantua, Randolph, Rootstown, and Shalersville.

Windham resident Owen Duncan hammed it up for the cameras as he sat on Santa’s lap surrounded by all of the Christmas hoopla at the Windham United Methodist Church’s “Breakfast with Santa” last Saturday held at the Renassaince Family Center. Owen is almost two years old, loves trucks and was totally facinated with all the lights.

Windham - Last Saturday the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Windham kicked off the holiday season by hosting breakfast with Santa, letter writing to Santa, crafts and an opportunity for boys and girls to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas.  On the breakfast menu were French toast stix, egg casserole, fruit and juice, which were shared with about 50 kids. The church had craft tables set up for the kids to make crafts and write a letter to Santa.

The children were all lined up eager to have their turn sitting on Santa’s lap and to tell him all their greatest wishes. Each child received a gift bag with crayons, coloring books,  an orange, and candy canes. The breakfast with Santa was held at the Renaissance Family Center (RFC) in conjunction with their craft show.

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In the 9:00 Trio League, Danielle Tuttle bowled a triplicate – three games of 93.  Danielle was 75 pins over average for the day.  Eric Lawless bowled games of 132 and 109, with a 323 series.  The 132 game was 48 pins over average.  Floria Gerardino was 47 pins over her average of 70 with a nice 117 game.  Nathan Phillips was 45 pins over average with a 132 game.  Nathan Pallotto rolled games of 108 and 101 for a 284 series, 68 pins over average for the day.   Adam Norris had two matching 110 games, and a 296 series.

High game in the 11:00 Trio League was Jessica Potteiger with 175.  Kim Wampler had games of 170, 143 and 174 for a nice 487 series.  She was closely followed by Adam Tanner; Adam shot 169, 171 and 142 for a 482 series.  Austin Sledz, with an average of 53, was 88 pins over for the day.  Austin’s games were 69, 69, and 109, for a 247 series.  Cameron King continued his good bowling with a 162 game, 52 pins over average.  Noah Shannon had games of 157 and 155 on his way to a 435 series, 60 pins over average for the day.  And Kayla Hunt’s 261 series was 78 pins over her 61 average; Kayla’s games were 82, 88 and 91.  Billy Potteiger just missed his first 300 series – Billy shot games of 115 and 100 and ended with a 295 series.  Kurt Bokesch had a 148 game, 38 pins over his average.

High game for the 9:00 Pee Wee League was Paige Collins with 107.  Joey Moses shot 97 and Austin Roman had 95.

In the 11:00 PeeWee League, high games were Kenny Mangan with 95, Darrion Sidwell with 94, and David Ittel with 93.

The next two-week qualifying session for the Pepsi Tournament will begin this Saturday, December 4.  Good luck to all the bowlers on the 9:00 Trio and 11:00 Trio Leagues!.

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Newton Falls – The Newton Falls Classroom Teachers Association is pleased to announce the recipients of three scholarships for seniors entering the field of education this year: (pictured left to right) Nick Mock, first place, $800; Makayla Haines and Jennifer Russell, 2nd place tie, $350.  The family of Arthur J. Prescott, a career teacher in Newton Falls, set up this fund in his memory. The NFCTA contributes to the fund and selects its yearly winner(s) based upon grades, volunteerism, and an essay.

Congratulations to these fine students.

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There are many blessings in our community.  But I know there are also many families that are struggling now.  I called my friend and fellow small business owner, Chris Perme.  He is a financial advisor by trade, but do not let that stuffy title fool you.  Chris is the guy we call when we need generosity first and details later.  I asked him if he would help fund my little idea.  Without any details, he said yes!

So here is what we are going to do.  We will grant the Christmas wish of a local person and/or family.  Note this is not a “holiday” wish…because we believe in Christmas!

We are interested in “needs” not “wants.”  In other words, if you have fallen on hard times and need help for Christmas, we want you to send in your story.

Write to us and tell us your story.  Please limit your story to two pages.  You may include photos or drawings if that helps tell your story.  We will choose one winner, and do our best to make their Christmas wish come true.  Please give us as much information as you can.

Anyone who lives in Portage County or anywhere in the Weekly Villager’s circulation area is eligible.  You may nominate yourself or anyone else you would like.  Children are dear to our hearts, but we will consider all stories that are submitted.  Stories should be mailed to “Tommie Jo and Chris – Grant my Christmas Wish!” c/o Weekly Villager, 8052 State Street, Suite 1, Garrettsville, OH  44231.  You can also drop it off.  It must include your name and phone number as well as the contact information of the person you are nominating.  We must receive all entries by December 11.

We look forward to making someone’s Christmas a little better.  Tell all of your friends about the contest and watch the paper for the winner.  Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

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Newton Falls – A special council meeting was held Monday with one topic on the agenda: the possible impending termination of City Manager Jack Haney.

All council members were present, as were newly-inaugurated Mayor Lyle Waddell, almost-as- new Law Director Joseph Fritz, and the City Clerk Kathy King and City Manager Mr. Haney himself. After the Pledge of Allegiance and moment of silence for personal prayer, the floor opened for public comments concerning Mr. Haney’s contract.

Those who wished to opine openly at the forum spoke in support of Mr. Haney, citing his record of obtaining financial grants for the community as well as bringing respect back to the office he occupies. Others voiced concerns over the amount of money having to pay for a City Manager is costing the small town (of about 5,000 residents). A few members of the audience made the point that in the last several months the city has fallen into a habit of effectively dumping officials before their respective expected terms are up. In April, then Law Director Richard Schwartz was fired; just a few weeks ago Mayor Patrick Layshock was recalled. Now the City Manager is on thin ice, so who is next? (There is a current recall effort already in place to remove Councilman James Luonuansuu, the representative for Ward 4.) These oustings are becoming costly as well as not being conducive to the reasonable stability anticipated from a professional working environment.

A motion was passed (3-2) allowing the legal opinion of Law Director Fritz to be read aloud. In his opinion, Mr. Fritz addressed the options for terminating the City Manager. At this point, the only applicable option from his list is “by a majority vote of Council at a duly authorized meeting.” If Mr. Haney’s contract is terminated prematurely, he would be entitled to a severance package worth nearly $125,000 – which includes six months of salary, accrued sick leave and vacation time, health care benefits and life insurance premiums – and it could open the door for a wrongful termination lawsuit if Mr. Haney wished to pursue that avenue. Mr. Fritz said in his written opinion that terminating Mr. Haney would be “financially irresponsible” and the City’s “potential for liability in a wrongful termination lawsuit is significant.”

Council adjourned into an executive session to discuss in private the possible repercussions of exercising an early termination option. An attorney from Cleveland who is representing Mr. Haney’s interests was permitted to sit in on only part of the session. When the council members et al returned to the table, the only official comment provided about the outcome was from Mayor Waddell: “The Law Director and Mr. Haney’s attorney are in negotiations.”

If council continues down the path they’ve been on, however, it’s not hard to guess what will happen next.

The special meeting was then immediately adjourned by a vote from council, without allowing for closing public comments despite that segment being listed on the evening’s agenda. This motion effectively denied those present an opportunity to voice concluding opinions on the matter at hand. Those wishing to speak are encouraged to attend the next meeting held at the Community Center on December 6th at 6pm.

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Burton - All Council members were present at this meeting which  began with a special visit by the Burton Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troop 197.  The boys led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then Chief of Police Smigelski explained to the Council and visitors that the local troop was being honored for their commitment to helping the seniors in the community.  Each member was mentioned by name, shook hands with the Council members and received a certificate.  Linda Swaney was thanked for her assistance in finding community members who were in need of assistance.  Mayor Blair gave his advice to the boys by quoting “service above self” and commended the young men on the steps they have already taken to achieve that goal.

The Mayor then read a proclamation thanking other community volunteers.  Those volunteers were from several different boards and committees.  They included Charles Boehnlein, James Clark, Dianne Valen, Marcianne Kimpton (who received several citations), Robert McCullough, Ken Kleve, Sue Fisher, Newell Beaumier, James Koster, Curt Johnson, Karolyn Squire, Paul Emch, Glen Bomback, Sharon Moster, Roberta Dobay, Judith Beaumier, Pat Hauser, Sharon Ronyak, Jim Wohlken, and Kurt Updegraff.  The Mayor commended all those volunteers for their tireless efforts and the time they donate to the various causes.

