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Garrettsville – We received many requests.  Some wishes were large and some were small.  We had a wish all picked out.  Then we received a letter from Portage County Children Services’ Director, Penny Ray.  Penny nominated Samantha Mitchell.  Samantha is a mother of an infant son.   She lives in Ravenna.  Two friends from Family and Community Services also nominated her.

The wish was very simple – she needed home furnishings and supplies for her baby.  Samantha is an enthusiastic mother who is looking for work and trying hard to make a good life for her son and herself.

Upon hearing this story, there was no doubt- this was our Christmas wish to be granted.  The shopping was immensely fun.  Chris Perme was an enthusiastic financial partner, but his schedule did not allow him to shop for the gifts.  So our editor agreed to help with the shopping.  Instead of taking the list as suggestions, we decided to treat it as a shopping list.  We bought ALL of the suggested items – a baby swing, cookware, a microwave, and more.

After buying the items, we wrapped it all up and delivered it to our winner on December 23.  This was the best part of all.  Four of us delivered the gifts.  It still took multiple trips from car to Samantha’s home.   I can honestly say this made my Christmas.  I was happy to help such a grateful young lady.  The smile on her face when we carried in the gifts just made my heart smile.

My fellow Santa, Chris Perme, shared these sentiments.  “It started as just something nice to do for the community.  It ended up being a bright spot of my Christmas.  It is truly better to give than to receive.”

On behalf of Perme Financial Group, the Weekly Villager, and me, we wish Samantha and her son the very best.  We were happy to meet her and make her our 2010 Christmas Wish recipient.

A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.
Those residents of Geauga County residing in the Cardinal Local School District who would like to vote an absentee ballot should make arrangements now.
In order to request an absentee ballot for the Election, registered voters must fill out an absentee application. Each request must have the applicant’s original signature. Requests may be mailed to:
Geauga County Board of Elections
470 Center St., Bldg. 6-A
Chardon, Ohio  44024
The Board of Elections will accept mail-in requests for absentee ballots for the February 8, 2011, Special Election thru noon on Saturday, February 5, 2011.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board of Elections office January 4, 2011, through the close of business on Monday, February 7, 2011.
The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on Saturday, February 5th, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Voters can download an Absentee Application on line at:

A Special Election will be held on Tuesday, February 8, 2011.Those residents of Geauga County residing in the Cardinal Local School District who would like to vote an absentee ballot should make arrangements now.In order to request an absentee ballot for the Election, registered voters must fill out an absentee application. Each request must have the applicant’s original signature. Requests may be mailed to:Geauga County Board of Elections470 Center St., Bldg. 6-AChardon, Ohio  44024440-279-2030The Board of Elections will accept mail-in requests for absentee ballots for the February 8, 2011, Special Election thru noon on Saturday, February 5, 2011.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board of Elections office January 4, 2011, through the close of business on Monday, February 7, 2011.The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on Saturday, February 5th, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noonVoters can download an Absentee Application on line at:http://www.co.geauga.oh.us/Departments/BOE/Absentee.aspx

Highlights of the December 16, 2010 Trustee Meeting:
The Zoning Inspector is still having computer problems. Trustees gave permission to get information on a new computer.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported the fuel tank on the ’95 Kodiak truck had a hole in it. Trustees agreed to authorize repair for a cost not to exceed $500. They also authorized purchase of 4 recapped tires for the truck at $225 each, plus $24 each for mounting. They also agreed to have repairs made to the springs on the door at the Route 700 garage for the sum of $235.
Trustee Hammar said our best opportunity for grant money for park projects is Nature Works (ODNR). The county share is going to be about $48,000 this year. The most we could hope to get is 70%. It was agreed he should proceed with the grant request.
Trustees agreed to approve the Delta Dental premium of $69.17 per month for the year 2011. Mrs. Nicholas noted this was a $2.04 per month increase. There was no increase in 2010.
Trustees accepted a $50 donation from Dorothy Morrison and family in memory of Thomas Kristoff.
It was agreed that the Annual Township Inventory would be held Monday, January 10 at 9am beginning at the Town Hall.
Trustee Zizka said mats were needed for the back door and upstairs at the church. Mr. VanSteenberg will check pricing with Rentwear. Mr. Zizka also advised the gutter on the south side of the church came down because of heavy snow and ice.
Mr. Zizka continues to follow up on details regarding the town hall porch project.
Mr. Hammar said there may be NOPEC grant money left over after the initial first round. Mr. Martin suggested if so, we apply for insulated doors and openers for the township garage, also an insulated entrance door.
The draft Cemetery Regulations brochure was reviewed and several revisions suggested. Mrs. Nicholas will present a revised brochure, which includes all the recommended changes, to be considered for adoption by the Trustees at the December 30 meeting.

Because of voter support in November, the Geauga County Public Library system will reinstate opening at 9:00 a.m. six days a week at Bainbridge,   Chardon, Geauga West, and Middlefield libraries beginning January 3. Sunday hours remain 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Story-time classes continue, and additional programs for school-age children, teens, and adults will begin soon.
The website has been updated and provides valuable information, databases, catalog connection, and ebook titles. The Ohio E-Book Project found at www.geaugalibrary.net offers titles to library card holders that can be downloaded to such devices as Nooks, Sony e-readers, and Kobos.  If you have questions about accessing any library service, there is now more time available for staff to assist you!

Mantua – A simple “Thank You” does not seem to be adequate to express our appreciation for all the help we received during the holiday season. Because of the wonderful support 4 C’s received from the community we were able to serve many people this holiday season. We supplied food and gifts for 175 families and that includes 200 children. A special thanks goes out to C-Act, Ravenna Giant Eagle, Monroe’s Orchard and Farm Market, Hilltop Church and all the area churches, Barky Mart, the Mantua Chamber of Commerce, the Knights of Columbus, Crestwood Lions, Kiwanis, American Legion and all of you in the community who donated food items for our give-away.  A thank you too, to our wonderful volunteers, who spent hours packing it all up and distributing it. Every year we realize how blessed we are to live in such a caring community. 4 C’s Council says, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

Newton Falls – Visitors to the local history room at the Newton Falls Public Library last Wednesday found they had a new path to take to get to their destination: a brightly colored, candy-laden trail guarded by characters both sugary sweet and grimly gooey.

A Candyland board game, life-sized for pint-sized players, filled up the entire room between the history center and the stairwell, inviting children ages 3-8 to live out one of their favorite kid-friendly activities. This idea was literally thinking out  of the box: scenes and creatures from the classic game came to life as oversized cutouts set at appropriate intervals true to the landscape of the familiar playtime backdrop.
Along the winding road of individual squares, the children had the opportunity to dance past the sugar fairy at Snowflake Lake, get lost in the Licorice Forest, keep sane passing Peanut Acres, and try not to get stuck in the melting mud at the Chocolate Swamp, while successfully sneaking past Glumpy, the Swamp’s gooey guardian. According to game rules, a player would draw a colored card from the deck – in this case individual paper bags – and take a “move” to the next square on the floor corresponding with the color they had drawn. Double-square cards meant even more progress! At various points, in addition to slipping past the vivid characters, the children were instructed to keep an eye out for bowls of real candy matching the imaginary counterparts in the game. A special treat of chocolate chip cookies awaited finishers at the last stop just inside the final fortress of the Candy Castle.
Organizer Chrissy Braun, clad in a vintage-style Candyland t-shirt in appropriate chocolate brown, explained this is the third year the library in Newton Falls has been transformed into a lane of lollipops, but before that she and a colleague hosted a similar experience for children in Stow. Art students from Newton Falls High School helped to paint the giant props and Braun herself tried a creative hand at some of the artwork. The fantasy land only lasted until 6 pm and then reality interceded, but the flavorful fun will come back next year. In the meantime, there will be lots of other exciting events going on at this library and those in neighboring communities.
For other great area activities for kids, check out http://www.newtonfalls.org (Newton Falls Library), http://www.wtcpl.lib.oh.us (Warren), http://www.portagecounty.lib.oh.us (G-ville/ Windham/ Hiram/ Mantua), or your own local library website for crafts, storytime hours, and tot programs!
Oh, and be sure to catch “Puppy Tails” to follow the adventures of Doodle Dog, every other week in The Villager!

