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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

VROOM!  VROOM!

See you there.

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The next regular meeting will be April 25th.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Mantua – The Ides of March were very kind to Crestwood Local Schools and its taxpayers. Looking for ways to save money, Crestwood Local Schools refinanced their bonds on March 15 for their two elementary schools and will see a $550,000 savings over the remaining life of the bonds.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on the rates for quite some time and struck when we’d benefit with the most savings,” said Carol Corbett, Crestwood treasurer/CFO.

The district is currently about half way through their 23-year bond issue, which was approved by voters in 2000. Collectively, taxpayers in the district will save about $40,000 a year and see a slight adjustment in their 2012 taxes.

“It may not be that noticeable to our community on their tax bill, but the savings are there,” Corbett said. “We continue to do everything we can to spend responsibly and keep taxes low.”

The advantage to refinancing was allowed because the district made it a stipulation of the bond issue when it was initially drafted in 2000.  Corbett stated that the district started the second official statement process last summer, but the market wasn’t favorable until now.

“Just like in business, you need to create flexibility and options,” said Gregg Reink, director of administrative services. “If the opportunity comes up, you can be prepared to take advantage of it. The district did that and we’ll save significant dollars as a result.”

 

Garrettsville – Did you enjoy 2010 SummerFest in Garrettsville last year? Well, if you did, did you know that the SummerFest committee has two fundraisers that help pay for the event? The committee will once again hold a car raffle along with T-shirt and hoodie sales to fund the event.

This year’s car is locally donated by Charles Chevrolet and is made right here in Ohio at Lordstown. The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze LTZ is a fully loaded white sedan which can be viewed at Charles Chevrolet in Garrettsville. Tickets for the car are $20 each or the early bird special of six tickets for $100 until June 23, 2011. After June 23, 2011 the price for tickets will be $20 each. Tickets can be purchased at Skylanes Bowling Alley, Middlefield Bank, Huntington Bank, Weekly Villager, Charles Chevrolet and other local businesses in Garrettsville.

The drawing will be held at the close of the festival on June 26, 2011 following Garrettsville Idol. The winner can choose between the car and $15,000 in cash. Second prize is a 42” flat screen T.V. and third prize is a trip to Las Vegas.

Hoodies and T-shirts are also on sale, featuring this year’s theme “The Biggest Game in Town” and are available in red, black and athletic gray. Shirts are $10 each and hoodies are special order only and are $18 each, both are available in youth and adult sizes. Extended sizes are available for an additional $2 charge per shirt or hoodie. Shirts are available at Skylanes Bowling, Middlefield Bank, Huntington Bank, Weekly Villager, and Millers Restaurant.

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

 

Burton – UN declarations and Presidential proclamations have made April 2 World Autism Awareness Day. According to President Obama’s proclamation, autism spectrum disorders or ASDs currently affect nearly one percent of children in the US; the statistics vary, but some numbers say that 1 in 110 children are affected. This effect can be felt rippling through families, schools and societies worldwide. This day is an opportunity to create awareness about these disorders, to continue research into the understanding of them and to look for a cause, in hopes of preventing them in the future.
One such awareness event took place at Century Village in Burton on Saturday, April 2. This grassroots event started with a little boy, Jason, who has autism and his family, which supports and adores him. Balloons are one of Jason’s favorite things, and he thought it would be fun to have a balloon launch to raise awareness of autism. Jason’s parents, Rachael and Tom, thought it was a great idea and started planning the event at the school Jason attends, as well as on Facebook.
Armed with a location which was donated by the Geauga County Historical Society’s Century Village, ribbons donated by another family affected by autism, ballons from a local autism chapter — blown up for free by Northeastern Party Outlet located in Harrington Square in Middlefield– and a lot of heart, this event took shape.
The weather was perfect for a balloon launch, the sun was out and the wind was brisk. It may have been a bit chilly for some tastes, but what can you expect in Northeast Ohio in April? The cold temperatures did not seem to deter anyone from coming out though. I counted over 110 people and many four-legged friends in attendance. Smiles and hugs were as prevalent as the blue and white balloons. Each child in Jason’s class had a balloon dedicated to them as did other children who wanted to participate.
The children were playing with balls and the grown-ups were talking and laughing. I stood there as an outsider to this world. Looking in, all I could see was love and support for each other… a world where the children mattered and we were all there for them. No monies were raised, no huge strides came from this event, just the knowledge that these children are not being forgotten and that the families have each other to lean on. I thought, if only more of the world was like this, think of what strides we could make.
As the time drew nearer to do the release, the children were given their balloons, a few got set off early, but it was no matter. Precision was not the desired outcome of this event. Jason’s dad started the countdown and then all the remaining balloons were released. The wind took most of them on their way to Middlefield and points east, some got tangled up in the trees and a few even popped before being set free. It was an exciting event that was over in no time, but the moments shared there and the sounds of the laughter will have a lasting effect.
The concept that a little boy can come up with an idea and that so many people can come together to make that come to fruition is a testament to the human spirit.
Thank you to Jason for coming up with the idea, and thank you to everyone who participated in this event. If you happen to see a blue or white balloon in a tree, be sure to pick it up and read the card. Awareness is knowledge and knowledge truly is power.

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Portage County – Recently, residents in the Hiram-Garrettsville-Nelson  area received an automated phone call from the Portage County Sheriff’s Department. The pre-recorded message alerted residents to be on the lookout for a 12-year-old boy who had been reported missing earlier in the day, and to call the Sheriff’s Department if anyone had information about the child’s whereabouts.

This was an example of Reverse 911, an emergency alert system that has been in place throughout Portage County for nearly two years, according to Sheriff David Doak. This Reverse 911 system is used effectively in thousands of U.S. communities to improve the lines of communication to the general population and targeted groups of citizens. The system provides immediate notification of critical information in times of crisis and emergencies, such as natural disasters, missing children and crime alerts.

The system was launched locally because the 12-year-old runaway was still missing, the sun was going to set soon, it was a cold, wintry day, and the child’s parents were “getting frantic.” Search teams – aided by search dogs – had not yet been successful in locating the boy. It was time to get additional eyes and ears into the search, to increase the boy’s odds of returning home before sundown.

Ultimately, it was a friend of the boy’s who suggested that he might be hiding out at another friend’s home. And there he was, tired, hungry, upset and cold… but otherwise fine. He was safe at home before dark.

Reverse 911 is different from an Amber Alert, which is signaled over radio waves and television news outlets when a juvenile has been abducted. Reverse 911 — provided through the Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Homeland Security — is more flexible. It can be put in place as soon as a report is filed that a child is missing or there is some other emergency at hand.

For instance, The Portage County Sheriff’s Department issued a Reverse 911 in October 2010, when a fugitive from Geauga County, considered to be armed and dangerous, led police on a chase through Portage County, then jumped out of his pickup truck along Pioneer Trail and evaded officers in a wooded area of Hiram Township. Reverse 911 calls were made to warn residents in the area about the fugitive and to request reporting of  any sightings to authorities.

“Our policy is ASAP,” Doak says. “Some agencies don’t even allow filing a report until after 24 hours has passed since someone has gone missing or another incident has occurred. But we want people to file a report as soon as possible. Once we get a report in here, we want other agencies and residents in the area to have the information on hand.”

“If my child ran away or came up missing, I’d want police acting on it right away,” Doak says. “We do not wait to put the information in the system. We don’t want kids out there on the county roads.”

Even better, Doak has a few suggestions for parents of potential runaways or for family and friends of anyone who goes missing: Know who their friends are, because people typically run toward someone they are close to.

But when trouble strikes, Reverse 911 is a powerful problem-solving tool. The program spreads emergency messages using a combination of database and Geographic Information System computer mapping technologies. The system is ideal for use in small towns and villages, as well as small to mid-sized municipalities, school campuses, federal agencies and military bases, giving organizations a regionalized approach to shared emergency notification.

The system can quickly target a precise geographic area and saturate it with thousands of calls. Designed for rapid distribution of messages, it creates calling zones which can be based on immediate emergency circumstances or selected in advance based on anticipated scenarios.

In addition to missing person alerts, other uses of the Reverse 911 system include:

Emergency Evacuations

Natural Disaster Alerts

Hazardous Material Leaks

Search and Rescue Operations

Crime Prevention

Wanted Person Alerts

Neighborhood Emergency Incidents

Special Community Notifications

 

Reverse 911 configures a recorded message and provides residents with critical information or detailed instructions. It also provides first responders with a state-of-the-art public safety communication solution that meets needs in Portage County at any given time.