Police Chief Smigelski submitted an official Police Report to the Council.  He detailed that there were 345 calls last month, 5 arrests were made, 731 hours were logged and 3,691 miles were patrolled.  He explained that traffic enforcement was still a big issue but that drivers were starting to slow down due to weather.

He also mentioned that the records project was now finished.  All records dating back to 1980 had been reviewed and categorized.  With that done, a new project was starting regarding evidence.  Evidence dating back to 1976 has been gone through and a log created.  That log will then go to the prosecutor’s office and a determination will be made whether to keep or destroy the evidence.  This process is still on-going.

Police Chief Smigelski reported to the board that Police Officer, Danny Grant, with 29 1?2 years of service would be retiring at the end of November.

The last police issue was regarding a Bonus Grant for $30,000 that the Village was trying to win.  He explained it briefly to the Council and then asked them to think about improvements they would like to see made and asked them to contact him with ideas before the end of the month.

The Solicitor had nothing to report at this time.

Ordinance/Resolutions:

Ordinance 2207-10, adopting and approving the 2011 Interim Budget, second reading.

Ordinance 2209-10, approving, adopting and enacting the 2010 replacement pages to the Codified Ordinances, and declaring an emergency.  This motion was adopted.

Ordinance 2210-10, amending section 1113.04(b) of the Codified Ordinances of the Village of Burton for official posting places of approved and disapproved zoning applications.  First reading.

Ordinance 2211-10, amending section 521.07 of the Codified Ordinances of the Village of Burton to allow electrified pet containment systems and modify where electrified fences are allowed within the village limits.  First reading.

The Fiscal Officer asked for approval of bills to be paid and that was moved and passed.  He also asked for approval of minutes for the November 8 meeting and they were also moved and passed.  He had nothing else to report at this time.

The Mayor’s Report gave an update about an on-going issue with a property owner having two cows and having an electrified fence on their property inside the Village.  The Mayor felt this was being handled by the above mentioned Ordinance.  A member of the audience asked for clarification of the issue.  The Mayor explained that a resident with a two acre parcel had two cows and an electrified fence.  Another issue was  run-off  that ran downhill, but  it was really the fence that was being challenged.  Agriculture is not a permitted use of this type of land without a variance, due to the location, the homeowner was in violation of zoning codes.

The property owner stated that they had permission from a former zoning inspector for the fence, but after quite a bit of investigation, no such permission was found.  This issue will be worked on and discussed again at the next scheduled Council meeting.

The Mayor also brought up an issue about the alleys behind the stores in the Village.  Apparently, they are in need of repair and ownership/responsibility is not clear.  The Mayor determined that it was necessary to find the owners and then resolution could be discussed.  Also he wants to find out who provides snow removal services for that area.  He asked that Chip Hess and his people investigate this and get back to Council.

Old business included the 2011 Interim Budget and the Mayor asked if there were any questions or further discussion about this issue.  There was none.

Also in Old Business, the Mayor asked for comments on the Capital Improvement Plan.  He reported that there were lots of ideas submitted and that Chris Paquette was creating a report with them and would be submitting that report as soon as Council was ready for it.

Linda Swaney received a call from a resident of the Village, in which they wanted to thank the Police Department for watching their property while they were on vacation.  The resident was very impressed with this service.  The Police Department, once you advise them of your travel plans, will have an officer from each shift check a property not only for security purposes but they will detail other problems as necessary.  A letter with times and dates of inspections is sent to the homeowner upon their return from vacation.

An audience member mentioned that the American Legion hall is holding a fundraiser next weekend to benefit their scholarship programs.  The event includes Breakfast with Santa and a craft fair.  She encouraged Council members to attend.

Meeting then went into Executive Session.

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Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting last Tuesday with all council members present. The first item on the agenda was to approve the hiring of a police chief. Council unanimously approved the hiring of a police chief only to have the candidate withdraw his name later in the week. So the committee is continuing to search for the best candidate for the position.

In other council news the council voted to approve an $800 a month subsidy to the Windham branch of the Portage County District Library (PCDL) as they relocate to another facility within the village limits. PCDL Director Cecilia Swanson thanked council for their continued support of the library and hopes to announce their new location soon.

Council also approved an ordinance that would adjust water and sewer rates that will be effective in January 1, 2011. Residents will see the adjustments on their February bills. The changes were made to promote conservation and to reduce the minimum requirement of gallon usage to 1000 gallons. This would be most beneficial to those who have one or two folks living in a household and to those who practice conservation.

Pastor Fred Youngen from Windham Bible Church (WBC) asked to speak before council. Pastor Fred announced and invited members of council and the community to a question -and-answer session about the connection of WBC and the Renaissance Family Center (RFC). He stated that there was plenty of misinformation out there and they would hold an open question-and -answer session. He gave a brief report on the recent food give-a-way, stating they had helped 225 families and gave away 14,000 lbs. of food. The food give-a-way was done in conjunction with the Salvation Army by providing the facility for the distribution and  also providing some of the volunteers. Youngen then extended an invitation to council and visitors to the Community Thanksgiving Dinner being planned for Thanksgiving Day.

In other news a resident was concerned about fracturing methods the gas well companies would use and wanted to know if they would be using the water and sand method rather than the chemical method. She was concerned about environmental damage and water contamination issues. The mayor stated that at this time they haven’t put any restrictions on what method the drillers could use. He also stated that they thoroughly researched the company they are using and they are one of the biggest in the country and have an excellent reputation. The village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7pm in council chambers

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Ravenna – The Portage County Historical Society in Ravenna will host a Christmas Open House & Holiday Fund-Raising Sale on Saturday, December 11, 2010 from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M.

The Lowrie-Beatty Museum, Carter house, Strickland house, Log Cabin, Campbell Land Office, Ford Seed Store, Mahan Barn and Indian Village will all be open for tours.

The “Unique Gift” Fund Raising Sale will feature items donated just for this sale.  Tables will be set up throughout the facility and a special table will be Just for Kids, with all items under $1.00.  The society needs good quality items donated for the fundraising sale and will be accepting donations until Thursday, December 9, 2010. Things such as older Christmas decorations, glassware, china, tools, old toys, games and books are the type of items the society needs for the fund raising sale. A 50-50-Raffle, Door Prizes and refreshments will be located in the Library area of the Museum building.  The Historical Society is located at 6549 North Chestnut Street, Ravenna Ohio. For more information call 330-296-3523 or visit http://history.portage.oh.us

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Hiram – The November 18th meeting on the annexation has been continued to January 24, 2011 at 9am. At this continuation of the hearing, the Board of County Commissioners will make a decision on the annexation based on a series of guidelines.

Eight bids were received for the Community Block Grant that was awarded to Hiram in August 2009 in the amount of $113,000. The bids ranged from $125,000 to $66,900 and the county has accepted and signed with Ace Zuver LLC in the amount of $66,900. A pre-construction meeting was held at the school site on November 17, 2010. Hiram Village has applied for a $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant that will be used to make permanent improvements in village structures. A grant will be awarded to the Village in July 2011 from the Ohio Public Works Commission for $177,500. This grant will be used to fund a Hinsdale Road extension to meet at the north-south extension of Winrock Road. Although this is now on College property, it will be dedicated to public use.

Assistant Fire Chief Bill Byers will take over as current Chief Gary Bott is stepping down. A change of command ceremony will take place on Tuesday, December 14th at 6pm. Village Administrator Bob Wood will be retiring on December 1st after thirty-two years of service. Mr. Wood has proposed that he will return in a part-time capacity. The proposal was accepted by both the Council and Mayor, as it will provide an annual savings of $39,828.84.

Last Wednesday Mr. Lyle Waddell was sworn in by the Hon. Philip Vigorito with a standing-room-only courtroom of witnesses.

Newton Falls – The votes have been cast, counted, verified and validated, and it is official: Newton Falls has a new mayor. Last Wednesday Mr. Lyle Waddell was sworn in by the Hon. Philip Vigorito with a standing-room-only courtroom of witnesses.

Earlier in the month, city residents voted in favor of recalling then-current mayor, Patrick Layshock, following months of contention between officials at various city meetings. Poll-goers selected Mr. Waddell from three candidates up for consideration to take over Mr. Layshock’s duties should the recall be successful.