Lake Milton – The Lake Milton Browns Backers held their annual Food and Toy Drive on December 18, 2010 at the Dutch House in Lake Milton.  Club president Gary Rozhon indicated this was their biggest event ever.  Thirty six families and nearly 60 children received food baskets and toys for the holidays.
The festivities began with the arrival of Santa Claus in a fire truck provided by the Lake Milton Fire Department.  Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus then greeted the children and provided them with coloring books, cookies, and drinks.  The day’s events ended with each family receiving a turkey and food basket and plenty of presents for all their children.
President Rozhon summarized the event, “I am truly amazed at the effort our club members have made this year.  Their hard work and dedication resulted in us helping an additional eight families.  With the support of numerous businesses and residents of Lake Milton, we distributed over a ton of food for these families!  Add in the hundreds of toys for their children…words can not express how blessed our club feels to be able to have such a positive impact on our community.”
The Christmas food and toy drive is one of many community events the club hosts throughout the year.  The club has been responsible for raising and donating nearly $10,000 for local families, charities, and goodwill events this past year.  The Lake Milton Browns Backers were recognized as one of the TOP FIVE clubs in the country in 2009.  Their 2010 efforts have resulted in August Club of the Month awards and consideration once again for Club of the Year.
Become a part of something special.  To  join or obtain information about the organization, contact Olde Dutch Mill Golf Course at 330-654-4100.  GO BROWNS!

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield Intermediate School presented Carols and Choruses recently at their annual Christmas Concert. The 5th and 6th grade concert was under the direction of Mr. Gaither and had something for everyone.
The concert started off with a new addition to the music department, the hand bell choir. The ten member hand bell choir played two holiday numbers that delighted those in attendance. They were followed by the jazz band, which performed two selections as well.  The concert moved on to the Fifth Grade Choir, which I must say, was awesome. The choir performed “Christmas Canon” written by Pachelbel and arranged specifically for this performance by Mr. Gaither. This selection was performed in five-part harmony featuring Ramsey Goodner on the violin while Nick Crawford tickled the ivories. The performance knocked the socks off the audience as everyone sat mesmerized by the harmonious sounds coming out of fifth graders’ mouths. The kids did such a wonderful job one could easily forget they were listening to fifth graders. The talent these students displayed totally wowed the audience and made them a difficult act to follow.
Although the choir was a tough act to follow, the sixth grade band stepped up to the plate to put on a concert to remember. We heard many favorite carols, including some new ones, all to usher in the season of good tidings and great joy. Those kids really rocked the house!
The holiday season would not be complete without fruitcake and this concert was no exception. The kids sang a fun selection, “Everlasting Fruitcake” which had the audience chuckling over the lyrics as they sang about the fruitcake that would reappear no matter how hard they tried to get rid of it. The evening closed out with the choir leading everyone in a Christmas Carol sing-a-long. The students and Mr. Gaither made this a concert to remember.

Portage County – Snow days are every school kid’s fantasy come true… until it’s time to make up for lost instructional time. Most area school districts have already exhausted their allowable cancellation days due to two major snow storms in early December. Now districts are on borrowed time as actual winter weather kicks into typical gear, with drifting snow, ice, below-zero wind chills and slick roadways posing hazards for the next three or four months.
Due to a change in state law intended to increase instructional time for students, the number of calamity days for public schools has been reduced in 2010-2011 from five to three. Many administrators and students are hopeful that Ohio Governor-Elect John Kasich will repeal this new law set in motion by outgoing Governor Ted Strickland.
But until then, schools’ first line of defense against inclement weather will likely be two-hour delays rather than cancellations. Late-start days still count as instructional days to the Ohio Board of Education, so the hope is that they will buy districts the time needed to brighten and clear roadways, mitigating the risk of potential accidents.
“Typically, we see three to five weather cancellation days per year,” says James A. Garfield Schools Superintendent Charles Klamer. Considering that three school days were already cancelled by mid-December, it’s likely that the district will double that number before the spring thaw arrives.
Safety for students and bus drivers is a superintendent’s top priority, even with pressure mounting to keep school doors open as scheduled rather than extend the school year with added make-up days. “We drive district roads in the early morning hours, consult with our transportation and maintenance supervisor, other neighboring school districts, road crews and weather forecasts before making any decisions,” says Klamer. “It’s not easy making a decision in the dark. The worst thing to happen is to have a school bus accident on our hands.”
With that in mind, both Garfield and Crestwood school districts will implement two-hour delays when possible, if weather forecasts and local road departments indicate that roads can be adequately cleared in time, and weather conditions are likely to improve throughout the remainder of the day.
Currently, the JAG school year has set June 8, 2011 as the last student day (graduation is June 5). With every school day cancelled hereafter, the school year is another day longer. If 10 cancellation days accumulate, Klamer’s understanding is that the state requires other measures for making up lost instructional time, such as extended school days or Saturday school.
The JAG School Board will finalize its calamity day procedures for the remainder of the school year by December 27, and will post it for parents on the district website: www.garfield.sparcc.org. As always, notification of delays and cancellations will be made available on major radio stations, Fox 8 News and Channel 5 TV weather alerts.
When Crestwood called a snow cancellation on December 14, it became the district’s fourth calamity day this school year, exceeding the state allowance of three. Consequently, Crestwood will be extending the school year an extra day through June 8, 2011… until further notice.
According to Crestwood Superintendent Joe Iacano, Crestwood tries to alert parents of delays or closures by 5:45 -6:15 a.m. that morning. Periodically, forecasts are definitive enough that school can be called off in time for the nightly news the prior evening. The announcement of a closing or two-hour delay will be broadcast on Cleveland television and radio stations and via Crestwood’s Alert Now telephone system. Those who have not signed up for the Alert Now system should contact their child’s principal for details. Parents should avoid calling schools or stations since incoming calls tie up phones and delay notification.
If a Crestwood parent believes it is safer to keep their child home all day due to localized conditions, even after schools re-open, they should send a written excuse the next day and students will be excused and allowed to make up any missed work for credit. (See www.crestwood.sparcc.org for full details.)
Crestwood is the only Portage County district to have surpassed the three-day limit so far. In addition to JAG, five other Portage districts — Rootstown, Ravenna, Aurora, Streetsboro, and Windham — have depleted their three-day allowance. Remaining Portage school districts — Waterloo, Field, Kent, Mogadore and Southeast — have used two snow days and have one bonus day remaining.
…And winter has only just begun.