Windham - RIF (Reduction in Force) has become the buzzword of the community and throughout the school district as the administration of Windham School looks to reduce staff as they wait on the impending governor’s proposed budget. The anticipated cuts are expected to be deep and in the small district, the cuts are also being felt at the heart level.  Superintendent Gregg Isler stated that he feels like the teachers, administrators, and community are pawns in the politician’s hands as they waited for Governor Kasich’s proposed budget to be announced. The budget was announced late last week which left school treasurers all over the state sending a flurry of emails and calls to the state office. Windham Schools were among the flurry as school treasurer Dawn Altman tried to decipher the figures and determine how it would affect the district.

The first hint the public had that there would be some deep cuts in the district came about three weeks ago after Superintendent Isler informed union president Wendy Bennett that there would be a RIF made at the end of the school year. Once Isler notified the union he began personally notifying each staff member that their position could possibly be eliminated at the end of the year. Like in any small town, it didn’t take long before the news had hit the streets and the town was all-a-buzz about the impending reductions. Rumors, all  unfounded, began to circulate and folks began to speculate on the future of the district, with some claiming the school might close. I reiterate, the school is not closing. Although the community was taken aback by the news, many knew that with a new state administration that change was a-coming, but no one anticipated that it would be this drastic.

The administration looked long and hard trying to find away to survive and the only way was to make a reduction in staff.  Isler said it was one of the hardest decisions he has had to make, however in order for the district to thrive, cuts have to be made. He cited declining enrollment, reduction in tax revenue and state funding being reduced as the primary reasons for the RIF.

The proposed reductions they anticipate having to make were announced March 23, 2011 at the regular board meeting after two executive sessions. The proposed position reductions as of March 23, 2011 are as follows: four educational aides, three general aides, one custodial/maintenance position, one bus driver, one secretary, 1?2 mechanic/maintenance position, two JR./Sr. High computer science/business department,  two Jr./Sr. High consumer science, homemaking consumer education, home economics, one music position (7-12) choir, one music position, (K-12) Band, one art position,(K-12), four elementary teaching positions, one industrial arts, three special education positions, and one school psychologist. Note these are positions being eliminated,  not necessarily the staff member that holds the position. Isler stated that depending on retirements and the flexibility of the state budget some of these positions maybe reinstated or partially reinstated. Two of the proposed position cuts were funded by the stimulus money the school received from the federal level two years ago. The stimulus money was only for two years and after this year that money is gone and will not be returning. Those two positions are figured in the list of RIFs.

When asked about whether they intended to cut athletic programs or go to “pay to play”    he stated they had discussed it but, since the sports programs are self-supporting,  they didn’t need to change them at this time. Isler also stated that if they went to “pay to play” or eliminated some athletic programs students would open enroll elsewhere so they could continue their sports career which would take more tax dollars away from the district. So for now they were not making any changes to athletics. He was also asked about whether they would be making any cuts in transportation he said they would be adjusting their transportation routes because they will reduce their drivers by one.

The specific staff members affected by the RIF are yet to be determined. Seniority, credentials, etc. will play a role in who will be kept and who will be laid off.  Isler stated, “Reducing the staff by 26 1?2 is a big hit for a small district and it is more than just numbers, we are like a family and this really hurts. It has been very difficult, the last few weeks, we are a tight community and many of the staff members not only reside in the district, but are graduates from Windham and have or had kids in the school system. No one wants to see anyone lose their job but sometimes there aren’t any other options.”

Isler said he is proud of the staff because even with all the uncertainty, the staff has continued to remain professional as they carry on with their daily responsibilities throughout the ordeal. Everything has continued as it had in the past and he expects that to be the case as the situation plays out.

 

Geauga County – Maple Max has had one exciting year! He was officially “born” last March after an extensive contest had local elementary school students submitting possible names for the new Geauga County Tourism ambassador. Madison Wilson, from Newbury Elementary School submitted the name Maple Max and it was the top scoring vote with Geauga County Tourism Members.

In his first year Maple Max has really traveled the county. He has visited over 80 area businesses, and attended many special events. He has been on the radio, rode in the Maple Festival Parade, met visitors from many states & countries, and has written a monthly column called “Maple Max on the Move”. Max is featured in a monthly contest, “Where in the County is Maple Max?” in the Tourism Newsletter and has been featured in the 2011 Geauga County Visitor Guide with a contest to see how many times he can be found  throughout the Guide.

March is his favorite month! So far this month he has enjoyed a variety of Maple Sugaring events, and taken part in a video shot in the county. He has enjoyed pancakes at the Geauga County Historical Society and participated in rehearsals for “Into the Woods” at the Geauga Lyric Theater. Should you run into Maple Max at an event, please feel free to snap a picture and post it to the Geauga County Tourism Facebook page!

Keep up with the adventures of Maple Max by “liking” Geauga County Tourism on Facebook or following MsGeauga on Twitter. You can also visit www.TourGeauga.com  to sign up for a monthly newsletter or for ongoing information on upcoming events. Call 440-632-1548 or 800-775-TOUR for your Visitor Guide.

 

“Consider the ladies”…as First Lady Abigail Adams wrote to her destined-to-be-second-U.S.-President John Adams when he was one of the patriots, politicos and visionaries laboring to write a constitution for the new nation, the United States of America.

Mrs. Adams didn’t have a whole lot of luck at influencing the direction that took but the James A. Garfield School District has been well-served by the ladies, as witnessed by this year’s Hall of Fame honorees, Jami Bray Mirka, ’83 and Sarah Thompson, ’98.  Consider them :

Nineteen eighty, eighty-one, eighty-two and eighty-three saw the Lady G-Men riding high in both volleyball and basketball, securing regional qualifier status twice in volleyball (‘80&’81), sectional championships in volleyball (’80 & ’81) and basketball (’82-’83), district championships in volleyball in’80 and ’81, district qualification in basketball in ‘82-’83, county championships in volleyball in ’80, ’81 and ’82.  Whew!

And one of the kingpins–er, queenpins?–of these teams (two other members have already been named to the HOF) was Jami Bray Mirka…who did not go unrecognized at the time.  She was chosen for the all-county VB first team in ’81 and ’82, received honorable mention on the all-county BB team in’81-’82 as well as first team selection for ’82-’83.  The Lady G-Men had 37 straight league victories in VB over a three-year period.  Some ladies, huh?  Jami earned three varsity letters in volleyball, four in basketball as a starter all four years.  While all of this was going on, she was also serving as scorekeeper/statistician for boys’ sports–basketball, track, football.

She then shifted gears, so to speak, and attended the Ohio State University to take a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and a master’s degree in Economics; basketball and volleyball became intramurals pursuits.  She has had work published (The title is looooong, as is anything in econ .or international relations.) and has served as a lecturer at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Campbell University.  A stint  at a Nature center in N.C might be considered another shift, a fun one.  A husband and two daughters who are also avid volleyball players and fans have been part of the trip…a grand ride for a grand athlete!

Sarah Thompson saw the same kind of scenery on her athletic journey, dotted with varsity letters in volleyball(3), basketball(3) and softball(4), coach’s awards(3) an umpire’s award, a leadership award, first team selection for Div. III volleyball (’97) three PCL league championships(’95,’96,’97), one district championship (’95)one regional runner-up, one district runner-up spot, two sectional championships.  Strong teamwork and outstanding talent across the board made the Lady G-Men a power to be reckoned with in the area; one of the sparkplugs and powerhouse players was Sarah.  It didn’t hurt that she also played on the Ohio Bandits of the National Fastpitch Association.  That team placed as national runners-up in  1995; Sarah took the Most Improved Player Award in 1997, the Player Appreciation Award in 1998.  In 1999 she was named to the Ohio Bandits Hall of Fame.  Then it was on to Lakeland Community College and more of the same.

Sarah was named NJCAA LCC Female Athlete of the Year in 1998-99, Most Valuable Player and NJCAA Region XII All-Tournament Team ,achieved a Region XII Division I Championship and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1999-00.  This resume’ probably had something to do with her serving as assistant varsity softball coach at Ravenna H.S. in 2003.

Having received  her associate’s degree from Lakeland in 2000, Sarah persevered in her academic track at Kent State University, securing a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies.  She’s currently working as a neuro tech  with Neurology & Neuroscience Associates…and a shortstop at the Main Street Grille and Brewing Company.  Still a great team player.