Surrounded by family, friends, and local supporters, Mr. Waddell took the oath of office before shaking hands with and inviting those in attendance to his home for a reception. City Manager Jack Haney had the honor of opening the proceedings and introducing Mr. Waddell and Judge Vigorito by mentioning that “We are all here tonight as witnesses of democracy at work.”

The new Mayor Waddell intends to bring professionalism and productivity back to the city meetings and he hopes to put a stop to the infighting and bickering that have been prominent in previous forums. With several ideas he hopes to put into place in the very near future for the benefit of Newton Falls, residents can look forward to a forecast including an optimistic outlook and potential for positivity in the quickly- approaching New Year. “We need to reach our hand out and support each other,” Mr. Waddell stated. He also plans to bring in new industry and business to the town while looking at improving the tax base, aiming most importantly to stop wasting money. Mr. Waddell will share his thoughts for the town’s growth at the next regularly scheduled council meeting on December 6th. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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Middlefield – Come visit Vancura Gallery at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield during our 4th annual Christmas in the Country on Friday and Saturday December 3rd and 4th and 10th and 11th. The lineup this year includes: Amish feather painter Ben Miller, music duo Amy Timco and her father Jeff Hise, well-known published area artist Florian Lawton, candle smoke artist Laura Fields, and Somerset-published artist James Seward. These artists will be available for meet-and-greet, sales, and demonstrations.

Purchase your raffle ticket for a chance to win a dinner for two at Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen, a sleigh ride for two from Ma and Pa’s gift shack, and an overnight stay at the Red Maple Inn. Ticket price is $3.00 per ticket. Raffle tickets are also for sale for a custom framed giclee Christmas print painted by Greenwich Workshop artist Paul Landry. This art piece is valued at $500. Ticket price are $1.00 per ticket or 10 for $5.00.

All this money goes to two Middlefield Police Charities which are: Shop with a Cop and Middlefield Cares! (the area food cupboard) Refreshments, Christmas fun, artists, raffles, live Christmas carols  and unique Christmas gifts will be available at Vancura Gallery during Christmas in the Country.  Enjoy old-fashion friendly service, no long lines and plenty of parking, and smiles

Call Vancura Gallery at (440) 632-1124 for more details and times, or visit us on line at www.vancuragallery.com, or Settlers’ Village on facebook or in person at 14279 Old State Road, Middlefield 44062.

Mantua – The Crestwood Lions Club is busy selling holiday gift baskets, scented candles and getting ready for Christmas tree sales. Holiday gift baskets for sale start at $5 per basket. Each basket is different and has a holiday theme. Basket sizes and contents vary. Contact Mary Hannah at 330-883-9297 to see samples or for more information.

Scented candles are also available for $7 each. Several different holiday scents are available and the candles have an approximate burn time of 100 hours. Contact any member of the club or Mary Hannah at 330-883-9297 for more information or sales.

Christmas trees went on sale Saturday, November 27th. Scotch pines, frasier firs and white pines are available this year.

The cost is $40 each. Every tree purchase qualifies for automatic entry for a raffle for one of the following prizes: turkey, ham roast, (compliments of Giant Eagle), two complimentary meal gift certificates to Cracker Barrel or a gift certificate to Giant Eagle. Winners will be notified by phone or mail. A visit with Santa will occur on Saturday, December 4th at the Mantua-Shalersville Fire Department around 1 PM. Look for Santa to arrive on a Fire Truck at that time.

Happy Holidays from the Crestwood Lions Club and thank you to all who have supported the year-round efforts to help us help others. All proceeds go towards Lion’s projects. Anyone may contact Tom Mesaros at 330-527-7025 for more information about the Crestwood Lions Club.

Of the 611 school districts in the state of Ohio James A. Garfield schools are beginning to set themselves apart from most. The dedication and professionalism of teachers, staff and administrators in the district have earned continued academic distinction. Furthermore, wise economic decisions have made the district the best value in Portage County and the third best value in the state when it comes to providing an excellent education to our kids.

The district earned its first state Excellent rating for the 2007/08 year and again in 2008/09; the only other district in Portage County to achieve this was Aurora City Schools. Last year, 2009/10, the James A. Garfield Schools were rated Excellent with Distinction, earning a perfect 26 out of 26 indicators, AYP (average yearly progress), Value Added and the Performance Index (101). The high school has been identified as Excellent for the last seven (7) consecutive years, and last year the elementary school also earned an Excellent with Distinction ‘perfect’ rating, making history as the first Garfield School building with this distinction.

Last week the state reported 74% of our third graders passed the Ohio Reading Achievement Assessment given in October. With that high achievement, we anticipate them scoring in the 90% range on the spring test.

These continued results are achieved by our hard-working and dedicated teachers. They inspire our students to work hard and excel! This Excellent with Distinction rating was achieved with us having the third lowest per pupil expenditure of the 81 districts earning this rating out of 611 school districts. Garfield has spent the least per pupil in Portage County the last ten years. Last year the per pupil amount was $7,697, which is 27% less than the state average of $10,512. It is obvious that both the adults and students are appreciative and work every day to keep the costs down while working to continue to improve the good education for the students. It is heartwarming to feel the warmth and respect that is shared by residents, faculty, staff, administration and kids. Respect, hard work and dedication produces awesome results from everyone working together!

Windham – While we all gathered around our Thanksgiving tables there were folks in the area that had no one to share their dinner with or didn’t have the means to have a holiday dinner. The Renaissance Family Center opened their doors to provide not only a dinner but an entire day of activities for those who might have spent the day alone.
The day started off at 9 am with the parades on the big screen. Those who were not interested in the parades could opt for cards and board games. Now if you enjoy the more physical games, you could head outside in the rain and join the younger sector in a game of flag football. The cold rain didn’t stop the game, just like real football, the game went on in spite of the weather.
Noon signaled the dinner bell, so to speak, as folks began to form a line for a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Turkey, whipped potatoes, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, and corn topped off with luscious lemon squares for dessert. Everyone took a seat and enjoyed the scrumptious meal. After dinner were football games on the big screen, more games and activities for the children. The day ended with everyone being thankful for a day to share with others.
The day was designed to provide an “adopted” family for those who might  not have a place or family in the area to celebrate with.
The center traditionally hosts free meals on the fourth Thursday of each month. Thanksgiving Day was the fourth Thursday of the month so they just moved the celebration to the noontime meal rather than the evening. The center served approximately 60 thanksgiving dinners this year.

Left to right, Victor Fackler, Junior Steward; Clint Wright, Junior Deacon; Rev. Fred Bell, Chaplain; Dan Schaer, Trustee; Glenn Showalter, Junior Warden; John Porter, Treasurer; Guy Alexander, Master; William B. Owen, Secretary; Roger Norton, Senior Warden; Richard Collopy, Senior Deacon; and John Grosell, Senior Steward.

Garrettsville – The proud Masons of Garrettsville Lodge #246 recently held their 157th consecutive installation of officers. The Lodge members have been meeting at the same location since 1874 and are proud to count among their past members James A. Garfield who served as Lodge chaplain while president of Hiram College. Pictured above are the newly installed officers.

Middlefield – Celebrate Christ’s coming at Sparrow Christian Bookshop in Middlefield during the month of December.
The Church Boys will perform in the shop on the evening of Friday, Dec. 3rd from 6pm to 8pm. The Church Boys are a local quartet and will perform many Christmas and gospel favorites.
On the evening of Wed. Dec. 8, at 7pm, The First United Methodist Church Junior Choir will perform special selections from their annual Christmas musical – It’s A Wonder-Ful Life.
For all your Christmas gifts, music, cards and ornaments, stop by the bookshop.   Sparrow Christian is located at SR 608 and SR 87. Christmas hours are:  Dec. 6- Dec. 19 Mon-Fri 9-8pm, Sat. 9-6pm. Dec. 21 – Dec. 23 9am-9pm, Christmas Eve. 9am-5pm. 440.632.0011, sparrowchristian.com

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Burton-Have you ever thought about continuing your education but thought you were too old or that it was too expensive?  To tell the truth, you probably have come up with lots of excuses not to do it.  The truth is there is a place just for you that offers the opportunity to go back to school, get financial aid assistance, choose from several convenient class times and gets you all the guidance you need to take the steps necessary to get started on your degree or to just learn something new.