The first time Naturalist Services Director Diane Valen did one of these programs, a slideshow on Alaska, it drew a record-breaking 90 people.
But that was back in the beginning, in the winter of 2006, before the popular Armchair Adventure Travelogue Series became a staple on so many calendars and a known means to avoid cabin fever. Now the average crowd is 100; audiences are known to brave blizzard-like conditions; and this season one presenter will even come all the way from Arizona to share her story.
“People sometimes feel like there isn’t anything for them during the wintertime because they’re not skiers and they just aren’t equipped to be outside,” Diane said. “This has filled this niche.”
In addition to a variety of photos and storytelling techniques, many presenters also bring maps, souvenirs or the backpacks right off their backs so people can see what it takes to take such a trip – what do you have to take with you? These items are set up in the back of the room for pre- and post- meeting examination and questions.
The following programs run 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Hiking Sedona: Red Rocks – Blue Sky – White Snow – Sunday, December 26
Described by USA Today as “the most beautiful place in America,” Sedona’s beauty has made it a mecca for photographers, nature lovers and travelers to the West. Explore the culture, history and natural features of this spectacular area with Nelson and Marty Kirsch, who for the last 10 years have trekked hundreds of trails and thousands of miles while enjoying winters in Sedona.
The Yukon by Canoe – Sunday, January 16
Details: Paddling 250 miles on the Yukon River along the route of 1898 Gold Rush prospectors, then camping under the “midnight sun,” was the journey of a lifetime for Susan and Bruce Bennett. Now inhabited mainly by wildlife and First People, the Yukon has  spectacular scenery and abandoned 1900s vintage log cabins abound.
Wales & the Isle of Man – Sunday, January 23
Returning by popular demand with a new destination, Sue and Bill Berger invite you to explore the Welsh culture and landscape with stops including the zoo on the Isle of Man and the wind farms in the Irish Sea.
O Brasil (Brazil) – Sunday, February 6
A falls with 26 cataracts, a school of fish that devours a cow in two minutes, water lilies with six-foot leaves and more awesome discoveries are presented in this composite of Doby Green’s two trips to the biggest country in South America.
Ontario Park Primer – Sunday, February 13
Share the wonder of Niagara by night, Algonquin by canoe, trail explorations in Killarny & Killbear and fossil hunting at Stony Point in this sampler of what our neighbors to the North offer for outdoor enthusiasts within a two- to three-day drive of home with Naturalist Services Director Diane Valen.
You, Too, Can Hike the A.T! – Sunday, February 20
Not ready to tackle the entire Appalachian Trail? Chuck Warfield will provide tips and suggestions for day trips and tamer stretches with great views for any hiking level.
Have Tent, Will Travel: 1 Woman’s Solo Odyssey – Sunday, February 27
Mary Jane Skala set off on a cross-country journey with no GPS and no man, woman or dog…just a tent, sleeping bag, 7-year-old car and love of adventure. Follow her 8,000 miles encompassing 15 states, nine national parks, a Nebraska ranch, a snowstorm in the Colorado mountains and a Hopi Reservation.
“People who attend have either taken the trip themselves and want to re-live the experience, have always wanted to go and want to learn more, or have an impending trip,” said Diane. “For my program I had always wanted to do Algonquin, so it’s pretty much a hiking/wilderness experience – backcountry hiking and things. Some of them are more tame.”
Diane added that presenter Chuck Warfield enjoyed several of the series’ previous Appalachian Trail programs before crafting his own: “He said, ‘I don’t have three months to spend on the trail, so I’m doing little segments or I’m day hiking, and I’d like to put together a program to show what you can access and what you can do for short-term hiking if you’re not a hardcore backpacker.”
Registration is not required for these free programs, all fully wheelchair / stroller accessible. Call 440-286-9516 with questions or visit the Park District online at http://geaugaparkdistrict.org or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Newton Falls – Monday night’s council meeting explored changes for the coming new year as the main topic of conversation.
All officials were present and the floor of the forum was immediately turned over to two guest speakers. After the special presentation about city water usage concluded, local Police Chief John Kuivila addressed concerns over the proposed budget cuts for 2011 and how they may affect the dispatch methods in Newton Falls. “If it were up to me, I would love to keep our dispatch center,” he said. “It’s a costly thing, but very beneficial.” He acknowledged that the budget cuts would have an effect on every aspect of the department in one way or another. The specifics of just how the police department is going to operate with the tighter financial limits are still being determined, but keeping the personnel intact is the priority.
After the public had their chance for opening comments, the mayor gave his report, mentioning updates such as the success of the recent Shop with a Cop program during which area officers helped local children have a chance for a happy holiday; commenting on the importance of going through proper committee channels in the new year; and supporting a motion to start off 2011 on the right foot by enstating an employee recognition program as early as January. Mayor Waddell also announced that the charity beneficiary from the last meeting was the Shop with a Cop program, with this week’s random draw contribution going to the Newton Falls Elementary ABC Club. Having an opportunity to officiate his first wedding this past weekend, the recently-inaugurated mayor received a gratitude donation from the couple – he will be paying forward that $50 to the NFHS Technology Club.
By way of individual reports from council members, Councilman Zamecnik welcomed new business, Cubs Corners, a children’s clothing consignment and resale shop, to 26 W. Broad Street. The City Manager mentioned the large crowd that came out to support the Home 44444 the Holidays (- the Fill-a-Bus effort was very much a success as well -) and revealed that some lucky area children will be getting personal phone calls from Santa soon! He also mentioned, on a sad note, that Carl Byer, Jr., who had run the Car Show in town, passed away suddenly; condolences to Mr. Byer’s family.
After the law director’s report, Councilman Monteville immediately made the motion to adjourn into an executive session to discuss pending litigation, in response to a request by Mr. Fritz to do so at some point in the evening.
Highlights of the rest of the meeting included passing an amendment to legislation about the sign regulations. Several weeks ago there had been discussion concerning the posting of signs in town with goodwill messages and the thought that there should be leniency in the existing laws in order to allow such messages to remain. Most notably, the yellow temporary sign utilized by the Chamber of Commerce was specifically referenced, though the conversation pertained to any non-profit entity who wished to express congratulations, encouragement, and other similarly happy communications. There was a bit of confusion at the table over the exact alterations of the verbiage, especially pertaining to the section about political signs, and as a result in the end the ordinance was passed 3-2.
The proclamation of appreciation mentioned at the last meeting was indeed brought to tonight’s agenda, officially thanking the members of the police department who played a part in saving the life of a local man on November 22nd utilizing the AED equipment provided to the department.
In new business, Councilwoman Hoffman made a motion to put security in the community center during council meetings, stating that she was beginning to feel unsafe with the intensity of the recent arguments and citing the unguarded, off-the-street accessibility of the meetingplace as a situation that needed to be remedied. The official motion passed  to have Mr. Haney look into how much it would cost for a security person to be posted at the door during meetings and to report back his findings.
In reaction to continual catcalls from the audience during closing public comments, Councilman Luonuansuu made a motion in the middle of the segment to immediately adjourn the meeting. This would effectively deny anyone else who wished to speak their chance to be heard. The motion passed,  3-2. The next opportunity will be in 2011. Many who did stand at the podium wished a safe and happy holiday to all.

The state’s largest land conservancy is applauding the renewal of a federal tax incentive for private landowners – especially working family farmers – who protect their land with a voluntary conservation easement.
Western Reserve Land Conservancy, which serves a 14-county region in northern Ohio, endorsed the move by Congress to renew the incentive, which had expired at the end of 2009.  The tax incentive has helped the Land Conservancy work with willing landowners in our community to preserve more than 22,000 acres of productive agricultural lands and natural areas.
Conservation-minded landowners now have until December 31, 2011 to take advantage of a significant tax deduction for donating a voluntary conservation agreement to permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their land.  When landowners donate a conservation easement to the Land Conservancy, they maintain ownership and management of their land and can sell or pass the land on to their heirs, while foregoing future development rights.
The enhanced incentive applies to a landowner’s federal income tax.  It:
• Raises the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation agreement from 30 percent of their income in any year to 50 percent;
• Allows farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income; and
• Increases the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from six to 16 years.
“Conservation easements have become an extremely important tool for protecting our treasured natural resources in northern Ohio, and we thank Congress for recognizing the need to renew this incentive,” said Land Conservancy Vice President Eddie Dengg.  “Our whole community wins when thoughtful landowners voluntarily conserve their land this way, protecting wildlife habitat, clean drinking water, productive agricultural land, parkland and scenic landscapes.”
Anyone wanting more information about the voluntary conservation easements can contact the Land Conservancy at (440) 729-9621 or info@wrlandconservancy.org.
According to the Land Trust Alliance, the national organization that provides a voice for land trusts in Washington, D.C., bills to make this incentive permanent have 274 House and 41 Senate co-sponsors from all 50 states, including majorities of Democrats and Republicans in the House. This legislation is supported by more than 60 national agricultural, sport and conservation organizations.
Western Reserve Land Conservancy was formed in 2006 when eight local land trusts joined forces in the largest-ever merger of its type.  The Land Conservancy, which works to preserve the scenic beauty, rural character and natural resources of northern Ohio, has preserved more than 350 properties and more than 22,000 acres.