 

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Historical Society looked ahead  to:  possible future programs, attendance at the Portage County Historical Society local history societies forum on March 26, a committee to  make costume selections for the vintage pix opportunity to be offered at the SummerFest, a backdrop for said photos, checking out available Jaguar yearbooks at Garfield H.S., the purchase of a stereopticon slide on e-Bay, welcoming a new member, Debbie Smith, new donations…and   the PROJECT–Antique Roadshow, Garfield style/Appraisal Fair set for August 20.

Julie Frederickson outlined the status of the paperwork and promotion entailed in the activity, gave names of local experts who will be assisting (More on that later), asked for discussion on pricing for participation–one item, $5, three items, $10–indicated that the  Garfield Middle School facilities were available.  This is sure to be an interesting and entertaining day, as folks far and wide trot out Aunt Elsie’s bone china or Uncle Dorrel’s coin collection, or that funny old picture that was in Grandma’s parlor.  Everyone should start their spring cleaning with this event in mind.

One of their very own antiques, Helen Danku, had developed a crack when she fell and broke her arm.  She is being missed but will, undoubtedly, be up and about sooner rather than later.  Good material, good workmanship…priceless.

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Mantua – On Thursday, March 3, lifetime St. Joseph, Mantua, parishioner, Br. James Peter Trares visited the Parish School of Religion students and thanked them for the statue of St. Joseph and the cards which were recently sent to him. He also spoke about his novitiate year experience in Denver, CO, with the Dominican Central Province and answered questions from the classes. To learn more about the Dominican Central Province, go to www.domcentral.org.

 

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Burton – The senior nursing students in Community Health Nursing at Kent State University at Geauga planned and implemented a community health and wellness fair on Wednesday, March 16th at the Geauga Campus in Burton. Several community agencies participated, including:  the Department on Aging with a balance screening, Visiting Angels, River of Life, WIC, MRC, Briar Hill, Mental Health Association, Lake Geauga Recovery, Geauga Medical Center Orthopedics, Parkside Care Corps, and Middlefield Library. Four KSU departments had tables: the library, student services, Geauga Student Nurse Association, and the School of Public Health.

Six majors or disciplines were represented by student poster presentations: psychology, sociology, nutrition, microbiology, geology, and nursing. The students researched health-related topics and designed posters bringing theory to practice, sharing this information with the public visitors at the fair. The senior nursing students researched topics related to the health of the people in our Geauga Community, presented information on health promotion and disease prevention, and did health screenings such as blood pressures, pulse oximetry readings, height and weight measurements, and body mass index calculations. With these screenings they offered possible interventions to improve the participant’s health such as increasing activity, follow up with health care providers, and improving health through better food choices. During the month of April, the students will take their poster presentations to area senior centers to share their research.

Windham - Windham Library is proud to announce the winner of our “Guess the Number of Tootsie Rolls” contest.  Jonathan Clark is our lucky winner and, along with the tootsie rolls, he gets a big Irish mug to fill with whatever he wants. Congratulations Jonathan Clark.

For more information, call the Windham Library at 330-326-3145.  The library, located at 9005 Wilverne Drive, is open Monday and Friday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm-6:30 pm; and closed on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. For additional information about library programs and services, please visit Portage County District Library online at www.portagelibrary.org.

Garrettsville – Zoe Swenson and Adam Norris won their respective divisions for the 4th grade PTO chess tournament.  Congratulations to them both!  The tournament was held over their lunch break for several weeks, and they recently competed in the finals.

For the boys, Chad Angermeier came in second while Nathanael Dech came in third.  For the girls, Trinity Syvertson came in second and Erica Musgrove took third.

The tournament was sponsored by the Garfield PTO and the elementary school.  Students were invited to come during their lunch once a week and play chess, checkers, cards, or even just read a book.  Over sixty-five different students participated in the program.  Special thanks to the PTO and principal Keri Dornack for providing the prizes to the winners.

 

Hiram - Hiram College’s Theatre Department opened the doors of its new Renner Black Box Theatre on campus last weekend with sold-out performances of the 1967 hippie-rock musical, HAIR.

The new theatre, built in a space formerly occupied by three art studios in Frohring Art Building, was just recently completed. The cast of 22 diverse student performers with varying levels of stage experience had nine weeks to rehearse before performing to sold-out crowds on March 24-26.

Directed by Theatre Department Chair Betsy Bauman, the anti-Vietnam War production was staged as part of the college’s investigation into the theme of war. (Bauman also served as costume designer for the show. The Musical Director was Dawn Sonntag.)

The new theatre offers more flexibility than a traditional set, featuring a rounded, movable stage with large terraced steps encircling it. The smaller, more intimate space seats 50-100 people on risers, allowing Hiram theatre students to interact more with the audience. This proved to be effective and sometimes unnerving to HAIR audiences, who were subject to close encounters with actors and actresses disrobing to various degrees, gyrating and shouting obscenities, according to the script. It also brought the audience uncomfortably close to the bitterness, tortured idealism and confusion expressed by the young characters as they faced the prospect of being drafted into a war they were opposed to.

Audience members were carried along in the wave of rebellion that hippies waged – not only against the war – but against The Establishment and the strict conformities imposed by governmental, educational and religious institutions, as well as parents. As they faced the very real threat of trading in a carefree youth for the horrors of war, the ‘tribe’ of hippies in HAIR sang and danced their way into a communal last hurrah punctuated by a certain sweetness, free love, sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, long hair, wild clothes, transcendental meditation, political protests, hero worship, flower power, and whatever methods of escapism they could devise.

When the defiant HAIR first burst onto the stage 44 years ago in New York, it was unrelentingly offensive to The Establishment, which condemned it for its blatant use of profanity, partial nudity, promiscuity, rebellion, irreverence, illegal drug use, anti-patriotism, draft-dodging, sarcasm, etc. But to hippies and non-violent sympathizers since, the daring production captured the tarnished hopes and lost innocence of a conflicted generation. It catapulted onto Broadway and ran for 1,750 performances before being staged throughout the world in later years, and becoming a feature film in 1979.

HAIR also birthed a rich soundtrack of enduring rock classics like “The Age of Aquarius”, “Hair”, “Easy to be Hard”, “Good Morning Starshine”, “Let the Sunshine In” and more. The cast sang a total of 32 numbers and kept up a dizzying pace of choreography and costume changes as they spread out onstage, up on catwalks and down the aisles of Hiram College’s black-walled theatre.

The band, barely visible in the pit behind the stage, brought the soundtrack to life under the guidance of Associate Musical Director Kurt Sauer with   keyboard, guitars, drums and percussion. The use of gunshots, strobe lights, and the sound of choppers overhead completed the Vietnam-era trippy effect of the show.

While larger productions are still put on at Hayden Auditorium, Hiram College’s new black box theatre has introduced additional opportunities for study in theatrical performance, technical theatre and design, and theatre history and dramatic literature. The art department, which previously used the space for student work and displays, has relocated to Gelbke Hall.

The $2 million project is being carried out over two phases. The just-completed construction phase cost $850,000 and includes the black box theatre, asbestos removal, plus heating and air conditioning. The second phase will involve a complete renovation of the Frohring building.

Windham – Windham Village met for their regulary scheduled meeting recently with all council members present. Fiscal Officer Lloyd Billman presented the expenditures for the month of February. They were $155,492.52 with a bank reconciliation of $524,008.46 with all funds reconciled.
Council President Linda Rininger reminded council member that every meeting was a public forum and even their comments are public record.
Other items on the agenda were the approval of a contract with the Portage County District Library for a branch of the library to be located in the village of Windham. Council approved the purchase of two Crown Victoria Police cruisers, ratifying the action of the police chief taken to purchase cruisers. In zoning, chairman Phil Snyder stated that they were still working on obtaining the rights to remove the two hazardous mobile homes in the village that have been abandoned and allegedly been foreclosed on. Snyder hopes they can get them removed soon.
In the mayor’s report, Rob Donham reported that they would be breaking ground at Camp Ravenna for the new water and sewer project. The ground breaking was scheduled for March 23, 2011. He also reported that they will be opening the North Gate (gate in Windham) for a few hours each evening in April so the soldiers can have access to Windham’s restaurant, laundromat, barber etc. Also in the mayor’s report was that they plan on taking down another six buildings in the projects this summer and possible even more. Lastly, he praised the chief of police on the increase of citations and warnings issued. In previous months the police department had only issued a few citations; this month they had issued over 40 tickets and 30 warnings.
A resident asked about changing the village’s policy on 6” house numbers. The resident wanted to know if 3” house numbers would suffice. The resident brought a sample of how large 3” numbers are. The village solicitor looked up the ordinance that addresses the issue and said they would have to research the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) on house numbers. He said if the ORC says it has to be 6” they can not override the ORC, however if it is an ordinance than that could be changed if council wanted to do it.
Another question was raised about on-street parking in the new homes area and if they were planning on posting more signs within the development. The mayor stated, along with several council members, that there is no parking on any street in the area because of the narrow streets. He also stated “That folks who have a driver’s license should know the laws and know that it is illegal for one to block a traffic lane.” He went onto say that more signage would be a waste of money since people do not obey the signs anyways. The mayor did say that parking permits for special occaions are offered; one would need to contact the police department to obtain one. There being no other business the meeting was adjourned.
Windham Council meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm in council chambers.