The Kent State University, Geauga Campus, is located at 14111 Claridon-Troy Road in Burton and is north of the Geauga County Fairgrounds.  They offer many Associate and Bachelor Degree Programs.  The Geauga Campus offers day, evening and weekend classes to fit your schedule.  For those students interested, on-line classes are also available.  You can take classes in the spring, summer and fall which allows you to get that degree faster.

They also offer a complete Financial Aid office to help you wade through all the financial options available to you.  There are many options for helping you get back to school such as student loans, grants, scholarships and benefits for veterans. You may even qualify for one of several payment plans available to students.

The thought of going back to school can be very intimidating for some, especially if you have been out of school for a few years.  The great thing about the Geauga Campus is it is smaller than the main campus and, therefore, not as overwhelming and the cost is about 40% less than attending in Kent.  Finding your classes is much easier and the number of fellow students is much smaller.  The Geauga Campus serves about 900 students and offers an 18:1 student to teacher ratio, so you will not be just a number.  When you are just starting back, smaller classes are much less intimidating and can help get you back into the academic swing of things.

The Geauga Campus offers a virtual Bookstore where you can buy all the supplies you need for your class on-line and they will be delivered right to your home.  In the case of the Geauga Campus, smaller is better.

There may be any number of reasons holding you back from fulfilling your dream of furthering your education.  Just let me say that I went back to school and got my Associate’s Degree at the age of 45 and am hoping to finish my Bachelor’s Degree next year at the age of 48.  It was scary to start and I was extremely intimidated but it was the best decision I ever made.  The fear passes and quickly turns into excitement.  It is hard work, and you have to create a new schedule that allows for classes as well as homework time, but it is amazing how easy it is to find the time for something you want to do.  Even if you do not pursue a degree, just taking classes and learning new things makes life so much more interesting.

The Geauga Campus was founded in 1964 so they have been doing this for a while.  You can trust that you will get the services and guidance you need.  If this is a dream you have had, you CAN realize it.  If you have thought you might want to go back to school, the time is now.  You can still enroll for classes in January.  Check out the campus website at www.geauga.kent.edu/ or call 440-834-4187 to schedule a campus visit.  It really is never too late; why not take the first step today.

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Windham – Santa will be stopping by the Windham Library on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:00 pm. Children from birth to age 17 can have their picture taken for free (limit 1 per child).  On Tuesday, December 21 from 11:00-4:00 pm children are invited to “Holiday Happiness”.  During this time they can make and wrap presents to give to family members.  Windham Library wishes all a happy holiday season and would like to take this opportunity to remind you we will be closed on the following dates:  December 24, 25 and 31.

For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9647 East Center Street, is open Monday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Tuesday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Thursday, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Friday, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. For additional information about library programs and services, please Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

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The Monday after Thanksgiving traditionally marks the beginning of gun season for deer and many sportsmen and women will be heading out to the woods dreaming of bagging a twelve-point buck or larger. Today through Sunday, sportsmen and women will be out in force, hunting for the big prize, a deer. The official gun season for deer started a half hour before sunrise Monday morning and will run through Sunday at sunset. On December 18th and 19th there will be another opportunity for hunters to use a gun to hunt deer. On January 8th -11th is the statewide muzzleloader season and if you’re an archer then you have already been out in the woods for some time now hoping to bag a deer the old fashioned way, with a bow and arrow.

In Ohio there are three hunting zones A, B, and C. We live in zone “B” and during the hunting season you are allowed four deer, two on an antlerless permit and two on a deer permit with only one antlered deer permitted. In zone “A” one is allowed to take two deer while in zone “C” one is permitted six deer. Once a hunter has shot or arrowed a deer he must tag the deer where it fell and field dress it there as well. Then he will take the deer to a local deer check- in station before having the meat processed.

Now let’s say you have had a great season and have bagged the limit of four deer, what does one do with all that meat? Some process it for themselves and friends while others look for worthy places to donate it.

The national group Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) have an easy donation process for those who wish to help out their community and donate their harvested deer to the local food bank. In our area there are two licensed processors for FHFH, one in Portage County and one in Geauga County. Portage County’s processor is Portage Frosted Foods in Ravenna; they are also a deer check-in station which makes them a one-stop shop. In Geauga County there is Geauga Farms Country Meats in Troy Township. Both places will process your deer free of charge if you’re donating it to FHFH who will make sure your donation reaches the local food bank. FHFH only accepts legally harvested deer; they do not accept road kill. More information can be found at www.fhfh.org on donating meat to food banks.

So regardless of what your weapon of choice is for hunting you still need to be a responsible hunter. Wear the appropriate visible clothing, get written permission if hunting on private property, know the laws and follow them, and please be considerate and dispose of deer innards properly, no one enjoys seeing the “fruits” of your labors along the sides of the road. Have a happy safe hunting season!

Garrettsville - Anyone driving by the high school the day before Thanksgiving might have been surprised to see a flock of turkeys on the front lawn.  To kick off the 10th Annual James A. Garfield High School Food Drive this year, a new tradition was born, called the Turkey Trot.

Runners collected donations ahead of time to move ahead on the starting line and students bought tickets to watch the race and mashed potato-eating contest in the gym.  Runners dressed up in every interpretation of turkey, with a pilgrim or two thrown in for good measure and raced through the halls, avoiding obstacles along the way.

Mr. Bennett, cross-country coach and highest donation collector, was the race’s victor.  In total, the staff and students raised $817 towards hunger relief in this community.  The Food Drive lasts two weeks and typically helps collect over 10,000 items.

Also new this year will be curbside can collection on Dec. 7th.  Look for the students dressed in hand-painted can outfits in front of the high school all day during their lunch and study halls and consider dropping off a bag of food for the food drive.

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Congratulations to the following Pepsi-Cola tournament qualifiers:  Courtney Lytle, Savannah Britt, Emma Dockery, Danielle Tuttle, Jack Norris, Eric Lawless, Nathan Phillips, Adam Norris, Nathan Pallotto, Billy Potteiger, Nick Toke, Noah Hoffmann, Shayne Carter, Belladonna Titschinger, Zach Hoffmann, Kurt Bokesch, Ethan Hoffmann, Adam Tanner, Kaylee Brigham, Kim Wampler, and Jessica Potteiger.  The Pepsi tournament consists of two two-week qualifying sessions in each league; bowlers most over average during the qualifying sessions advance to the Pepsi district tournament, which will be held February 26 through March 13 at Freeway Lanes in Warren.  These bowlers qualified during the first session, and are now eligible to bowl for scholarship money at the district level.  Winners at the district level can advance to state competition.

Courtney Lytle continued her good bowling this week, with games of 125, 123, and 113 for a 103-pins-over-average 358 series.   Ashleigh Quiggle was very consistent for the day, with games of 124, 123, and 115, for a 362 series.  Drew Tushar had a nice 140 game and 343 series.  Eric Lawless was 44 pins over average with his 128 game; Joey Ewell’s 128 was 42 pins over his average.  Other good games:  Ryleigh Gough, 82 (23 pins over), Alex Evans, 108 (40 pins over), Nathan Phillips, 122 (37 pins over), Savannah Britt, 101 (29 pins over), Nathan Pallotto, 101 (29 pins over), Makayla Gough, 102 (26 pins over), and Matt Hale, 88 (25 pins over).

High game in the 11:00 Trio League was Collin McGurer with 184.  High series was Ryan Ambler with 493.  Cameron King was 62 pins over average with a game of 169.  Cameron also had a 406 series.  Chris Bandy’s 91 game was 47 pins over average.   Ethan Dubasik bowled 154, and David Durst had 152.  Nick Toke had a 144 game on his way to a 402 series, 69 pins over average for the day.  Other good games:  Ali Franklin, 152 (36 pins over average), Taylor Mick, 134 (30 pins over), and Adam Tanner, 160 (24 pins over).

In the 11:00 PeeWee League, high game for the week was a 115 by David Ittel.  Other good games were bowled by Darrion Sidwell, 98, Kenny Mangan, 92, and Lucas Muncy, 92.

High games for the 9:00 Pee Wee League were:  Mackenzie Zembower, 109, Hannah Madden, 99, Alex Gage, 97, and Charlie Britt, 94.