Hiram – In planning and zoning matters it was earlier reported that the Commission has recommended that Hiram Village adjust its fees on par with other area community zoning permit fees. The new zoning fee schedule will be submitted to Council at the January 2011 meeting. An organizational meeting for 2011 is scheduled for January 4th beginning at 7pm.
The Commissioners’ hearing on the annexation is rescheduled for January 24th beginning at 9am. The hearing will continue until all relevant data has been submitted to that board. The Board will then consider the Petition for Annexation and vote to allow or deny. Their decision can be appealed by either side to the Portage County Common Pleas Court and will not become final until that court decides the appeal, if any.
The demolition of the old Hiram School is now in progress, with the county contract executed and the two demolition permits having been issued for the bid contract of $66,900 to Ace-Zuver, LLC.
Last month the Village applied for a $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant. The grant will be utilized to make energy-saving permanent improvements in village structures. This grant should be awarded shortly.
A grant from Ohio Public Works Commission for $177,500 to fund a Hinsdale Road extension will be awarded in July 2011 with construction completed within a year. Although the extension is now on College property, it will be dedicated to public use.
The Hiram Police Department has recently applied for a $30,000 Federal Grant for the purchase of a police vehicle. This grant would fund the vehicle 100% and there would be no need to use village funds for the purchase.
On Tuesday, December 14th a change-of-command ceremony was conducted swearing in Hiram’s new Fire Chief Bill Byers. Fire Chief Gary Bott has served the community for 36 years, beginning in 1974. Gary now carries the rank of Captain and continues to serve his beloved community. Both Village Mayor and Hiram Township Trustees participated in the change-of-command ceremony and the Rev. Jeff Jackson gave the invocation and benediction. On Monday, January 3rd a meeting is scheduled to discuss the Fire and Police contract with the college and an agreement is expected shortly.
Effective January 1st, Hiram has adopted a newly-revised village income tax, Ord.#2009-31, replacing the 43-year old ordinance. A full copy is posted on the village’s website at www.hiramvillage.org. Other pending legislation includes Ord. # 2010-22, Increase in Fines for Parking Violations will see its third and final reading in January; and Ord.#2010-24, Uniform Trash Hauler for Village and Township will see its second reading in January.
Upcoming meetings for January are the Planning and Zoning, Tuesday, January 4th at 7pm in the Fire Dept. and a Regular Council Meeting, Tuesday, January 11th at 7pm in Council Chambers.

Nelson Township – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last Wednesday with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance.  The meeting was moved to the community house due to lack of heat at the maintenance building. The trustees stated that the fuel line that runs from the tank to the maintenance building was plugged with salt and need to be flushed out. Until it was completed, they were unable to use the heating system at the maintenance building. Currently, they were using an alternative heat source to keep the pipes from freezing.
The first item on the agenda was to open the sealed bids for replacement doors and windows at the community house.  The window bids ranged from $12,940 – $22,515 and door bids ranged from $5,980-$ 13,900. After some discussion the trustees decided they would table a decision on the bids until they discussed bids with their architect. This decision was based on the fact that the bids were as one trustees stated “All over the place.”
The trustees then discussed the option of possibility renting fuel tanks from Western Reserve. The fuel tanks woulc be  to replace the ones the township uses now to refuel equipment. The current ones are not compliant with the new codes and the cost to upgrade the old ones is out of reach for the township right now. The agreement with Western Reserve would include tank maintenance, changing filters and nozzles. They decided to postpone any decision on this matter until next month, due to a very tight budget.
Speaking of money, Trustee Leonard said he is looking into refinancing the mortgage or trying to prepay the loan on the township garage. After further investigation he discovered that there is a possibility of refinancing or paying down the current mortgage without penalties.  Currently, the township loan is structured so that out of the $21,626 paid annually  $8,000 is applied to the principal and while also paying $13,626 in interest. Leonard was sure he could find a method that would save the township money. Trustee Turos stated that they didn’t have extra money to pay down the loan and when they looked at this issue before, the local banks would only go 15 years, they would need 30 years like the current loan. Turos also stated there was a concern that doing this would bring the township funds too low. The fiscal officer stated that they have $1000 in the debt reduction fund that could be used toward prepaying the mortgage. Trustee Leonard said he will keep looking into the issue to see if he can find a way to save the township money. In other cost-cutting measures, Trustee Wilson has elected to take Medicare Part B rather than the township’s medical insurance. The township will pay Wilson $150 per month to cover his $150 reduction in Social Security benefits each month. This is expected to save the township approximately $12,000 a year. Since there was no other business to discuss the trustees closed out the 2010 year.
They opened the 2011 organizational meeting and on the agenda was choosing a chairman of the board, establishing a meeting date, employee evaluations and making  temporary appropriations.  The board voted Joe Leonard to serve as chairman of the board. They also set the meeting dates as the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the maintenance building. The trustees went into executive session to discuss employee evaluations, salaries and benefit packages.  The trustees returned from executive session and, there being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Nelson Township – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly-scheduled meeting last Wednesday with all trustees and fiscal officer in attendance.  The meeting was moved to the community house due to lack of heat at the maintenance building. The trustees stated that the fuel line that runs from the tank to the maintenance building was plugged with salt and need to be flushed out. Until it was completed, they were unable to use the heating system at the maintenance building. Currently, they were using an alternative heat source to keep the pipes from freezing. The first item on the agenda was to open the sealed bids for replacement doors and windows at the community house.  The window bids ranged from $12,940 – $22,515 and door bids ranged from $5,980-$ 13,900. After some discussion the trustees decided they would table a decision on the bids until they discussed bids with their architect. This decision was based on the fact that the bids were as one trustees stated “All over the place.”  The trustees then discussed the option of possibility renting fuel tanks from Western Reserve. The fuel tanks woulc be  to replace the ones the township uses now to refuel equipment. The current ones are not compliant with the new codes and the cost to upgrade the old ones is out of reach for the township right now. The agreement with Western Reserve would include tank maintenance, changing filters and nozzles. They decided to postpone any decision on this matter until next month, due to a very tight budget. Speaking of money, Trustee Leonard said he is looking into refinancing the mortgage or trying to prepay the loan on the township garage. After further investigation he discovered that there is a possibility of refinancing or paying down the current mortgage without penalties.  Currently, the township loan is structured so that out of the $21,626 paid annually  $8,000 is applied to the principal and while also paying $13,626 in interest. Leonard was sure he could find a method that would save the township money. Trustee Turos stated that they didn’t have extra money to pay down the loan and when they looked at this issue before, the local banks would only go 15 years, they would need 30 years like the current loan. Turos also stated there was a concern that doing this would bring the township funds too low. The fiscal officer stated that they have $1000 in the debt reduction fund that could be used toward prepaying the mortgage. Trustee Leonard said he will keep looking into the issue to see if he can find a way to save the township money. In other cost-cutting measures, Trustee Wilson has elected to take Medicare Part B rather than the township’s medical insurance. The township will pay Wilson $150 per month to cover his $150 reduction in Social Security benefits each month. This is expected to save the township approximately $12,000 a year. Since there was no other business to discuss the trustees closed out the 2010 year. They opened the 2011 organizational meeting and on the agenda was choosing a chairman of the board, establishing a meeting date, employee evaluations and making  temporary appropriations.  The board voted Joe Leonard to serve as chairman of the board. They also set the meeting dates as the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the maintenance building. The trustees went into executive session to discuss employee evaluations, salaries and benefit packages.  The trustees returned from executive session and, there being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

On  December 8, the Literary Musical Club held their monthly meeting, Betty Hamilton and Sally Kittle were hostesses. The food was good and tasty. Snowmen and shiny red apples decorated the tables.
The only business was the report on the cookie sales. We sold coffee and cookies on the Christmas walk.
Margaret Lappert is a new member for us. We are pleased she has decided to join our membership.
The weather was bad but we had the usual turn-out. Ann Spolarich had homemade nut rolls for everyone. Cathy Spolarich had gifts for the 80-year-olds. We had a fun gift exchange and two birthdays, Billy English and Alma Jones. We had Christmas carols with Pat Amor. We look forward to her music each year.
Everyone left in a holiday mood and looking forward to seeing all the members next year.