Hiram – Hiram College will be holding its first annual Relay For Life, student-run event located at Charles A. Henry Field on April 1, 2011, starting at 6 p.m. until April 2, 2011, at 12 p.m. Hiram College’s official Relay For Life website has been running since late October and within just five months, teams have formed and have raised over $11,000 for The American Cancer Society.
Hiram College’s Relay For Life will be 18 hours in length, filled not only with people walking on the track, but fun and excitement to be had by all. There will be games and entertainment, featuring hot air balloon rides, five bands and the traditional luminaria ceremony. As the day turns to night, Henry Field will be lit by the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. The press and media are invited to attend these two days of celebration and remembrance.
Hiram prides itself in being a close-knit, diverse community where people support each other. Since the majority of the campus has been touched by cancer in some way, Relay For Life is when the Hiram campus can come together to share stories, honor loved ones and fight back against this horrible disease.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. At Relay For Life of Hiram College, teams will camp out at Henry Field and will take turns walking or running around the outdoor track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events.
For more information, you can visit Hiram’s Relay For Life’s website http://www.relayforlife.org/hiramcollege. Once on the website, you can learn about this great cause, make a donation or register as a participant for April 1-2. As a participant, it is recommended that each person raise at least $100.
Every dollar raised helps The American Cancer Society save lives and create a world with more birthdays. Its goal is to help people stay well, get well, find cures and fight back at community events, such as Relay For Life of Hiram College.

Windham - The weather was pure northeast Ohio in springtime–damp, cold, windy, gray–but the mood was upbeat as a dozen-plus Ohio Army National Guard personnel and a near-equal number of interested civilians gathered at Camp Ravenna (known to most of the locals as “The Arsenal”) for a ceremonial ground-breaking and dedication of the first phase of the Tactical Training Base sanitary sewer, water and gas infrastructure project.
The Village of Windham, whose hometown infrastructure is key to the operation of the project, was represented by Mayor Robert Donham and council president Linda Rininger, as well as councilpersons Rachel Barrett and Mike Iwanyckyj. Lynnea St. John, of the Windham Historical Society, was present to record the latest stitch in the colorful tapestry of the community’s story. Maureen T. Frederick, president of the Portage County Board of Commissioners and Timothy Ryan of Ohio’s 17th Congressional District headed the slate of civilian dignitaries present. Military brass in attendance included LTC Gregory W. Rogers of the ONG Military Construction Branch, COL. John C. Harris, Jr., Assistant Adjutant General for the Army ONG and COL Wm. H. Graham , District Engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. Representatives of WKBN 27 and WFMJ 21 of Youngstown captured it all for the 6:00 news.
The project, funded by the Ohio Army National Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Portage County, will put $3,152,511 into the area economy. It will start at the intersection of S. Main St. and Center St.(St. Rte 303) in the Village of Windham, extending through the North Gate of Camp Ravenna south along the former Paris-Windham Rd. It will include the design and construction of water mains, sanitary sewers and gas mains to serve training facilities at Camp Ravenna. There are big plans afoot for the camp, including a “shoot house”, a bath house (presumably not too close to each other), a dining hall and other possibilities falling under the rubric of “neighborhood development”
Representative Ryan pointed out the benefits of using current assets to further economic developments and Commissioner Frederick alluded to the continuing prominence of “the Arsenal” for Portage County residents. The importance of Portage County water resources also figured in the remarks. Camp Ravenna covers over 21,000 A….pretty big. Bigger things are coming.

Twentieth Century Club has had two meetings in March with the programs switched from one to the other.
Confused?, we were not!.
On March 3rd we were at Mary Furillo’s home (as nice as always) with Margaret Clapp co-hosting.
Does everyone remembers Margaret’s carrot cake from the club cook book? Well she showed us again, how it is done!.
Our roll call for the night was your favorite car & by the sound of it girls like their cars just as much as the boys!.
Jeanette Hall presented the program originally set for later in month, appreciated just the same.
We learned about the Florida Everglades as one of the most unique eco-systems in the world.
For the March 17th meeting we went to Jan Boehm’s home, which is always a treat & makes the girls feel like their old fantasy tea parties, except it is for real!. Her co-hostess was Alma Jones (very gracious).
Roll call, “name a Native American tribe” was one of most interesting for the year.
Program for the night was presented by Betty Clapp on the cliff Dwellers & Betty had some of her own pictures from her trip years ago along with facts & figures.
Our last meeting for the year will be our Spring party at the Mill in Garrettsville on April 7th to come home after a wonderful journey around our country this year. Be there around 6:00 to 6:15p to be seated.
This night we will install the new officers & get ready for another year of adventure with the 20th Century Club.

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Now that the High School bowling season is completed, the Teen Texas Shoot-Out League has begun.  A number of good scores have been posted already – Howie (Taz) Moore started the first week with a 611 series and followed it up this week with 245-195-225 for a 665 series, giving him a 212 average for the first two weeks.   Clarke Kolmorgan’s 636 series was high for the first week.  Clarke rolled a 224 game in each of the first two weeks.  Kyle Bolton shot 602 this week, with a 221 his first game.  Kyle also rolled a 233 game last week.  Ashly Bernatowicz is high for the girls with a 213 game and 566 series.  Kim Wampler had the second high series with 494 and Anna Brigham had a 192 game.  Brent Jones had a 225 game last week, and Cody Berg rolled 203-586.
Last week’s high bowler in the 9:00 Trio League was Ashleigh Quiggle.  Ashleigh had the high game with 145 and high series with 374.  Courtney Lytle was not far behind, with a 131 game and 364 series.   Other nice games:  Joey Ewell, 129 (40 pins over), Kassie Fedor, 140 (37 pins over), Ericq Williams, 107 (29 pins over), Floria Gerardino, 105 (27 pins over), and Nathan Pallotto, 110 (27 pins over).
This week’s high game and series belonged to Kassie Fedor.  Kassie rolled a 187 her last game for a 389 series.  Adam Norris rolled 155 his first game, a career high game for him.  Adam ended up with a 371 series, 89 pins over average for the day.  Drew Tushar also rolled a nice 374 set, with games of 136 and 137.  Joey Ewell was over average all three games.  Joey’s average is 89 and he shot games of 119, 107, and 120, to give him a 346 series, 79 pins over for the day.  Some other good games were rolled by Nathan Slaughter, 125 (44 pins over average), Danielle Tuttle, 119 (40 pins over), Cassie Painley, 112 (31 pins over), Jack Norris, 92 (31 pins over), Eric Lawless, 122 (30 pins over), Ashleigh Quiggle, 135 (30 pins over), Floria Gerardino, 108 (29 pins over), and Makayla Gough, 108 (27 pins over).
In the 11:00 Trio League last week Zach Hoffmann had high game with 214 and high series with 555.  Kim Wampler bowled 168-166-169 for a 503 series.   Other good games:  Jessica Potteiger, 201, Kaylee Brigham, 158 (48 pins over average), Ethan Dubasik, 157 (46 pins over), Noah Shannon, 180 (46 pins over), Austin Sledz, 108 (40 pins over), and Emma Kerr, 105 (34 pins over).
This week the high game and high series belonged to Jaret Doraski.  Jaret rolled games of 157, 175, and 190 for a nice 522 series.  Kayla Hunt was 114 pins over her average for the day.  Kayla, who averages 69, had games of 114, 110 and 97 for a very nice 321 series.  Other top scores:  Ethan Hoffmann, 177 (53 pins over), Ali Franklin, 158 (44 pins over), Jessica Potteiger, 193 (40 pins over), and Emma Kerr, 104 (32 pins over).
Several of the 9:00 PeeWees bowled very good games last week:  Travis Horner with 119, Isaac Trickett with 111, and Zach Seebacher with 107.  Isaac continued his over-100 score streak this week with a 101.   Other nice scores rolled in the bumper league:  Eric Schaefer, 98, and Madison Durosko, 98 (her season high game).
In the 11:00 bumper league, Darrion Sidwell rolled a 122 game.  Other nice scores:  Kenny Mangan, 90 and 95, Ian Huebner, 91, Jordan Kwiecinsky, 100.