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Windham Twp. – Windham Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting recently. The road supervisor reported that he had heard back from the Ohio Department of Transportation and they will add more signage at the end of Wadsworth Road to warn motorist of a school bus stop.  The supervisor also stated that a new reflectivity law that is scheduled to go into effect in 2012 would require everyone, including the township, to upgrade their road signs to higher reflectivity so they can be seen at a further distance.  He also reported that roads are all in good shape for the winter and all the snow removal equipment is ready to roll.

In cemetery news, they were able to create 37 more grave sites in the old cemetery with the added fill dirt that was donated to the township. There is a possibility of more sites being made if the fill dirt becomes available. The new cemetery will need to be laid out soon and they will meet with former trustee Howard Furl who was in charge of the cemetery to see what or if he had it planned out before they put any labor into the project.

Zoning Inspector reported that the two properties on Bryant Road were slowly being cleaned-up. One of the property owners asked if he could have 6 months to remove an older mobile home from the property. After some discussion the board agreed to give him six month to get it removed since he has invested quite a bit of money and labor into getting the property closer to being in compliance with the current zoning laws.

In other news the board accepted the recommendations of Mr. Bill Isler from Islerscaping on removal of several diseased trees. The $2900 estimate presented to the board includes grinding the stumps, filling in where the stumps were and reseeding the area the trees were removed from. This is scheduled to be completed this fall or early spring so the greens will be ready for the Bi-centennial Celebration being planned for the summer of 2011. Trustee Timmons stated that he and the township fiscal officer will work on the NOPEC grant application and get it filed soon.

The trustees meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7pm at the town hall.

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Garrettsville – The Garrettsville Police Department would like to take this opportunity to pass along some news important to the citizens and business owners of the Village of Garrettsville. In the past several months this area has been the victim of numerous burglaries and theft offenses. These offenses have victimized private residences, vehicles, and business locations, both in the Village of Garrettsville, and in the surrounding Townships. While the Garrettsville Police Department and the Portage County Sheriffs Office have been successful in apprehending and prosecuting several individuals that have been responsible for these acts, there are still incidents occurring. You can be assured that we continue to proactively pursue the individuals that are responsible for these crimes, but we require your assistance in ensuring that your property will remain safe and secure.

If you are a resident of the Village of Garrettsville, or a surrounding area, you can take multiple steps to assist law enforcement in attempting to deter criminal activity and apprehend suspects. Some of the steps are as follows:

1.Please take the time to secure your residence, garage, out-buildings, and vehicles. Never leave keys in a vehicle.

2.Notify neighbors that you trust, or a family member, to keep an eye on your property if you anticipate leaving the area for any length of time. If you live in the Village of Garrettsville, you can request a “house check” by contacting the police department.

3.Take inventory of all valuable items by photographing them and recording serial and model numbers in case they are stolen. This will allow law enforcement to enter those items into a national database to alert other agencies that they are stolen.

4.Remove items of value from areas where they may be observed. Place these items in a secured location when not in use.

5.Secure any documents containing personal information in a secure location. Do not carry items such as social security cards, vehicle titles, account information, billing slips, password slips, etc. in purses or in vehicles. Only carry those documents that are required to be produced upon request by a law enforcement officer, governmental agency, or your workplace. Memorize social security numbers or other important numbers.

6.Use of lighting in your residence or on your property is highly beneficial, even if it is just low voltage landscaping lights.

7.Display your address on your residence in a place where it is clearly visible to safety forces responding to a call for service. Green reflective signs on posts or mailboxes are extremely helpful as well.

8.Dial 911 if you feel there is an emergency, or you can call the Garrettsville Police Department emergency line at (330) 527-2414. Do not feel as though you are causing an inconvenience by reporting something you think is suspicious. The Garrettsville Police Department is here to assist you by providing 24-hour service 365 days a year.

If you are a business owner or operator in the Village of Garrettsville, or a surrounding area, you can take multiple steps to assist law enforcement in attempting to deter criminal activity and apprehend suspects. Some of the steps are as follows:

1.Do a security evaluation of your building and your premises. If your business is in the Village of Garrettsville, the Garrettsville Police Department would be happy to assist you in this endeavor by having an officer come out to your location and offer some recommendations.

2.Invest in a security system. The most beneficial systems might include video surveillance with night vision capabilities along with a silent or audible alarm. The system should be able to record in a manner that can be easily made available to law enforcement and the recording device itself should be located in a secured area of the building.

3.Lighting of the interior of the building as well as the perimeter of the building is helpful.

4.Secure items of value, or currency, in a highly secure location when not in use.

5.In areas where currency is kept or stored, try to wipe these places clean at the end of the business day in case illegal entry is made into the business. Doors and handles should be wiped as well.

6.Proper inventory records should be available and documentation and photos taken of valuable items.

7.Make sure all areas of the business are checked to ensure that someone is not hiding inside waiting for employees to leave. Double check that all doors and windows are secure prior to leaving the premises. Is the alarm set?

8.If a bank drop is necessary at the end of your business day, and your business is in the Village of Garrettsville, you can call the Garrettsville Police Department to escort you or your employees to the drop location.

9.Dial 911 if you feel there is an emergency, or you can call the Garrettsville Police Department emergency line at (330) 527-2414. Do not feel as though you are causing an inconvenience by reporting something you think is suspicious. The Garrettsville Police Department is here to assist you by providing 24-hour service 365 days a year.

These are just a few helpful tips that citizens and business owners can use to protect their property and assist law enforcement in the event that your security is breached. If you have any questions or information relative to crimes that have occurred in the area, you are encouraged to call The Garrettsville Police Department or your local law enforcement agency.

In the event a citizen should observe any activity or incident which they may not be comfortable with, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement to have it investigated. Law enforcement officers are here to serve you and to apprehend and prosecute violators of the law. In the event of an emergency dial 911. The Garrettsville Police Department emergency line is (330) 527-2414. The Garrettsville Police Department non-emergency line is (330) 527-4717. You can also visit the Village of Garrettsville website at www.garrettsville.org/police.shtm.

Chief of Police Anthony Milicia and the men and women of the Garrettsville Police Department thank you for your support and wish you and your family that happiest and safest of holiday seasons.

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Freedom Twp. – The November 18 meeting began with a presentation by Mr. Ratliff, Lease Acquisitions, Kenyon Energy, who presented a revised lease agreement based on discussions with Mr. Zizka and Attorney Dann Timmons. Added were a water testing clause before and after drilling and a water damage clause. The water testing would be done at the oil company’s expense, as regulated through the State. Two proposals were offered: a 5yr/5yr renewal option non-drilling lease for $500/per acre ($25,400 payable in 60 days) or a straight 10-year non-drilling lease at $1,000 per acre ($50,800 payable in 60 days). the difference with the 5/5 year lease is that it may or may not be renewed, depending on the market. Mr. Martin made the motion, seconded by Mr. Zizka, to sign a 10-year Non-Drilling Oil & Gas Lease with Chesapeake Exploration, LLC for a total of 50.8 acres at $1,000 per acre or $50,800 payable in 60 days. All trustees voted yes. A recorded copy of the lease will be received.

Mr. Hammar said since much of this leased acreage involved park property, he would like the money to be designated to the Park Development fund. Mr. Martin said he would like to see it split, half going to town hall renovations. Mr. Zizka agreed. Mr. Hammar amended his motion to deposit 50% to the Park Fund and the balance to the general fund for town hall renovations. All agreed.

Mr. Richmond and Mr. Kishel of Weathertite showed a sample of their windows and submitted a revised proposal which included doors for the town hall and church, including all hardware for the doors. They were thanked, but no further action was taken at this time.

Zoning Inspector Derthick said the Zoning Commission agreed to remove the word “damaged” in section 301.5A of the code and change it to “structures destroyed by natural disaster”. He also spoke of some other changes to be considered. A permit was issued for a house on Nichols Road, two mylars and one agriculture permit. It was agreed to have the better of the two zoning office computers taken for evaluation and recommendation on upgrades needed to make it compatible with the upgrades.

Mr. VanSteenberg was given the OK to purchase cutting edges and bolts for the plow at a cost of $204. He reported the door is installed at the old garage and the furnaces installed at the church. The gas company is scheduled for tomorrow, the fuel oil has been removed and is at the garage.

Mr. Hammar said he is still working on grant applications for the park. He also said he had an inquiry about displaying banners at the ball games. The matter was tabled until the next meeting.