Garrettsville – Club members have had two months of single meetings each in November & December.
Joan Kropp hosted our meeting in November with Jan Chalker as her co-hostess. Lucy Galayde had charge of the program for the night and did a wonderful job of taking us back  to Pearl Harbor on one of the most shocking days of our history. Refreshments & time spent with friends were great. Thank you ladies.
Our December host was Iva Walker with Karen Ziarko co-hosting. The newly remodeled home had been showcased at the Christmas walk earlier in November & a treat to revisit.
Maxine Nimtz read the Cratchit’s Christmas beautifully. Roy Pancost and Dale Lucan played Christmas music while members enjoyed refreshments. Truly appreciated by all.
Our next meeting host has been changed to Bonnie Oliver on January 6th.

Garrettsville – James A. Garfield Schools will be sponsoring the Mobile Dentist again this year.  They will arrive at the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools on January 26.  We have invited the Smile Programs to bring their on-site preventative dental care services to our schools because we know how important good oral health is to a child’s overall health.  The program can provide services to families who need financial assistance, accepts insurance and/or can subsidize fees for persons who can partially cover the cost of an exam and services.
The dentist will arrive at the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle, and High Schools on January 26.  A mini clinic will be set up in the buildings and the dentist and team will provide preventative services for students who return the registration forms that were sent home.  If you would like to register, you may also contact your child’s school.

Girl Scout Troop 632 of Garrettsville took a moment out of their Christmas break to spread some holiday cheer at The Woodlands in Ravenna. The girls brought smiles to the residents by singing some holiday favorites throughout the building. This is the third year that the Troop has gone to The Woodlands to carol. The residents and the staff are very welcoming and enjoy the chance to listen to the girls. This opportunity also helps the girls to understand that something as simple as singing can bring joy to others.

Garrettsville – Garrettsville-Hiram Rotary is in full Santa-delivery mode.  To schedule your visitation and your donation to the People Tree for December 23,  make some quick snow bunny hops over to McCumbers-Brady Realty or The Business Works ASAP.

Family Week planning is gearing up as well.  The big event is set for February but things begin now to fall into place to make it all work.   Sponsors and donations are being sought at this time, as are contest entries–essays, family-of-the-year nominations, longest-married couple nominations, etc.–and volunteers. Contact any Rotarian…better yet, attend a meeting at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company on a Monday evening at 6:00.  You could be part of the big event.


A number of bowlers in the 9:00 Trio League shot well on Saturday.  High series for the day was Ashleigh Quiggle, with games of 117, 152, and 91 for a 360 series.  Ashleigh’s 152 game was 53 pins over average.   Right behind her was Drew Tushar with a 357 series.  Drew’s games were 105, 115, and 137, all over his 102 average.  Nathan Phillips beat his high game score with 142.  Nathan’s series score was 350, 80 pins over average for the day.  Kassie Fedor’s 157 game was 64 pins over her 93 average.  Other nice games were shot by Austin Wise, 115 (47 pins over average), Floria Gerardino, 106 (35 pins over), Adam Norris, 118 (28 pins over), Ryleigh Gough, 86 (26 pins over), and Courtney Lytle, 108 (23 pins over).  Cassie Painley had 70 each game for a triplicate.

Jessica Potteiger had both high game and high series for the day in the 11:00 Trio League, with a 187 game and 495 series.  Kim Wampler had second high series for the day with 461; Kim’s high game was 170.  Ethan Dubasik was 98 pins over average for the day, with games of 145, 135 and 124, for a 404 series.  Cameron King’s last game of 171 was 59 pins over his average of 112.  Cameron also rolled a nice 431 series, 95 pins over for the day.  Nick Toke had a 421 series, which put him 79 pins over his series average.  Other nice games were rolled by Billy Potteiger, 121 (44 pins over), Zachary Capron, 120 (44 pins over), Austin Sledz, 95 (37 pins over), Belladonna Titschinger, 114 (36 pins over), Taylor Mick, 138 (33 pins over), Jameson Huebner, 75 (32 pins over), Andrew Morrissey, 122 (22 pins over), and Lucas Titschinger, 105 (21 pins over).

High games for the 9:00 Pee Wee League were Alex Gage, 100, Mackenzie Zembower, 99, and three bowlers with games of 94 – Madisyn Zembower, Eric Schaefer, and Zach Seebacher.

In the 11:00 PeeWee League, Katie Fazi had an excellent 109 game.  Rian Yeatts was second high for the day with 92.

Next Saturday is our Christmas Party; we hope all the youth bowlers can attend.


Windham – Windham Joint Fire District Board met for their regularly-scheduled meeting recently with all members of the board present.

Chief Clair Simpson reported that Warren Fire Equipment was out to conduct bench tests on the Scot Air Paks.  They determined that several of the current air paks are out-dated and the cost to replace them would be  $4,442 for fiberglass tanks and $4,184 for aluminum tanks. After some discussion, the board approved the purchase of four Scot Air Paks with fiberglass tanks. They plan to evaluate how many more they will need to purchase next year.

The chief reported that we do not have to have the narrow band updated until 2012/ 2013. He had been originally told it must be done by 2011. The chief requested permission to send Justin Martin to take a 36-hour fire-fighters course at Maplewood; the cost of this class is $700 and much of it will be reimbursed under the fire grant from the state, providing he completes the course. The board approved this expenditure.

Once again there was a  discussion of purchasing blood and air-born pathogen jackets for the EMS crew. The coats cost $289 each. After a long discussion, the board approved purchasing  coats for those who have over volunteered over 1000 hours/ year to the department. Currently there are six EMS personnel who qualify for the jackets. The board stated that the jackets are property of the fire district and if one decides to leave the district the jackets are to remain with the district.

The fire board thanked Chief Clair Simpson for his 32 years of service to the department. During his 32 years of service Simpson had worked his way up thru the ranks from cadet to chief.  Simpson has been chief for over 8 years and is retiring from the department at the end of this year.

In other news, the board approved a maintenance agreement for the life packs. The life packs will be inspected and have new batteries installed each year. The contract is a two-year agreement. The board appointed two firemen, Mike Iwanyckyj and Gary Barnard, along with two board members, George Bengtson, Don Altiere, and the fiscal officer Jayme Neikirk to serve on the Volunteer Fire Fighters Dependent Fund Board.

The fire board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 7pm at the fire station. The board has scheduled an emergency end of the year meeting on December 14, 2010 at 7 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to give the oath of office to the new Chief Mike Iwanyckyj and to award a snow plowing contract for the station.

You see it in the movies… someone is having an emotional meltdown, babbling away about their seemingly insurmountable troubles… then a good friend gives them an alarming slap in the face. Suddenly, the babbling idiot looks up, refreshed and ready to move forward with new energy and a fresh perspective. “Thanks! I needed that,” they say.

Traveling to Nicaragua last week was my proverbial slap in the face. This was no classic resort vacation, where I was pampered and restored with VIP accommodations, R&R and therapeutic spa treatments. In fact, under any other circumstances, I would have considered it a disaster: Only a dribble of cold water in the sink and shower (and don’t you dare drink the untreated tap water!); sparse dormitory-style accommodations in simple bunk beds with hard pillows; toilets that can’t handle toilet paper; up before 6 a.m. each morning; simple mid-day meals of turkey-and-cheese sandwiches made by the side of the dirt road each day; sudden, unexplained blackouts… You get the picture.

