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I’ve had enough! Enough of eating fast food because I am too tired to cook after a long day. Enough of doing the funky Egyptian chicken dance around the bedroom after I put on my jeans just so I can breath. Enough of being tired and run down all the time. I have definitely had enough of getting winded from just walking upstairs! And now I am going to finally do something about it.

While I was typing up the press release for the Community EMS Boot Camp for last week’s paper, I thought how easy that it would be to get involved – I mean after all it is for a good cause. I would like to lose some pounds and get into shape. But I know that doing it alone is my biggest downfall everytime I begin another “diet”. So after speaking with the owners of the paper, we have all decided to do some “self-improvement” around the office.
This morning, bright and early at 8am Captain Craig Barrett agreed to meet Michelle, Chris and me for our physical fitness test so that I could outline the beginning our of journey for our readers. (I might include that I had written a rough draft of my obituary in case of my untimely death by exercise occurred.) The fitness test provided us with a baseline so that we could improve upon ourselves.
Our goals are different, Michelle would like to tone up and get into better shape, while Chris and I would like to lose some weight and get into shape.

After taking the fitness test, we have all agreed that we will go home tonight and write our goals out to share with each other tomorrow. In next week’s column I will let you all know what our goals are and how we are going to go about achieving them. Community EMS will also provide us with information and sessions we can attend if we choose.
If you are worried about joining the Boot Camp…no need to worry because your results will probably be better than ours collectively. And remember the idea behind Boot Camp is to provide you with support from a group of people who are trying to improve themselves just like you. Working together as a group will provide motivation and support and make it fun. Need some further motivation? Last year one of the participants, Sandy, lost 40 pounds!

We all know getting started with any diet or exercise program is easier to do when you have a friend to complain and whine to. What? That is what we all do and we expect our friend to not baby us around and tell us to stop our whining and throw the candy bar away! (Nothing beats the brutal honesty of a friend!) We here at the Villager are inviting you to join us in our “self-improvement” by signing up for the Community EMS Boot Camp by calling the station at (330) 527-4100. Check out what is happening on Facebook by visiting the Community EMS Boot Camp page.

From left to right: Street Superintendent Mike Heyd, Council President Rick Patrick, Kepich Ford owner Pete Kepich & Salesman Daryl Fall (not pictured Salesman Mike Dye)

Garrettsville – The Village of Garrettsville recently purchased  a 2011 Ford F550 4X4 Dump Truck which will replace the 1974 Ford F700. This is the first dump truck the Village has purchased since 2001. The ‘74 F700 will be offered  for auction on Ebay for anyone interested.   On the agenda for 2011 are the replacement of the police department’s K-9 car, a new zero-turn mower and researching several different leaf vacuum systems.

Garrettsville – Roger and Connie Angel opened the doors of Dairy Queen early Wednesday morning as they hosted the first meeting of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce for 2011.

A review of the treasurer’s report was first up and it was announced that the sale of the 2011 Chamber calendars had netted $700 towards the flower basket fund.
Aaron provided the chamber with an update on Summerfest 2011 and the new events that will be taking place – some of which are a mining sluice, a possible charity card tournament with gigantic playing cards and the Summerfest Wedding.  The Garden Club will be joining this year’s event with a flower show.  Cav’s tickets are still available for the March 6th game – cost is $35 per ticket with proceeds benefiting Summerfest.

The chamber voted unanimously to be a co-sponsor of SummerFest  along with the Villager – additional sponsors are still needed – please contact Aaron at 330-527-9999 if you or your business is interested.

Last year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Garrettsville was a success and will be repeated this year.  Look for more info to come.

Greg McDivitt, Garfield’s Athletic Director, gave a presentation on the scoreboard signage at the schools.  Businesses are encouraged to show their support of the schools by taking advantage of this advertising opportunity.  Please contact Greg at 330-527-0039.

Cruise Nights will return in 2011 – look for the classic cars to return in May.  Official dates and locations will be announced soon.  Sponsors are needed for this event to help defray the costs of entertainment, trophies and advertising.  Please contact Rick Patrick at 330-527-2865 for more information.

Hallie Higgins thanked all who supported the People Tree and announced that 128 families were helped this past holiday season.  There is a Kiwanis Spaghetti Dinner being held on February 18th where a portion of all pre-sale tickets sold will be donated to the People Tree.  Please contact Hallie at 330-527-4097 if you are interested.

The 2011 Chamber Officers are as follows:  President – Eva Szasz; Vice-Presidents – Gretchen Cram & Rick Patrick; Treasurer – Erika Frankel and Secretary – Michelle Zivoder.

The Planning Commission will meet on Thursday, February 3rd at 7 pm and Village Council will meet on Wednesday, February 9th at 7:30 p.m. – both meetings are held at Village Hall and the public is invited to attend.

Hiram – After lengthy delays since mid-November, Portage County Commissioners finally held hearings to consider the annexation of approximately139 acres from Hiram Township to Hiram Village last week. The proposed annexation would pave the way for private developers to build retirement housing on the parcel of land originally set aside for Hiram College expansion.

Hiram College and Village Builders of Hiram originally petitioned to annex land adjacent to the village’s north border, for phased construction of approximately 200 residential units for retirees on 90 acres north of the Hiram College campus. The college expects to set aside 50 acres in part of the Silver Creek Watershed as a conservation area.

A surprise awaited those attending Monday’s opening session, according to various reliable  sources. Ed Wurm, a partner with Mike Maschek Sr. in Village Builders of Hiram Inc., announced their firm is withdrawing as developer of the construction project. The decision reportedly is due to economic issues unrelated to the long and contentious annexation battle.

Wurm said the 90 acres Hiram Builders purchased from Hiram College for development would revert back to the college, as stipulated in the purchase agreement. Hiram College President Tom Chema indicated that Village Builder’s pullout will not impede the project’s progress, saying he expects no difficulty in finding another builder for the 55-and-older independent and assisted living development.
Following Monday’s testimony, ensuing hearings were postponed for two days, due to Commissioner Maureen Frederick’s battle with the flu. Consequently, conflicts arose in scheduling expert witnesses and testifying attorneys. So, although hearings resumed on Thursday, further hearings now have been extended nine additional days, through March 18. Commissioners will deliver a decision on the annexation request within 30 days after overall hearings conclude.

Last November, two of three commissioners — Chuck Keiper and Chris Smeiles — cited potential conflicts of interest for being unable to participate in the hearings. Consequently, hearings were postponed until late January, when newly-elected Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio would be in office and could preside over the hearings with Frederick (Commissioner Chris Smiles continued to recuse himself.) A majority of the three commissioners is needed for any vote.

Marsilio – a Republican –  replaces Democrat Keiper, who served on the board since 1993. Democrat Maureen Frederick has been a commissioner since 2003. Democrat Smeiles is the senior commissioner, having taken office in 1989.

The hearings were reset for January 24-26 at the Portage County Administration Building in Ravenna, with three sides represented:  the petitioners for the annexation, the village and the township.

But they were cancelled January 25 and 26 after a full day of testimony January 24, due to Frederick’s illness. They resumed January 27 with testimony from Hiram Mayor Louis Bertrand, Police Chief Mark Lombardi and Hiram Village Administrator Robert Wood.

Newton Falls – The officers of the Newton Falls Police Department were honored Friday during an annual awards ceremony luncheon held at the Covered Bridge Restaurant’s banquet hall. Department members and invited guests gathered to recap the various events of 2010 and to give tribute to the everyday heroes in blue who protect the city. Among those city officials present were Mayor Waddell, City Clerk Kathy King, and City Manager Jack Haney; the latter offered a gracious blessing to open the proceedings.
Chief John Kuivila announced that there were forty-three more awards this year than there were last year resulting from the courageous actions of the department over the course of approximately 16,000 calls for service. He is “looking forward to a great 2011” and hopes to decrease the need for that volume of calls for aid, making our town safer as a result.

Among the commendations presented were military service awards, perfect attendance in 2010, certificates of appreciation for the NFPD auxiliary, recognition for involvement in the Fill-a-Bus efforts, various community service participations, civic achievements, and overall good conduct awards. There was even a mention for Gator the Police Dog and his two-legged companion, Officer Laswell, for their roles in a recent capture. The list continued with mission-specific honors for officers’ roles in incidents such as successfully recovering a missing juvenile, the marijuana bust, and the extraordinary dispatching during the major house fire last fall, just to name a few.
Turning the tables for a moment, Officer Sheri Bailey spoke about how the police department is like a family: they support each other like a family, they have fun like a family, and they even fight like a family, but when all is said and done they will always be there for each other. As she stated, it is because of the leader of the family, the chief, that they are able to succeed. Officer Bailey presented an acronym  (because we all know the police department loves acronyms) in honor of the Chief: the “C” is for “Courageous,” the “H” is for “Helpful,” the “I” is for “Integrity,” the “E” stands for “Exceptional,” and the “F” is for “Friend.” In a show of appreciation for  his influence and involvement in the department, she played a video of comments from the public for the Chief and fellow officers. Several co-stars of the film gave a simple “shout-out” to the Chief and the department in general. Whether delivered with serious gratitude or threaded in a good-natured joke, “It’s a pleasure working with him and to have him here in Newton Falls,” was an echoed sentiment throughout. The tribute concluded with a photo slideshow set to the strains of the humorously appropriate “Jailhouse Rock.”

Chief Kuivila responded to the accolades by saying “It’s nice to look back over the past couple years,” but stressed that “It’s about all of us, not just me.”
One man in attendance with serious gratitude for the quick actions of the police department is Daniel Bowers whose heart stopped in November. Sergeant Rick Lisum and Officer Dave Garvey successfully used an AED to save his life. Mr. Bowers was  on hand to present the Life Saving Award to these men.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of other Life Saving Awards, as well as a special appreciation to the Covered Bridge for their help toward the police department throughout the year. It was announced that the Officer of the Year is Andy Harvey with the Sergeant of the Year being Steve Storm and Dispatcher of the Year Jim Zimomra. Ending on a humorous note, last but not least was an award given to Charlie Wilson: Most Unreliable Person Affiliated with the Newton Falls Police Department.

Congratulations to all the officers and a continued gratitude for a job well done!

Garrettsville – Bulletin: the James A. Garfield Quiz Masters appeared this past Saturday on the WEWS Channel 5 Academic Challenge program at 7:00.  Interesting mix of competitors–Indian Valley (Gnadenhutten, Tuscarawas County), Canton Central Catholic and Garfield.  Quite an extensive viewing area the station has from which  to draw participation.  It was a “Great Battle of the Brains” whereby the Quiz Masters gave quite a performance! Team Captain  Molly Everett, Logan Dean and Eileen Mangan did a wonderful job  squeaking out a very impressive win which included capturing several bonus round  points!!  Great Job!

Apropos of which, here’s a heads-up   about the return of Machine-O-Mania/Touch-A-Truck in concert with the annual village-wide yard/garage/porch sale on May 21st & 22nd.  Save that Sunday morning and afternoon to come on out to the James A. Garfield parking area to get a look at the BIG BOYS…and GIRLS, for that matter.  If it’s large and lovingly polished, if it’s fast and fairly loud, if it’s got tires that could be lived in by most of the population of Latvia, it’ll be there.  The gathering is a fund-raising activity of the Garfield Quiz Masters and it’s FUN!  Plan now to attend.

Garrettsville – The rumors have been spreading like wildfire. Yes, it is true. Now that the ink is dry, Monica has given us her blessing to let you know that it is official — Miller’s Family Restaurant will be moving to a new location.
Miller’s, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary in December 2010, was started by Monica Miller and located in Windham. Fourteen years ago she made the decision to move to Garrettsville when a space on Main Street became available. From her Main Street location, Monica and her family have served up delicious meals to many faithful customers. Now Monica has found a way to better serve those loyal customers who have dined there for years, and new customers who have yet to walk through the door.

Miller’s Family Restaurant is happy to announce that they will be moving, but not far! They are headed just down the road to 8045 State Street, the old Sky Bank and Garden Bistro building. When I asked Monica what her customers thought she commented that they are very excited – especially about the parking. Customers will now enjoy the convenience of a parking lot and the fact that the restaurant will now be handicap accessible. Inside, customers will enjoy more seating in a roomy atmosphere.