Mr. Martin said the Fire Department’s grant request for a tanker was turned down.

Mr. Zizka provided reports on responses, transports, department staffing levels and EMC minutes of 10/14 and 10/28 special meeting to review and revise standard operating procedures guidelines.

Mr. Martin attended the recent RAB board meeting and gave an update regarding clean-up of Rocket Ridge. Freedom will host the next RAB meeting February 16 at the Town Hall.

Mr. Hammar, Chairman of the Board, was authorized to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement Program, Local Transportation Improvements Program, and/or Small Government Program, and to execute contracts as required for the Vair Road Crossover Project CGU17. All agreed.

The new pricing structure for the new Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium, the first increases in a number of years. All agreed to continue the 2-year agreement between Robinson Health Affiliates dba Working Partners and the members of the Portage County Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium which expires Dec. 31, 2010.

Trustees signed a letter to be sent Bill Steiner, Director, Solid Waste Management District, in support of his quest for a Tire Amnesty Grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. A resolution in support of this grant request was passed unanimously by all 18 townships represented at the County Association meeting Nov. 13.

After much discussion about the purchase of our diesel fuel, Mr. Martin made a motion to contract with Western Reserve Farm Cooperative to rent two double wall tanks for $23 per month which includes all maintenance. Martin and Hammar voted yes, Zizka voted no. Motion was approved and passed.

Mr. Zizka said he would like to give Countrywide an opportunity to meet with the board, as Weathertite did tonight. Motion was approved and passed.

Mr. Hammar made a motion, seconded by Mr. Martin, to schedule the last meeting of December for Thursday, December 30 at 7:30pm at the town hall. All agreed.

Mrs. Nicholas suggested a meeting in mid-December to sign checks and focus on cemetery regulations. All approved a meeting for Thursday, December 16 at 7pm.

Mr. Zizka had architect’s drawings for town hall front porch renovations. He will meet with the architect for a few minor changes then it will go to the building department.

Mr. Leet continues to gather information to be presented to Suddenlink regarding high speed internet service. Mr. Hammar will contact Frontier after the first of the year.

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As many of our readers know, I normally write a column about Law & Government.  That is great fun to write and I enjoy the community feedback.  But since this is Thanksgiving week, that means Christmas is right around the corner.

There are many blessings in our community.  But I know there are also many families that are struggling now.  So I approached the Weekly Villager editor and asked if she would help publicize a contest to grant a Christmas wish.  Since you are reading this, she obviously said “yes.”  I knew she would!

Then I called my friend and fellow small business owner, Chris Perme.  He is a financial advisor by trade, but do not let that stuffy title fool you.  Chris is the guy we call when we need generosity first and details later.  I asked him if he would help fund my little idea.  Without any details, he said yes!

So here is what we are going to do.  We will grant the Christmas wish of a local person and/or family.  Note this is not a “holiday” wish…because we believe in Christmas!

We are interested in “needs” not “wants.”  In other words, if you have fallen on hard times and need help for Christmas, we want you to send in your story.  (Versus those folks who have had a healthy year of prosperity and just cannot afford a fancy hotel in Aruba.  Sorry, no trips.)

Write to us and tell us your story.  Please limit your story to two pages.  You may include photos or drawings if that helps tell your story.  We will choose one winner, and do our best to make their Christmas wish come true.  Please give us as much information as you can.

Anyone who lives in Portage County or anywhere in the Weekly Villager’s circulation area is eligible.  You may nominate yourself or anyone else you would like.  Children are dear to our hearts, but we will consider all stories that are submitted.

Stories should be mailed to:

“Tommie Jo and Chris – Grant my Christmas Wish!”
c/o Weekly Villager
8052 State Street, Suite 1
Garrettsville, OH  44231

You can also drop it off.  It must include your name and phone number as well as the contact information of the person you are nominating.  We must receive all entries by December 11.

We look forward to making someone’s Christmas a little better.  Tell all of your friends about the contest and watch the paper for the winner.  Enjoy the most wonderful time of the year!

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Nelson Twp. - The Pixley Park Committee graciously accepted a $3000 donation from Suzanne Wensel for bleachers at the ball fields in Pixley Park. The money donated by Mrs. Suzanne Wensel was in memory of her late husband Byron. Mrs. Wensel stated that family, friends, and former players donated to the memorial fund she had set up at the bank back in 2002 when the land was first donated to the township. She created the fund to honor  the memory of Nelson’s first Hot Stove baseball coach, her late husband, Bryon.

She said her husband, Byron had always dreamed of having a Nelson Hot Stove Baseball Team. He was passionate about baseball and his community, so at 17 years old he started a Hot Stove Baseball Team in Nelson. The township didn’t have a field until Mr. Ross Feller created  a make-shift field on his land for them to use. The field that he created sat in front of where the township garage and Pixley Park are now situated.  The team played a few years in Nelson but due to lack of a quality field they united with the Garrettsville’s Hot Stove team and relocated to the village. When the team relocated Mr. Wensel continued his commitment to baseball by coaching in Garrettsville.

The bleachers for the ball fields will be constructed in the spring with a memorial plaque installed commemorating Mr. Wensel.

The park committee wishes to thank the Wensel Family for their donation. Donations for the park can be made anytime at Middlefield Bank where they have an established Pixley Park account.

Pictured above is the James A. Garfield Band Booster Two Grand Dinner Winner Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio.

Garrettsville – The First Annual TWO GRAND DINNER reverse raffle and silent auction was held at the Sugar Bush Golf Club on Saturday, November 13, 2010.  A packed house enjoyed appetizers courtesy of Glenna and Quentin Spaur, dinner courtesy of Guido’s of Ravenna and amazing desserts made by Sherry Jones and Pat Stoneman.  Ticket sales were limited to 300 and each number was drawn randomly from a bingo machine.  Every 10th  number drawn received a prize.  The grand prize winner was Cathy Lukasko of Brookfield, Ohio, aunt of one of the band members.

Throughout the evening, guests participated in a HEADS or TAILS 50/50 raffle (winner, Casey Everett), a weekend getaway in a Pirates’ Treasure Chest (winner, Mary Koval), 50/50 raffle (winner, Jeff Pesecky) and The LOTTERY TREE raffle (winner, Betty Mishler).  Multiple winners took home prizes and Strawberry Daiquiri LolliPops from the LOLLIPOP TREE.

Guests also bid on and won 36 different items in our silent auction ranging from a 3-person Lake Erie Fishing Charter, to Fossil handbags and everything in between.  A huge thank you goes to all who donated, purchased tickets and worked tirelessly to hold this event!

The Garfield Band Boosters sponsored the dinner to raise funds for new uniforms for the marching band and to benefit the band programs, grades 5-12.  The current uniforms worn by the MARCHING PRIDE are 27 + years old and are in dire need of replacement.

Organizers of the event are excited for next year and will have tickets available for purchase in October 2011!   Go Band!!!

Ravenna – Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stressful. After more than 29 years as a family celebration in downtown Ravenna, Midnight Madness has proven it.  It’s that time of year when local merchants stay open until midnight to welcome shoppers and diners. Some merchants will be serving light refreshments and be decorated for the holiday season. Enjoy this spirit of the holidays with decorative greens and holiday lights in downtown Ravenna.

Sponsored by the Ravenna Merchant Association and the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, the late night shopping spree is intended to initiate holiday gift-hunting and seasonal cheer.

“It’s the single best sales night of the year” said to Jack Ferguson, executive director at the Chamber of Commerce. “Many downtown merchants do more than 25 percent of their Christmas business on this night.” Plus the Ravenna Balloon A-Fair annual Christmas Parade “Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child”, will step off at 7PM.

As is the case with the entire holiday season, however, Midnight Madness isn’t just about shopping.

The M & M Railroad train and Fire Engine will parade through the streets between 6 and 8 p.m., offering free rides to anyone and everyone Friday night.

Bring your lawn chairs and join in the singing of Christmas Carols as The Ravenna High School performs on the courthouse lawn.

In addition, Santa & Mrs. Claus will meet with children of all ages immediately after the Christmas parade to learn what they wish for during the holiday season. Santa will be  at the Buckeye Mini Mall, located at 250 Main Street.

The evening has become a tradition in the community. Over the years, some of the participating merchants, all of which will be open until midnight, have developed traditions of their own.