And yet, this was luxurious compared to the plight of the people outside the high walls of the Land of Judah orphanage in central Nicaragua, where my Living Waters mission team stayed for the week. Along the roads from Managua to Masaya and Granada, and in the small towns and villages like Masatepe, San Marcos, Santa Teresa, Casares and Los Medranos, I witnessed crushing poverty among the people. They weren’t hidden away in contained slums; they were everywhere, walking along the road, riding a bicycle or motorbike, sometimes heaped along with dozens more in the bed of a pickup truck or crammed into a rickety bus.

They were walking for hours to get to work at the big chicken processing center or picking coffee beans for our special shade-grown blend of gourmet brew. They were gathering firewood along the side of the road; or grazing their scrawny cows or horses along the berm of the highway; or burning their heaping trash wherever it happened to pile up (because there is no trash-pick-up program in Nicaragua)… or begging for a handout at the airport and tourist attractions.

The homes we passed by ranged from miserable to inconceivable. The best ones were made of adobe-type material with either clay or thatched roofs. Others were made simply of sapling pole frames with sheets of cardboard and plastic stretched across. Most North Americans wouldn’t find these shelters fit for a stray animal.

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America (about the size of the state of New York); one of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean to the east. North of it is Honduras; Costa Rica lies to the south.

This tropical nation has been pretty much out-of-sight-out-of-mind since the Iran-Contra affair blew onto the scene during the Reagan era. But this country appears to be suffering from a deep, pernicious neglect. Consider these statistics from Global Exchange, Britannica and the Central Intelligence Agency:

The five major causes of death in Nicaragua are: 1) circulatory system diseases; 2) infectious and parasitic diseases; 3) accidents and violence; 4) respiratory diseases; 5) cancer.

Nicaragua’s health care crisis is pretty simple: There’s only one physician per 1,882 patients and one hospital bed per 804 persons. The life expectancy of the average Nicaraguan is 71 years.

Beyond that, 16 percent of the working-age population is unemployed; 36 percent is under-employed. Those fortunate enough to secure a minimum-wage job rake in cordobas equivalent to $4 a day. (Per day; not per hour.) Nearly 50 percent of the population exists below the poverty line.

The nation of Nicaragua relies on international economic assistance to meet internal- and external-debt financing obligations. The country cannot sustain itself.

These statistics are overwhelming. Immersing ourselves into this reality was nearly unbearable at times. It seemed that our efforts here would prove fruitless at best. As an extension of the indigenous Christian missionary organization, Messiah Project Nicaragua, our mission was “to reflect God’s love by bringing relief to physical suffering along with spiritual truth and direction through Jesus Christ to those without hope.” All we had to offer were songs of praise and encouragement, a funny puppet show, an encouraging message, practical Christmas gifts for the children, our prayers and hugs.

All of these small measures were warmly and graciously received by the throngs of people who met us at the intersection of a rural dirt road, in an empty urban warehouse, in the back yard of someone’s home, in a church recently built by the faithful community once ruled by gangs… even by a community subsisting across the road from the local dump. The former gang leaders now are indigenous street preachers who deliver the Good News as well as a food program, medicine, vitamins, reading glasses, radio programming and even a public lending library. These efforts are nothing less than revolutionary. The effect is miraculous.

So, Nicaragua has been my slap in the face this Christmas season. I’m not sweating the small stuff any more. I realize – despite my troubles – I am richly blessed. My New Year’s resolution is to hold on to this Nicaragua state of mind.

Burton – Are you looking for unique a baby gift or necessity item? If so, you will want to try Fezziwig’s located at 13868 Kirtland Street in Burton on the northeast corner of Burton Square.  They have just what you are looking for since 2007.  Many of their items are eco-friendly and/or organic which is great for baby and great for the Earth; Bill and Jody Grzywinski see to it that the items they offer are perfect.
You will not find the average run-of-the-mill baby items here, but what you will find are items that are beautiful, soft, fun and functional.  Right now the major focus is on newborns and up to 4 year old children. Bill and Jody are hoping to expand to older children in the near future.
Many new customers tell Jody that they thought the store was a consignment or used items store.  That is a misconception because all the items are brand new.  Some of the items they offer include diaper bags, bumGenius cloth diapers, bibs, burp cloths, bottles, sippy cups, Burt’s Bees Baby Line, blankets, mobiles, night lights, growth charts, rugs, lamps, unique clothing, gift sets, keepsake items, stuffed animals, books, activity toys, wooden toys, music for baby and so much more.  New items will be coming soon.  You can also view and order items online at www.Fezziwig’s.us.  Prices range from very affordable to high end and promises that there will be something to fit every budget.
Jody told me that one of the most used services they offer is their baby registry.  She said that many moms-to-be register at the big box baby stores as well as at Fezziwig’s.  That way Mom is sure to get all the supplies she needs to take care of the baby and those unique gifts you cannot find elsewhere.  The registry can be accessed through their website which makes using it  very convenient.
Their store hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 am until 5 pm and on Saturday from 10 am until 4 pm.  The website is always open.  Parking is available right in front of the store, or if you prefer to park in front of the shops north of Burton Square, you will find a walkway that connects those stores to Fezziwig’s.
Jody is an extremely warm and welcoming person ready to help you find just the right gift or necessity item.  The store is so adorable inside, you will want to be sure to spend some quality time looking at all the different items available.  It is an absolutely delightful store and one worth stopping by.  If you have a baby on the way or know of someone who does, be sure to stop by Fezziwig’s for that just-right gift.
You may be wondering what the name Fezziwig’s stands for.  Jody told me that the name comes from Charles Dickens’s “The Christmas Carol.”  In the story, Scrooge used to work for Fezziwig, who was a kind man who cared for his employees which is the exact opposite of Scrooge’s management style.  Fezziwig’s is a perfect name for this store because Bill and Jody care about their customers, the Earth and their fellow man.  You can feel good about shopping there and know that they donate 10% of their profits to St. Jude’s hospital.  Great people, great gifts, and great for baby!

The stage at W.D. Packard Music Hall hosted several notable characters over the last few months.
In September Dr. Elliot Engel, a PMH fixture, entertained loyal fans and newcomers alike as the opener for this year’s Trumbull Town Hall Lecture Series. Dr. Engel, a professor, scholar, and literary performer, graciously stepped in when the planned speaker, actor Jamie Farr (or Corporal Klinger to M*A*S*H fans) had a scheduling conflict. Recounting the origins of the American fairytale, The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Engel explained, in his own special way, just how this fantastical tale came to exist. Mixing true history with a bit of believable legend, he led those in attendance on a special journey of L. Frank Baum’s life and the creation of this classic story, adding the bit of flair and humor that his fans have come to expect, and which will keep newcomers keeping an eye out for his next visit.
October stirred up quite a crowd as visitors were treated to the Taste of Home Cooking Show. With a practically sold-out attendance of 1300 tickets, audience members watched as six delectable dishes were whipped up just for them, with a suspended video camera projecting the step-by-step action on a big screen behind the capable instructor. Sponsored locally by the Tribune Chronicle, the event offered menu items ranging from a simple soup to gooey dessert and the ingredients featured in the various recipes were included in goodie bags given to each spectator. Dozens of themed door prizes donated by area businesses were given away, adding to the excitement, and local vendors answered questions about products, passed out samples, and offered merchandise specials should anyone be adventurous enough to put their newly-learned kitchen skills to good use.
November saw an Emmy and Oscar winner from the small and silver screens grace the small stage. As the next speaker in the four-part Town Hall Lecture Series, actress/comedienne/musician Cloris Leachman entertained, amused and bemused guests with her stories of working alongside celebrities, coming into her own on Broadway, and even of riding the streetcar in the small Iowa town where she grew up. The spry 84-year-old discussed her determination at a young age not to become one of those “gray people” (the dreary 9-5ers surrounding her on that streetcar), shared her wisdom on growing old and preparing for the looming end (“Cremation sounds like you’re going to wind up as a non-dairy coffee additive.”) and confessed her distaste of dying: “I hate death, I hate the thought of dying. Whoever thought up that rotten idea…?” In true Cloris style, the lighter moments reigned as she took time to tickle the ivories, sang a few bars of “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” and recited ad lib “As You Like It.” She also shamelessly plugged her recent endeavor, “Raising Hope,” a comedy on Fox (after Glee!) in which she plays the not-quite-all-there great-grandmother Maw Maw of the infant title character.
The highlight of the morning presentation was the opportunity after her speech to buy her autobiography, co-written by her former husband George Englund, along with personalized autograph and photo op. (For those who may have missed the fall speakers, the Town Hall Series will resume in March with an appearance by Tom Gjelten, a national security correspondent. Damaris Peters Pike, a local Women of Note impersonator, will wrap up the season in April as Dolores Hope, the wife of the legendary Bob Hope.)
And now in December, though the weather is growing cold, the stage very much remains hot ringing-in the holiday season with the Big Band sounds of Packard backing up the soaring vocals of England-born, Ohio-transplant singer Helen Welch. This past Friday, the Hall held a free concert Jingle Bell Swing performance inviting the audience to get into the spirit of the season. Among the usual Christmas favorites, Welch led into intermission with a medley from the musical  “Chicago”, starting with “All That Jazz” and blending it with the equally jazzy “Razzle Dazzle ‘em.” It is safe to say that whatever their favorite part of the show, the spectators very much enjoyed the razzle and the dazzle of the evening.
Though some of the events require ticket purchases (The Town Hall Lectures are $5 with a student ID) Packard Music Hall offers many family-friendly experiences for free. The next free W.D. Packard Concert Band performance is scheduled for January 17th at 3pm. Check out http://www.packardmusichall.com for more details and a current listing of all upcoming events.