Miller’s will still offer the same great menu and prices, and they will also be bringing back an old favorite — Monica is pleased to announce that she will open her doors on Thursday and Friday nights for fish fry dinners.

Miller’s Family Restaurant is planning on being open at their new location the first week of March.

Newton Falls - The council members gathered at the community center with the mayor, city manager, and city clerk last week for a special work session. The law director was not present.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Waddell opened the workshop, instructing those present that this was a time to put ideas and questions on the open table and “resolve differences in a professional and productive manner.” This time should be used to find ways in which Council would continue to serve the public and the best interests of the community.
During the two-hour time frame, Police Chief John Kuivila reminded Council about the issues with dispatching and the importance of moving forward with the intention of addressing them quickly. “I believe we need to keep dispatch,” he said. “It’s a benefit to the community.” However, he cautioned that the budget has already been cut and more cuts may be in the future for the police department. The dispatch center is currently costing roughly $300,000 a year. It could possibly be outsourced if it comes down to it, but the Chief expressed concern that other departments would not want to dispatch for Newton Falls because of the turmoil that has been going on. He also stated he needs the support of council whichever way he decides to go concerning this matter and is still seeking clarification from council on which way they will collectively agree.
Councilman Monteville suggested that he would like to have the opportunity to sit down and write out the pros and cons for the various options and see something on paper in order to make a decision. Mr. Haney has plans to prepare a report so that Council may schedule an executive session to “hammer things out” and start to move forward on what is becoming quite the time-sensitive issue.
Further in monetary concerns for the city, the Finance Director has “serious concerns about the general fund going forward” and discussed plans for road maintenance around town. “By 2012 we will be unable to carry current services in as they are,” she explained, anticipating changes in government funding. Councilwoman Johnson asked about how the city is collecting from people who have not paid their utility bills, specifically those who have been consistently in arrears for months and months. The Finance Director assured that “we will be pursuing a higher level of collections this year for people who are delinquent.”
Also on the agenda for the special meeting was setting clear and specific performance goals for the city manager. Each council member submitted a list of what projects they would like to see Mr. Haney involved in and tangible goals he is expected to meet. Other highlights include discussion of the new baseball concession stand to be built for the youth leagues, which is in its early stages; looking at long-term design of the park facilities in general and the most effective and architecturally-pleasing layout for twenty years down the road; a suggestion made by Mr. Haney to institute an Adopt-a-Spot program to encourage local businesses or groups to volunteer to clean up, beautify and maintain the landscaping in public areas, mentioning specifically the Waste Water Plant signs; and fine-tuning the aforementioned list of expectations for the city manager by identifying what are reasonable requests and quantifiable goals.
Councilman Luonuansuu made the motion to hold a regularly-scheduled conversational caucus before the official business portion of council meetings. Effective starting with the next meeting on February 7th at 6pm, this time will be untelevised and will allow council members to hash out details and be on the same page on issues to be discussed in front of the public. The motion passed 4-1. The televised portion will now begin at 7pm.
A meeting is also planned for February 28th to further discuss the finance and dispatch issues.

Have you or someone you know been touched by cancer? Would you like to have this person remembered in a quilt? I am making a Relay for Life quilt that will be raffled off at the Newton Falls relay. This is a quilt to honor those who have been touched by cancer. If you would like to donate a piece of fabric to be a part of this quilt, please drop off a 4 by 5 inch piece of 100% cotton and a note with either “in memory of…” or “in honor of…” the person you know or knew that has struggled with cancer. This person’s name will be put on the backing of the quilt and included in a booklet of stories or comments about the people honored on the quilt. You can drop off your fabric at Sassy Hair-N-Nails, 101 Milton Blvd South (across from IGA). I would like to have the quilt ready in time for the Relay, so please drop off your fabric pieces soon.

Burton – At 7 pm, Mayor Blair called the Burton Village Council Meeting to order.  All councilpersons were present.

The police chief’s report was submitted to the council.  The report submitted covered November and December 2010.  There were 317 calls in November and 325 in December along with six arrests in November and two in December.  The police department has increased their visibility by the elementary school between 3 pm and 4:15 pm.  The police chief stops by the schools periodically to find out what the parents and faculty would like to see the police department do to help the schools.  Also, they have filed dispositions to destroy old evidence and that project is proceeding.

The police chief detailed that he went to Amber Alert training in Columbus and he explained the procedures that need to be followed in order to have an Amber Alert activated.  There must be a kidnapping; there are other processes available for missing children (assumed not kidnapped).  He also met with people from the Child Missing Program in Columbus.  The Geauga Chief Association has agreed on procedures to follow in the case of an Amber Alert being issued in the county.  Various local resources will be available until the child is found.  He expressed how important it is to be prepared, because the sooner alerts are issued, the better the chances of finding the child.

The solicitor did not have a report to submit but brought up an issue for future council consideration.  Solicitor Hicks spoke about the increase of Internet sweepstake cafes popping up in the area.  These cafes are operated for purpose of legalized gambling and he is concerned that one might want to open in the area.  He suggested that he write up an ordinance requiring a six-month moratorium if one were to want to open.  This would give the Council ample time to consider the consequences of such a business opening in the Village.  Council agreed that Solicitor Hicks should draft an ordinance and present it to Council at the next meeting.

First Readings:

Ordinance 2213-11: amending Section 303(A) of the Board of Public Affairs Rules and Regulations for the Village of Burton and Section 925.02(A) of the Village of Burton Codified Ordinances so as to amend the sewer rates.

Ordinance 2214-11: amending Section 302(A) of the Board of Public Affairs Rules and Regulations for the Village of Burton and Section 925.01(A) of the Village of Burton Codified Ordinances so as to amend the sewer tap-in or connection fee.

The Fiscal Officer asked for a motion to approve bills to be paid.  This motion passed.  He also requested a motion to approve the minutes of the January 10 meeting.  Councilperson Rogue had a few corrections.  A motion was then passed to accept the minutes as amended.

The Fiscal Officer also went over a few changes that he made to the 2011 budget.  There was some discussion and clarification regarding those changes.  The Fiscal Officer will present the amended budget to Council next month.

The Mayor’s Report will be emailed to the members of Council.  The Mayor also mentioned that the time was fast approaching for maple sugaring and that means more traffic in the Village.  He asked everyone to be patient and tolerant with the traffic increases.

Councilperson Coleman made a comment regarding the increase of  village water and sewer fees stating that he felt they were too high and could create a burden to residents.  He suggested that council consider phasing in increases over approximately three years, thus easing some of the burden on the residents.  Councilperson Ronyak stated his concerns for being able to pay for upcoming costs and maintenance of the existing systems.  It was mentioned that the past government body did not raise rates for water and sewer and now it must be done in order to update present equipment.  Councilperson Coleman agreed but would like to see a gradual increase of rates, especially in this economy.  Councilperson Rogue agreed that the increase was too much abrupt and too steep, regardless of the reason for it. The Mayor told council that the increase was not even as much as was recommended to him by others.  There will be a public hearing about this increase on February 15.

New Business included quotes sent out for spring brush pick-up.  Four quotes were sent out and only two were returned.  Northeast Tree and Stump and Van Curen were the two that returned the quotes.  Northeast had the lower bid.  It was requested that a motion be made to allow them the contract for spring brush pick-up; it was passed.
Councilperson Hauser gave a public thank you to Marty and the street crew for always keeping the village running smoothly.  He also received a round of applause from council.
The meeting was then adjourned.

Freedom Twp. – Highlights of the January 20 meeting of the Freedom Township Trustees include the following:

Zoning Inspector Derthick said he will be meeting with the Prosecutor regarding a storage trailer problem. He also said at another location the owner has been given until the end of July to remove an accessory building; in the meantime, no one is allowed to live in it, according to the prosecutor. The Board of Appeals re-elected Gil Krohn as chair and Jeff Rinearson as vice chair.

Mr. Hammar said the Zoning Commission re-elected Stan Lawrence as chair and Kathy Knerem as vice chair. Two other people have expressed interest in serving on the zoning board and Mr. Hammar will follow through.

Mr. VanSteenberg said road-clearing is on-going, new fuel tanks are in place,  old tanks have been emptied, electricity  has been hooked up. The transmission line for the Kodiak truck had a hole and was replaced. Another person will be performing community service (24 hours) at the town hall and church building. There was a problem with the well at the town hall and Mr. Burrows replaced the torque boot, wiring, switch and tank.

Mr. Zizka reported on EMS. Mr. Kaiser is chair and Mr. Wilson is vice chair. They are still working to resolve Workers’ Compensation issues. For the first six months, new hires will be getting fifty cents less per hour.

Trustees approved application to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for funds for park development. Mr. Hammar will work with Mrs. Nicholas on this project.
Mrs. Nicholas spoke of her conversation with Frontier phone/internet services to upgrade the zoning office. This change will not be made since voice mail is not available at this time for our location.

Regarding gutter repair on the church, Mr. Zizka will follow up so it is completed before springs rains begin.
Zoning Planning Study information will be made available on the township’s website.
Small increases were made to the pay rates of the road crew. No increases are scheduled for calendar year 2011 in the pay rates for the zoning inspector, assistant zoning inspector and zoning secretary.

Windham - Windham Village met for their regularly scheduled January meeting  with all members and fiscal officer present.  In the mayor’s report the mayor stated that the library is nearly  moved into the Renaissance Family Center and they are working on finalizing the agreement with the Portage County District Library Council.

After some discussion on the library contract, council decided to pay the library subsidy monthly rather than quarterly, they also agreed to discharge the library from  its previous lease. The mayor also announced that they have agreed to have the local garden center Gearhart Gardens, do the flower baskets for the bicentennial. The village will commit $2600 to the Bicentennial Committee for this year’s celebration; this amount was what the village normally spends on the flower baskets. The Mayor also suggested the village look into doing something with the community center. One suggestion was to donate it to the historical society. One board member thought that they should get it appraised before making a decision on the facility. The historical society will tour the facility and determined if they can use it before making any decisions on their end as well. No decision was rendered on this issue.

Rob Haehn from Glacial Energy presented a month-to-month agreement for the village with Glacial Energy for supplying electricity. Glacial Energy only supplies electricity to businesses and municipalities. After some consideration, the board agreed to authorize the fiscal officer and the solicitor to enter into an agreement with Glacial Energy, after they have investigated the offer.

In other business, council voted to approve the resignation of Loretta Workman effective January 31, 2011.  After a brief executive session council approved the promotion of Mary Geraci to full-time dispatcher. Geraci has been a part-time dispatcher for the Windham Police Department for 7 years.  Council also agreed to advertise for another part-time dispatcher. They voted to repeal a sewer resolution due to a typo in the resolution and they also voted to repeal the senior discount for the water usage. In a previous meeting they had changed how the water billing is done. The current water billing is billed in increments of 1000 gallons; before there had been a minimum usage charged per month whether  one used that amount or not. By changing the billing method, seniors and those who use less water are paying less than they did with the senior discount.

One resident asked about a water and sewer issue that wasn’t on the agenda and another resident questioned what they were doing about a problem property near RFC. The mayor said the water and sewer issue was added to council’s agenda but not placed on the published  one. The situation about the property that was in question is going through the proper legal channels and hopefully will be resolved soon. The Village council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in council chambers.

Garrettsville – Do you need a little motivation to lose weight, diet properly and exercise? Community EMS Boot Camp is a weight-loss challenge in the form of two physical fitness tests over a three-month period for only $20. Each participant will receive a commemorative T-shirt upon completion of Boot Camp. Gift card prizes will also be awarded to the following categories: best physical fitness test score for male and female, most improved physical fitness test score for male and female, and most weight lost for male and female.
Boot Camp will begin with a physical fitness test on Saturday, February 12th at 10am (call if you need to set up another time). This test will establish a baseline fitness level for each participant. Participants will then work towards their personal goals. This can be done individually or in groups. Workout and motivation groups will be set up after the first test. Then everyone will return on May 7th for the final fitness test. Physical fitness tests will consist of as many push-ups as you can do in two minutes, as many abdominal crunches as you can do in two minutes, pull-ups or flexed arm hang, and a 2-mile run that can be completed as a walk, run or both.