For more details call the Ravenna Chamber of Commerce at (330) 296-3886 Monday – Friday 9 am to 1 pm.

Mantua – Just in time to curtail the tendency to pack on cold-weather pounds, Head 2 Toe Massage & Body Work at 4667 Prospect Street in Mantua has expanded next door with Head 2 Toe Wellness Center at 4669 East Prospect St.

The expanded business is showcasing its new services by offering free yoga and Zumba classes   through November 28. Proprietors John and Kristine Goad are hosting an official grand opening on Monday, November 29, followed by an open house on Sunday, December 5. Their commitment to helping others and continuing education has led them to extend beyond their established massage services to create Mantua’s new Head 2 Toe Wellness Center in the retail space vacated by the former Flower Nook.

In addition to Zumba and yoga classes, the wellness center offers Pilates, Tai Chi and chair yoga instruction, stress management seminars, nutrition workshops and personal training. A team of local instructors staffs the wellness center: Lillian Kolodziej of Garrettsville offers personal training, Zumba, Pilates and fitness boot camp. Marianne Rieske of Garrettsville teaches chair yoga (for those with limited mobility). Amy Hickens teaches Zumba dance classes. Robert Ziska of Kent is a yoga instructor.

These classes are a natural addition to the array of massage services John already offers through his massage studio next door. It’s all designed for those “looking for ultimate relaxation and a healthier you,” according to the Head 2 Toe website. “Massage has been found to improve circulation, joint range-of-motion and flexibility. It can reduce many common ailments such as stress, muscle tightness, aches and pains – even anxiety and depression.”

John offers custom-made massage oils, scrubs, salts and bath soaps. He is also a distributor Young Living Essential Oils and Visalus products. “My work is based on the belief that my customers’ needs are of the utmost importance,” Goad says on his website. “I am committed to meeting those needs.”

Goad graduated from the Cleveland School of Massage. An “ethical massage practitioner,” he specializes in Swedish massage with deep pressure, but also offers reflexology, polarity and Kates’ Method. He combines all techniques in every massage to maximize the benefits of each. The Goads blend all of their own oils to ensure the highest quality ingredients with no fillers, to provide nourishment to the skin.

Kristine — a medical assistant by trade — is the business manager for the neighboring businesses. She and her husband moved to Mantua from Maple Heights about five years ago and established Head 2 Toe Massage at the corner of Main and Prospect streets one year ago.

With the founding of the wellness center, the Goads’ hope is to provide local residents with a full range of conveniently-located health and fitness services. Not to be confused with services offered by nearby Advanced Rehabilitation Services, Head 2 Toe specializes in general wellness opportunities, while Advanced Rehab specializes in physical therapy and medical rehabilitation services. The two establishments work together and refer clients to each other when applicable.

Head 2 Toe Massage is open Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and by appointment on weekends. Class times vary at the wellness center. Call (330)569-4340 or visit www.H2ToeMassage.com for complete class schedules and pricing.

Burton – The holiday season is fast approaching.  Historic Burton, Ohio, has so many ways for you to celebrate this magical time of year.  Mark your calendar for the weekend of November 26 as the beginning of all the fun.

The festivities start on Friday, November 26, from 9 am until Noon at the Geauga County Historical Society’s Century Village at 14653 Park Street.  Here you can have a pancake breakfast while visiting Santa, peruse a holiday gift store and take a wagon ride, if the weather permits.  Also be sure to make a card to send to a soldier, as that is so important to do this time of year.

Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 440-834-1492.  The cost is $7 for adults, $4 for children 6 to 12 years old and free for children under 6.  Sorry, but no member discounts can be used for this event.

Later that evening, stop by the Gazebo in the park to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree.  After the lighting of the tree, there will be caroling and then refreshments at the Burton Congregational Church.  This event is free and starts at 6 pm.

There will be other events happening around the square all weekend, such as live music at Coffee Corners, hot chocolate and cookies with Santa in the afternoon at the Log Cabin, special events and demonstrations at many of the local stores and a gingerbread house display at the Burton Public Library.  You can also drive east on Route 87 a little ways to White House Chocolates to watch candies being made from 10 am until 6 pm (White House Chocolates is closed on Sunday).

Santa stops by Burton again on November 27 at the Atwood-Mauck American Legion Post 459 located at 14052 Goodwin Street in Burton.  Here is another chance to have breakfast with the jolly man in the red suit from 9 am until 1 pm.  You can even do some gift shopping at the craft fair that runs from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday at the post.   Proceeds from this event will benefit Atwood-Mauck’s scholarship fund.  The cost to have breakfast with Santa is $6 for adults, $3 for children 6 to 12 and free to children 5 and younger.  You can reach the American Legion hall at 440-834-8764 with any questions.

On Sunday, November 28, you can visit the Crossroads Country Store at Century Village from 10 am until 5 pm.  Santa has also set up shop there with lots of Christmas goodies and you can visit Santa at the Log Cabin from 12 pm until 4 pm.

If, perhaps, you cannot get to Burton on the weekend of November 26, you can enjoy many of the Burton activities again the following weekend on Saturday, December 4 and 5.  The gingerbread houses will still be on display at the library, Santa will visit the Log Cabin in the afternoons, hot chocolate and cookies will also be available there, and Coffee Corners will be having live music.  White House Chocolates will be making chocolate candies on Saturday also.

On Sunday, December 4, the Red Maple Inn (just south of Burton Square) will be hosting a Christmas Floral Design Show and Luncheon from 10:30 am until 1 pm.  Seating is limited and reservations are required.  Please call A.H. Christianson’s at 440-834-9760 to make your reservations for this delightful event.

As you can see, the people and businesses of Burton are full of Christmas spirit and they want to share it with you.  Any one of these events, or a few, are a great way to get into the holiday mood, so think about coming out to Burton and visiting with Santa, enjoying some treats and doing a little shopping.  A good time will be had by all.

Newton Falls – The brief November meeting of the Newton Falls Chamber of Commerce Association was short and to the point.

Special guest, Mike Timko of Cortland Computer, took the floor first and discussed how his office could offer technological support for local businesses or anyone in need of computer assistance. He presented a pricelist for service plans that would save customers money; for instance, a two hour/month option is listed at $79.95 which is a discount of about $40 by packaging multiple hours. Stressing that this was not a contract, he explained it is intended to allow businesses the flexibility of choosing what best fits their need for “technical issue” support. His services are about $60 an hour otherwise.

In other news, the Home 44444 the Holidays planning is progressing. There are about two dozen table spaces still available, so if you’re interested in selling crafts, etc. now is the time to claim your spot! Volunteers are also needed for Friday night and/or Saturday to help out with setup and running the event itself. Please contact Lara Reibold if you have a few hours to spare. If you can’t be there but would like to contribute, monetary donations are also very much appreciated. For $10 you can be a Patron sponsor and will receive a special button for the occasion. Another opportunity for volunteering can be found by way of the holiday parade on December 4th. Lend your voice for the evening and walk as a caroler in front of a float, accompany Santa Claus and sing around the tree at Four Corners Park as it is lit for the season. You don’t have to be a perfect singer! Anyone interested can contact the association in advance for details or simply meet at Andretti Ford by 5:30pm the day of the parade.

The tree that will be lit after the parade is being donated by Bailey Tree Farm and is on the schedule to be decorated the day after Thanksgiving (otherwise known as Black Friday) possibly at 1pm (exact time is pending). So whether you’re avoiding the crazy shopping rush altogether or already beat the crowds early in the morning and would like to work off all that extra adrenaline, you’re invited to come join the community in decorating the giant Christmas tree.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, a reminder the American Legion in Newton Falls is hosting their annual free Thanksgiving Dinner starting at 11:30am on Thanksgiving Day. Anyone is welcome to come in and share the holiday.

In non-holiday news, suggestions were made for the possibility of directional signs to lead traffic from Route 5 into town, specifically through the business district and to attractions such as the Covered Bridge, and the high school for athletic events. This could help tourism revenue and let people know about this great little town called Newton Falls, a hidden treasure of sorts just off the main interstate.