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Emotions run high regarding Ohio Senate Bill 5, by which Ohio Governor John Kasich and fellow Republicans propose to cut costs by restricting public employees’ right to collective bargaining. The proposed limits would affect about 350,000 public workers in Ohio, including teachers, police and firefighters.
Senate Bill 5 would ban strikes and severely limit the collective bargaining rights of union workers, allowing them to negotiate for wages, hours and certain work conditions, but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. The measure would do away with automatic pay raises and base future wage increases on merit.
The legislation would also set up a new process to settle worker disputes, giving elected officials the final say in contract disagreements. Binding arbitration, which police officers and firefighters use to resolve contract disputes as an alternative to strikes, would be eliminated.
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Shannon Jones, said the bill, which would change a 27-year-old Ohio law, is long overdue and would help state and local governments control costs. The bill was narrowly approved (17-16) by the Ohio Senate on March 2, but awaits the approval of the GOP-controlled House and Kasich. Six Republicans sided with Democrats against the measure. It is currently being debated in the Ohio House.
The Portage County TEA Party has invited Ohio State Senator Tim Grendell as the featured speaker at its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 24  at 7 p.m. at the Maplewood Career Center, 7075 Ohio Rt. 88, just north of Ravenna. The question-and-answer meeting is open to all members of the Portage County TEA Party as well as all citizens of Portage County. Grendell — considered a conservative — was one of the six Republicans to vote against Senate Bill 5.
Democrats and union workers rally against the bill as a power grab by the rich, attacking the middle class by attempting to balance the budget on the backs of union workers. TEA Party members typically side with Republicans, saying it’s time for public sector benefits to match private sector employee benefits, especially at a time when the state is suffering from an $8 billion deficit.
Anti-SB5 demonstrations have sprung up throughout Ohio, notably at the State Capitol and throughout Portage County. On March 14, thousands of workers in hard hats and gear marched to the Capitol grounds behind a delegation of bagpipes and drums, chanting, “Kill the bill!” and carrying signs like, “Hitler broke the unions in 1933, Kasich wants to do it in 2011.”
At the local level, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles; State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent; and State Sen. Tom Sawyer, D-Akron, joined about 500 opponents of the bill in the Rally for Ohio’s Middle Class on March 7 at the Ravenna Elks Lodge. Outside, a crowd of about 250 listened to remarks broadcast from the meeting. The rally drew representatives of Youngstown and Lordstown labor unions, as well as teachers, police and firefighters.
Meanwhile, about 150 members of the Portage County Tea Party, which supports Senate Bill 5, countered the Rally for Ohio’s Middle Class with its own pro-Bill rally across from the anti-Bill event.
The Kent State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors held a rally against Senate Bill 5 on March 15 at The Kent Stage. The Rally for Worker’s Rights was part of a statewide day of rallies organized by the coalition of public workers known as Stand up for Ohio.
The bill does not eliminate unions at the university level but reduces negotiable topics to pay and benefits. It also would forbid union members from taking part in management decisions. Union leaders have protested the change, saying it essentially would ban professors from joining a union as many are required to help develop curriculum and participate in other management decisions. The proposed changes would give officials at public universities across the state the additional flexibility to fire, furlough and transfer employees, helping balance what likely are to be difficult budget cuts.
Opponents to the bill claim that SB 5 would only make a small dent in the state’s budget. Some assert that the solution is to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Others say it’s time for cuts to public employees, stating that the private sector can no longer support the public sector in the manner they’ve become accustomed to. The original collective bargaining law was passed nearly 30 years ago.
Since clearing the Ohio Senate by one vote in early March, the bill has moved to a committee in the House of Representatives. After six hearings, Senate Bill 5 will not be put to a vote this week in order to allow House Republicans and Democrats time to draft amendments that may be added to the bill.
Even if passed by Ohio lawmakers, this may not be the end of the story. This thorny issue may be placed before voters in coming months.

Garrettsville – The Portage County Engineer’s office is responsible for safety and maintenance for the two bridges on Liberty Street.
The County Engineers have closed the Liberty Street Bridge between Center St and Park Ave. and the sidewalk/bridge near Water St and Liberty St. after their annual bridge inspection on Friday last week.
Drivers on Liberty Street should use caution when approaching the bridge at Water and Liberty for pedestrian safety. The curve and the narrow road make it important for drivers to slow down below the 25 MPH speed limit to assurer pedestrian safety.
I will update the bridge repair schedule when I have had a chance to talk to the County Engineer.
The Village Council and Mayor and Clerk will hold a Finance Review work session   at 6:45 May 11, 2011 before the Council meeting which starts at 7:30PM.
The financial review will look to the past two years and our current budget information to make sure we have a good perspective on what we know and what we do not know about the village’s financial position  going forward
Related to Village finances in 20012 and 2013Recently the Governor’s office has proposed a reduction in local funds by 25% in 2012 and 50% in 2013 which translates into an approximate reduction to Garrettsville of $35,000 in 2012.
In other news, Council has authorized the Mayor to gather information and explore the possible donation of the Paul’s Lumber Yard property from Sun Life Financial who is the  current owner.

The St. Patrick’s Day Celebration was a rousing success.

After a difficult winter, plans for much-needed road repairs include cold patch for potholes, hot patch when asphalt plants are open, crack sealing and chip-and- seal on some roads and the Village parking lots.  Also slated as the village budget allows, plans for grinding out and repaving small parts of State Route 88 and State Route 82.

Council has authorized a new canine vehicle for” Taz” our police dog and Lt.  Christopher, his handler, at a cost of $48,000 fully- equipped and a dump truck/snow plow for the Street Department at a cost of about $50,000.
The annual eight community Garage Sale is slated for May 21 and 22nd with Village cleanup to follow May 26th.

 

The James A. Garfield High School Hall of Fame returns.  Honorees in this year’s class total six, with one a holdover from a previous flight who will finally face the music (Fight Song, anyone?)after being deferred  from a previous ceremony.
Who are these worthy individuals?  Read on.
First up : Daniel James Gallagher, Class of 1970.  Dan made his mark in three sports, baseball, wrestling and football.  Baseball had the shortest run (ha), with appearances on the Crestwood Hot Stove All-Star teams in ’63 & ’64 and Garfield varsity ball in his freshman year.  Work in the family business intervened and Dan’s time was then limited to wrestling and football.
Some limits!  Dan wrestled–and lettered–in his freshman, sophomore and senior years in four different weight classes (junior year went to work), placing 4th in the county in 1967 & 1970.  Football was his real passion and it showed.  His junior high team (nobody had middle schools then) was undefeated.  He played on the freshman team (Yes, there was a separate freshman team ), then earned three varsity letters.  The 1969 season saw ten G-Men placed on the county squad, with Dan Gallagher as 1st team defensive middle guard (alongside Jack Lambert, of Steeler fame).  The Record-Courier recognized Dan on its all-star team and he picked up a trophy for “Most Improved “.Dan then spent seven years in the Army National Guard, serving stateside as the Viet Nam era ended.
The Soap Box Derby in Portage County owes much to Dan’s involvement.  He led the push to stage the event in Mantua and smiled to see his children–Shannon, 4th place in international competition, Tyler, World Title in 2005–and neighbor RickiLea Murphy bring home honors.
What does he do for fun?  Well, guess how the National Honor Society got the rock placed in front of the high school building.  Guess who competed–at age 43–and took first place in his age class in the Badger Open Wrestling Tournament at 167 lbs.  And he still runs the family business ( twenty years in the student employment program).  Worthy of recognition in many areas.
Chronologically, next comes Gary Brunn, Class of 1973.  Gary was nominated by friend and team-mate Mike Paul, who played with him on the Hot Stove baseball team, mostly Freedom boys, which rode Gary’s pitching abilities to become state qualifiers.  Gary set a school rushing record–since surpassed– in football, earned a total of 12 letters (football, baseball, basketball, wrestling) , was named to the all-county team in football, played on county championship teams in football and basketball.  Moving on to college, Gary played defensive middle guard for the feared Bearcats of Cincinnati and achieved recognition by the Cincinnati Enquirer and Post  as a player who was “coming of age”, “one to watch”
Instead of taking that route, Gary went into business, eventually operating his own construction company in the Cincinnati area.  Too soon, the hazards of the construction industry brought an end to his career.  He died in an industrial accident on March 26, 1999.  He was forty-four years old.  Gone but not forgotten, he will be honored at this year’s Hall of Fame ceremonies.