Grab your friends, family and neighbors to join in the challenge with you! To sign up, stop in at 10804 Forest Street in Garrettsville, or call the station at (330) 527-4100. The $20 can be paid on February 12th at the first fitness test. Proceeds will go to Community EMS Association, an employee based, non-profit organization that raises money to buy state-of-the-art equipment to better serve our community. All participants will be recognized at our open house on May 14th.

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The 13th Annual Portage Environmental Conservation Awards Dinner will take place Saturday April 9 and will feature a reception with music by Mitch Reed, hors d’oeuvres featuring local foods, a buffet dinner, a silent auction and more.
The Portage Park Foundation is seeking nominations for potential awardees to be honored at the event. Nominations for this year’s awards will be considered based on their contributions to Portage County’s environment through education, land preservation, green business and community involvement.
Nominations should include the nominee’s name and contact information along with a paragraph describing their contribution to Portage County’s environmental conservation. Send nominations to Portage Park District Foundation, 705 Oakwood St., Suite G-04, Ravenna, OH 44266 or email ccraycroft@portageparkdistrict.com.
Fundraising proceeds will benefit the Portage Park District Foundation, whose mission is to support the Park District’s critical work of conserving Portage County’s natural and cultural heritage.
The dinner will be held April 9th at the Kent American Legion, 1945 Mogadore Road from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call the Park District Foundation at (330) 297-7728 for more information.

Photo by Janet Pancost

Hiram – A crowd of residents (including the Hiram College alumni pictured here) opposed to the annexation of township land by Hiram College gathered Friday evening outside the Garfield Institute in Hiram. Their goal was to raise the visibility of this issue with Hiram College Board of Trustees who were meeting that night. Hiram College Vice President Tim Bryan offered the residents a brief meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Trustees if they would agree to leave after meeting with him. This issue is currently being heard by the Portage County Commissioners and the citizens thought it best to not meet without the township’s attorney present.

Rotary Report

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary soldiers are putting together the program for the February Family Week activities.  A great addition will be the participation of Dr. Bittence, she  of the coming Robinson Memorial-associated medical facility in Garrettsville, who will be available to “meet and greet” as well as offering a mini health fair–blood pressure checks, etc.–to those in attendance at the Saturday Family Fun Day at the Garfield Elementary School.  Midway (Thank you, Maceks) games are lined up, Rotaract and Interact members are set to help out and clean up, Sunday’s musical program is taking shape, contest sign-ups are going out .  The activities for Grandparents Night are on Tuesday at the Portage County Library headquarters in Garrettsville.  The ball is rolling; make plans to be part of the STRIKE.

Jim Irwin recapped his awarding of trophies at the Rotary-sponsored Power of the Pen district tournament recently held at Garfield Middle School.

More to come.  Stay tuned…or come and participate in all of the Rotary activities.

Historical Society News

The James A. Garfield Historical Society reviewed their Christmas Walk final accounting, reporting a net income of $15,884.71 for the biennial community showcase and fund-raising activity, acknowledged a gift from the Village Piecemakers whose amazing king-sized quilt raffle was won by a long-time, out-of-town attender (What will they do for the next one?) who declared herself thrilled to win and always happy to come for the event.

More mundane business included the possibility of linking up with the Chamber website as a part of widening available information on the organization and its activities as well as the necessity of doing something–probably costly–about leaks in the ceiling and roof work.  On the bright side, there is a new back door…opens and closes and everything.  Budget and audit requirements  are coming up…fun all of the time!  Wish lists are due.

Doc and MaryAnn Leggett came to pose some questions: Why is the group called the James A. Garfield Historical Society? (to cover the entire school district) What happened to the  (very) old sports trophies that used to be displayed in the Middle School–now the Intermediate School–trophy cases? (Some  misguided principal on a cleaning kick probably had them pitched?) Why were some veterans with Garrettsville addresses left off of the Veterans’ Memorial? (Didn’t meet the criteria of living inside the village?)  In connection with that last question, it was noted that there is a plaque inside of the clock tower that could be brought out and checked and possibly displayed.  And speaking of displays…the maple marker which had been in the front window was moved, soon to go to the garden,  to facilitate the next seasonal display…which just might have something to do with maple syruping  anyway.  This IS where it’s happening and has been happening for over a hundred years.

Visitor Barb Bejger made a presentation of the mechanical–and electrified–Santa which used to grace the front window of the Pelsue Drug store when it was on Main Street.  The civic-minded business owner declared that she felt that it should remain in the village as a memory rather than being lost as a faceless antique.  Member Helen donate a hand-knit lady’s bag  (c. 1890’s) for the costume collection

Program possibilities for the coming year–and beyond–were discussed; the floor is open to suggestions.

Mark Apple, of the SummerFest committee, came seeking suggestions for and participation in this summer’s extravaganza with a Las Vegas theme.

History just keeps right on happening!

A Toast

A toast to the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company!  They’ve garnered  three bronze awards in the recent World Beer Championships for their Progress Porter,’35 Extra Stout and12 Daze of Christmas Ale.  The descriptions alone might even make a non- beer drinker sit up and take notice: “hazy copper color…bold coffee grounds aromas…roasted pecan and chocolate aromas with a dry light-to-medium body…deep copper…fleeting fish eye bubble head…boozy aromas of cranberry, taffy, ratatouille and orange jelly on caraway rye toast…tangy baked orange, brown sugar and grassy hop finish.  Whoa! Sounds like you might want to eat it with a spoon!  Often.

Congratulations !  Keep on brewin’!

Hall of Fame

After a brief organizational hiatus the James A. Garfield Hall of Fame is back and ready to take on all comers.  Schedule conflicts and some untimely losses have caused the recognition ceremonies to be moved (tentatively) to April 30, 2011.  If you wish to make nominations of persons to be honored, stop in at the high school office for a nomination ballot to place the name of the individual whom  you feel deserves recognition into the files and into consideration.  Remember, the honorees must have graduated at least ten years ago (2001) before taking their place in the Hall of Fame, but the nominations may be made at any time.

And don’t confine your suggestions to athletes.  They’re the ones with the most numbers–we do love statistics, scores, rankings, etc.–but accomplishments of other kinds are also important in the life and the heart of the community.  Be as specific as you can in detailing why an individual deserves recognition (Just being a “good guy” or making “the best chicken soup”  are fine attributes but more is called for here) and be patient.  The HoF committee is seeking more members — please leave your agenda at home — and a dedicated person to take over as CEO (Don Moore filled this spot…and organized much of the activity to date but his dream needs a new leader).  The next meeting of the Hall of Fame committee will be on February 3 in the Commons at James A. Garfield H.S./M.S. at 7:00.  Come with some ideas.  Come with some committment.

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Star for this week in the 11:00 Trio League was Kurt Bokesch.  Kurt had games of 173, 178 and 154, and took high series honors for the week with a very nice 505 series.  Kurt’s average is 115.  High game for the day was rolled by Ryan Ambler, with 198.  Ryan’s teammate Jessica Potteiger was right behind with a 196 game.  Jessica had a 493 series and Ryan ended up with a 483 series.  Some other nice games were rolled by Kyle Brigham, 184 (45 pins over), Noah Shannon, 180 (53 pins over), Ethan Dubasik, 164 (56 pins over average), Austin Sledz, 111 (48 pins over), Jameson Huebner, 74 (27 pins over), and Adam Tanner, 162 (23 pins over)

In the 9:00 Trio League, Adam Norris rolled his highest series, a 362, with games of 129, 119 and 114.  Adam’s average is 91.  Danielle Tuttle was 82 pins over for the day, with games of 103, 90, and 108, all well over her average of 73.  Danielle will get a 300 series award for her 301 series.  Floria Gerardino has seen her name in the Villager a lot lately.  Floria was 60 pins over for the day with her games of 101, 83, and 101, all over her 75 average.  Dan Painley was also over his 93 average all three games, with 97, 124, and 108, for a 329 series.  Teammate Eric Lawless was not far behind, with games of 90, 117, and 104, giving him a 47-pins-over-average 311 series.   Other nice games were rolled by Savannah Britt, 106 (35 pins over average), Nathan Phillips, 124 (30 pins over average), Nathan Pallotto, 102 (23 pins over), and Lauren Sanchez, 111 (21 pins over).

In the 9:00 Pee Wee League, Charlie Britt had high game with 109.  Mackenzie Zembower rolled 103 her first game and 95 her second game.  Other good scores were bowled by Alex Gage, 95, and Travis Horner, 91.

In the 11:00 Pee Wee League, Darrion Sidwell owned the high game with 111; Darrion also had a 93 game for a two-game 204 series.  Other nice games were rolled by Owen Wolff with 93 and Katie Fazi with 90.

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Burton-At the January 10 Berkshire Board of Education meeting several elementary and high school students had their artwork recognized.  The artwork will be part of the 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.  Congratulations to Mollee Chapman (2nd Grade), Grace Lutat (6th Grade), Erica Dingman (12th Grade), Ericka Roy (11th Grade) and Hannah Espinosa (2nd Grade).

There will be a Berkshire Marching Band Spaghetti Dinner and Chinese Auction Fundraiser on February 11 from 4:30 pm until 7 pm in the Berkshire High School Cafeteria.  This fundraiser will help bring down the costs for students traveling and performing at Walt Disney World over Spring Break.  You can purchase presale dinner tickets for $7.00/adults and $4.00/children (12 and under) or at the door for $8.00/adults and $5.00/children.   Dinner will include spaghetti, meatballs (optional), salad, garlic bread, dessert and beverage.

There will also be a Chinese Auction at this event.  Chinese Auction tickets will be available for $1.00 each or 6 tickets for $5.00 or 15 tickets for $10.00.  Winning tickets will be drawn at 7 pm and winners do not need to be present.  Band members are selling tickets or you can contact the school directly to find out how to purchase your tickets and help support this worthwhile cause.

The After Prom Committee is having their Taco Dinner Fundraiser on February 4 from 4:30 pm until 7 pm in the Berkshire High School Cafeteria.  Ticket prices are $5.00/adults and $3.00 for children under 10.  The menu will include soft and hard tacos with many different toppings including beef and/or chicken.  You can make your own tacos just the way you like them.  Dessert will be available for an additional $2.00 and will include chocolate or vanilla ice cream and toppings for sundaes.  Tickets for the Taco Dinner Fundraiser can be purchased in advance or at the door.  Please support this worthy cause.

Deputy Jim Hudson recently assisted Mr. Kostiha’s 5th Grade class complete the DARE drug awareness program.  Every Wednesday, for thirteen weeks, Deputy Hudson and Mr. Kostiha taught the class about issues concerning substance abuse, peer pressure, violence and self control.  There were many interactive activities used to help convey the importance of these issues.  Upon graduation, students received graduation certificates and DARE t-shirts.  Special guest speakers, including Sheriff McClelland, addressed the students.  A special thank you went out to all the participants who supported this class including parents, teachers, DARE officers and administrators.

There are a lot of great things happening at the Berkshire Schools.   Thank you to Superintendent Doug DeLong for the updates and news.

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Garrettsville – Charles Chevrolet, one of 30 Chevrolet dealers from the Cleveland area that partnered with local youth soccer leagues for the 2010 season, raised nearly  $93,740 in total donations from the dealership and private parties. In addition to monetary support, Charles Chevrolet provided G-W (Garrettsville-Windham) Soccer Club with equipment donations, an opportunity to raise and keep up to $10,000 through a unique fundraiser, and participation in an instructional soccer clinic.

“Chevrolet has a long history with youth sports and we’re glad we were able to bring that commitment to our youth soccer leagues in Garrettsville where our customers and their families live, work, and play,” said Bruce Abraham, vice president for Charles Chevrolet. “We’ve been part of this community for over 54 years and enjoy supporting our youth sports teams.”

G-W  Soccer Club had the opportunity to raise as much as $10,000 through a fundraising opportunity where one lucky recipient won his or her choice of a 2010 Chevrolet Equinox or Malibu. Another lucky winner received a Home Entertainment Package. One-hundred percent of the proceeds of the fundraiser went directly to the league.