Pictured above (front L-R) Marilyn Paul, Jessica Bittence, M.D., Dave Vaughn, Commissioner Maureen Frederick, Stephen Colecchi, Eric Hummel, (back L-R) Jack Monda, Commissioner Chris Smeiles, Ty Barksdale, Rick Coe, Mayor Craig L. Moser

Garrettsville – The cold and snow did not deter folks from attending the ground breaking ceremony for the new Robinson Health Center in Garrettsville. On December 9, 2010 about 20 people gathered at the intersection of Liberty Street and South Street, the future site of the Robinson Health Center to observe and or take part in the ceremony. After the ceremonial ground breaking the group was treated to coffee and donuts.

The 1,644 square foot facility is expected to open this summer (2011) and will be home to Garrettsville Family Medicine.  Dr. Jessica Bittence from Hiram will be the primary physician at the center.
Stephen Colecchi FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer stated that “Garrettsville has always been a key part of the hospitals service area. The addition of the health center will further support our mission of continually improving and extending our care to the communities that we serve.”
The center will be an affiliate of Robinson Memorial Hospital, which is a progressive hospital serving Portage County and the surrounding communities. The facility is the second-largest employer in Portage County including an urgent care facility, a free-standing comprehensive imaging facility, a network of physician practices, and off-site health centers and medical facilities throughout Portage County.  Robinson’s staff includes 350 physicians  representing over 30 medical specialties.
Robinson Memorial Hospital is recognized as one of the best places to work in Northeast Ohio by the Employer’s Resource Council and has been designated as a Magnet Hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The hospital is an affiliate member of Summa Health System.

Freedom Township – At the December 2 meeting many of those present were hoping for a very short meeting in anticipation of the Cavaliers’ game that evening.
The main topics of interest were:
A request from township resident Ginny Adams to use the township sign to advertise job skills workshops for people looking for work. They will use the Congregational Church and she will have a number of people to be presenters. She will be advertising the first session, which is to be held January 15 from 12pm to 4pm. Trustees agreed to her request.
On Zoning Mr. Derthick reported one permit issued for a single family home on Nichols Road. The zoning computer has been repaired; two viruses were found. He also said OTA (Ohio Twp. Assn.) is forming a zoning inspectors group, which he is planning to attend.
Mr. VanSteenberg reported they had salted the roads that morning and there was a burial yesterday. They purchased oil and filters for the trucks.
Mr. Hammar is proceeding to search for grants for the Community Park.
Regional Planning dues for 2011 in the amount of $2,156.28 were approved for payment.
Trustees reviewed appointments to the Zoning Commission and Board of Appeals. Terms to expire in 2010: Mike Mikulski, Zoning Commission; Mike Kryz, Mike Baker (Alternate) and Randy Pochedly (Alternate) Board of Appeals. It was decided to advertise for letters of interest for residents interested in serving on both of these boards.
Mr. Hammar said he had an offer from Dominion East Ohio to lock in  a rate of 6.29. According to the recent bill, our current rate is 6.89. There is a $100 termination fee (per location) if you want to change after you lock in. Locking in at 6.29 was approved.
Mr. Zizka had the final plans for the front porch remodeling and will be taking them to the Building Department. The contractor wants to do all the work at the same time. It was agreed to accept the plans as presented. Mr. Zizka was authorized to apply for a Building Permit.
Regarding the desire for high speed internet for the township, Mr. Hammar said he got a call from Frontier. They will be expanding their service area to the 527 area code and announcing it sometime in December.
Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.

Among the longest-running programs Geauga Park District hosts, in its 22nd year, the Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk has become a tradition for families countywide.
The  Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk will take place on Tuesday, December 21 from  7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the West Woods Nature Preserve located at  9465 Kinsman Road, Russell Township.
This year guests will begin the year’s longest evening indoors with hot cider and cookies homemade by volunteers, ready for sing-along opportunities with the accomplished Pilgrim Brass Choir, which has contributed traditional holiday music all 22 years of the program.
Then they’ll head outdoors in volunteer-led groups of 40 to 50 to explore the roots of our modern holiday celebrations, derived from ancient civilizations that saw the winter solstice differently than we do.
Cultures featured during the walk’s seven luminary-lit stations include the Druids and the origins of mistletoe and holly; the Egyptians and their story of the rebirth of the sun god, Horus; the Northern Barbarians and how they saw the solstice as a threat from the sun gods; and the origins of traditional items like the Yule log and the Christmas tree.
Some stations will be interactive, others will be informational. At the new “Science of the Solstice” station, we’ll also explore astronomical events that bring about the solstice – a moment when all walkers will finally be asked to bring the longest night some light by lighting to their individual candles.
This program, held at Swine Creek Reservation for 14 years and The Rookery for the past seven, makes its debut at The West Woods this year. Roughly 15 staff members and 40 volunteers make it  happen annually, and with good reason – it regularly attracts about 400 people, said Teresa Runion, the Park District’s special events coordinator.
“What’s so great about this program is that many guests have told me it becomes a tradition for their families, gets them in the spirit and really kicks off that whole holiday week for them in a positive way,” she said. “We usually throw in little bits here and there to keep it fresh, but it’s really going to be fresh this year at the new location; even though some of the stations are the same, in a new location they will seem different.”
She added that next year’s December 21 will be especially different, consisting only of a self-guided candlelight walk on luminary-lit trails and an open house of the Snowbelted: Winter’s a Blast! exhibit at The West Woods, opening in November 2011.
Due to limited parking, carpooling is highly recommended for this year’s program, which is free and family-friendly but only wheelchair / stroller accessible indoors. Registration is not required. This program takes place primarily outside, so participants are encouraged to dress warmly.
Call 440-286-9516 with questions or visit the Park District online at http://geaugaparkdistrict.org or on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Garrettsville – Owners of The Garden Bistro  decided late Sunday night  that December 12th would be their  last official day of business. Co-owner Tawny Criblez stated via e-mail that “we have exhausted many possibilities, but the decision was made late tonight to no longer operate.”
The Garden Bistro opened in the spring and provided diners with affordable meals and delicious desserts. Owners will be meeting again to tie up any loose ends. No additional information was available at the time of publication deadline.