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Hiram – The Planning and Zoning Commission met on March 1st  at 7 p.m. A motion to support Village Council’s Amendment of Ordinance # 2011-01 was offered and passed by the Commission. Village Zoning Inspector Dominic Gualtieri was asked to inspect and notify in writing all owners of dumpsters that are in violation of Hiram Zoning ordinances. For any additional information on this, please contact Council member Paul Spencer.
As reported in late December the Village received approval for a $50,000 NOPEC energy efficiency grant. The grant is being utilized to make energy saving permanent improvements in village structures.

As reported in February demolition of the old Hiram School is almost complete, for a contract price of $66,900 to Ace-Zuver, LLC. However there is a little more than $40,000 remaining in the CBG Block grant. It has been suggested the Village can utilize these funds for permanent improvements, such as fencing and parking.

Recently the old school property owner, Ferdinand Fojas, M.D. responded to the offer sheet sent to him in January. Dr. Fojas has offered to sell the property to the Village for $160,000 plus a Federal Tax Credit of $30,000. The Village will purchase the property,  financed through a loan/mortgage/bonds [at no cost to village taxpayers] and lease the property to Hiram College for the purposes of a baseball field and observatory, all open to the community.

As reported in May 2010 Council set in motion the purchase from KME Fire Apparatus Co. in PA in the amount of $431,000 for a 2010 diesel Fire Pumper-Tanker. This new apparatus was delivered in February and titled with Portage County Auto titles last week.
Hiram College and the Village are currently in negotiations to secure a new two (2) year fire and police service contract with the college.

Tuesday March 8th was the final day of evidentiary hearing before the Portage County Commissioners on the annexation of 139 acres to Hiram Village. Legal counsel for the Township Trustees, Village and Petitioners will submit legal briefs in early April and two Commissioners [Maureen Frederick and Tommy Jo Marsillio] will issue a decision thirty days later. [Commissioner Chris Smeiles recused himself because of a possible conflict in interest.] It has been reported by the press this annexation hearing is the longest in Portage County history. The cost of the transcript of proceedings exceeds $6,000. It is also estimated that the legal fees and expenses will easily exceed $100,000.

The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on March29  in the Rosser Municipal building and will be followed by the Safety Committee meeting.  Planning and Zoning Committee will meet on April 5 at 7 p.m. in the Fire Department.  The next Village Council meeting will be on April 12 at 7 p.m.

Newton Falls – On the first day of spring, council members gathered briefly at the community center for the second regular meeting of March. All officials were present with the exception of Councilwoman Johnson and Councilman Luonuonsuu who were excused for the evening.
After the Pledge of Allegiance, Mayor Waddell announced the donation for this meeting would be given to the Newton Falls Cops and Kids program. He also discussed the success of the Trumbull County Civic Day during which high school students from around the county had the opportunity to shadow city officials and other leaders to learn about the duties and responsibilities involved in various career choices.
With no reports from council members, the agenda moved on to the City Manager’s report. Mr. Haney stated that a local Boy Scout troop was given a tour of the city offices. Any other interested groups are encouraged to have their leaders contact the city officials to arrange an educational tour. Also reported was that a statewide tornado siren will be going off sometime this week as a test so citizens should not be alarmed. The Fourth of July committee is looking for volunteers – anyone available to help can contact the City Manager’s office to be pointed in the right direction.
In other news, Councilman Monteville mentioned he received a phone call of gratitude from a city resident for the good job that city workers have done around town.
Due to a “substantial change” to ordinance 2011-04, Councilman Zamecnik pointed out it should go back to a first reading and made a motion to do so. However, with lack of a second to the motion, it failed to move forward. Other ordinances discussed on the agenda included: 2011-02 – authorizing payment of attorney fees; 2011-03 – wind turbine regulations; 2011-04 – authorizing the use of a collections agency to recover delinquent utility bill payments; 2011-05 – establishing a raise in sewer rates; and 2011-06 – reimbursement of personal election expenses related to the unsuccessful recall of Councilman Luonuonsuu, which passed for a 2nd reading. The full details of each ordinance or resolution can be read online at http://ci.newtonfalls.oh.us.
During closing comments, Councilman Monteville said that he would like it put in writing that since a motion last meeting was passed 5-0 to table some of the above issues until April when all five council members would be present, and no motion was put forth to untable those issues, that he wonders if any of the votes made this evening by the three members present were in fact legal. He requested advice from the law director concerning such inquiry. Councilwoman Hoffman and Councilman Zamecnik both mentioned that they’d received numerous phone calls from the public wondering why a meeting shouldn’t go forth as planned since there was a quorum – or a majority – of council members present. Also, Mayor Waddell believes there needs to be a business plan and goals for the council and committee meetings. During a recent discussion with Youngstown’s mayor, Jay Williams, Mayor Waddell learned of how the larger city operates and now has some extra ideas to apply to the benefit of the smaller village.
The next regular council meeting will be April 4th.

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Hiram - AVI Fresh and Hiram College are excited to announce the inaugural Platinum Chef Ohio, Battle for the Buckeye State.  Five colleges and universities; Hiram College, Kenyon College, Malone University, Tiffin University and the University of Mount Union; will battle it out in the kitchen for the title of   Platinum Chef Ohio and the cash prize of $2500!  College students show us what they have got as the tables are turned and they become the chefs for the night!  The competition will be held at Hiram College starting at 6pm on March 28th.

Each team will be represented by five students and the AVI Fresh Executive Chef from that institution. Representing Hiram will be Jamie Zychowski (Lakewood, Ohio); Rose Zychowski (Lakewood, Ohio); Zeerak Ahmed (Karachi, Pakistan); Zach Fincham (Windham, Ohio), and Matt Geraldi (Euclid, Ohio). Teams are required to create three dishes and have an option to create an extra dish for bonus points. All dishes must showcase the mystery ingredient. Teams will be judged on their ability to demonstrate team work, presentation, taste, creativity and sanitation skills.

Among our judges will be world-wide recognized sushi chef, author, media performer and chef-instructor Hiroko Shimbo.  Hiroko has worked as a culinary consultant to the PF Chang’s China Bistro group providing menu development, recipes and training. She has been featured on Food Network, Roker On The Road, PBS television and radio, as well as several other stations across the country.  Hiroko will not only be judging the competition but will be starting the festivities out with a cooking demonstration and at the end she will reveal the mystery ingredient.

Let the Battle Begin!

Freedom Township - Items of interest and importance discussed and acted upon at the March 3, 2011 meeting:
Mr. VanSteenberg spoke of flooding that occurred in the township. A culvert on Hewins Road collapsed. They put in a new plastic culvert and the road is now  open . He is keeping track of materials, equipment and labor on this project in the event FEMA makes funds available for reimbursement.

VanSteenberg reported 80 feet of berm washed out on Stamm. A Hewins Road resident complained of flooding, asking if the township can do anything about it. It cannot be done  because he is off the right-of-way. The ditch was cleaned out and now his concern is heavy rain washing out his driveway. Mr. VanSteenberg requested  a letter be sent to a Vair Road property owner regarding beavers on his property causing water to back up on the road causing a flooding problem. This action was approved by all.

Minor water problems at the church werer addressed. Mr. Zizka said a rut along the drive needed filling in and the snow build-up prevented water from sheeting across the drive. Mr. VanSteenberg said he noticed one of the downspouts is disconnected. Mr Hammar will check into this.

Mr. Hammar had specifications and pricing on a plate tamper. There was also discussion about the need at this time. Trustees agreed to purchase up to a price of $1,354.28.
It was agreed to send a notification letter to American Risk Pooling Consultants reserving the right to accept other insurance quotations. All agreed.
An e-mail and Internet Code of Conduct Policy was adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 24, 2088. Mr. Hammar suggested the following revision to include the term “personal use”. Motion was made to revise the E-Mail and Internet Code of Conduct as follows:

Unacceptable uses of the Internet: The internet should not be used for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement. Solicitation of non-township business or any use of the internet for personal use and/or personal gain or advancement is strictly prohibitied. All agreed.

There is another water problem on King Road. A letter has been sent to the property owner asking for permission to go on the property. There has been no response to date.
Mr. Zizka updated the porch work being done on the Town Hall. They are working on the roof. The contractor is also working on a quote for the masonry work. The doors have been installed at the town hall and church building. He said there may also be an additional charge for reconstructing the rotted out sill by the back door of the town hall.