“We are delighted to be involved with youth soccer,” said Abraham, of Charles Chevrolet. “Sponsoring G-W Soccer Club gave us the opportunity to illustrate our commitment to the youth and families in Garrettsville and  Windham. We’re glad to have achieved such positive outcome for the community.”

In 2010, more than 600 Chevrolet dealers participated in Chevy Youth Soccer and helped raise more than $1.9 million for youth soccer programs across the USA.

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Windham -  The W.V.F.D. Joint fire district met for their regularly scheduled meeting recently with all board members and fiscal officer present.  First item on the agenda was the fire chief’s report. Chief Iwanyckyj reported that he has chosen different firemen to take responsibility for, policy and procedures for EMT’s, turn-out gear, Scot Air Paks, and truck maintenance. The chief presented to the board the need to have  fire inspectors inspect the school 4 times a year and do random inspections of the businesses in Windham. The fire inspectors were requesting $12 an hour to do such inspections. After some discussion on the inspections, the board decided to have the chief look into the Ohio Revised Code and see what authority they have when they do the business inspections. Currently, they are only doing the school inspections which are required by state law. Other items in his report: rescue squad door locks require repair and transmission fluid changed, the equipment van needs new tires, other trucks need updated fire extinguishers, more emergency lighting (grass fire fighter), air horn switch replacement, new tail light needed on utility trailer.

Iwanyckyj stated that they are organizing maintenance schedules and will be keeping better record of their maintenance. The chief also stated that two fire helmets are also outdated.One voice pager and one walkie-talkie should be repaired or replaced. The board approved purchase of two new helmets, two fire extinguishers and one walkie.

The next item on the agenda was to set a meeting date. After conferring with new board member Scott Garrett they decided to keep the meeting night the same. The fire board will meet on the second Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the fire station. All meetings are opened to the public.

Insurance Agent Mark Ellerhorst presented the annual insurance policy for building, vehicles and equipment to the board. After reviewing the policy the board approved the purchase of the annual policy for $7,316.

• The board then held two executive sessions, one to discuss officer appointments within the fire department and the other session  to discuss the discipline of two firemen. After the first session the board returned to regular session to announce the officers. The 1st assistant is Jim Starkey, 2nd assistant is James Ward, Captains are Mike Zerucha, Lenny Polichena and Daryl Cottle and Lieutenant Gary Barnard. The board returned to executive session to discuss disciplinary actions against two firemen; after 15 minutes the board returned to regular session. There was no other business to discuss so they fielded questions from those in attendance.

One resident questioned the board on the EMS call system and stated they were disappointed in the board’s decision and felt they were putting the community’s safety in jeopardy by some of the decisions that had been rendered. She also stated that she had voted for the last levy and currently was not happy with the operations of the board and would not vote for another one.

Another resident questioned what they had decided to do about snow removal. Currently the village was handling it. After researching the snow plowing costs they decided they would inquire with the township to see if the village and township would consider doing the plowing on a rotating basis. Dann Timmons said he would bring it up at the next township meeting.

Before closing out the meeting the board thanked Linda Rininger for her service last year and welcomed Scott Garrett aboard. The village council voted to have Mr. Garrett represent the villages interest on the fire board.

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Newton Falls - There’s a new hot topic at the podium of the Newton Falls council meetings: hydraulic fracking.

During the second regularly scheduled council meeting of January all officials were present and, after the Pledge of Allegiance, the floor was given to Catie Karl-Moran who spoke on behalf of the Relay for Life.

The next Relay, a twenty-four hour event, will be June 10th – 11th and teams are forming now. Involving both the Newton Falls and Lordstown communities, it is open to anyone who wants to contribute their time to a great cause. “It’s a chance for everyone to get together to raise money for a cure and to bring the community together to make a difference (in the lives of cancer patients),” Ms. Moran said. Anyone is welcome whether they are longtime supporters or this will be their first time being involved with the fundraiser.  Ms. Moran also issued a challenge to the community of Newton Falls and the community of Lordstown: whichever town gets the most new teams signed up will have a trophy to display for the whole year after the event. She mentioned upcoming daffodil sales, proceeds of which will go toward the individual team total, and encouraged attendance at the Luminaria Ceremony, a time which promotes lighting of candles in memory or in honor of a loved one. The next Relay for Life general public meeting is February 16th at the community center, 6:30pm. There are many different ways to help, even if you are not a runner. EVERYONE is welcome, so come find out how you can join in the cause. One more note: the local American Red Cross has announced there is an emergency blood shortage and has put out the immediate call for help to anyone who is able to donate.

When comments were opened to the public, a representative from the Newton Falls Youth Baseball and Softball League addressed the need for a new concession stand in the community center park. Look for plans and fundraisers for this addition soon.

Mayor Waddell relayed that Dominion East Ohio reminds everyone to please call the utility company before you dig, even if just digging in your own yard, to be sure you will not be hitting any lines in the ground. He also mentioned that he had the opportunity to attend the congressional swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C. on the invitation from a local congressman, and was honored to be able to do so.

Councilman Monteville reported on a recent Investment Board meeting involving the fluctuating interest rates of bonds. Councilman Zamecnik attended the Planning & Zoning meeting and reported that they have made minor adjustments to the wind turbine regulations which are now under review. Also in progress are guidelines for contractor registrations. He mentioned that he had attended the recent presentation at the Community Center hosted by the Township Trustees involving hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” Sponsored by the Concerned Citizens of Portage County, these presentations are being held at various community buildings throughout the neighboring counties. Open to the public, their purpose is to get the word out about what could be a beneficial, albeit dangerous, trend in our communities that could affect the quality and safety of drinking water by inserting unknown chemicals into the ground.

Mr. Haney reminded   everyone about the plethora of senior activities available in the area, a great way to beat the cold and socialize. Low to no cost activities are being offered right in our very own community center, so be sure and read the newspaper or check the city website calendar for upcoming events. In response to some concerns about the fracking issue, Mr. Haney also mentioned that Newton Falls “does not get our drinking water from underground – we utilize surface water” so the possible contamination of fracking is not as imminent for our community.

Councilwoman Johnson requested of Mr. Haney that a sign be posted in the meetingplace instructing people to sit down when they attend council meetings, not stand along the walls, citing the recent tragic Arizona incident as something that could easily be repeated if people are permitted to stand out of the immediate sightline of the council members.

By way of good news, a proclamation honoring the Four Chaplains was read into record, designating Sunday, February 6th as Four Chaplains Day. Council encourages citizens to remember those men and their actions of service, specifically those on February 3rd, 1943 when the USAT Dorchester sank into the sea.

Closing public comments revisited issues such as the poor quality of the sound system which continues to cause difficulty especially for people trying to see and hear the proceedings on television at home; concerns about the fracking, which involves drilling down to 8,000 feet and dropping chemicals into the hole to blast the ground; and the imminent recall election of Ward 4 representative James Luonuansuu currently scheduled for Tuesday, February 8th. In response to Councilwoman Johnson’s comment about not wanting people behind her during meetings, a recommendation was made that if council is concerned about such a situation, the set up could easily be moved to the other end of the room so that council can see everything going on. At the present time, the council table is situated so that the officials have their backs to the entranceway and are unable to see people coming and going. If the table were moved by the stage, it would allow them a clear view to the entire space and also to the only currently used doorway.

In closing council comments, Councilman Monteville reminded the community about the Pack-a-Backpack program which is currently rotating fifty backpacks every weekend to local children in need. Mayor Waddell reiterated comments made about the backpack program and added that the charitable drawing from this meeting goes to the NFHS drama club.

The next meeting will be February 7th at 6pm.

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Hiram Twp. – The Hiram Township Trustees met last week for their second gathering of the new year. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mr. Brewer opened the meeting at 7pm with the reading of the minutes from the January 4th meeting.

In the evening’s business, Mr. Brewer presented a request for an appropriation of $33,000 to a new fire truck the local department is acquiring. Mr. Bosma made the motion to accept a resolution on the appropriation, which was seconded by Ms. Schulda. The motion passed.

Public concerns involved the township website which has not been kept updated. (The last meeting listed is from October.) This will be remedied soon. In addition to keeping information current, further updates may include a rotating photo gallery of picturesque buildings in the area. Also from the website is a link to a February 3rd meeting about security around the home. This will be a neighborhood watch presentation at the Nelson Township Service Building at 7pm. The trustees cautioned residents that break-ins are happening again: “Lock your buildings and put your cars in garages, if possible.” The security presentation is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

Other highlights include the mentioning of the recent hydraulic fracturing seminars held in Newton Falls and other communities. Ms. Schulda commented that the meetings are informative but generally one-sided, and she hopes there will be an opportunity at the future meetings for the “other side” (those in the pro-drilling camp) to present the benefits of this new trend as there are “two sides to every story.” If you were unable to attend the Newton Falls presentation, there will be one in Deerfield on January 31st at the Town Hall as well as one in Paris Township on February 1st at the community center. Both events are at 7pm. More information and the schedule is available at http://portagecitizens.org.

The Fire Chief reported that the department ended 2010 with 401 runs, about 70% of which are EMS calls. The average call response time was five minutes, five seconds. On a broader scope, he also gave the ten-year breakdown of calls, stating that in 2001 the department had about 400 calls, then in 2004-2005 the call volume was nearly double that with numbers in the 700s. This was primarily due to helping out Windham and surrounding communities with their calls. As noted, the number of calls is balancing out at about the same now as it was ten years ago since the district is back to just handling local emergencies. Also, thanks to the tree trimming program instituted by the road crew, there has been a significant drop in calls pertaining to fallen trees or affected power lines. He relayed that 98% of the time on EMS calls, ALS service (paramedic) has been provided, which is an impressive response for any department. He also announced that the Hiram Fire Department is actively recruiting members to fill  positions that have come open, reported an extensive roster of success in advanced training for current team members as well as upgrades to department technology and equipment, and mentioned grants that have been received to furnish such upgrades and advanced training.

In new business, Sandy Wagner was nominated as the alternate for the BZA and approved.

A motion passed to pay the bills before adjourning for the evening. The next Trustees meeting will be February 1st at 7pm, Township Hall.

Nelson Township – The regularly scheduled Nelson Township Trustees meeting was moved to the community house due to no heat at the maintenance building and the meeting room. The meeting was called to order with all trustees and fiscal officer present. The minutes from the January 5, 2011 were approved as read. Fiscal officer Dave Finney presented the bills and wages and they were approved to be paid. Mr. Finney presented the 2011 revised budget; the board revised the NOPEC Fund 2901 due to the fact that they had not used all the funds.

The gutters that were torn down by the wind last month have been replaced.  The cost of the repair was $700; the township turned the bill into their insurance company. The township paid the $500 deductible then the insurance company paid the difference.

At  the previous trustee meeting there was a discussion on whether the trustees should establish policy on whether they would reimburse elected officials and employees for spousal coverage on Medicare insurance payments. Mr. Leonard contacted Assistant Prosecutor Chris Meduri for a ruling. Meduri recommended that they limit the reimbursements to the elected officials and full time employees even though there hasn’t been a ruling made on the issue by the Attorney General. After some discussion, the trustees chose to take the assistant prosecutors recommendation and not reimburse elected officials or full time employees for spousal Medicare payments.

They tabled the appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) until the next meeting. The trustees want to conduct short interviews with each candidate before appointing ZBA representatives. Interviews are scheduled to take place prior to the next trustee meeting.

Mr. Turos explained the heat problem at the maintenance garage and meeting room. Late last fall they realized that their gas well lines had waxed up, leaving them without natural gas until the lines from the tank could be swabbed. The call to the company has been made and they will be out as soon as they can to open up the lines. In the mean time the garage will be using space heaters to keep the water lines from freezing. This is a common problem that is being solved by establishing routine maintenance on the well.

The actual figure for the window bid is a little higher than quoted due to the fact they have discovered two more windows that were not counted in the original quote. The added expense will be $861.30. The board expects to have the new doors and windows at the Community house installed by the end of February. AM Doors and Supply will be replacing the doors and Hershberger Roofing and Siding will replace the windows. Both contracts will be paid for by the NOPEC Grant.