Newton Falls – Not too many people use maps these days, instead they find their location or destination using cell phones and GPS equipment, not so with the 5th and 6th grade class of SS. Mary & Joseph School in Newton Falls. The class worked together as a team to create an elevation map of the United States.  The Social Studies class worked together drawing patterns, molding, coloring and arranging the pieces like a giant puzzle to form the 4×8  likeness of the United States. After the lesson was complete the students were able to identify a state by its shape, name of its capital and they could also give historical facts pertinent to each state. If you think the lesson ends here you would be mistaken. The classroom teacher Ms. Folan says, “next comes the Math lesson”. The students will calculate, compare and contrast the areas and populations of the 50 states.

Garrettsville – Christmas is a magical time for youngsters, and adults, as the season holds many twinkling, colorful decorations. I remember driving around the streets of town after Thanksgiving so my children could see all outdoor displays. Even today as I drive I point out the different lighting displays. Each year I am amazed to see the changes in decorations that people place in the yard and on their house.
Lights have gone through a big change. The tradition of using lights on the Christmas tree reaches far back into history to the middle of the 17th century. The invention of electricity made it possible for Edward Johnson to create the first small Christmas tree bulbs in 1882. Remember when the bulbs were large and got hot very fast? Today you can find small LED bulbs that remain cool. The lights moved from the tree inside to outdoors.
Today’s decorations include more than just lights. Many people go to great lengths creating huge outdoor holiday displays, and oftentimes huge electric bills too! Imaginations run wild as people try to out-do last year’s display or their neighbors. The goal is to create a display that will get people talking, and pictured above is just such a display. The yard is not full of air-filled holiday characters, there isn’t a sleigh and reindeer on the roof, no this display is simple and understated. The residents of this Center Street home in Garrettsville (across from Carlson’s Funeral Home) have created a display so simple and realistic it has many people looking twice.
“He’s Okay” – yes the man hanging from the gutter is not actually a man at all! But the realistic possibility of a man losing his ladder and getting left hanging on the gutter has had many people rushing to his aid. Many of the double takes have had local towing company, Village Motors, busy pulling people out of the ditch. The residents have now added a sign to their holiday display – “He’s Okay, Merry Christmas”.
This display is definitely something you have got to see, just keep your car on the road as laughter sets in.


Kim Wampler had come close to bowling a 200 game before but never quite made it.  When she did hit the 200 mark, however, she hit it with force. A 234 game.   Kim called her grandfather right after the game; any readers who follow area bowling know her grandfather, Nick Butcher, a legend in the local bowling arena.  Kim’s teammate Jessica Potteiger had a 210 game on the day, and had by far the highest series of the day with 552.  Kim and Jess are both eighth-graders at Garfield.

Noah Shannon proved that his new bowling ball was a good investment – Noah had games of 145, 158, and 169, for a 472 series, 94 pins over his series average.  Other good games in the 11:00 Trio League were Kurt Bokesch, 169 (57 pins over average), Austin Sledz, 101 (45 pins over), and Belladonna Titschinger, 117 (41 pins over), Jaret Doraski, 164 (31 pins over), and Shannon Kerr, 124 (30 pins over).

In the 9:00 Trio League, Alex Evans shot 126 her first game, 56 pins over her average.  She continued with games of 74 and 97 for a 297 series, which put her 87 pins over for the day.  Eric Lawless also bowled over average all three games with 90, 98, and 124 for a nice 312 series.   Ashleigh Quiggle’s 138 game was 39 pins over average, and Cassie Painley was 30 pins over her 83 average with a 113 game.

High game for the 9:00 Pee Wee League was Travis Horner with 103.  Paige Collins hit the 100 mark again this week with a 100 game.  Mackenzie Zembower shot 98, Isaac Trickett had 96, and Kalen Caris had 95.

In the 11:00 PeeWee League, high games was Lucas Muncy with a nice 104 game.  Other good games were Katie Fazi, 95 and Kenny Mangan with 91.

Next Saturday is the last day to qualify for the Pepsi tournament.   Bowlers must be present in order to qualify; no pre-bowl scores count toward Pepsi qualifying.

Meadville, Pa. – Tight end Rob Carlisle capped a marvelous senior campaign with one of the most prestigious honors in collegiate sports. On Wednesday, Carlisle was named ESPN First Team Academic All-America in recognition for his rare combination of outstanding academic achievement and athletic ability.

Carlisle, who holds a 3.95 cumulative grade point average, majors in Biochemistry with a minor in Economics. In addition to his outstanding credentials in the classroom, he is a three-year starter for the Blue and Gold having appeared in 29 consecutive games. Carlisle was easily one of the league’s biggest break-out stars this season and closed the year as the top tight end in the North Coast Athletic Conference. He garnered First Team All-Conference accolades after finishing the slate with 41 catches and 461 yards, both tops in the circuit at his position. His presence as a blocker and a receiver enabled Allegheny to finish third in the NCAC in total offense while ranking second in red-zone scoring and third in rushing.

Carlisle becomes the 30th student-athlete in the history of Allegheny College to elicit Academic All-America honors, and his selection is the fifth for the Gators’ storied grid program. The last Allegheny student-athlete to cop a First Team Academic All-America selection was swimmer Jennifer Erdos in 1998. Kevin Baird is the only other football player to claim the coveted postseason award following the 1981 season.

The ESPN Academic All-America program covers all NCAA divisions and selections are made by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 on a scale of 4.00, have reached sophomore athletic and academic standings at his/her current institution and be nominated by his/her sports information director. Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 15,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

Berea –  Samantha M. Martin of Garrettsville was inducted into the Dayton C. Miller Honor Society at Baldwin-Wallace College during a ceremony on Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.

Martin is a junior.

Dayton C. Miller recognizes academic excellence and inductees are selected for consistently maintaining superior academic work. Only four percent of the undergraduate student body achieves membership.

Findlay – Alyssa Cain, a junior pharmacy major, recently performed in The University of Findlay’s student piano recital.  Cain performed “Autumn Breeze” by John Bastien.

Cain, a 2008 graduate of James A. Garfield High School, is the daughter of Garrettsville’s Lynette and Charlie Cain.

The University of Findlay is a comprehensive university with a hands-on approach to learning located in Findlay, Ohio, approximately 45 miles south of Toledo. With a total enrollment of approximately 3,900 full-time and part-time students, The University of Findlay is noted for its innovative, career-oriented programs in nearly 60 majors and nine graduate and professional degrees.

West Farmington – Fourteen members were in attendance as Hall Relief Corps #104 enjoyed an annual Birthday/Christmas buffet luncheon with Jackie Gore as hostess.  With excellent decorations around, a sumptuous meal was partaken of by all and then it was followed by a festive exchange of holiday gifts.  With time allotted, the Ways & Means for this quarter-year raffled off 3 Christmas packages—receivers were Peggy Lauth, Nancy Fomich, and Beverly Largen.

The business part of this session was opened with President Leona Fisher in charge:  Chaplain Carol Goddard read Psalm 100 from the Holy Bible and Patriotic Instructor Judy Richards followed with leading the corps in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

Minutes were read informing all that dues will be increased to $10.00 a year starting in 2011.  The Relief Committee will get our adopted mother Peg Martin a Christmas gift.  Hostess to start the new year in January will be Nancy Fomich.  The Christmas meeting of past-presidents club will be on Friday, December 17 at Sorrento’s Restaurant in Warren, OH.  Time 1:00 p.m. and Anne Gerlt will be the hostess with a $5.00 gift exchange to be shared.

Department General Orders #2 were read to the corps by Secretary Margaret Lauth.  Official Christmas greetings to all were given from the Department officers.

Ways and Means Committee for January, February, and March of 2011 were named:  Jackie Gore, Leona Fisher, and Ruth Goddard will assume the obligation.  After the Good of the Order was completed the meeting was officially closed in ritualistic style.

Garrettsville - The James A. Garfield Elementary School music teacher Mr. Ken Fox and the third graders kicked off a celebration for the winter season on Wednesday, December 1st. As the first snow of the season fell softly outside, the children presented their audience with a wonderful mixture of music, poetry, chants and musical instruments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting was adjourned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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