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A Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, May 3, 2011. Those residents of Geauga County 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 May 3, 2011, Primary Election thru noon on Saturday, April 30, 2011.  Voters may also vote absentee in person at the Board  of Elections office March 29, 2011, through the close of business on Monday, May 2, 2011.
The Board of Elections will be open extended hours for absentee voting on: Saturday, April 30th, from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Voters can download an Absentee Application on line at: http://www.co.geauga.oh.us/Departments/BOE/Absentee.aspx
For more information please call the Board of Elections directly at 1-440-279-2030.

Nelson Township – Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting recently with all trustees and  the fiscal officer present. The fiscal officer presented bills and wages; he also gave a funds status report along with real estate tax money from the estate of Robert W Norris.  The trustees approved the expenditures and the minutes from the last meeting.
Trustee Jim Turos reported that the gas well was cleaned and up-and-running with heat in the maintenance building; however they are still unsure of the cost of the repair since they have yet to receive a final bill. Turos asked the trustees to consider a blanket certificate for employee Chuck Vanek so  he  could purchase needed supplies in case he was unable to contact two of the three trustees as required. He stated that recently they had a situation where the employees had to wait 45 minutes to get needed supplies to finish a job. Both Trustees Wilson and Leonard were hesitant of doing a blanket certificate because of their very tight finances.  After further discussion the trustees approved two emergency blanket certificates one for supplies and one for materials for up to a $1000 each expiring on December 31, 2011.  These are emergency measures only to be used when Vanek is unable to reach two of the trustees to approve a purchase.

In other news, discussions were held on whether they should consider purchasing or renting a rubber tire roller for the summer chip and seal projects, and color for the new doors on the community house. Turos stated that he knew where they could possibly purchase one or rent a rubber tire roller for the summer. They agreed not to make a decision at this time due to tight finances. Trustee Leonard stated that the new doors should be installed within the next few weeks and suggested a neutral color on the doors. The rest of the trustees agreed with the neutral color. The doors are being replaced with the NOPEC grant. Leonard also stated that Mike Elias is working with Halle Higgins and the Akron Food Bank to get a food pantry started in Nelson.

Mr. Turos requested an executive session to discuss personnel issues. The board returned from executive session and approved the promotion of Chuck Vanek to the position of Road Supervisor/Sexton and Steve Galayde from part-time status to full-time status including full benefits. The promotions are effective on April 1, 2011.
In other Nelson news, the Pixley Park Committee is collecting donations for their annual garage sale held over Memorial Day Weekend. Donations can be dropped of at L&P Machine on State Route 305 or the Salvage Pantry on Nicholson Road.
Nelson Township Trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The meetings will be held at the community house until May 31, 2011.

Garrettsville – Do  you  think you can sing?  Do you like to be on stage performing before others? Are you available April 17th, May 15th and June 26th 2011?  If your answer is yes to all of the above, then I have a gig for you. Garrettsville Summerfest announces the audition dates for Garrettsville Idol, the grand finale event that closes out their SummerFest Festival held every year on the last weekend in June. Adults will compete for a $1,000 cash prize, while youth and teens will compete for $500 savings bonds. The prizes will be awarded to the winner at the finals held during Summerfest. The open-call auditions are scheduled for April 17, 2011 at James A Garfield Schools’ Iva Walker Auditorium starting at 1p.m. Contestants are asked to come prepared to sing without musical accompaniment. The closed audition, with no audience has been broken down to the following three age brackets youth 8– 12 years, teen 13-17 years and adults 18 years and up. The youth auditions will start at 1pm, the teens at 2pm and the adults will start at 3pm. Check-in begins an hour before each group’s slated time.

Registration can   be  done   on-line  at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com or by obtaining an entry form from Skylanes Bowling Alley. One can return entries in person to Skylanes Bowling Alley or Middlefield Bank in Garrettsville. One can also mail entries to Garrettsville Summerfest at 8311 Windham Street Garrettsville, OH 44231.  Please make sure entries are legible and minors have their parent’s signature. Advanced registration is requested but not required. More information, including the rules, can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com  or by calling Aaron (330) 524-2646.

This year’s Summerfest theme, “The Biggest Game in Town” has a Vegas flair and, promises to be bigger than ever so don’t forget to pick up a souvenir t-shirt or hoodie to commemorate the event. Both “Biggest Game in Town” and Garrettsville Idol T’s and hoodies will be available at the auditions.
Summerfest 2011 is sponsored by Charles Chevrolet, Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce and The Weekly Villager.
The festival is traditionally held the last weekend in June at the corner of S.R.82 and S.R. 88 in downtown Garrettsville. More information can be found at www.garrettsvillesummerfest.com

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Portage County –  On Monday, April 4, Portage County residents are invited to attend a public meeting at Maplewood Career Center to discuss whether the county should build the new County Court House in the city of Kent or explore the ability to place this court house in another location.

The meeting, which is being hosted by the Portage County Commissioners, will begin at 6 p.m.
This seemingly controversial topic stems around the need for an updated court house to replace the outdated building currently housing the municipal court in Kent.

Ohio law currently requires that the court house be located in the city of Kent, however the  Ohio legislature can change the law.
The “leading site” in Kent is in the downtown area.  The original asking price for the 2 acre lot was $1.6 million  and has recently been appraised at $980,000.

Portage County already owns land in Kent, including the current court house,  but has been advised that the current site and an  additional vacant lot are “not feasible” for new construction or remodeling.

The county also owns property on Infirmary Road in Shalersville Township (near the County Jail), and the site where the Ravenna Court House is located. Other sites have not yet been identified.

Estimated cost for the construction of the proposed  new court house is  $8 million. This court  house would be approximately double the size of the current one located in Kent.
The purpose of this public meeting is to allow Portage County citizens the opportunity to voice their opinion and ask questions of the Commissioners.

Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Mass Media Class under the direction of Mrs. Tina Downing in conjunction with The Weekly Villager, is pleased to announce their first edition of the “Hi-Crier”. Look for this quarterly publication produced by talented Garfield students who will share school district news, events and items of interest. The paper will be available throughout the J.A. Garfield district wherever you pick up your Weekly Villager. Congratulations up-and-coming journalists — we are proud of you!

Portage County – In celebration of Ohio 4-H Week, the thirteenth annual window decorating contest was held. The 2011 contest theme was “4-H, A Pathway To The Future.”

Fourteen different clubs entered the contest. Six clubs throughout the county competed against each other and eight clubs in the city of Ravenna entered. Pictured above (left) The Outlaws window which placed first was located on Main Street in Mantua, and (right) Creatures-n-Features second place window which was located at the Aurora Library.

Garrettsville put on its best green last week as folks were determined to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with style during the Second Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration sponsored by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce. The event brought everyone out of winter’s hibernation to celebrate the holiday that has everyone claiming be Irish, even if it is only for a day.  Pictured above with Leo and Michael are the winners of this year’s Leprechaun Contest.
Many started the day early with Kegs and Eggs, green eggs and spam or corned beef hash at local eateries. Several leprechauns were spotted early in the day including  Garrettsville’s own Leppy and his “sons” Leo and Michael, who unleashed their antics on the village throughout the day.  They were even joined by two other “guys in green” claiming to be long-lost relatives as they traveled from establishment to establishment making merriment along the way.
The town was really bustling by late afternoon — green beer was flowing, reuben’s, corned beef and cabbage, and potato soup were a-plenty.  Local eateries were packed as Garrettsville celebrated the night away with entertainment galore — bagpipers, an Irish folk band, cloggers, face painters, a magician / balloon artist and  even Mickey Mouse!!
While the town partied late into the night the leprechaun’s vanished, which left folks wondering if they really saw the little green guys or did they just overindulge in too much green beer.
No pot-o-gold was found.

Portage County – You may not realize it, but you are surrounded by real heroes every day… ordinary people who react quickly, courageously and selflessly during emergencies. The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties takes time each year to honor the Real Heroes of Portage County, shining the spotlight on heroic individuals who would never be recognized otherwise.
As a community leader in emergency preparedness and response, the Red Cross presented the 12th annual Real Hero Awards to 18 Portage County individuals on March 12 at the Bertram Hotel and Conference Center in Aurora. Presented by Robinson Memorial Hospital, the ceremony was filled with inspiring stories about how each of these everyday heroes reached out to others in life-and-death situations, averting great tragedy and saving lives in the process.
Portage County Corrections Officer Derek McCoy was presented with the event’s highest honor, the Certificate of Merit Award. This award is reserved for an individual who saves or sustains life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course. His actions exemplify the highest degree of concern for someone in distress.