Chairman Joe Leonard stated that the next meeting scheduled for February 3, 2011 will be held at the Community House at 7:30. They will be joined by Hiram Township Trustees and Sheriff Doak. The sheriff will present a block watch program to both Hiram and Nelson Trustees and talk about the recent rise in car thefts and break-ins.

Finally, the trustees announced that they are missing a new, large coffee pot from the community house. Will the party that borrowed it please return it.

Mantua - During the January meeting of the Mantua Chamber of Commerce old business was discussed including the success of Santa on the Corner and the Lighting in the Park in December. Everyone was pleased with how successful the event was.

New officers were sworn in by Janet Espisito. The members are President Christine Pitsinger, Vice President Melissa Lyle, Secretary Becky Tipton and Treasurer Joan Sweet.

New business was discussed. A report was given on the Robinson Clinic in Garrettsville. The weather has held up the project, but things are now back on track for building. The Chamber decided to pro-rate dues for this year to allow members who join in July or after a lowered dues rate.

Congratulations to Dorothy Caldwell, winner of  $25 donated by K & K Meats.

The next meeting will be held on February 16th.

Garrettsville – If you have recently become engaged, have been engaged for some time, or would like to renew your wedding vows, why not enter for a chance to become Garrettsville Summerfest’s First Couple!

This year’s Vegas-style theme, “The Biggest Game In Town”, easily lends itself to thoughts of wedding chapels and getting married. But don’t worry, you won’t need to dress like Elvis to say “I do” at Summerfest.

Send the committee a letter and tell us why you would like to be Summerfest’s First Couple. The selected couple will need to provide their own attire and rings, but they will receive everything else they need to tie the knot.

Start off your wedding with uniquely-designed invitations by Villager Printing so you can invite your friends. Luann from The Golden Mirror will pamper the bride with a hairstyle befitting a queen. Art-n-Flowers and The Bay Window will make sure your floral needs are fresh and fun. Choose to get married by Mayor Moser or Rev. Adkins and Harpist Ellen Eckhouse will play  wedding music as you walk down Main Street to the Main Stage. The couple and their guests will then attend a private reception. While at the reception they will toast with champagne from SkyLane Drive-Thru and local area wines from The Cellar Winery and Candlelight Winery and share in the age-old tradition of cutting the wedding cake provided by Carolyn’s Cakes.

After dinner at Main Street Grill and Brewery, and enjoying the largest fireworks display in the area, the happy couple will receive accommodations at the Hiram Inn. Then the winning couple will return on Sunday to ride in the Summerfest Grand Parade, which steps off at noon. Ronda Brady Photography will be on hand to capture all your wedding memories.

Enter for a chance to be the First Couple and celebrate at the biggest party in Northeast Ohio. Send your letters and a photo to Garrettsville Summerfest’s First Couple, c/o The Weekly Villager, PO Box 331, Garrettsville, OH 44231. Deadline for all submissions is April 29, 2011. The winning couple will be contacted May 4, 2011. For more information contact The Weekly Villager during normal business hours at (330) 527-5761 or visit the www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com/wedding.html.

Hiram – During the 105th annual meeting of Hiram Village Council on January 11, Mayor Lou Bertrand delivered his 2011 State of Hiram Village Address. He opened with a reassuring statement that “Hiram village government is in stable financial condition, operating in an efficient manner and providing good service to the public, our citizens, businesses, students, staff, administration and faculty of Hiram College.”

He went on to spotlight several village and college projects that will take shape in 2011. Last December, the Village received approval for a $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant, which will be utilized this new year to make energy-saving permanent improvements in village structures.

Hiram College has received a donation of approximately $300,000 for renovation of the old Miller Dining Hall. Also, renovations to the Art Building for a black box theatre on campus will be completed this Spring. There are future plans to also remodel the locker room and Henry Field.

The college and village have pursued federal and state infrastructure funds to complete the roadway from Winrock Road to Hinsdale Road. Hiram Village has received a grant from Ohio Public Works Commission for $177,500 to fund a Hinsdale Road extension to meet at the north-south extension of Winrock Road. Although now on college property, it will be dedicated to public use. This grant will be awarded in July 2011, with construction completed within a year thereafter.

The village and college are in negotiations for the purchase of 5.1 acres at the old Hiram School property. A proposed Community Block Grant was increased from $82,000 to $113,000. The demolition of the old Hiram School is now almost completed for the bid contract of $66,900 to Ace – Zuver, LLC.

Through the auspices of the Akron Metropolitan Area Transit System [AMATS], Hiram has received approval for $145,000, plus an additional 15% for the East Hill storm sewer project. The $130,548 Curb and Storm Sewer project on East Hill (SR 305) was completed last June.

Looking for long-term solutions to rising water and sewer system costs, Hiram considered becoming part of a proposed county water and sewer district led in part by the Portage County municipal/village governments. Mayor Bertrand met with the mayors of Windham, Garrettsville, Mantua and representatives of Portage County, who together sought a grant to explore a combined water and sewer district. “However, neither Mantua and Garrettsville Village Councils would help us fund this $330,000 study,” Bertrand said. “But Windham Village would. It makes no sense that this region of the world that has almost 20% of the world’s fresh water reserves have some of the highest water and sewer rates in our nation.”

Last May, Hiram Village Council purchased a $422,000 2010 diesel Fire Pumper-Tanker, weighing 26,000 pounds, to be jointly owned by Hiram Village and township. In June 2010, a newly revised Fire and EMS two-year contract was signed with Hiram Township, going into effect this January.

The old Hiram firehouse has come back into the possession of the village and is currently being utilized to park village equipment and vehicles. Last summer, Hiram College President Tom Chema expressed interest in utilizing the old Fire Hall for the College’s Business Incubator Program. “We should all determine what use can be best made of this property,” Bertrand said.

All in all, Mayor Bertrand’s outlook for 2011 sees the Village of Hiram entering a period of renovation and growth, in cooperation with Hiram College, Hiram Township and neighboring communities.

Hiram-Mayor Bertrand called the meeting to order at 7 pm.  Rob Dempsey was not in attendance.  Mayor Bertrand asked for a moment of silence to reflect on the Arizona shootings then continued with the Pledge of Allegiance.

The council approved the 11/30/10 Special Council Meeting minutes, approved the 12/14/10 Council Meeting minutes, updated this evening’s agenda while the Mayor requested a motion to approve the use of the 10th edition of Robert’s Rules of Orders (motion approved) in future meetings, he named Tom Wadkins as Council President and moved that public comments be limited to three minutes.  The times and dates for the 2011 Council Meetings were also set as the second Tuesday of the month at 7 pm.  The Mayor detailed appointments to Village Committees.

A letter was drafted on December 13, 2010 to Douglas Brewer, Fiscal Officer, of the Hiram Township Board of Trustees.  This letter details a Hiram Village Income Tax that is required of the employees of Hiram Township due to the fact that both the Township Hall and Township Garage are located in the Village limits.  Two Ohio Supreme Court cases were cited supporting this tax and the necessary steps to adhere to the Village of Hiram Tax Code were detailed.  Hiram Township Trustee, Kathy Schuda, was in attendance to voice her concerns about this tax and its implications on the Township workers.  Schuda explained that since the taxes due date back five years they would cause financial hardships to many of the Township employees.  No one was pleased with this outcome but according to Ohio Supreme Court cases, the taxes are due to the Village.

The Police Report was submitted to the Council.  The Police Chief had nothing unusual to report and said he would have the 2010 yearly report available at the February meeting.

The Fire and EMS Report was submitted to the Council.  The Fire Chief gave a very detailed presentation with the 2010 statistics including incident report breakdowns, fire statistics, EMS statistics, ten-year trends and overall response time calculations.  The overall response time is down from previous years and the department is proud of those statistics.  There was on-going training throughout the year.  There was a rundown of 2011 projects which included an update and the delivery information of the new Fire Engine #2.  The delivery should be in February or March.  More details will be available at the February meeting.

The Village Administrator Report was submitted to Council.  The Cemetery Report will be submitted at the February meeting.  Work has begun on how to best distribute a $50,000 grant issued to the Village for general energy savings.  It was agreed that by putting jobs out for bid, the grant money might be stretched to get as many energy savings projects done as possible.

The Mayor’s Report was submitted to Council.  The Mayor commented that the Village was in very stable condition and operating efficiently.  A grant was approved for renovation of the dining hall and theater at the college.  Future plans will be forthcoming from the college.

The Fiscal Officer’s Report was submitted to Council.  A motion was made to approve the report and to pay bills.  Both motions were passed.  This is a busy time of the year and work is progressing toward all that needs to be done fiscally.  The bank reconciliation statement was distributed and approved.

Ordinance 2010-22: Increase fines for illegal parking (3rd reading): Motion passed.  The fines have not increased since 1999.

Ordinance 2010-14: Contract for Trash Hauler (3rd reading): Delayed and moved to table this ordinance for the time being.

Ordinance 2011-01: Zoning Permit and Fee Schedule (1st reading):  It was brought up that the cost for a variance may be too high and that it should be reviewed by the Zoning Board in February.  Then this ordinance can come back to the Council for further review.

There were no resolutions to be discussed.  A motion was made to convene in Executive Session for personnel matters.  Meeting was adjourned.

Garrettsville – Returning to his favorite metaphor, Mayor Craig Moser likened historic Garrettsville to “our old century home” in his annual State of the Village Report, delivered at the Garrettsville Village Council meeting on January 12.

Recapping the past year, Moser said, “Life in G’ville in 2010 had its good moments indeed. Our old century home had the lights on and the good times were there for all to enjoy!”

Highlights of 2010 included the “best-ever” SummerFest, which featured a long tractor parade, canoe races and an overflow crowd on Main Street for fireworks and the Grand Parade. The mayor was also proud of another “Academically Excellent with Distinction” rating for the James A Garfield Schools, the Garfield Historical Society’s Bi-Annual Christmas Walk, the JAG State Champion Girl’s Softball Team, and the Chamber of Commerce’s  inaugural village celebration on St Patrick’s Day.

“As mayor, I have the shared responsibility to maintain the old homestead, keep it safe, and make appropriate, affordable improvements to it,” Moser went on to say. Despite rising gas prices and higher health insurance premiums than in 2009, the village’s tax revenues in 2010 were surprisingly a bit higher. This improvement was due to the quarter-percent income tax rate increase passed in November 2007.

“My personal thanks to the voters of Garrettsville for understanding we get what we pay for,” he said. “In addition, we need to pay for what we get. And what you pay for is worth it. We do try to spend your tax money wisely.”

Other village accomplishments for 2010 included a review of village equipment needs, the annexation of three properties on Brosius Road into the village, the purchase of 10 acres of adjacent land for future Park Cemetery expansion, the annual crack sealing of several village streets, the replacement of some sidewalks, the replacement of some equipment at South Park and Park Avenue playgrounds, and the purchase of the Irwin Hardware parking lot. The village website was also revised and updated.

The Ohio Department of Transportation started demolishing the Windham/Freedom Street (Route 82) Bridge in May 2010, “and the long-lasting bridge project is not done yet but will be completed soon,” Moser reported.

Finally, “The  long-neglected Irwin Hardware building has been weatherproofed and we have a strategy to move forward on this project in partnership with a private developer, however there are a lot of if’s and then’s in our strategy…” according to the mayor.

Mayor Moser — also Professor of Economics at Hiram College — stated that “Our village’s financial balances at the end of 2010 tell us we had a stable result year for our cash balances over the course of the year. So, I remain conservative and cautious about our spending plans for 2011. Likely, our 2011 income tax revenues will be flat due to the continued high unemployment rate and inclement economic conditions which have lasted for a while, but seem to be abating.”

During this new year, village employees are receiving a two percent raise, matching the two-percent raises given the previous three years. Plans in 2011 also include purchasing a new dump truck/snowplow, new fuel tanks, and new leaf removal equipment for the street department, plus a new canine vehicle/cruiser for the police department.

More sidewalk replacements and repairs will continue in 2011 with a focus on Center Street. Additional new sidewalk installations are expected on Liberty Street to complement the Liberty Street/Water Street Bridge sidewalk.

Progress is also expected to be made on the village’s wastewater treatment plant’s planned expansion under the guidance of the Board of Public Affairs and Jeff Sheehan. The $5+ million project was started in late 2010, but should gain real momentum in 2011.