The City Manager was not in attendance but he forwarded his usual memorandum. Announcements include notes on the Traffic Signal Project moving along with an anticipated date of 2012; the City will be prepared for the aforementioned holiday parade and Christmas tree placement; A. Joseph Fritz has officially assumed the position of City Law Director/Prosecutor; and Make a Difference Day was a success thanks to organizer Catie Karl-Moran and all the volunteers who gave of their time and effort.

Before the end of the meeting, “Santa” Rick expressed gratitude for the community that the school renewal levy passed in the recent election.

One more tidbit of note: for more details about the upcoming Home 44444 the Holidays events, visit the website http://www.home44444theholidays.com or the corresponding Facebook page. The website needs help sprucing up the “Links for Fun” section and is offering a prize of $25 and a t-shirt for the person who submits the most qualifying links to fun sites to visit with Christmas-related games, puzzles, activities, etc. To participate, register online and send in your links by November 27th. Open to all ages!

The Association’s next meeting will be December 14th.

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Mantua – Looking for a beautiful gift idea? St. Joseph Church in Mantua has a limited number of their parish cookbooks, “Taste and See – St. Joseph’s Labor of Love”, available for just $15.00 each. With contributions from families and friends of The Parish Community of St. Joseph, this wonderful collection of nearly 500 treasured family recipes will be a useful keepsake of many favorite culinary creations. This fundraising effort features a padded 3-ring cover in full color, 8 category tabbed dividers, helpful hints and an alphabetized index – great for gift giving! Proceeds from this endeavor will benefit the parish’s  Appalachian Experience group and their annual work with the Housing Repair Program in Clintwood, VA. To purchase the cookbooks, please contact St. Joseph Church’s parish office at 330-274-2253 or you may mail your $19.00 check (includes $4.00 shipping & handling) to: St. Joseph Church, 11045 St. Joseph Blvd., Mantua, OH 44255 (Attn: Kathi). Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Newton Falls – There are lots of exciting things happening with Home 44444 the Holidays!

The Jr and Sr high band and choir concerts will take place on December 11th during Home 44444 the Holidays.  The craft show has 111 tables with over 80 vendors.  The children’s area will have various crafts including face painting, the opportunity to make a card for our troops or friends in the nursing home, a bouncy house, ident a kits, and much more.   The Western Reserve Modular Railroad Club will have a very nice set up at the event as well.  You can also purchase your 2011 Newton Falls Calendar with the artwork of Ed Sinchak, a retired Newton Falls art teacher brought to you by the Newton Township Cemetery Association.

We have partnered with the police fill a cruiser program and the Newton Falls Schools to fill a bus.  You can drop off food donations on Friday the 10th as well as bring them with you on the 11th.

December 4th come out at 5:30 pm and help welcome Santa to Newton Falls!  He will be arriving in the sixth annual Christmas parade.  Then gather around for the tree lighting and caroling.  If you are interested in caroling in the parade please see the website for more information.

Want an easy way to win 25.00 and a Home 44444 the Holidays T shirt.  Check out the website for information about the links for fun contest.

Full details about all activities can be found at www.home44444theholidays.com.

Garrettsville – The turkey has been eaten, pie plates hold nothing but the remaining crumbs, Thanksgiving has passed, and Christmas is yet to come. What better way to start off your Christmas season than to attend Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday Lighting ceremony!

Bring your family to celebrate this tradition that began in 2001 as a way to bring some cheer back into the community after the September 11th tragedy. That first year a tree was lit downtown and shops were decorated for the season. Unfortunately, a blizzard kept most people from coming out to celebrate that first year, but future years have seen a rise in community attendance.

The second year of the lighting ceremony also included a Holiday Social at the high school, which has since been taken over by the Curtains Up Theatre. Each year Chamber adds something new to the lighting ceremony. What began with the tree now includes the Clock Tower and surrounding bushes and the Police Department.

What holiday event would be complete without caroling, cookies and a special visit from the man in red? Santa arrives each year in the bucket lift of a fire truck, coming down Main Street to arrive in front of the Clock Tower to greet each child, get a heads up on their wish list and pass out a treat.

Grab your boots, your camera, and your family, even the neighbor, and head down to Garrettsville Chamber’s Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, November 27th at 6pm at the Clock Tower on High Street.

“And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow.” Join in the holiday caroling and wish your neighbors goodwill.

Could Airport Expansion Generate More Jobs?

Shalersville Twp. – Portage County Regional Airport’s seven-member board of directors dreams about extending the runway to 5,000 feet so that it can accommodate bigger corporate jets. This, in turn, would attract substantial industries to the nearby light industrial park along State Route 44. And this equation adds up to more jobs and economic development for one of Ohio’s least prosperous counties.

This argument was proposed before a crowd of nearly 70 township residents, county commissioners and business leaders who gathered for an informational meeting November 17 at Shalersville Town Hall. The new board wanted to gain a sense of public sentiment about their 10-year plan before making incremental steps in that direction with a $150,000 capital improvement plan due to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) on December 18. Such steps would include building more hangars and acquiring more land around the airport to secure more buffer zone around its perimeter to protect it from residential encroachment and to allow for future growth.

“However, the local economy and its citizens must agree before we expand the runway,” said board president John Trew. “The FAA won’t release federal grant funds for the expansion unless and until we can prove the need for it.”

Currently, the airport’s runway measures 3,500-by-75 feet. Its asphalt surface and markings on the runway are “in poor and weathered condition,” according to AirNav.com, the official website of FAA information for general aviation pilots. In addition, “all areas off runway surface are soft when wet or thawing.”

Since it was established by the state in the 1960s as a tool for economic stimulus, the Portage County airport has struggled to generate enough income to be self-sustaining, despite its sales of avgas, its rental hangar space and privately-operated FBO and flight center. Most recently, the airport has failed to collect 50 percent of the user fees owed by private pilots in 2010. It has survived with government grants (95 percent from the FAA and five percent from the county’s general fund).The 76-acre, publicly-owned airport is managed by John Siman. In 2011, the board must begin paying back to local taxpayers a $400,000 loan taken out by a previous board of directors. The board must pay $41,000 per year plus interest over the next 10 years.

Posted airport operational statistics indicate that the airport supports an average of 26 takeoffs/landings per day, or about 9,600 flights annually. Half of the traffic is from transient general aviation, 35 percent from local pilots, 14 percent from air taxi services, and two percent from National Guard military exercises. Most of the traffic comes from single-engine planes, with a handful of multi-engine airplanes, ultralights and a medical LifeFlight helicopter rounding out the types of aircraft flying in and out of the local airport.

While all airport board members voiced support of the proposed expansion — if and when a proven need could justify the investment — nearly 75 percent of the community members at the meeting opposed it. Despite proponents’ talk of the economic benefit the airport expansion could bring, residents declared they preferred to retain the township’s quiet rural character instead. Citing the fast-paced build-up then recent decline of Streetsboro’s business district, residents raised concerns that a busier airport would mean less green space, more traffic and more noise, but not necessarily a better way of life in Shalersville Township.

“People like Shalersville as it is and we’re trying to keep it that way,” said one resident. Another said, “This runway expansion plan is just a hobby for rich people and their planes. We don’t have any planes, so why should we support the expansion?”

Attorney and meeting moderator Steve Wilson replied, “If this is just a rich people’s hobbyist project, I say let’s close down the airport altogether. But that’s not what this is about. It’s a tool for economic growth.”

County commissioners voiced tentative support (outgoing commissioner Charles Keiper was not present). Chris Smeiles was generally in favor, saying “An expanded airport would be good for the entire county. However, the airport first needs a solid revenue source and a viable business plan.” Maureen Frederick voiced doubts about it, warning against the temptation to take on a “build it and they will come” attitude. Commissioner-elect Tommie Jo Marsilio said the board had gotten ahead of itself, comparing their proposal to that of a home-owner struggling to make his mortgage payment, yet considering it was a good time to build an addition to the house. “It just doesn’t make sense to add on without making the mortgage first.”

Dick Bonner, owner of the airport FBO, argued in favor of the expansion, saying, “When a corporation looks to locate here, they’re looking for an airport that can support their corporate jets. Streetsboro is done. They’re out of industrial land. The next wave of expansion will be here, and we need to get ready for it.”

Businessman and former airport board member Mike Price agreed, saying,” Don’t minimize ‘if they build it, they will come.’ It’s actually true. Portage County needs jobs. This is a worthwhile project to consider. Planes are noisy, but so is progress.”