While making his rounds at the Portage County Jail, Officer McCoy received a radio call that an inmate needed assistance. When Officer McCoy – a Red Cross trained CPR/First Aid instructor – arrived on the scene, he found a young male inmate lying unconscious on the floor of his cell.

Recalling his Red Cross training to “Check-Call-Care,” Officer McCoy detected that the man did not have a pulse and was not breathing. Instructing another officer to call for additional help, McCoy began CPR compressions. Within seconds, the facility’s nurse arrived with an AED. Officer McCoy applied the pads but the machine determined “No Shock Advised,” so he continued compressions and rescue breathing.

When the local EMS arrived, they found that the inmate had a faint pulse and was now breathing, thanks to the immediate emergency measures Officer McCoy had taken… saving the inmate’s life.

  • Other Real Heroes receiving honors were:
  • Kenny Weaver and Ken ‘Scotty’ Scott, brothers-in-law who were fishing from their boat on Lake Erie in October when they discovered four men in the water with their boat sinking fast. First, they threw life jackets to the men who had already been in the cold water a half-hour. Then they pulled each one from the frigid water, into their boat, and to shore, where they notified the Coast Guard and got the survivors to safety.
  • Samantha Kollman and Sgt. Pat Domos. Samantha was exercising at a fitness center with her mother, Rhonda, when Rhonda suddenly fell to the floor, unconscious with no pulse and no breathing. After yelling for someone to call 911, Samantha began CPR on her mom. Aurora Police Sgt. Pat Domos responded to the call and took over CPR. He also administered two shocks to Rhonda with an AED before she regained consciousness and could breathe on her own. Paramedics then flew her to Metro Hospital. Rhonda made a full recovery.
  • Larry Nething was s a newly-hired PARTA bus driver when he picked up Geraldine Herron from the Ravenna Senior Center. But she was stung by several wasps as he escorted her to the bus. Soon, she slumped down in her seat with her head rolled back. Larry immediately called the dispatcher. The ambulance soon came and Geraldine was rushed to Robinson Memorial, where she was treated for anaphylactic shock.
  • Ohio State Patrol Sgt. Les Brode and Mark Kinzer, Assistant Foreman for the Ohio Turnpike Commission, both responded to an emergency call at milepost 191, where a vehicle had crashed into trees. The driver and passenger were still inside when the car burst into flames. Each responder had fire extinguishers in their vehicles and raced to the car. As Brode fought the fire, Kinzer carried the passenger from the car. Together, the men pulled the driver from the car. Brode administered CPR to the driver, who has suffered a heart attack prior to the crash. He unfortunately died at the scene. But the passenger was life-flighted to a nearby hospital and made a full recovery.
  • Jane and Bill Wallbrown spearheaded the creation of Act 2 at West Branch High School and the community at large, in partnership with Akron Children’s Hospital. This is a set of procedures for teachers and coaches to follow when a child suffers a head injury and is in danger of concussion, to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. Their efforts follow the debilitating experiences suffered by both of their teens, who received concussions during an indoor softball practice and in an ATV accident.
  • Richard Polivka, Streetsboro Police Officer, responded to a man suffering a heart attack at his residence. The man was lying unconscious on the floor with no pulse and not breathing. Polivka administered CPR until paramedics arrived. They used an AED device to shock the man’s heart, which helped him resume breathing before being rushed to the hospital.
  • Aaron Cotes, Streetsboro Police Officer, responded to a 911 call from an auto repair garage, where he found Steve Loar lying in a pool of blood as a result of a deep gash in his neck… the result of an exploded fan shroud from the truck he was fixing. Cotes applied direct pressure to the gash with shop towels, slowing the blood flow. Loar was slipping into shock when paramedics arrived and began advanced life support. An emergency helicopter flew Loar to the hospital. He made a full recovery.
  • Streetsboro Police Dispatcher Josee Acklin and Police Officers Richard Polivka and Jason Hall responded to a fire at Portage Pointe Apartments last winter, only to discover that a tractor-trailer rig had jack-knifed into a snow bank, blocking the route as fire engines arrived at the scene. Acklin and Hall worked to redirect engines along alternate routes as Polivka evacuated tenants from the building. Hearing cries for help, he saw firefighter John Braska in a second-story room engulfed in fire. He provided him with a ladder with just moments to spare before a wall of flames burst from the broken-out window.
  • Kathy Hampton, Keith Richmond, Yvonne Watters and Scott Danna are members of  First Response Team, an emergency management group atGE Healthcare facility in Aurora, providing medical emergency response within the facility. Hampton was first to respond to co-worker Mike Donofrio, who had collapsed during a meeting. He was not breathing and had no pulse. She was on her third round of CPR compressions and breaths when Richmond and Watters arrived with the AED and applied the pads. Danna, who had called 911, coordinated the team’s response. Following extensive heart surgery, Mike made a full recovery and returned to work.

All of these heroes  – as event chairperson Lisa Perez said, “turned tragedy into triumph — and heartbreak into hope.”

The American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties works on the local level, responding to disasters; teaching first aid, CPR and aquatics; keeping military families in touch; and providing blood products for sick and injured patients. The Ravenna office of the Red Cross can be reached locally at (330) 296-9991 or at www.summitcounty.redcross.org.

Huntsburg – Right on the outskirts of Middlefield, right off of Burton-Windsor Road and Clay Street is a most unique shopping experience.  Yoder’s Coleman is located at 15890 Durkee Road in Huntsburg.  Their phone number is 440-636-6224.  Their normal business hours are Monday through Saturday from 8 am until 5 pm.

You will find much more than just Coleman items at Yoder’s Coleman.  They offer a full line of battery lamps that are beautiful, decorative and functional plus a full range of batteries.   The houseware items will thrill any cook.  You will find stock pots, canning supplies, pressure cookers, linens, kitchen gadgets, cookware, bakeware, Thermos®, air pots, cook books and so much more.  They offer stationery items, cards, sewing supplies, purses and tote bags at great prices.

There are many home décor items to choose from, including Thomas Kinkade decorative pieces, figurines, wind chimes and American Expedition items.  The American Expedition line celebrates America’s love for the great outdoors and wildlife with mugs, coasters, clocks and tumblers.
Children will love Yoder’s Coleman too.  They have a great assortment of puzzles, children’s books, stickers galore, toys and games.  You will find toys that stir the imagination and inspire creativity.

The baby section is sure to please the mom-to-be and baby with comfy blankets, baby toys, bibs, clothing and other necessities.
Lest we forget the store’s namesake…Yoder’s Coleman offers a variety of Coleman camping products.  They can also repair the Coleman lamps, lanterns and camp stoves you already own.  The weather recently may not remind you of camping, but camping season is fast approaching and you may want to check your equipment to see if any of it is in need of repairing.  If so, you can contact David Yoder to discuss the repair process.

Looking for classic, older Coleman lanterns? He has those too.

Yoder’s Coleman may be a bit tricky to find but it is well worth the trip.  You will want to be on Burton-Windsor Road, the section between St. Rts. 608 and 528.  You will want to turn north onto Clay Street, then almost immediately you will want to turn left onto Durkee.  You will then head down Durkee less than a mile and you will see the sign for Yoder’s Coleman on your right.
It is a fun store to visit with great prices.  Mr. Yoder is a wonderful host and will make you feel welcome.  The next time you are out and about in Middlefield, you may want to stop and see the delightful finds you will discover at Yoder’s Coleman.

Middlefield - On February 26 the Middlefield Police Department and CWE Championship Wrestling Experience teamed up for fun filled night of “High Flying”, “Hard Knocks” and “Total Excitement”. The wrestling event was a fund raiser for the Middlefield Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop” program. CWE promoter  Kyle Terreri and Chief Ed Samec discussed the event as a fund raiser several months ago. Kyle contacted several CWE and PWO (Pro Wrestling Ohio) wrestlers and talked to them about “Shop with a Cop”. The wrestlers were excited and honored to do what they could to promote and raise funds for the program. Some of the wrestlers came from as far away as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The evening’s event was exciting and even included Chief Ed Samec stepping in the ring for some pro wrestling action. “Chief Ed will do anything that is necessary for the community, I think that is pretty obvious given that fact that he stepped in the ring with Jason Gory”, Mayor Poole said.  On behalf of the Middlefield Police Department, we would like to thank all of those who attended the event and supported our “Shop with a Cop” program.