Garrettsville’s Economic Development Committee continues to meet every other month, exploring new possibilities for the vacant Amweld, Giant Eagle, Paul’s Lumber and Chrysler buildings. Additional commercial, residential and industrial buildings and acreage are also available for development.

“We will continue to seek out persons to join us in Garrettsville,” Moser said. “I know economic conditions are very difficult, but we do have something to offer here and I am proud to host interested parties to a cup of coffee (on me) and discuss the virtues of G’ville.”

In closing, Moser said, “I enjoy serving you as your mayor. I welcome continuing to work with Council, the Clerk, the Board of Public Affairs, and the many other citizens who ably serve on various Village committees and civic groups. All together, we make Garrettsville a good place to live and raise a family.”

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Windham Twp. – The Windham Township Trustees met for their first meeting of the year recently. The first item on the agenda was to appoint the chairman and vice-chairman of the board. After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to have Dann Timmons retain the chairman position and Brian Miller retain his vice-chairman position as well. The board also voted to retain Attorney Mark Finamore as the township’s legal council. In other appointments the trustees appointed Brian Miller to represent them on the Regional Planning Commission and Rich Gano as the alternate representative to the commission. They also appointed Dann Timmons and the Fiscal Officer Jayme Neikirk as the Records Retention Committee.  All the trustees, Jayme Neikirk and resident Suzanne Viebranz will serve  on the Audit Committee.  The Records Retention Committee is usually comprised of the chairman of the board and the fiscal officer, while the Audit Committee usually is comprised of the all the trustees, fiscal officer and a community representative. The board then adopted a resolution for temporary appropriations for the New Year until the actual figures come in from the county auditor.

Dann Timmons, the board’s representative to the fire board, announced that Ron Kilgore will continue to serve as the township’s resident representative on the board and Scott Garrett will be the village council representative to the board. The other fire board members are  Dann Timmons, Don Altiere, and George Bengtson.

Zoning Inspector Rich Gano stated that he has developed a new zoning procedure form for folks who apply for agriculture structures and would like the board to consider adopting a policy on the issue. Mr. Timmons thought the idea was a good one but he needs to check to see if the trustees have the authority to adopt such a policy. In other zoning news, the board announced they would hold a public meeting on the proposed zoning changes on February 3, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the town hall prior to the regular monthly meeting.

Township Road Supervisor Rich Gano stated that the roads were in good shape and there were 26 burials at the cemetery this year. He also stated that they have been able to add more plots at the old cemetery by using the fill dirt that was donated to the township.

In other board news, they are still working on the NOPEC Grant,  it will be presented at the next meeting and Mr. Timmons stated that he sent the letter of support to the Solid Waste District (S.W.D.) so the S.W.D. can apply for a grant to help with the cost of tire recycling. Finally, the trustee decided they only need to meet once a month rather than two so they have set the regular meeting date as the first Thursday of each month at 7 pm at the town hall. All meetings are opened to the public.

Garrettsville - Alien adolescents (Yes, yes, aren’t they all?) wandered the halls of James A. Garfield Middle School on Saturday, January 15, 2011, looking for the auditorium (the Iva Walker Auditorium), looking for their assigned rooms, looking for inspiration.  It was the District Power of the Pen tournament, locally underwritten by the Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary, and attended by schools including Southeast, Crestwood, Stanton, Aurora as well as Garfield.

The standard procedure is this: Students and judges are assigned numbers–no names, please–and directed to writing rooms by number only, (No judge will read papers by any writer from his/her own district).  Writing form sheets are passed out in the rooms and each session–each grade–receives a writing prompt (a topic to be written about…how my dog got fleas, my first act as President, my deepest regret, whatever) and forty minutes in which to write.  The students then move on to their next room and the judges read the papers while a new batch of scribblers comes in to work on a new prompt.  The judges confer and sort the writings as to their perceived merits. The adjudicated writings –originals and copies–are sent to a central tabulation location, the points for placement are assigned to individuals and to teams and the number one papers from each room go to master readers for “best of round” designation.

This repeats for a total of three rounds then kids and judges break for lunch and a movie.  Tabulators and master readers continue slaving away until all papers have been read, all points awarded, all tabulations completed.  Awards time!

A table-full of trophies and awards (Thank you, Rotary!) is distributed to the assembled writers.  Some excerpts are read, some happy people come to the stage, some parents and teachers beam with pride, pictures are taken.  Team standings are met with applause and cheers; trophies go home.

Congratulations to the James A. Garfield 8th grade Power of the Pen Team for placing 4th at the district tournament. Strong finishes were made by 8th grader Lindsey Jones who placed 9th overall, 8th grader Evelyn West who placed 12th, and 7th grader Collette Rhoads who placed 11th. Crestwood’s 8th grade team took 3rd place while their 7th grade team placed 4th. Joanna Ondash (2nd), Hannah Bennett (7th) and Angelina Neno (10th) were Crestwood’s strong finishers.

And you just know that some of them will be writing about this in a journal to use again sometime in a story.

Ravenna – On Thursday, February 10, 2011 Maplewood Career Center will hold its annual Open House and Spaghetti Dinner between the hours of 4:30 and 8:30 p.m.  A spaghetti dinner featuring salad, pasta with choice of sauces, bread, dessert and drink, will be served from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. and self-guided tours will be permitted until 8:30 p.m.  The public is welcome.

Cost for dinners is just $3.50 for adults and $3.00 for senior citizens and students.  Children under six are free.

The event is held in conjunction with sophomore visitation day when area school sophomores are encouraged to visit career technical programs.  Parents and sophomores attending the Open House will receive free dinners and have the opportunity to visit labs, meet instructors, and discuss career opportunities with working professionals in the career fields.

Maplewood provides career technical education to high school students from ten area school districts, offering a wide range of career choices.  Maplewood also features an extensive Adult Education catalog which includes recreational classes, computer and technical skills, and job training programs.

Maplewood is located at 7075 State Route 88, Ravenna, Ohio 44266.  For more information call 330-296-2892.

Garrettsville -  Michael Oddo, a comedian/hypnotist, will perform on Saturday, January 22nd.  He will do two family-friendly shows- one at 3:30 pm and the other at 7:30 pm in the James A. Garfield High School auditorium.  Each show will last from 60-75 min.  Tickets are $8 per person, per show (regardless of age). Oddo’s performances are to raise money for this years  junior/senior prom.  Students will be selling tickets at the high school girls and boys home basketball games and during lunch in the high school and middle school.

If you are interested in purchasing any tickets for yourself and/or a group of people please send in the money with your high school or middle school child or you can contact Mrs. Sweigert at the high school by calling (330) 527-4341.  All checks are to be made payable to  James A. Garfield High School.

Hiram - Prize-winning organist Tom Trenney will bring silent films to life on the Hiram College campus, Friday, February 11th  at 7:00 pm. This will be Trenney’s thirteenth February visit to Hiram, funded by the Hiram Community Trust Fund.

Trenney impresses audiences all over the country with his ability to improvise at the pipe organ. The silent film shorts including Laurel and Hardy and Harold Lloyd will  provide great family-friendly fun on a winter evening.

Trenney’s annual “Introduction to the Pipe Organ for 5th Graders” is open to home-schooled children in the area as well as the scheduled school groups. The presentation will be on the 25-rank Holtkamp mechanical pipe organ at the Hiram Christian Church in the morning on Friday, February 11th.  Please contact the Hiram College music department at (330) 569-5294 for times.

A master of improvisation, Trenney won both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the American Guild of Organists’ National Competition in Organ Improvisation, the first to win both prizes.

A native of Perry, OH  Trenney is Director of Music Ministries and Organist at First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Trenney has been a featured performer at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society in Dallas, Ann Arbor, Seattle, Buffalo, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Cleveland. He has served as Organ and Choral Clinician at the Westminster and Montreat conferences of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians.

Garrettsville – The Child Development Class at J.A. Garfield High School is eagerly awaiting the “Baby Think It Over” dolls.  Pat Wetzel, the teacher of the class has applied for a grant through “DonersChoose.org”  to receive two of the computerized babies for the classroom to use.

The purpose of the infant simulator, after the student has cared for it for a weekend, is to have the feeling that they are not ready for a baby.  Recent studies have shown the use of Baby Think It Over is more effective in changing the attitudes of adolescents toward parenting than other popular strategies such as shadowing a teen parent for a day.

The infant simulator weighs 6.5 pounds, it has an internal computer that simulates an infant crying as realistic, at random intervals 24 hours a day. The “parent” is given a non transferable key attached to a hospital bracelet on the wrist that must be inserted in the baby for a specific length of time to simulate feeding, bathing, diaper-changing and comforting.  Care sessions last from 5 to 35 minutes.  If the baby has been properly cared for, it will coo to signal the end of the session. If it is neglected or handled roughly (dropped, thrown, or struck), tamper-proof indicators on the computer will alert the instructor.

If you would get on line at the email address “ DonersChoose.org” and contribute any amount to make it possible for the students to participate in this worthwhile learning experience, the class would be so grateful.

Newton Falls – Dozens of flowers brighten up a chapel or outdoor venue for a wedding, and Sunday at Roby Lee’s Restaurant and Banquet Center in Newton Falls the reception hall was brightened by not one smiling bride, but rather dozens of beautiful brides-to-be who attended the 14th Annual Bridal and Catering Show, with friends and family in tow, looking for ideas that would make their special day just perfect.

A place normally filled with dinner guests and dancing celebrators provided the perfect setting for vendors associated with  such an event to connect with potential clients; the brides were looking to possibly find that missing piece in making a wedding just right. Services represented at this year’s show included the dress designs of Alfred Angelo, Martha Thomas Florist, Carolyn’s Cakes, Lia Sophia Jewelry, and Eagle Vision Photography, just to name a few. A quirky little addition onsite at the event that has become a recent trend at wedding receptions is the Big Day Little Booth, and likeminded companies, that offer what is best described as a portable photo station similar to the kind found in shopping malls or amusement parks. For a flat package rate brides and grooms – or graduates, birthday party goers, etc. – can have the opportunity of dressing up with various props, if they choose, and making a scrapbook of impromptu candids as a collaborative gift for the couple of honor, a refreshing addition to the usual posed moments found in any wedding experience. Most of the various products offered could even be worked into any special event throughout the year – not just for tying the knot! Newly engaged brides just starting to explore, and those looking for a last minute detail alike enjoyed the samplings set out especially for their perusal. Also up for  tasting were a delectable chocolate fountain, a similar cascade of lemonade, and an assortment of hors d’oeuvres. Roby Lee’s own head chef, known affectionately as “Chef Zippy,” was on hand to oversee a mini banquet prepared just for the event.

Each vendor had an appropriately- themed door prize to give away,  ranging from free jewelry to engagement photo sessions to partial floral arrangements and decoration discounts. Though each bride who won an item, or two, from the various vendors was understandably excited, the pièce de résistance of the afternoon was the announcement of the winner of this year’s free reception, courtesy of the host, Roby Lee’s Restaurant. Third place and second place winners were also announced, with both brides receiving a reception for half the usual price. These lucky ladies were Samantha Lynn Gordon and Vanessa Dell. New for 2011, in addition to receiving a reception package donated by the restaurant, the luckiest attendee of this year’s show received some extra good news: it was revealed that all day photography will be provided by Colleen Fay Bowers of Fay’s Photography, and Brooks Music is offering 50% off DJ services for the reception to this year’s winners, Ashley Melott and her groom.

The package donated by Roby Lee’s, valued at $4,000, includes appetizers, dinner, and dancing facilities with linens, centerpieces, and decorations, for approximately two hundred guests. Last year’s winners, Katie Kiser and Christopher Royer, were married this past November. Congratulations to the winning couples of 2011 and happy planning to all the soon-to-be brides and grooms!

Windham – A little after 2:00 pm Monday, when residents and community leaders began to gather outside the new Circle K Gas Station and Store in Windham anticipating the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the store. Store Manager A.J. Weiss was given the honor to cut the ribbon and declaring the store open for business. Once the ribbon was cut, residents flocked into the store to be the first customers to view the new facility. Police Chief Gene Fixler was the first one to test drive the hotdogs. He stated “The dogs are great and this was a wonderful place for the community.”  It wasn’t too long after that Circle K saw its first customer at the fuel pumps. It is a great day in Windham and everyone was excited for A.J as he débuted his new store.

A.J. stated that it took five years of negotiating to arrive at the point we’re at today. Being persistent and patient had paid off. The new Circle K features prepay gas pumps, beer cave, more varieties of polar pops, more coffees and cappuccinos, milk shakes, frostees, smoothies, hot sandwiches — including breakfast sandwiches — donuts and more. They also have public restrooms. The store will be open 24/7 and one will also be able to pump gas, diesel or kerosene 24/7 as well. The new store is located near the intersection of Maple Grove Road and E. Center Streets in Windham Village.

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The new year started off with a number of good games from the Saturday youth bowlers.   In the 9:00 Trio League, Alexis Evans had games of 95, 121, and 96 for a nice 312 series, 90 pins over her series average.  Nathan Pallotto was 82 over for the day, with games of 81, 124, and 105 for a 310 series.  Danielle Tuttle rolled a 102 game, 31 pins over her average of 71.  Danielle was also well over average her other two games with 85 and 95, putting her 69 pins over for the day.  Makayla Gough was also over average all three games, with a high game of 107.  Other nice games:  Matt Hale, 91 (26 pins over), Kassie Fedor, 119 (24 pins over), Eric Lawless, 112 (24 pins over), and Adam Norris, 114 (24 pin over).

High game and high series in the 11:00 Trio League this week belonged to Collin McGurer.  Collin had a 191 game and 496 series.  Other good games were bowled by Kyle Brigham, 179, Ryan Ambler, 171, and  Jessica Potteiger, 170.  Most over average for the day was Austin Sledz – Austin’s 107 game was 45 pins over average, and his 250 series was 64 over.  Andrew Morrissey was consistent with games of 120, 133 and 113, for a 366 series, 66 pins over average for the day.   Jameson Huebner was over average all three games; his 75 game was 30 over average and he was 55 pins over average for the day.  Cameron King was also over average all three games.  Cameron, with a 114 average, shot 142, 125 and 131 for a 398 series.  Some other bowlers with games over average were:  Destiny Durst, 135 (41 pins over), Ethan Dubasik, 144 (38 over), Lucas Titschinger, 118 (34 pins over), Kayla Hunt, 101 (34 pins over), Billy Potteiger, 109 (31 pins over), Zachary Capron, 112 (31 pins over), and Jameson Huebner, 75 (30 pins over).

Congratulations to the youth bowlers who qualified during the second session for the district Pepsi-cola tournament:  Drew Tushar, Joey Ewell, Austin Wise, Matthew Hale, Alexis Evans, Ashleigh Quiggle, Kassie Fedor, Floria Gerardino, Nathan Slaughter, Cameron King, Austin Sledz, Zachary Capron, Andrew Morrissey, Ali Franklin, Ethan Dubasik, Noah Shannon, Jaret Doraski, Jake Yeatts, Shannon Kerr, and Taylor Mick.  The District tournament will be held February 26 through March 13 at Freeway Lanes in Warren.

Feel free to come out and watch our youth bowlers on Saturdays.  Or get a high school schedule and watch your high school team compete.

Hiram Twp. – Last summer, a local woman snapped a photo of a creek scene in her back yard and sent it off to a national photo contest. Now that photo is the centerpiece of a national advertising campaign.

Diane Wilthew enjoys capturing the beauty of the changing seasons on her family’s 21-acre wooded property along Hankee Road — a designated certified Family Forest. It’s commonplace for her to snap photos of nature scenes along Slippery Rock Run, which drains into Garrettsville’s Eagle Creek. Last summer, she stood in the creekbed and took a photograph of the morning sun illuminating the leaves of overhanging trees and draping ferns along the sloping banks of the peaceful waters.

Diane’s husband, Jerry, suggested that she submit the photo in the 2010 Tree Farm Photo Contest sponsored by STIHL, which he had seen promoted in Tree Farmer Magazine. Diane submitted a few photos to the contest and then forgot about it. Just last week, she was notified that one of her photos was selected as first runner-up in the national contest, and would be featured in STIHL ads, in Tree Farmer Magazine, on the ATFS (American Tree Farm System) website www.treefarmsystem.org and the STIHL website, www.stihlusa.com/atfs. The first-place winner was from Mississippi while the second runner-up was from Wisconsin.

For those thinking the chain saw manufacturer and the ATFS make strange bedfellows, that’s actually the subject tackled in the ad campaign. The headline reads, “Can a chain saw company and 90,000 Tree Farmers possibly find common ground?” The ad copy goes on to explain that STIHL is a proud partner of ATFS, supporting the organization’s mission “to promote the growth of renewable forest resources while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry. As an industry leader, STIHL believes it is our duty to set the example in sustainability and continue to invest in innovative technologies, programs and partnerships as part of our ongoing commitment to socially responsible environmental stewardship.”

As tree farmers, Diane and Jerry rely on their forester/brother/neighbor Mark Wilthew with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry to help them maintain a healthy woodlot. Part of that process is identifying and marking trees that should be thinned out in order to allow healthier native hardwoods to flourish. Like weeding a garden, cutting down invasive species and damaged trees gives more desirable tree species the advantage in a natural system of competition for soil nutrients, water and sunlight. A chain saw is a useful tool in this process.

The Wilthews have been a member of the American Tree Farm System for approximately 15 years. ATFS provides them with updated forestry information, including an online, searchable database, the Woodland Owners Resource, which contains information on special sites, threatened and endangered species and management for desired tree species (www.treefarmsystem.org/woodlandresources).

“Joining the ATFS helps to make it clear to those around us why we timber, because they can see that the tree farmer does indeed promote renewable resources,” Diane says. ATFS has established standards and guidelines for private forest owners to develop a management plan that encourages sustainable forestry with clean water, healthy wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.

While Diane gets the credit for taking the winning photograph in the national ad campaign, Jerry gets the $250 STIHL gift certificate, which he plans to redeem at his local STIHL dealer, Garrettsville Hardware.

Nelson Twp. – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting with all the trustees and fiscal officer present. Items on the agenda were: approve bids for doors and windows at the community house, fill zoning and zoning appeals positions, select fire department representative and community ambulance representative, set mileage reimbursement rates, and approve repairs for the truck.

The board reviewed the bids for new doors at the community house and after some discussion they agreed to reject the lowest bid due to its being out of the normal range and incompletely bid. The bid from AMM Doors & Supply for $12,087 was accepted. They accepted the bid for windows from Hershberger Windows for about $10,200 and decided to go with vinyl windows instead of aluminum.

The trustees voted to re-appoint Sam Vanderhoeven to the Zoning Commission Board and also decided to table a decision on the zoning appeals positions until the next meeting so they will have a chance to interview the candidates. The next item on the agenda was to choose representatives to the Garrettsville-Freedom- Nelson Fire District G.F.N.F.D. and to Community Ambulance Board. After some discussion the trustees re-elected Jim Turos to the G.F.N.F.D. and Bill Wilson to the ambulance board. The trustees decided to go with the IRS standard $.50 a mile for mileage reimbursement for travel when conducting township business or attending various meetings and or seminars.

In other business they approved the repair of the clutch on the small truck, and set spring clean-up date for April 30 & May 1, 2011.  Insurance discussion was brought up by Trustee Jim Turos on whether they should set a policy on reimbursements for spouses for their social security payment reductions when they are using Medicare insurance as their primary insurance rather than the townships insurance for their primary insurance. The question was brought up because the trustees voted at a previous meeting to reimburse a trustee for the difference in his losses in his social security payments because of his expenses on his Medicare premium. After some discussion they agreed to table this until they could check into the laws on this issue prior to establishing a policy. The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 at Pixley Park.

Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary took a flying leap into their activities for 2011, beginning with a focus on the upcoming Family Week.  Updates and amendments, processes and plans were under review, arrangements were delegated, personnel tentatively assigned, sponsors to be solicited…the whole machinery of preparation began to shift into high gear around the tables at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company, with more to come. Anyone wishing to get in on the action should contact a Rotarian or  come to a meeting on Wednesday evening at The Mill(6:00).  Lots of opportunities for everyone.

Treasurer Bob Jackson did not at all resemble a Grinch when he brought up the subject of district and international dues…as well as sponsorship of the Rotary International float at the Rose Bowl Parade–a showstopper.

More to come.  See D.McCumbers at McCumbers-Brady Realty or Amy Crawford at the Business Works–both on Garrettsville’s Main Street–to learn more, volunteer or otherwise get in on the action

Freedom Township – At the December 30, 2010 Trustee Meeting, the following matters were discussed and handled:

Zoning Inspector Derthick recapped zoning activity for the year. He will respond to a resident’s request regarding how complaints are handled.

Mr. VanSteenberg reported three replacement springs at a cost of $525 were purchased for the ’95 truck as well as a fuel tank repair at a cost of $450.

Rothermel Electric will disconnect the old and reconnect the new fuel tanks at the garage and install a new emergency disconnect button on the garage exterior at a cost of $780.

Mr. Martin said the Fire Department turned down sharing expenses with the Village for a computerized dispatching system. Mr. Zizka said the EMS also turned it down since we already get good dispatch service from the Village. He also provided recent minutes and call summary for November and said we continue to respond to Windham as needed and they are current in paying their bills.

Approximately 50% of the approved 2011 budget was appropriated.

Cemetery Regulations as revised at the December 16 meeting were adopted.

Mr. Mike Krzys was reappointed to the Board of Appeals for a term of 2011-2015. Mr. Frank Richnavsky was appointed to the Zoning Commission for a term of 2011-2015 with Mike Mikulski as alternate for a one-year term.

Attorney Dann Timmons donated his services to our gas lease project which was accepted. A gift certificate will be sent to show our appreciation.

Mr. Zizka spoke of the Right-of-Way Policy. He said that according to the Ohio Township Association, this should allow us to restrict cable companies from placing their boxes in the road right-of-way; the prosecutor is not sure that will be the case. Zizka said we need to prohibit people from putting masonry mailboxes in the right-of-way.

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The Garrettsville Library will host an invitation-only “Superhero” party on Saturday, January 29 from 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm. Held in honor of the many dynamic superhero characters featured in popular series such as KAPOW!, the party is for boys in grades K-3. The party will include crafts, snacks, and lots of superhero fun. Be sure to wear your most powerful costumes and don’t leave your “super powers” at home (though not required).  An invitation is required for attendance. Invitations can be picked up at the circulation desk. Only 25 invitations are available, so visit early before they’re all gone.

Garrettsville -  Michael Oddo, a comedian/hypnotist, will perform on Saturday, January 22nd.  He will do two family-friendly shows- one at 3:30 pm and the other at 7:30 pm in the James A. Garfield High School auditorium.  Each show will last from 60-75 min.  Tickets are $8 per person, per show (regardless of age). Oddo’s performances are to raise money for this years  junior/senior prom.

Students will be selling tickets at the high school girls and boys home basketball games and during lunch in the high school and middle school.

If you are interested in purchasing any tickets for yourself and/or a group of people please send in the money with your high school or middle school child or you can contact Mrs. Sweigert at the high school by calling (330) 527-4341.

All checks are to be made payable to  James A. Garfield High School.

Did you just get engaged over the holidays? Have you been engaged for what seems like forever and haven’t tied the knot yet? Waiting to get married until you can “afford” it? Why not consider getting married or renewing your vows during Garrettsville Summerfest 2011!

This years Vegas-style theme ~ “The Biggest Game In Town” ~ easily lends itself to thoughts of wedding chapels.  If you’re engaged and would like to have your wedding at Garrettsville Summerfest 2011, send the committee your letter and tell us why you should be Summerfest’s First Couple. The wedding would take place on Saturday, June 25th   and the winning couple will need to provide their own attire. In addition to flowers, appetizers and bubbly, the winning couple will receive overnight accommodations for Saturday and then return to ride in the parade on Sunday, June 26th.

Applicants need to include the couples’ names, address, phone number and a brief story on why they should be selected as Summerfest’s First Couple. Please send your information to: Garrettsville Summerfest’s First Couple, c/o The Weekly Villager, PO Box 331, Garrettsville, OH 44231. Deadline for all submissions is April 29, 2011. Information packages and complete rules will be sent those who submit their stories or by by contacting the Villager during regular business hours at (330) 527-5761 or by filling in the form below.

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Burton-Berkshire High School is proud to announce their Junior and Senior Students of the Month for December.  Congratulations go out to Nathan Dornback, Patience Elliott, Lisa Gregory, Melissa Koziol, James Rohaley and Spencer Wilson.  Great job and keep up the good work!

The Berkshire After Prom Committee is holding a raffle for Berkshire Juniors only.  New Directions Photography located at 11800 East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls (440.708.0965) has donated a Senior Portrait Package valued at $435 to be raffled to assist in raising funds for the After Prom.  They have also donated two $25 runners up prizes.  Raffle tickets, which are $10 each, can be purchased at any home basketball game.  The drawing will be held at the Spaghetti Dinner/Spring Musical After Prom fundraiser on April 8th.

The Berkshire Family and Civic Engagement Team is working alongside the United Way in Geauga County to help the community utilize the United Way’s 211 Help Line.  The 211 Help Line is available to all Geauga County residents either via the website (www.211Geauga.org) or by calling 440.285.3194.

Here is just a sampling of the service information provided through the Help Line.  You can find alcohol and drug programs, crisis services, employment services, food pantries, health care services, shelter for victims of domestic violence or for those who are homeless, parenting programs, many kinds of support groups, family services, volunteering and much more.  The Berkshire Family and Civic Engagement Team are made up of parents, community members, administrators and the Executive Director of the United Way in Geauga County.

Below is a list of upcoming Berkshire sporting events:

Varsity Girls Basketball:

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Cardinal HS) 6:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Wednesday, Jan. 19 (Grand Valley HS) 7:30 pm at Grand Valley High School

Saturday, Jan. 22 (Painesville Harvey) 2:30 pm at Harvey

Wednesday, Jan. 26 (Kenston HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Junior Varsity Girls Basketball

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Cardinal HS) 5 pm at Berkshire High School

Wednesday, Jan. 19 (Grand Valley HS) 6 pm at Grand Valley High School

Saturday, Jan. 22 (Painesville Harvey) 1 pm at Harvey

Wednesday, Jan. 26 (Kenston HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Freshman Boys Basketball

Monday, Jan. 17 (Hawken) 4:30 pm at Hawken

Thursday, Jan. 20 (Beachwood HS) 5 pm at Berkshire High School

Monday, Jan. 24 (Richmond Hts. HS) 5 pm at Richmond Hts. High School

Varsity Boys Basketball

Tuesday, Jan. 18 (Independence HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Friday, Jan. 21 (Richmond Hts. HS) 7:30 pm at Berkshire High School

Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Hawken) 7:30 pm at Hawken

Junior Varsity Boys Basketball

Tuesday, Jan. 18 (Independence HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Friday, Jan. 21 (Richmond Hts. HS) 6 pm at Berkshire High School

Tuesday, Jan. 25 (Hawken) 6 pm at Hawken

Varsity Boys Wrestling

Saturday, Jan. 15 (Ashtabula Edgewood) 9 am at Ashtabula Edgewood

Other matches are to be announced, please check the website (www.berkshireschools.org) for up to date times and locations.

There are a lot of great things happening at the Berkshire Schools.   Thank you to Superintendent Doug DeLong for the updates and news.

Windham – It was just last week when Windham was hit with another blow to the local economy when the owner of T & J’s Restaurant announced the closing of its doors because of the sluggish economy. However, just across the parking lot from T& J’s Restaurant there is a new business in town, one that will hopefully deny the sluggish economy a victory. The new business is actually two businesses in one, a laundromat and a barber shop. I know you’re going to say there has always been a laundromat there, that is true but that laundromat closed last summer, leaving Windham without one, at least until last month. Dave and Igner Devlin opened the new Windham Laundromat in the old remodeled laundromat facilities in December and have plans to open a barber shop in there as well. The barber shop is slated to open in February. One can suds their duds and get hair cut in one stop.

The laundromat is open from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. seven days a week and offers new washers and dryers. The washers have a 35 lb capacity and the dryers 50 lbs. Each load will cost $2 to wash and $2 to dry as long as one doesn’t overload the dryer. One will find the laundromat is manned most of the time and when it isn’t, Dave and Igner live just down the road and can be there in a few minutes to solve whatever  problem one might have. Besides the laundromat, they also have an ATM machine inside and claim it is the cheapest ATM in the area.

Slated to open in early February is the barber shop. Igner brings with her over 20 years barber experience and is excited to be opening a shop in Windham. She stated that it will be a cut-n-go type of shop. She will offer men’s haircuts and women’s hair cuts but if you’re looking for a perm or color than you will need to go to a regular beauty shop.  One can expect to pay $12 for a hair cut and those who are serving in the Armed Forces will receive $2 off a regular cut. The barber shop hours of operation will be Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dave and Igner are relatively new to the area. They moved here last year from Alaska and they absolutely love Windham. Dave, who is originally from Youngstown, and Igner, originally from Florida, decided last winter to make this area their home, with their teenage son, Peyton. When they came here, Igner had dreamed of opening a barber shop in Windham and when the laundry mat became available they were able to reconfigure the facility to house both businesses.

This is not the first time they have owned and operated a business. In Alaska they owned and operated a laundromat and a barber shop and at one time owned and operated a restaurant and a store there as well. They are both excited to be a part of the Windham business community,  look forward to getting to know folks and are thrilled to serve area residents. The laundry and barber shop are located in the small plaza where Circle K is located.

Newton Falls – Residents of the 44444 will have an opportunity to visit the polls once again in the second special election since the regular voting season concluded in November.

Last Friday afternoon, the council members met during a special meeting at the community center to designate a date for another recall election. Last November, then-mayor Patrick Layshock was removed from office by a closely split vote and replaced by the current mayor Lyle Waddell. This time around the man in question is James Luonuansuu, representative for the Fourth Ward who has held the seat just over a year. Petitions concerning the councilman’s possible exit have been circulating since around the time the former mayor was ousted. The Board of Elections verified the signatures and instructed the city to set a date for the election, suggesting February 8th since that date  would save Newton Falls some money.

At the special meeting, Councilwoman Johnson questioned the need to set a date now because she had “heard through the grapevine” about a possible appeal to the Board’s verification being filed. Mayor Waddell replied that there had been none filed to his knowledge, nor any official paperwork presently on the table, so there was no reason not to proceed.

Councilwoman Hoffman and Councilman Zamecnik made the motion to set the date as suggested by the Board for February 8th. Councilman Monteville voted in the affirmative as well, and Councilwoman Johnson was the single vote against.

The special election for the possible recall of Fourth Ward representative James Luonuansuu will be February 8th.

As in the November mayoral recall election, voters will have the opportunity to vote for or against the recall itself and then to vote for a replacement candidate should Mr. Luonuansuu indeed be recalled. One such candidate vying for the Fourth Ward seat is Phillip Beer, one of the residents responsible for leading the recall effort. Mr. Luonuansuu has told other media outlets that when he was voted into office over a year ago, in fact then beating out Mr. Beer, it was by a solid majority so he feels the same support is likely. Mr. Beer, however, had been a write-in vote at that time and he is hopeful the outcome will be different next month when his name is actually listed on the ballot.

Council meetings are currently held at the Community Center on Quarry Street, the first and third Monday of each month at 6pm. Due to the upcoming holiday, the second meeting of January will be held Tuesday the 18th. The public is welcome to attend or can tune into the local access channel for the televised proceedings.

Iva Walker & Rellajeanne Cooke with the Piecemaker quilt (photo: Kim Breyley)

Garrettsville - The Village Piecemakers, a Garrettsville area quilt guild raffled a beautiful king size quilt over the Christmas season. The winning ticket was drawn by Iva Walker as the quilt was displayed and tickets were sold in her home during the 2010 Christmas Walk. The winner of this stunning quilt was Ms. Carol Claus of Independence, Ohio. Ms Claus traditionally participates in every Christmas Walk. She sets aside the time and titles it, ‘the sacred weekend’ that she, her sister and neighbor faithfully attend.

Ms Claus contributed a generous donation to the guild after receiving her prize.  Funds received by the guild are used to further club activities and are donated to worthy local non-profit organizations.

This quilt, machine-pieced and quilted by guild members, is comprised  mostly of fabrics purchased from a local quilt and gift shop, “The Shaker Tree” on Main Street in Garrettsville.

The Garrettsville Christmas Walk is sponsored by the Garrettsville Historical Society and this organization graciously allowed the Village Piecemakers the privilege of displaying and selling tickets for their quilt in one of many homes on the Christmas Walk.

Chandler Bee and Ethan Milko (Photo: Iva Walker)

Garrettsville – Excitement filled the air.  Tension mounted as the contestants moved into position for the competition.  The crowd was hushed….  No, wait…this was the annual James A Garfield Middle School Spelling Bee…this crowd is never hushed…quiet, maybe…attentive, perhaps…but hushed?   In your dreams, Principal Tom Sullivan, organizer Jackie Lovelace, in your dreams.

The judges table featured a Webster’s Unabridged, three judges and the dreaded bell to signal lack of orthographic (Look it up) success.

The microphone–center stage–was adjusted  to pick up the veriest whisper from the height-challenged or the stratospherically-inclined.

And the words rolled forth: gnash, versatile, suffrage, grammarian, monstrosity …speaking of which, who picks these things out anyway?   One interesting moment of the event came about when Becky Kirk, who was cruisin’ up to that point, got the word, “yippee”.  The pronouncer spoke the word…silence…spoke the word again–with definition…silence…spoke once more, with feeling…then Becky turned  and said, incredulously, “Is that THE WORD?”  It was, and she spelled it right to move on to the next round.  At one point, all of the spellers in the rotation had missed their words, so everyone got another crack at the brass ring.

The two survivors of the process, Chandler Bee and Ethan Milko–a seventh grader and an eighth grader, held up through all that and the finale words–surmountable and   herringbone–to take finalist honors and head for the county bee which will take place at Maplewood Career Center on February 1st at 6:30 p.m.  Congratulations to all participants and good luck to our champs as they head to The Big Enchilada.

Photo: Estelle R. Brown

Garrettsville – ‘Good things come to those who wait.’ So the saying goes. But for those waiting for the Windham Street (State Route 82) Bridge to open for traffic, patience is a virtue that will have to be exercised for at least four more months.

Initially, ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) engineer Craig Dunbar set October 1, 2010 as the completion date for the Garrettsville bridge project. Then, due to weather delays, ODOT issues and county engineer complications, the completion date was set back to the end of November. Then it was re-set to sometime before the holidays… and now “we’re looking at sometime in May 2011 for the bridge project to be completely done,” Dunbar says.

Possibly — if the weather warms up to at least 40 degrees and stays dry for a string of consecutive days — the bridge could open to vehicle traffic later this winter but remain closed to foot traffic until late spring.

Last week, the eight-man crew erected a concrete railing along the east side of the steel-beamed bridge. This week, they have been working under the cover of heated plastic sheeting to erect the west-side railing. Most likely, workers will take a break from bridgework until after winter’s grip begins to thaw, most likely resuming their work in April.

Dunbar says that several steps need to be taken before the new bridge opens:

1)Saw cuts need to be made across the deck of the bridge pavement in order to provide road surface traction;

2)Pavement markings need to be painted when the surface reaches 40 degrees or better;

3)Concrete sidewalks need to be poured;

4)Four antique-style iron street lamps need to be erected;

5)All surface concrete must be painted off-white.

Work began in May 2010 to demolish the deteriorating arch bridge that spanned Eagle Creek and connected drivers to downtown Garrettsville. It was expected to take six-to-nine months to replace it.

Despite setbacks, the $1.8 million venture will eventually produce a rolled steel frame bridge spanning Eagle Creek with a concrete facade similar to the original historic bridge erected in 1932, featuring baluster railings illuminated by street lights reminiscent of those removed from the old bridge.

“This bridge has required a lot of detail work,” Dunbar reports. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s not really an arch bridge. It just looks like one.”